The month of July is Independent Retailers Month and Calladoodles are getting involved in this annual campaign. To celebrate,( and on their behalf) I interviewed four women involved (in one way or another) with running independent shops on Carshalton High Street. This week, it is Rebecca Mackenzie turn. She is owner Dotty Teahouse. Rebecca talks motherhood, favourite food, and holidays.
When was Dotty Teahouse set up? Dotty’s Teahouse opened in May 2016 following 4 years of trading at festivals and private events from my vintage caravan “Dotty”.
Why was Dotty Teahouse set up? Dotty’s Teahouse was a natural progression for me having spent much of 2015 establishing a tea room in Kingston’s famous market place. Originally a Christmas ‘pop-up’ concept championed by Kingston Council we were able to use the opportunity to learn, adapt, and spend time building our brand and perfecting our style.
What should we expect when we visit your cafe? Dotty’s is a vintage style teahouse serving freshly made food, cakes, cream teas and of course the traditional ‘high tea’. We are a family friendly café offering mums and local’s a place to meet, eat and shop as we have a lovely selection of handmade gifts which are all sourced from local independents. Dotty’s is a community hub and we are so thrilled that people are enjoying what we have to offer!
How has motherhood changed you? Motherhood has changed me in a lot of ways, some for the better, some for the worse. But like most mothers I am fiercely protective of my children. I think this is mainly because I was very ill during my (twin) pregnancy and there was a serious threat we could have lost them. That thought still haunts me to this day but conversely, it has also been a huge motivating factor and I strive each day to make their little lives as happy and secure as I can.
How do you maintain a work and life balance? At The moment my work / life balance is a little off kilter… but that’s because I have taken on a huge project with Dotty’s Teahouse and it is still early days. My girls are hugely involved with the Teahouse and they love helping Mummy when they can, they are learning valuable life skills and whilst that is important I am very conscious that we spend time together as a family and that we have fun! Working, looking after children and running a home is a constant juggling act but I have a very supportive family and we all help each other as much as possible, it's teamwork!
What is the movie that made you cry the hardest? Beaches with Bet Midler! It’s an old film about 2 little girls who become friends and go onto to lead separate lives, but one of them dies and it’s so sad…it just gets me every time!!
If you ran the world, what law would you introduce? Be kind to one another.
What is your favourite vacation spot? I love the Cotswolds in Oxfordshire. We visit the Cotswolds as often as we can. It’s such a change of pace, lots of fresh air and lots of beautiful countryside to explore…not to mention the fact that it is home to many beautiful tearooms and I always love to pick up new ideas!
What skills would you like to pass on to your daughters Oh this is a hard one... I guess it would have to be my determination and self-belief. My mother and father have always said that when I get an idea into my head I do not let it go and whilst this can be infuriating for my long suffering family, I think it’s actually a good attribute to have! I hope my daughters have the confidence and determination to live their life as they wish and fulfil all of their dreams no matter what.
What is your favourite food? I love Chinese food! Definitely my favourite food of all time!
Freewill or destiny? Destiny
Mum of three and Field Co-ordinator for Reverse Rett, Beth Johnsson is an incredible and a beautiful woman - I am honoured to know her. After her daughter Hannah was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome, Beth and her family are now very involved with fundraising for research to help speed treatments and a cure. Beth talks motherhood, the future and rice cakes.
What time did you wake up this morning? 5.45am, to the sound of a 6-year-old saying ‘Can I open my presents now?’!
What is your daily routine like? Depends on which job I’m doing that day. If it’s a teaching day then it’s up and out at 7am, school by 7.30am and then lessons, meetings, marking until 3.50pm when I dash to pick up Hannah and get back to the boys for 5.30pm. Then it’s all about the children for a couple of hours until bedtime and stories, then once they’re asleep it’s back downstairs for marking, planning lessons and all the usual teacher stuff. If it’s a non-teaching day then I’m on the morning school runs and then settling down to Reverse Rett work until it’s time to collect the kids and start after-school and evening routines again.
What did you have for breakfast? Erm, never eat breakfast. Sorry Mum.
What food do you live on? Chicken, giant rice cakes, marmite and sugary tea (not at the same time!)
Do you have a pet name for your husband? Nope. But if I call him by his name he knows he’s in trouble!
How do you manage/balance work and family commitments? Minimise sleep.
What do you like most about being a mother? Wow, that’s a tough question. Where do I start? There’s just nothing in the world like it is there? I still feel like I’m not a real one somehow, it seems too incredible to actually be the mum of three small humans. Nothing beats that first moment when they’re placed in your arms, but I feel like that moment is repeated every time they slip their hand into yours, or put their arms around you. It makes everything else fade away. I also love just watching them, especially when they don’t know you’re there - watching the boys chat together or work out a new game, or when they hug Hannah or help her with something or try to make her laugh, that’s priceless.
How did you meet your husband? We were both in Sydney and started the same job on the same day, fundraising for Amnesty International. It took a while before I realised he wanted to be more than friends!
What do you like most about yourself? Erm. I’m stubborn, which can be a terrible quality but can also be good. I don’t give in to peer pressure or give up on things which I’m passionate about.
What is your greatest strength? The same as the above. I’m relentless. I’ve been criticised for it before, but it can be a useful thing too.
What word describes how you live your life? Hopefully.
What is your hope for your kids? That they are safe, healthy, happy, and good people. I want them to have the courage and the support to pursue the things which make them happy and to stand up for what they believe in. I want them to have empathy and kindness as fundamentals, but also the strength and determination to do whatever they can to make the world a better place. I hope they get to grow up in a world which is kinder than it appears to me to be right now.
What is the best advice you have ever been given? My Grandma passed away when I was 10, but I always remember she used to say that you never regret the things you do, only the things you don’t. I try to keep this in mind and to be ready to take the leap of faith to do things which scare me. I don’t want to wake up in 40 years’ time and wish I had.
Beauty means… Self-acceptance and Compassion.
What do you wish for the future? I’m a worrier and can stay awake for hours worrying about the future for my children, on a personal level as well as on a global scale. I think I would have been this way to some degree anyway, but the experiences we have gone through with Hannah have made me more fiercely protective, more cautious, at the same time as more appreciative of all the amazing things we do have. So there are so many wishes for the future. Ultimately, I want to watch all my children grow up and to see them become independent, happy, good people. I wish that one day I will hear my daughter’s voice again. I wish that I will see her run and play and know that her future is as bright as any other child’s. I wish that they always have each other and that the love I see between them now holds them together always, no matter what life throws at them.
If you want me to truly answer the question thinking about the wishes and the worries I have right now, today, I would have to say that I passionately wish that Britain can remain part of the EU, that we can find a way to rebuild our broken society, and that the far right views and attitudes which are now being expressed by the minority, can be prevented from becoming the dominant force in our political landscape. This scares me a lot.
What lesson has your daughter taught you about who you are?
That I can cope with things I never thought I would cope with and that I can love more fiercely and unconditionally than I knew was possible. As my first child, I suppose she also taught me that I can be a mum and that it is the greatest privilege I know.
What lessons have your sons taught you?
So much. They’ve taught me that children are more resilient, accepting and wise than most grown-ups, that nothing should ever be taken for granted, that time together is more important than all the toys in the world, that enjoying the moment is more important than capturing it, and that it is physically impossible for small boys and socks to stay attached to each other . . .
Never leave home without…
What was the last book you read?
‘Room on the Broom’ to Hannah last night!
Half-way through ‘Regeneration’ (again).
When was the last time you danced?
Depends on what you mean by ‘dance’ I ‘dance’ around the living room to Olly Murs and One Direction a lot, to keep Hannah amused (she laughs at me, not with me), so if this counts then it was yesterday . . .
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Beth's Blog is HERE
Reverse Rett Website
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You have just had a baby boy, what is your life like at the moment?
I'm enjoying my maternity leave and feeling more relaxed with motherhood the second time around. I am not good at being away from work as it is an extremely important part of my life, and I found being at home with my first child extremely challenging. This time, I'm happier just to go with it and I feel really lucky to have this time with both my son and daughter, especially as my daughter Chloe is starting school in September.
When you return back to work in September, how do you plan to balance work and family commitments?
I'm lucky to have a fabulous childminder, Tracey, who has been looking after Chloe since she was a baby. She is so flexible and has enabled me to pursue my career with no concerns about my children's well-being - as I know they are safe and happy with Tracey. Zak will go to Tracey from September, and Chloe will be at school... which I still can't really believe! So I will be back at Calladoodles managing the shop and also be working from home.
What do you like most about being a mother?
My favourite things about being a mother are chatting with Chloe, who likes to talk just as much as me! I love hearing her come out with new words that I didn't even know she knew, and the quirky things she says; I never know where the conversation will end up going, and she always has something new to say. I love the little things - like Zak smiling at me and calling me 'ummy' (as he isn't talking yet). And watching Chloe with her best friend Elodie and how inseparable they are at their ballet class.
What food do you live on?
My diet is horrendous, I love Shreddies, London cheesecake (from the Village Bakers next door to Calladoodles), roast dinners and chocolate ice cream. If I could live on these things I would, but my partner Jed won't let me. He is a super cook and makes my dinner every night. He was once said to be the most romantic man in Carshalton (by his mates)!!
How did Calladoodles start?
Calladoodles started after an idea I had to open a retail unit to sell handmade goods, like an indoor craft market. My good friend Nicki made handmade products and we met a network of like-minded people whose products we wanted to amalgamate and sell.
I lived for a while in Brighton and spend hours wandering The Lanes and thinking that there should be independent shops like the ones in The Lanes everywhere.
What did you do before?
Before Calladoodles I worked in housing, starting off working in hostels for homeless people. I was totally fulfilled by this job and would still be working there today if I hadn't taken a few wrong moves and ended up in the admin and maintenance side of housing. I wasn't happy working in this particular area, my last job was a complaints management role which made me realise I had made some wrong moves and had ended up in the wrong job.
What does Calladoodles stand for? And how did you come about the name?
Calladoodles was a name made up by the children in our family, it was the beginning of a family name 'Callanan' and the fact that it was all about creativity. Me and my step-daughter Caitlin loved to doodle and I suppose that's where it came from.
Beauty means a feeling of satisfaction when you look or hear or feel something, it's not about perfection necessarily but when lots of different elements work together, sometimes you're not even sure why they do.
What inspires you?
I'm inspired by my mum - she owns Calladoodles and she rocks. All the girls in Calladoodles call my mum 'Mama Doodles', it sums her up; she is fun, creative, strong and in charge. We all look up to her and respect her decisions. The buck stops with Mama Doodles because she is actually right, all the time. We have a card in the shop, it says, 'Sometimes when I speak my mum comes out'. This is so true, but not a problem for me, as those are my finest moments.
What do you want for your children?
I want my children to simply be happy. It sounds basic but really, that is it. I'd like them to have happy relationships, friendships and enjoy their work as much as I enjoy mine. I want them to smile all the time and not to worry about things. I've spent too much time worrying and it's the biggest waste of time ever!
Harriet is one of the most beautiful humans I have come across - she is full of smiles, kindness, sunshine, a joy to be around... she is full of all things beautiful. Harriet talks Curry, something she wonders about, ice cream and looking forward to being 13.
Enjoy. Yvonne x
What is your most favourite fun thing to do? Playing with my friends and family.
When do you do it? At school and when we have play dates or if we have friends at our house for BBQs.
Why is it your favourite thing to do? It’s my favourite thing to do because we laugh a lot because we dance and sing and act silly. And we eat great food.
What is your favourite colour? Blue.
What is your favourite food? Curry.
What is your favourite treat? Flapjacks.
What is your favourite subject in school? Art.
What is your favourite sport? Gymnastics
What is your favourite movie? Alice in Wonderland.
What is your favourite animal? Monkeys, sea lions and dogs.
What is something that you wish for? A baby sister.
What is something you wonder about? I wonder if I will have children. I’d really like a girl. One is enough because it’s hard work.
What is your favourite song? Lush Life by Zara Lawson
Where do you WANT to visit some day? Longleat Safari
What’s your favourite thing to do with your brother? Jumping on the trampoline.
What’s your favourite thing to do with your Dad? Going to Comedy 4 Kids.
What’s your favourite thing to do with Mum? Singing and dancing in the car.
What’s your favourite thing to do with your dog? I love to run around with Snow in the park.
What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a vet.
What is one thing you want to learn how to do? A French plait.
Who is someone that you miss? I miss my sister Gabrielle and my Grandma – they’re in Heaven together.
What makes you nervous? When I first try a new club I feel nervous but I do it anyway because I don’t really need to be nervous.
What makes you happy? When my mummy takes me for ice cream. Salted caramel and cookies&cream are my favourites.
What age do you look forward to – and why? I’m really looking forward to being 13 because I really want a mobile phone. I might be younger like 10 or something. I don’t know yet.
We asked April - a compassionate, funny and creative friend of my daughter Ola some questions, some of her answers made me smile. I particularly picked April for this mini-interview because of her ability to be sensitive to other children's needs. For example, last year, for Ola's birthday, April asked her mum if she could get Ola a stuffed toy since Ola had mentioned to her that she had none - I had cleared my daughter's room out and donated her toys to charity!
As we all know emotional intelligence is one of the ingredients that will help our kids get far in life... April has that.
Enjoy. Yvonne xxx
What is your favourite treat? Tunnock’s teacakes.
What is your favourite subject in school? Art.
What is your favourite sport? Cycling, gymnastics, swimming.
What is your favourite hobby? Reading.
What is your happiest memory? When we went on holiday in Croatia.
Why do you like being a kid? I don’t have to share with daddy.
One word to describe you would be creative.
What advice would you give your parents? Not to sneeze too loudly.
If you could be any animal, which one would you be and why? A dolphin so I could swim in the sea.
What do you like to do for fun? Playing on a strange bench with my friends And riding around where I live.
Tell about a funny time in your life. When grandparents got into a man’s car by mistake.
What is your favourite thing to do? Why? Watching TV because I don’t have to do anything.
What is your favourite thing to do with your friends? Look at pop songs.
What is your favourite movie? Zootropolis.
What is your favourite thing to do in the summer? Go in the paddling pool.
What would be the ideal pocket money? Tell me how you would use it. One pound to save and use on books.
What do you think makes a person good-looking? Eating healthy
Reneé Davis is the founder of the Mummy Tries and a mum of three. She is also the author of Become the best You . Reneé talks Motherhood, fears and her favourite drink. Reneé is an incredible woman with an incredible story. Meet Reneé Davis.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? I'm up most nights with one or more of the children, and mornings are rather hectic in our house. The kids are usually up first demanding food and drinks somewhere between 5-6am. Roughly once a week, I stay up after settling them back to sleep at 3-4am, and this is when I get a lot of writing done. I'm more often than not drinking a very large cup of freshly brewed coffee by 6 am!
What type of parent are you? I'd say I'm firm but fair. My kids would probably say I'm strict and mean!
What is the coolest thing about being a mum of three? Watching the three of them play nicely can be heart-meltingly wonderful.
What is the lesson your kids have taught you? They are a constant reminder to me to try and be the best I can possibly be. This might sound corny, but I had a severely dysfunctional upbringing, and if there is one thing I've learnt over the years it's that actions are what matter, words are irrelevant when all is said and done.
What advice would you give your 14-year-old self?A true friend will never judge, never look down and never abandon you in your hour of need. If you have a spat and need some distance, they will always come back to you somehow.
Favourite drink? Gin and tonic.
What is happening in your life at this minute? Wow, where to start? My husband and I made the decision to pull our 6yo out of school and start home educating her in November, and that takes up most of my energy at the moment. I'm currently writing a novel and hope to have a first draft completed by the summer, so snippets of spare time goes into that. My blog work is sporadic, but can take up a fair bit of time too. Then I try and see friends as much as I can. In addition to all this we eat the Paleo way, so a lot of thought goes into the food we eat.
Favourite dessert? It used to be creme brulee but I haven't had one in years as I don't eat sugar. I make a mean chocolate mousse using avocado as the base.
What is your most treasured possession? My wedding rings.
What is your best quote? "Be who you are and say what you feel, those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss.
What are you most proud of that apart from motherhood? My blog and book are huge accomplishments.
What keeps you up at night? My kids! Eldest and youngest are terrible sleepers *sigh*
What does motherhood mean to you? It means everything. I left home when I was 15, and it took me a long time to come to terms with what I'd been through as a kid, then eleven years ago made the agonising decision to cut ties with my entire family. There was a time when having a family of my own seemed so far out of reach, almost impossible. Now that I do have one, I'm very aware that I will only get one shot at it.
What is your greatest fear? Dying young and leaving my kids without a mum. I'm terrified of even the thought of it.
Describe yourself in three words. Genuine. Ambitious. Open-Minded.
Do you think women can have it all? No, I don’t. I think women have been brainwashed by the media into thinking they can, but ultimately we can't. I did the modern day juggle for five years, working part time at an investment bank in the city, being a mum, trying to do everything, and be everything. Working part time with one child was fine, with two it was manageable to a degree, but going back to work after having my third was absolutely horrendous. I was dropping balls left, right and centre; and my son hated nursery. It was one of the most stressful periods of my entire life. Fortunately, I was made redundant nine months later, and the timing meant we were finally able to cope financially with me not getting another office based job. Prior to that, we couldn't have made ends meet without my salary.
Destiny or freewill? I'm a huge believer in things happening for a reason, but on the same token, we make our own luck in this world.
What is your biggest challenge as a mother? My 6-year-old has high functioning autism, this presents challenges for us daily that most of my friends describe as ' really rough patch'. My biggest challenge is ensuring that each of my children get enough attention throughout the day. This is not as simple as it sounds!
Who inspire you? My main inspirations are the people who constantly strive to be better than the person they were yesterday (but not in a materialistic way).
What book have you read that positively shaped you? I am a huge Oliver James fan and have most of his books. They F*** You Up, How Not to F*** Them Up, Affluenza and Love Bombing were all game changers for me.
What is your favourite food? I love Japanese, but not eating rice or noodles makes it a very expensive meal these days. My perfect at home cooked meal would be a med-rare rib eye steak with a huge pile of broccoli and sauteed onions on the side.
You just had a book Become The Best You Published. What is it about and how can it help me? Become the Best You is part memoir, part self-help, and tells my personal story of overcoming difficulties from my dysfunctional childhood to break the cycle and create a better life for my kids. After leaving home at fifteen I was seriously messed up. I lived my life in self-destruct mode for a decade afterwards, partying too hard and drinking too much. I suffered many bouts of depression along the way and had two full on mental breakdowns. Rock bottom came with breakdown number two, which is where I cleaned up my act and started turning my life around.The book contains everything I did during that process to secure my future happiness. I've had some brilliant reviews so far, and most readers have told me that they've benefited in some way from reading it, also that even those who had a lovely childhood would take something away from it.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be? Hunger, nobody should be starving to death in this day and age.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? Still pretty much here, doing this, but with a few more books under my belt.
How do you do to relax? I go to bed early and am really strict about switching off around 8- every night. Hubby and I always have a Netflix or Amazon boxed set on the go, so we watch a couple of programs while eating dinner most week nights. On Friday's we eat at the table, enjoy a couple of glasses of wine together and talk about our week. We don't get much time off to relax but did have a lovely night away for our anniversary last month. We treated ourselves to a spa and it was heavenly.
Shop Become The Best you
Kathy McGuiness Mum-of-four and Campaigner is the founder of Local Mums Online and Child’s Eye Line UK. Kathy talks Identity, Beauty and what it really means to be a mum.
Enjoy, Yvonne xxx
What was the idea behind your website Local Mums Online? I wanted to create media that was relevant to my life and give mothers a voice in the public sphere, where they were under-represented. I was fed up of a Media that didn’t reflect the world as I was experiencing it. I knew all these support networks existed for mothers but they were invisible networks. How would a new mother know about them if she moved to a local area? I imagined myself without my friends and support and wanted to create something that would help new parents find support and information.
What do you love about it? The way the age-old, traditional networks of mothers supporting mothers can be replicated online. Technology may change but people stay the same; we still need information, advice and support from people we trust. I love the way mothers who may have been isolated have found friendship and support and this has empowered them. It’s amazing the way our collective voice has been so powerful politically, for example, by helping to save our local hospital and changing the way supermarkets market their products through the Child’s Eye Line campaign.
What does being a mum mean to you? It is a great privilege and a great responsibility, both to my children and to Society as I give mothers a voice in public life.
Name three things that are most special to you? Family, friendship and faith.
Who inspires you and why? Anyone who stands up for others and, specifically,
My great aunt, Dr Elsie Inglis. She was a leader of the suffragette movement in Scotland who campaigned for women to be allowed to study medicine at University; she helped poor women and children receive maternity care by founding hospitals for them and she lead hospital units as a surgeon on the frontline in World War 1. She taught me that through sheer determination and hard work you can move mountains.
What was the last book you read? The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Name three things about being a mum you love. Shared memories, shared jokes and a shared common identity with all the other mothers down through history.
What is the best advice you were ever given? ‘You only regret what you don’t do’; ‘Be the change you want to see’ and ‘If you can’t find the book you want to read, write it.’
What advice would you give your teenage self? Enjoy your freedom; one day you will have to work!
How has your identity changed since becoming a mum? I am more civic-minded; I care about the welfare of all children.
Freewill or destiny? A combination of both.
Apart from your kids, what else gives you pleasure? Books, travel, music and art.
What does me time entail? Reading.
As a mum, do you ever feel judged? ‘It is between me and God, it was never about them anyway.’ - Mother Theresa
What keeps you up at night? A good book.
Beauty is… in the eye of the beholder.
Love is… everything.
Weekend means…. No school runs!
How has social media helped you as a mum? It has helped me stay connected.
What is your parenting philosophy? Be kind.
Mum of two and Customer Management Business Analyst at Kimberly-Clark, Sara Telford is a mum I respect and love dearly. Not just because we are related (Sara is my sister-in-law) but she is incredibly clever, cool and very likeable. In this Q&A session, she talks to us about favourite things, her childhood, and motherhood.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Put the kettle on for a cup of tea.
What is your daily ritual like? My son wakes me up around 7.30am and I have breakfast with the kids before my husband takes them to school. I get home around 5.30 most nights so we have a few hours family time before the kids go to bed. I am generally wiped out by that time that I just watch TV.
What is your favourite food? Unfortunately… Pasta.
Do you have a pet name for your husband? If yes, what? I call everyone in the house darling. When my son was a toddler, he picked up on this. So, he went through a phase of calling everyone darling as well which was so weird!
What is the coolest thing about you? I stopped being cool when I had kids. My husband made me sell my motorbike and I swapped my sports car for a Rover 45.
The favourite place you have ever visited? Meribel France, it is the ski resort I spent a winter in when I was 21. I truly love it there.
What is the coolest thing about being a mum? Everything else in life seems easy
What is the one talent you wished you had? How to do small talk. I chose my hairdresser based on being able to have a semi-interesting conversation with him. And it took me years to get comfortable doing the school run.
What is your favourite music of all time? Don’t really have one, am very eclectic in my tastes.
What is your favourite band of all time? Don’t really have one, am very eclectic in my tastes.
What is the book that made a difference to your life? A bit sad but it is a management book called Change the Culture, Change the Game. It is basically about the way experiences drive beliefs, beliefs drive actions and actions drive results. The key point is, if you want a different result from someone, it’s pointless to directly try to impact their actions; you need to go right back and manage how they experience you / life.
What do you still have from your childhood? A lot, I am a very sentimental person. The other day I came across a throw my grandparents had on their sofa when I was a kid. The memories came flooding back. Every few years, I put boxes of my favourite clothes and toys in the loft. I think my kids will enjoy seeing again when they’re grown-ups.
What is your favourite colour My kids keep asking me that…orange I guess.
Who is your fashion Icon? Don’t really have one.
What does motherhood mean to you? It is everything. But, not the only thing.
What is the lesson your kids have taught you? It’s good to talk about a problem even if you don’t find a solution.
What movie made you cry the most? It’s probably The Boy in The Stripped Pyjamas. I cry at anything to do with children being harmed emotionally or physically
What is the best advice you have ever been given? “You judge yourself by your intentions; others will judge you by your actions”
What advice would you give your 14-year-old self? That is a difficult one since I am a future orientated person. I don’t believe in having regrets. I guess (other than the obvious “buy apple shares”) I would say, don’t bother with people who make you feel bad about yourself. A lesson I learned later in life.
What is the one rule you ignore? I generally prioritise very hard across life so I ignore no end of social expectations. Actual rules I try to follow but there are times when it is better to apologise than ask permission.
What is the one rule your kids ignore?Unfortunately, it’s more than one. My parents were very liberal so I‘ve always had a tendency to let me kids make a lot of decisions for themselves. However, my husband has a far more traditional approach and tells them what to do. Since he is their main carer, I try to follow his approach. But, the kids know they can get away with a lot when it’s just mum.
Do you believe in free will or destiny? Free will. Life is short and you have to own your own destiny.
To connect with Sara, please email me at Yvonne@realyvonne.com.
Yvadney Davis, mother-of -two, founder of Style After Nine, Fashion writer and stylist talks guilty pleasures, the secret of good parenting and how her single mum inspired her.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be? Poverty. I hate the fact that they are haves and have-nots in this world.
Describe yourself in three words. Joyful, creative and motivated.
What is precious to you in life? Of course my family and sanity. My faith stitches it all together.
What one thing would you save in a fire? It may sound superficial, but the sequinned Miu Miu shoes my husband gave me as a wedding gift. I can hardly walk in them but they sum up how wonderful he is. He bought them as a surprise. He remembered me cooing over them in Vogue one day. He's never been one to stifle my relationship with fashion, instead, he encourages it.
What book are you reading at the moment? I'm ashamed to say, nothing. I have so many books on my list, but after a busy day with the kids, I find myself falling asleep just as I'm about read one. I'm still in the second chapter of Charles Dicken's Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens since my daughter was born last June.
Guilty Pleasures? Jackie Collins, Amaretto Sours, ice cream, Old school garage, Googlebox and Asos.
What is the best band of all time? You're talking to a self-confessed and proud Jodeci fan here. They were one of the biggest R&B boy bands of the 90s. Jodeci was the gangster version of Boyz II Men who had a squeaky clean image. I loved them so much back then, I had their posters all over my bedroom wall, every album, every lyric and cried over their songs. And I still love them. My husband took me to their concert a few years ago and I shocked him by jumping around and screaming hysterically and welling up at the ballads.
What has being a mother taught you? 'Mother's Intuition' is real. From pregnancy to labour... the new-born days and thereafter. I've developed an ability to make quick decisions based on my gut and heart. This includes embracing childbirth for all the pain and supernatural beauty that it is; keeping my toddler entertained while I breastfeed my baby on the tube, and styling a photo shoot with a newborn in the sling. I don't care what all the parenting books or trends say, I'm doing a good job and I'm the best mummy my kids could ever have.
What’s the coolest thing about you? My honesty. I'm real and my realness comes with the freedom to express myself, to be interested in things without worrying what others think.
What is the one thing you always keep in your bed? A silk pillowcase. It's good for my skin and good for my hair.
Facebook or Twitter? Facebook all the way. I like how easy it is to connect with friends and family across the world without the word count limits! They are some people I haven't seen in years but I feel like I have, because of their updates and photos. That's a good thing!
What is your favourite fashion trend of all time? That's a tough one, I love the fashion of the 1930s and bonkers 'Clueless' look of my teens, but my favourite trend has got to be 70s funk. I love the afros, flares, miniskirts, dramatic capes, maxi dresses and shimmery makeup. The playful combination of West African prints, psychedelic prints and sharp tailoring was sublime and insanely stylish. Marc Jacobs resurrected it a few years ago and I loved it all over again.
What advice would you give your younger self? Youth is a blessing and you only get one shot at it, so go for it! When you're young everything feels like an age, when in fact it all goes super quickly. There's no time to get sidetracked doing things you don't enjoy, dating people who don't make you feel happy, surrounding yourself with people who don't have your back, holding yourself back because you're worried what people may say. Travel, live and love!
What were you like growing up and what were your interests - what/who inspired you? I was a happy child, inquisitive, very creative, and musical, with a huge imagination. I loved art and fashion, read all the time, played the violin and was really into period dramas. It was just me and my single mum growing up. My mum inspired my creativity and my strong political views. I went through a rebellious blip in my teens caused by Jungle music and Gangsta Rap. Apart from that, my teen years were pretty much plain sailing. I knew from a young age I wanted to be a fashion designer, so always had that as a goal to work towards.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? Living in a country where palm trees grow.
What do you do to relax? Pilates. It's not relaxing when I do it at home - my son climbs on my back or insists on joining in with me. This makes me laugh and not chilled out.
What is the hardest thing about being a mum? The logistics of doing everything are harder with little people. When they're with you, the dynamic changes for the worst - paying for petrol, supermarket shopping, going to the cinema, going to the toilet...the list goes on. But, this time, is such a small window in our lives and I wouldn't change a thing.
What is the secret of good parenting? Living in the present. I read about a panel of elderly women who were asked about the best period in their life. They all unanimously agreed that it was when their children were little. I totally get that. It's very easy to fall into the trap of looking to the next milestone or wishing challenging seasons away, like waking up in the night, teething and potty training, but then it all goes in a flash. So savour it all.