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#MumsWhoWorkIt

Imposter Syndrome is a phrase that we hear a lot about at the moment. It seems to be something that effects women more than men and it really can stop you (if you let it!) doing the things you really want to do. So I thought I would tell you about my recent lightbulb moment and how an opportunity to speak in public about a subject I am still learning about, has really made me feel empowered! Back in July I saw that my local co-working space The Workary in Hanwell were looking for business speakers via their Business Bytes networking sessions. I mulled over it for a few days and eventually put my name forward. At the end of the day I thought what have I got to lose? Of course the room might be empty or even the attendees may not think I have told them anything of value! In the end it was a now or never opportunity, I was going speak in public about how blogging can benefit business and as the day got nearer I was seriously thinking about backing out!

Introducing my topic Blogging for Business – image courtesy of Pam Wade Photography

The term Imposter Syndrome was coined in 1978 by Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in their landmark 1978 study of 150 highly successful professional women in various fields. Since then it regularly pops up in the media and I know many highly successful women do suffer from it. It still really intrigues me as to why, as women we always seem to be questioning ourselves? After all we are the ones multi-tasking, running our homes and working all at the same time, so surely we are more than capable?

I think my Imposter Syndrome dates back to the days after I completed my Nurse Training, I still remember my first every day as a Staff Nurse on the wards. I was wearing the uniform and had completed the three years of training, but still I was expecting one of the doctors or patients to say “you are not meant to be here, you are a fraud”! Every since then I have found it hard to believe in myself and truly believe that I have the knowledge and expertise to do what ever job I’m involved in. I have almost felt on constant alert, as if someone is going to catch me out!

I began my blogging journey almost three years ago and soon after re-trained as a Social Media Manager. Since then when someone asks me what I do for a living I always slightly pause, as I’m not sure if I should mention that I write a blog and work freelance as a social media manager. Sometimes I find it easier not to mention what else I do and say I am a Nurse. Again I think I do this because I feel nervous that someone might ask me a technical question that could “catch me out”.

Blogging for Business at The Workary – Hanwell – image courtesy of Pam Wade Photography

So, back to the point of this post and it was that speaking publicaly has given me a new found belief. Last week when I spoke at The Workary it reinforced in my own mind that I do have knowledge and skills that I can share with others. I received positive feedback from the attendees, they said my talk was interesting and that they learnt things too! Two ladies even came all the way from Kent to hear me speak and the proof was really in the pudding when the Workary community manager asked me to speak again at their Chiswick branch!

I know the feeling of being fraudulent probably isn’t going to go away, but I am going to strive on and keep reminding myself how far I have come. I actually think that is the key, if you take the time to write down some of the things you have achieved and keep them handy, then in your moments of self doubt you can look at these achievements and remember all the things you have done.

My last message is something I saw today printed on a mug and that is Aspire to Inspire and I think that is a message we should all keep in mind! Don’t let Imposter Syndrome stop you from creating the life and opportunities you really want.

If you would like to come and hear me speak about Blogging for Business, I will be doing another talk on the 6th December at The Workary Chiswick, so keep an eye on my social media for more details!

 

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This week, I would like to introduce you to another fantastic Mum, who I have interviewed for my #MumsWhoWorkIt series. Victoria Dos Santos recently set up her personal training business, Mum Who Trains. She is based near Kew Bridge and works from home. She has converted her outdoor space in to her very own fully equipped gym, especially for her clients. She really has got an amazing vibe about her, as I found out recently when I went to train with her!

I’m one of those Mum’s who has never really lost the baby weight I gained six years ago! I’m not a fan of gyms (I can tell you I have joined many, but then not actually attended hundreds of pounds wasted I’m sure!) and have been looking around for a while for a solution to improve my fitness and basically just sort of those wobbly bits. So, when I came across Victoria I was over the moon!  She isn’t in anyway one of those scary fitness types. She is kind, positive and most of all a down to earth mother. She knows how hard it is to find the time to exercise when you have young children, because she is in that place too. So grab yourself a cuppa and find out more about this inspirational lady!

Welcome Victoria and thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for my blog! What’s your background and why did you decided to become a personal trainer?

I have always loved sport. My PE teacher believed in me and I knew I wanted to do something within the sports industry. I qualified as a Personal Trainer in my early 20’s. I really enjoyed it, but living in Devon at the time with my parents, there wasn’t a market for it. This being said I packed up my bags and went and did my degree. Became a PE teacher for 10 years and off and on did some personal training. Having my first daughter, made me realise the importance of being healthy and active for her. Only was it when I had Alice my second daughter 8 months ago did I think I could make a business out of personal training. I’m doing this for my daughters, so they know that if you put your mind to it, anything is possible and women are just as strong, actually scrap that stronger than men!

Describe a typical day for you?

I wake up with Alice around 6am. Play with her, do my morning yoga flow which is around 5 minutes thats all to help with my positive well-being. Do the school run, then I see my clients. In between clients, I look after Alice and prep my husbands meals (he’s on my eating plan, so I prepare his food for the day.) My clients fit around the school day, so once finished pick Emilia up, clubs for her or off to the pool if its sunny or back home to chill. But the girls to bed, eat supper and plan the next set of ladies sessions for the following day. Shower, bed and at the moment my guilty pleasure is ‘Love Island.’

What advice would you give to a busy Mum who wants to focus more on her fitness?

Do it, make time for you. We don’t understand how vital we are. If we aren’t happy the home is not happy, so make time for you it is essential.

Do you have any top tips for a healthy diet?

Make it a lifestyle change not diet. I will not use that word. I don’t believe in them. What I believe in is eating well for life. It colourful vibrant food, that makes you smile, keep away from the beige (pasta, bread, cake etc) life will be good to you. Eat a high plant based rich plate with plenty of protein and for me lemon water every morning…because it just makes me smile. ? 

How do you think Motherhood has changed you? 

I don’t think it has changed me. I’ve just become a much better version of me. My children bring out the best parts of me.

What’s the best piece of advice you have been given about Motherhood that you would like to share?

Your time will never be your own again, thank you Mum. I will take that to the grave!

Where are your favourite places to go with or without kids in Kew/Brentford/West London?

Anywhere along the river near home. A great walk for me blows the cobwebs away! With the kids- getting out on the bikes down to Richmond Park. We tend to spend sunny days at Chiswick Riverside Club at the pool, it feels like you’re on holiday there. A great food market, Dukes Meadows is my favourite every Sunday 10-2pm. Some seriously good cake there (treat day for me!)

What are your handbag essential?

Oh god don’t judge, I don’t carry a handbag! But if I did; lip balm, nuts, sparkling water and my diary!!

How do you see your business developing over the next couple of years?

I hope I can remain busy, meeting strong, inspiring Mums and spreading the word, that without some time to ourselves we are not the best version of ourselves. 

What advice would you give to other Mums who are considering setting up their own business?

Do it! I don’t have anytime to myself, I rarely sit down, I am constantly thinking of innovative ways to boost my business and help women more. But I could not be more happier!

What is the one thing you wish you had already known when setting up your business?

That there is never enough hours in the day. Juggling my business, kiddie time and husband time is a whole circus act, juggling it all i’ve gone way past that.

Where can potential clients find out more about you?

Instagram – @mumwhotrains

Website (under construction still)

Email Victoria – family2fitness@gmail.com

Are you are a local Mum who has your own business and would like to be featured on my blog? Please do get in touch via email hello@theealingmummy.com

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I created the #MumsWhoWorkIt hashtag because every since I started blogging and completed my Digital Mums training I have met so many amazing Mums who have set up their businesses. They have managed to juggle motherhood with turning their dreams of working for themselves into a a reality. Lisa Karter owner and founder of Clasp London is no different. She too realised that she had the potential to create a business that would fit in around her children and lifestyle. I am so pleased to be able to introduce another talented Ealing Mum to you!

What’s your background and why did you decided to set up Clasp?

I’ve been a West Londoner all my life, but I’ve lived in Ealing for fourteen years. My husband and I bought our house in Northfields when we decided to start a family, and we now have two sons, aged 8 & 5. Before I had kids I worked in the fashion industry for many years – I’ve got a degree in fashion design and was working as a Production Manager for couturier Stewart Parvin when our eldest arrived in 2010. As soon as I became a mum I knew I wouldn’t be able to go back to the crazy hours I was working before, so I chose not to return after my maternity leave finished.

Last year when our youngest was in nursery I started to think about a return to work. It was a nerve-wracking prospect after seven years of being at home full-time with the kids! I researched and even applied for some part time roles but just felt that I wanted something more challenging and rewarding than the types of jobs I got offered.

I decided to start my own business and spent some time mulling it over. I knew it had to be something I could feel passionate about, but I was also aware of the risks involved in developing a high cost product, like a clothing line. I’d had some experience with setting up an e-commerce jewellery range in my previous job, so that seemed like a viable option. Clasp was born last September, on the day I waved both sons off to school for the first time.

Describe a typical day for you?

My day starts at 6.30am when I get woken by the kids. I check my emails, then get the boys fed, dressed and off to school by 8.45. I’ll then either head into the co-working office my business is based in (The Workary, above Hanwell library), or into town for a meeting. On a good day I’ll squeeze in a quick run or a yoga class first. I work until 3pm, then it’s back to collect the kids from school. A flurry of after school activities, dinner, homework, a bit of housework, then bath and bedtime for the kids. Occasionally I’ll work in the evening for an hour before settling down in front of the TV with my hubby and a good box set. I do try to give myself some down time in the evenings to unwind from the day.

How do you think Motherhood has changed you?

Well, I’ve certainly got a few more grey hairs! On a more serious note, it’s helped me prioritise – work is important, but family comes before everything. It’s made me more appreciative of the relationships I have in other parts of my life – whether you’re a new mum or setting out in business, having a support network around you is absolutely vital. I’m very grateful for my family and friends.

What’s the best piece of advice you have been given about Motherhood that you would like to share?

Everything is a phase! There were nights when I sat up for hours with a wide awake baby and I thought they would never, ever learn to sleep. They did eventually! Children change so quickly and every tricky stage is replaced by another. You learn to roll with it!

Where are your favourite places to go with or without kids in Ealing/West London?

We have annual passes to Kew Gardens which is a great place for families – we’re always discovering new tucked away places we haven’t seen before. Northala Fields is a favorite too. For a night out without kids, I love Tapelia in Northfields – it’s a fab tapas bar with great decor, a lovely ambience and delicious food.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself?

My claim to fame is that I appeared on Blue Peter in 1990, doing a book review. All I can say is I’m glad it was pre-digital TV – I’ve lost the VHS!

What are your handbag essential?

Tissues, lipstick, hand cream, sunglasses, a pen. I’m a low maintenance kind of girl!

How do you see your business developing over the next couple of years?

I hope to expand the range of products offered – I’d love to launch a range of children’s jewellery, and personalised pieces. I’m currently approaching independent boutiques in the area about stocking the collection, so I hope to be selling across the country in a couple of years.

What is your favorite piece from your range?

Ah, this is tricky! I love the Petite Linked Hoop Stud earrings for every day, plus I alternate between the Feather Duo Pendant Necklace, and the Compass Pendant Necklace. I’m lucky I have one of everything in the range!

What advice would you give to other Mums who are considering setting up their own business?

Absolutely go for it! I honestly thought at one stage I might never have a career again, but I’m so glad I took the plunge. I’ve learnt so much in a really short space of time – it’s stressful sometimes but it’s really re-energised me, and I’m discovering skills I forgot I even had. My 8 year old is really proud of what I’m doing which drives me forward.

What is the one thing you wish you had already know when setting up your business?

That it won’t happen overnight – everything takes longer than you think it will, but that’s ok.

Where can potential customers purchase your jewellery?

You can order online through the website – www.clasp.london

I’m also appearing at various markets and events over the year – details on our Facebook page. The next one is the In Cahoots Night Market at The Green, W7, on Saturday 19th May. There will be lots of other local independent brands, food, drink and entertainment for the whole family, plus the pub is showing the Royal Wedding. I’m in discussion with local gift shops too, so watch this space!

Would you like to win this stunning piece from the Clasp London collection? Head over to my Instagram for a change to win this polished circle pendant necklace in stirling sliver worth £58.00.

Disclaimer – This is collaborative post, however all views and opinions are my own and an honest reflection of the products.

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This week, I would like to introduce you to another Ealing Mum who has developed her own business and brand. Glenda Shawley runs a successful company called the Training Pack, where she provides training and consultancy to help other businesses grow. She has also written an insightful book Founded After Forty. The book gives plenty of help and guidance for a new business start up. This strikes a chord with me, as I am over forty! I believe now is the perfect time for me to start my own business!

Glenda strongly believes in the power of networking and is group leader for the Chiswick and Fulham branches of Fabulous Women and Marvellous Men. She also has been supporting Mums who want to re-train in social media marketing (which is something I am passionate about) and recently has been working with a Digital Mums trainee.

What is the one piece of advice you would give to another Mum who wanted to start her own business? 

Find something that you are both good at and enjoy. That other people will be prepared to pay sensible money for, because it won’t be easy juggling everything.  You’ll need the motivation that comes from happy customers served by a fulfilled business owner.

Which business women do you admire and why? 

Bryony Thomas of Watertight Marketing. She has developed a methodology, written a book and built a business around a marketing methodology that is logical and grounded. Plus she walks the talk.

Where do you see your business going in the next 5 years? 

I want to be known as a chief encourager for people starting and growing a business after the age of 40. I’ll be offering training and consultancy online and offline with a range of options from short online training modules through to a residential business inspiration ‘retreat’.

 

 

Why did you decided to become involved with Digital Mums? 

My brand is all about helping people to run a business on their terms so this fit perfectly. One of my objectives this year was to delegate more and I’ve been struggling to work out what I can delegate. So working with a Digital Mum was a perfect project for me to experiment with whilst also helping someone else out.

How long will you be working with your Digital Mum? 

The programme is about 6 months but we have the option to make it a commercial deal after the programme.

Is she working on your brand The Training Pack or also Fabulous Women too? 

My Digital Mum is working on raising awareness of the Training Pack brand, another Digital Mum is doing the same for Fabulous Women. Both our Mums are in the same peer group,so that they can support each other and benefit from the overlap in the two businesses.

You can follow Glenda on her various on her various social media platforms:

Twitter @Glenda_S

Facebook @TheTrainingPack

Instagram @glendashawley

 

If you or someone you know would like to be featured on my series #MumsWhoWorkIt then please do contact me via my email: hello@theealingmummy.com

 

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Tell me a bit about your background and why you decided to start Baby Steps?

I am a Paediatric Nurse, Health Visitor, Infant Massage Instructor and Mummy of two!

I’ve been in the Health Service over 22 years and started Baby Steps back in 2006. I was Health Visiting in central London at the time and services were becoming more stretched.  I saw the need for a relaxed, friendly service helping address common parental concerns, as often families were not getting the support they needed.

I also wanted to create a role which could be flexible in the future for when I hopefully had a family. I’ve always continued to work in the NHS too and think it can offer an amazing service. Baby Steps offers Baby and Child First Aid and Weaning courses. Courses can be in the comfort of parents’ homes or at local venues. They can be with friends and family or just for the parents themselves.

I feel incredibly lucky to do something I love so much. Seeing the reassurance and confidence the Baby Steps courses give, alongside my A&E nursing is so rewarding. Right from Day one it has felt such a privilege to work closely with families. It is often the little things that makes a difference.

Do you still work in the NHS? 

Yes, absolutely. I do shifts regularly in Chelsea and Westminster Paediatric Accident and Emergency where I have worked since 2000.  I really love the buzz of A&E. The variety is amazing; caring for children with day to day illness and injuries right through to life threatening conditions.  When it is your own child nothing feels minor and I really understand that!

How do you spend your time when you are not running Baby Steps?

I am a wife and Mummy to Isabella age 8 and William age 5. I knew I would love being a Mummy but it has been a billion times better than I imagined.  It’s extremes – amazingly wonderful and the hardest job ever all at the same time!  Being a parent has massively helped my work too.

I am really enjoying being a school Mummy and help with school trips and listening to reading each week in their class.

I love girlie time with my friends, being outside and going for lovely walks, to shop, watch box sets, eat chocolate, cook yummy food for family and friends. I love the beach and try to go whenever I can with the family to blow the cobwebs away!

What sort of topics do you cover in your courses?

As a parent, Nurse and Health Visitor, I have combined all that experience that to make the courses the most practical and helpful for parents, grandparents and babysitters. The courses are bespoke and tailored to the age of the children of those attending and if there are any specific concerns or medical conditions.

The Baby and Child First Aid course covers all the main First Aid topics; including burns, scalds, cuts, bruises, allergies, ingestions and head injuries.  I am passionate about accident prevention and home safety. So as well as covering the important First Aid I very much focus on how to prevent the accidents in the first place!  I also cover temperatures, Meningitis and aspects of childhood illness.

I have an army of manikins and everyone gets to learn and practice the CPR and choking techniques. We chat about where to get help, what to keep in a First Aid kit and medicine cabinet – everything really!  Everyone is given a First Aid manual and loads of info to refer to after the course.

The Weaning course really aims to ensure parents feel excited not daunted about this lovely stage. I go through step by step how to introduce solids, the various options; purees, mash, finger foods, Baby Led as it is really confusing these days!  I explain how babies can have family food from early on to save hours preparation and massively encourage the fun, social aspects of eating!  Everyone gets a booklet of all the info covered with recipes, food ideas to refer to along their Weaning journey.  We chat about teething, cups, dummies and other things that can be happening around this time.  You can see parents shoulders drop through the course as they can see it actually will be fun!

With both courses I have a stack of demo stuff again to make the courses as useful as possible!

Since you launched Baby Steps what has been the biggest challenge you have faced?

I think like most parents it’s juggling time!  Sometimes I stay up to late doing emails or preparation for Baby Steps once the children are in bed, but it’s important to switch off. Also I have so many ideas for Baby Steps and I need to remember to take it step by step!

If you could give one piece of advice to a new parent what would it be?

To go day by day.  Everyone says when your babies are tiny the time goes so quickly and you are often too tired to take that in. The tricky parts are just a phase but it can be hard to see that at the time. Mine are both at school now and I am so pleased I made the most of my time with them when they were small. Part time work kept me sane but I am a Mummy above and beyond anything. You do get more balance back as they get older.

When it comes to home safety there is a lot of equipment out there, what do you think is the most worthwhile to buy and why?

Stair gates are so important. Children can move way before they understand the dangers and we see terrible accidents in A&E from stairs. Corner cushions – I know they are ugly but coffee tables are big culprits of head injuries!

A lot of stuff isn’t necessary but it’s preventing the big accidents and reducing your stress levels as you can’t have eyes in the back of your head!

Why should a parent come along to one of your courses?

To feel reassured and confident! They are super practical course and parents are buzzing with tips and ideas following the courses. I have loved it so much when parents have said they feel ’empowered’ from the First Aid course or ‘excited’ about Weaning. Sometimes parents can have had a tough time and the courses can be a turning point to getting the advice and confidence they need. I am always happy to chat through issues on a 1:1.

Where do you see Baby Steps going in the future?

I love the group courses but I also love the 1:1 appointments supporting parents with different issues related to health and nutrition. I am doing more now online (Facetime, What’s App video) so am excited to think I could help parents all over the world!

My interests in Home Safety and Nutrition are growing all the time I am so excited to be passing information on to families. I am on a mission to ensure parents are as fully informed as possible when making decisions about their child’s safety. Often all they see is the marketing and not the potential risks with some products.

As far as Nutrition goes it is huge for all of us as we learn more and more how what we eat impacts on our health, sleep, moods, energy so for growing little brains and bodies even more so.  I am so keen for babies to build a good healthy relationship with food early on and for families to enjoy happy meals together.

I haven’t quite got there yet but am planning to run First Aid courses for children in schools and for parents to be able to learn with their children or arrange for a group of kids at home.  It’s an amazing opportunity for them to start lifelong learning of First Aid.

You can find out more about Baby Steps via the Website and don’t forget to follow Baby steps on social media for regular updates on upcoming courses @babystepsx

The Ealing Mummy and Baby Steps are running a free event Ealing Mum’s Mush Up on Tuesday 7th November 2017 at the Grove Pub in Ealing 12 midday. Come and join us in a friendly and relaxed environment with taster sessions on how to deal with choking and find out a bit more about weaning. You will also receive a free goodie bag. Limited tickets available, please book your tickets via Eventbrite.

 

 

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For the first in my series of interviews for #MumsWhoWorkIt I am very pleased to introduce you to Helene from Croque Maman. Helene is an Ealing Mum who initially started Croque Maman as a blog just over four years ago and since then it has developed into an online boutique selling a beautiful range of baking kits, table/kitchenware and children’s accessories.

Helene, thank you for agreeing to share your story with The Ealing Mummy. Tell us a bit about yourself and how Croque Maman came about?

I’m a Mum to twin boys living in Ealing and originally from France. Back when I was on maternity leave when I was living in Chiswick I was part of an NCT Group and it turned out I was the only Mum from France. The other Mums in my group were always intrigued about what I was feeding my boys, so I started to share my recipes and tips. One of my friends suggested that I start a blog to share my ideas on feeding children in the French way and it grew from there.

What did you do before you had Children?

Before I became a Mother I worked in marketing and branding, so both aspects of my previous career have been extremely useful in moving my business forward.

When did you decided to take the next step and move something that was a hobby into a business?

Once my Maternity leave came to an end I decided that a return to work in my previous career would not offer the flexibility that I needed to care for my boys. This is when I realised that I could turn my love and passion for encouraging other parents to feed their children a varied and healthy diet into a business.

I invested in some training which included a food photography course and also was involved with Google Campus for Mums, which was an eight-week programme where I met other Mums who were developing their own businesses.

Tell us more about the products you sell in your on-line Boutique?

The products that I stock are all sourced independently from France. They reflect my love of good food and healthy eating.

I sell baking kits that contain organic ingredients and are prefect to have at home when you would like to do some impromptu baking or even for a special occasion.

I also have a range of high quality kitchen accessories and tools. I believe that having tools and implements in the kitchen that make your like easier to prepare fruit and vegetables, that way you are more inclined to make dishes from scratch.

My diverse range of products also extends to small toys which can be played with at the table and are something you could keep in your handbag when you are out and about.

Tell us about one of your favourite products that you sell?

I particularly love the large bibs, they are really handy with slightly older children who still need to protect their clothes from spillages at the table, but want to feel more grown up and not feel like they are wearing a bib.

French toddler bib, organic cotton – Lion £15.95

What advice would you give to other Mums who want to start an Online Business?

I would say try to find your niche and something that your passionate about and also stay true to yourself. This might mean turning down some opportunities if they don’t fit with your brand.

Where do you see your Business going in the next five years?

I would like to develop my own range of products to sell in the boutique. I also want to continuing blogging and sharing my recipes online too. So watch this space!

You can find Helene over on her Blog and you can also follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest @croquemaman

 

Helene kindly gave us one of her reusable colouring in placemat sets to try out. This clever item will keep your little ones busy at mealtime and comes with five erasable colouring pens and a superhero wristband. It is made from high quality soft silicone and is easy to clean, you can even pop it in the dishwasher. You can see here how much my Daughter is enjoying it!

Reusable colouring in placemat set – Cactus £20.49

 

Would you like to be featured in my #MumsWhoWorkIt Series? I am always looking for Mums to interview. I welcome Mums to contact me who have started their own business. You must live in the London area, as I like to come and meet up face to face. If you are interested then please contact me at: hello@theealingmummy.com I would love to hear your story!

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