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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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I recently attended The Baby Show, the headline sponsor was Made For Mums at ExCel London. I had an amazing time and wanted to share with you who I met and some of my top tips for surviving a busy day at a huge event like The Baby Show! Plus, I have an great Easter competition for you to enter. You can win a really gorgeous Easter Basket from Nibbling containing a dummy clip, Bibetta bib from the new Annabel Karmel range and a Jellycat bunny! If you would like to enter all the details are are the bottom of this post, good luck!Who is the Baby Show for?

I would say it is the ideal event to attend if you are pregnant, having a new baby, but also great for Mums with younger children too! It is the perfect opportunity to actually see and try out lots of different baby and parenting brands all under one roof. It’s also an event to attend if you would like to hear some well known leading experts speak about various parenting topics.

Getting There

ExCeL London has excellent transport links. The best way to get there is via the DLR and you can use either Custom House or Prince Regent stations. There is plenty of on site parking too if you want to drive.

My Top Tips for surviving your day!

  • ExCel London is a huge venue so be prepared to do a lot of walking (So I would recommend extra comfortable shoes!)
  • Inside there is a great range of café and restaurants, so you will be spoilt for choice when you need to take a break!
  • I would really advice dropping all your coats and bags that you don’t need at the cloak room, because you are going to need free hands for all the shopping you will be doing!
  • When attending an event like this is a really good idea to check out the exhibitors list before the day, that way you can make a plan of the stands you really want to visit. Otherwise you can end up missing some of the important ones.
  • I think it is worth making time to enter some of the competitions that are offer at events like this. I have read that the odds to win these types of competitions are very good.
  • Some events will have a shop & drop facility, which is super useful if you do make some purchases which are heavy. At this event Emma’s Diary offered a handy service to look after your bags for you and can even help you collect them from a pick up point in the car park!

Here’s my run down of some of the great brands I met on the day. Some of them are probably brands you will have come across before, but I also met people from up and coming companies and some smaller boutique brands too.

Lily and Fred is a lovely online boutique which stocks some really original gifts and children’s clothes. Perfect if you are looking for something a bit different!

Cuddledry has a full range of products perfect to keep your little ones warm and dry after their bath. I particularly love their topknot head towel, it solves the problem of wet PJ’s post bath.

Babease Their organic baby food pouches are a great convient way to feed your baby on the go. They pride themselves on producing products that are natural and free from extra additives. There are lots of different flavours which are ideal for first tastes, plus they offer a more textured range too, as your baby progresses.

I was excited to see a new brand called Good Bubble they make naturally-derived and organic toiletries for babies and children. I even got to met the founder Amy Wordsworth. We had a chat all about how she came to decide to launch the brand. Plus how she was featured on Dragons Den and gained investment from Deborah Meaden!

I absolutely loving the new range Good Bubble has collaborated with The Gruffalo, which uses extract of  super fruit prickly pear with avocado and coconut oil.

I have previously worked with Bibetta, as they were kind enough to support one of my local Ealing parent events. I was really lucky as I happened to be at their stand when Annabel Karmel dropped by to do a photo shoot with the new bibs that been designed in collaboration with Bibetta.

I even got to have a quick chat with Annabel Karmel herself!

What I really enjoyed were the talks from leading industry experts. My tip here is to really have a good look at the show topics and times. Otherwise potentially you will miss the talks that you are interested in. I managed to catch Binky from Made In Chelsea.  I was really pleased to have the opportunity to hear her talk, as I  enjoyed watching her recent television series Born in Chelsea, about her journey of becoming a Mum.

Binky has set up her own Mother’s Retreat called the Mummy Tribe, which I think is a really innovative idea!

Lastly I was really excited to hear Annabel Karmel gave her top tips on weaning. I thought what she had to say made a lot of sense. Plus, it was really interesting to hear her story on how she initially set up her own business. She explained that when she wrote her first book numerous publishers rejected her. However, she persisted with her version to help other Mums feed their children and in the end has become a best selling author! So for me her story was so inspirational!

The next Baby Show will be on the 18-20th May 2018 at the NEC Birmingham or if you are in the London area the next one will be 19th-21st October at Olympia.

Would you like to WIN this great Easter prize? How about this exclusive Easter basket by Nibbling. One lucky winner will receive: a Jellycat bunny, Nibbling dummy clip and the new Annabel Karmel designed ultra bib by Bibetta. So head over to my Instagram page to enter! The Competition closes on the 18th March 2018.

I purchased tickets for The Baby Show myself and this post is in no way sponsored by The Baby Show. All views and opinions are my own and are an honest reflection of my visit.

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The Christmas season is a time when families enjoy many different traditions and mine is no different. We love the big build up to Christmas and enjoy all the preparation involved. This year I have done a lot of my shopping locally in Ealing, as I have found that I have been able to fit it around my work schedule and the school run. I was delighted when I heard that Cath Kidston would be opening a new store in Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre, just in time for Christmas! The new store is next door to Wasabi and opposite to Marks and Spencer. I was there on the day the new store opened and couldn’t wait to start my Christmas shopping!

In our house we like to open a couple of presents on Christmas Eve. I think that way you can enjoy a few small gifts the night before. On Christmas Day it can be a bit over whelming for children (and adults!) as there is so much going on.

I often like to buy some new nightwear for Christmas Eve. I couldn’t resist getting us matching PJ’s (we did it last year too). The Christmas cushions are a great way to make your bedroom or lounge look more festive!

Ladies snowman brushed flannel long PJ set – £55.00

Kids snowman PJ set – £25.00

Polar bear sack – £12.00

Polar bear cushion – £12.00

Snowman cushion – £12.00

We always have a stockings for both children as well as adults! I enjoy choosing the stocking fillers and like to include smaller more personal items. This year Cath Kidston have a lovely range of smaller gifts which are perfect stocking fillers. These are the items I decided upon:

Pets party 6 pack pencils – £4.50

Ballerina kids diary – £6.00

Junior metallic clasp purse – £8.00

Lucky rose kids two pack hair bows – £5.50

I always like to have a relaxed breakfast on Christmas Day, usually smoked salmon and scrambled eggs is on the menu. Cath Kidston does some lovely china wear and there is nothing like making a pot of tea and relaxing on Christmas morning while watching the children unwrapping their presents!

Alphabet mugs – £7.50

Pets party teapot – £28.00

I always enjoy choosing a special outfit for my Daughter for Christmas day. I absolutely love this floral print dress. I think it makes an adorable Christmas day outfit if you wanted an alternative to a Christmas print or jumper.

Northcote flower dropped waist dress – £26.00

Junior medium double zip rucksack – £28.00

Hankie Rose fairy rag doll – £18.00

What traditions do you have in your family for Christmas? Let me know in the comments, I would love to know!

This is a collaborative post.

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So Jane, what did you do before you took over the business? 

My journey begun like so many other mothers I was juggling lots of different ventures. When my children were younger I started out with the Body Shop selling products via home parties. I have always had a creative side and started making jewellery from home which developed into selling at craft fairs. I also gained a regular income from piano teaching. This enable me to be flexible and work around my children.

How did you become involved with All Original?

I was involved from the start when Catherine the previous owner set up the business. I actually came up with the name four years ago. I initially rented a shelf to sell my jewellery and always enjoyed the creative design aspect of working in the shop, such as putting together the window displays. I could see the potential of the business and was given first refusal to buy it.

What changes have you made since taking over the business?

Since becoming the owner I have given the shop a re-fresh. Moving the counter to give a more open environment, improving the lighting with LED’s to focus on the displays, new shelving, plus creating a very visual written interpretation of what the shop’s ethos is. I have also introduced ten new designers.

What have you kept the same?

The focus is still very much on finding original products that are UK based, handmade and on a small scale. I always wanted to support individuals who are creating artisan products from their own homes. I want the products to have a story behind them, something unique that you are not going to see everywhere.

Why do you think businesses like All Original are so important?

It is hugely important it is what the people of Ealing want. Rumbles gift shop closed down and went online on the 14th February 2017, which is a big loss to the community. Shopping locally keeps our high streets unique.

What makes you proud about your business?

It is the unique talent that we have found, and that we are supporting artisan designers and building our business upon it.

What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

I want All Original to be the destination in Ealing to find the perfect gift. And to keep sourcing new talent. Maybe another All Original opening somewhere else, watch this space!

All Original can be found at: 20 The Green, Ealing, W5 5DA. Open 10:00-18:00 daily and Sundays 11:00-16:00

Follow All Original on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram @alloriginal2017

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