Thursday, 27 May 2010


1 house x (no. of rooms in the house + the no. of times they need to be cleaned x the no. of days in a week)
+ the no. of times you need to go shopping + the no. of times you need to run out for something you forgot
x the no. of school runs
x the ballet run
x the football run
x no. of times all the kids come to yours
double it
÷ the no. of relatives that live nearby that don't insist they brought up their kids so you bring up yours
÷ the number of hours that hubby is at home - (the amount of time he's not in front of the football + the amount of time he's not in the shed)
÷ the number of breaks for a cuppa
x the number of times you break up a fight
÷ the number of arms you have
x the number of wines you guzzle at night
now double it
+ the number of times you yell 'Don't do that!'
- the last time you did something for yourself
+ (the no. of nervous breakdowns + no. of grey hairs) squared
x the no. of kids you have
x baby, cubed (the mathematical way, not the chopping way!)

= a Mum

Saturday, 15 May 2010


It strikes me time and again that mums in business are amongst the most experienced and talented people I know. Sure, they may have taken months - even years off - bringing up kids but even those years are spent in a whirl of creativity, organisation, time management and accounting.

For those who are in business, the skills on offer are endless. Years of schooling, career and then running their own business mean they have such diverse experience and knowledge to draw on. Never have I been able to get advice on so many topics from one group of people. Accounting? Check. Marketing? Check. Business plans? Check. Research? Check. And in celebration of this I wanted to include some business gems from those mums I hold in highest esteem (and who also happen to be my Mentoring Mums!)

1. Remember, that as your business goes forward with the times, to maintain good communication and discussion with your staff at all levels. They will respect your decisions and the time you have taken to keep them updated; even in the short term, you will reap the rewards of a fully engaged workforce. Frances Graham, London HR Partnership

2. Don't charge LESS than your competitors. Customers will assume that your product is of a lesser quality. Paula Cox, Sunny Signers

3. PR is the heart and soul of any successful business. You can do it yourself but first get the basics of how PR works. When pitching your business both to media and potential customers remember that 'less is more'. Keep your business pitch as punchy and visual as possible. Monica Costa, Londonmums

4. Develop a clear vision of what your business will look like when it is finished, what and when your exit strategy is and who will buy it! Wendy Shand, Tots to Travel

5. Be adaptable and don't be afraid to delegate or get the help you need. Naz Lewis, Back2Work Mum

Friday, 14 May 2010


I went to a meeting this Wednesday in town at Enterprise UK for a brainstorm with other female members of the steering group for Women's Enterprise Day.

What started as pride that I had been asked to join a group of remarkable women ended in fear that I had been asked to join a group of remarkable women. Reading the bios of all involved was an endless list of awards, titles, company names, experience - I was well and truly cr*pping myself! How was I supposed to walk into this room and say anything that wouldn't expose me for the largely inexperienced businessmum that I was?

To get the most out of this opportunity I knew I needed to walk in with more than quaking knees and squeaky voice so I did what any life coach would do, I coached myself!

The first thing I did was tell myself that bios are written to make people look great and the bios provided certainly did that! However, it didn't say how long it took them to get these awards and achieve their titles. Bios also don't outline fears, insecurities and failures.

I also reminded myself that, as I am a mum relatively new to business (3 years), I was able to truly represent my clients and members, their challenges and concerns in the meeting. I did have something very valid to offer!

What else? Well, I assured myself I was chosen to attend so the organisers must have seen something in me that maybe I hadn't and I focussed on the fact that I would be able to meet some amazing women in business and would learn a thing or two.

Lastly, I recognised this was a challenge and I could either overcome my fears and grow or miss an opportunity. When faced with this decision, I chose the former as I want my life to be about growth, learning, trying new things. And I did it. And it wasn't anywhere near as bad as I had made it to be in my head (it never is). And now I'll be able to walk into the same situation in the future and feel confident and prepared.

Friday, 7 May 2010


So, one month into being a mum with a baby, a toddler and a business and I am a tad stressed. Add to that workload the fact that I only have two weeks to apply for a Visa for my partner for Australia (which usually takes most people a month or more to get together) and I am the closest I have ever been to going grey!

It's hard! Fitting a whole little person into a life that was already crammed to over-flowing. And, of course, initially you fool yourself into thinking you'll still do everything you did before but there are areas of your life that suffer, like sleep, like replying to emails, like Twitter and before you know it you're like a greyhound at the track trying to catch that rabbit. I knew I had reached this point the other day when I found myself gripping the steering wheel of the car, white knuckled. I was so wound up and tense thinking about all the things I hadn't achieved.

So, what to do? Well, number one is to believe everything that everyone tells you about having two. It is more than twice the work and god help you if they aren't a good eater, sleeper, are ill etc etc. In fact, prepare for the worst and then if it's any better than that, you'll almost feel you've been let off the hook!

Number two is to try and continue doing everything you want to but at the same time take note of what's not fitting in and think about why. Is it because you always wanted a good excuse not to fulfill this task? Does the time of day/week need to be changed to fit it in? Where would it fit better with your new responsibilities? Try moving things about. Fitting them in different slots and give yourself time to find a new fit.

Number three is to be honest about whether everything actually still fits in. When you put a brick in a bucket of water some of the water is displaced. Your time is the same. You only have a finite amount and adding a baby to the mix may mean other activities/chores will overflow. What can you let go (even if it's just for the time being)? What can you do smarter? What can you get other people to do? Rather than just allowing the the end of your to do list to get pushed back every day, conciously think about and choose what you want to maintain and achieve in your life and what you want to let go.

Number four is to allow a routine to reveal itself. Life, and babies, have their own natural rhythms and if you give them time you may find that things work out.

Number five is don't compare yourself to anyone else - or if you must do it (as we're all prone to) then remember what you're seeing is only a small percentage of the total picture. It's easy to believe that everyone else is doing so much better than you but it's most likely they're just putting a brave face on it when the washing and dishes are piling up, their email inbox is over flowing and they're so stressed they've bitten nails down to the quick!

Number six is to reflect on what you have achieved every day. That day in the car, instead of thinking of all I hadn't done, I started to think about what I had done; bathed and dressed Freya, dressed Amelie, made beds, played with Amelie, Twitter for 30 min, made breakfast, lunch and dinner, sent some emails, made two phone calls, chatted to my boyfriend, showered and dressed, washed dishes, washed and hung out clothes, updated my website, changed nappies... and lo and behold, I started to get some colour back in my knuckles!

Saturday, 1 May 2010


I had a very fab and informative session on Twitter this week with the extremely lovely and generous Sam Jones of Although I am on Twitter quite a bit, it took a session with Sam to make me realise how much I still didn't know!
I would have to say the top 10 tips I took from the session would have to have been:
1. Even when you start up, have a good idea of the types of things you would like to know, learn and hear so you can determine who to follow. Rather than just following people willy nilly.
2. Treat Twitter like you would networking in person. How do you connect with people at these events? It's not by pushing a business card or flyer in their hand and walking off, it's about sharing and showing interest in the people you're interacting with.
3. The # in front of words means that when people search for particular terms or people i.e. #muminbusiness any tweets with that particular wording will show up.
4. It's great to have a picture of you as your profile pic so people can connect with you.
5. It's okay to post the same message a few times in the same week to ensure everyone sees it. I posted a pic of my new daughter five times and Sam still missed it!
6. Don't be afraid to unfollow people if their tweets are no longer relevant. Chances are they won't even realise you've stopped following.
7. Try and use some key terms in your bio that describe you and your business as people can find you in a search that way.
8. Don't under post as you just won't come upon people's radars at all.
9. Don't over post either - no one wants to know you're eating a bacon sandwich, you finished your bacon sandwich, you washed your plate...
10. When you're starting up, look at your competitors followers and follow them also. Chances are they'll be your market too.