To be fair the lead up was a little long. I’m an over organiser and can’t keep a secret so when the date finally came around it kind of felt like when you’re past you’re pregnancy due date and are just ready to get on with it. But happen it sure did and I’m so very pleased and proud to say that CheltenhamMaman is now officially LAUNCHED.
So what did blast off entail? Well… date: last Friday the 7th October, Venue: The iconic (if slightly chilly) Pittville Pump Rooms.
As soon as the doors were opened the room filled up so very quickly and it soon became clear that what mattered most to these women was meeting other Mums who just get it. I’m not doing this to beat up the playgroup as after all most of us need a safe place for our kids to cause havoc while we drink tea and eat cake but this day was different – this day was about the Mums. (Click into the pictures to view the gallery in full size.)
There were some amazing businesses showcasing their skills and services. Those cakes from Sophie Liggat at The Cheltenham Cakery, those prints from Angie at Angie Bee designs. Suzanne from Nom Nom kids had Grandmother Pukka in a trance and Emma, Katie and Megan from Mini Moments, Neals Yard Remedies and Jamberry Nails respectively showcased just what a woman can achieve all by herself.
Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice, our charity of the month was represented by a great friend and long time supporter of CMHQ, Hayley Vining Clemmens and we were so proud to raise £100 with a raffle with prizes kindly donated by Bobby Beer, Margaret Dabbs Cheltenham, Cotswold Candle Company and Bloom and Wild.
After a lot of chat, a much needed cup of hot coffee and a nibble of the Danish variety it was time to get down to business. The guest speakers introduced themselves and Grandmother Pukka (aka Lucia Whitehouse) told the group how proud she was of us all for having the bravery to be heard and make a change.
Anna talked about life in Amsterdam, working in a family friendly nation and in a role where the company CEO would be first out the door at the end of each day. The shock of relocating to the UK and the realisation that Mae was becoming closer to her Grandmother (calling out for Oma in the night instead of Mama) than she was to her own mother had us all welling up in the room. Flexibility in the workplace is important for all of the family and Anna explained the strength of her feelings about the campaign for work that works. She also talked about how you banish those confidence demons and fessed up to getting them regularly. The point is that you’ve got to brave and just get on with it because someone’s got to succeed and it might as well be you right? Lucia backed this up with the advice that we should all find our niche and bloody GO FOR IT!
Cara gave the group some top tips for getting up and running with a blog and for engaging and building a following. Her main message was to be yourself, write about how you really feel and not what you think people want to hear. She admitted to calling her kids knobs from time to time, though never to their face (oh and the audience also looked a bit sheepish at this point so reckon most of them have done far worse.) She talked about the importance of representing who you are in the first nine little picture squares on Instagram – they should tell the viewer everything they need to know about the kind of feed you have on offer. Anna agreed and advised the group to decide what they were all about and make sure each picture represents one of your themes – so for her it’s colour, humour and family.
Kate Evans gave us some great style tips including – get a great coat and it can hide the most dishevelled of outfits (including pyjamas!) And for those of us who are working on being our own mumboss; be realistic about what you can achieve in your time. You can’t use every second of your childfree time to work; it’s not sustainable and you’ll lose your shit pretty quickly.
The event came to an end all too quickly and I learnt to allow more time for questions! It’s safe to say that the feedback in person, on the email and on social media has been overwhelmingly positive so here’s to many more opportunities to just get in a room and talk about all things grown up, stylish and real…. all things Maman.
Many Thanks are required…..
To all of you who have written for CheltenhamMaman, read CheltenhamMaman or who came today – thanks for your interest and in most cases belief in the concept.
To our photographer Gill Thomas.
To my friends who helped out for free and helped me not melt down in the run up Shona Newell, Stephanie Nellis and Nadia Altman.
And last but not least to the following amazing businesses that gave products to the goody bag.
I Heart Wines, Bensons The Juicers, The Little Soap Company, The Little Reading Club, Popband London, Pukka Herbs, 100 Acres Apothecary, Holé Button Covers, Lady Bakewell Park, Jamberry Nails, Nom Nom Kids.