Growing up I imagined I would go to university, learn a profession and spend the rest of my career doing it. How wrong I was! Aged 37 I am on my third career. And if you count being a Mummy too, that makes four!
I studied Earth Sciences at university, which proved a challenge from day one. Without Maths or Science A-levels I was ill-prepared for embarking on a science degree, so my first year included a Foundation Maths module and extra tutorials. To say I hated it was an understatement, but my friends, rowing, cheap shots and happy hour got me through it. So eventually with a 2:1 under my belt I moved to London to embark on my first career. A few months work experience at Knight Frank in central London gave me the springboard I needed to land a place on a graduate training programme to become a Chartered Surveyor. Without an estate management degree I was ill-prepared for embarking on this role too (sound familiar?) so it was back to university to do a masters…..this time I was paid to do it, and even got a day off work each week to be a student again…..more cheap shots and happy hour.
I spent seven happy years working in London, bringing out my inner City girl I didn’t even know existed. Sharp suits, heels and handbags, suited me. Then came a question from a colleague that changed my life forever – would you like to come to a pancake party? And so, Shrove Tuesday 2009 was the day I met my future husband. There it was – my reason and excuse to move out of London, back to the countryside. I had great prospects in my City job, which was very secure in a post-Lehman Brothers climate where redundancies were happening every day. But London was never forever and the next chapter beckoned…..
After a summer ‘off’ I soon found it hard to fill my days and feel a sense of accomplishment. One day I popped to our local auction house. It gave me sense of excitement and passion for furniture, antiques and interiors that I simply had to capture and turn in to a business. We lived in a beautiful Cotswold village and I immediately rented a quirky studio across the road from our cottage and filled it with interesting old pieces and started painting some of them. And most importantly started selling them. The business grew rapidly and I soon needed to scale up and started designing and importing furniture from abroad to keep up with demand.
By the time we had our second little girl, the logistics of running an online retail business was proving a stretch and I had to scale it back again in order to keep juggling everything. We then decided to build a house, because if you can juggle with four balls, you can probably juggle 10…..
When the house was finished I was ready for a break. Literally the next day my husband came home and said “do you fancy opening a wedding venue?”. And that day my third (or fourth?!) career started! The project management skills I learnt building our house, and the interiors experience and knowledge I gained running a furniture business meant that I was well placed to manage the huge renovation project of the beautiful 18th century stone barns, that we are proud to say is our new Cotswold wedding venue, Lapstone Barn. I have poured my heart and soul in to designing a stunning new barn wedding venue and we can’t wait to see our first brides walk down the aisle this Spring. Take a peek!
I’ve mentioned little of our two beautiful daughters, Tilly, 4 and Flora, 2. I love them more than I ever thought was possible. They are literally part of my being. I was lucky to have two easy pregnancies and labours, but motherhood is without doubt my most challenging career to date. So through my career changes and motherhood, have I changed? Yes. I’m definitely over cheap shots.
A Guest Blog from Katie Bonas
Katie is a Mummy of two adorable little girls – Tilly, 4 and Flora, 2 – and based in the Cotswolds where she now runs a stunning new Cotswolds wedding venue, alongside her husband, Henry. She grew up in Wiltshire then moved to London to pursue a City career before trading it all in for life in the countryside with her growing family. In pursuit of a happy work-life balance she has found that working for herself gives her just that – most of the time.