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Creative Business-Mamas: Kate Sayer of Little Knitted Stars

Next up in our Creative Business-Mama series is another of Mum Plus Business's competition winners: Kate Sayer shares how she moved from academic to mumpreneur, pursuing a creative dream that allowed her more flexible time with her kids.

Kate Sayer of Little Knitted Stars

Describe how you are feeling RIGHT NOW in three words?

Optimistic, thoughtful, excited.

What's the story of your creative business?

I was a Textile Design lecturer at The University of Manchester, specialising in Knitted Textiles. After having my second child, I began to find the commute into the city, running a University degree programme in a changing Academic environment alongside looking after my two girls was not working, so my husband and I thought it best if I left my career in June 2013.

However I wanted something to keep my mind active, and as a creative with a Textile Design degree and years of experience teaching machine knitting, I started thinking of what I could do to utilise my design skills whilst enabling me to do the school run and look after my 2 year old.

As a teenager I had learnt to crochet, and although I hadn’t practiced in years, I quickly worked out and perfected motifs suitable for girls hairclips and hairbands. Two perfect aged in-house models also made trialling products easy!

My parents bought me a second hand knitting machine and I had a clear idea that I wished to create bright, retro, two coloured jacquard cushions. With this, Little Knitted Stars business was born, creating hand crocheted and machine knitted accessories to wear and for the home.

I spent time carefully photographing my first collection and then launched my etsy website. I sold my first accessories in May 2013, not long before I left my lecturing position, and I have become busier month on month.

What are the best things about being a mother running a creative business?

The best things about running my own creative business is being able to do something I really enjoy, utilising my design skills whilst being able to work around my kids hectic lives!

I can make products when my children are at school and playgroup, or in the evening when they are asleep, and craft fairs tend to be in the evening or weekends.

And the worst?

The worst thing I believe is that you never switch off, and tend to work long evenings, particularly in the run up to the busy Xmas period.

You also find that you are working approximately full time hours for a lower income than a full time job. However this is cancelled out by the satisfaction of running your own little venture.

Little Knitted StarsTell us about the most difficult day you faced and overcame as a creative working mama

The most difficult day I think I’ve had so far, was when I had promised to deliver a cushion to a client in the afternoon, and had given myself the morning to sew it up and add the buttons whilst my daughter was in playgroup. This should have given me plenty of time, but disaster struck when I could not get my sewing machine to work properly!

I was trying very hard not to panic and luckily managed to locate a repair man who happened to be the area that morning (extremely lucky!).

It turned out that my machine was just fine and that operator error was the culprit – I had not threaded it up correctly!!

So luckily I ended up only slightly lighter in the pocket and redder in the cheeks, and the cushion was completed for the following morning to a happy customer.

What advice would you give a mama starting a creative business?

My advice would be that if you wish to get rich quick then this is not the route for you.

However if you have a creative eye and a good concept, and are happy to spend a lot of time perfecting ideas and producing products then this is a wonderful thing to do.

What are you working on right now that you're most excited about?

I’m currently working on a lot of heart based ideas for Valentines day and also working on ideas for personalised motifs which could help me break in to a new market. I’m also forming ideas for some new knitted cushions which is exciting!

If there was a Creative Working Mama Fairy, what would you wish for?

That’s easy - three more hours in the day!


To get in the spirit of this month's activity, the lovely Kate has also shared a fabulous Best Foot Forward photo for us!

Best Foot Forward - Kate SayerShe says "The left one represents me as a mum doing the school run, and also me in my business mode, when I am manning a market stall. The other is when I have the chance to take a little break, glam up and go out!"

If you have a dream of becoming a creative business-mama yourself, you might also like to find out more about our partner in this series this month: Mum Plus Business - a network supporting local mums to form business partnerships.

What does being a creative business-mama mean to you?

If you'd like to share your story with us, we'd love to hear from you.

You can read other guest interviews in the Creative Business-Mamas series here.

Show us your shoes, mamas!

Our #somum Make Date last week was all about the shoes - love them or hate them, we all wear them...

(these are Lyndsay's lovely feet...)

"The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art." Leonardo da Vinci

We often neglect our feet, taking them for granted - a bit like mums. This month's Make Date was all about taking a good look at them and seeing what they have to say about us...

Co-hosted by the lovely Esther of Mum Plus Business (whose members are sharing their Creative Business-Mama stories with us, along with their odd shoes, this month), we got together on twitter with mums from all over the world to share the shoes that define us.

Our deliciously contradictory footwear appears in the gallery here, and in the storify below.

From slippers to cat boots, there's something for everyone, read on...!

And if you enjoy our feet, we'd love you to donate the price of a pair of socks to Sport Relief HERE (oh go on, we're nearly at our target - it's very exciting! This Sunday, we persuaded a motley crew of Penzance families in odd shoes to help us start the inspirational Team Honk relay at Lands End to raise funds to help children everywhere - so if you'd like to see more odd combinations of shoes, head on over to see our wonky walk here.

 


Team Honk Penzance does Lands End!

At bathtime tonight, my five year old said to me "this weekend has been like a whole holiday'. And it has. What a flaming crazy honking weekend.

It started with making two cardboard castles and a pirate ship for my three year old daughter's princess-pirate birthday party yesterday (they were ace, but that's another story!), followed by a late night attempt to create a Team Honk signpost (in case we couldn't get to the real one), and then an early morning start to get ourselves to Lands End to begin the Team Honk Bloggers Relay from there to John O Groats, what an honour! A windy wet and cold honour, but an honour none the less!

We'll just put aside the fact that my husband is currently overnighting in an upgraded hotel suite in Paris about to jet-set off to a tropical island 'for work'... (To be fair, my husband did donate to Team Honk (you can do that here, right now) so we'll let him off, for now...)

And instead we'll thank our lucky stars that we weren't lovely Lara Trewin undertaking her full-on cycling and running leg of the relay in North Cornwall as the heavens opened later in the day (my beautiful Lands End sign was beaten by the weather, but the amazing Lara was not, thankfully!). 

So where does this story start? With three inspiring women - Annie Spratt, Tanya Barrow and Penny Alexander, who headed off to Ghana last year to capture amazing stories and make a social media fund-raising splash for Comic Relief with Team Honk - mama activism at its best. This year, they decided to fund-raise again, corraling 150 bloggers across the country into a massive Lands End to John O Groats relay. What a feat! They are amazing.

And somehow, we ended up starting the relay! On 18 December, we heard that Cornwall's leg of the relay would take place on 12 January - so soon, yikes! And then the sad news on 4 January that Annie and Tanya wouldn't be able to make the start date (which I'm still gutted about as I was so looking forward to squeezing them both, although I'm secretly hoping that will still be possible when they award me my OBE for services to Team Honk...).

So naturally, with a birthday party the day before, my husband jetting off that morning, and no car, I said no problem, we'd do it! And then panicked. And then got very very organised. And then started begging my friends.

Team Honk Story of Mum lands End

And oh my goodness did my friends come through! Huge thanks to Steve and Georgia Potter of Apple Crumble who got me and my kids to Lands End early on Sunday morning, without even a breakfast butty to fuel them. And to my in-laws and all the other friends and kids who made it out on a windy cold wet day in Cornwall. We did it!

Story of Mum walking to penzance for Team HonkThe theme for our leg of the relay was odd shoes... and you can see some of the fantastic examples below.

This tied into our activity at Story of Mum this month: Best Foot Forward, where mums share photos of their feet in two different shoes that capture different aspects of their identities - have a look and join in (and feel free to donate the price of a pair of socks to Team Honk as you do... we'd love that!)

Best Foot Forward with Story of Mum Team Honk Relay

Apparently there is footage of me running, (yes running, what was I thinking?) in my red high heel/green sock and welly combination. Sadly that is not footage that you will ever see here. I wouldn't show that to anyone unless there was a humongous £100 donation to Team Honk Cornwall for that sole purpose. For the free version - just picture a mid-sized hippo wearing a Louboutin on two feet, and wellies on the other two, and you get the general idea.

When we finally arrived in Penzance, we jumped on a train to Truro (many thanks, First Great Western!) entertained ourselves (and the rest of the carriage) with some quick-fire bingo and cupcakes, and at last handed over the Flaming Honker (my entry to the name-the-baton competition...) to Jackie Murray...

Story of Mum Team Honk reach Penzance and get the train!
Jackie took the baton up the line to the delightfully bonkers animal-themed quad-biking Fiona and her family of Coombe Mill (read more about what they got up to here) and on to meet Zoe Corkhill and brave runner Lara Trewin (you can read Zoe's story here, Lara is still recovering and will share hers tomorrow).

What a fabulous and inspiring day. We got soaked to our knickers on the way back, but the kids and I spent the evening snuggled up on the sofa drinking hot chocolate and tweeting photos.

I mean, who'd want to be on a tropical island when you can spend the day with fabulous friends doing something hugely valuable for children who really need it - and getting enough exercise to justify eating a lot more cake and drinking beer when you get home?

Thank you Team Honk for this incredible opportunity to be part of this inspirational fund-raising project. Honkity-honkity-honk to you all.

Story of Mum Lands End signGo on, donate a fiver here, and see if you can make me even happier than I already am. A gallumphing mid-sized hippo exploding with happiness, who wouldn't want to see that?

DONATE NOW.

Plus, you too could get this fabulous really-exhausted-but-happy feeling too... The first ever Sainsbury’s Sport Relief Games take place from Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd March 2014. The public can join the fun and games by running, swimming or cycling their way to raising cash at over a thousand venues around the country, including the landmark events at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

As one of the biggest fundraising events, Sport Relief brings the entire nation together to get active raise cash and change lives. The money raised by the public is spent by Comic Relief to help transform the lives of some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people both at home in the UK and across the world.

 


Creative Business-Mamas: Vicki Jackson of Love Helm

We're delighted to share this Creative Business-Mamas interview with the runaway winner of Mum Plus Business's recent competition to find their members' favourite creative mama product: Vicki Jackson of Love Helm.

Vicki Jackson Love Helm

Describe how you are feeling RIGHT NOW in three words? 

Excited, Tired and a little anxious!!

What's the story of your creative business?

I have always enjoyed making things. I have been a full time Design and Technology teacher for the past 13 years, and I like to make as many gifts as possible for friends and family.

When babies started arriving in my friendship circle, I made baby blankets with their names on or baby surname ones as baby shower gifts and I think LoveHelm really began then. 

I love a new challenge and once some projects became regular I set myself new challenges. My friends and family have also come to rely on me to make some of their ideas a reality such as my Santa Sacks, which were an idea of one of my best friends.

I love the textiles aspect of LoveHelm but I really love my laser cutting pieces such as my artwork with butterflies and dragonflies, my family frames and baby or wedding frames.

LoveHelm became official in October 2012 after much pestering and persuading from my husband and those close to me to open up my work to everyone else. I set up my facebook page and started the craft fair circuit.

The success within these aspects have led me to put together a website (work in progress, will launch early 2014) and enter Mum Plus Business's competition for the opportunity to have some mentoring to take LoveHelm forward.

Vicki Jackson of Love Helm

What are the best things about being a mother running a creative business?

The best thing about being a mother with a creative business is watching my girls get really excited about what I am making and wanting to be involved.

It was lovely when I made my last lot of orders for my butterfly frames, Amalie my eldest daughter who is 4 sat with me and using my spare pieces made her own picture, she was so pleased with it.

And the worst?

The worst thing is time, there just isn't enough. Although I am pleased that people want to order my products it can sometimes take me away from my girls when things are busy.

I am juggling being a full time mum, full time teacher, full time wife and launching LoveHelm - life gets rather hectic at times

Tell us about the most difficult day you faced and overcame as a creative working mama

There wasn't one specific day, I had three days straight of craft fairs in the evening after full days at school. I felt like I hadn't and wasn't going to see my girls for days as I was having to go straight from school to get set up. My husband surprised me at the second fair to help me set up so I could spend some time with the girls before it all kicked off. They thought it was a great adventure.

Vicky Jackson Love HelmWhat advice would you give a mama starting a creative business?

Follow your heart, you need to be really passionate about it to take it forward. It can be all consuming, but if that's what you want then it's worth it. And remember great things come from little places with hard work.

What are you working on right now that you're most excited about?

I designed a personalised week planner board for my family that combined our calendar and my family frame idea.

On a Sunday my husband and I would sit and try and map out our week, but we would always forget stuff. I didn't want a whiteboard in my home, so I spent my days trying to come up with a design that would be really subtle but also functional. I made a large number of planner boards, all personalised for friends for Christmas gifts this year and the response has been amazing. Hopefully if the idea is viable then I can include it in my range of personalised products 

If there was a Creative Working Mama Fairy, what would you wish for?

Best Food Forward - Vicki of Love Helm

More time!!!!! with my girls, with my husband and more time to make my ideas a reality and just enjoy being creative.

Find out more about Vicki over on facebook.

To get in the spirit of this month's activity, the lovely Vicki has also shared a fabulous Best Foot Forward photo for us!

She says "I have my black cowboy boots for work, I love them, just a little bit different but perfect for working in a workshop.

As a mum, its got to be my uggs, I have 5 pairs!!! Comfy for chasing the girls around the park and the zoo."

If you have a dream of becoming a creative business-mama yourself, you might also like to find out more about our partner in this series this month: Mum Plus Business - a network supporting local mums to form business partnerships.

What does being a creative business-mama mean to you?

If you'd like to share your story with us, we'd love to hear from you.

You can read other guest interviews in the Creative Business-Mamas series here.

Team Honk Penzance - join us Lands End to Truro!

On Sunday 12 January, we’ll be putting our first and second best feet forward as the VERY FIRST LEG of a bonkers bloggers relay to raise funds for Comic Relief/Sports Relief/Red Nose Day...

Team Honk 2014 relay bloggers badge

Find the facebook event page here, say hello and come and join us. All are welcome! 

We really need YOU to come and join in. Firstly, so that I am not limping alone along the prom waving a baton with two grumpy children in tow (my husband is off on holiday that day...!), but more importantly, so that we can raise lots of money to help children that really need it. 

Just slip on a pair of mismatched shoes and waddle, hop or shuffle over to find us at Lands End, Newlyn, Penzance, or on the train to Truro...

So here's the blurb:

Powered by friendship, far-fetched footwear and First Great Western (thank you!), Story of Mum (that's my blogging alias!) and friends will travel the 37.7 mile journey from Lands End to Truro wearing their first and second best shoes (how about a well-loved welly alongside a hoofing great high heel, or a fabulous flip-flop teamed with a sparkling sneaker? Your two feet, your two favourites, the less matched the better…)

first and second best shoesFirst up, fabulous friends are jumping in to save the day, whisking car-less Story of Mum and the baton from Lands End at 9am arriving in Newlyn at 9.45am...

At 9.45 in Newlyn, they’ll all be joined by lots of mums, dads, kids, and random footwear fans (that's YOU), all wearing mismatched shoes, for a wonky walk (stormy Cornish weather permitting!) along the coast from Newlyn Green to Penzance train station. 

At Penzance train station a gang of us wlll jump on an 11am train to Truro to pass the baton to last minute hero Jackie Murray  at 11.45. So if anyone fancies an outing on the train, you would be very very welcome too, quick coffee in Truro??

Jackie will whisk the baton on to fabulous Fiona Cambouropoulos of Coombe Mill (http://www.coombemill.com/ ) and her fancy dress family, passing on to lovely Lara Trewin and her jogging/cycling helmet-light wearing gang beyond that, and many many more... 

So... where can you join in?

1. Put on mismatched shoes
2. 9am: Meet us at Lands End for a high-speed photo opportunity with bad shoes and baton
3. 9.45am: Meet us by the Fishermans' Statue by Newlyn Green to walk from there to Penzance station
4. 11am: Jump on a train to Truro if you fancy it!

Any of the above would be brilliant. Just number 1 on its own doesn't help much, unless you send us a photo and donate some money to Sport Relief instead... HERE'S HOW TO DONATE

And absolutely anyone is welcome. Especially dogs, I'd like to see a dog in mismatched shoes. Anyone? So please tell your friends and invite whoever you like to join us.

Thank you all, and hope to see you and your random shoes there!!

Lovely mums can also share pictures of their shoes here...

 

PS if you are coming to Lands End, make sure you have your Locals' Pass with you for free parking and 50% off the attractions (not that we'll have time to go on anything, the relay calls us on...!). If you haven't got a pass, you can email localspass@landsend-landmark.co.uk with your address (it has to be in Cornwall...)

Step out at our #somum Make Date on Weds 8 January

Come join us and this month's lovely co-host @mumplusbusiness on twitter for a chat and a footwear photography challenge from 8.30 - 10pm UK time (find out what time that is in other parts of the world here).

Yes, this month's Mate Date is all about your footwear (sort of...!)

Feet are a bit like an under-appreciated mother... we don't often thank them for all they do, but we'd fall flat on our face without them... So, let's give them some love on Wednesday!

What do your shoes say about who you are?

Where can a good pair take you? And where do you actually want to go...? 

"The human foot is a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art." Leonardo da Vinci. 

As always the plan is to get together on twitter to chat. And our play-along activity this month is taking and sharing photos like this. Two shoes that capture different aspects of YOU.

So get thinking about which pair to share...

It's all about the shoes this month

Team Honk Bloggers Relay

Very excitingly - we are the VERY FIRST official leg of the Team Honk Bloggers' Relay from Lands End to John O'Groats this Sunday, where we'll also be getting everyone to walk a good distance in mismatched shoes - you can find out more here...

Starting next Monday, we're also linking up with some of the lovely mums at Mum Plus Business to share more inspiring Creative-Mama stories in our new interview strand (and hoping they will bravely show us their mismatched shoes in their posts too of course...)

If you enjoy playing along with us today, spare the price of a pair of socks and donate over here?

Come and play!

We would love to see you and your tired old feet on Wednesday!

Just jump on twitter at 8.30pm, add #somum to your tweets so we can see you, and search for #somum to find us.

And if you're wondering what on earth a #somum Make Date is, you can find out more here.

Creative Business-Mamas: Teika Bellamy

Teika Bellamy is the latest creative business-mama to feature in our interview series: birther of books, weaver of words, and inspirational publisher mama with a vision...

Teika Bellamy of Mothers Milk Books

Describe how you are feeling RIGHT NOW in three words? 

Tired, reflective, peaceful.

What's the story of your creative business: when, how and WHY did you start it?

I was given some great support by the charity La Leche League when I was feeling unsupported in my breastfeeding and mothering choices.  I wanted to give something back to them, so I decided to do some fundraising.

As I’ve always loved stories, poetry and art, it kind of made sense to publish a charity anthology that included all of these things!

So Musings on Mothering was born (in September 2012) and a tiny press arose out of that when I realized that many mums appreciated having breastfeeding represented and written about in an honest and realistic way.

What are the worst things about being a mother running a creative business?

The worst problem is a common problem – time, or rather, lack of!

There never seems to be enough time to do everything I want to do for the business and never enough time to do everything I want to do with my children.

And the best?

The best thing though is that I can work from home and (generally) work when I want to.

Tell us about the most difficult day you faced and overcame as a creative working mama

I’ve only really experienced a few difficult days. Proofing and doing the final ‘signing-off’ of a book before the print run is, I think, an inherently stressful task, but when you have a toddler around who wants to be involved when you’re proofreading and the clock is ticking further increases the stress!

I got there in the end though – with my toddler sat next to me at ‘his’ computer (an ancient laptop) watching videos on YouTube!

What's the greatest thing you have learnt from running a business?

That you’re never too old to change careers.

If you have the will you can learn a whole host of new skills.

What's the greatest thing you have learnt from your child/children?

Well, the greatest thing my children have given me is the experience of motherhood, which really is quite unlike any other experience.

What advice would you give a mama starting a creative business?

My suggestion would be to take it at a pace that’s right for the mama and her family.

Looking ahead to say, five years, rather than one year, allows more time for the business to develop and can take some of the ‘must-do-it-all-now’ pressure off.

Mother Milk BooksWhat are you working on right now that you're most excited about?

I’m excited whenever I receive an entry for the Mother’s Milk Books Writing Prize (which closes 17th January) and fingers-crossed we’ll be accepting submissions soon, which means I’ll get to read more interesting stuff.

I love finding poetry and prose that is beautifully written and opens my eyes to another facet of parenthood.

I’m also looking forward to future books and getting excited about them although they’re just ideas in my head at the moment!

If there was a Creative Working Mama Fairy, what would you wish for?

Either a time travel machine to enable me to get done everything I need to get done, or a few very rich investors!

Find out more about Teika over at her website.

What does being a creative business-mama mean to you?

If you'd like to share your story with us, we'd love to hear from you.

You can read other guest interviews in the Creative Business-Mamas series here.

An English Mum in New York...

Story of Mum: Mums making an exhibition of ourselves logo2013 has been an amazing year, and the final highlight was a wonderful trip to New York with my mum. Our mission was to take YOUR exhibition "Story of Mum: Mums Making an Exhibition of Ourselves" to the wonderful Museum of Motherhood. What a trip!

We met some truly inspiring women in person that we'd been in touch with for a while via the wonderful world of the web.

First of all, the powerhouse that is Joy Rose, the force behind the Museum of Motherhood itself, and a passionate advocate for the study of motherhood.

introductory wall at Museum of MotherhoodJoy has created a unique and inspiring space - a thought-provoking and playful museum celebrating motherhood. The museum hosts a collection of permanent exhibits, touring art, history, inspiration and research resources.

So we're particularly thrilled to announce that Story of Mum: Making an Exhibition of Ourselves will stay up in the museum until March, featured as an interactive backdrop for their MOM Conference, as they liked it so much! Thank you all so much for your stories, your photos and your mash-up creations.

If you're in New York, do head over for a visit - the kids can play happily in the play area, while you're powerfully reminded of just how amazing us mums are. Next year, we'll be looking at ways that we can help to support their amazing work - in the meantime, you can donate here.

We launched the New York exhibition with a fabulous early evening event co-hosted by another very inspiring mama, Suzi Banks Baum of FeMail and Laundry Line Divine.

First up, Suzi shared some of her collage techniques with us all and we had a go at making Mama Mash-Ups in the style of the woman who first inspired us to make them! What a magical treat that was. You'll be able to see lots of new Mama Mash-Ups from this event online in the new year. In the meantime, here are some pictures from the event...

Femail Story of Mum Mash-Up at the Museum of Motherhood

Suzi is a warm vital creative spirit and it was wonderful to finally spend real face to face time with her and to meet some of the community she inspires.

Lori Landau compiling the communal mums' poem at the Museum of Motherhood

This included several of the wonderful writers featured in her book "An Anthology of Babes": Cheryl Paley, Joanne Tombrakos and Lori Landau.

It was incredibly affirming to sit in this precious space celebrating motherhood and hear all four women share their stories, as they read some of their writing from the anthology. And hilarious to hear Suzi's impressive chicken mimicry skills.

The lovely Lori then pulled the whole wonderful evening together to create a shared interpretation of our communal Mums' Poem, adding more words collected from visitors on the night.

You'll be able to watch a video of the poem-making here, as well as read the final version of the poem very soon...I'm a mum and a... photos at the Museum of Motherhood

We collected more I'm a Mum and a... photos and made some more beautiful Mama Mash-Ups at our Family Make Date later in the week. Here, we got to meet more wonderful virtual connections in real life like the very lovely Amy and her brilliant kids (we even made cootie-catchers!).

Story of Mum Family Make Date at the Museum of Motherhood

In between all this exhibition excitement, my mum and I got to explore New York together!

What a precious gift - child-free time to travel around a stunning city with no plans or deadlines, just each other. Limitless exploration, mischief and thrift-shop discovery...

My mum and I visited Tiffanys, saw the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, walked the High Line in the rain, ordered eggs over easy in a diner, ate pizza, burgers and bagels, rode the Staten Island Ferry, marvelled at Grand Central Station, felt overwhelmed by advertising in Times Square, and thrilled at snow landing on the Christmas trees lining the street.

We laughed, and talked, and delighted in every moment. We even met a very nice NYPD policeman.

It was a perfect and fitting end to this incredible exhibition tour.

Hosting this exhibition with you all has been such a privilege - a rare chance to connect with like-minded souls all over the world, to share and learn from each others' stories - and together, to capture what motherhood feels like right now.

We're so grateful to all of you involved in making the project happen.

Our next big adventure is hosting a real life Mamas' Retreat in Cornwall! We'd love you to join us, and so we have some very special offers and limited places (up until 5 January, so sign up quick!). You can find out more here.

The ultimate Christmas/New Year gift for a mama.

A very special offer! We're hosting a unique Mamas' Retreat in Cornwall in early 2014. Early bird prices available right now! SO give a very special place to a mama you love. Or even better, give one to yourself.

Join Story of Mum's very special Mamas' Retreat in Cornwall

You can find all the info here - we would so so so love you to come. Please take a peek and see if you can make your dreams, and ours, a reality in 2014!

There will be yoga, and creative workshops (no skills required), and good food and laughter,  There will be afternoon tea, cosy views of the sea,  time in nature, and time with new friends. Most of all, there will be time for you. Yes, YOU. Imagine that.

Sending much love out to you in this crazy holiday period, whether you celebrate Christmas or something else.

(PS if you do celebrate Christmas, make sure you print out your Bad Mummy Bingo card for the big day so we can all play along...)

See you in February we hope!

Creative Business-Mamas: Tara Florence

Our next Creative Business-Mamas interview is with a new business-mama friend, Tara Florence of Tara Florence Photography. Mother of two littles, Tara shares her leap of faith, and her dream of a stop-the-clock button...

Tara Florence photography

Describe how you are feeling RIGHT NOW in three words?

Productive, focussed and festive! 

What's the story of your creative business: when, how and WHY did you start it?

For years I’d been the go-to girl if any friends wanted photos taking. It was just a hobby but I truly relished any opportunity given to me to experiment and hone my skills.

When on maternity leave, I got some advice from a friend:

"Photograph everything Tara. They grow up so quickly, you’ll appreciate even the smallest things in years to come."

So I did. I also enrolled into a fantastic local photography class to improve my technique.

When the time came to decide whether I wanted to return to my full time job, I decided to take a leap of faith and pursue my photography.

Since then things have just snowballed. Most of my work is booked through referrals and the next couple of years are looking really busy. 

What are the best things about being a mother running a creative business?

If I’m in a particularly artistic mood, it’s so much fun to get the girls dressed up, set up a fab scene and get snapping away.  

Thankfully, they both seem to love having their photos taken and it’s a great way for me to get my creative juices flowing whilst capturing some beautiful memories of my little ones.

And the worst?

The worst thing is definitely not having enough hours in the day.

I like to dedicate my days to my girls, but when you know you having a wedding deadline looming and fifteen emails to respond to it can be difficult to prioritise. 

What was the most difficult day as a creative working mama?

Molly, my eldest, had been asking for a trip to the beach for weeks. When the day finally came, I’d received a last minute booking for a fantastic shoot - the original photographer was ill. It was such a dilemma. In the end the girls went alone with daddy but I managed to join them for the final hour after the shoot. 

Tara Florence photography

What advice would you give a mama starting a creative business?  

Follow your heart and go for it.

Work your business around your family and you can have the best of both worlds.

What are you working on right now that you're most excited about?

I’m starting a project in 2014 entitled ‘Beautiful Women’. I’m photographing a spectrum of women, all shapes and sizes and all beautiful and amazing in their own way.

My end goal is to create a coffee table book and showcase these fantastic women and their stories.

If there was a Creative Working Mama Fairy, what would you wish for?

A ‘stop the clock’ button, for those evenings when the girls have decided bedtime is over-rated and I have 500 photos to edit. Pretty please? 

Find out more about Tara over at her website.

What does being a creative business-mama mean to you?

If you'd like to share your story with us, we'd love to hear from you.

You can read other guest interviews in the Creative Business-Mamas series here.

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