Pippa's blog

Three years old

We're officially three years old today!

To celebrate, we're sharing a couple of stories from Story of Mum mamas about what Story of Mum has meant to them.

Story of Mum is three years old! Hear how the project has helped mums grow.

We are so proud of reaching three years with you all. And of those brave mamas who are sharing their stories here with us today. Thank you.

We'll also be sharing fabulous old posts, and giving away a DIY Mamas' Retreat Kit on twitter (share this post and cc @storyofmum on twitter to enter), and another one on facebook, so look out for the tweets and posts for more info...!

You can also enter to win one by commenting below and sharing your thoughts on Story of Mum... 

That's 3 fabulous chances to win today!

Last but not least, we're celebrating by sharing the picture of us where we look most pretty, (thanks Pat Kelman!)

pippa and penny best, story of mum - credit: Pat Kelman

“I discovered Story of Mum at a time when I was very low and feeling totally isolated. I suffered badly with PND (post natal depression) and had no support other than my husband.

I felt worthless as a woman, a wife and a mother. Connecting with other Mums online through creative activities and discussion helped me realise that I wasn't the only one struggling and feeling like I was failing.

This was the turning point for me as I was no longer alone but part of a friendly, supportive, loving online community. These wonderful ladies are now amongst my closest friends, several of whom I have had the great pleasure to meet.

I highly recommend every aspect of Story of Mum to women everywhere, to help you feel whole again.”

Kat Pearce

Story of Mum Exhibition, The Exchange

““When, in September 2013, I attended my first Story of Mum event - the Mums’ Make Date at The Exchange, Penzance - I had only recently relocated to Cornwall from the West Midlands.  My daughter had started at her first school in Penzance the previous week, and I knew no-one!  I was feeling quite isolated, and having had severe Postnatal Depression after my daughter’s birth, I knew it was not good for me to feel this disconnection.  The Story of Mum flyer had come home in my daughter’s schoolbag, and I promised myself I would summon up the courage to go along.  My goodness how glad I am that I did!    

At the end of that evening the feedback form asked how I was feeling about motherhood… my answer was clear - “Much better than before I came out”. 

That evening, just a brief but eye-opening couple of hours - was the start of a revitalizing journey for me.  Story of Mum, its honest and open approach to motherhood, and all its various madcap, thought-provoking, soul-searching, celebratory activities, has made such a difference in my life as a mum. 

It has helped me to feel “normal” - like I’m not the only one struggling with (whatever this week’s “issue” is) being a parent!  The shared stories - at the exhibition, on the website, on the twitter “Make Dates” - have reassured me, uplifted me, comforted me, inspired me, helped me to laugh at myself, and allowed me to cry – in empathy, in joy, and yes in sadness. 

At times Story of Mum has simply kept me sane!  It has given me more confidence in my abilities as a mum, and helped me to find a balance between being a mum - and being “me”.  I have even felt able (with lots of lovely guilt-free “permission” and encouragement from Story of Mum), to attend a Mamas’ Retreat… 6 months ago I couldn’t have imagined myself ever doing that.     

It has been wonderful to meet, spend precious time with, and share thoughts, ideas, angst, and laughter with such a diverse group of women, face-to-face, and online at the monthly “Mamas Make Dates”.  I have never before been amongst such a group of supportive, non-judgmental mums with not a clique in sight!  I have connected with lots of truly fabulous women, and made friends that I wouldn’t have done otherwise.  Not only has this benefitted me, but also my daughter because of the mums and children that she has connected with, and the happier person that I am.  Truly, Story of Mum is a warm, welcoming and nurturing community which I am immensely glad to feel part of."

Pippa Lilley

I'm a mum and a... 

And as for me? Well, Story of Mum has reconnected me to my creativity, and helped me to find a new identity when I felt lost. It has supported me to make sense of the challenging transition from career woman to mother, and to become passionate about giving invisible mothers a voice.

It has boosted my confidence, got me doing things that terrified me but which felt amazing, and reassured me with humour and honesty when I feel like I'm the only mum in the world who messes up. It has helped me to make time to look after myself, and to overcome bad mummy shame at my horrendously messy house.

Projects like Love Mum Body have helped me to dramatically change my relationship with my body. And I have loved the opportunity to spend time and grow a project with my own inspiring mother (especially when I got to do that in New York...!).

Most of all, Story of Mum has connected me to an amazing global tribe of mamas that support me in feeling like I can do anything I dream of.

I hope it does the same for you, and I am so grateful to all of YOU.

Thank you for joining us on this amazing journey these past three years.

 

Come join our next #somum Make Date on Wednesday 9 April from 8.30 - 10pm GMT (find world times here). We have some more fantastic prizes for you! Find out more here.

 

Thanks to Andra Alexander, Ian Kingsnorth Pat Kelman and Chris Webber for the photos above.

Special events at The Exchange

We've got some more great special events coming up for mums at The Exchange in Penzance this month as part of our travelling exhibition - find out more below.

To book to come along for some networking or retreating, contact miranda@digitalpeninsula.com. Places are limited and going fast, so jump in now!

PS everything is FREE because we love you. The forecast for cake is looking good too.

Find out more about our exhibition here.

flyer for events at the Exchange

Sharing our mama identities at BritMums Live

motherhood exhibitionI've just loaded up all the "I'm a mum and a..." photos I took at BritMums Live this weekend, and the gallery is looking amazing. Let the images scroll on by.

We are the same and we are different and we are all unique. 

It's powerful stuff - funny, thought-provoking, heart-breaking and inspiring, and I'm so grateful to all the mothers (and one brave widower) who have taken part so far.

The gallery will continue to grow day by day as "Story of Mum: Mums making an exhibition of ourselves" travels around England in real life, and the world online. Including a wonderful virtual tour - check out some of the posts so far here.

There are well over 200 contributions to "I'm a mum and a..." now and it's fascinating how some words are starting to come up more often than others...  

Us mums are often also dreamers, crafters, poets and artists, dancers, and there's a wonderful groundswell of writers.

There are nanas, daughters, friends, wives, and referees. 

There are some proud me's reclaiming their identities, and others on a journey to find themselves. 

We're addicted to chocolate, tired and crazy. And we're trying our best.

Visit the gallery here.

Read more about my experience of BritMums Live here.

You can add your own picture at any time by visiting the gallery and clicking on 'join in' (if it still says 'join us' you'll need to register with story of mum first - which doesn't take very long, and means you get to hang out with us some more which can only be a good thing...!)

mum and an ear wiggler   mum and a survivor    mum and bibs award winner    mum and education reformer

PS If you're visiting from BritMums Live! and want to find your own photo to see how absolutely beautiful you look (because, yes, you all did), you can scroll through the gallery or visit the BritMums page here that lists all of the pictures I took there.

PPS If you sign up for our newsletter you get a free book of mums' reward charts. You deserve them. Just saying...

How does your garden grow?

It was such a fascinating chat at this month's #somum Make Date - and some of you even managed to sew and crochet at the same time - impressive indeed!

We made flowers for the Craftivists #wellMaking garden at the #somum Make Date!

We joined the ever inspirational Craftivists in their #wellMaking Garden, crafting flowers as we talked about what well-being means to us.

We talked about how we manage daily stress, and whether as mothers, we feel acknowledged for all that we bring to society (short answer - generally, we don't - but you can read our chat about it below...).

We shared what a positive difference making, creating, and crafting has made to our world - including these very chats - which gave me a very nice warm feeling in my heart, thank you!

You can see what we've made so far in our gallery (which only has my effort in it at time of writing, but hopefully we'll upload some more soon!.

Can you help us grow too?

We want to do more stuff that supports and nurtures mothers to take time for ourselves and value what we do - and would really appreciate it if you would take 5 minutes to complete our survey about what we do next: find it HERE.

And catch up on the storify of our latest chat below - see you at the next one on Wednesday 14 January!

Join our #somum Make Date on Weds 10 December

Let's help the Craftivists Garden to bloom this month! Join us for some making (sewing, knitting or crochet anyone...?) and discussing whether getting creative makes us feel better... Along with the chance to win some very lovely prizes! What does well-being mean to you?

Join a #somum Make Date with Story of Mum and the Craftivists

NEWS - HOT OFF THE PRESS: As well as the lovely Craftivists prizes, we'll also be giving away one of our DIY Mamas' Retreat Kits - the perfect treat for you to give your mama friends in 2015... To enter, just tweet using #somum during the Make Date.

We'll be on twitter from 8.30pm - 10pm GMT on Wednesday (you can find world times here), and we'd love to see you there (we dont mind whether you manage to create with us, before or after, or not at all...)

Just use #somum to find us and add it to your tweets so we can find you.

When you've made something, share a photo of it with us in our GALLERY here (along with any thoughts you've had while making it, we'd love to know!). You can also use the Craftivist's app to upload your image, AND of course send them what you make to add to the actual garden.

How's your general well-being today?

Maybe it's the change in the seasons, (or the time of the month!), but at the end of last week, as the wind blew a hoolie and leaves skeeted madly across the road, I found myself shifting quickly between elation and weeping all over my computer keys. Do you have days like that? What helps you to feel better when you do?

Chocolate, cake or wine and a bit of telly sometimes helps me. Sometimes it doesn't. More often than not, sleep (ah yes those elusive days of a lie-in...) seems to be the best cure. Stepping away from the screens around me (for me, that's sometimes even harder to achieve than a lie-in) is also good. And once I'm rested, doing a bit of creating, writing or dancing works a treat. 

After that it's back to juggling work and motherhood and trying to keep all the plates spinning in the lead up to Christmas. Phewee. 

As mums, we work so hard on getting the next generation to bloom, and ensuring everyone else is OK, we need to make sure we're thinking about our own well-being too. Let's remind each other of that with a bit of happiness activism through craft...

               Join the Craftivists #wellMAKING Garden with Story on Mum on 10 Dec and win yourself a Craftivists badge

So what are we supposed to be doing again?

 We're knitting, crocheting or sewing a simple flower to represent us on a huge garden filled with flowers from all over the UK. And while we do that, we're thinking about our well-being, and the well-being of others - in fact, to coin the Craftivists' own hashtag, we're #wellMAKING

All around the country, crafters are busily pondering what well-being means to them while we embroider, knit or crochet flowers to add to a growing Craftivists Garden. There's even an app where you can share your thoughts and show the world exactly where your very own flower is growing.

You can find out more and share your creation with us over hereThere's a simple template to download from the gallery page that explains everything much better than I can! 

 It's a UK project, but if you're not in the UK, you can still join the conversation and share your flower with us as we'd love to see it!

Win Craftivist prizes!

Win a Craftivists Garden #wellMAKING kit at Story of Mum's #somum Make Date on 10 Dec

We'll be choosing five random winners from everyone tweeting us with #somum in their tweets during the #somum Make Date on 10 December to win a Craftivists' Garden kit (and your very own Craftivists badge!).

And you don't have to be good at it! I can't knit, or crochet, and can barely sew, so I've gone for the embroidered option (as you can see above!).

I'm not sure you can actually read any of my 'embroidered' words*, but I loved the process of sitting and thinking and making - sometimes on my own pondering the Craftivists' questions about what well-being means to me, and sometimes with my kids watching and having a go at my side.

* if you're curious, well-being to me involves feeling heard, fed, safe, hopeful, loved and of course, creating...

Win yourself a DIY Mamas' Retreat Kit with Story of Mum at #somumWin yourself a DIY Mamas' Retreat Kit!

We'll also be giving away one of our fabulous digital retreat kits so that you can focus on your well-being and make some precious Mama Me-Time in 2015.

Give it to a mama you love, or host your own little retreat in January to start the year with some nurturing inspiration.

How about giving your friends some of the printable retreat invitations from the kit as a really thoughtful and inexpensive Christmas present...?

What is a #somum Make Date?

It's a chance for mums to get together on twitter and tweet while we attempt to do something creative - like doodlingtaking a photowriting poetrymaking stuff or even squidging plasticine.

We give ourselves some creative me-time and connect with other lovely mums. We do it every second Wednesday of the month and we would love you to join us. New friends are always very welcome.

You don't have to be a clever crafter, an artist or wordsmith. We're all about having a go regardless of talent or experience. Most of all, it's about getting together and having fun.

If you just want to chat, that's completely fine. If you just want to make something and lurk and never tell us you're there, that's fine too. We're just happy you're making time for you. 

 

Full official competition rules below...

  • Duplicate accounts, automated entries, bulk entries or third party entries will be disqualified
  • Winners will be chosen at random from all those tweeting using #somum between 20.30 GMT and 22.00 GMT on 10 December 2014.
  • The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • The competition will run from 20.30 BST and 22.00 BST on 10 December 2014 in Great Britain.
  • Story of mum is compliant with the data protection act. While we will share the twitter names of winners and their tweets with great excitement, we will not pass on any other details to any third party without your prior consent.

Photo of kit by Tom Alprice of www.tomalprice.com

Join a Sunday Morning Mamas' Retreat: 30 November

It's the last retreat of the year! Make sure you make a little bit of time for you before the Christmas season goes crazy, (and us mamas go a little bit crazy trying to keep up...). Life doesn't have to feel like that. 

Book your ticket now - and we'll see you in November!

Join a Sunday Morning Mamas' Retreat with Story of Mum and Leif Olsen

Add to Cart  Early-Bird Retreat Ticket (£15 plus £4.50 lunch)

Add to Cart  Regular Retreat Ticket (£25 plus £4.50 lunch)

Join Pippa Best of Story of Mum and inspiring yoga teacher Leif Olsen for a very special morning Mamas’ Retreat – a rare chance to be nurtured, boost your confidence, and connect with other lovely mamas.

We’ll be doing some gentle yoga, getting creative together, and chatting with other supportive mamas (whilst eating treats and a delicious lunch...)

No special skills or equipment required. You don’t need to be ‘creative’, or to have done yoga before. We'll provide the yoga mats, creative stimulation and the relaxation. You just need to bring yourself. 

Most importantly, you’ll have precious space to hear yourself think.

Why do you need a Sunday Morning Mamas' Retreat?

Life as a mum can be very busy. You can be so focused on supporting everyone else that you often forget to look after yourself. 

It can be hard to remember that you and your family will be all the stronger for you taking a few hours out to nurture YOU. But it's true.

The mamas who've joined us over the past few months are testament to that. You can hear why in their own words over here, just look for the smiling mama faces...

Join a Mamas' Retreat with Story of Mum and Leif OlsenIt's soul nurturing for mamas...

It's time for us.

It's time out. To breathe. To stretch. To make. To be heard.  

You’ll leave feeling refreshed, supported, purposeful and happier. And ready to face December with a smile on your face...

How many mamas will be there? Places are limited, so it won’t be a scarily big group – just lots of lovely mamas coming together to nurture ourselves and support each other. 

We have some mums who come to almost every retreat, and others who come just once. Either is fine with us - it's always a warm and welcoming crowd, so don't be frightened of your first time.

Where? At Leif’s studio, Garbo House, Bread Street, Penzance

What about food? We’ll provide tea and treats, and now lunch too!* 

When?  9.30 – 1.30, Sunday 30 November

How much does it cost? £25, plus £4.50 for lunch* 

Join a Mamas' Retreat with Story of Mum and Leif Olsen

We added lunch to our offer last time and it was a resounding success! A delicious soup (made by the brilliant Kate Binnie) with fresh bread, plus of course cake, tea and treats.

*We're charging £4.50 for lunch as we didn't manage to cover Kate's costs in October - but it is still an absolute bargain. Her food is AMAZING. Let us know as soon as possible if you have any special dietary requirements when you book your ticket, and we’ll do our best to meet your needs!

NOTE: If you'd really like to come, but can't afford it, please do get in touch - we want as many mums as possible to have this experience and will do our best to make it happen at a price you can afford.

For terms and conditions, head over here.

Want to know more?

Visit the Half Day Retreats page to find out more and hear from some lovely mamas. They share a little bit more about what we do on a half day retreat, and why they love to come. 

Join a Mamas' Retreat with Story of Mum and Leif OlsenWe have a different theme and focus each month, and you're welcome to join us as often as you like. Come and join our next retreats on:

Sunday 18 January 2015 

Sunday 8 February 2015

Tickets go on sale a few weeks in advance of each session. We're also thinking about offering a special Mamas' Retreat gift voucher for Christmas gifts... so watch this space!

We often offer special early bird deals for Story of Mum members, so make sure you've joined us over here and signed up for 'selected blogs' to be the first to find out!

When was the last time you did something to nurture YOU?

Don't miss out on this time for you - buy your ticket by clicking on 'add to cart' below:

Add to Cart Regular Retreat Ticket (£25 plus £4.50 lunch)

Add to Cart Early-Bird Retreat Ticket (£15 plus £4.50 lunch)

Leafy-Love-Notes at our #somum Make Date

It has been so magical making and leaving little Leafy Love-Notes around town, and it's so lovely to know that more will be spreading across the world after last night's #somum Make Date!

Making Leafy Love Notes with Story of Mum: #somum Make Date on twitter

We talked about the helpful and unhelpful voices in our head, and captured some positive thoughts to share on our leaves. You can read the storify of some of our chat below!

You can still add your own leaf to our gallery at any time - just click on 'join in' - and we'd love to know when you leave it for someone else to find - let us know here, or tweet us with #somum.

 

“Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.”

Emily Bronte

“Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day.” 

Shira Tamir

 

 

Join #somum on twitter this Weds to make leafy love-notes

Come join us to make Leafy Love-Notes together at this month's #somum make Date on twitter on Wednesday 19 November.

We play together from 8.30 - 10pm UK time, and you can find the time wherever you are in the world with this handy time zone checker.

Join #somum on twitter this Weds to make leafy love-notes

We made the leaves you see here at our Mamas' Retreat last month. And I've been having such fun sneakily leaving them around on my travels ever since...!

Why make a Leafy Love Note?

Often, I dwell on the negative thoughts I have, and let my more positive thoughts fall away like autumn leaves.

So instead this month, we're catching those helpful thoughts, and decorating a fallen leaf with the words we most need to hear.

And if we're feeling generous, we're leaving those precious words for someone else to find...

(by the way, if you can only hear the unhelpful voice in your head right now, share the complete opposite of what that voice says - because that's probably what you most need to hear).

There are all sorts of ways to decorate your leaf. So use your amazing imagination and go wild, literally. 

Join #somum on twitter this Weds to make leafy love-notesGold and silver pens work beautifully, as do sequins and glitter. (They were also a big hit with the kids!) Even better, you could use entirely biodegradable decorations  - especially good if you're going to drop your leaf somewhere for someone else to find it!

And of course, don't forget to share a photo with us here before you spread your random kindness. Just click on 'Join in' to share a picture of your leaf.

You can see lots of examples of other leaves made (and hidden around and about...) by other marvellous mamas in the gallery.

It's a lovely thing to do with your kids as well - collecting and pressing and decorating the leaves together; thinking of phrases that it might feel good to hear. Mine also love the little bit of espionage involved in hiding the leaves in the park for others to find!

Join #somum on twitter this Weds to make leafy love-notesWhat is a #somum Make Date?

It's a chance for mums to get together on twitter and tweet while we attempt to do something creative - like doodlingtaking a photowriting poetrymaking stuff or even squidging plasticine.

We give ourselves some creative me-time and connect with other lovely mums. We do it every second Wednesday of the month and we would love you to join us. New friends are always very welcome.

You don't have to be a clever crafter, an artist or wordsmith. We're all about having a go regardless of talent or experience.

Most of all, it's about getting together and having fun.

If you just want to chat, that's completely fine. If you just want to make something and lurk and never tell us you're there, that's fine too. We're just happy you're making time for you. 

Join our next Mamas' Retreat on Sunday 26 October

Join a Sunday Morning Mamas' Retreat with Story of Mum and Leif Olsen

 

Ticket sales are open for our next Sunday Morning Mamas' Retreat! 

Book your ticket using the payment button at the bottom of this page.

Join a Mamas' Retreat with Story of Mum and Leif Olsen

A Mamas' Retreat is a space to remember that we matter too.

You deserve it. You need it.

And you and your family will be all the stronger for you taking a few hours out to nurture YOU.

What will we do?

We’ll be doing some gentle yoga with the lovely Leif Olsen, getting creative with Pippa Best of Story of Mum, and chatting with other supportive mamas (whilst eating cake...)

Most importantly, you’ll have precious space to hear yourself think.

Join a Mamas' Retreat with Leif Olsen and Pippa Best of Story of Mum

No special skills or equipment required. You don’t need to be ‘creative’, or to have done yoga before.

After a lovely heart-warming morning, you’ll leave feeling reconnected to YOU.

We'll provide the yoga mats, creative stimulation and the relaxation. 

You just need to bring yourself and the knowledge that you need some precious time for you. 

You’ll leave feeling refreshed, supported, purposeful and happier. 

And ready to face the rest of half term with a smile on your face...

 

Where? At Leif’s studio, Garbo House, Bread Street, Penzance

What about food? We’ll provide tea and treats, and now lunch too!* 

When?  9.30 – 1.30, Sunday 26 October

How much does it cost? £25, plus £3.50 for lunch* 

*Yes, this time, we've decided to try including lunch! A choice of two delicious soups (made by the brilliant Kate Binnie) with fresh bread, plus of course cake and frozen chocolate banana treats... While this makes it a bit more expensive up front, we hope it will make your life easier, taking away a bit of the 'what shall I bring??' stress and actually working out a little cheaper.

Let us know if you have any special dietary requirements when you book your ticket, and we’ll do our best to meet your needs when we’re making cakes and soup!

Join a Mamas' Retreat with Story of MumHow many mamas will be there? 

Places are limited, so it won’t be a scarily big group – just lots of lovely mamas coming together to nurture ourselves and support each other.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you'd really like to come, but can't afford it, please do get in touch - we want as many mums as possible to have this experience and will do our best to make it happen at a price you can afford.

For terms and conditions, head over here.

Visit the Half Day Retreats page to find out more and hear from some lovely mamas about what we do on a half day retreat, and why they love to come.

When are the next retreats?

Join a Mamas' Retreat with Story of MumWe have a different theme and focus each month, and you're welcome to join us as often as you like!

Come and join us on:

Sunday 30 November 2014

Sunday 18 January 2015 

Sunday 8 February 2015

Tickets go on sale a few weeks in advance of each session.

We often offer special early bird deals for Story of Mum members, so make sure you've joined us over here and signed up for 'selected blogs' to be the first to find out!

 

Don't miss out on this time for you - buy your ticket by clicking on 'add to cart' below:

 

 

Meditating mamas

How have you been doing with our week of unlikely meditating, mamas?

Unlikely Meditations for Mamas

I've been quite poorly this week, so actually I've been avoiding doing a lot of the chores completely and just focusing on getting my head down and getting the bit of work done that I needed to do, as well as having A LOT of movie nights with the kids. They seem to have survived...

Even so, I loved re-reading your meditations each day and being inspired to focus on the moment, and to see the positive in my life. Instead of focusing on being grumpy about feeling ill and eating more chocolate. 

I did still eat a lot of chocolate, obviously.

As we have so many fab meditations from you, we're going to continue sharing into next week - and if you'd like to find out what we talked about at our meditating #somum Make Date you can catch up in the storify below...

And visit all the unlikely meditations over here - we'd love more, so if you have one, share it with us!

Ommmmmmm 

Or is that nom nom nom...?

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