Pippa's blog

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Lori Landau performs the communal mums' poem at the Museum of MotherhoodThe lovely Lori Landau brought her own unique take to curating our communal mums' poem at the Museum of Motherhood for our exhibition in New York last year, and I've only just managed to edit the video! 

Lori curated our mums poem as part of our wonderful Make Date with Suzi Banks Baum and Joy Rose - you can read all about that here.

Lori drew together words submitted by mums online and more gathered at the event to create a new communal poem, and encouraged the audience to create their own.

See how she brought us all together and created something beautiful, reminding us of the importance of birthing ourselves before we birth our children, and the value of poetry as a way to discover what truly matters. Even if that is guk.

Settle back and get a taste of our wonderful evening in New York - what a pleasure it was to meet Lori, Suzi, Joy and so many other wonderful visitors.



You can find the other wonderful versions of the Mums' Poem here:

Hollie McNish

Sally Crabtree

Caroline Davies

Working Mama, Happy Kids: a new workshop

We're excited to announce our next big adventure: Working Mama, Happy Kids.

Building on the success of our Penzance exhibition workshops, we're partnering with B-New and Child and Community Psychologist Dr Emily Jane to answer some big questions that came up...

We're starting in Cornwall, but we'll be going online soon to help working mamas wherever you are.

Working Mama, Happy Kids - A workshop to beat working mama guilt

Working Mama, Happy Kids 

A 2-hour workshop to bust working mama guilt - giving you simple tools to build your confidence, deepen your connection with your kids, and reclaim ‘good enough’.

Wednesday 19 March, 7.30 – 9.30, The Exchange, Penzance

When the school play clashes with a vital meeting, when you miss the call that says they need you? When there aren’t enough hours in the day to be everything you need to be, and you feel a failure at work and mothering? We’ve all been there.

But it doesn’t have to feel like that. Not at all.

What if you knew you were giving your children the self-belief, resilience and love that they need? If you felt able to go to work confident that you were also deeply connected with your secure and happy children?

Join Story of Mum, B-New, and Child and Community Psychologist Dr Emily Jane of Useful Psychology at The Exchange to bust through working-mama guilt with some reassuring evidence. Replace “overstretched and inadequate” with “informed and confident”, and take away easy-to-use tools that answer vital questions:

- How can I best use my time in ways that nurture a happy and confident child?

- How can I tell when I’m connecting effectively with my children?

- How can I release the guilt, and focus on my strengths as a confident ‘good enough’ mama?

Join us and other working mamas for a fun, useful and reassuring workshop. We’ll even play a bit of Bad Mummy Bingo… 

This is a small group workshop with a limited number of tickets available. The normal charge for this workshop would be £10. However, as it's our first go, we're charging £5 and would welcome your feedback and a testimonial (if you find it useful!). To book, contact [email protected]

Tickets: £5

Venue: The Exchange, Princes Street, Penzance TR18 2NL


Dr Emily Jane of Useful Psychology is a chartered psychologist who specialises in supporting children and teenagers. She has worked in the youth and community sector and in schools with educational psychology services. She loves helping families to rediscover playfulness and joy, and has two little beauties of her own, aged 3 and 1. 

Story of Mum is a community of supportive mamas doing creative stuff to celebrate the ups and downs of motherhood. Share your everyday story at www.storyofmum.com

B-New is a cross-channel network to support business-women  in the UK and France.  

We are very grateful to The Exchange for their continuing support. 


While this particular session is aimed at working mamas or soon-to-be working mamas, we'll be expanding the content to all mamas soon, and taking it online. We all work as mothers. And every mama matters.  

Sign up to our newsletter to hear more news as soon as we have it.

You might also like our Mamas' Retreats.

(PS the photo above was taken by Ian Kingsnorth - it's me and my then 3 month old daughter at the launch of Story of Mum...!)

Team Honk, Mamas' Retreats, and Story of Mum in the news!

Thanks to the inspirational Team Honk, and Story of Mum's mama-loving retreat mission, we made it into the local press FOUR times in TWO weeks - that's definitely a record for us!

Story of Mum Team Honk in the Cornishman

It was all in a very good cause, as we launched the Team Honk Relay last weekend, travelling from Lands End to Truro.

From Truro, we passed the baton on to take its long old journey to John O'Groats - you can follow its progress on twitter (a quick search for #teamhonkrelay will find you all the updates you need...) or on the Team Honk facebook page.


I think our home-made sign even made it quite far up the line, which is amazing! I wasn't expecting it to last past Cornwall, if that. Last I saw it, it was wet and bendy with lovely Chelsea Mamma.

The joy of being part of a Cornwall team that raised over £500 for Sport Relief (we met our target!!) is almost enough to help me get over the shame of the exact position I am assuming in full frontal local news above. (Be grateful it's a small photo, I am...!)

First up, we were featured in the West Briton encouraging families to come along (it seemed to work), and online for the Cornishman (with a very nice photo from Pat Kelman, thanks Pat - also featured below).

Then came the offending photo above and the very lovely piece below about our Mamas' Retreats. Join us in a magical location in February, there are just 2 places left, but we would LOVE to see you there! You can find out more here

Story of Mum Mamas' Retreats in the Cornishman

Read the post online here.

Team Honk Cornwall in the news


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?


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.


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 [email protected] 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!

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