When we busted The Supermum Myth with Anya Hayes

I SPOTTED THE SUPERMUM MYTH BOOK by Anya Hayes on instagram one night and thought that is EXACTLY what a mums event needs to be about - a toolkit to help with all the emotions, anxiety and worries we might have as mums at various points. Those thoughts that you might not share (but you should) are all in this book, and more than that, the tools really help break down issues so you can move forward.

Combined with complimentary pampering from a pop up braid and beauty bar from Hairsmiths and Kirstie Barton, hand massages from Cherry Beauty Therapy, pre and post natal advice from The Powder Room Physioand About Birth and Babies (part of the Pregnancy and Parenthood Team at Rowan House) mums could have their photo taken with Mother Pukka’s photographer Charlotte from Emily Gray Photography

Anya was engaging, articulate, inspiring and so knowledgable - her experience as a writer specialising in pregnancy, motherhood and mindfulness was profound and genuinely empowering: Anya's post on Birth StoriesAnya on destructive emotions and finding your mojo

Top tips:

😐In relation to our partners who we may sometimes find “difficult", the ratio is 5 to 1. If you talk about 5 positive things to 1 negative, your relationship will keep moving in the right direction (big tip for a moany old goat like me!) 

📱Be strict about your phone use, have a routine where you leave it in another room so you’re not tempted to “just check” and think about how you feel if you’re hanging out with someone and they won’t put their phone down, that may be how your kids see you! This is a helper in freeing up your mind and helping find some flow in other activities too (Mike cracked up at me reading this out 😬)

🔥”Helpful” tips or comments from other people that might ignite the panic googling (should he be walking / why isn’t he talking etc) that is their issue not yours, shake off the comment like a duck shaking off water and mentally move away ......

💁🏽Catch yourself when you are talking to yourself in a horrible way “that happened because I didn’t do this” or “I’m such a crap mum, I should have seen that coming” etc- if you jot down your internal chatter you may be shocked how you talk to yourself, catch it and change it to how your kind friend might talk to you, police your thoughts

💃🏽Mojo - it can take a while to find your mojo, who you are now, post natally you may have “post natal depletion” which we hadn’t heard of, and this can leave you feeling tired, meh, not quite right for years after the birth - Anya’s book helps you understand if that’s actually ok right now and ways to help you find your identity again

Anything that helps make #mumlife easier has to be a good thing, right?!

Figbar Norwich #FillOurTable: My Guest Blog Post

Figbar_Emma_Victor_Smith.jpg

Figbar Norwich is a cake and dessert foodie mecca in Norwich, and Steph from Figbar kindly invited me to their metaphorical Christmas Dinner #FillOurTable which was a lovely Christmas campaign and was hosted on their blog.

To be included amongst restaurants, chefs, entrepreneurs, bloggers, managers, friends, and people of interest who they have come to know through their Figbar adventure makes me feel incredibly imposter-ish and quite proud too! 

I have discovered some new interesting people to follow at the table, as well as already being sat next to (I hope) one of my best friends and super PR & blogger Leah

The published post is here

Guest Post

"Just hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring-ting-tingling too... come on, it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you..." is playing through our sound system as our next guest arrives to #fillourtable here at our (fictional) Figbar Christmas Dinner Party! It's the simply gorgeous superwoman Emma Victor-Smith, founder of the excellent parent events company We Got This! (Sometimes). If you are reading this and are a parent, stop right now and follow We Got This! (Sometimes) on all social channels linked below (then come back and finish finding out about it's founder!). If you aren't a parent and reading this, stop right now and follow We Got This! (Sometimes) on the social channels linked below, all events aren't exclusively for parents or mums, like the upcoming Fashion Re:boot (also linked below), and often you'll find yourself thankful for the upbeat and positive quotes posted. 

I first met Emma after the launch event of We Got This (Sometimes). The name of her company alone made me feel like she may be my kindred spirit. It turns out, she is absolutely brilliant. Fearless, positive, hardworking, dedicated, motivated, but, and probably most importantly, honest and real. She is all these brilliant things, but she also will tell you like it is- days will be hard, parenting can be rough; life can be rough, but that doesn't mean you can't find the smiles. Which this superwoman does for sure. I'm am so incredibly inspired by her attitude towards starting a company as a young parent and the community that she has already created because of it. I am so grateful that she's here to #fillourtable and share her experiences. Our Fine City certainly has a lot of gems, and Emma Victor-Smith is one of them.

I am thrilled to introduce Emma Victor-Smith, founder of We Got This! (Sometimes) as the next guest to #fillourtable! 

But first.... 

Upcoming events… We Got This (Sometimes!) presents:

Busting the Supermum Myth with Anya Hayes at St Giles Hotel, 19/1/2018, 10am

The Scummy Mummies Show at Norwich Playhouse, 31/1/2018, 20:00

Fashion Re:boot at The Narthex, The Cathedral Church of St John the Baptist, 23/2/2018, 19:00

OK, Emma, welcome to our ideal dinner party! 

Name: Emma Victor-Smith

What you do: Founder of Parent Events business We Got This! (Sometimes) and Freelance Brand Consultant

A Bit About Emma: I'm Emma, Norfolk girl (went to school in Bradwell and Gorleston, have settled in Hethersett), wife to (long suffering) Mike, and mum to two children, 4 and 11 months. My background is delivering design and marketing projects for food manufacturers and retailers and I’m still dabbling in that a little. My new project is creating lovely, laidback, fun, sometimes glamorous events for parents in Norwich and the surrounds, called We Got This (sometimes) (as in all honesty no parent has got it, all the time).

Find Emma:

www.wegotthisco.com

instagram @wegotthissometimes

facebook WeGotThisNorwich

twitter @we_got_this_s

#fillourtable

1. You are at our Christmas dinner party, aside from us, who would you have at your ideal table and why?

My husband! He has been away a lot. If we could squeeze lots of people in, also my friends, we are mostly with kids or live across the country, I’d love to have everyone in one room in real life, not just on what’s app! Only adults though, so we could finish conversations.

2. What foods are you most thankful for? 

I love food so much, and miss eating out now we have little ones (we used to go out A LOT when we lived in the city centre before children)! So anything cooked by anyone else, at home or out, out. Marmite on toast and a cup of tea is my big love. I also love steak. And very dark chocolate.

3. What is your most cherished family tradition regarding food?

To be honest, I tried to keep out of the kitchen growing up, now I enjoy cooking if I have lots of time and a recipe (so hardly ever!). I did like making cranberry sauce one christmas eve (with vodka) with my parents, and my mum taught me to make a delicious stuffing. In our home, a Sunday roast has a special feeling (for about 5 minutes until it all goes wrong!).

4. What act of kindness has made the biggest/greatest difference to your life?

So so many! I am not sure how far back to go. Most recently, it has been my husband, friends and family who have their own issues, challenges, day-to-day routines and yet supported the launch of We Got This (sometimes) in such amazing and different ways. It can be isolating and paranoia creeps in so much when you are a mum. Especially if you are self employed. You have to have some grit and I have grown (?) a brass neck but the support and words of encouragement, being the first guest speaker, specially discounted training, social media sharing, ad hoc babysitting, hands on help, contacts of contacts, proof reading and more, they were and are all acts of kindness. It all has a huge ripple effect as I can help others with the business - I think if everyone is benefitting in various ways it is the best outcome - I love collaborating.

5. What is the best compliment you have ever received?

I am not sure about ever received, that would probably be if a client ever said a piece of work was outstanding as I can’t help but be a perfectionist (I’m trying to lower standards now for obvious reasons!). Recently, some lovely women have contacted me privately to say how brilliant they think We Got This is, and that they found it inspiring, which makes me feel like an imposter but also very happy inside. Very recently, two of my friends children on two separate occasions gave me a spontaneous kiss which makes my heart burst!

6. If you had a dollar/pound to give to anyone in the world, who would you give it to and why?

To Get me out of These Four Walls, a local charity for mums suffering with post-natal depression, it is such an important charity as it is difficult enough after having a baby, so to get out and meet other mums who understand your brain is such a tonic, I hope to support it next year.

 

Thank you, Emma! We can't wait to see more of you around Norwich at these awesome events!

What a difference a change of mindset makes

...and give the flow a good list, plan and push, let's be honest. Pic @happyhandshappyheart

...and give the flow a good list, plan and push, let's be honest. Pic @happyhandshappyheart

I'm not professing to be a blogger or writer, but I want to get down some kind of thoughts about stuff. With less than a week to go before the first event, everything is in a list, which feels like an achievement! Starting work at the same time as launching We Got This (sometimes) feels like a crazy thing to do, but if I didn't do it I would get absorbed into work again and never do a side hustle, so I guess I should have expected it to be a mad juggling act!  Making the transition from maternity leave to work, whilst my husband starts a new job, we just moved house and the children started new childcare has been tricky but the reasons why it is tricky are different to what I expected:

a) I am much slower getting anything done round the house since my baby started crawling, he is EVERYWHERE. He is also making it known if he is displeased about being moved / doors being shut etc. He wants to play with all the things that are not toys. I had forgotten this stage. 

b) Getting stuff ready for two children for pre-school and nursery feels like a new job in itself. I am not used to term times, being asked to do stuff (found a letter from the school from two weeks ago, so accidentally missed some asks), getting out of the house in the morning without losing my rag is rare, making packed lunches for the baby and it probably isn't actually that much but it feels like a big thing! 

c) Expectations vs reality. I have a fabulous weekly structure (I hate routines but I get that we need it), and tasks are stacked like jenga bricks to meet deadlines, and then illness strikes, childcare is a no-no, and it unravelled very quickly! Doctor appointments, house was carnage, disrupted naps, disrupted nights. I did get the basics done but it did feel like Motherland was being channelled into my home. I’m becoming more accepting that it’s me that needs to sacrifice my evenings / weekends to make up the time lost to sickness but it's hard! 

So I have been talking in my head a lot, muttering about how on earth am I meant to do this, is it normal, and the biggest revelations have happened this week, which has stopped the muttering (hopefully for longer than a few days)!

1 - The Help...I hate asking for help, I feel that I ought to be able to do everything myself, and if not myself then between my husband and I. My husband is away a bit over the busy launch period which isn’t ideal as I probably should be doing more stuff for the business. The amount of help I'm getting from my family and friends and newly met people and strangers is incredible for this little business and all in different ways. I'm feeling very lucky and women-helping-women is very very apparent. And my dad! He is coming to look after the kids on Tuesday, and is being very nice and calm about it all (while I conjure up all sorts of scenarios:-0).

2 - The Menopause. Yes a bit off beat, but I saw a video and it made this think 'whaaaat hang on a sec! I thought things are going to get easier when the kids are bigger but then this will happen! Perhaps I need to try and enjoy the here and now more!' Bit of an eye opener. 

3 - The Elderly. A whole topic in itself, I am lucky enough to have grandparents still, however they are having a few struggles with health and it has been a reminder to look outside the small children bubble as well as a realisation to enjoy the kids now (as much as possible). 

It's getting late and I don't want to be blasé and say things don't matter, but for me, this week, I've had a different view which has transformed my outlook. Hope this helps someone else who may be stuck in a rut and feeling low / like they have taken on too much! 

If you are coming on Tuesday, look forward to seeing you! X

 

Paradox Living changed my life; by Christian Adams

Norwich Paradox Living.png

I know Paradox Living from a mother-stress-busting perspective following a bout of baby illness, house moves etc however this post is about their personal training service with a difference…it might help you or someone you know :-)

If you’re coming to see Katie aka Hurrah for Gin, you can pick Evan's (fitness) and Wallis’s (beauty and treatments) brains as they will be available at the event from 6pm for chat, inspiration, natural products and indian head massages (lots of lucky mums have snapped those up already)….

Read on to find out how Evan’s wellbeing approach changed the life of Christian Adams, who had a severe, debilitating back problem….

"I felt like I was one of those people living an independent life.  I worked hard and did a very physical job. An array of hobbies kept me reasonably fit. I can say I didn’t have the most nutritional diet, but then again, I didn’t think it was that bad. I had my own house. I had a great girlfriend. But, all of a sudden, I injured my back and my world changed. I picked up a box, turned slightly and inevitably strained my lower back. 

This led to two years of incorrect posture alignment that put more pressure on my muscles and spine. This continually worsened the problem which led to chronic sciatic pain and muscle spasms. Like many people I didn’t think to treat the problem until the pain became unbearable. In the later part of my 20s I felt like I tumbled from a healthy, strong 6 ft 5 active male to a crippled individual who suffered from bouts of depression due to the excruciating pain I often awoke to. 

I went for Physiotherapy treatment every 2 weeks, tried 3 different Physiotherapists and also used the NHS for a short while in the hope to find the best care. I had a bad back for 2½ years. 

Some of the treatments felt like they had no benefit, or eased the pain for a few days. After what seemed like a lifetime trying to find helpful treatments, I had given up and accepted that I would just have to live with a bad back. 

I’m not going to lie, I felt I had exhausted all angles of finding a solution to gain full fitness and I was pessimistic about meeting with Evan. 

I decided I had nothing to lose, so went to see if Evan could help. He advised a complete plan that he altered as my posture and core strength improved.  I can tell you first hand, Evan’s plan simply changed my life. After three and a half months, I simply couldn’t believe it. I could now turn over in bed and was regaining confidence in my life. I was coming out of depression. It was truly amazing. It’s now 2 years on since my first session with Evan. I feel great. I have now moved to Cornwall, I cycle, surf, have a physical job again and I am once again enjoying my life.

I am eternally thankful to Evan for helping me solve an injury and indirectly help me get my personal life back on track.

I share this story with you in the hope that if you do ever suffer a back injury you know there are solutions. Don’t give up. There is light at the end of the tunnel."
Christian Adams

 

Do you have an Idea to Do Now You are a Mama?

We Got This Norwich.png

3 things that made We Got This happen

We Got This started from thoughts of what do I do now I have two kids…as a brand manager working from home I was lucky that I didn’t have to be at an office everyday, however buyers need meetings when they need them and it was when I was crying at Stowmarket train station as I’d got off a stop too early, pregnant and clock watching to pick up my daughter from nursery that I thought I can't do this with two babies! I was on the phone to my boss and I thought the station looked different but maybe it was a different side?!!?! Cue a very pregnant weeping women snotting to the train man about how long would a taxi take etc etc. Anyway. 

So. Will was born. I searched for something to help his dry skin and came across a coconut brand Kokoso (which I now use myself!), and saw a pic of Mother of Daughter's lovely twins and of course found Mother Pukka and her extremely relevant and epic Flexible Working campaign then scrolled and clicked and scrolled and clicked and found a whole world of mothers parenting, earning, having fun, learning, sharing mishaps AND actually connecting in real life at events. 

But not to Norwich…and that’s why I said to Mike one night, maybe I could host the events here as maybe other women would like to get inspiration from each other like me.

If you have an Idea-to-Do-Now-You-Have-Little-People, here are my top 3 things that made We Got This happen...

1> Little Black Book: A Toolkit For Working Women This is a brilliant tiny book, really easy to read and its quite pragmatic, looks pretty, and I felt like I’d been given a little guide of how to own a little space and it was perfect for shifting my brain from full on baby mode to start-to-think-about-earning-again mode.

2> Podcasts. It's like going to college or listening to your mates chatting but actually you are sterilising/washing/driving (I wish I could say running). One Girl Band - I LOVE Lola’s podcast. Bit like a pep talk if you are thinking about starting up a business. Cherry Healey's are really good, I especially love the one with Steph from Don't buy her Flowers, and of course Scummy Mummies make me HOOT with laughter (do NOT listen with kids though!). I have also partaken in some Side Hustle School listening, and for stuff completely unconnected with parenting, Ctrl Alt Delete makes me feel like an intelligent adult, which is nice. Please tell me what podcasts you find!

3> Running the idea past a life coach, my long suffering friends and husband and anyone who would listen! And then asking actual Norwich women if they would come. That could have been a school girl error. 

My intention is run workshops / talks / supper clubs that focus on different bits of all of this...it's coming!

 

 

What happens next?

Juggling lots is second nature to women, however when babies come along, the juggling gets faster and more tricky.

Those lovely days of all day binge watching box sets, or leisurely leaving the house at 11 on a Saturday for brunch vanish and it takes a good while to get used to it. I was hoping this wasn’t just my view on the world, as movies, books, magazines all make being a mum look kind of peaceful, happy, and wholesome. 

When I first read Katie Kirby’s (disclaimer, she is one of my best friends) blog when my daughter was about 4 months old, I literally crapped myself. It was the most honest, warts and all account of looking after two children I had ever read, and my first reaction was what on earth have I done! My second reaction and how I feel about it now is thank god it’s not just me. And I am ok in general with the highs, lows and averages of what can be a minute by minute or hour by hour change in our days. 

So, I really like the idea of getting together with other people who want to do stuff, maybe creative / money earning / socialising and when I properly discovered instagram I found inspiration in The Parent Pause in Rugby, Mum’s the Word in Tunbridge Wells and Cheltenham Maman. The baby classes are excellent at getting out of the house in the early days but I also wanted to learn stuff for me too. 

To check it wasn’t just me, I asked 93 mums in Norfolk to complete a little survey, which is amazing when you consider they’d rather probably be chatting to their mates on what’s app if they’ve 5 mins spare! So thank you to them.

  • 72% of Norfolk mums with two kids are looking for ways to manage the ever lasting juggle, citing me-time as the most out of reach challenge
  • Me-time is considered fitness, doing nothing and socialising
  • 65% of mums have more than one child, making the balance between kids, relationship, work, house, friends and self even harder (Katie’s plate juggling illustration comes to mind↓)
  • Mums life balance, parenting, food hacks, wellbeing, fitness and working for yourself are the most popular interests, which this new company We Got This will host events and workshops to help with  

Keep an eye on the website and social channels for the next events, or sign up and I’ll drop you an email when an event is all organised. I am a bit excited about this, I really hope it will be as useful and help parents like me carve out a bit of time to do the things they love, as well as enjoy family life. Let's do this!