Hats off 🎩 to Norfolk based brand Minivino* who are coming on board and giving EVERY guest a resealable single serve of their Italian vino at An Audience with Simon Hooper @father_of_daughters on 22nd May👏🏽
Come and see the king of honest parenting as he chats about anything you want...including his NEW book 🙌
🎟You'd LOVE to see Simon?! Tickets are £15 here , the event is at the beautiful @opennorwich
PLUS your choice of
🍊A resealable single serve of Italian Chardonnay (it does indeed have fresh melon and citrus aromas with a crisp, zesty character)...or 🌹…an Italian rosé which has the aroma of apple, strawberry and redcurrant AND has a fresh lively character...or…🍷…an Italian Merlot with its aromas of ripe plum and raspberry. Delish.
📖Simons new book “Forever Outnumbered“ will be available from @norwichstones
*available across the UK in Sainsburys, Ocado, Amazon 😉 Fully recyclable and shatter proof
THANK YOU MINIVINO!
I am super excited about speaking with Mother Pukka and her #flexappeal campaign when she comes to Twickenham next week. I first saw Anna in one of her posts when she created a ‘flashmob’ ‘Lets Talk about Flex Baby’, in the centre of London.
Since becoming a Mum I’ve spoken to many local Mums about their experiences of work and parenting, and how the two things combine. There are very few parents who are able to continue with exactly the same jobs after having children; some change or flexibility is required to allow us to spend time with the children and make it back to the nursery/childminder/family member/nanny on time. I have lost count of the times which I have literally sprinted through a busy street to make the train on time, so that I’m not late for pick up!
Personally I have tried out many different working arrangements. After taking a years maternity leave with each of my children, I’ve worked tried working four days, full-time and then ended up burning out and taking six months out to concentrate on being a Mum. I now have the perfect balance of a three day a week role. I have a job share partner (or job pairing as Mother Pukka likes to call it). I know that everybody has different demands and wants different things from work/life/parenting, but personally it took me nearly FIVE YEARS of parenting to find this opportunity and create some balance.
There are also many who have been inspired by the ‘ juggle struggle’ to seize on an idea and create their own businesses. We wouldn’t be here, without Emma @wegotthissometimes who started this after the birth of her second child, when she realised that she would not be able to return to her previous job. The ‘insta-famous’ bloggers who have attended our events @hurrahforgin @unmumsymum and @manvsbaby all started blogging after having children.
However nearly everybody I speak to has or knows somebody who has experienced pregnancy, maternity and paternity discrimination; some have been asked to leave their jobs when pregnant, been refused a return to their previous role, ‘offered’ a demotion on their return to work or refused any type of flexible working. This shouldn’t all be about the Mum’s either, Dads and partners also need flexible working so that they can play a full part in sharing the load, being able to help with homework or take the children to dancing/art club/scouts/karate. That is where ‘Papa Pukka’ comes into play.
Surely we have to demand that work places offer more flexible opportunities and move away from the 9-5 bums on seats mentality. Mother Pukka is keen to point out that this is not just about parents, it is about everybody in the work-force who wants the opportunity to work flexibly, there are those who are care for older/sick relatives or have other interests they want to pursue.
We haven’t even started on the ideas around affordable childcare. I think that has to be a post for a whole other day……. But in the meantime a big shout out to all the Grandparents and family childcarers who make it possible for others to work. Also thinking of those who have sadly lost their parents, are without family support or simply live too far away xxxx
Whether you use it for business or pleasure there is no denying the influence Instagram has in our everyday lives. Over 500 million of us are posting over 95 million times each day on the platform. We are snapping pics of us in bed, uploading our breakfasts and our parenting fails.
But, unsure where to start? How to use it for your blog or small business? Worried that you cannot keep up with the ‘power players’ of the gram’?
Instagram is one of the most influential elements of social media marketing today. In the blink of an eye you can easily set up a profile, promote and sell your products, generate new leads and open yourselves to a wider audience you would have not been able to before to become a more established personality or brand.
Don’t know your # from your boomerang? Wondering why you see so many people taking photos of their breakfasts, and who the hell is Mother Pukka?
Then this beginners guide to Instagram is just for you.
1. Setting Up.
Setting up a profile on Instagram is straightforward but there is one thing to bear in mind while you are doing this.
What are your goals from setting this account up? Is it for business or pleasure? To connect with others, or to sell your products? Is this to grow your presence on social media or upload baby spam each day?
Once you have in mind WHY you are setting an account up (to stalk Andy from C Beebies) then you have a clear and focused goal in mind you can tailor how and what you are doing on it.
(Bear in mind if it is for business then it is likely to be open to a wide audience, so you might not want to post personal photos of the family on it. If it is personal, then you can lock down the privacy settings if you want to use the platform to upload some personal pics.)
2. What’s your niche?
This follows on from above and is mainly aimed at those using their profiles for business rather than pleasure.
If you have your own bespoke handmade baby soap company then your niche is likely to be baby toiletries/ eco/ parent related.
If you have a travel blog then your likely going to be talking about travel, holidays, locations.
For an audience to view you as a credible authority on your subject/ sector then the content that you produce for your Instagram feed should be relevant.
To have a beauty blogger suddenly, begin to review garden furniture would make you question why is that there?
Keep it simple, keep it relevant.
When you post about your specialist subject you will find that the passion will come through via your content and people will begin to view you as the go to, for that specific subject.
3. Post frequently.
It can be tricky, but it is important to keep your feed fresh and updated with new photos and content. When you came across a profile for a clothing company that hadn’t posted in over a month with no explanation you would begin to doubt their credibility and reliability.
Sit down for an hour or so each week and plan the content that you can post.
There are some great scheduling tools such as Buffer which means you do not need to find time each day to post which can become tiresome and you will still have new posts going up.
Don’t post just for the sake of it, if you truly have nothing relevant to post then don’t. It sounds contradictory to the above advice but there is nothing worse that uploading some random post just, so you have ticked off posting for that day it could become confusing for the audience.
Keep your relevant subjects in mind and you will find you won’t have too much trouble finding ideas.
Social media now gives us an insight into the lives and brands of the companies we buy from, use your business profile to show your audience and customers WHO you are and HOW/WHY/ WHAT you do what you do! (that’s a whole weeks’ worth of content ideas for free!) You can also use your stories as another way to get your content seen.
4. Don’t get hung up on the numbers.
It can be hard when you are first starting out on Instagram to view the number of likes and comments you receive on each post as validation. That when you hit a certain number of followers ‘you’ve made it’. You compare yourselves to those with 100k+ and think you cannot compete that you are not good enough. There is a common misconception that the number of followers you have dictates your success.
It does not.
The number of likes, comments and followers is not an indication of your self-worth or how good/ bad your business it.
You need to instead focus on the quality of your audience.
If you are a business, you need to look after and nurture the relationships with your audience and they are likely going to be the ones who go on to purchase something from you.
Do not fall for the vanity metrics, paying for followers, or comments or using autobots (which is now a thing of the past!) do not follow for the sake of following and then suddenly unfollow someone.
Take your time, find your target audience and slowly build it up. Interact with then, like their posts, comment if they have taken the time to engage with you, engage back I think people do forget why it is called social media, after all.
5. Enjoy it.
To begin with don’t think too much about it other than a promotional tool for your brand/ blog/business and a way to connect to others.
Over time you will begin to see what is working and what isn’t, and you can tailor and tweak your content as you go.
You can begin to experiment with the dreaded # (think of them as search tools and ways for people to find you! Come up with a couple that you use on every post and then experiment with the rest!).
Have fun posting and engaging with others and see it as a community networking platform.
There can be a lot of nastiness on Instagram especially aimed as those who do have a lot of followers, do paid ads etc (we will save that for another post!) but just begin to use it as a way or promoting who you are, what you do and why you are doing it!
Now, you have some of the basics mastered you will be uploading your brunch pics in no time!
“I am here to use my creative thinking, outreach connections, blog writing and passion for social media to teach you how you run your own accounts effectively.” Vicki Cockerill, Social Media Outreach Specialist"
Sally White, teacher, writer and blogger at Wife of a Wig Wearer writes up Norwich: Meet Mother Pukka with Anna Whitehouse
"This week, Anna - perhaps better known as Mother Pukka - came to Norwich to talk about parenthood and flexible working. She is an Instagram joy, a political force and someone we all want to be in our corner in our fight for work that suits family life.
One of the few things I remember from A-level sociology is a that cult leaders are ‘usually attractive, charismatic, intelligent and engaging’. This occurred to me as I sat, entranced, during a talk by Anna Whitehouse. Her wise words and funny anecdotes and ability to be a balm to the neurosis and fear of parenthood had an audience of over a hundred of us nodding and smiling like devoted followers.
And if Anna is our leader then flexible working is her religion. Her mission is to get employers to do the unthinkable and dismantle the traditional 9-5 working day. She aims to preach the word of working from home, shunning the shame of creeping in to work at 9.05 and singing the praises of working hours that suit everyone.
I hadn’t ever given much thought to the arbitrary nature of 9-5. From what I can gather, the roots of those working hours are in Industrial Britain. But so is child labour, inhumane working conditions and slums so perhaps Anna’s vision for a flexible working day isn’t actually progressive, just massively overdue.
Giddy with excitement at having our favourite Insta star in Norwich and tipsy on the delicious free wine provided by Naked Wines, we sat enraptured. And for the first half hour or so Anna regaled hilarious stories. Many relatable - top lip panic sweats, wet wipe crises, marital niggles - and a few not so relatable but utterly hilarious tales - an ‘incident’ on a bus with the Noravirus for instance.
But soon enough, the chat turned to being a working parent and our laughter turned to anger. So many of us have stories of unforgiving attitudes to time-keeping and working for mangers who value hours worked more than efficient output.
Anna’s advice is ‘don’t ask, don’t get’. Employers assume 9-5 and we assume that it’s necessary. But it isn’t. Not really.
Signs You May Benefit from Flex
- you start most days bellowing at your children and manically measuring time (WE NEED TO BE OUT THE DOOR IN TWO MINUTES PEOPLE!’)
- you’ve offered up a life of devotion for a run of green lights and a foot in the nursery door in the nick of time
- you’ve had to commando crawl out of a 4pm meeting uttering ‘sososorrygottogosendmetheminutessorrysorry’
- you’ve received over a dozen passive aggressive time-keeping comments in the last week alone
Signs You Might Be Able to Work Flexibly
- you have a desk job
- a lot of your work is done via email or telephone
- you could do your work from home just as easily as you could do it in an office
Rights to Request
- you have a right to ask for flexible working if you have been working for your employer for six months or more
- your employer can refuse but you can ask again in a year’s time
Ways to Ask
- Anna advises planning a water-tight case for working flexibly. Prepare answers for the questions you anticipate. Have it ready before you ask for a meeting to discuss it because you don’t want to be caught off guard if they suggest meeting immediately
- If they refuse or are wavering, suggest a trial period
- I always think phrasing things as a statement rather than a question can help: ‘I would like to work from home for three mornings a week. (Brief description of how this would work). Please let me know if you anticipate this being a problem. Thank you’.
Things to Remember
- Flexible means bending both ways- you may need to give as well as take
- Job sharing (or job pairing) is a great way of applying for full-time positions so stay in touch with colleagues and consider applying for jobs together
Anna’s practical advice made flexible working seem like such an obvious and credible solution to the most stressful parts of parenting: childcare, nursery drop off and pick up and time-keeping.
We just need to ask for it. No. We need to demand it. We need to demand hours that suit us and not Victorian mill owners. And we need employers to see how a job pairing brings two great, fresh, talented minds to businesses. How letting us work from home means we can devote time to tasks rather than texting the childminder. How starting at 7.30 and leaving at 3.30 can mean they can keep a trained employee rather than have to recruit again.
And trust me when I say, Anna’s words have released some seriously empowered and informed people out in to Norwich’s workforce. Invite us in to your offices and listen to our requests because 9-5 is going to be consigned to the history books and Dolly’s Best of album.
- The Mother Pukka website has great ammunition for your watertight proposal: http://motherpukka.co.uk/flexible-working/flex-you-fools
- TimeWise for flexible jobs and advice https://timewise.co.uk/
- Further and More - A website the pairs up people for job share roles https://www.furtherandmore.com/
- Government Website - Know your rights https://www.gov.uk/flexible-working"
All photos are © Emily Gray Photography
I’ve always believed it’s Not Good to have a Big Head. To be over confident is annoying to most people. To be an expert in something is good. To share knowledge and excitement about something is good. I guess it’s a fine line between ‘showing off’, ‘being proud’ and being able to walk into a room of strangers whilst wanting to run away.
In this little We Got This (Sometimes)! journey, confidence has been a funny old thing. Having marketed other peoples brands and companies for many years, and truly feeling passionate about them, it really is different setting up your own brand. I really don’t mind talking to anyone and everyone about it, because ultimately I think it does a good thing and can do good things for many people and businesses.
I’ve met people who’ve told me to ‘be more male’. To talk to myself as if I am my best friend. To ‘just do it’. And in all honesty there is something in having small children as every minute you do work, you are maxing out productivity wise so there is little time to um and ah. Or dillying and dallying as my four year old says.
BUT, do you think a business ought to be built on who the person really is, or who they pretend to be? Don’t we prefer to follow people, rather than big companies on social media because they are real, and admit their weak points? And once we know they feel sometimes how we feel, we are reassured? I suppose for me, it’s easier to admit the weak points than identify the good points, which is where being more male may help?
I think it can be tricky to see the wood for the trees unless there is time to reflect. One Girl Band is one of my favourite podcasts, and she quite rightly pointed out that we have just come to the end of the first quarter of 2018 - so it’s time to reflect. Her prompts are here, have a go and you’ll be surprised by what you did ‘achieve’, whether it was re-organising a window sill, getting a new project or making a new friend.
This article by Lauren Bravo, whose Twitter feed I am most enjoying, made me laugh: “So I guess the challenge is to find the sweet spot on the confidence spectrum, somewhere between crippling self-doubt and Katie Hopkins. After the panic, but before you become insufferable. What’s our RDA of anxiety, though? Is it like a vaccination — too much makes you sick, but a small quantity makes you actually invincible? And, hang on: why are we, the neurotics and not-good-enoughs, having to do all the self improvement here?”
I think what I am trying to say is that I've found mostly we’re all a bit shy, and mostly we're encouraging everyone else to do well. Recently I’ve been to two networking events. I’ve not been to one since 2010 when I was kind of forced to for work, and it is REVELATIONARY. I drove in the setting sun at 18:30 while Mike put the kids to bed and learnt some stuff and chatted to some women. I am feeling the positive effects weeks later. And I turned up alone to both, and I was nervous.
- Everyone is a bit shy. Except men apparently. Which I don’t think can be true. Anyway.
- If you’re a freelancer or business owner, or part of a small business, the networking events I have been to are run by Alex at The Parent & Baby Show (your business needs to be operating in this industry) and Nourish Networking by Jackie Heffer Cooker.
- Huffington Post has some good advice here on confident women
- I love Lauren Bravo so am very pleased to have her name on my blog.
- Most people love to help people - always try and give a lot more help than you’re asking for
- Come and meet women of confidence, confidence in different guises - the most excellent Mother Pukka, the Scummy Mummies and Gemma from Mutha.Hood - all women who are, quite literally themselves and are an inspiration without being more male.
Organising your wardrobes for Spring? I'm ashamed to say I am not really a proper green person. I do recycle obviously, and don't litter. As I come out of my baby fog I'm becoming more annoyed by waste, plastic, unnecessary stuff (am I getting old?!). I was shocked to read that 300k clothing items end up in landfill every year in the UK😱! I read about this first over at Clemmie Telfords feed, and felt that it's got to be worth looking at. That’s just 8 clothing items thrown away per household a year. I knew what I could do with good stuff that’s just been outgrown (really must get on with that🤭):
- wash and take to a charity shop
- sell on ebay or facebook marketplace
- save for Fashion Re:Boot if it’s a high-end or high street piece
- organise a swap party with friends, one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure
- give to friends and family
- take nearly new or new garments to New-U shop in Castle Mall, no cash is exchanged but your items are valued and you get vouchers which you can then use to take home other pieces. The other purpose of this shop is to give young people the skills and confidence to progress into employment by offering retail work experience placements in a supportive environment.
But what can you do with damaged clothes?
You know, when the Vanish just isn't doing it. Or the tights really are too holey. I've been in touch with the lady who used to be @_thisoldthing_ about repairing some jeans (she has changed her handle and I simply can't find her now!) who, with @bykateelizabeth are championing ethical fashion in Norwich (they were excellent vendors at Fashion Re:Boot). AND, I’ve found an App for That! It’s called reGain, which swaps any textiles for discount coupons for sustainable clothing retailers. You have to have ten items, pop them in a cardboard box (that hopefully you have already) and drop at a post office, and receive a 10% voucher on your app.
What happens to the clothes?
Most of the garments are in good condition and can be reused and re worn. Did you know that 70% of the Global Population are Second Hand Clothing Users? Over 5 billion people! Landfill doesn't need clothes.
If the garments cannot be re worn they will come back to life in many other forms and industries – from cleaning cloths to mattress fillings, material insulation and automotive industry. Garments can have a second, third or fourth life.
Textiles that are not suitable for Reuse or Recycling are used as combustibles for energy production apparently.
Basically the idea is that we need to be wearing clothes until they can no longer be used and then they are ultimately made into new products.
H&M, Zara and M&S offer drop off points instore which is pretty useful (more here) although I did read that H&M can only actually reuse 0.7% of the textiles they receive into new garments. This is because the fibres are shredded so don't end up being suitable for clothes, so are usually downgraded into insulation. Still better than landfill though. Also the H&M Foundation is donating roughly $7 million over four years to the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel to develop advanced textile recycling methods so it is more of a circular loop.
If you know of any other ways to prevent garments going to landfill, please let me know and I'll add them to the article.
Three months of the year have passed by already! One Girl Band is one of my go-to podcasts and Lola has inspired me to sit down and reflect (I am normally a just look forward person), here are the questions she has suggested, have a go:
How have you felt over the past 3 months? In business, life, health?
What have you learned?
What are you grateful for?
What are you proud of?
What goals did you set yourself at the beginning of Q1?
What goals did you make happen?
What goals didn’t come to fruition?
What goals have happened that you didn’t initially plan or expect?
How do you want to feel in your work and your life next quarter?
What do you want to make space for Q2?
Is your focus for 2018 still the same, or has it evolved?
Congratulations! You are a member of the biggest, most powerful and empowering group in the world: the Sisterhood. Even if you're a man, if you're an ally*, you're a Sister.
Hands up who’s been passed loo roll under the stall door, or invited to speak up at a meeting, or had a buggy lifted on to a bus for them, or exchanged knowing looks during a mansplanation? Who's been given a glance of solidarity in a soft-play or had a friend send you a word-perfect text just when you've needed it? See, you’ve been all been unwittingly helped by the Sisterhood.
Last week, I took my two children to a play park. One fell and clunked his head. A woman gave me a cold compress to hold on to my son’s beautiful, swelling forehead. Another woman came over with Calpol for him and a pack of raisins for my youngest. A few days ago, a friend left a Thinking of You parcel on my doorstep when she knew I'd had a bad day. Just yesterday, a woman I'd never met before turned my tears to laughter when I realised I'd done a whole food shop without my purse AGAIN. That’s the Sisterhood in action. And I felt grateful. I didn’t feel embarrassed or indebted because the week before I had stepped in to interrupt a man snarling at the doctors’ receptionist. Yesterday, a kerfuffled mother asked me to hold her baby boy whilst she ordered a cup of tea and I continued to hold him so she could drink it. Tomorrow, I will howl at the moon whilst I burn my bra. That’s how we Sisters roll.
It’s so simple to be a Sister: you just have to be mindful of other women and step up when you can.
But you need to remember that you are a Sister to yourself. When you look in the mirror, see a Sister- you will see all her good bits. When you are struggling, look after yourself as a Sister. When you are feeling critical, speak kindly to yourself as a Sister. We need strong members, so we can’t waste time turning on ourselves or each other.
You don’t have to be perfect to be a Sister, though- that’s like saying you can’t be a feminist if you wear lipstick. The Sisterhood doesn’t expect you to be perfect- you can have spiteful thoughts, you can be jealous, you can lie about having watched The Handmaid’s Tale. That’s all fine. The Sisterhood is all about accepting you and helping support you with the decisions you make.
Knowing I belong to a group of funny, clever, generous women has helped me my whole life. Vietnamese grandmothers. American flight attendants. Indonesian waitresses. Dutch cyclists. Everywhere, across the globe, the kindness and generosity of the Sisterhood spreads her arms, welcomes me in and gives me a lift up.
We are everywhere and you are one of us: welcome to the biggest, most powerful group in the world- the Sisterhood.
*If you're not sure if you're an ally then take this quiz: 1) Do you hate women? 2) Do you actively hold back progress towards gender equality? No to both? Welcome aboard!
Do: Wear it with pride with Mother Like No Other’s Sisterhood tshirt www.motherlikenoother.com
Don’t: Exclude the Misters- they’re welcomed but seem to have a gang of their own #wagegap
Do: Listen to The Guilty Feminist podcast for hoots
Don’t: Speak to yourself unkindly
Do: Cock block- when a man is being a dick to a Sister, intervene.
Come over to the blog for more parenting truths and parenting spoofs at www.wifeofawigwearer.com See you there, Sister.
Sally is a teacher, mother, wife of a criminal barrister, child of hippy publishers. Sister of incredible activist woman. Feminist. Blogger. Eastern Daily Press columnist. Kent-bred. Norfolk-living. Loves: Kettle Chips, boats and the first beer of a holiday. Follow her on instagram @wifeofawigwearer twitter @@WifeofWigWearer facebook
Sally @wifeofawigwearer is one of the brilliant woman I’ve met in the last few months. She’s not just a mother, wife, teacher, writer in the @edp_norfolk, blogger, she also helped initiate a gathering of parents on a Friday morning at ten am at Roots Cafe in Wymondham. Lovely coffee and cake/lunch, lots of toys for little ones and a chance to just Sit Down💪🏽. I went a couple of weeks ago and loved it. Her blog is funny!
PND effects 1 in 10 mother’s. We are very fortunate in Norfolk to have Get Me Out The Four Walls. Knowing what a lifeline it was, and still is to get out and about my kids, We Got This (Sometimes!) Norwich will support this charity where it’s appropriate to do so. 10% of any profits made on an event will go straight to the charity, so when you buy a ticket, you are helping. I have also added an optional donation on the ticket page in case you feel able to support further. You can meet one of their Ambassadors at Norwich: Meet Mother Pukka. ….here is a bit more about them...
Naomi Farrow is a Norfolk mum who has been fundraising for 3 years to:
🔸 shortcut the NHS waiting list for maternal mental illness treatment for mothers at the end of their tether
🔹organise 35 events per month in different locations in the Norfolk area allowing mums, dads, and other primary care givers an opportunity to escape their four walls for some adult conversation extinguishing the feelings of loneliness and isolation. Last year (2017) they had 1881 attendees and ran 388 meets!
🔸run the Facebook group, which currently has over 4500 members are benefiting from the support and interaction of fellow Norfolk parents and our Ambassadors
🔹run an additional group, a Post Natal Depression support group on Facebook. A forum for mothers who have been diagnosed with PND or similar maternal mental illnesses, they currently have over 400 members who regularly use the forum to help them day to day. It is there for mums to talk, vent, and to seek support and advice from fellow sufferers
🔸reduce the typical NHS referral for one to one counselling (can take up to 11 weeks) to 7 days
🔹offer private treatment which includes counselling and acupuncture to patients referred to them
Thank you the Eastern Daily Press and Sophie Wyllie for the recent coverage.