Behind the scenes - stage design by Elle.Designs


This is a bit ‘behind the scenes’, which I don’t seem to do a lot of because I’m normally clinging on by the skin of my teeth! By happy chance, Elle (@elles.designs) who is a recent grad in MA Performance Design from University of Leeds, had asked me a couple of times if there was anything she could do, to get involved.

I said, ooh, maybe you could design the stage for Anna Newton and Erica Davies? She’s blown me away - her moodboards take into account Anna’s very minimalistic and neutral style, alongside Norfolk Gin’s iconic very simple but effective illustrated packaging. Erica is of course into very bold, bright and clashing prints, however they both specialise in managing and tailoring your lifestyle to suit you.

Elle Maxwell Wood

Elle Maxwell Wood

We decided on a design and Jarrolds agreed that she could shop the store to create the moodboard. Yesterday we took the sketch into homewares, and matched up products with the sketch. Hopefully it will look like this on the night - we won’t know until about hour before!

If you’re in the industry, Elle is at @elle.designs. She is a scenographer, designing for performance and events, currently based in Yorkshire. Her website is here.

Some of the moodboards

Some of the moodboards

Guest Post: "Edit your life" - what does it mean? We asked some of our guests....

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Written by Liza Koroleva - Year 3 Fashion Communication and Promotion student at Norwich University of the Arts. Liza and I are exchanging skills and experience for a bit, keep an eye out for an event she has up her sleeve! Her instagram is @SUPERSELF.1. She has produced the copy with our contributors, and the graphics (thank you!).

We all lead busy lifestyles; kids, work, family, friends, fitness, wellbeing, mental health, these are only some of the many things we have to think about on a daily basis and quite frankly it’s extremely overwhelming to stay on top. But maybe there’s a simple formula to creating “enough time” for everything? If you’re a mum or parent, making yourself a priority is essential because let’s be honest, without you, everything will fall apart right? 

Maybe our event with Anna celebrating her new book ‘An Edited Life’ on the 31st January can provide with that simple formula for staying on top. With the help of this book you can learn how to edit your home, fitness routine, social life, calendar and much more.

We interviewed some guests attending our event ‘Edit your life with Anna Newton and Erica Davies’ to find out their biggest challenges when it comes to editing their life.

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Firstly, Martine; who has recently become a freelance HR expert (congratulations! Her website is Here’s what she had to say: “As a result of going freelance I now work from home and have added my office into the playroom, which used to be the sole use of my daughters, who are 6 & 8. On top of this, I am making more time for myself with yoga and exercise classes from YouTube, which also takes place in the attic playroom. You can imagine it’s a busy space. Although fortunately the 3 purposes/uses rarely happen simultaneously.

I’m constantly moving things around to try and make the house work better, but feel overwhelmed by possessions and fear I have a slight hoarding tendency. However, the stuff makes me annoyed as it just looks messy. How long should you hold on to stuff for? When can toys go? I keep stuff for too long as I feel guilty of throwing out gifts, but also feel sad to say goodbye to things that have such lovely memories.

Finally, I find it difficult to switch my mind off with my girls once I have picked them up from school. The whole point of being self-employed was to spend more time with my ladies but I find myself distracted when spending time with them. I think about a million and one things and not being totally present. The yoga and exercise in the morning has helped me be more productive within my business, but feel the effect has worn off by school pick up time!

So, there are a million reasons why I have booked the event... a change is needed to make the most of this my life, my lovely home and my gorgeous girls!” Follow Martine on Twitter at @twiggeMartine and Linkedin


Next, Kerri Anema shares her story. Kerri is a self-employed sports massage therapist and makeup tutor, her business can be found here: Kerri Anema Sports and Massage Therapy.

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“I work crazy hours and have a sporty teenager at home whom I taxi around at silly o’clock for training. My husband also works crazy hours and shares the taxi service. My eldest daughter started University in September.

Last year’s biggest challenge was when “the sandwich years” really kicked in. I had no idea that it would be the biggest challenge ever! We had to support our ageing parents as well as our dependent children who were going through A’ Levels and GCSE’s at the time, I nearly cracked! Nevertheless, I am still here to tell the tale and hopefully make a difference this year. 

The year consisted of hospitals, marathon days, the darkest days and thankfully a few up times. Children are a constant source of worry, emotionally that got harder in the last years of school. I would love tips to help free up time for the fun things in life, that really is the goal of the year for me and my family. Work needs to be put in its place but I’m not sure how to achieve this one. I think I’m looking for what most people I know are looking for. We are quite happy to work hard but we need to spend more fabulous time with the people that truly matter in our lives.”


Finally, Rebecca; owner of Little Dottie Designs Handmade Childrenswear explains the challenges of running an independent business and being a mother.

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“I decided to attend this event as one of my main goals for 2019 is to not only grow Little Dottie Designs, but also focus on myself; self care and wellbeing. 

I have promised myself to socialise with others in a similar position to me; working self-employed, juggling being a mother and also home life. For me this event is not only the perfect opportunity to get out of the house for some ME time, but to also to gain greater understanding on how others work everything on a daily basis. 

The two guest speakers sound so relative to me right now in my journey. I feel I have found a platform through Instagram to grow my business, but love hearing other successful freelance / self-employed people’s stories in their chosen paths juggling family, home, work and wellbeing. 

I feel a constant disruption between work and being a mother. I hope to get a sense of engagement from the event, hopefully coming away feeling empowered from their advice and experience to achieve the better work / life balance I want from being self-employed. 

The biggest challenge we faced last year for us is the cost of childcare. Currently we haven’t family or friends to help us out, and the cost of childcare is a huge struggle! Each day I spend time with my daughter all day, then tea, bath and bed- meaning I can only work in the evenings. I find myself confused as surely being a full time mum should be rewarded too, and we shouldn’t find ourselves then working every evening into the early mornings just to cover the minimum bills? I’d like to feel like I am winning at being a mother, being a successful boss and also find some time for myself.” Instagram @little.dottie.designs, Facebook: Little Dottie Designs 

Wow, from these stories it obvious that the main root of the problem is kids! (only joking). No, it’s our time escaping us too fast, time is our biggest hindrance but it really doesn’t have to be if we can pick up tips to prioritise. I’m sure many of you reading this can relate to these stories in one way or another. It’s important to spend time on people most important to us but just don’t forget about yourself, a message that Anna is strong on. So let’s make ourselves a priority this year because it’s important to take time to be in right headspace not only for yourself but for the people around you.


Written by Liza Koroleva - Year 3 Fashion Communication and Promotion student at Norwich University of the Arts. Liza and I are exchanging skills and experience for a bit, keep an eye out for an event she has up her sleeve! Her instagram is @lizakoroleva.2.




Free Norfolk Gin cocktail on arrival at 'Edit your life'

Artisan Norfolk Gin

I’m so pleased to have Norfolk Gin on board as a sponsor for the “Edit your Life” event with Anna Newton and Erica Davies. Love a gin😜. And I love small businesses too, especially when you can just see the passion, craft and dedication poured into them. So here’s a little shout out for them. I approached Jonathan last year when planning the Hurrah for Gin event, as you know, it was about gin. He totally got it, and gave me an original canvas piece of Norfolk Gin art which lucky Sophie at The Night Feed won.

At the sell out event on the 31st Jan, every guest will receive a Norfolk Gin cocktail on arrival, amazing!

We should be really proud that Norfolk has such a strong gin making crew. Norfolk Gin is artisan, created by Jonathan and Alison Redding in their kitchen. Every batch is still made by hand in the gin studio, and the beautiful bottles are designed to be treasured, re-used or re-filled. Aren’t they beautiful!

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They have really thought about The Anna Edit and #aneditedlife and have created us a bespoke “Fresh Start” cocktail for the event. I tried it last week (and I had a little tour and saw where the gin is made), it’s zingy, refreshing and everything you want in a cocktail on the last day of Jan🙌🏻. 

It’s light and bright meets sweet and sour, and a combination of two classics: Dry Martini - short and intense and Gin Rickey – long and refreshing 🍸🍹. 

Just so you know - you can buy some on the night from Jarrolds, the cute handmade bottle is £18.50 100ml (fab Valentines gift) and the bigger handmade bottle £42 700ml.

The mini decanters will are also available at selected independent retailers in Norfolk, including Jarrolds, Goodies Food Hall (Diss), Beers of Europe (King’s Lynn), Arthur Howell (Wells-next-the-Sea) the Norfolk Deli (Hunstanton)

Making friends

Guests at the Sali Hughes and Sam Chapman October  event  (pic by Emily Gray Photography)

Guests at the Sali Hughes and Sam Chapman October event (pic by Emily Gray Photography)

If you follow me on insta stories, you may’ve seen my nervousness about Sophia starting school, for me! Well we’re in our third term and I’ve met some lovely women and am still meeting them too. It’s not easy though. The school run, I realised, is TEN TIMES a week. That you didn’t do before. The day is so short! However I am starting to enjoy some of the time after school when we can relax, and I’m starting to get a rhythm with school help etc. It’s still a bit of a culture shock. The paperwork! Our class is very big which makes it almost like crowd control and a little intimidating (the kids are fine!), but we’re getting there.

Here are some options for making friends if you haven’t found “your people” yet, at whatever stage of the motherhood journey you’re on…(I have direct experience of the local groups, there are probably more!)

1  - Mummy Social. Sarah Turner who visited us in July is one of the founders - there are lots of mums in Norfolk on the app

2 - Mush and Peanut - kind of like dating for mums

3 - Come to a We Got This event, even if you’re the only one interested in the speaker - I can match you with others! You can see previous events here, and tickets will soon be on sale for the third Fashion Re:Boot in Norwich. In Twickenham, there are tickets available for Fashion Re:Boot, an EXCELLENT way of shopping with friends for high street and high end preloved fashion, tickets available here.

4 - Follow Norwich Mumbler, Katrin runs a super active Facebook group, fab events and knows every event happening in Norwich

5 - Follow Sarah at Mummanmore for workshops and markets, she also runs a Facebook group called Women Helping Women Support Group here

6 - Rowan House run a breastfeeding cafe twice a month with Sian (who I’ve been told is “brilliant”) - and Motherhood Matters Cafes, follow them here

7 - Knackered and Norwich is a social club for the ‘knackered of Norwich’ run by Sophie at @muffinandpuffinmarketing and @vickicockerill, a great way to meet local people you may usually chat to online, this is where you can follow them

8 - Nourish Networking by The Orange Grove Clinic hosts business networking events for women

9 - If you’re in the Parent and Baby industry, the Alex at PAB hosts networking events and a Facebook group here

10 - Watch this space for We Got This Power Hours for freelancers and entrepeneurs - Hannah and I did one in April, and I’m still using the info, and lots of you have signed up for a list for the next one, the list is here if you’d like to join it, or just drop me an email at

Other places:

Norfolk Mums has a lively Facebook Group

Sophie at fab business The Night Feed has opened a pop up cafe called The Day Feed, click each link to follow her.

Any more to add? Let me know!

If you’d like to blog for this website, with corresponding social media posts, please email me with an article and high quality image.

Guest Blog: Why I have chosen employment over freelancing...

Photo by Emily Gray Photography

Photo by Emily Gray Photography

I’ve read lots recently about freelancing mums and wanted to add to the debate and talk about why I have chosen flexible employment and how it works for me.

Since having my children in 2010 and 2014 I’ve (nearly) always been employed. I’ve tried 3 days, 4 days, and 4 days over 5 days (phew!) and many combinations of nurseries, after school etc. For me the boundaries and routines of regular employment are actually really helpful to parenting. Perhaps it’s my personality type but for me stability and consistency are really important-and when thinking about what to do for the best in your career after children I think is important to recognise your own values.

Earlier this year I took 3 months off between jobs- I considered freelancing and even not working - but weirdly during this time it was the first time we had ever been late for school or missed a crucial appointment. Without a focus and timetable in the mornings my routine really went to pot. Not that it’s perfect now- but when you have to get out at a certain time you really can do it.

I work full time now and I’m a mum of two - one at school and one pre school. I’ve found a senior Marketing Director role where I can work from home 3 days a week- though it does mean some nights away from home. My husband also works from home and without a shadow of a doubt I couldn’t do my job without the flexibility he also has. After motherhood it might not be just you that has to change your work pattern and if you and your partner (if you have one) can both have some flexibility it can make a real difference. 

For me working with a steady income, predictable hours and the ability to shut the laptop at the end of the day and switch off is so important.

So for me what’s good about being employed:

  • Security (as much as you’ll ever get anyway)

  • Switch off- you can usually just leave it til Monday.

  • Switch it- if it’s not working there are other jobs out there

  • Training- helping you get where you really want to be

  • Community- others in the same boat or just other adult humans

What’s not so good

  • Other people will rely on you and this can sometimes feel too much on top of family life.

  • You sometimes have to make very hard choices about who gets your time.

  • Not all employers understand the struggle of the juggle

Ultimately whether freelance or employed you will probably know in your heart if it is working or not for you and family. There is not a right or wrong answer it is much more about how it fits with your values and personality.

Liz Cobbold is Marketing Director at Broadland Wineries and has nearly 20 years experience in senior marketing roles for Adnams and Tesco. She has two sons aged 4 and 8. Liz works flexibly and has been through the process of deciding whether to go freelance or not and chose the employed route.

If you’d like to blog for this website, with corresponding social media posts, please email me with an article and high quality image.

Meet Liz at our 'Making Work, Work' event on 13th Feb at Bills Norwich. She has agreed to speed mentoring sessions after the talk with Annie Ridout (author of The Freelance Mum) and Steph Douglas, owner of Don't Buy Her Flowers) - tickets and information is available here.

Save the date for Weds 13th Feb....

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So I had a coffee with @mrshannahroutledge in March 2018, and she imparted such great advice to me, (not just about Linkedin, basically grow a pair, still work to do but she definitely made an impact on me, even I started listening to Oprah’s audio book a few weeks ago Hannah!) and I thought, she could help others like me.

So I organised a #powerhour all about LinkedIn. In keeping with my intention to be honest I didn’t really feel I could chat about the night on here as it took me SIX months to apply any of the learnings! Just the reality of working motherhood. Anyway this is a pic of the evening when a hardcore group of business women came together to sip wine and dessert at @the_library_norwich_, and learnt about LinkedIn.

For me personally, it has given me the confidence to start using it in a professional way for my freelance work (despite loving the gram, LinkedIn is where business is made), and it's helped me win a short term contract which I hope will lead to a longer term contract in the new year👏🏽 (clapping myself is a bit weird, but I guess when you're self employed 😂).

You can also see a little gift I bought from @doingitforthekids_ who I love, which @rootsandtootsblog won.

Now I would love to do some more #powerhour sessions as it's 100000% more effective doing stuff in real life than digital courses (even if it takes months to action it!), HOWEVER the event on Weds 13th Feb that you’ve saved the date for will kick it all off I think

#totallybuyingmoretime #freelancemum #workingmotherhood #linkedinforthewin #jugglejuggle #workthatworks #flexappeal #womeninbusiness #parentsinbusiness #meninbusiness?! #hashtagsgoonabit