Mum O’Clock chats with Fiona Burrage – Creative Director at Nor-Folk

My name is Fiona, I am 33 years old and live in a converted factory in Norwich with my husband, son and our two cats. We run two businesses, branding consultancy www.theclickdesign.com and lifestyle brand www.nor-folk.com
We work hard AND play hard. We love to travel. Stanley’s not ready for long haul flights so we’re exploring Europe at lot at the moment.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am an only child and massive tom boy, originally from Essex. I studied graphic design in Norwich, got a job after graduation and have been here ever since. We are currently trying to find a coastal property for weekend breaks. Stanley is a real beach boy, he’s most happiest when he can run free.
I am full time creative director at Nor–Folk and my passion that ties it all together is photography.

If you were to choose one word to describe your daily life, what would it be?

Busy. There is rarely a dull moment in our hectic lives but it does mean we get squeeze out every moment from the day!

Describe the last time you did something that made your soul happy? How often do you do that thing?

The last time aside of the obvious joys of parenthood was when I went to Latitude in July. I’d spent the day with Stanley and Bobby. They then went home and I had the evening just my best friend and her daughter. We listened to Fatboy Slim and it was electric, I just thought take this all in, this is pretty special.

How do you feel when you are regularly carving out time for yourself compared to not?

I feel hugely guilty when I have any me-time. I know all mums must feel this way because all you can do is think, I should be doing this or that! Some evenings, I will read (rather than work) once Stanley is in bed. I switch the phone off and detaching for an hour or so feels good. I definitely feel less tense and irritable when I’ve had some me-time!

Fiona

What is your definition of me-time now that you are a mum?

A shower, getting dressed and makeup in one go! Haha. I’m also grateful that I love my job, I almost feel guilty about that. Right now I’m working from home, rather than going into the studio and I’m listening to Radio 3. Stanley’s gone to the beach with his grandparents and the apartment is practically silent (aside from the washing machine). Having a job where I have to speak to adults definitely keeps me sane and means when I get my time with Stanley it’s all about him (in terms of my focus).

What are your 3 favourite ways to practice self-care?

I’ve just started Headspace (the app). I’ve been suffering from anxiety a bit this year and getting into the routine of listening to the app, making myself a filter coffee and going for a walk when I need some breathing space have been hugely helpful.

In your opinion, why is prioritising self-care in your day-to-day important?

Before we had children, we could do what we wanted, when we wanted (within reason). Suddenly you become a mum and that all changes, well for me it did. I breastfed Stanley until he was three and still haven’t had a night away from him. Sometimes it does get a bit too intense and the only way you can still retain a bit of your former self is by making a bit of time for yourself. When I do these me-things I really do focus on what I’m doing. Like really enjoying the coffee, appreciating it and taking it slow.

What are your top tips to cut yourself some slack and make time for you that could benefit another mother?

Try not to be so hard on yourself. You are doing a great job. Surround yourself with positive friends too. At times when you’re under pressure, they’ll pick you up. Try to make a night to see your friends at least once a month (without the children). You’ll return more relaxed and your children will feel it. It’s definitely all a cycle. I have by no means nailed it but I’m always trying to get the balance better. Life is really short, I found that out last year, so I’m doing everything I can to make sure our lives are the happiest they can be. If I’m happy then Stanley definitely is.

 

Fiona's interior

 

Mum O’Clock chats with Tamsin Roberts – Vlogger at Anchormum

My name is Tamsin and I am a broadcast journalist. I used to be a real anchor at Sky news before having 3 children. I also worked at ITV London Tonight as a reporter and presenter. The reality of going back to work and finding childcare for 3 kids led to the creation of Anchormum and the blogs and vlogs. I decided that if I couldn’t go back to work I would bring work to the home! Anchormum reports on a variety of issues but mainly those cliched kiddie scenarios in her best newsreader voice and favourite outfits!

Tell us a bit about yourself

I was born in London but have moved around the country a lot. I have lived in Birmingham and Glasgow among other UK cities! As a result, I love change and am never afraid to try new things. My mother was a ballerina and my father an actor. I always wanted to follow in his footsteps but ended up a journalist instead! I lived in London now with my husband and 3 young children who are 2, 6 and 7.

If you were to choose one word to describe your daily life, what would it be?

Non-stop. (sorry, that’s kind of 1-2 words!!) Having three kids means you are always on the go. There is not much time to sit and relax!

Describe the last time you did something that made your soul happy?

The last time I went for a run – I try and go a few times a week as it makes me feel good about myself.

How often do you do that thing?

Twice a week.

Anchormum and her children

How do you feel when you are regularly carving out time for yourself compared to not?

I feel so much more positive when I have regular me time compared to not having it. It is great to have that regular slot of time out to look forward to! Having something nice planned to is always good for the soul!

What is your definition of me-time now that you are a mum?

Now that I am a Mum, me-this is time on my own without the children. It is good to spend a bit of time out so that you can give it your all when you have had a break.

What are your 3 favourite ways to practice self-care?

Exercise where possible, spending time with friends and dinner out with my husband.

In your opinion, why is prioritising self-care in your day-to-day important?

For me, it is important to find time for yourself so that I have full mental and physical energy for my children. Even if you only have a little time out it can count for a lot.

What are your top tips to cut yourself some slack and make time for you that could benefit another mother?

I would say accept help. Any help, particularly when the children are small is so important. Even 20 minutes of me time can keep you feeling calmer and less tired. Also, grab a nap when you can. There’s nothing better than a cat nap to keep up energy levels!!!

 

Anchormum portrait

 

Mum O’Clock chats with Lindsey – Blogger at London Mumma

Hey there, my name is Lindsey, I was born and raised in South London.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I currently live there with my 3-year-old daughter Leanora and Cat Milo, you may know me from the London Mumma blog. I have worked every single job under the moon and then some, which honestly, dare I admit it, I love! I am currently working in Events & Reservations, Freelance Stylist, Parenting Editor and most importantly a Full-Time Single Parent fuelled by coffee Monday – Friday, Lady diesel over the weekend ‘prosecco’.

If you were to choose one word to describe your daily life, what would it be?

Hectic! Bottom line really, as a parent no two days are the same, also working for myself, god knows where I’ll be, I do not think I even know where I am now, but guess what, do I love it? Hell yeah! Would I change my chaotic life, not on your nelly mate! Yes, life can be tough, but that’s the fun in it, I see my life as an adventure, is my life stable, meh! But what I do know is that my daughter is happy and healthy, Milo too, well as long as Leanora is not chasing him all over the house and walking around with him in a headlock.

Describe the last time you did something that made your soul happy? How often do you do that thing?

To be fair, I could not tell you the last time that I had me time, am I complaining, not really, am I a tad upset about it, yeah now you’ve asked haha! But I’m a single mum with loads of responsibilities, a daughter to take care of, a home to run and cat to protect and love, a blog that came out of nowhere to look after, bills to pay and jobs to do, so me time went out the window 3 and a bit of years ago, me time is my little family nestled in Clapham. If they are happy, that’s enough me time for me.

Lindsey London Mumma and daughter

How do you feel when you are regularly carving out time for yourself compared to not?
What is your definition of me-time now that you are a mum?

To describe me time if I really had to now that I am a mother, it is secretly sneaking away to go to the bathroom on my own, enjoying that morning brew without interruption and catching the news before the whole house awakes or lounging on the sofa at ridiculous o’clock with a good book and falling asleep to Love Island or Big Brother, then having a gossip about the shows’ events the next day with my grandad.

What are your top tips to cut yourself some slack and make time for you that could benefit another mother?

My golden rule or hack to squeeze a bit more time out of my day, is quite simply, to get up an extra hour early! Honestly as knackered as I am I can get a bit more done, be it the ‘me time, I am now craving THANKS’, to getting the clothes sorted, brekkie prepared and dare I say it, my blog post for the day done at 4/5am! Pictures I edit whilst on the tube, my best work is done on the tube, something about the motion soothes me. My advice to other mothers, single or otherwise, no matter what, you are doing an amazing job,

My advice to other mothers, single or otherwise, no matter what, you are doing an amazing job, whether you have the help or not just don’t over think it, learn to chill, if your little cheeky chops is happy, healthy, clean and striving what more could you ask for! Show gratitude for what you have. I write a list each morning, well most, let me know lie about it, but whilst writing and thinking about what I am grateful for at that moment in time I look at my snoring babe and cat, curled up on the bed and my heart fills with love and pride to know that she, my little Leanora has got me this far and without her love, temper tantrums too I know that me time is irrelevant because I would not be ME right now, a 32-year-old coffee fuelled mum without my little cha-chi.

Lindsey London Mumma and tree

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Mum O’Clock chats with Emma Ross – Blogger at Mamalina

Emma is mama to Jack (3) and Sonny (1) and wife to Sam.

Tell us a bit about yourself

When not hanging out with Jack and Sonny, I work in the creative strategy team at YouTube, can usually be found making coffee or when at home, doing a headstand or staring at flowers (I love them).

If you were to choose one word to describe your daily life, what would it be?

Random – every day is different, we rarely plan much and tend to just go with the flow

Describe the last time you did something that made your soul happy? How often do you do that thing?

Last night my husband and I sat on the sofa together and drunk a gin and tonic which felt fun and care -free and is oh so rare.

Mamalina b&w-41

How do you feel when you are regularly carving out time for yourself compared to not?

We do yoga classes once a week which is our time to be together and also to stretch – both of which feel amazing.

What is your definition of me-time now that you are a mum?

Me time can be as simple as popping to a coffee shop for 1 hour – it means doing something I enjoy without mini people hanging off me.

What are your 3 favourite ways to practice self-care?

Yoga, gardening, and arranging photos.

In your opinion, why is prioritising self-care in your day-to-day important?

Without fail, when I spend time taking care of myself (whether that’s washing my hair or doing some yoga), I always feel invigorated and rested and return with a spring in my step.

What are your top tips to cut yourself some slack and make time for you that could benefit another mother?

Think and plan ahead so that you can carve out that all important time. (and get some childcare in on the action if necessary!)

 

Mamalina b&w-22

Photo credit: Ariel at Dreamcatcher Family Photography

Mum O’Clock chats with Michelle Lockley – Alabama Pie Founder

Hello! My name is Michelle. I’m 36 and a self-employed, work- from- home Mom.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I live in Birmingham with my mister, Mitchell and our 3 children Jayden (13), Lollie-Rae (6) & River Hendrix (3). I run a small crochet and mama merchandise business called Alabama Pie (since 2014), and I also have a chronic illness which requires me to take over 60 tablets a day and annual visits to USA for treatment. Life is hectic but wholesome!

If you were to choose one word to describe your daily life, what would it be?

Squeezed! I feel like my day is being squeezed to fit into 24 hours! Sometimes I feel like I’m being squeezed!
Mitchell calls me a ‘potterer’ because I’m always floating about doing something. When we first got together he asked me what I was doing and I said, ‘just having a potter’! And it stuck.
Every day is a busy day. I’m sure all Mama’s can relate to that.

Describe the last time you did something that made your soul happy? How often do you do that thing?

For me personally, I struggle to have a meaningful ‘me time’ experience whilst I’m at home. Between natural distraction and mama guilt, it ends up being rushed or dismissed. I think the last time I felt soul happy and alone during some me-time was when I got a tattoo on my leg last month. I enjoyed the adult conversation with the tattoo artist Katie and doing something for myself felt great. I bizarrely find tattoos quite therapeutic. You know you’re an exhausted mama when the thought of being poked with needles whilst lying down is a welcoming break! And besides, no kiddos are allowed in the studio!
I try to find this level of relaxation mixed with excitement regularly… but not always via a tattoo studio!

Michelle Lockley - Alabama Pie Portrait

How do you feel when you are regularly carving out time for yourself compared to not?
What is your definition of me-time now that you are a mum?

Fortunately, Mitchell encourages me to have time to myself so I don’t experience guilt like I once did. Nothing worse than spending your child-free hours beating yourself up for choosing to be away from your babies!

When time passes without time being made for myself I don’t feel like I need it. I plough through my days forgetting me-time is an option and go into wonder woman mode. It’s only when I have that time do I then realise how much it was needed! A bit like when you don’t think you’re hungry but when you begin eating the meal in front of you, you become starving!

I most definitely function better when me-time has been had so regular seems to be key. I’m more alert and ready to take the world on again. Batteries recharged. Everyone benefits. You know the drill!

My definition of me-time now I’m a mama has been tweaked somewhat! For example, My friends are mostly behind a screen nowadays! I belong to a Facebook mama gang called ‘PMUK’ and I absolutely love how I can pop in and out of the group (whether I have a few minutes whilst on the loo at midday or I’m up for an hour unable to sleep at 3 am!), and there’s always someone there. I’ve made lifelong friendships and have attended mama meet-ups… meaning that some of them are now actual flesh friends! I know spending time on our phones has become a bit of a taboo subject and it can be seen as lazy and antisocial but I think we need to look at the bigger picture here. My phone houses a whole community of friends for me. Some live overseas and others are just down the road but as a group full of mamas we Identify that we’re not all ‘ladies of leisure’ and able to do brunch every day and have spa weekends. We send mail to one another. We donate money to help those of us in need when things are tough and we post things that are guaranteed to build up the lowest of moods. In a way, we are preserving our friendships for a time when we can venture out. Keeping them safe! Maybe we’ll all retire together and share an old people’s home, who knows!

What are your 3 favourite ways to practice self-care?

1. Sit in a cafe alone. Just me and a coffee. Spot of people watching. I almost always get talking to someone and that’s ok. I believe these natural conversations that strangers bring are all for a reason and I always take something from them. One lady told me how her parents always mocked her for talking to people she didn’t know and now she’s in her 40’s and realises that’s why she’s so positive and they’re not. She made me smile. I could relate. My Mother always tells me, ‘You tell people too much’! I wish I had the time Ma!

2. Listening to my favourite music… cranked up, (earphone’s required if you have a sleeping baby!) and singing. Not humming. I mean really giving it the Mariah Carey hands! I can’t sing to a standard that I’d wish for anyone to listen in on my performance but it’s always made me feel so good. My voice rocks in the shower but again, I wouldn’t wish for an audience! My go-to band is Pink Floyd and my guilty pleasure album is George Michael’s greatest hits!

3. I’m guessing you’re expecting some sort of hygiene routine to be my number three but baths and makeup don’t really soothe me or give me much enjoyment.
My final favourite way to practice self-care is allowing myself to shut my eyes in the daytime. I used to associate it with laziness and even after having my babies I was unable to ‘sleep when baby sleeps’ if it was during the day. So this one may be a little dull to many mamas but for me, it’s still something I’m battling with allowing myself to do. Therefore it’s a treat.

In your opinion, why is prioritising self-care in your day-to-day important?

If we can agree that motherhood can be compared to a full-time job then we can see why breaks are so important! For us and our employers. I guess our babies are our employers!

After having my eldest almost 14 years ago I was caught up in the notion that a mother shouldn’t need an identity or time alone. I didn’t recognise myself mentally or physically and didn’t particularly care either. I wasted my 20’s believing that as I was a mama I didn’t need to be Michelle too. In fact, I genuinely didn’t know you could have that balance. I’m now 36 and feel like I’m a Mama called Michelle. My self-esteem and confidence has peaked as a result of this. Surely everybody benefits from this? I want my children to experience this level of self-love from now. And they do. Practice what you preach!

What are your top tips to cut yourself some slack and make time for you that could benefit another mother?

Ok, so I respond well to rewards. They’re not just for our kiddos! I break down my days’ tasks and goals into manageable chunks (I have a love for chalkboards and notepads) and allow myself to find time to sit down and do whatever it is that I consider me-time on that day.

Having said that, some days it is ok to not aspire to achieve anything! It’s ok to get up and leave the housework for another day. Be spontaneous and take time away from the mundane routine.

My final tip I guess is to learn to ask for help. Before you skip past this tip because you think it’s not necessary or even allowed, think back to your childhood. Did anyone ever help your parents out? I know I was always at my Grandparents. I consider myself to be raised by 4 adults! My Mom, Dad, Nan and Grandad all cared for me. I’m so glad my Mom needed help because that encouraged me to have the most precious relationship with my grandparents. Asking for help doesn’t have to come in the form of, ‘Please, I’m not coping’! Whether it’s an extra few hours at nursery/childminders, asking Aunts and Uncles or Grandparents, I personally believe it’s a positive thing for everyone involved.

Positivity attracts positivity is my mantra. It’s all connected. x

Michelle Lockley - Alabama Pie Smiling

Mum O’Clock chats with Natalie Ormond – Little Magpies Founder

I’m Natalie mum of two boys aged one and three. I’m a Social Worker by trade and owner of Little Magpies which has been my side hustle for the last two years.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m an only child and while I had a happy childhood I always knew I wanted more than one child. I love that my boys are quite close in age and hope they will be good friends as they grow up. I’m originally from Lancashire but I left when was 18 to go to University in Liverpool and afterwards to travel with my now husband. We eventually settled in Leeds. I love the city and have no plans to leave.

If you were to choose one word to describe your daily life, what would it be?

Chaos! I was never the most organised person before I had children but now I constantly feel behind. There literally aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything I need to and it’s usually the housework that gets cut from my to-do list. We’ve lived in our house for six years and are still renovating it. It’s a struggle with two little boys tearing around and no family nearby. I’m not sure it will ever be finished.

Describe the last time you did something that made your soul happy? How often do you do this thing?

Oh this is a good question. After I had my first baby it took well over a year for me to feel like I was myself again. I thought it would be quicker second time around but it’s been much harder to find any time for myself. He’s 14 months and I’ve just recently left him overnight to go away. Actually, I had two consecutive weekends away and it was amazing to be on my own. I went to Manchester to visit an old friend over night, got 8 hours sleep and had a lazy Sunday morning in my PJs. The following weekend I went down to London to Blogtacular. I met some really inspiring women, learned so much and had a hotel room all to myself!

Natalie and family

How do you feel when you are regularly carving out time for yourself compared to not?

I feel my best when I am exercising regularly and getting some time on my own. I’m better able to cope with the chaos of being at home with the boys and juggling work and business. At the moment I’m not managing to fit it in. When I had a weekend away I realised that I need to plan more time for me as I came back calmer and happier having missed my boys.

What is your definition of me-time now that you are a mum?

An empty (tidy) house to do my own thing or getting out to see friends or exercise.

What are your 3 favourite ways to practice self-care?

If I’m honest I’m not very good at making time for myself. My business is my hobby and I enjoy working.  I escape to my attic office, shut the door and put a podcast on while I work. I find this a little retreat from the daily routine. I like to go out for a walk on my own, listen to music and switch off.

In your opinion, why is prioritising self-care in your day-to-day important?

It’s important to look after ourselves so we can look after other people. It’s easy to say this and we all now it’s true but many mums don’t do it, myself included.

What are your top tips to cut yourself some slack and make time for you that could benefit another mother?

Delete Facebook from your phone. I think I’ve gained an hour a day and I don’t feel any worse off for not knowing that my old school friends cousin got engaged.
If you can afford it get a cleaner. We had one for a few months when our second baby arrived and it made a huge difference. I wish we could afford to have a cleaner permanently. It’s definitely a goal for me.
LITTLE_MAGPIES_PRODUCT_PHOTOGRAPHY-7795

 

Mum O’Clock chats with Sunita Harley – Blogger at Lucky Things

Sunita is an HR expert and lifestyle blogger over at luckythings.co.uk. Over the past year,  her blog has taken her into offline projects like the sell-out events for women – The Lucky Things Meet Ups. Sunita is excited about her 40th year. The other month she appeared on BBC Radio chatting about blogger and Instagram life. In June, Sunita talked at Blogtacular 2017 about looking after your online and offline wellbeing. Her blog is all about connecting confidence to your career, wellbeing, life and style so it’s lovely that she’s recently been nominated and is a finalist for the 2017 The Inspire Brilliance in Blogging award founded by britmums.com.

Tell us a bit about yourself

My parents are Mauritian and my girls are half-Mauritian and half-English Brummy. We’re really proud they get to grow up with more than two cultures. I’ve lived in London since the age of eighteen.

If you were to choose one word to describe your daily life, what would it be?

Lucky. Hence the name of my blog. It’s may sound a bit cheesy at times but I say this word a lot. We’ve been together for over 13 years and life has thrown some really mountains at us to climb. We did IVF for our two girls and so glad we get to enjoy the ups (and downs) of parenthood together. Everything we go through makes us stronger and we do our best to adapt. I tell my girls every night how lucky I feel to be their mummy.

Describe the last time you did something that made your soul happy?  

I spent the day with one of my best friends. She was pregnant with her twins and she treated me to a gorgeous spa day for my 40th. We literally chatted all day long.

How often do you do this thing?

Never!! I rarely go to spa days now. It made me realise how even a little bit of pamper time at home is good for you.

Sunita Portrait Daniela cafe yellow skirt

How do you feel when you are regularly carving out time for yourself compared to not?

When I enjoy some me-time, I feel more energised afterwards. I’ve stopped feeling guilty about taking some time out as it’s important to look after my own wellbeing. In our home, mental health is really important to us as a couple. When I don’t get to enjoy me-time, it’s OK but I may start to miss having time to do my own thing. I like the idea that my girls see me as an independent mum who is ok spending time on her own (although I miss them heaps and I’m sure I suffer from separation anxiety when I’m not with them).

What is your definition of me-time now that you are a mum?

Popping into town on my own or just hanging out with my friends and other like-minded women. That’s one of the reasons why I organise the Lucky Things Meet Ups around the country. On an everyday level, it’s about listening to music or at least one song that boosts my day. In the evening if I’m not working, then writing a blog post is pretty relaxing for me. I would really love to go out dancing one night!

What are your 3 favourite ways to practice self-care?

Enjoy some decent sleep (if that’s possible), paint my nails (no longer do Shellac but I’ve discovered a fab gel nail polish from Next that works a treat!) Secondly, just pause and enjoy small moments with my daughters. I feel very grateful to be their mummy. Thirdly, eat food I love – this doesn’t always mean really healthy food but balanced things. I am feeling very lucky as I will be able to do one and three in May when I head to the MOM 2.0 Blogger Summit in Orlando. I won a competition with Dove to go to this blogger conference. It’s going to be full-on but I will make sure I enjoy any rest time.

In your opinion, why is prioritising self-care in your day-to-day important?

We need to look after ourselves as many of us live busy lives. Our brains, hearts and bodies are in over-drive. We also put a lot of pressure on ourselves. Self-care must be good for protecting our mental resilience.

What are your top tips to cut yourself some slack and make time for you that could benefit another mother? 

Ask for help! Don’t be proud. Delegating is a tough skill to master at work as well as at home. So trust others to look after your children and chores so you can take some time out.

If you really need a break, ask for 15 minutes so you can either read a book or magazine you like, pop out for a quick walk on your own or enjoy some music you really love.

If you need some energy boosting reading, check out the book The Things You Only See When You Slow Down by Haemin Sunim. Sarah from @the_mama_works gave it to me for my birthday and I love it. It’s super easy to read. Sometimes I have a quick flick through when I’m cooking dinner!

Also, explore mindfulness if you don’t already practice it. There’s this really cool technique called the Transitional Pause developed by Dr. Tamara Russell. It’s a quick thing to do even when you’re on the move!Sunita & Toddler Munch