Sunday, 27 February 2011

Mummy's day off - in search of Vera Wang

These shoes were made for shopping!
I had a mummy's day off last Sunday, grabbed my two best friends, flat shoes (which I had to purchase the day before, I'm not a flat shoe kinda gal!) and headed for the hysteria that was inevitable at... The National Wedding Show.

I was expecting it to be like a scene in friends, you know the one, Monica handing out whistles (my friend Sophie) Rachel hiding under a rack of dresses (my friend Gemma) and me, Phoebe, sitting on girls just to get THAT DRESS!  But it was a lot more 
placid than I expected, not a bitch fight in sight (slightly disappointing).

After an hour of browsing the standard booths of photographers, florists and venues, there it stood, like a beacon of light, I was a moth to it's flame, the VERA WANG sample sale! Now this is what I came for...  excitedly, I grabbed both their hands and raced over.

Browsing the racks, surrounded by women who looked like they could 
Kate Hudson in THE DRESS
actually afford the dresses I was drooling over, I found it.  The one from Bride Wars (well, it looked kinda like it, and the girl said it was similar.) To the changing room we headed... I was handed a pair of Jimmy Choos to try it on with, heaven.

As I looked at my reflection, and the two teary eyed best friends it the background, I felt like a princess.  Then my eyes were drawn to the little tag dangling from the side.  I won't disclose the figure, I wouldn't want to cause harm to anyone with a nervous disposition, let's just say it could feed a family for a year - and this was supposed to be a sample sale!? Suddenly I fell down to earth with a massive bang.  I made my excuses and promptly left, I obviously had to give my other half a call to confirm it was okay to purchase it and would be straight back (yeah right!).

I needed cheering up, so we went on the hunt for as many free cake and champagne samples as we could find.  After 3, ok maybe 6, champagne samples and a large glass of Pinot blush at lunch, I was back on it! Sod ruddy Vera Wang, let's find a venue.

I fancy a winter wedding, think boutique hotel, large fireplaces and a jazz band singing 'Let it Snow'. Simple yet sophisticated.  We had our brief, let the searching commence. Weddings in Dubai, nope, weddings in Cyprus, nope, stately homes, no no no!  Then we found it... The Olde Bell, tick, tick, tick! Minimum spend... £14,000! I must have looked shell shocked as she instantly started saying, 'well, we might be able to do something about the price if you had it mid week blah blah blah', I zoned out... £14,000!

I think James realised it hadn't gone well from the look on my face as I walked (well, sort of stomped) through the door.  'How'd it go?' he asked sheepishly.  I told him about the prices and we agreed to discuss it later.  After lots of cuddles with Belle, I was grounded, we did her bath and off she went to bed.  So we sat down to the review the day.

If James had his way we'd elope, just the two of us, then have a party on our return, so the prices I was throwing at him were (understandably) dismissed.  His opinion is that the money we'd spend on a 'party' (grrr, wedding!) we could spend on a bigger house, contributing to a better future for our family.  Damn it, why is he always right?  We'd love to have another baby in the next few years too so spending thousands on a wedding day (not party) does seem like, dare I say it, a waste.

The most important thing is that I become his wife, and I can't wait to be his wife.  Not only had he looked after Belle that day he had done the whole house and made her dinners for the next week, I'm one lucky lady.  But why can't I shake the little girl fantasy of a 'dream' wedding?   Not even a dream wedding... a small, 60 people, no sit down meal, no flowers, no bridesmaid, small elegant wedding. A 'semi dream' wedding if you will.  But even with the cut backs this option is still the difference between us having a 2 or 3 bedroom house.  I know I need to concede, but something inside is stopping me.

So, for now, no more Four Weddings, Wedding House or Don't tell the Bride on TV!  Thank you Vera Wang, for making me realise the truly important things in life, my baby girl and hubby to be - being a family, however and wherever we decide to get married.

My first Silent Sunday post...

Silent Sunday

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Time for exercise as a working mum - your joking right?

I did warn you about the pretty girls
Before Belle my idea of exercise was the calories I burnt in my skyscraper heels, dancing on a Saturday night, glass of wine in hand.  I had joined, not attended, and promptly cancelled, many a gym membership in my time as dinner and TV always seemed the better option, well... Eastenders was on!

Now, I need to exercise!  After having Belle by emergency c-section my tummy said bye bye flatness hello lumpy bumpy!  Not to mention the damage my love of chocolate Hob Nobs during pregnancy did to my thighs.

The thought of going to a gym, surrounded by fit, young, pre baby bodies scared me to death.  So once I got over my c-section I pulled out an old exercise DVD.  It's called 'Pump it up, hi-energy'.  Now, don't let the high energy bit fool you, I only do one section of this DVD a morning.  It takes 15 mins to do the section called 'tone it up' and let me tell you, tone it up it does!  Mr Mummy Bean is very happy.

I do the DVD after Belle has had her breakfast and she sits in her Bumbo and loves watching mummy make a fool of herself.  Then, after 15 mins, job done and I can get on with the rest of the day without thinking about exercise.  I also find by doing it in the morning it makes me not want to eat the naughty things (did I say my love of chocolate Hob Nob's was just a pregnancy thing...? woops)

I figure that I burn enough calories carrying 19lbs of baby up and down the stairs everyday to bother with the whole DVD, and living in a three storey town house, that's a lot of stairs.  Let alone all the aeroplane, swinging and lifting games.  Being a mummy is exercise enough, which is my excuse for skipping straight to the tone it up section, it's just a pain when a certain little bean has hidden the remote control.

I have in no way been asked or paid to promote this DVD, it's like 100 years old, but I would recommend it.  There are some very pretty girls doing the exercises half naked but I just pretend it's a mirror :)

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Becoming a mumpreneur, the story so far...

Thanks to everyone for your follows and comments so far.  Before I delve into posts about my opinions, reviews and general snippets of my life, I thought I would share with you my story so far...

As you know, i'm a new first time mummy and business starter, but how did I get to this point?

The adventure had just begun 
Flash back to September 2009, James and I touched down in Sydney after a booze fuelled jolly around Mexico, Vegas and LA.  With all our hopes, dreams and savings intact we had arrived down under, ready to start our new lives together in the sunshine. (ahhhh)

After some nightmare temp jobs (we even considered 'superhero' roles at a theme park, oh yes!) we both secured respectable jobs in the city, myself in Marketing and James in Training.  With hints from both employers of permanent sponsorship, weekends at the beach and moving from a flat share to our own pad just off the harbour bridge we thought... we've made it!

Then after ten days of being late, two days of feeling like death on the train to work and seven pregnancy tests later (six for me, one for James - just to make sure they were working) we found out we were pregnant!  Suddenly our whole world changed.

We decided to stay on in Sydney until I was 24 weeks, after which I wouldn't have been able to fly.  We enjoyed the sunshine, said farewell to new friends and headed back to the sub zero temperatures that awaited us at home that February.

We stayed with James' mum and dad whilst we served notice to the tenants renting our house (thank goodness we didn't sell up, now that's fate).  For the first time in my adult life I was jobless, and unemployable, with an ever growing bump no one was going to give me a job.  So once we got back in our house, I nested, but living on one income was becoming a problem.

Summer came and with it bought the World Cup, damn ruddy football!  I had no interest in being rolled from BBQ to BBQ in the blazing heat to watch what was inevitably going to be a national let down,  so I sulked at home, sweating.

I applied for maternity pay from the Government, I have worked all my adult life, paid my NI so I didn't think there would be a problem. How wrong was I! Two weeks before my due date I received a letter to say that I wasn't eligible.  As I had been out of the country I hadn't worked the required amount of weeks in my 'test period' in England, and Australia didn't count! I was 6 weeks off.  Gutted... how were we going to get by on one wage with a new baby?  

Exchanging Bondi for Skegness - two become three
Then came June 26th 2010, the birth of my beautiful baby daughter, Belle Rose.  It was a horrendous birth, of which I will go into more detail another time, but after an emergency c-section under general anaesthetic she was here!  Isn't it just the most amazing feeling, being a mummy!  We were both over joyed and any feeling of regret about giving up the Sydney dream subsided immediately when we looked into her eyes.

Amongst the joy of having this beautiful new born I couldn't shake the stress of money worries and the guilt I had from not providing towards the household income.  I have always been very independent and worked for my own things.  Suddenly we had to live to a tight budget, of which I wasn't contributing.  I didn't like it one bit!  I knew I had to take ownership of my own destiny, so, when Belle was 10 weeks old I decided to go freelance, and baby number 2 was born...

And the rest, as they say, is history.  I have been working freelance ever since whilst looking after Belle full time, and I'm loving it!

I hope you'll stay with me as I share with you my continued journey of working motherhood, James adoring and Vera Wang wedding dress hunting!


Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The wonders of being a freelance working mummy

5 months pregnant in Sydney
I spent this morning being interviewed on film about becoming an entrepreneur and a working mummy, apparently I'm a great case study for both :)

You see I set my marketing freelance service up when Belle was 10 weeks old.  After that short time I knew I didn't want to go back to work full time but knew I needed to work. We fell pregnant whilst living in Australia so I had to leave my job there as a Marketing and Sponsorship Executive and wasn't entitled to maternity pay from the Government when we got home as we had been out of the country too long (don't get me started, I'll tell you about that another time)  So... was born and I have been taking on freelance work from home ever since.

But how do you juggle work and baby...?  Be organised!  Be upfront! and ask for help when you need it!

Whilst being interviewed today I realised what a great position I am in.  I'm upfront with my clients, they know I have Belle full time and that she comes first.  Therefore I get the best of both worlds, the ability to organise my week around Sure Start classes and play dates whilst still actively using my business skills and contributing to the household, UK economy and wedding dress fund (Vera Wang in my dreams!)

I am lucky and if I have meetings to go to, or days I need to be at events both Belle's nannies can help out, or James will schedule time off when he can. But, for the majority, I work around Belle so I can enjoy her and we can spend time together.

Setting up your own business may sound scary and doing so with a 10 week old baby may sound pure crazy but I am so glad that I did and would encourage any new mum to do the same.  Being your own boss is a great way to ensure you spend as much time as you want with your little one.  It works for me, and maybe it can work for you too!

I don't think working mums get enough good press.  People shouldn't make us feel guilty that we are not with our children 24/7.  Children acquire great social skills whilst attending nurseries and day cares and flourish by having a happy and contented working mummy.  So here's to us!

I would love to hear your working mum stories.  Do you work full time?  Do you feel guilty about being a working mum?

Watch this space for a sneak peak of the film I was featured in today.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Introducing Mummy Bean...


I thought I would start with a quick intro...  Mummy Bean is one of my many hats as well as Marketing Bean,(my other blog about, you guessed it, marketing).  This hat is just a bit fluffier, warmer and fits perfectly!

I am mummy to the beautiful Belle Rose, who is now fast approaching 8 months old.  I work from home as a marketing freelancer and have Belle full time... busy bean!  I'm due to get married to the love of my life sometime soon, there's a ring on it, just need to save those pennies!

Join me as I embark on the new adventures of being a first time mummy and first time business woman, laugh with me, share with me, and occasionally just tell me I'm doing ok!

Here to support, inform and share all things mummy, we have to stick together!