It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

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We live in such a fast paced world, we race from week to week, busy ourselves at weekends and constantly tell each other ‘I don’t know where the time goes’  and we then we act all shocked when we find ourselves back at Christmas.

Well we are back at that wonderful time of the year which seems to creep up on us oh so quickly and it is that time of the year when family is at the heart of what we do. One aspect of celebrating christmas, especially when we have young children, is exploring the traditions we had as a child. We want to relive the excitement we once felt at the thought of a big fat man with a beard squeezing down our non existent chimney. We want to instil a sense of history and tradition in our children, something they will grow up remembering christmases for. EsmeLoves is very much about traditions, making connections, handing down to those younger and remembering those who mean so much.

We are not far off the big day and so I thought it would be good to see what traditions we find ourselves doing now that we also experienced as children. From food to dress and from presents to location, there are lovely little things that you will do as a mother that you have picked up from your childhood. Over the next week we will focusing on 3 bloggers Sunita from LuckyThings Blog, Alex from Alexandra Moore Style and Emma from It’s Mostly Okay  blog and how they are spending Christmas this year and the traditions that they have brought through from their own childhood.

Sunita from @luckythingsblog has two young daughters. Sunita is a lifestyle blogger who holds at wellness at the heart of what she does, from her HR consultancy to her lifestyle social meet ups it is clear Sunita cares about others and so I recently had the chance to ask Sunita about her upcoming Christmas and what she plans to do..

 What are your most vivid memories of Christmas as a child?
From about 8 years old we were always allowed to stay up late (or wake up) and open a few presents at midnight. Mum loves Christmas so she would say “oh go on, open one more”.  It meant that we all slept later in the morning! 
Another tradition is that we always have to wear something new on Christmas Day (and New Year’s Day). Even if it’s a pair of socks! 
I always loved opening at my stocking. To this day Mum knows I still expect to have one.
What family Christmas tradition are you hoping to carry on from your childhood?
 I love the whole decorating the tree tradition. I will always get the girls something new to wear for Christmas Day. I know we’ll have fun finding little treats for their stockings. 
Some new traditions for our little family…I’m hoping me and the girls can also carry on making our own Christmas cards. I love making my own cards so fingers crossed they will want to get creative with me! Big Munch loves gardening with her Daddy so I’m excited that they can plant our Christmas tree in the garden afterwards. That will be a lovely New Year tradition. 
Bringing old traditions into your children’s lives and making new ones is a huge part of your lives and sometimes the smallest act can turn into a yearly thing, that somehow makes it into your children’s, children’s lives.
So from wearing a new pair of socks on Christmas day to allowing your children to open a few gifts at midnight, this time of year brings back memories that we love to capture.
So have a little think…whether you’re a celebrating your child’s first Christmas or their sixth…what are you handing down to them?
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Small business love

The below words were doing the rounds on social media yesterday.

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It is true. Whenever a notification pings through on phone or laptop from Shopify informing me someone somewhere has ordered something, my heart does a little soar. Depending on where I am will depend on whether I break out into a happy dance but I get the words above…my response is a little mental happy dance. There is a momentary pause of ‘happy dance’ when you wonder if it is just your mum placing an order to make you feel good but then you see it is a real actual person, from a place you have not visited and their payment went through and so…boom, it is a genuine sale!

Small businesses are everywhere. I meet many of them when I do small pop up sales and I support so many of them through social media on Instagram. I hear many of them speak at Mother Meetings (the breading ground for many a fantastic business these days) and it seems small businesses are the thing.

One thing to remember about a small business is that it is the little things that drive them.

As some popstar once sang ‘ it’s not about the money, money, money…’ (well yeah it is but not in a greedy give me all your money kind of way…)

Below are the top ten ‘small business owners’ traits…..or maybe this is just me!

1.Your order is processed with love and care. I process your order. It takes me time, I take my time, I enjoy wrapping the items and I often think about what the person receiving will think when they open their parcel. I write the cards and I send it with love (yep, sounds a bit cheese but true)

2. I check each item before it leaves, a number of times…and then again..once more just to be sure before it gets wrapped!

3. I worry about your order, did it get there? How was it? What were the first impressions? Are they happy?

4. I frequent the local post office more than Busy Betty from next door. I know the names of the staff and I even know their busy times…which is super useful when rushing off to do the school run.

5. I care about you and your order long after our time has passed. I often think are they still wearing it? Are they ok?   but don’t worry..not in any kind of stalker way….

6. I deal with you as individuals. I answer my own mail, I personalise the interaction and try to make sure I do what I can to help, resolve or meet your requests.

7. Small business owners sell because they have strong faith/passion/obsession about what they do. I sell because I believe in my product. I truly believe it is a beautiful product that I want people to wear. I wear it, I want you to wear it.

8. I always want to always feel the same way when an order comes through.

9. I am always plotting, planning and sketching.

10. I secretly fantasise about becoming huge business that is seen on those big advert boards in airports…but not really because I am small and lovely and personal (but yeah, really I do)

So when you buy from a small business, especially over the Christmas period, give a little thought to the small business person behind the brand/product. They might be doing that ‘Happy Dance’ when you press ‘Order’

 

 

 

Dear Grandma

I miss you. I miss you very much.

I have such loving memories of you. The way you were always so smartly dressed, the twin cardigans and knitted tops, the pearls, the dainty watches. I remember seeing you on Wednesday’s after your weekly visit to the hairdresser with your friend. I remember your desire for me to always wear my hair up and to not marry a man with long hair (I do, mostly and I didn’t) I loved staying with you when I was at boarding school when my parents lived overseas. I loved the chopped and peeled apple you would give me as a snack, the odd Kit Kat snuck in there in the evening. The small money tube you had in the kitchen cupboard that would fund my sweet habit when we went to the shops. The fact you always smelled of mints and there was a draw in the dining room that was the only draw that seemed ‘messy’ with your gloves and your tissues (which you would always tuck in your sleeve) and your mints! I would sit by the draw and smell the mints, the smell I associate so much with you even today.

I remember visiting you (every other Sunday) and arguing with my sister about who would ring the bell and you would answer every time and say ‘Not today thank you’ and we would laugh and rush through the warmth of the hallway. I remember every single ornament on your hallway shelf, the order and the detail.  I remember sitting in the back of the car, driving away and seeing you and Grandad standing in the porch waving. My sister and I would wave with a ferociousness till long after we had turned the corner.

I remember your dressing table, with your mirror, your brush and your powder compact just waiting for small hands to play with, the simple of act of getting ready was made so graceful by your art.

I remember you trying to teach me to knit, your loving efforts always resulted in scarves, they would start of wide and end very narrow as I dropped stitches and made it up as I went along, you never criticised, you never told me it was wrong.

I remember staying with you one weekend and coming down one morning to discover my  ripped jeans (hours were spent perfecting the shredded rips in those jeans) now neatly covered in floral patches, your kindness to keep my knees warm had proceeded a fashion statement after your time. My horror and embarrassment of returning to school with my patched jeans was buried over for my love for you.

I remember coming home from university to see you in my parents lounge and having a conversation with you which revolved around what I was studying at university, again and again and again, my frustration building that you were unable to remember or register my current social status of study. I remember visiting your home, a place I sought sanctuary in, a place of warmth and childhood comfort, and seeing a noticeboard with the days of the week and the date written on, like one would see at a primary school. A reminder to you, a message to us.

I remember attending my cousins wedding, and painting your nails (your nails always looked so graceful) and seeing the distance in your eyes, the look of slight fear and distrust of the young woman painting your nails but then you were back, touching my face, telling me how lovely I was.

I remember so many things and I am scared of losing those memories as I get older. I am scared of not passing your memory down to my children, your great grandchildren, I am scared of relegating you to a photo on a mantle place. I wish I had understood how scared you must of felt, I wish I did more.

I wish I had known more about Dementia, what it meant, what it did. I wish I could of understood you more instead of being self consumed in my new found adult life and freedom at college. I wish your later years were being spent playing with your Great Grand children, knitting for them, receiving handmade cards and being fussed over as you creep towards 100, instead of living in a home being cared for.

I miss you, more now than I ever did.

Dementia kills more people than any other disease it has been confirmed today, more than heart disease and cancer.  We don’t know why it strikes people, much like cancer we can’t out play it, we can’t learn the rules. It creeps up on us,  it is mistaken, it hides, it shows, it breaks hearts and then it is too late. It is a painful slow death that is not fair and much like cancer, we fear it.

I want to remember in years to come that I tried to do something to help.

I am putting this out there as a promise to myself to raise awareness to support and to honour the people for whom dementia has so affected so deeply.

 

 

One in, One out..with me in the middle

So two quite big things have happened recently. My young daughter started nursery and my mother retired, literally on the same day. Two massive milestones in a persons life which have happened to two people that mean the most.

The start of nursery sees the start of the education chain, where from now on, their day to day existence for most of the year revolves around a institutionalised environment where we just hope they come out the other side still wanting to learn and play. It is the start of a journey that traditionally will accumulate in ‘retiring’.  A school is a place where they will make choices (bad ones) make friends (good ones) have crushes (terrible ones) and eventually move on through the cycle of study that will one day lead them to what they are meant to do with their life…..and the changes are happening so quickly. She is already mistakenly calling me by her friends name, she wants her hair styled like another girl in her class and when I ask her what she did in school, she responds with ‘I can’t remember’…..

Where as my Mum has just come through the cycle of study and work and out the other end and she did very well. She trained as a midwife and delivered babies (which I think is just such a awesome job) she worked in a hospital as a nurse,she has worked for large corporate organisations dealing with health, she has worked in schools as a nurse and finally she worked for the police (in between all this she worked for Laura Ashley when she couldn’t find a job..but I think this was really for the staff discount). My mum worked, always, since she left school and now she doesn’t work, she has ‘retired’ and a new adapting phase begins. I think she is doing well. I was expecting daily/hourly phone calls from her with Jeremy Kyle blaring in the background but as of yet we have barely spoken, she is busy….busier than she was when she was working.. which is exactly what I say to people when they ask me how things are now I am not ‘working’ full time…

So I am currently in the middle. I have ‘semi – retired’ (which according to the dictionary means to ‘withdraw from a professional career) from a career as a school teacher (that in itself sounds dated..educational mind shifter) and with that comes the feeling of change, fear, loss and I have started a new career in the shape of EsmeLoves jewellery which is a passion and a personal joy to do…but I feel like I am in the nursery school of business and branding (making bad/good choices, trying to put my hand up to get the teacher to notice me) So I empathise with both my daughter and my mother…I am the mummy in the middle.

Attending a mothers meeting business event yesterday brought into me contact with so many other mothers and women who are out there, starting again, redefining themselves in a new role, whether it is because their current career doesn’t support the ideal working hours for mums (see flex appeal and Anna Whitehouse aka Mother Pukka for the amazing work on this matter) or whether it is because they feel different, changed in some way that has led to a new business idea, opens a new door, one thing is clear, there is a new ‘middle’ phase of women out there, not starting out, not retiring, just redefining.

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I’m trying to…

Is a sentence I hear more frequently than I register. This morning in an epic late rush out of the door I asked my 6 year old to put on his socks and shoes. I will just repeat the request for you to register what it was I asked him to do…TO PUT ON HIS SOCKS AND SHOES. Now anyone with young children know, this ‘simple’ task can become the most painfully frustrating experience ever (if you are heavily pregnant right now you will also empathise with my 6 year old)…I was manically trying to get together everything else I should have done an hour previously (instead of hovering over instagram) and as I grabbed  the shoddily made sandwiches and a bag of junk (colouring pencils, paper, random cheap china badly made toys from stupidly remortgageyourhouse priced children magazines) I expected him to be by the door ready to go…but no, in the time it took me to make, pack and whip together food for the day my son had managed to get his socks NOWHERE NEAR HIS FEET.

M – ‘Come on, what are you doing..??’

S – ‘I am putting my socks on…’

M- Come on, go faster, we are late…’

S- I am, I am trying to…’

Cue silent minutes (hours, it felt like hours) of watching my young boy pour all of his energy, focus and determination into putting on his socks.

…………

M – COME ON

S- I AM TRYING TO GET THEM ON

M- Let me help you…..

S- No I can do it…

And this went on…and we were late.

However it has me thinking…the banality of putting on a pair of socks is a daily quick and necessary task. However it was my sons moment of ‘TRYING’ and I couldn’t see it. I could just see we were late…because of a pair of socks..

I am constantly trying. I am trying to set up a business, I am trying to be the best mum I can be, I am trying to be an amazing wife, I am trying to keep everything tidy so our lives will be easier and we won’t be late. I am trying to build a brand. I am trying not to be afraid, I am trying to not compare, trying to be the best version of myself.

I am trying to make sure my kids are wearing socks when we go out…

Time to just get on with it!

So I am going to spend about 3 seconds thinking about how uncommitted I have been to my blog writing . . .

Ok, done and now for moving on.

I had the wonderful pleasure at the weekend of attending an afternoon of cocktails and beauty treatments organised by the lovely Sunita who writes the LuckyThingsBlog. I met Sunita at a Mothers Meeting about a month ago and in-between the constant interruptions from small people who have yet to develop the art of patience we briefly spoke about what we did and who we were. Fast forward a month and I am standing in The Drift which is a lovely bar just by Liverpool Street.

The event was aptly titled ‘Time To Shine’ and was about building confidence in whatever aspect of your life you feel you need it. Hats off to Sunita for organising the event, everyone there had such a lovely time and the Weleda hand massages weren’t too shabby either!!

Starting out on your own business you find yourself constantly seeking reassurances and confidence building moments, working on your own you do miss the odd adult telling you how great you are (even though we hate compliments..no we don’t..yes we do…) The reality is that no matter how confident you think you are, there are moments when it all comes crashing down. Moving from a career in education where I felt fairly confident about what I was doing to starting my own business has left me with more moments of doubt than I care to mention. I seek out words of reassurance and often treasure them more than the person offering them realises. It is worth remembering how your words can impact another!

Meeting some lovely bloggers gave me a few moments of clarity.

 

  1. It is okay to have a blog, in fact it seems most people have one and they started from the smallest of acorns, some people are now doing very well with their blogs and finding themselves considering new ventures which have started from their blogs.
  2. People do read blogs. I am never convinced people have the time but the more I meet bloggers the more I read about them and the more I find myself turning to their blogs when I have a few minutes spare…so yes, people do read them!
  3. I am actually influenced by what bloggers blog about. Much like the amazon reviews (which I am a total sucker for) I do like honesty and so when I come across a blogger who writes it as it is I enjoy the products they write about and more recently I have found myself clicking on the product they are blogging about.
  4. It helps me with my shopping. I am a terrible shopper. I can’t see the vision in outfits that some people can, I need to have a small amount of choice and I need it to work with a range of styles so when a blogger provides me with links to the jumper they are wearing that looks good with 4 different trousers/skirts I am won over!!

So my TimeToShine mission …I need a blog to help me get my words out there. EsmeLoves is more than just jewellery. I want to celebrate women and our roles. I want women to identify EsmeLoves as a jewellery brand for the generations of women they know. I want the stories of women, as mothers, daughters, grandmothers, sisters. I want the humour the reality and the honesty of who we all are in the great old game of life. I want people to use my blog as a place to share these stories and read about others.

So if you are still with me…then please bear with me…I will get better at blogging.

P.S I promise to include pictures in the next post!

 

I am just off to the blog

So writing a blog is a bit like going to the gym (I am discovering). In your head you are focused, you have a plan. You can see the outcome and you are excited about it, you bought the gear, you’ve packed the bag. You are ready and willing and then suddenly something comes up ‘i will go tomorrow, I can’t go now‘ or you get there and you think ‘well I am AT the gym, surely that counts‘ You know the key to success is regularity and consistency. Going to the gym once is not going to offer any real benefit. Writing just a couple of blog posts are not going to do much for my business.

As a busy mum of two trying to juggle as many balls as I can (we all know how busy mums can get) it can be hard to find the time to sit and write, and when you do suddenly find the time, you are often uninspired to write anything of any interest, unless you want to read about how I just descaled the washing machine (yep, rock and roll people) so why would I choose to write a blog?

Well, I have started a new business EsmeLoves, which in my dreamy head will be a huge brand one day…and I think writing about it will help me communicate the ideas and passions I have for EsmeLoves. I also want to personalise my business. I want people to know there is a person behind the brand, that the business is being built by a real woman (me) who is working very hard to build something from scratch.

So my blog aims to echo my journey, my theme and my brand. I need to be consistent, build up momentum and then with time, the effects will come. The payout from writing on a regular basis will be a stronger, focused and lean (oh wait..not the gym) will hopefully be humour and honesty as well as the theme of women and jewellery.

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Last week I did a little sale, a local one which I love. Why? Because you get meet lovely people who just pop along for ‘nothing special really, just browsing‘ but I get the chance to talk about the brand and why I created my business. When they hear about the aim to celebrate relationships and how the jewellery is aimed at both a Grandmother and a Granddaughter, they look a little closer. The start to think about who they might buy something for. They think of their niece, their daughter or God daughter and they smile, ‘oh, Lucy would love this‘ as they pick up the EsmeLoves necklace Gold, ‘blue is her favourite colour‘ and the small act of thinking of the person, reminds them of who they are and what they love about them.

 

#womeninbusiness #startups #jewellery #relationships #love #women