Can parents have great conversations?

By Amy Beeson

Quite a few of my friends and associates from different background are also Coaches. Although they’re incredibly supportive and insightful to talk to, they also don’t pull their punches from pointing out if the person who is holding me back from something is actually me.

When Mumsnet Babyfest connected us with Barefoot Coaching and suggested we check out their Coaching Cards for New Parents I messaged Coaching Friends to ask if they’d come across them. The resounding answer was “Yes, they’re amazing. I trained with them.” And I’m not a girl who asks for professionals opinions and then ignores them.

kindred spirits

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Kim Morgan and Sarah Beeson

My mum and writing partner (Sarah Beeson MBE) and I were invited to a getting to know you breakfast with Kim Morgan the writer of Coaching Cards for New Parents and one the UK’s most esteemed business and personal coaches and her daughter Saira Aspinall who is the Marketing Director of Barefoot Coaching. When we met it was like we were old friends within minutes because we had so much in common on parenting, being working mums and mother and daughter teams. There was a lot of nodding, animated conversation and women’s laughter in the middle of the dining room of a central London hotel that morning.

Saira and I both have a background in marketing and publishing and are trying to balance the whole being good at my job and at being a good mum thing, and confessed that both of our mums’ (Sarah & Kim) were our 24/7 hotline to letting go of mummy guilt.

Kim and Sarah discovered they’d both been greatly influenced by Dr Mia Kellmer Pringle’s work on the emotional needs of children which shaped Sarah’s research for our parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family. Kellmer Pringle is also a character in Our Country Nurse. 

We left with an advanced pack of Barefoot Coaching Cards For New Parents to take home and play with and couldn’t wait to see what each of the 50 cards within the pack suggested. Saira and Kim were invited to our launch party for our new book Our Country Nurse and it was great to spend more time with them there.

sarah beeson gives thumbs up for new parents coaching cards

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Sarah and I looked at every card and picked out the top ten cards that resonated with us the most. We came to the conclusion that opportunities for romance may be few and far between with a new baby but trying to be kind to each other and not loosing sight that you’re a partnership as well as parents benefits everyone.

Parents could use Kim Morgan’s Coaching Cards to give themselves time and space to talk about  their lives and share all the lovely moments being a new parent has brought so far. They could also be a tool to start a discussion on any  issues you’re experiencing such as feelings of guilt and self-criticism or feeling under valued by your partner. You might pre-select a card or pick one at random and see where the conversation takes you.

Picking a calm moment and card or two to have an open and kind conversation about your thoughts and feelings since you’ve becoming parents and actively listening to your partner will help you to appreciate how much you’ve already grown as a family.
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Sarah’s favourite coaching card in the pack said, ‘What messages did you receive about yourself as a child? To what extent have these messages stuck with you or become true?’ It’s definitely a theme that runs through our parenting advice and novels. We gave away one of these cards to every reader who came to our book launches for Our Country Nurse and they agreed whoever you are, this question opens  up discussion about your past, present and future.

ASK YOUR PARTNER TO PICK A card

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One evening I got our the pack of Coaching Cards and my husband Takbir and I took turns to pick one each at random. It did give me a opporutnity to talk about some issues I’d been bottling up but also it was good to listen to him. To consider how our very different childhoods are influencing our behaviour as parents and how our greatest strength is working together as a team.

It being the school holidays our daughter Ava had less strict bedtimes and soon wandered into our conversation. She took a turn to pick a card too and asked us questions and answered them herself about her own experiences. As a family it was a lovely way to spend some time together and I noticed we were all very present in the moment. All the devices were turned off and it was nice to have an open discussion about our lives and share in our happiest memories.

great gift for new parents

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Kim asked Sarah if she’d endorse the coaching cards which she did gladly. If you pick up a pack this is the quote you’ll see on the back.

“Using these cards to talk about the highs and lows of parenthood will be good  for you and your family.”
Sarah Beeson MBE, author of Happy Baby, Happy Family

Coaching Cards are designed to make honest, open conversation between new parents easier. They can be dipped into time and again, the cards can be used throughout the first year of parenthood and beyond into the toddler years. Easy to pick up and use, they make a great new baby gift if you’re shopping for a present for new parents or mums to be.

ABOUT BAREFOOT COACHING CARDS FOR NEW PARENTS

Coaching Cards for New Parents by Kim Morgan are available to Buy on Amazon. You can get more information on Barefoot’s Coaching Cards range at Barefootcoachingcards.co.uk and follow them on Twitter and Instagram @barefootcoachingcards.

Behind the Scenes of the BBC (The Archers, BBC Breakfast and BBC Radio 5 Live)

The new iPhone 7 has landed and thank heavens I had my (not new) iPhone on Sunday night because without it I wouldn’t have been able to video, photograph, tweet and navigate my way around Broadcasting House in an evening where I was listening live to The Archers down the pub with Dame Jenni Murray from Woman’s Hour for BBC Breakfast. Then me, Takbir and Ava went up to the studios to talk to Emma Barnett on BBC Radio 5 Live on the top news story of the week for The 5 Live Hit List. Amy x

BBC BREAKFAST

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It was surreal and fabulous in be listening to the radio in the company of other Archers Fans in a cosy pub round the corner from BBC Broadcasting House. As well as me, Takbir and Ava there was Dame Jenny Murri (Woman’s Hour), Claire Cohen (The Telegraph), Lucy Freeman (Radio 4). Polly Neate (Woman’s Aid) and other fans including Sandra Paul, Ursula Knight, Mike Jones and Tom Middlehurst and young listener Annie.

the jury

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We knew all along that Helen was innocent of course but it was rather fun and at times nail-biting to be giving our verdict on The Archers jurors which included Dame Eileen Atkins, Catherine Tate, Nigel Havers, Aimee-Ffion Edwards, Cerith Flinn, Tam Williams and Graham Seed who was formerly Nigel Pargetter in the long running radio soap.

FINAL EPISODE OF tHE ARCHERS TRIAL WEEK

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When we heard Rob Titchener talk to Helen at the end of the episode we all jumped. This is what an Archers fan’s face looks like when they hear his insidious tones. It was a fantastic experience, I hope I get to listen with other fans down the pub again. The hour-long special really kept us on the edge of our seats hoping that Helen would finally be set free.

DR WHO MAGIC AT BROADCASTING HOUSE

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We then raced round the corner for my radio interview at the BBC. Ava skipped into the building (she’s been there before for my interview with Harriet Scott on being a working mum on BBC Radio London) but back then she slept through it in the buggy. Now she was eager to enjoy the sights of the Beeb especially the Tardis and Darlek from Dr Who (she does love that show).

INTERVIEW ON IPHONE 7 AND APPLE BRAND ON RADIO 5 LIVE

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5 LIVE HIT LIST INTERVIEW

You can listen to the interview on the 5 Live Hit List on BBC iPlayer Radio with Emma Barnett, Elinor Mills (Editor The Sunday Times) and author and Wordsby Brand Consultant Amy Beeson. But here’s the highlights. (From 1 hour 46 minutes into the show).

Emma Barnett presents 5 Live’s rundown of the top 30 news, politics, sport and showbiz stories of the week that are making the biggest impact across social media and online. The No. 1 Story of the week shared online was the iPhone 7.

EMMA: It’s the iPhone 7 of course! The latest version was launched this week in San Francisco with the company’s decision to ditch the headphones and socket. Apple says the move was motivated by courage which has brought mixed reactions from many former iPhone fans…Whether you love it or hate it Apple is now arguably the biggest company in the world. The launch of a new iPhone is a major global event but what is it about the company that has given it an almost cultlike following. Elinor Mills is still with me and Amy Beeson who is a brand consultant and author who has been watching the launch for us this week and has more on the most expensive iPhone to date. So, Amy, wireless headphones was it a brave decision or a way to make more money?

AMY: It’s a really tricky question. When I heard about the socket and the headphones I immediately thought not again. I’m going to have to go out and buy all new accessories. My initial reaction was quite a negative reaction. Using  a word like “courage” for this move, as a writer was maybe not the word I would have chosen. I went on watched the actual ad and I remembered the guys and gals who developed it in San Francisco really hold the development of seamless technology in their core brand values. So, on the one hand do we need it? On the other hand, as a brand having seamless technology is the next evolutionary step of the iPhone. It is at such a premium price but Apple is not known as a cheap product.

EMMA: It’s not, it’s a luxury product.  Elinor Mills, when you’re looking at something like this coming out, it’s never on a Sunday these launches. It’s kinda not like any other tech launch is it?

ELINOR: I think it’s fascinating that it’s top of the list and we were all discussing in conference last week that we were going to have something on the iPhone 7 because we know everyone is interested. We know that’s because so many of us spend so much of our lives on these, it’s almost we spend more time with them than we do with our children and anything else, so I think people are very obsessive. On the headphone front I think it’s a disaster. The only way I can find my white headphones in my bag is by pulling the wires. Just two little tiny bits of plastic that sit in my ear I think I would lose them the whole time.

EMMA: You get can big headphones like we’re wearing too and they’ll be wireless.

ELINOR: I also think it’s weird in a brand way because the white headphones was so iconic it was in all their adverts. You’d have people in black with the white wire symbolising the iPod so I think that’s interesting because it maybe wireless technology but the wire they made a real fetish about.

EMMA: A big part of the Apple launches, Amy, are what Tim Cook the CEO has to say. It used to be Steve Jobs. What they seem like is important and him in a car with James Corden doing a bit of Carpool Karaoke to enter the stage. There has been criticism that since Steve Jobs passed away the brand has lost some it’s sheen. Where do you stand on that?

AMY: That’s very true. Where a brand is synonymous with a personality, like Virgin and Richard Branson, it definitely does some damage to the value of that brand. But Apple has never really strayed away from their core brand values that came with Think Different in 1997. Next year it’ll be 20 years since Steve Jobs launched that campaign and it set the bar for what brand is.

ELINOR: I think the problem is though that Apple haven’t really come up with anything new really since Steve Jobs went. He had already got in train the iPhone, iPods were a big success but you could argue that Samsung or those kind of people are doing more innovative stuff.

AMY: I think that’s because Apple have never been about new products, they’re reinventive. So, they’ve always taken someone else’s product and taken it to another level. They weren’t the first people to do MP3s but followed up with the iPod. They put the “I” into that technology, they make it their own and it’s very intuitive technology.

EMMA: There are conspiracy theories. I remember when I used to be a tech correspondent and Steve Jobs passed away there was this whole thing that he had left years of prototypes, that he had left years of what he wanted to come. So, do you think there’s a delay or do you think there’s nothing left in the tank?

ELINOR: I think they’ve run out.

EMMA: You think they have? Amy?

AMY: It’s really tricky. Are you a custodian of that brand or are you leading that brand? And which is worse and which is better? I really don’t know. Steve Jobs is an impossible person to follow, I wouldn’t want to have to do that.

EMMA: You wouldn’t want to have to do that? Now, how do you think people think about Apple apart from expensive?

AMY: Apple really has almost this rock star quality. When they release something like the iPhone 7 it made me think it almost has all the hype around it like Adele’s new album coming out. There’s all the build up towards it, it gets released and they’ll be people queuing up around the block to get one. I know for a fact from a branding point of view they look at music a lot in development. So, not only do we access music through our iPhones as a brand they really draw from music marketing.

ELINOR: I just wonder if the sheen’s coming off a bit? Because the products are really quite cool because Jobs had done them before he went but I don’t think they’ve really come up with anything new and a bit of wireless headphone isn’t really going to cut it. Where’s the new thing? Where’s the new iPad. His was all about creativity and design and giving us objects that we didn’t even know we wanted that would transform our lives in the way that we used technology. I don’t think they’ve had a game changer like that for a long time.

EMMA: The watch was meant to be a big moment wasn’t it?

ELINOR: That was a dud.

EMMA: I don’t see many people wearing them – it’s an anecdotal view. Technology is often very difficult to get right, we saw with Google Glass, somebody wearing something on their face as a glasses wearer that was never going to work out for me. Quick line on that Amy, the double lens camera does that feed into the culture of innovation at all?

AMY: It very key in how people want to use their iPhones. I don’t know how different it is, but in the way the iPhone has become integral in business and personal life it’s definitely going to make things better for them.

EMMA: Definitely going to make things better. Amy Beeson thank you very much for that. Elinor Mills as always a pleasure. That’s it from the 5 Live Hit List tonight.

END. You can listen to the interview 5 Live Hit List on BBC iPlayer Radio

AMY BEESON

Amy Beeson runs Wordsby Communications and has a successful writing partnership with her mum Sarah Beeson MBE. Their new book Our Country Nurse is set in a country village in 1975 and is bursting with stories of mums journeys during pregnancy and motherhood.

Do you love holding other people’s babies?

I must confess when I first had LO you think your baby is so awesome it’s hard to be interested in anyone else’s. I guess that’s just natures way of making your new baby the centre of your world.

But with LO starting school last week I got to hold other people’s scrumptious new babies at YoBeBe Apps Mums & Bumps Meet Up at Somerset House and man they were just gorgeous.  What a fantastic gathering of mums and mums-to-be. With complimentary gifts from Mothercare.

It was also a pleasure to chat to the pregnant first time mums about bump life. They were already putting such thought and time into preparing for their Little One’s; my mum (author Sarah Beeson MBE) is right this is the best generation of parents ever. I was asked to speak to this group of women about my journey into motherhood, becoming an author and setting up my own business Wordsby.

Along with Marion a parent blogger at Poignee D’Amour who organises Free Meet Ups in Notting Hill and Elisa who teaches ballet with bump and baby from PregDance.  The advice we give in Happy Baby, Happy Family seemed to strike a big cord and one mum who’s read it said our instant baby calmer The Up-Down Technique stops her baby crying every time in seconds!

You can see Sarah for 1-2-1 Baby Advice at Mumsnet Bumpfest in London on 26 Sept.    And at Natures Purest Balham on 29 September.    There really is nothing more we like than talking to mums and expectant mums so please get in touch if your run a group in London or the Midlands.

A heartfelt blog post from a mumpreneur on the realities of their child starting school

Have you been worried about your LO’s first day at school? I have, it’s been the subject of many heartfelt conversations with my mum (Sarah Beeson MBE author and baby expert), mum friends and teacher friends.

LO decided to recreate this photo of her with her teddy bears this week. For me and her dad Takbir, it was a reminder of though she’s still our baby, she’s not a baby anymore (though she loves to play babies). Super cute?

Developing self-help skills for reception class

For organised little old me, I have to prepare. I can’t not – I’m a planner. We started gently checking off the self-help skills Sarah recommended in April when the schools admissions came through.

Gradually increasing the opportunities LO had to:

  • Get dressed and undressed on her own
  • Take her coat on and off and hang it up
  • Go to the toilet on her own and wash her hands
  • Put her shoes and socks on
  • Find a tissue and blow her nose
  • Pack up and take out her apple and books from school bag

School admissions stress

I never said this at the time, but we had weeks and weeks of worry following the School Admissions in April as LO didn’t get into any of the six choices of school we made and had no school place. My friends with older kids told me to hang in there; there’s lots of “horse trading” one seasoned school mum told me. And low and behold in June we moved up the waiting list and LO got into a great school.

Joy! I bought her school uniform almost immediately but put off labelling the 20+ items.

Do you hate ironing and sewing too?

I flipping do! It takes me ten minutes to sew on a button and I never iron, I just put things on a hanger straight out the washing machine to dry. There are so many labelling products out there I just didn’t know what to choose.

I turned to social media and asked my friends what they use. Nicola, a mum of two and primary school teacher recommended Stamptastic. I instantly started looking at their site and reading parenting blogger reviews from mums in the know. They all rated the product highly as hassel free and long lasting.

Stamptastic was set up by three mums, and as a mumpreneur myself, I always prefer to support another woman in business. I was really chuffed when Emma sent me the stamp with LO’s name on and the ink pad which costs £22. They also do a PTA scheme where you get great discounts if you get your school to sign up.

On the August Bank Holiday Monday I got out my stamp and bam…Over 20 pieces of school uniform labelled in ten minutes!

I really recommend Stampastic. It’s easy peasy, affordable and effective. That’s me sorted for labelling her stuf until she goes to university. I stamped her uniform, bags even her water bottle. It’s permanent ink and doesn’t come off in the wash.

Do you use books to explore new experiences?

I often turn to books to help LO prepare for a new experience. Whether, it’s ballet class, potty training, or having a day with grandma while mummy’s at work.

As one of LO’s favourite books is ‘The Jolly Postman’ we’ve been reading ‘Starting School’ by Janet and Allan Ahlberg quite regularly these last couple of weeks before our current bedtime book ‘Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland’. It’s helped remind me a few things about reception class that I’ve long forgotten. 

The first day of school 

I’ve been having a big declutter as part of my preparation for LO starting school. I’ve been mulling over how to do the school run, meet clients for my brand and campaign business Wordsby, write and promote our books Happy Baby, Happy Family and The New Arrival and our next book She’s Arrived!, exercise and have healthier lunches then be on time to pick up LO from school. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, mums have to be so organised we could plan military operations.

Finding the perfect school run to work bag

I’ve been asking and asking social media friends what is best bag to carry on the 0.9 mile walk to school, that will fit in my gym gear, laptop, notebooks, sketch pads, diary, pencil-case, purse, water and a snack. While keeping hold of LO’s hand.

Kiran Chung (who was at Pink Lining now at Mumsnet) recommended the Pink Lining rucksack. I do love Pink Lining, they’re stylish and practical and Creative Director Charlotte is fellow mumpreneur. Ever since they’d given us beautiful bags like this little mini rucksack at our rooftop mum and baby party for the launch of Happy Baby, Happy Family I’ve been browsing their website and trying to think of an excuse to get one (since LO is long out of nappies).

I decided I’d been faffing around long enough and hit the PayPal button and bought myself the mummy version of this gorgeous Pink Lining bows rucksack which is a great work bag. It’s perfect; comfortable, practical and other mums’ have been eyeing it up too as I’ve had to write down the website address for where they can buy one quite a few times already.

Do you like my yummy mummy school to work run backpack?


Is going school is harder on the mums and dads?

I’ve been a bit tearful over LO starting school the last few weeks. It’s been amazing just how supportive other parents have been in my everyday life and on social media. So, a big, big thank you.

But when the first day of school came it was a really happy one (no tears at all from any of us). We were happy, excited and enjoyed our time together as family and new experiences we’ve had when we’re apart. My mum said to me, ‘She’s happy, so your happy.’ Which seems kind of obvious now.

I know there’ll be bumps and tough days but I’m going to be positive and embrace this new phase of our lives and remember how lucky we are that as a freelance writer and communications consultant I have the flexibility to drop off and pick up LO from school (something my working mother never had).

For me, being prepared helps us to enjoy new experiences. I was a terrible Girl Guide but I do follow Sarah Beeson’s advice on the school pick up.


Those three tips so far have led to happy chats after school as LO has a snack and drink and little by little starts telling me about her day.

Is your LO starting school? How’s your week been? 

An Easter Rural Retreat, BBC Radio 4 and Mother-Daughter Shopping

Like most of London on Munday Thursday we wanted to do the big Easter Weekend Getaway but first we had to do a quick TV interview with Good Morning Britain on shared parental leave.

 LO insisted we wear our matching Poppy England Forest dresses for the cameras.   My husband, Takbir and I were interviewed in the kitchen. LO took this photo – not the most flattering angle. Thanks kid! The three of us had a quick game of alphabet cards, like you do before a hectic packing session. LO didn’t bat an eyelid about being in front of the TV cameras but then she did feature on Location Location Location when she was ten months old and wasn’t a smidge of trouble. Packing done, at last we were off in a northerly direction to Staffordshire to my mum, Sarah Beeson for a bit of much-needed family time.

Good Friday was a bit of a wash out. But my mum being the lovely mama she is took LO in the morning and let us have a lie-in. She even brought us breakfast in bed. On Saturday Sarah hosted a lovely lunch for our friends and their gorgeous new baby. I was so pleased to see them using the Faye & Lou rainbow muslins we bought for their new arrival. It made me rather broody. On Easter Sunday LO was thrilled to wear her new Poppy England boat dress, white cardigan and yellow petticoat for the first time. She really loves swishing around in her new petticoat. And she does rather like to jump up and down on her Grandma’s bed (under supervision). It’s quite nostalgic for me to see her lying on the quilt my own Granny made. I thought she might be shy of the lovely ladies from BBC Radio 4 who joined us for our family interfaith celebrations but she was chatting to them happily as soon as they arrived. Going to Broadcasting House for radio interviews with Harriet Scott and Robert Elms on BBC London, BBC Radio Stoke and Hackney Radio stations last year with Mummy and Grandma when The New Arrival came out means she takes TV cameras and radio mics in her stride. My husband’s family arrived for our annual Easter Egg Hunt and lunch. My lovely sister-in-law Nazia even brought these Easter Cupcakes. She’s so clever and is another mumpreneur and runs Cocoas Cupcakes in Birmingham Nazia even made these homemade personalised golden Easter Eggs for all the children. How’s that for creativity at interfaith family celebrations! I was amazed at how easily Sarah talked about our family to BBC Radio 4 producer and presenter whilst preparing the lunch. She looks so at home in her country cottage kitchen in her Poppy England apron we gave her for christmas. I can feeling some weaning advice and recipe videos will be needed when her next book Happy Baby, Happy Family comes out.

LO and her cousins love, love, love our annual Easter Egg Hunt. It just fills you with such joy to see them enjoying themselves and being together as a family.

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Takbir prepared halal lamb for Easter Monday lunch. My mum served up chapatis, riata, quorn and chickpea curry, salad, spiced potatoes and rice followed by a lemon and cream pie. It was all very, very good. We all think good food is one of the benefits of being a culturally rich-mixed family.

Each of the children, even though they are only between three and four years old, loved being interviewed about what they liked about Easter, Christmas and Eid. They just take these events as celebrations and a time to be together as a family, they don’t see that some of them are muslim and some of them are christian.

This year the children were all ready for the egg and spoon race, though I must admit there was a fair bit of cheating.

They all beat the dads in the parent and child race.

Before we waved goodbye to BBC Radio 4 and went on a long country walk through the village we had a family photo. As you might have noticed there’ll be an extra Little One at next year’s gathering (my Sister-in-law Abeda is a pregnant with her second and Nazia and Fateha already have two children each). I wore my Poppy England Forest dress and new yellow cardigan again but followed LO’s example and wore my new yellow petticoat for the first time too – I now want to wear a petticoat everyday – they’re such fun.

On Tuesday Takbir went back to London but LO and I stayed on in the countryside for some clean living. LO and I had a wonderful afternoon exploring one of my favourite places Shugborough Hall. I was hoping to take a few days off; I haven’t had a proper day off since New Year’s Day.

My mum brought me and LO breakfast in bed on Wednesday morning (she really is the best mum ever) and LO had picked me this lovely flower to have on my bedside table. It’s wonderful to feel Spring is really here, such a celebration of new beginnings and family life.

I usually sling a few snacks into the nearest bag when LO are out and about in London but Sarah whipped up in no time a lovely picnic lunch. She put this basket onto the back seat of her car and took us to the playground at Weston for a picnic lunch and running about in the spring sunshine.

It was so lovely to do a bit of mother-daughter shopping at Trentham Gardens. Last year we bought LO a mini doll for her birthday from Natures Purest Trentham. It was so nice to find a mixed race doll and we got her the Papa and Mama & Baby dolls for Christmas. She asked if Mimi could have a sister and now her little World Family will be complete with brother Felix and sister Flora to add to her dolls for her next birthday.

One of my cousin’s has a new baby, who we also sent some blue and white star Faye & Lou muslins. But Sarah being the loving auntie she is, couldn’t resist buying the new baby a bamboo blanket from Zoe at Natures Purest too. We were given one for LO when she was a baby and it really is so soft and snuggly. Another of my cousin’s is expecting – by the end of the year there will be three new babies in the family.

My day off was short-lived as we got a phone call from HarperCollins to tell us the final proofs for Happy Baby, Happy Family were ready. So the rest of the week was spent going through them. Though it’s terribly exciting to see the book come together; it’s off to the printers next week. Less than eight weeks to go now (4 June 2015) and a bit like waiting for a new arrival.

More excitment on Friday when we realised Sarah’s advice on gentle parenting was featured in this month’s Gurgle Magazine.

And our top games to play with new babies are in this month’s Mother & Baby magazine. So, it’s been a great week. Not without its dramas (the washing machine broke) but it’s definitely been a case of Eat, Pray, Love this week for our whole family.

Amy Beeson is working mum. She runs Wordsby Communications and co-writes books with Sarah Beeson MBE. With her husband, writer Takbir Uddin she is part of the Interfaith Marriage Network that supports couples and families who are in interfaith relationships.

(LO was given her boat dress by Poppy England but every other product mentioned in this article we paid for).

Friday 13th, Fashion Fiascos and Red Nose Day #MyKidsDressedMe

Friday 13 March is proving unlucky for some parents and carers across the UK but lucky for the millions of people Comic Relief help each year. So throw open your wardrobe doors and put a lock on the dressing up box and let the kids in your life pick your outfit for the day and join in with #MyKidsDressedMe. We had a trial run with this a few weeks ago with LO – like my outfit?

#mykidsdressedme tiara

Join in

Here’s how to join in the fun on Red Nose Day.

1. Let your kid dress you

2. Text FUNNY to 70011 to donate £1

3. Post your photo on Social Media using hashtag #MyKidsDressedMe and #HonkFromHome. Nominatee three friends to do it too and get your family and friends to Text FUNNY to 70011 to donate £1.

Here’s a very short video of me and LO explaining what to do.

 

The Mum Story Behind #MyKidsDressedMe

Pippa Best from Story of Mum was so inspired by Summer Bellessa who let her kid dress her everyday for a week, that Pippa let her 4-year-old daughter pick her outfit for the school run one Friday morning in February. I saw Pippa and commented and she challenged me to let LO dress me too. I accepted the challenge along with other mums and promised I’d go to Mums and Toddlers on Monday dressed by own 3-year-old.

Meanwhile after much hilarity and tweeting Pippa had connected with @EmmaFreud from Comic Relief that we should make this a Red Nose Day Fundraiser for parents everywhere and Ta-Dah! Check out some of the fabulous styling of the countries youngest fashionistas over at Story of Mum and add to the gallery.

On Friday I will post my latest ensemble from LO and I’ve challenged my husband @TakieWordz to join in too.

Tweet your photos to @RedNoseDay @StoryOfMum @TheBearRabbit @Amyibeeson

Amy Beeson is a writer and brand creative at Wordsby Communications. She is the co-author of The New Arrival: a heartwarming true story of a trainee nurse in 1970s London and Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby.

Making Mother-and-Daughter Paper Dolls for some Christmas Magic

We’ve booked to go to Poppy England Pop-Up Shop in Shoreditch this week (19-22 November) to try on some matching mother and daughter dresses. Before I had children that’s something I swore I’d never do, but LO just loves wearing the same colours, necklaces – whatever Mummy does, she wants to do too.

Sarah Beeson MBE author and baby expert (and my Mum) wrote a piece for Tesco Living this month on Christmas Shopping with Little Ones. She suggested getting a bit crafty by cutting pictures from the packet foods you regularly buy and creating a list of items your children will be responsible for finding when you’re there.

So that got me thinking…For LO and I to get the most out of the Poppy Christmas Party, why not choose the dresses we like ahead of time and make some paper dolls of ourselves. LO is a bit under the weather, so this morning seemed like a good time to get making things with paper, scissors, crayons and glue. And this is the result…

Our own Mother-and-Daughter Poppy England Paper Dolls – Tah-dah!

Poppy England Dolls on the bookcaseLO was a little tired so I tucked her up in bed. I was so surprised she started acting out going shopping with her mummy to try on dresses.

Imaginary Play

Poppy Paperdolls in BedThen she asked me to write out the beginning of the story on her blackboard.

Story-time

Poppy Paper Dolls StoryDiscovering new brands

When I’m not writing with my mum (The New Arrival and Your New Arrival:learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby) I’m working one-to-one with SMEs on passing on my communications know-how in branding and campaigns at Wordsby.

When I first saw the Poppy brand I was really struck with their creative flair. Storytelling through illustration, photography and dress-making is a niche I’m curious about. Clicking on their website and seeing this photo instantly converted me to wanting a dress to match my little girl’s

poppy  mother and daughter

 

It’s brand magic when people you know tell you about the bands they love

Since we published The New Arrival and went straight into the Amazon Charts, I’m always talking about the power of social media. I’d never heard of Poppy England until I saw Pippa from Story of Mum tweet this…

@StoryofMum “Another beach party, another excuse to wear our matching @poppyengland dresses!! I have no shame ;)”

Pippa Poppy

If it wasn’t for LO I don’t think I’d do much craft but sometimes it’s really lovely to get creative. That’s why I’ll be joining the mums for #SoMum tonight on Twitter (19/11/2014 8.30-10pm) @StoryOfMum. Connecting, sharing and taking some time to be creative and think about ourselves.

New Arrival book launch at Baron's CourtAbout Amy Beeson

Amy Beeson co-wrote The New Arrival with her mum Sarah Beeson MBE and runs Wordsby Communications. She works one-to-one with clients to share her creative know-how. Contact Amy to find out more about booking a FREE 1 Hour Consultation.

On maternity leave and thinking I want to work but I don’t want to go back to the office? So did I.

MLI-19-Amy-BeesonIt was great talking to Soozi Baggs from Maternity Leavers about how having time out of the office with LO changed what I wanted from my work life in this free podcast.

Are you thinking of becoming a Mumpreneur?

Are you on maternity leave? Or did you have a change of direction after becoming a mum?

Share your story on Facebook or tweet @NewArrivalBook or @Amyibeeson.

your personal brandContact Amy

Amy co-wrote The New Arrival with her mum Sarah Beeson MBE and runs Wordsby Communications. She works one-to-one with clients to share her creative know-how.

To find out more or to book a free 1 hour consultation contact Amy today.

 

 

 

 

Is Mumpreneur a dirty word? Five pearls of wisdom for mums who want to run a business from home

Over the weekend I was featured in an article in The Telegraph on the ‘Rise of the Mumpreneur.’ Here’s what I had to say:

‘Childcare is a huge expense, but setting up a business is a struggle, too’

Amy Beeson, 32, from west London, is mother to two-year-old Ava. After leaving her job in communications for maternity leave in 2011, she decided to spend her time at home co-writing a book with her mother [Sarah Beeson MBE].

It wasn’t straightforward: before the book, The New Arrival, was picked up by a publishing agency [HarperCollins], she had to return to work. Only now has she decided to stay at home working full-time for her business, Wordsby Communications. “Working from home and becoming your own boss is empowering but it can be financially difficult,” she said. “While going to work and paying for childcare is a huge expense, starting up your own business from home means you are likely to struggle financially to begin with as well, so it is important that mothers enjoy the business they are starting up and are able to be adaptable.”’

Telegraph MumrepeurWho am I?

Six months after returning to work from maternity leave I waved goodbye to my full-time Communications Civil Service job after getting a three book deal with HarperCollins to co-write two memoirs and a parenting book with my mum, Sarah Beeson. I started up Wordsby Communications at the beginning of 2013 which provides communications, design, writing and branding services. Our first memoir ‘The New Arrival’ is a top-selling book and tells the heart-warming story of a trainee nurse in 1970s London. Working from home gives me the flexibility to do a job I love and take care of our Little One.

So, some days I’m doing what Reviewers have called “beautifully written and moving memoir” and others I’m developing brand language for Kali Theatre Company or a new brand for Notting Hill Vets. Life as my own boss is certainly never dull. It’s full of highs and lows but it feels like I am living my life.

Mumpreneur?

The label “Mumpreneur” causes ontroversy. The first time I had it applied to me was when I was asked to tell My Mum Story by Pippa Best at Story of Mum, she told me it was great to have a Mumpreneur’s story. I thought that’s not who I am. Yes, I’m a mum but I just work freelance and run a small Creative Communications business Wordsby. I’m hardly Alan Sugar or Richard Branson material.

To some “Mumpreneur” is a dirty word but for me in a world of hashtags I now see it as a tool. Because in social media words are tools. Find the right word and it will open up your digital world to networks and communities, fans, friends, peers and clients; and if you work from home it’s a lifeline.

The hashtags I most often use are #Freelance #Copywriter #London but the support and opportunities I’ve discovered by connecting with other women (often mums) on twitter constantly amazes me. When we have our #TheNewArrival #Twitterparty and #Quiz I just love the community of readers who gather together – it makes writing and communications a two-way street and that’s so much more rewarding than broadcast media. #Mumpreneur is just a tool to make connections in a world filled with buzz.

Here are my five Top Tips for mums who want to be their own boss and look after young children.

1. If you don’t value yourself no-one else will.

A lot of people out there want something for nothing. Know what you’re worth and be confident and clear about what you are offering. I regularly trade services with other mums in business where we are each getting something out of it, but don’t let people pick your brains for the price of a coffee.

2. You can’t do everything.

I bring writing skills, creativity, energy and serious graft to any project. When you run your own business time is money and for me doing my own accounts is a false economy. I use an e-accountancy service called Crunch meaning I don’t waste those precious working hours trying to work out my own tax.

3. Be realistic about what you can achieve in a day.

Most mums could run military operations they’re so organised. Flexibility, reacting positively and proactively to change and planning ahead – no problem! Transfer those skills to your business and you’ve got a winning formula. But most women are very hard on themselves – we put enormous pressure on ourselves to be great at work, as a mum, as a partner, to be a domestic goddess and look well-groomed and in control. If you can achieve 2-3 of these things in one day – you’re a superstar!

4. Do something you love.

Running your own business means working whenever and wherever you can. To find the energy to do that, your business needs to be something you love doing. It’s unlikely you’re going to strike it rich straight away and there will be times when it’s nail-biting, that’s why it’s got to be something you really want to do.

5. Be kind to yourself

Getting a little R&R for yourself is usually the toughest challenge for any mum but it’s essential. Your children and your business depend on your well-being, so be a good boss and give yourself a break, whether that’s going to the gym, a movie or the night-off from dinner and bedtime. It’s amazing the boost just having an hour or two to yourself can give you.

London Writer and Communications Strategist would like to meet…

  • New Clients. To work on copy, creative content, brand development and communications.
  • Account Manager. I would love to meet another “Mumpreneur” who would like to be her own boss and work with me to win new business and manage client relationships and projects.

Email amyibeeson@gmail.com

 

Finally here…The New Arrival publication day charity book event photos

Boglarka Apostolne Haui, Sarah Beeson and Violetta Finta enjoy the party

Boglarka Apostolne Haui, Sarah Beeson and Violetta Finta enjoy the party

Sarah and Amy Beeson would like to thank all the lovely people who turned up at our charity book launch event on publication day of The New Arrival (27 March 2014). The Star Cafe at St Andrew’s Church is a venue very much at the heart of this West London Community. Guests ticket money was entirely donated to the Homeless Project at the church and we raised £200. Thank you so much to everyone who came.

New Arrival book launch at Baron's CourtQuestions to Sarah Beeson MBE about her memoir were expertly chaired by former Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons. Sylvia Heal who summed up the young Nurse Sarah Hill in the book as; “a very determined young lady who at the age of 17 knows she wants to be a nurse and she wants to train in a hospital in Hackney East London. Her middle class parents didn’t approve of either of her decisions, so that was her first battle. Her story shows how supportive and valuable womens friendship is. From her early days as a student nurse, throughout her working and family life that solidarity has been a constant thread. Her nursing career politicised her making her aware of the impact on health of peoples social and housing conditions, the importance of employment rights and womens lib. Sarah works hard but also enjoys trying the latest Biba fashions, having boyfriends and generally having fun.  A very enjoyable read that will appeal to many women.”

New Arrival book launch at Baron's Court

Sarah Beeson MBE and Sylvia Heal

The Revrend Lesley Belinda who is the Curate at St Andrew’s said they were; “Delighted to host the launch of this amazing book, and very grateful for Sarah and Amy’s generous support of our homeless project, helping us to provide hot 3-course lunches for up to 100 homeless men and women every Saturday.”

New Arrival book launch at Baron's Court

The Revrend Lesley Bilinda

Amy Beeson who co-wrote The New Arrival with her mum read a couple of extracts to give everyone a taster. She said; “It’s a bit nerve-wracking when you have friends in the audience. I much prefer reading to a room full of strangers, but I think everyone enjoyed it – they laughed in all the right places.

New Arrival book launch at Baron's Court

Amy Beeson

Kelly Henderson the Children’s Advocate at St Andrew’s said; “A charming evening celebrating The New Arrival with two remarkable women, Sarah and her daughter Amy.

New Arrival book launch at Baron's Court

Kelly Henderson

The New Arrival is out now and available in paperback and as an ebook. Find out about the latest deals and upcoming book events.

New Arrival book launch at Baron's Court

Sylvia Heal, Amy Beeson and daughter Ava