KELVIN AND LIZ FLETCHER ON CAREERS, PARENTHOOD, AND LIFE ON THE FARM.

KELVIN AND LIZ FLETCHER ON CAREERS, PARENTHOOD, AND LIFE ON THE FARM.

KELVIN AND LIZ FLETCHER | IMAGES BY TOM PITFIELD FOR BROOD MAGAZINE ©. | INTERVIEW BY LOLO STUBBS

“I’ve not got a fear of failure, I’ve got a fear of regret.

Parents to four children under six years old, Kelvin and Liz Fletcher, are a humble yet extremely impressive couple, and their incredible appetite to create a full and vibrant life for themselves and their children is truly inspiring! Both Kelvin 38, and Liz are well known for their careers as actors, with Kelvin in particular becoming a household name through his 20 years on one of Britain’s best loved soaps – Emmerdale. But the careers that they are most recognised for are not what defines this enterprising couple as they recently added the role of ‘Farmers’ to their impressive CV’s. In their early years as a couple, Liz enjoyed a successful career as a fashion buyer but then decided to leave behind that career and return to drama school. They had only lived together for a few short months, before Liz was given the exciting opportunity to attend a Drama school in London, and despite the distance this would put between them (as Kelvin was at the peak of his career in Emmerdale at the time) he insisted that Liz go on to pursue her dreams; showing how supportive and encouraging they have always been of each other’s dreams. 

Pre-covid Kelvin and Liz were all set to embark on a new life in America, but when covid put the brakes on that dream they decided to set out to undertake a new adventure in the countryside when they bought a 120-acre farm. At the time they were a family of 4, before quickly becoming a family of six when their gorgeous twin boys, Maximus and Mateusz joined their brood. As if juggling four young children and running a working farm wasn’t enough, both Kelvin and Liz have continued with their acting careers, and they have just released their very own book – ‘Fletchers on the Farm’ a follow-on from their successful TV series. 

Kelvin and Liz Fletcher - Front Cover of Brood Magazine
© BROOD MAGAZINE. KELVIN AND LIZ FLETCHER
Buy Fletchers on the Farm

Kelvin and Liz Fletcher on Careers, Parenthood and life on the farm.

We had the pleasure of seeing Liz and Kelvin, their gorgeous baby boys and their adorable cavapoochon Ginger at their wonderful family home and amongst lots of giggles, we delved into what drives them, their plans for the future, and how they manage their daily juggle of having of 4 kids and a farm! Even though managing all that they do is clearly not for the faint hearted, the endearing way they talk about their family life would be enough to tempt anyone who has a sense of adventure to don a pair of wellies and get stuck into life on a farm! 

“If you know you’re capable of it, then go for it!”

Kelvin and Liz Fletcher - Life on the Farm
KELVIN AND LIZ FLETCHER © BROOD MAGAZINE

So firstly, was life like pre-kids? 

Kelvin – “Happy, wasn’t it?” [he turns to Liz and they both start laughing]

Liz – “Yes, relaxed!” 

Kelvin – “I was in really good shape, I ate really well, did what I wanted, when I wanted! Loads of Holidays..!” 

Liz – “Aww. What-a-life!” [continued laughing]

Kelvin – “We was looking at pictures the other night from before we had the kids and you look different pre kids, young and full faced! 

Liz – “We looked well slept – well rested!”

We can definitely relate to that! So at what point in your relationship did you decide to take the plunge and start a family together?

Liz – “We had been together for nearly ten years, and my dad said Kelvin was ‘freewheeling’” [Liz erupts into laughter!] “I had secretly called him up and said ‘Dad, what do you think about Kelvin?’ and as he’s quite traditional he replied with – ‘I think he’s freewheeling!’. So, I told Kelvin, my dad think’s you’re freewheeling – we’re not married, we’re not engaged, we’ve been together all this time. And I’d started thinking about it because we were coming up to our thirties, I wanted kids – although Kelvin didn’t think I was very maternal!” 

Kelvin – “That was the reason I was freewheeling! I used to think, Liz is great but she’s just not into kids and I want loads of kids – I wanted a big family. So, I just thought I don’t know if she’s going to be my wife because she doesn’t like kids!” [We all laugh]

Liz – “Yet, at the same time I’m thinking I want kids”

Kelvin – “We should have probably talked about it!”  

Well, yes especially after 10 years! [We all laugh again] So, how did you finally broach the subject then? 

Liz – “Well, I just said one day, ‘If you’re thinking of having kids, and you want this to go further, I just need to let you know I’m not going to have kids unless I’m married…so there you go! I’ll give you until the end of the year!” [she laughs] “So, I left him with that information, and this was the beginning of the year and then it took him until November – he left me hanging until NOVEMBER – and then he proposed!”

Kelvin – “Yes, 28th November!”  

Liz – “I had no idea it was going to happen, and he took me away for this amazing weekend in Anglesey. He’d done a full on reccy before he proposed, there was certainly a lot of effort involved. He’d designed the ring and everything!”

Kelvin – “The ring you don’t wear?” 

Liz can’t contain her laughter – “I know! I don’t even wear it! Well, I’m a farmer now I can’t wear it!”

“Yes, she literally keeps in a mug over there! It’s worth more than the kitchen and it’s sat in a mug over there!” [We are all in fits of giggles at this point] 

Liz – “And then from a year to the day later, we got married!”

Kelvin – “And then almost 9 months later, Marnie was born! And then suddenly that’s when things changed, and your life becomes so different.”

In what way did you feel the changes? 

Liz – “Well, a month before I gave birth, you left Emmerdale didn’t you?”

Kelvin – “Yes, I had been working my two-year notice, as I knew I wanted to leave. And I left really happy as I had a job for 20 years that I loved, but I was ready for a new challenge. I was 32 years old, and I wanted to figure out my next move. I did question if I even wanted to act anymore, as from being 6-7 years old it was all I had ever done and I suppose I wanted to know, ‘Could I do anything else?’ So that was a big transition anyway, as well as becoming a father for the first time. But that helped me too. As obviously becoming a parent is amazing, but also because I suppose it’s like when sportsmen retire sometimes, they can lose all sense of who they are. Who am I? What am I? And I think after 20 years of working that could have happened to me, but that void was quickly filled by having our daughter. So, I didn’t have time to start worrying as to whether I had done the right thing or not, so in that way the timing was really good.”

Liz – “I had started doing voiceovers at this point, so it worked well for me too, as I could do the odd job but most of the time I could be at home with the baby. I was also teaching dance at a little school down the road a couple of hours a week too”

Kelvin – “I took six months off from Acting but I was doing other bits in the background, figuring out what to do next so I never really stopped completely.”

Kelvin – “I guess first and foremost we’re actors, that’s what we are. But you’re somewhat at the mercy of other people’s decisions, so to fill that void and take some control back, we did it with a baby, with Marnie, and then we had a few more children and now we’ve become farmers. And that’s our attempt to create some continuity and consistency through family and our work life, and to make this our little world. And I think it’s healthy for us to have that. I’ve seen so many actors when things are not going their way and it’s all they know, it’s all they are, that it then consumes them in such a way that they can become resentful of themselves and the industry, and it’s understandable that people can find themselves in that position, but I will never allow any skill set, any job, any career to define me. To be the whole me. Because there is much more to life. And it’s easier said than done when you’ve got to put food on the table but I’m never going to allow anything like that to take my happiness.”

What’s the biggest positives of having the farm, for your family life? 

Kelvin – “I think one of the positives is the variety it gives us. For me I personally seek variety and I think that is key. I think that’s healthy, it’s not for everyone but it’s certainly right for us. And I’d like to think that’s something we’ll pass onto the kids. And Liz shares those views as well. It gives us new scope; fresh ideas and it expands your imagination. I also think it makes you more accepting of different people and different situations, and I think it makes you more rounded as a person, which is important.” 

Was the farm always a dream of yours? 

Kelvin – “No, I just woke up one morning and thought let’s get a farm!” 

Liz – “Yes, this was typical Kelvin! We were supposed to be in America! We were sorting a visa out to move to America, and we were 18 months into that process but then the pandemic happened, and all visa’s got stopped. But that had been our mission, and Kelvin had said ‘Well, we’ll just wait for covid to go and we’ll start it back up.’ Little did I know that Kelvin being Kelvin, was like ‘Right well that’s done – what’s next?’” [she laughs] “Then the next minute he’s on a train, he’s on right move sees this place and he say’s ‘Right Liz, how do you fancy going looking at a farm tomorrow?’ I was like ‘Whaaattt!’ [she continues laughing] “And because I can’t say no to anything, I just said ‘Ok, go on then!’ (It was kind of through gritted teeth because I was thinking farming?!”)

Kelvin -“But it wasn’t to farm originally, it was just to live here. I just wanted a different set up for us. Whether that was on a beach in California, or we even looked at New York, and central London, but I just wanted to change things up. Going back to that again – yes, as actors we want to act, and I love the hustle, but we’ve got a life together as parents and as individuals and there’s just so much more to life than just your career. So, I was just like lets just have a change of scenery, because I didn’t want to us to find ourselves in our fifties or sixties and think we’ve never had an adventure, so I just thought let’s bloody do it! And we looked at everything from Castles in Scotland, honestly as random as that, and I’m that kind of person where if I want to do something it will happen – it’s as simple as that! It can be scary and it’s not always that easy, but I think making decisions like that can give you a rebirth. It’s a new chapter and you’re creating memories and having new experiences. It could be the wrong decision; you could drop a bollock and think ‘Ah we shouldn’t have done that.’ But you can always go back.”

Liz – “Although it might seem we do things completely off the cuff, everything we thought about we researched, and we made sure it was possible. We didn’t just move to a farm with no thought behind it.” 

Kelvin – “Yes, I’m sucker for detail!”

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Is that something that you want the kids to take on board?

Kelvin – “Yes, for me that sense of adventure. If Marnie is 18 years old and she says ‘Dad, I want to go and live in America for three years’ it would kill me, but I absolutely would encourage that. But I would also encourage anything they want to do. She might want to stay here and work on the farm, but whatever they want to do but I just want them to have that sense that anything is possible. If you fancy it, you only live once go for it!”  

Since moving to the farm you have gone from having two children to four with the arrival of the twins, how have you found that transition?

Kelvin – “Hard work! It’s hard for me but it’s even harder for Liz!” 

Liz – “Well, every time I have a baby Kelvin gets a job working away! So, I’m not having anymore babies now then he might not get a job away again!” [They start laughing]

Kelvin – “I’ve only had three jobs! Three pregnancies, three jobs!” [He declares, laughing]

Liz – “Just being told we were having twins was an absolute shock. I was filled with worry. I just kept thinking ‘Oh my god two babies, how am I going to do it with the other two?’ because two weeks after they came along Kelvin had to go working away in London. So, I had two new-borns, it was the school holidays, Kelvin was working away – it just all came at once! But do you know what, we got through it, and I always just think – I’m here, we’re in it, I can’t sit here and moan about it, I’ve got to get through it. Obviously, there are days where it was horrendous, I felt like I didn’t know what was happening – I even fell asleep stood up once! But we got through it and now it’s not that bad, plus now Kelvins home again it can only get easier!”

Kelvin – “It is mad, but it’s a good crack, isn’t it? We’ll look back at this and think God we were crazy. 9 out of ten people will think I wouldn’t be doing that – they’re mad.”

Liz – “Yeah, I’ve got friends who say to me. I’m having a breakdown just listening to this story Liz! Because we live in the moment and if someone said, ‘Can you be in London tomorrow?’, we’d be like ‘Ok, yes no problem!’. We’d make it happen, whereas some of my mates are like ‘Nooo, I’d need a full two weeks of organising everything!’

You recently recorded ‘Fletchers on the Farm’ how did that come about?

Kelvin – “I was developing shows with the BBC, and this was just an off-topic conversation, and I told them what we had been up to, (moving to the farm) and I said, ‘I’ve got an idea for a TV show’ and then suddenly that process started. So that in turn gave us more of an appetite to live off the land, to grow our own food and get an understanding of animals and where your food comes from and the more, we delved into that, the more we just found it fascinating. Then we started to look at how we could commercialise it and look at the farming industry in detail. And it is an industry that everyone tells you not to get into, as there isn’t any money in it, but after looking at it we wanted to take on that challenge, because we thought it was something we could do.”

Liz – “Oh if you tell Kelvin he can’t do something, then instantly he’s going to find a way to do it!” 

Kelvin – “We want to build something here and we’re 18 months into that, and although we’re on a long journey, the aim is to make this an enterprise; something for our children, and for their future. We’re mainly a livestock farm so we’ve got sheep, pigs, chickens, we’ve got horses in the stables. We’re looking at going into cattle but as anyone in farming will tell you, livestock farming can only pay you so much really and that’s dictated on the ground you’ve got. We’ve got a 120-acre site so there’s instant limitations there, but you can diversify.”

Liz – “It’s given us a lot of purpose really, because now we’ll do the school run and then we come back, and we get stuck into all the jobs that need doing on the farm. And even at weekends, Marnie and Milo are coming to that age where they really understand it and they want to get involved too, especially Marnie. And Milo isn’t as dangerous now, as when we first moved here, he was only two, so we had to run round trying to stop him licking everything!” [she laughs] “It’s been amazing really; they’ve seen lambing season recently and I get a lot of joy seeing them get involved in it. Also no day is the same which is great.”

Kelvin – “It is full on, and it can be stressful but it’s good fun too. And whether it ends up just being a chapter of our lives or something long term, who knows, but while we’re in it we’re putting everything we can into it, and we’re excited to see where it goes. But I feel it’s the happiest and most settled we’ve ever been.”

What tips would you give to other parents who are looking to change course and take the leap into something new?

Kelvin – “If you think you can do it and if you know you are capable of it, then go for it! For me that’s what I do and if I come up short, then I come up short and I can live with that, but you’ve got to give things a go. I’m used to no one else believing in me. We can come up with a plan, and there might only be me and Liz that believe in it and that’s it – maybe our parents or our agent too, whoever it might be, but you’ve got to have that mentality where you have to think ‘Well if I think it can work, then that’s all the validation I need and if that’s different to other people and what they’re doing then so be it!’ However, you do have to put the work in, some people might have the dream, but they’re not prepared to put the work in, so you’ve got to have a good understanding of yourself and having a frank chat with yourself. You need to ask yourself, ‘What are my skills? What am I really prepared to do? That’s what I do, and I know my limitations so I don’t take on tasks where I don’t think I can do it”

Do you have a structured process to achieve your goals? 

Kelvin – “Yes, I always have a clear list of goals which I want to achieve. For example there are three/four things that I want to achieve by the end of this year and I’d say 50% are completely on our terms, and the other 50% need things to happen elsewhere to, so there’s a little bit of jeopardy there. For those goals I will do everything I can to get it as far as I can and that last part has got to come from somewhere else in order for it to succeed. Whereas the things that are 100% on us we will get them done. We have some longer-term goals too, so we have 3–6-month plans and then we have a 2–3-year plan too and we just work towards it.”

Liz – “Me and Kelvin work well together because if you’ve got a plan and it doesn’t go right that can really throw Kelvin, whereas I can help us to adapt. It’s great to have the goals and you need them, but there are always hiccups along the way and you have to find a way to adjust.”

Kelvin – “Yes, and sometimes those things can be out of your control, like market change in a business etc and you’ve failed. You take a knock, but I’ve not got a fear of failure, I’ve got a fear of regret.”  

If you want to read more about Kelvin and Liz’s incredible journey, then you can buy their new book ‘Fletchers on the Farm’ at all high street bookstores or click here to purchase  

Kelvin and Liz Fletcher
KELVIN AND LIZ FLETCHER © BROOD MAGAZINE
Simon Wood
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‘SELL IT DON’T SKIP IT’ ECO-TECHPRENEUR AND DAD ON SITE WITH FOUNDER OF THE SUSTAINABILITY YARD APP NIGEL EASTHAM.

‘SELL IT DON’T SKIP IT’ ECO-TECHPRENEUR AND DAD ON SITE WITH FOUNDER OF THE SUSTAINABILITY YARD APP NIGEL EASTHAM.

NIGEL EASTHAM OF SUSTAINABILITYYARD & ADRIAN ADAIR FOR MORSON. IMAGES © BROOD MAGAZINE

In this feature for BROOD, I chat with Nigel Eastham, founder of SustainabilityYard, the app that is tackling construction waste head-on. The free, self-service app enables users to buy, sell or give away excess materials from every level of the construction industry, from DIY lovers to tradesmen, to large developers.

Three years ago, sustainability was placed firmly at the top of Nigel’s agenda when the realities of dealing with building waste generated by his property development company collided with concern about the future environment of his children.

At a time when eco-consciousness is at the forefront for individuals and industry, it was a great opportunity to explore how Nigel is harnessing tech to enable positive, sustainable change in construction and the realities of being a tech-preneur juggling life.

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NIGEL EASTHAM OF SUSTAINABILITYYARD & ADRIAN ADAIR FOR MORSON. IMAGES © BROOD MAGAZINE
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Let’s start with the app. So, tell me about SustainabilityYard…

Nigel: SustainabilityYard is a platform where users of any level within the construction industry can buy, sell or give away their excess building materials. We intend to promote and enable the circular economy of those building materials, finding them a new home rather than sending them to landfill, which unfortunately is what happens a lot of the time.

It’s such a good idea. We’ve all, quite rightly, become more eco-conscious over the past few years but you’ve taken it to that next level – you’ve created a solution which will have a real impact now, and for the next generation.

Nigel: You know, we’re not reinventing the wheel it’s very much a classified ads platform, similar to Facebook Marketplace and eBay. But the difference is, is that SustainabilityYard is built on a peer-to-peer led community. Everybody that’s on the platform is part of the construction community – that can be housing associations who are building 30, 40, 50 unit estates, national house builders and main contractors right down to local tradesmen and DIY lovers.

The businesses that are building big units have tons of, often useable, material that unfortunately goes to landfill. That’s the reality. We want these companies to flood the app with those usable materials so that local tradesmen and DIY enthusiasts can get their hands on decent material either for free or at discount prices.

Users can set up a profile and advertise what they are selling. Once someone is interested in the materials they can open up a direct live chat with the seller to discuss the price and how to obtain the materials.

It lends itself to both sides and all scales. How has it been received in the industry so far?

Nigel: Really, really well. We’ve had some great traction from all the demographics I’ve just mentioned. There’s no reason for people to say no to using the app; businesses can get rid of their unused materials for free and hit their sustainability targets, which they’re heavily focused on nowadays.

For large construction companies there’s no reason not to use it. Depending on what their business model is, at the end of a job, if they have a surplus or damaged material, they either save money on waste disposal or storage units. So it’s a win-win.

We know it’s working because we’re growing fast. We are at over six and a half thousand users now. We think we can hit 10,000 by the end of the year, and if we do that then I think we’ll reach 50,000 by Easter 2023.

Adrian: I hear you used to be a recruiter! Tell me about the journey from an office job to construction to tech-preneur. What inspired you to develop SustainabilityYard?

Nigel: I didn’t become disillusioned with my office job, but I always had an eye on the property market and an opportunity came up. My parents were horrified when I said I was leaving my job to start a construction company!

I initially operated a small business that bought and flipped houses. As time went by and our projects got bigger I found I was chucking away a huge amount of material. I thought, there must be a better way, it’s all perfectly reusable material, if not for me, for somebody else. And if I’m having these problems on a very, very small scale level, the bigger businesses must be having a similar issue.

The thought of hundreds of thousands of tons of materials being thrown into landfill didn’t sit right with me, particularly as I have a young family – I’m concerned about their future and the state of the planet we’ll be leaving them.

Adrian: So not being from a tech background was it difficult to add that tech element to your skillset and construction experience?

Nigel: Construction is my love, I’m always excited by a challenge and I like new things, but I’ll be honest, getting to grips with technology and building a platform was quite a daunting prospect.

We’ve got a small team here, with just two from the construction industry who still run big construction firms. My other partner builds SAAS businesses, so I had his insight but, you know, it was still difficult. I found working with developers quite hard, mainly because I knew what I wanted, but I didn’t know how to articulate how that would be transferred into a product. That’s been the biggest challenge…working with developers who are exceptional at the job but not used to working with somebody like me who doesn’t really know what to ask for.

And look, we’ve still not got the perfect platform. The app is still in the beta phase, I suppose you might say, but it always will be because we’re always wanting to improve and build new things. The outlook is ever-evolving at the moment.

Adrian: Let’s dive into the more personal side of your life. What’s the reality like of being an entrepreneur and business owner, do you manage to switch off?

Nigel: Not really, but for me, it’s manageable because I love what I do. You know, that’s the saving grace.

It never stops. I’m working seven days and trying to squeeze in family time as well. I’m working on properties, on the Sustainability Yard app, I’m speaking to people constantly, and sending emails Saturday, and Sunday at 10:00 pm. Because it’s your own business, you have to do it and you have to make it right. Nobody is cracking the whip and giving you deadlines asking for KPIs, you’re solely accountable for what you’re doing. It was a culture change to start with, but I’ve got to grips with it now.

Yes, it’s a job because you’ve got to make it work to make money for your family, but the reality is, I love it and I’ve got such interest and such passion that it’s no real hardship.

Adrian: I always say that to people, I loved placing people in jobs, I still get a massive buzz from hearing about our recruiters doing it. If you don’t get that buzz, go and find something where you do. I think what’s interesting is there’s lots of chat about work/life balance these days and I know as a parent, it’s not the easiest thing to achieve particularly if you’re an entrepreneur. I listened to one of the podcasts that had Jay Shetty on, who’s set up an app interestingly and he was saying at the start, he was working 16-17/18 hour days. There’s no simple answer but if you love something it makes it easier.

Nigel: As long as you’re loving it, you’ll put the extra hard yards in.

Nigel Eastham & Adrian Adiar
NIGEL EASTHAM OF SUSTAINABILITYYARD & ADRIAN ADAIR FOR MORSON. IMAGES © BROOD MAGAZINE

Adrian: We’ve just spoken about work/life balance and I know you’ve got a young family. How have you seen your new business impact you and your family?

Nigel: You know, bar the long hours and being ‘always on’, the entrepreneurial lifestyle does have its benefits and that’s predominantly down to flexibility. My wife works in Manchester and so I get to do the school runs which I love. I get these bonus moments of quality time with my kids, whether it’s just in the car, having a laugh going home or making tea, I have the freedom to flex my time to prioritise family. I get to see how they develop outside of the set parameters of a typical working day. My wife is disappointed that she misses out on it at times, but we both feel that way and it’s just a case of balancing it between us.

Adrian: You’re a tag team of firefighters

Nigel: Yeah, a tag team of firefighters like in the WWE Royal Rumble!

Adrian: As your venture is all about sustainability, I’m wondering if you get your kids involved in the environmental conversation?

Nigel: You know, my kids were one of the driving factors behind Sustainability Yard. Three years ago, if you’d asked me ‘do you love sustainability?’ I’d have said no. It’s there, I know about it, but I wasn’t desperately bothered about it.

But you add children into the mix and you start to think about the future, their futures and how we’re impacting the planet that we’ll be leaving for them. And to be honest that scared me. My construction business highlighted glaringly how much waste was generated by construction and how my practices were impacting negatively on the environment – and I knew, if I was experiencing this as a small business, the issue was much, much wider.

Because of my work obviously, I’m keen to get them involved in living sustainably and we try and make this as engaging as possible. We do things like composting and recycling as a family – I want them to grow up with good environmental principles engrained.

Adrian: It’s good getting them involved and excited. Do you think there should be more done in schools in terms of bringing sustainable learning into the curriculum?

Nigel: That’s a great question. My daughter just started school actually, and funnily enough, they have started chatting about it. The conversation has come up in the classroom about how to make the earth ‘last longer’ (in her words!). It’s on the school’s radar, but of course, more can be done. It’s just a case of raising awareness at that age and that’s invaluable because they’re the ones that are going to ultimately have to carry on the changes that we’re making. Somebody said to me that ‘climate change is the next space race’ and that resonated with me. It’s on everybody’s lips and rightly so because if we don’t act we’re not going to have the same world in a few years. There has to be an awareness of it and we have to each do something, big or small.

Adrian: I couldn’t agree more! And with your app, you’ve created a platform which facilitates positive action and will have a real impact. I’ve renovated a few houses over the years (my wife will say that she did all the work and I used to turn up at some stage!)… but it would have been great to have known about the app back then. Some of the stuff that you throw in a skip is frightening.

Nigel: Oh absolutely! On the flip side, if you don’t skip it, you can put it in a storage unit and that’s costing you £500-£600 a month. So, wherever you look, there’s a cost and it’s also a cost from a sustainability perspective, whether you store it and it never sees the light of day again. I used to have three lock-ups. I was paying a fortune for them. Every time a new job came along, I wouldn’t even know what was in there, so I’d just buy more and it’s just a vicious circle.

Adrian: So, for people who are interested in using SustainabilityYard, where can people download the app? How can they get in touch with you?

So simply, search for SustainabilityYard on the App Store or Google Play, download it and start using it. You can check us out on our website https://sustainabilityyard.com/ or find us on Instagram @Sustainability_Yard.

I’m constantly inspired by people who are driven to solve. The way Nigel has identified a problem and harnessed skills outside of his comfort zone to make his solution a reality is truly impressive. I’m sure everyone reading this is aware of the challenges of juggling work and life, particularly those nurturing a new business and new family. But I truly believe that anything is possible if you’ve got passion, and Nigel’s story is a testament to that.

At Morson, we work with numerous organisations in the construction sector and every one of our clients is laser-focused on sustainability and taking action to make real-world change. Through SustainabilityYard, Nigel is going a step further, using tech to place responsibility in the hands of the individual and facilitate people to take action at every level. To influence real change and make the planet a safe, habitable place for our children and their children, we must work collectively – everyone from your big corporations to individual contractors needs to be willing and able to think sustainability first and change behaviours.

As a recruitment business that influences companies and people, Morson has an opportunity and a responsibility to drive positive change across commercial sectors on both a corporate and an individual level. Our EV company car fleet, Net Zero ambitions and ‘Plant a Tree for Every Placement’ campaign go some way to offsetting the carbon we generate as an organisation. However, I believe it’s our ambition to create a culture of environmental awareness with eco champions to inspire the team to reduce emissions and prevent waste where we’ll see real change.

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Morson Group
Interviewed by
PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM PITFIELD

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VICTORIA HAYDN ON PHOTOGRAPHING MANCHESTER CITY, MOTHERHOOD AND HER NEW CHAPTER

VICTORIA HAYDN ON PHOTOGRAPHING MANCHESTER CITY, MOTHERHOOD AND HER NEW CHAPTER

© BROOD MAGAZINE. VICTORIA HAYDN AND HER SON, CHARLES

“After photographing Man City for the last ten years, I’m ready to capture the beautiful journey of motherhood

Talented mum of one, Victoria Haydn, has made waves over the last decade as Senior Photographer for Manchester City and one of only a handful of women photographers in the Premier League. After spending the last ten years capturing some of the most incredible moments in both the club and footballing history, now that Victoria has welcomed her adorable son Charles to brood, she has decided to hand over her reigns at Man City, embark on a new venture and step into the world of entrepreneurship.

Victoria’s photos have been published all over the world. From snapping photos of the team on the Great Wall of China to capturing Manchester City Women lift their first ever trophy, Victoria has lived every football-fans’ dream. Victoria even travelled and captured Manchester City in their first ever Champions League final in Portugal in 2021, while five-months pregnant. But since experiencing first-hand, the amazing the transition into motherhood, Victoria has decided to dedicate her craft to empowering women and mothers, by telling their stories through photography.

Victoria is an incredibly warm person, so it’s easy to see how she can get people to shine in front of the camera. We had the pleasure of chatting to Victoria about everything from her decision to step away from a role that she has had so much success and joy from; to how she has found returning to work and Charles starting childcare, to her aspirations for her new business.

Victoria Haydn
© BROOD MAGAZINE. VICTORIA HAYDN AND HER SON, CHARLES

How have you found returning to work and starting Charles at Nursery? 

“I was an emotional wreck when he first started nursery, because up until that point I knew exactly what he did during every second of the day. We didn’t have any babysitters or family looking after him for the first nine months, so I knew everything from every nappy change to every time he sneezed. To suddenly just drop him off at nursery for four days a week was a massive shift! I found it really hard. Although it was difficult for me, it was the best thing for him and he absolutely loves it. He waves me off every day as he joins his friends and teachers. I watch him growing and learning and I know he’s loving this chapter for himself. He’s doing so well, and I’m so proud of him”

Have you felt pressured to make the most of your time whilst he’s nursery because it’s been so hard to leave him?

“Yes, I have felt like there is a huge weight on my shoulders, and a feeling of anxiety. A part of me wanted to drop him off so that I could go out and make an income and get my business off the ground. I felt that for us to have a really good future I needed to start my business right away. So as soon as I would drop him off at nursery, I would be in the head space of ‘work, work, work’. But I would also feel guilty about not being with him. You go through so many mixed emotions. You want to spend time with your child, but you also have a responsibility as mum, a wife, and a homeowner to work too. He’s been in nursery for around three months, and I still have that worry of trying to do everything possible for the business whilst he’s there. There is so much to do when you’re running a business, you’ve got marketing, accounts, creative shoots, editing and there are so many different things going on, so it’s been quite hard to adapt to.”

How have you found stepping away from your role as senior photographer at Manchester City after that has played such a big part in your life and career?

“I absolutely love watching the matches at home in the warmth with Charles, but I’ll miss the nights at the Etihad Stadium soaking up the atmosphere and photographing all the special moments. I’ve had the chance to photograph history unfold for the last ten years, which is genuinely one of my greatest career achievements and I’m so proud of that. On the other hand, I now have the opportunity to photograph on the days and times that work for me and my family. I get to choose whether I work on the weekends and can allow myself time to set up for beautiful shoots with my wonderful clients.

During the summer my husband (who also works for Man City) was in the USA for 10 days during their preseason tour, and I would have been there ordinarily. If I’m completely honest we hadn’t really considered that side of things. So that was a bit of shock when it dawned on us – ‘What would we do with Charles for 10 days?’ So that played a big part in my decision. After photographing ManCity for the last ten years, I’m ready to capture the beautiful journey of motherhood. I’m going to miss the world of football and the fast-paced lifestyle brings, but equally I’m so passionate and excited about my new business which has made my decision easier.”

What are you most looking forward to about your new business? 

“I’m excited about my whole new adventure, but I suppose after photographing men for ten years, I’m looking forward to photographing women. I’m passionate about getting mums in front of the camera and telling their story. I feel like that’s my greater purpose. I have a platform to highlight how amazing mums are. I want to give them photographs to be proud of. They can be photographed at 30 weeks pregnant during this beautiful transition where they are about to become a mother, and then they can come back into the studio with their beautiful babies. I get to capture these precious moments for them, and I love that. Since becoming a mum myself, I know we have a habit of always being behind the camera, taking the photos – I’m on a mission to change this. I have spent 10 years capturing the everyday moments of Premier League heroes I’m now my mission is to capture the heroic moments of everyday super mums. Mums are strong, independent, fierce women and I can’t wait to photograph them every day.

Do have any tips to any other new parents, in particular those who are returning to work?

“Everyone says enjoy your sleep while you can, but it doesn’t really sink in until it happens and then you’re like ‘Oh my god I’ve not slept for nine months!” [We all laugh] “But you just seem to manage somehow. I look at parents in a completely new light now, I just think that they are superheroes! How they just crack on with things is amazing, because now I know what they are going through and how tough it can be.

I have lived and breathed sports photography for over 10 years, so I only know going at 100mph. When Charles came it completely changed everything, it forced me to slow down a bit. Balancing work and being a mum has been a challenge but I’m constantly learning and evolving. Working helps me to remember ‘Oh, I am still me!’ and I think that’s so important.”

If you want to be photographed and step into your power, then you can arrange your own photoshoot with Victoria at www.victoriahaydn.com and see her portfolio on Instagram @victoriahaydnportraits.

Victoria Haydn
VICTORIA HAYDN © WITH MANCHESTER CITY MANAGER PEP GUARDIOLA FOR BROOD MAGAZINE
Simon Wood
Written by
Tom Pitfield and his daughter Iris

PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM PITFIELD

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REMIND YOURSELF WHAT MATTERS BY ASHLEIGH GUTHRIE

REMIND YOURSELF WHAT MATTERS BY ASHLEIGH GUTHRIE

© BROOD MAGAZINE

Remind Yourself of What Matters

 As I sit here and breathe deeply, sipping my tea, eating a morning pastry, I am reminded of the importance of taking time to pause.

Questions swirling through my mind, “Who are you beneath the fast paced ‘doingness’ of life?” Chopping and changing, constantly moving.

Oceanic waves of emotions rise to the surface before crashing to the shores of my active mind. I ask myself “what would happen if you just stopped for a moment, closed your eyes and took a long deep breath?”

“What would happen If you slowed down long enough to FEEL what was bubbling beneath the surface, to be with the swirling sensations lingering in the pit of my stomach.”

Who are you beneath the surface level responses to “How are you?”

If lock down taught us anything it is that we as human ‘beings’ are not meant to be living life at a million miles an hour. Savour every moment, take time to rest and recalibrate, allow yourself the space to regularly reflect in order to see how far you’ve come.

Remember to celebrate the beauty of who you are, in both the shadow and the light.

Release Rituals

To honour the change in season, we can begin by exploring if there is anything in your life that you feel it is time for you to let go of and forgive or if there is anyone you wish to apologize to. You can ritualise this by lighting a candle and incense.

A great practice to accompany this is the ritual of Ho’oponopono, a traditional Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. You can listen to a version of this practice on one of my playlists here.

Taking time to pause and go within can help you to remember that you have the power to bring awareness to all that has been holding you back. Walks in nature could be ideal at this time for helping you to become grounded in your body as you connect with where you are storing dense energy, people or situations that are ready to be released.

 Self-Care

We are continuously reminded that our world is facing many challenges and that caring for ourselves is more important than ever. You can bring awareness to this by making time to be intentional in your self-care routine daily. 

My invitation is to take a moment before you start your day to look in the mirror and ask yourself, what you need in order to cultivate peace from within your own mental health.

When I wake up, I like to ask myself these 3 questions.

“How am I feeling today?”

“What do I need today?”

“How can I best show up in the world today?”

When we practice genuine self-care, we get the opportunity to understand ourselves better, recharge our batteries before they’re empty, and maintain the ability to make a difference for our loved ones and communities.

“It’s okay to take time for yourself. We give so much of ourselves to others, and we need to be fuelled both physically and mentally. If we are in balance, it helps us in all our interactions.”
— Faith Hill

An Act of Love

Take time this month to express love in all its beautiful ways throughout all your relations. Love is the most powerful force we can experience as humans. It helps us to call upon strength to transmute all suffering on earth. I recommend taking time to pause and tune in to the love you cherish in your life and offer gratitude. Write out a list of all the people you love, how they have impacted you, and how you have felt loved throughout your life so far.

Wishing you a magical October!

Want to get in touch with Ashleigh? She is available weekdays at courage.freedom.joy@gmail.com or chat with her directly on Instagram @ashleighguthrie01

Ashleigh Guthrie is a spiritual mentor, women’s circle facilitator, sound healer and trauma informed child hypnotherapist – trained by teachers from different traditions all over the world. Ashleigh is BROOD Magazine’s bonus mum and earth angel. 

Written by

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HOME ORGANISATION WITH KIM MINCHIN

HOME ORGANISATION WITH KIM MINCHIN

Kim Minchin Dunn © BROODMAGAZINE

KIM MINCHIN DUNN ON HOME ORGANISATION

After a hectic Summer and a house of chaos, finally we are back into some sort of routine, the kids are back to school and it’s time we got the house in shipshape ready for winter.
There’s no better feeling than having an organised house. Making life just generally easier on the whole with an organised system,
so, here’s my top tips on how to make the house tidy and organised.

1. Be realistic; this needs to fit around your family and lifestyle. Don’t start buying matching colour foods or multiples of things you don’t actually eat or use just because social media made you do it or it looks aesthetically please. Fit it around things you use all the time or regularly. One thing I’ve learnt is trying to make it look like Pinterest isn’t realistic because you end up buying foods/products that look aesthetically pleasing that you don’t actually use and is a waste of money, time and space.

2. Firstly, start each room the same. I.E kitchen – check for out of date food. Kids room- toys that haven’t been touched in months, wardrobe – clothes you haven’t worn in the last year. You may have to be a little ruthless here but take them to the local charity shop or donate them as they will no doubt bring joy to someone else’s life like you once had from them. Any expensive items can be added to Facebook Marketplace or Depop and you can reinvest this cash into your new storage solutions.

3. Measure your space. Before buying any storage items measure your shelves and space so you know they fit. Buy Clear storage boxes or ‘bins’ as the lovely ladies in the US from “home edit” call them, these are the way forward. Don’t be distracted by other boxes, my rule is – think clear, buy clear. Clear boxes mean you can see everything and grab what you need quickly on the go. For the lounge, toys or things you want to hide I find baskets are perfect for this. Drape over a lovely throw to hide the contents. I love the John Lewis home edit range, Amazon, b and m bargains or Homesense for all these items.

4. Labels. Goes without saying, its just joyful for your OCD but they also help the rest of the household to find things quickly which in turn makes your life easier. I also find that it helps with your shopping list as you can quickly check what’s looking kind of Empty and fill it up. Get yourself a DYMO, you’ll be labelling everything in sight, even your husband.

5. Remember…Things won’t stay perfect forever so this is something you need to do every few weeks to keep on top of it, but now you have a system that is super quick and easy to do you’ll be able to keep on top of it much easier.

6. Most importantly…enjoy the process 🤍

One key thing to remember is it’s not going to look like the Pinterest image you’ve saved, it may for an hour or so but get it out of your head now.
You must also remember most of these Pinterest images are in America, where they are blessed with large pantries and the container store on tap. However, we can certainly try our best and bring some Home Edit joy to our lives 🤍

Home Organisation
Kim Minchin Dunn
Kim Minchin Dunn © BROOD MAGAZINE
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AUNTIE CATH’S SWEET POTATO SHEPHERD’S PIE

AUNTIE CATH’S SWEET POTATO SHEPHERD’S PIE

SWEET POTATO SHEPHERD’S PIE

Our #HenchShepherdsPie

1 ½ lbs minced beef
1-2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 leeks
6 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons low sugar ketchup
3 tablespoons natural B Worcestershire sauce
2 cups chicken stock or broth
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (instead of corn starch )
heaping ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
salt and pepper
3 large sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
1 tsp additional minced garlic
3 tablespoons butter
¼ teaspoon additional smoked paprika
sea salt and pepper
Soooo.
.
.
.

Place your sweet potato chunks into a pot of water and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until soft. Drain and place back into the pot. Add butter, garlic, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper. Mash like it’s 1999. Set aside.
Brown meat in a skillet over medium high heat .Once browned, remove the beef from pan, leave any fat in there. Sauté onion for about a minute. Add in leeks , carrots, and garlic for 8-10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Add in salt and pepper, smoked paprika, ketchup, worcestershire and beef and stir.
Mix the arrowroot powder and chicken stock . Pour the chicken stock into the pan with the beef and vegetables. Cook for 10 more minutes.

Pour the meat mixture into a baking pan. Spread the sweet pot mash over the meat mixture until meat is fully covered. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving. We love this with peas or cabbage! Enjoy! .

Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie
Catherine Tyldesley

Catherine Tyldesley

Auntie Cath Cooks

Cath Tyldesley is one of the UKs favourite actresses. Making in her mark in the likes of BBC Ones ‘Lilies’ , sitcom ‘Scarborough’, ITVs ‘View Point’ and Ofcourse- the nation’s favourite ‘Coronation Street’.
Catherine has recently finished filming another drama for ITV and was crowned Winner of All Star Musicals 2021. Cath’s other huge passion in life is Food! After study nutrition on maternity leave with her first child- Caths enthusiasm for food grew. Especially nutritious, budget friendly, tasty family meals. We’re thrilled to bits to have Cath join us and share her knowledge and passion! You’re in for a treat with Auntie Caths recipes!

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why it’s still important to wear an spf

why it’s still important to wear an spf

How important is it to still wear an SPF?

There goes the sun! But does that mean your SPFs are discarded till the sunshine reappears next year? Or you get chance of that winter vacation in the sunshine?

If you’re not wearing an spf everyday on your face, even when cloudy or you’re indoors then it’s time to start!

Wearing sunscreen is one of the best and easiest ways to protect your skin from harsh effects UVA and UVB rays.

But how does it go beyond benefitting your skin other than protecting from the sun and why it should not be reserved only for the summer months.

Here’s why…..

– [ ] Helps prevent premature aging

We all want to look younger right? Sun exposure is damaging and can cause visible wrinkles and fine lines and over exposure can even change skin texture. Try and keep your face and neck out of the direct sun.
Even those winter days those pesky rays can still come through clouds, rain, glass or snow so wearing an spf is an important preventative to be worn daily all year round.

– [ ] Reduces the appearance of sun spots

Sun damage causes hyperpigmentation which can look like large freckles. Wearing an spf is clinically proven to reduce photoaging by 24% so therefore I recommend wearing a high protection 50 spf. Apply regularly throughout the day. This will promote even skin tone.

– [ ] Prevents skin cancer

SPF’s play an important role in blocking UVB rays. Therefore It’s clear the best way to protect ourselves is wearing sunscreen, it reduces the risk of Melanoma by 50%. So slather it on. Prevention is better than cure! !

So Avoid peak sun
Seek shade, wear that hat! Cover up and wear your favourite SPF!!

I recommend my favourite go to for that all year protection:

https://www.ultrasun.co.uk/products/ultrasun-face-tinted-spf50-honey

Sally x

 

Sally Rowe MUA

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My advice is different. I promise.
And to put your mind at rest I’m a professionally qualified skin aesthetician who works with an award winning micro-biologist recognised as one of the world’s leading experts in the science of reversing ageing.

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DO YOU NEED TO INCREASE YOUR SELF-ESTEEM AND CONFIDENCE, OR ARE YOU PERFECTLY IMPERFECT?

DO YOU NEED TO INCREASE YOUR SELF-ESTEEM AND CONFIDENCE, OR ARE YOU PERFECTLY IMPERFECT?

Need to increase your self esteem and confidence, or are you perfectly imperfect?

Confidence and self esteem are talked about so much, and thats usually because we are looking for an answer on how to improve ours! If you look up what these actually mean you will find there are many different explanations and variations depending on who you follow or read about. I like to take everything back to as simple an explanation as I can see with my own understanding and experience. For me these words could be substituted for many things like, self belief, self love, self image and so on, but it all ultimately leads to the same thing for me, which I want to share with you below.

As a human being we will always fall into the trap of judgement, particularly about ourselves and when we are criticising and judging ourselves we are by default getting further and further away from showing ourselves love and compassion. Despite what we tell ourselves at times, it is not about looking for the perfect finished article of a confident person, (which doesn’t exist, or does it?) But more about realising that we always have the gift of perspective and therefore constant change is possible for each and every single one of us. If you were to question your level of self esteem or confidence in any given moment I would probably ask you to reflect by asking yourself the following;

How much do you like yourself right now?

How much do you value yourself right now?

How do you see yourself right now?

What are your beliefs about yourself right now?

I am sure you get the picture, and the reason I add ‘right now’ onto each question, is because this will always change, it’s never static. This is why I would never describe a person as having, or not having low self esteem or confidence, as I accept and see human nature as one momentary experience after the other, no two moments the same. This is actually good news as this means that by default, there is always opportunity for a new experience, in other words a new way to see ourselves and a different way to treat ourselves – hopefully with more compassion! Instead of how do we become more confident or increase our self esteem, reflect on how compassionate and loving you are towards yourself.

If we all gave ourselves a daily dose of compassion as a general rule, the difference in our experience of life would instantly be uplifted, and filled with so much more contentment and peace of mind. Often people don’t see the value in this and the power it has to show ourselves compassion, and yet when it comes to others we often instantly see the value in it? In fact we will talk about it as though it’s a necessity for us to support others, see the good in them, reach out to them and be a shining light, and yet it somehow seems alien, unnecessary or maybe even too indulgent to do it for ourselves?

We were not born this way! If this is something you find challenging, you have ‘learnt’ or ‘thought’ your way out of naturally seeing your core nature of love and compassion. The reason I said above does the perfect finished article exist, is because in my eyes it does, but maybe not in the way you initially think of perfection! We are all perfectly imperfect. Part of my own experience of showing myself a tonne more love, compassion and understanding was that I could accept that I was not and did not need to be perfect, and in actual fact it is all of me that makes me perfect just the way I am. Instead of always thinking I need to be better and do better, I am much more able to lower my expectations and the pressure on myself so that it is much easier to see myself as good enough just as I am, I change the goalposts, not myself.

One more thing to mention is that I know some people will read this and say there are some things people do need to change and there are habits that I have that I don’t want to continue with, they are not good for me or my life. Thats OK so do I. These are my habits and they can change without me having to be a super human and in fact the irony is, if I lower my expectations, the pressure I put on myself and accept myself as I am. A large part of getting a quieter mind and there for feeling better in ourselves starts with that daily dose of compassion, so you can start NOW, right this very second!

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HEALTHY HALLOWEEN PLATTER BY KATE DEVINE

HEALTHY HALLOWEEN PLATTER BY KATE DEVINE

HEALTHY HALLOWEEN PLATTER BY KATE DEVINE

Healthy Halloween platter and October Wellness 

It’s Halloween month! I’m already stocking up on decorations and costumes for the younger boys (the oldest is too cool for school these days and would definitely not wear a halloween costume) and thinking about what food to prepare, of course!  

I’ve been working on some healthy, scary, fun ideas and the winner, with my kids, was a Halloween sharing platter. It’s basically lots of snacks all placed creatively on a platter and decorated for the occasion. Here’s a few ideas, should you wish to create your own!

Things you’ll need:

  • Halloween cookie cutters – I got mine from Amazon or I have noticed them in the baking isles at supermarkets at the moment
  • Edible eyes – as above
  • White cooking chocolate
  • Small marshmallows like what you’d have in hot chocolate
  • Drinking straws – two sizes
  • The rest of the things are basic cupboard/fridge staples
  • Pesky Pumpkins – made from whole, peeled tangerine with a small piece of celery for the stem
  • Strawberry Yummy Mummies – whole strawberries including stem, with melted white chocolate drizzled using a fork to create the bandages and an edible eye in the centre – keep in the fridge until ready to use
  • Monstrous Mouths – using an apple, cut into four equal quarters, remove the core and slice evenly to create ‘lips’, spread with soft nut butter on one side of each slice and put in pairs to use as top and bottom lips. Add small white marshmallows to one piece using the nut butter to stick to and place the other on top. Put out last as they tend to brown quickly
  • Boo Bananas – use 2 bananas, cut in half and slice down the centre to make 4 banana ghosts. Using a knife, cut out small triangle shape around the straight edge to make the bottom of the ghost. Add two chocolate chips for eyes on each piece. Put out last as they tend to brown quickly
  • Creaking Coffin Pittas – using the coffin cutter, cut out as many coffin shapes as required and lightly toast – I paired with hummus/guacamole to dip and placed the edible eye on top
  • Creepy Cucumber Skulls – cut the cucumber into discs, using the bigger of the straws poke out the eye holes and use the smaller for the nostril holes. Using a knife, cut a small semi circle from the sides on the nostrils to the chin to create a skull shape
  • Crustless Spooky Sandwiches – Make a sandwich with a filling of your choice, cut out different shapes using the cookie cutters to make different Halloween themed creations
  • Boiled Bat Cheese – Using the bat cutter, press into hard cheese slices
  • Edible Evil Eggs – Hard boil as many eggs as necessary, wait to cool and remove the shell. Cut in half, lengthways and use black olives, sliced into small triangular pieces as the eyes.

I hope you have fun creating Halloween goodies with your families and don’t forget to tag @the.devine.life and @broodmagazine if you post any pics on social media. We love seeing all your creations!

Happy Halloween!!

      Halloween Foods by Kate Devine
      Kate Devine's Kids tucking into a healthy halloween platter
      written BY KATE DEVINE

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      You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.
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      Related Articles

      HOW TO MANAGE THE CLOCKS SPRINGING FORWARD

      Twice a year when the clocks change, we are inundated with questions and parents asking what they can do. Although the spring clock change can play havoc with our bodies (an increase in heart attacks and strokes the day after this happen) but it can really help you if you have a little one who likes waking before 5am!

      read more

      Sarah Jayne Dunn & Jon Smith: On Creating more time with your family outdoors

      It can be hard to find balance in life when we are so busy with all the other things that we have to juggle. One thing that has stood out since starting BROOD, is just how many of us are constantly looking for more ways to try switch off and spend quality time as a family. It’s also clear that we all want to incorporate ways to exercise into our weekly routine and encourage our kids to be active and outdoors too, but it can be hard to fit it in when there is only so many hours in the day! So, with a new sport activity sweeping exciting across the UK – Padel – we just had to find out what all the hype was all about, and to see if it was an activity that would fit into family life.

      read more