‘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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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. 

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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
Written by
Tom Pitfield and his daughter Iris

PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM PITFIELD

Rob Stubbs

WEBSITE & DESIGN BY ROB STUBBS

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HEALTHY HALLOWEEN PLATTER AND OCTOBER WELLNESS BY KATE DEVINE

HEALTHY HALLOWEEN PLATTER AND OCTOBER WELLNESS BY KATE DEVINE

HEALTHY HALLOWEEN PLATTER AND OCTOBER WELLNESS BY KATE DEVINE

Healthy Halloween platter and October Wellness 

October, the month of spookiness and seasonal changes.

I can’t tell you how many time I’ve discussed the weather with clients over the past month. A strange sentence to begin with, I know, but bear with…

There’s been a definite shift in temperature and autumnal days are getting more and more. Thankfully, these include crisp, sunny days but so far, there’s been more rainy and dull days. This is the reason why I wanted to quickly discuss something that has been cropping up a lot in my clinic recently…Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.

SAD is a hormonal imbalance between melatonin and serotonin; due to the reduced amount of time we spend outside during the colder months. It affects approximately 2 million people just in the UK alone and is predominantly more common in women than men.

As the days begin dark and draw to a close earlier and earlier, you may find yourself feeling a bit ‘meh’ more than usual. Here’s the sciencey bit – a small gland in the brain called the pineal gland, produces more of the hormone melatonin during the winter months, which regulates glandular function and makes us feel more sleepy. Serotonin, Melatonin’s counterpart, is known as the ‘happy hormone’ and is secreted during daylight exposure. Therefore, the less daylight, the less serotonin and the more out of balance the two become.

Symptoms may include:

  • Low mood
  • Appetite increase/food cravings – when there is insufficient daylight available, the body will try and boost its serotonin levels by craving sugary, starchy carbohydrates and fatty foods
  • Low energy
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low libido
  • Depression
  • PMS-type symptoms
  • Increased desire to sleep – sleepy during the day but unable to sleep at night
  • Increased feeling of ‘feeling useless’

I always recommend to my clients to try to get outside as much as possible; for a walk/exercise, enjoy your down time by sitting reading a book outside/drinking a mug of something warm, gardening, walking your dog/cat (that’s a thing, right?). It doesn’t have to be anything too overwhelming, but getting that exposure to natural daylight will help to keep a balance between the sleepy and happy hormones!

Light therapy is another good way of balancing those hormones for those times when you can’t get outside. A light therapy box or lamp mimics outdoor light. It is composed of fluorescent lights on a metal reflective base with a plastic screen on top to diffuse the light and filter out harmful UV rays. All you have to do is sit in front of it, close enough so that your eyes and skin can absorb the light (follow the manufacturers instructions as they all differ slightly). The machine gives off a bright light that simulates outdoor sunshine, therefore boosting serotonin, melatonin and vitamin D, as well as other beneficial effects. You can find them at www.lumie.com or Amazon but make sure it has no less than 10,000 lux.

Supplementation of Vitamin D (especially D3) is a must as well, for the same reason as above – lack of sunlight exposure on the skin. Vitamin D is responsible for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus; both are critical for building bone and maintaining teeth and muscle health. It can also help reduce cancer cell growth, help control infections and reduce inflammation. It is naturally present in only a few foods like the flesh of fatty fish and in smaller amounts in egg yolk and beef liver; but added to some foods like fortified cereals, orange juice, dairy & non-dairy milks.

I would recommend to supplement during the months of October to March as these are the months we are likely to spend less time outdoors. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D supplementation for adults is between 800IU-1000IU per day and babies and children between 400IU-600IU per day, with the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for adults and children age 9 and over is 4000IU per day.

Avoiding/reducing intake of certain foods and drinks can help alleviate SAD symptoms, such as:

  • Caffeine – coffee, black tea, fizzy drinks/energy drinks
  • Sugary and starchy carbohydrates – chocolate/sweets/processed foods
  • Alcohol – it lowers brain levels of serotonin (happy hormone) so reduce and limit

Friendly foods to incorporate into your daily diet to help alleviate SAD symptoms would be:

  • Serotonin-boosting foods – poultry (chicken/turkey,) cottage cheese, eggs, spinach, soy, bananas
  • Omega 3 brain-boosting foods – oily fish (salmon/sardines), nuts, seeds, avocado
  • Fibre-rich foods – beans (canellini/kidney), lentils, broccoli, sweet potatoes, bright colour fruits and vegetables
  • B Vitamin foods – liver, poultry, seafood, dairy products (milk, cheese), leafy greens, eggs, legumes (beans/peas/lentils/chickpeas)

Oh a slightly brighter note (kind of), 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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      Helen Skelton on her career, motherhood and changing the narrative

      Helen Skelton on her career, motherhood and changing the narrative

      © BROOD MAGAZINE. HELEN SKELTON AND TWO OF HER CHILDREN

      “…things happen in life and then you get put on a different path

      Inspirational Mum of three, Helen Skelton, is one of Britain’s best-loved Television presenters. Helen started her presenting career at Newsround before landing a dream role at Blue Peter, where she completed numerous extreme challenges for charity. Incredibly Helen has kayaked over 2,000 miles along the Amazon River, and cycled 500 miles to the South Pole, both for Sport Relief. Her amazing career has included many highlights including meeting the iconic late Queen Elizabeth II. Not one to shy away from a challenge, this year she is taking on what will probably be her hardest yet, as she joins BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing Class of 2022; whilst juggling life as a single mum, looking after her 3 young children, Ernie, Louis and Elsie.

      The stunning Countryfile presenter kindly took time out from her summer holiday in the Lake District to chat to us about her career, motherhood, and changing the narrative as she embraces the new journey she has found herself on, since announcing her sadness at her marriage ending, only a few months after her youngest child Elsie was born.

      Helen Skelton Interview with Brood Magazine
      © BROOD MAGAZINE. HELEN SKELTON AND TWO OF HER THREE CHILDREN

      “…I’m on a journey right now!

      What was your career like before kids?

      I was working as a journalist; I was originally working in PR, but I hated it and knew that I wanted to be a journalist… so I ended up at Newsround which was great – I loved it! Then I got offered Blue Peter, but I actually said no to Blue Peter at first because I was enjoying Newsround so much. But my boss at Newsround said to me ‘you can’t not do Blue Peter’. So, I took it, and it was the best gig of my life! It was so amazing, one week you would be going to Malta to ballroom dance, the week after you would be flying with the red arrows and the week after going to meet the queen! We would go away for 7 weeks for the summer going from one country to the next… it was just incredible! After doing so many amazing things, that I didn’t think I could top, such as going to the south pole, north pole and the amazon doing the expeditions, I decided it was time to leave. So, I then went back into sport and started working at BT Sport.

      How do you find managing your career alongside motherhood?

      I had Ernie in 2015, and since then, it’s always been about taking on work that fits around the kids. I still worked after I had Ernie, like the sport presenting – which was good because it was an intense week and then you’d be off again. That’s why I do less Countryfile, as much as I love Countryfile and I’m really good friends with everyone at the show, but the reason I don’t do it as often is because you have to be away Wednesday and Thursday nights, it’s the other end of the country and it just doesn’t fit with me having little kids. But the other farming show [Channel 5’s On the Farm] that I do is live, so you’re on at 8 o clock at night and you’re off at 10. So I go, get my tea made for me, have my face painted, do my work and then I’m back home.

      I think because I’m freelance and self-employed, I feel lucky in that it can be intense at work so you’re ticking your career box and doing your thing there, but then the week after, you can potentially be off for three weeks so then you’re being a full-time mummy again. So, I feel lucky that I get my foot in both camps. I’d like to think that I’ve got a bit more empathy for my friends who work full time and for those who don’t work.

      What is your experience with Mum Guilt?

      Every mum I know at some point or another feels ‘Mum guilt.’ They feel guilty if they work too much, or they feel guilty that they don’t work enough, the whole thing is a juggle. My mum was lucky, we grew up on this farm, so she didn’t work and that’s the dream for some, but life’s different now. And I don’t think anyone should look at other people’s situations and make assumptions, because I’ve done it myself where I’ve thought ‘gosh she work’s a lot! She must hardly ever see her kids?’ But then I stop myself because I think, you know what, we’ve all got to buy food! That whole thing of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes is so true. I don’t think you can ever say which is the right way to do it, because everyone’s kids and everyone’s situation is different, you can only do what’s right for you and not compare yourself. But it can be hard not to do that because of social media.

      You have to remember social media is a superficial top layer of people’s lives, although it’s hard to remember that at times, is important to remind yourself of that. But no one is made of metal but equally every situation is different.

      Mine are terrible sleepers, they both like to sleep in my bed which isn’t good, but then other people will be like ‘well that isn’t good?’ Rather than ‘oh that’s nice because they’ll be 18 soon!’ [she laughs] – but it’s survival! I got my eldest to sleep in his own bed the other night and he was negotiating a deal and said he would for £20! I was like – ‘I can’t give you £20 a night!’ – No wonder I’ve had to go back to work! [she jokes.]

      Helen Skelton
      Helen Skelton © BROOD MAGAZINE

      “…it’s always been about taking on work that fits around the kids.”

      What was the biggest adaptations that you have made to your life since your children have come along.

      Work and travel, I think. I took Louis with me to the world diving championships in Budapest when he was 6 weeks old, I say to him now, you actully saw Tom Daly win his second world title and it just goes [gestures] straight over his head so I don’t even think the biggest adaptations came in when they were babies. I think the bigger adaptions come in when they start school, as obviously they’ve got be somewhere 9-3 so you’re on their schedule then. I notice a lot of my friends who have toddlers will say ‘shall we meet for brunch on Saturday’ [for example], and I’m like, ‘No, sorry I can’t, I’ve got a 15-minute gap between swimming and play dates and it does not include any kind of brunch situation!’ [laughing] I think when you’ve got little kids they will go where you want, you can pop them in the pushchair and bring them along with you, but bigger kids don’t always want to.

      Having more than one kid is big change, because you can only split yourself so many ways. Having Elsie though has actually made the boys nicer! They are so sweet with her. I do say to them, ‘you’re so nice with Elsie can you just be a little bit nicer to each other!’ (Because they do fight as siblings close in age do.) So, I love seeing that kindness in them, it melts my heart.

      Your next challenge is Strictly Come Dancing! How are you feeling about tackling that alongside your life as a mum?

      Part of me thinks it’s bad timing and the other part of me thinks it is good timing. Elsie is only little so she’s not crawling around yet, so she’s little enough to be quite placid and sleep a lot. I think sometimes it’s easy to overthink these things, but when I was asked, it was like ‘You know what, yes! Let’s do it!’ – I’m excited too because I think it looks fun! I love taking on new challenges and putting myself under pressure and having my mind consumed in that way, so that’s another reason I wanted to do it. It’s weird because I have been asked to do things like this before and I’ve always said no because of the kids, but now I’m doing it when I’ve got a nine-month-old as well, but the kids are in school, so in my head I’m thinking that I’m going to train while they’re in school and Elsie is young enough for it to not be on her radar or affect her. But then again, this could well turn out to be the most stupid decision I’ve made in my entire life – but let’s hope it’s not! [she laughs]

      I think sometimes, especially in this career you can overthink things and try and plan but sometimes you’ve just got to go with what comes along. Very few people are in the position that they don’t have to work, and this is a job that will be fun and a distraction and all consuming and something positive for me, the kids, my parents, and my friends. That was another reason that I wanted to do it. To do something positive and change the narrative, I guess.

      Also, you spend your life telling your kids, ‘Do what makes you happy’, ‘Go after whatever you want’ ‘Dream Big’ so you have to lead by example.

      I think no matter what you do and what you plan, things happen in life and then you get put on a different path, so sometimes there is no point putting down a roadmap.

      What tips would you give other working parents?

      Oh, I’ve got loads of tips – I’m on a journey at the moment. Firstly, lower the standards! I think unfollow people who don’t have a similar life to you. For example, if you’re a working mum, don’t follow a mum who doesn’t work, follow someone who is doing the juggle. Or if you don’t work, follow someone who doesn’t work, because I think you if you compare apples to pears yours will never be as good. I’ve been given lots of tips myself lately, including find companies that will deliver healthy meals – like meals on wheels but for parents. Then that takes the pressure off grabbing something naff for yourself, you can get them pre ordered just a couple of times a week and the whole family has got a healthy home cooked meal. Just make life easier for yourself. Another one is, have a notepad by the bed because every has them things where they wake up in the night where they are like ‘oh s&*t they need a yellow t-shirt for tomorrow’. I also think delegate stuff in your life that you don’t need to do yourself. Like I hate cleaning, so I got a cleaner. I felt really bad about it at first, I felt really middle-class, and I would tidy up before they came, but then the lady said to me ‘why are you doing that, you are paying me to do this?’ Oh, and don’t buy clothes that you need to iron! Again, why are you doing that to yourself. And finally, I have a present cupboard because there is always a party that you have forgotten, or you haven’t got time to go to B&M before you go. And a distraction box is always good too when you’ve got multiple children.

      What do you mean by a distraction box?

      Well, I would always keep a little box on the side, I’ve done this from Louis being born. I will put a couple of snacks in that he would like, a couple of books, or some little cheap toys in there. So then if you’re feeding or changing the baby and your older one wants you too and you can say ‘Go and get something from your box!’ I think that’s it!

      Simon Wood
      Written by
      Tom Pitfield and his daughter Iris

      PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM PITFIELD

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      DIARY OF A DADPRENEUR BY OLI DUNN

      DIARY OF A DADPRENEUR BY OLI DUNN

      Oli Dunn

      Morson Group - Find your next job

      The Diary Of A Dadpreneur…
      By Oli The Choc…

      Time Flies, but I’m not complaining! We’re just so bloody lucky to be here in the first place!

      The year flies by quick, but time flies when you’re having fun, even quicker when you have offspring, businesses, busy social lives, fitness aspirations, hobbies and an insatiable appetite for travel, new experiences and meeting new people.
      Therefore I have no qualms about time moving by so fast, time is a blessing and I’m grateful to have it at my disposal in the first place, the opportunity to spend it how I want, abundantly, lovingly and in a nutshell cramming as much as possible into every single day.

      So we’re into the months ending with “ber” already, well I’m not even mad at that, I’m flipping and it I’m inspired by it instead.

      The start of the academic year, almost feels like a new year do you agree? Except with added pressure and urgency, if we haven’t succeeded in ticking some big ones off the list then now is the time to get it done before the year is up.

      Even though New Years resolutions can be cliché, tacky and last about as long as the conversations you have about them, I am a little bit of a sucker for them. I feel a power in the new year and I get sucked into the hype and excitement of the opportunity to redesign my life.

      However, every day is a new beginning and every “now” is the beginning of a brand new creative process, the opportunity to have a new thought, that leads to a new thing, that grows, expands, develops and manifests into amazing new experiences and circumstances.

      They say a thought thinks, so I choose those little sparks of energy very carefully because I believe they aren’t as insignificant as most people tend to think, they grow and gain momentum, which is why you can manifest what you do want or what you don’t want, whether you like it or not, whether you believe it or not.

      I’m hyper aware of this throughout the year but I also thrive under pressure. I only really get things done either because the desire is so strong or the pressure to get it done can’t be challenged.

      I call it the power of the 11th hour, I embrace that along with any other quirks in my personality which I’ll uncover in good time. I give myself a break.

      So my New Years resolution was to be more curious and I feel that I have been more curious in 2022, asked more questions and discovered new answers.

      I’m going to double down on curiosity for this last quarter of the year.

      It’s time to ask more questions, of myself and others in order to learn more about both and the world around us, creating even more new and exciting opportunities. Who knows what stories I’ll be telling by New Years Eve and not just those about chasing a toddler around an airport lounge or military style nappy changes, but stories about things I’ve been able to achieve and exciting situations I’ve found myself in.

      I feel it’s my job to prove to others what’s possible in life, anything.

      My point is it’s not too late for resolutions, it’s never to late to become a better you, improve your life and create new opportunities, even do something completely different if you want to, or have multiple things on the go, even if one of those is raising a small human, there’s no rules, the only barriers are the ones we tend to put up in front of ourselves.

      Also don’t be too hard on yourself, embrace who you are and how far you’ve come.
      Remind yourself of what you’ve achieved this year so far and the ways in which you have grown, then also remember we still have 4 months left of this year so it’s never too late, it’s always the beginning.

      Reflect for clarity and confidence to launch you into this last quarter.

      It’s time to step into your power! 💥

      Peace, Love, Choc ‘n’ Roll….
      Oli ✌🏼

      Oli Dunn Chocolatier
      Written by

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      INSPIRATIONAL MUM ON A MISSION: ANNA KENNEDY OBE

      INSPIRATIONAL MUM ON A MISSION: ANNA KENNEDY OBE

      © BROOD MAGAZINE. ANNA KENNEDY OBE 

      “We re-mortgaged our home and set up a school!

      Inspirational Mum of two, Anna Kennedy OBE has been a trailblazer for Autism Awareness since the 1990’s; when her two boys, Patrick and Angelo, and were diagnosed with Autism. When Anna couldn’t find a school that could meet her boy’s needs, Anna and her husband Sean remortgaged their home with the support of local parents and built one! This was just start of an incredible journey that has consequently helped shape and changed the lives of thousands of people diagnosed with Autism, along with the parents and carers of children on the autism spectrum. Through her unwavering determination and an unbelievable amount of passion, Anna has founded a number of innovative facilities, created life changing campaigns and been the force behind a number of petitions for change. Powered by the love of her boys a desire to support and serve the Autism community, Anna is a Mum on a mission, and it is no wonder that her remarkable charity work and achievements led her to be recognized and awarded an OBE by the late Queen Elizabeth II. 

      Autism's Got Talent
      Anna Kennedy OBE
      © BROOD MAGAZINE. ANNA KENNEDY OBE

      “…Keep nurturing your children’s interests as you never know where it might lead!

      You have achieved so much since you embarked on your journey to raise awareness about Autism, tell us how it all started and some of the things that you have achieved along the way.  

      “When my boys were diagnosed with Autism, it was the nineties so there wasn’t a lot of support available out there at the time, so I had to fight for everything. There weren’t any schools out that could meet our boy’s needs so we remortgaged our home to set up a school. Hundreds of children have gone on to benefit from the school, so it was the best thing we ever did! We decided then went on to set up a college too since Autism is a lifelong developmental condition. The Vocational College offers a day service that runs 44 weeks of the year, it was set up this way since during the summer holidays it can be quite stressful for parents whose children are adults since school holiday breaks can be very busy. We also set up a residential home too, for eight adults. The idea was that this would be a stepping stone from living in the residential home into moving into their own home or supported living. Many of the residents have moved on to get a job or move into their own homes. 

       I set up the charity Anna Kennedy Online in 2009 because parents were contacting me about the difficulties, they were encountering with reference to getting a diagnosis, a lot of whom had been waiting for many years. 

      The charity now has many volunteers that are as passionate and driven as I am and that want to support as many families of autistic children and adults as possible. The charity also provides a touchstone for Autistic adults, it’s a place that they know they can either email or call the charity office to chat or if they even just want to run some ideas past someone. Since starting the charity, we have developed many events such as the Autism Expo, which gives people the chance to come along and listen to various speakers, along with the chance to see different professionals in the clinics that we hold there. We went on to develop the Charity Autism Hero Awards where hundreds of nominations are sent in by the public from across the UK and Overseas which is a red-carpet event for inspiring individuals and groups who go the extra mile for the autism community. One of my favourite annual events of which I am a founder is the world-renowned Autism’s got Talent!

       

      Tell us about Autism’s Got Talent, what made you decide to start that? 

      “Autism’s Got Talent came about when I was talking to people who were contacting us about being bullied after I launched our Anti Bullying campaign Give us a Break, they would share with us that they had developed skills and amazing talents. For example, many had taught themselves to play the guitar both acoustic and electric, and other people had taught themselves to do magic, plus many other talents all from watching youtube videos. They would send in many videos to share what they had achieved, and as these videos started coming in, I got really excited. At that time, I was invited to a show by Pineapple Performing Arts School at the Mermaid Theatre and as I was looking around, I thought I want to put on a show here made up purely of talented autistic children and adults. So, I approached Maggie Paterson (the principal and founder of Pineapple Performing Arts School) and we launched ‘Autism’s Got Talent’. It has now been 11 years, and we are sent in auditions from all over the world; Morocco, Italy, Canada, America, plus many more! It’s an amazing show and I always say that you have to be there to truly appreciate what I’m talking about. Every year it gets better, I don’t how but it just does! I think it’s great how it inspires the children and adults in the audience that are Autistic to want to take part or develop a performing arts skill since it inspires them that they too can do this one day.”  

       

      What issues do you still see that need addressing in terms of Autism Awareness and Acceptance?

      “Since I started the charity things haven’t really changed that much in terms of for example bullying, if anything it’s probably on the increase because of online bullying. This is really sad, so we set up an anti-bullying campaign in 2011, that’s called ‘Give us a break!’ and we originally started that alongside Esther Rantzen and the NSPCC. And we run a new campaign each year.  

      I also recently set up a petition that now has over 12,000 signatures because there’s not enough support or a one-stop shop if you like, with information on who will support your sons or daughters when you’re no longer around. There’s always that question in the back of parents’ and carers’ minds ‘Who’s going to look after my children when I’m no longer around’. I would advise people to set up a trust and make sure that you have a will – MENCAP has a fantastic service, and there are some workshops out there. I would say the early set it up the better it is, for your own peace of mind. 

      I recently was asked to be involved in a documentary with Katie Price and Harvey. Katie talks about how she didn’t realise how far ahead you have to start the transition process for 18 plus when your child is going from school to college. From doing that documentary with the BBC we received so many messages from people saying they too didn’t realise how far ahead you have to plan, and it highlighted that there needs to be more awareness and information around this process. So, we set up a few workshops to help people navigate those transitions. My husband Sean has had a diagnosis of Asperger’s since 2013, and he is a barrister. Sean conducted a workshop online to help families with all the various legal questions that they had. So, from that one documentary we were able to help so many different parents and I’m also pleased to say that Katie did find the right place for Harvey, that can meet all his complex needs and he’s been there for over a year now and he’s doing really well.”

      Anna Kennedy OBE
      ANNA KENNEDY OBE © BROOD MAGAZINE

      “…Don’t forget who you are.”

      Your sons are older now, how do you think your work has positively impacted their lives? 

      “Well Patrick is 32 now and I’m pleased to say he’s got a full-time job at Pinewood Studios. His passion for dinosaurs, which began when he was seven years old has led him to give a speech at Pinewood Studios in front of the production team of Jurassic World and all the staff there. He’s known as ‘Paleo Pat’ he’s been working there for 4 years now, and they know all about his passion for dinosaurs. I’m really proud of him. He’s obviously nervous since he’s never spoken in front of a lot of people before, but it just shows you where your passions can lead you, as that passion he had as a little boy has led him to do this. I always say keep nurturing your children’s interests as you never know where it might lead. Patrick has also just moved into his own flat, and he’s slowly getting used to it, he still gets overwhelmed every now and again however he is making great progress and his flat is spotless! Bills are a big thing for him to learn about, at one point he thought he just paid the bill once and that was it, and I said ‘No, it’s every month Patrick – if only!’ [she laughs] Angelo still lives at home; he will always need one-to-one support. Angelo is 29 now and he’s quite profoundly affected by his autism, and he’s got quite a significant sensory processing condition. He goes to the college that we set up which he enjoys so that’s been really good for him.”

      You work so incredibly hard and obviously even though your boys are adults now, your role as a mum is still very hands-on, particularly with Angelo, do you get any time for yourself?

      “Well, two years ago I actually brought a wellbeing ambassador into the charity, as it was covid and obviously a lot of people were struggling with their wellbeing, so I thought it was something important that we needed to talk about. For me, I use dance to help my well-being. I haven’t been for a couple of years now, but I used to go to Zumba every Thursday, it was 7-8pm and that was my release. So, I do need to start that again, but I still do try and just have a dance or exercise each morning and that sets me up for the day. Sometimes when I’m in the office on my own, I put a bit of music on, and I just start having a little dance! [she laughs] I was invited and chosen for the Peoples Strictly which was for Comic Relief and that was an amazing experience! I was chosen out of 11,000 people so it was just incredible. We got four tens’, so it was just a fantastic experience one I will never forget. I’m still friends with Robin Windsor and he comes and supports Autism’s Got Talent every year.”  

      What advice would you give other parents who are juggling their work and life as a parent?

      “You definitely do need to have some me time, even though it’s not always easy. I’ve actually started a campaign called ‘Take Five’ and it’s literally about taking five minutes for yourself. Whatever it may be just take five minutes to be you. Not a mum. Not in your work. Just to be you. Don’t forget who you are!”

      You can get your tickets to Autism’s Got Talent on the charity website and find out more about the incredible work that Anna does at www.AnnaKennedyOnline.com

      Please sign Anna’s petition at http://www.change.org/Annapetition

      Simon Wood
      Written by
      Tom Pitfield and his daughter Iris

      PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM PITFIELD

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      I never expected to be a dad: The path to adoption with Adrian Adair

      I never expected to be a dad: The path to adoption with Adrian Adair

      “…Honestly, I never thought I’d be a dad”

      For many, the path to parenthood is not made from perfectly shaped, life stepping stones. Keen to explore the diverse routes to, and experiences of, becoming a parent I reached out to one of our Morson executive managers who has recently navigated the adoption process to become a father with his partner.

      For safeguarding purposes, we have kept the identity of the family anonymous, so there’s no BROOD photography provided by the talented Tom Pitfield, but I’m confident you’ll be as moved by this honest, inspiring and, at times, emotional story as I was.

      During our conversation, we explore the challenges of raising a child with a traumatic past, the complications of using traditional parenting techniques with an adoptive child and why adoption should be considered more widely as a path to parenthood.

      Morson Group
      Adoption Process
      Morson Group - Find your next job

      Let’s start with your new reality, parenthood. How long have you been a dad?

      We have had our boy for just under a year now, he moved in with us in November of last year. Honestly, I never thought I’d be a dad, but my partner and I have been together for 17 years and we felt it was time to start a family, so we decided to explore adoption.

      We’ve had many a conversation over the past 9 months about how your little boy has changed your life and I’m interested to understand more about your experience of adopting and the adoption process itself…

      It’s been an interesting time, not least because of the personal circumstances and realities you become aware of. All children who are in the adoption process will have experienced trauma in one way or another. The very reason they’re in the care system is because they have encountered some kind of harm and that could be anything from physical, sexual or emotional abuse and severe neglect. So, a big part of the process is having to prepare yourself to cope with, understand and manage that child’s experiences and life story.

      Because we’ve adopted a slightly older child, who wasn’t put into the system until they were five and a half, he’s had years of not having his needs met. As you can imagine, caring for a child who has gone for five and a half years experiencing that when you cry, no one’s cuddled you, or when you’ve been hungry, no one’s fed you, their parent has gone out and left you alone at home on your own… there’s a lot of things to unpick. Often adopting an older child can come with more challenges than if you adopt a newborn baby. For example, in adoption, you can do something called early permanence. In early permanence, the birth mum is still in pregnancy and social services are aware that it’s a challenging environment with the birth family, so as soon as that child is born the baby is taken into care. These babies are safeguarded and cared for by the system from birth.

      However, whatever the path to adoption, one thing you can rely on is that each child who enters care has experienced some type of trauma whether that’s in the womb or in the outside world. So you just need to prepare yourself for this.

      So, as a couple, how do you prepare yourself for this reality and becoming adoptive parents to a child with a traumatic past, did you take any leave from work?

      We did loads of research, training and workshops so we were fully aware of the challenges and prioritised creating an environment where our child would feel safe and supported. To help with this I took three months of adoption leave. The adoption policy for Morson would have allowed me to take 12 months or more if I wanted to, but I was conscious we needed to introduce work/life balance into our environment as part of the process – because that’s the reality of our lives. Three months full pay was amazing because when you bring your child home, that period of attachment with your child is massively important. Being able to take three months off and not having to worry about my salary was huge for me. My partner took off six months and he could have extended it to 12 months as well. That period where we both stayed at home together to nurture, understand and get to know our child and adapt to our new lives was essential.

      Of course, the beauty of having a slightly older child is they do go to school which gave us some downtime, so that’s an advantage! Self-care and a strong support network is of paramount importance when you adopt a child, so allowing yourself time to have a relaxing bath, read a magazine or go for a coffee with a friend is a must.

      As the parent of a toddler, I’m looking forward to school! Also, please give me hope, do they sleep when they’re older, please tell me they do?!

      Do you know what? It’s funny because when he first came to us he would go to bed, then he would get up a short time later and become dysregulated. During this time he’d be throwing cushions and screaming at us, and it would take him probably an hour to settle.

      And now?

      You can put him to bed at 7:30 pm, say ‘Goodnight, I love you’ and he’ll not get out of bed until the morning (which happened to be 5:55 am today). We spoke to an educational psychologist who explained to us that if you do not feel safe the primary thing that is affected is your sleep. So, the fact that he sleeps through the night is speaking volumes about how he feels at home with us, so that’s a huge win.

      That’s amazing and so positive to hear.

      When you first came back to work I remember us chatting and you had loads of interesting tips like this for adopters and anyone caring for a child. Would you mind sharing some more?

      Do you know what, a lot of the training when you go through the adoption process doesn’t just deal with children who’ve experienced trauma. Much of it can cover how to handle any child who is demonstrating challenging behaviours.

      For me, the one key takeaway here was the power of playfulness. No matter how agitated they are, playfulness will nearly always get a child out of the mindset of being angry or upset. If you can get a child to smile or laugh, they cannot feel anger or upset at the same time. So one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that being playful and silly will help your child to become regulated again. Because of this, we find ourselves doing the most ridiculous things! If he suddenly becomes distracted, frustrated or unsettled we’ll do a stupid voice or a silly dance, or we’ll put on a silly song. As soon as he starts laughing you know he’s coming around, so playfulness is massive.

      One of the other tips is distraction techniques. If you can distract your child it can help to diffuse potentially challenging behaviours. Tactics like making anonymous phone calls, for example, picking up the phone and making out that you’re speaking to someone immediately gets him to ask questions like, ‘Who’s that on the phone dad’… his curiosity takes over his agitation.

      So, yes, playfulness and distraction are the two big things we’ve learned. My partner and I certainly have a playful nature, so I won’t lie, we actually really enjoy it.

      Natasha Jonas Training
      ADRIAN ADAIR FOR MORSON. IMAGES © BROOD MAGAZINE

      So you say those tips are universal but do you think there are differences in parenting an adoptive child vs. a child who has had a more traditional upbringing?

      I would say yes. You cannot parent a child who’s experienced trauma the same way you would a child who has not had a traumatic start to life.

      Discipline is one key difference. If you’ve got a baby or child who cries a lot, traditional parenting methods may suggest leaving them to self-soothe or tactics such as sending them to their room to calm down. You can’t do that with a child who has experienced trauma because if your child used to cry, and no one ever came, their behaviour regresses. So you have to go and comfort them. Because of their experiences, many of these children have not met their developmental milestones because they haven’t had their needs met. Therefore their chronological age is different to their emotional age. For example, you may have a child who is eight, but emotionally still could be only 18 months old because they never had their emotional needs met.

      It’s little things like when they get out of the bath, wrapping them in a towel and rocking them, which they didn’t experience as a baby. Another thing is around meal times, for example, my boy will occasionally ask for help eating because he didn’t have that support in his earlier years so is looking for that need to be met now. As an adoptive parent, you’ve got to consider their emotional age, not their chronological age. Remembering this is key.

      I’ll be honest, I’ve found this part really difficult. I’m fighting 38 years of being parented and in a particular way. The fuses in my childhood home were very short and you cannot behave that way with an adoptive child, you must have patience. So it’s been a real eye-opener for me on how to try and control my initial reactions, be more tolerant and think about things more carefully.

      So is it fair to say that the adoption experience has taught you a lot about yourself? Has becoming a parent changed you in any way?

      Yes, I would say this experience has definitely taught me more about myself. I’ve always been quite an empathetic person and this has helped me transition into the adoptive parent role. This whole process has highlighted how important empathy and understanding people’s situations are. I think I’ve always been that way, to be honest, but even more so now.

      Although I was only saying at work yesterday it’s funny how I have so much patience and tolerance with my team, yet you flip it onto parenthood and my tolerances and patience get a bit shorter. But I think this is because, when you become a parent your child becomes the most important thing in your life. Things that I would get upset and frustrated about beforehand in work, I’m just like, it’s not that important anymore. I don’t sweat the small stuff because my child and his well-being are my priority.

      I agree. I think patience is the key word. People say to me all the time that I’ve calmed down since I’ve become a dad. I think when you’re at home, in a social environment or the workplace being more patient with people whether that’s colleagues, children, family or friends ensures you get the best out of those around you.

      Speaking of friends, when we used to meet up we’d talk about which restaurant we’d been to or what holiday we’d just booked. Now it’s all mealtime strategies, sleep cycles and ‘guess what food has been smeared on my clothes this morning?’ Is it fair to say life has changed?

      Yeah! Now it’s all about soft play and where the best children’s theme parks are. Holidays are not the same. Now you book a hotel based on the kids club reviews and availability of free slushies.

      It’s not a holiday anymore. It’s a trip!

      Yeah, it’s very, very different, but different in a good way.

      I never expected to be a dad. Ever. Because I thought parenthood would be something that I would never do, you don’t work towards it. I think in heterosexual couples (or certainly it used to be) you would get together, get married and have a baby; you’d have these relationship milestones set out. But often in a gay relationship, couples get together, get a house and live the rest of your life frivolously. But as soon as my partner and I started the process we knew we were meant to be dads and I would never change it.

      I always said when I first met Leanne that I’m not getting married again, I don’t want children and I don’t like pets…

      And look at you now.

      Yep, 15 years on, we’re married, we’ve got a dog and Alana proceeded pretty swiftly afterwards. You make a good point though. Society used to force everyone into these ‘norms’ but nowadays people are ripping up the rule book. I think we were probably the last generation who felt that pressure.

      Though I couldn’t see my life any other way now. To see the world through a child’s eyes is probably the best thing I’ve ever experienced because they just love everything, don’t they? The first time they step on sand or go on a plane, it’s all new and exciting…

      Oh absolutely! The number of times we’ve sat there and our little boy has just looked up and gone ‘This is the best day ever!‘.

      It’s particularly powerful for him because he was taken into care at five and went through several different foster placements, so he’s never been able to feel safe, settled or have things of his own. He’s never been spoiled, and now he’s having all these experiences, he’s like WOW! Though we’ve had to reign it in a little bit!

      What’s it like seeing the difference in him and knowing you’re giving him the best life experiences possible? Are you an adoption advocate?

      A massive yes on both parts. I think more people need to see adoption as an option. People don’t look at or talk about fostering and adoption enough. I mean, consider the positive impact you can have; not only are you bringing joy to your life, but you’re also giving a child who would not have the best life a chance to have an amazing life. So people should think more about it because they’re crying out for adopters.

      Look, it’s challenging, I won’t sugar coat that, in some early conversations with you I probably burst into tears a couple of times, but the rewards on both sides are huge.

      That’s such a powerful message and you’ve completely opened my eyes, like many others I’m guilty of being relatively naive to the adoption conversation. Do you have any tips for people that are thinking about going on that journey?

      I think my one tip would be that you cannot be overprepared. Read the books. Do as much training as you possibly can, because there is nothing that can prepare you for some of the challenges that are involved, but it is very, very, very rewarding. Some training courses we went on and some of the stories we heard were so sad and unbelievable so yeah, just be prepared. That’s the most important thing.

      We’ve worked together now for 11(!) years and it’s been lovely to see you go on this journey, I know I’ve never seen you happier. You’ve got such a nurturing personality, and a brilliant relationship with your partner, I know you’re creating a great home for your boy.

      Yeah, times have certainly changed since we were dancing on tables doing Karaoke and singing Barbie Girl! But I wouldn’t change it for the world.

      Through my relationship with this particular colleague and others, I’ve seen first-hand how adoption has enriched the lives of both adults and children. For me, it’s so important that organisations support and enable people to explore all routes to parenthood, and as business leaders, we must help to facilitate and champion this.

      At Morson, our adoption policy has been crafted to ensure that adoptive parents are supported equally to those on traditional maternity or paternity leave. Primary parents receive the same entitlement as those on maternity and secondary parents mirror paternity policy. But, it’s not just adoption, we’re looking at various family structures to ensure our colleagues are supported by policies which are fair, inclusive, and reflective of their personal circumstances. For example, we’re currently working directly with one of our colleagues who is going through IVF to help write and shape our IVF policy to ensure it offers the right level of support.

      As a business with a large, global reach we’re passionate about influencing positive change across our network based on learned experience. As such our HR teams are working with a number of clients to help them craft inclusive policies for their current and future workforce, through our HR Outsourcing service.

      If you are a business wishing to explore how best to champion inclusion and support your employees or an individual looking for an opportunity in an organisation that cares for the personal and professional you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me directly adrian.adair@morson.com

      Morson Group - Find your next job
      Morson Group
      Interviewed by
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      AN ICON. OUR QUEEN. A MOTHER.

      AN ICON. OUR QUEEN. A MOTHER.

      AN ICON. OUR QUEEN. A MOTHER.

      The devastating loss of our Queen has been felt not just throughout our country, the commonwealth but across the whole world. She was the heartbeat of the nation during so many of our country’s ups and downs, often providing poignant words that provided comfort to so many during many difficult times in British history. She was a remarkable and unique woman, and she lived the most extraordinary life, with duty running through the very core of everything she did. She was an icon. A beloved mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. The Queen was said to have referred to being a mum as ‘the ONLY job’ whilst presenting Oscar winning actress Kate Winslet her CBE in 2012 as they discussed careers and motherhood.

      We wanted to look back at the Queen’s incredible life and see how she managed juggling the crown and her role as a mum of four. The Queen was already a mum of two when she became Queen and when she later had her third child, she became the first reigning monarch to give birth in over a century!

      The Queen was not one to shy away from hard work, or to demonstrate her devotion to her country even from an early age. In World War Two she joined the land army as a driver and mechanic (skills that came in useful throughout her life particularly during her trips to Balmoral where she was regularly seen driving herself around the estate).  In the Queen’s 21st speech she declared that “her whole life whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong”. Words that came to define her as she ended up as our longest reigning monarch, serving her country and the commonwealth as our Queen for 70 years.

      Queen Elizabeth with Children Brood Front Cover

      The Queen’s wedding to Prince Phillip lit up post-war Britain, and it wasn’t long before the Royal couple embarked on family life, first welcoming a son – Prince Charles, then shortly after, their daughter Princess Anne.

      In Feb 1952 whilst on a Royal Tour in Kenya, the Queen was delivered the devasting news that her beloved father had passed away and that she was now the Queen, at only 25 years of age. Life from that moment dramatically changed for the newly wed couple and their young children, as her duty to the crown and formal obligations would overshadow her family life. During her time at the helm of our throne Queen Elizabeth visited over 100 countries; famously leaving Charles and Anne behind with their Nanny’s for 6 months, whilst herself and Prince Phillip toured Australia – this of course wasn’t usual for these times, or given the Queens role, but it must have been difficult, nonetheless.

      Queen Elizabeth II saw 15 prime ministers come and go from Downing Street, her first Prime Minister being the great Sir Winston Churchill. She opened parliament and bestowed honours upon thousands of British people.

      Once the Queen was settled into her role as Queen, her and Prince Philip went on to have two more children, Andrew, and Prince Edward. She was notoriously more relaxed with her two younger children and took extended maternity leave after having Prince Edward where she enjoyed 18 months, focusing on enjoying being a mum.

      Even when her children had grown up the stress and strain of being a mum was visible on a number of occasions particularly the year where she watched two of her children get divorced, notably stating in her Christmas speech that it hadn’t been a good year.

      When the immense tragedy of Diana’s death hit the royal family and the world began mourning on an unprecedented scale, the Queen choose to keep her beloved grandsons Prince William and Prince Harry away from the public glaze, so that they could grieve privately and take in the news of their mother’s sudden passing in the tranquil setting of their cherished family home in Balmoral. However, after the public anger grew at the lack of visibility from the royal family and the Queen’s popularity dipped to an all time low, the Queen returned to Buckingham Palace and explained to her people that she had been putting her role as a grandmother first. A role that was visibly so important to her, and one that was illustrated by the close bonds that she shared with each of her grandchildren.

      Years later she would also see her son, Andrew, whom she loved so much, become disgraced and bring shame upon himself and the royal family, due to sexual assault allegations, and his connections to the convicted paedophile Jeffery Epstein. The Queen stripped Andrew of all his military titles and royal patronages, and it was announced he was no longer allowed to use his HRH title in the wake of the events.

      She watched on proudly as the 2012 Olympics were held in London. And during covid the Queen had the words that we all needed to hear – “We will be with our friends again. We will be with our families again. We will meet again.” It was of course whilst coronavirus restrictions were still in place that the love of her life and her rock Prince Philip passed away. The loss of her husband would have had a profound effect on the Queen, but still she upheld her duties as monarch and the image of her sitting alone at his funeral is an image that touched everyone, royalist or not.

      The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee was celebrated triumphantly throughout the United Kingdom, with an array of street parties, traditional parades, and concerts, giving our children the opportunity to learn all about the Queen and her amazing legacy. Perhaps one of everyone’s favourite moments from the platinum jubilee was when a film of the Queen having tea with Paddington Bear was aired on the big screen in front of Buckingham Palace. An iconic moment, that displayed the Queens renowned sense of humour and one that made the Queen the first British Monarch to become a film and TV character while she was still on the throne.

      It is no wonder that Queen Elizabeth II was such a well-loved head of state and country, showing the utmost dedication until the end, as despite her documented health issues the Queen at the age of 96, appointed the new Prime Minister Liz Truss, just two days before the Queens death devastated the world.

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      KATE DEVINE’S: NO BAKE RASPBERRY & CHOCOLATE ENERGY BARS

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      Oli’s Dadpreneur Diary

      Oli’s Dadpreneur Diary

      Oli & Kim Dunn and thier Daughter Romy for BROOD MAGAZINE © TOM Pitfield Photography 

      “Becoming a Dad has inspired me.”

      Hi I’m Oli, you might know me as Oli The Choc, I’ve been a chocolatier for 20 years, growing up in the family business Simon Dunn Chocolatier I watched my parents start a business from scratch and that inspired me to do the same.
      My Mum and Dad own a chocolate shop so they are the “product” whereas I’m the “service”, entertaining people with chocolate and teaching them how to make things, this gives me incredible satisfaction when I see them get into their creative flow and learn something new, kids or adults. I’ve created my own crazy little world on social media and on Chocolate Street in High Lane, Stockport. I’m passionate about working with chocolate and about being me, having fun and sharing what I do with the world.

      In the last couple of years I’ve been on a journey into podcasting, presenting and appearing on TV shows such as Blue Peter and Stephs Packed Lunch.
      I’m delighted to be part of the Brood family, as a new Dad, self confessed big kid and running my own business I’m here to share some of those experiences, lessons, thoughts and hopefully adding some value and interestingness (is that even a word?) to you👇🏼 and here to remind you that you can still pursue your dreams and achieve your goals whilst being a parent.

      On the 13th June 2021 Romy Star was born into the world thanks to a very special beautiful lady, her Mama, my wife Kim. People told us life will never be the same, and you won’t be able to do the things you used to. Well I’m here to tell you that you can, yes it’s different and there’s a lot of juggling, challenges and sometimes frustration but the most significant fact for me is that my “why” is much stronger than ever before.

      In becoming a Dad I feel I now have a greater purpose in being the best version of myself, succeeding in business/ career and most importantly being happy.
      Therefore this has cemented who I am as a person, embracing my own madness and desire to play and be a big kid. After all who ever said we have to stop having fun when we become adults and more so parents, so I’m doubling down on that!

      My advise to any parent would be, make time for yourself when you can, read, write, walk, run or in my case Onewheel (if you follow me on IG you’ll know what that is) to give you that reset, refocus, clear mind, fresh perspective and your own identity outside of being a parent which will strengthen your parenting skills

      Oli Dunn Chocolatier
      Oli Dunn Choc
      Oli The Choc presenting

      Becoming a Dad has inspired me.
      It’s important for me to show Romy you can do something you love and pursue random fun experiences in life, just because you want to. You can live the life you want and you can show others that they can too.

      As a child I wanted to be a TV or radio presenter but I always felt from feedback that this was “unrealistic” so I joined the family business and became a chocolatier. Which I loved then and love even more now.
      This actually led me down a path of presenting which I didn’t realise at the time, hosting children’s parties and corporate events. The main skill aside from working with chocolate was presenting and entertaining.
      This has opened doors and created opportunities for me outside of chocolate in that I have a Podcast called Goin’ In Deep, and I host live shopping shows on TikTok working with brands such as I Saw It First, Disney, Warner Bros, Zavvi, Lego etc.

      I want to be able to say to Romy that she can be and do whatever she feels inspired to and to know that nothing is “unrealistic”, so my drive is to be able to show her that this is true through how I’ve lived my life. Living proof.

      You can create the life you want and if you truly want to do something, you can and you will.
      You have to be patient and work hard but trust the process. Give yourself a pat on the back now and again and remind yourself how far you have come. Nothing will get in your way, not even becoming a parent. Everything you do leads to something else, opportunities are everywhere, so keep going.

      I’m excited to share that message to Romy and to see where she takes this perspective in her life, the sky is the limit.

      I am excited to share more of my perspectives and experiences with you through my Brood articles and I hope you will come with me on my journey and I hope as well you will be able to relate and take something away.

      Until next time, but for now I’ll leave you with this thought;
      Stop what you’re doing and be Grateful AF for what you have and have achieved so far.
      Keep being the best ‘you’ you can be and remember to enjoy the journey, every single thing you do leads to something else. Trust the process.

      Yours Chocolatey,

      Oli
      @Oli_The_Choc

      Written by

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