Alberts BookShelf Event

Alberts BookShelf Event

lbert’s Shed Event: Bolton, Greater Manchester

Our friends over at Alberts Book Shelf, Danny Miller & Nige Clucas are hosting their Summer Albert’s Book Shelf Event this weekend!

Details:

☀️📚 ALBERTS BOOKSHELF SUMMER FESTIVAL AT OPEN AIR BOUNCE 📚☀️

We promised you even more entertainment to make Albert’s Bookshelf 1st Summer Festival the most amazing day! And, I think we’ve smashed it!!

Albert’s festival is coming to Open Air Bounce, a magnificent story themed festival on 6th and 7th July, including all Open Air Bounce facilities, live readings, non-stop stage performances/ entertainment, foam parties, staycation raffel, special guests, character mascots, meet & greets, dinosaur shows, face painting/glitter tattoos and even candy floss characters!! This is an event for the whole family

Make sure you check out, like & follow Albert’s bookshelf social media platforms & their podcast on Spotify!!!

This is an event not to be missed, what are you waiting for – secure your tickets NOW they are selling FAST via the Open Air Bounce:

Alberts Shed, Danny Miller and Nigel Clucas
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WE’VE ROUNDED UP ALL OF THE BEST FATHER’S DAY GIFT IDEAS FOR THE SUPER DAD IN YOUR LIFE, WHETHER YOU’RE TREATING YOUR DAD, OR FATHER-IN-LAW, OR BUYING SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR YOUR OTHER HALF.

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No more years of hurt!

No more years of hurt!

NO MORE YEARS OF HURT

By Teresa Parker, Head of Media, Brand & Relationships at Women’s Aid

This issue of BROOD comes during one of the most exciting international football tournaments, the Euros. For so many of us it’s a time to look forward to, a time of hope – the eternal hope that so many of us have – and a time to go out and enjoy ourselves. But for those living in refuges for survivors of domestic abuse, just the sound of the Euros might mean switching the TV off. I know from my work at Women’s Aid that there are refuges for women and children, who have fled to a refuge for safety, that will not turn the television on during big football tournaments because of it brings back horrific memories. While football doesn’t cause domestic abuse, where abuse already exists, at the time of big football games it can become more frequent or severe. Increased use of alcohol or recreational drugs can become a trigger for this increase, although many abusers do not drink or take drugs – the abuse is frequently about taking control rather than losing control.

Taking the opportunity to raise awareness during big international tournaments is important to us at Women’sAid, as it helps raise awareness of the issue, helping those living in fear of a partner know how to recognise what is happening and access support. During the last World Cup we launched the ‘He’s Coming Home’ campaign, which was an enormous success, increasing visits to support page on our website and encouraging donations for our lifesaving work. 1 in 8 mentions of the World Cup and England were about the campaign on TikTok, reaching so many more people than before.

Hollyoaks Supports Womens Aid

“ I always dreaded the football season, for my ex it was another ‘excuse’ to get off his face on cocaine and drink too much. He would tell me its what the lads do. For him it was fun for me it was fear. Fear of what mood he would be in when he came home, walking on egg shells not knowing what abuse was coming next.”

Emma was terrified of her ex, but is now with a supportive new partner. The more we raise awareness, the more people can get safely away from abusive partners and rebuild their lives.

At Women’s Aid we are doing important work with football clubs and organisations including at Fulham (picture taken below at the International Women’s Day game, Fulham vs Brighton) to raise awareness of domestic abuse and the attitudes that mean it is tolerated. There is something everyone can do to help end domestic abuse, from learning what to say if someone told you they were experiencing it, to putting up a poster in your workplace.

Before the Euros we have been also raising awareness with Hollyoaks, who we are working on the Cleo and Abe storyline with, with the Home Office and the ENOUGH campaign to encourage bystanders to stand up against domestic abuse. Tyler Conti who plays Abe recently rode his bike from Liverpool, where the show is set, to Paris, to raise vital funds – there really is something everyone can do!

For help and support, or to take part in a challenge in support of Women’s Aid like Tyler, go to www.womensaid.org.uk 

Fundraiser by Women’s Aid and Alice Liveing : Women’s Aid Euro Fundraiser 2024 (gofundme.com)

Teresa Parker
no more years of hurt
Dean Holden and Danielle Nicholls
Anti Ageing One Truth 818

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No more years of hurt!

This issue of BROOD comes during one of the most exciting international football tournaments, the Euros. For so many of us it’s a time to look forward to, a time of hope – the eternal hope that so many of us have – and a time to go out and enjoy ourselves. But for those living in refuges for survivors of domestic abuse, just the sound of the Euros might mean switching the TV off.

read more

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IF YOU’RE READING BROOD THEN YOU’RE MOST LIKELY TO HAVE A MILLION AND ONE THINGS ON YOUR TO-DO LIST, SO WE’VE PUT TOGETHER A FANTASTIC GIFT GUIDE TO GIVE YOU SOME INSPIRATION AND HOPEFULLY SAVE YOU SOME TIME WHEN DECIDING WHAT TO BUY FOR FATHER’S DAY; WHICH FALLS ON SUNDAY 16TH JUNE THIS YEAR – JUST IN CASE YOU NEED TO MAKE A NOTE OF IT IN YOUR DIARY!
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Father’s Day GifT Guide

Father’s Day GifT Guide

FATHER’S DAY GIFT GUIDE

IF YOU’RE READING BROOD THEN YOU’RE MOST LIKELY TO HAVE A MILLION AND ONE THINGS ON YOUR TO-DO LIST, SO WE’VE PUT TOGETHER A FANTASTIC GIFT GUIDE TO GIVE YOU SOME INSPIRATION AND HOPEFULLY SAVE YOU SOME TIME WHEN DECIDING WHAT TO BUY FOR FATHER’S DAY; WHICH FALLS ON SUNDAY 16TH JUNE THIS YEAR – JUST IN CASE YOU NEED TO MAKE A NOTE OF IT IN YOUR DIARY!

WE’VE ROUNDED UP ALL OF THE BEST FATHER’S DAY GIFT IDEAS FOR THE SUPER DAD IN YOUR LIFE, WHETHER YOU’RE TREATING YOUR DAD, OR FATHER-IN-LAW, OR BUYING SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR YOUR OTHER HALF.

 

(All the links can be found below)

Father's day gift guide<br />

PRODUCT LINKS

Lion Doodle T-shirt

£69 per set

www.mancub.co.uk/

BBQ ALL STARS SET

Regular price

£19.99

www.sauceshop.co

Roll Top Olive Backpack

£20

https://www.dunelm.com/

Barber Elvington Leather Cardholder

£35

https://www.farrar-tanner.co.uk

Stanley Slate Quencher H2.0 Flowstate 1.2L Tumbler

£45.00

https://www.urbanoutfitters.com/

Best Dad

Mini Hardback Photo Book

£26

https://www.papier.com

Groomsmen Gift Personalized Hanging Toiletry Bag, Vegan Leather Dopp Kit Shaving Kit Bag

£19.79 (sale)

https://www.etsy.com/

ProCook Stoneware Mug

Set of 4 – Black 420ml

Only £27.00

https://www.procook.co.uk/

MAN ACTIVE TRAINING DEPT BOXY HOODIE

£28.00

https://www.boohooman.com/

 

King C. Gillette Beard Trimmer & Beard Care Kit

£40.00

https://www.gillette.co.uk/

Samsung Pro  3 in 1 Wireless Charger

£61

https://gb.evolvedchargers.com/

Dean Holden and Danielle Nicholls
Anti Ageing One Truth 818

 KEEP UP TO DATE WITH BROOD:

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Related Articles

No more years of hurt!

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read more

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IF YOU’RE READING BROOD THEN YOU’RE MOST LIKELY TO HAVE A MILLION AND ONE THINGS ON YOUR TO-DO LIST, SO WE’VE PUT TOGETHER A FANTASTIC GIFT GUIDE TO GIVE YOU SOME INSPIRATION AND HOPEFULLY SAVE YOU SOME TIME WHEN DECIDING WHAT TO BUY FOR FATHER’S DAY; WHICH FALLS ON SUNDAY 16TH JUNE THIS YEAR – JUST IN CASE YOU NEED TO MAKE A NOTE OF IT IN YOUR DIARY!
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LUCY MECKLENBURGH – Mum of two, tv star, entrepreneur, wellness expert and property developer

LUCY MECKLENBURGH – Mum of two, tv star, entrepreneur, wellness expert and property developer

“We try and live up to this expectation that we should be making sure that everything is picture perfect!”

Mum of two, TV-star, entrepreneur, wellness expert and property developer, Lucy Mecklenburgh, knows all too well the juggle of running a business alongside bringing up two young children, Roman 3 and Lilah, 18 months. Each week she is spinning a variety of different plates from boardroom meetings developing her renowned fitness app RWL – (which has been hailed as ‘the world’s most comprehensive online fitness and nutrition app’) to bringing together her loyal community by hosting retreats abroad. Alongside RWL, Lucy also works with many different brands such as developing her own clothing lines, creating content for social media plus she is also building an impressive portfolio as a property developer. As both Lucy and her fiancé (well-loved actor Ryan Thomas) are both self-employed, no two weeks are ever the same, and with that, comes the added pressure that so many of us face day-to-day. We sat down with Lucy to chat about how she manages everything from the strains of running a business, to mum guilt and how having children inspired her to change the focus of her whole app. Lucy is incredibly down to earth, and very humble and it’s an absolute pleasure to have Lucy as our Edition 2 cover star.

Lucy Mecklenburg BROOD Edition 2
LUCY MECLENBURGH COPYRIGHT FOR BROOD MAGAZINE ©

THE LATEST EDITION:

Anti Ageing One Truth 818
Lucy Mecklenburg

INTERVIEW WITH LUCY MECKLENBURGH

Tell me what your weekly work-juggle looks like?

“There’s always lots to do for my wellness app – which is 10 years old now, and I’ve also got the wellness treats that I work on, they’re new. Creating content for social media is a huge part of my job now. Whether that be for my app, or for brands that I work with. Doing photoshoots and attending events are as well. That’s kind of my juggle on a weekly basis workwise. Sounds quite a lot when you say it out loud! [She laughs]”

At what point in your career did you become a mum and how did you find that transition?

“Do you know what, I was at a really nice point in my career actually. I was late twenties – which was actually a lot younger than I thought I was going to be. I’d had my app for a long time, it was going really well, and I had got to the point where I was really happy with it and loved everyone I was working with. I had done a few TV shows and then me and Ryan met whilst we were doing the Bear Grylls show – which was probably one of biggest challenges to date, apart from having children! [We laugh] And I was very happy, moving behind the scenes into the business world a little bit more, then I fell pregnant. Having my kids changed my business in a huge way! We had a very small part of the app dedicated to pre and post-natal and now that is a massive part of RWL. I can remember looking at it as soon as I had a baby and just realising immediately that the existing structured-part of the app for post-natal, needed to go. I was like, ‘There shouldn’t be any pressure to work out three times a week and do this and follow this etc. I want there to be loads of information on there that offers information on sleep, mental health, breast feeding. I want there to be support and a community within the app so that people can talk to each other and share in their journeys.’ We have Midwifes, Doctors on there, and that came from me googling things at 2am and getting overwhelmed with information. I wanted a platform that I could trust – so I created it! And now it’s a huge part of the business that I’m really passionate about, and I’m really proud of that.”

What has been your career highlight to date?

“Oh gosh, that is so hard! I think actually getting my fitness app to 10 years was a huge moment for me, because it’s not easy – running a business is not easy and there has been so many highs and lows over the last 10 years within the business, so reaching that point was a huge milestone. I think especially as people would think, ‘Oh it’s just another celebrity fitness fad’ – particularly in the early days and actually I’ve seen a lot of brands come and go but we’ve stuck it out and we’ve got years’ experience now. We didn’t always make the right decisions over the years, but you learn from that and I’m really proud of it. It’s not been easy, it never is but if you stick at something and you work hard then you can make a success of it. Also, to branch out into to doing the retreats abroad and bringing that community together was really important too.”

Charlotte Hawkins
IMAGES COPYRIGHT OF BROOD MAGAZINE ©

What has been the biggest challenge that you have had to overcome since having a business?

“I think accepting that every decision that you make isn’t going to be the right one and being ok with that. Like at first when I made decisions that didn’t work out, I would find it really hard to accept that, but as I’ve moved forward I can reflect and go – ‘It didn’t work out for this reason and I learnt a lesson.’ And actually all the things that go wrong when you start a business are actually the best things to happen to you, because you’re better doing it then, rather than five years down the line because you learn so much. So yes, learning to accept the mistakes that you make and then turning them around into a positive, realising that everything that happened has happened for a reason.”

What have you found the hardest thing about being a parent?

“I really struggled with the early days. Maybe more so as Roman was my first and a lockdown baby. I think its because you’re going from what is a selfish life – we don’t realise it but we all do whatever it is that we want and you only have to think about yourself and then all of a sudden you’re have this amazing thing given to you and your totally responsible for and suddenly everything revolves around them. You suddenly think – ‘What was I doing with all my time before I had children!’ [We laugh in agreement] I just found it really tough. Also, Roman was quite poorly and so I would also say the worry of being a mum was something that I hadn’t prepared for, and I think that it probably the hardest thing about becoming a parent. You have that worry because you love them more than anything you’ve ever loved in your life before.” [Roman was diagnosed with an unsafe swallow.] I think that the fact people don’t talk enough about how hard it is – especially that first 6 months – is really tough. Even at 6 months I remember thinking with Roman, ‘God, this is still really hard and I’m not feeling completely fulfilled.’ And then you start thinking, ‘why am I not feeling fulfilled ‘just as a mum’. And actually, being a mum is the hardest job in the world and we crave adult conversations and work environments and I think that’s really normal and natural. I think you need good friends around you, like I remember ringing my friend one day and saying, ‘I’m really bored! I’m watching Peppa Pig on repeat, I’m washing and ironing.’ It just felt like Groundhog Day every day and actually I needed to make a decision to change that, to reach out for help; share more between me and Ryan; to arrange some childcare so that I had some time for me – whether that was in a work capacity or meeting friends for coffee, you need that. I don’t think that day in day out ‘just being a mum’ wouldn’t work for me.”

Mum guilt is something that most people encounter in one way or another, what has your experience of Mum guilt and how have you dealt with it?

“Hugely! I remember going to work, quite early on – because I had my own business you see so I didn’t get a maternity leave as such and also I really missed it, and I really wanted to get back in and see what was going on because I have to run a business, and I can remember going in for a day and feeling like an awful person because I wasn’t pining for my child. I felt guilty for not worrying and missing my child. I can remember thinking this is ridiculous. We’re so hard on ourselves, if my friend would have said that to me, I would have said, ‘Well that’s good, you’ve been to work, your brain has been focused on other things and then you’ll go back to your child thinking I can’t wait to see them!’ But I felt so guilty. I think just being busy – I’ll have a week where I’m really busy with work and I always feel like I need to let them stay up an extra hour before bed, because I feel guilty because I’ve not seen them as much as I would have wanted to. Unfortunately, I think – especially for us women – because I’m sure Dad guilt exists but you don’t really hear of that as much, but the phrase Mum guilt is used so much and I feel like whatever we do whether we’re a working mum, whether we stay at home, or whether we do a bit of both, whatever we do there’s always going to be that guilt and that pressure put on us. You can’t wait.”

Do you think that pressure comes from ourselves, or societal pressures, or a bit of both?  

“I think it’s society and us. I think society can be too quick to deem things either right or wrong when actually we all just need to support each other more. Even like childcare, everyone has an opinion on childcare, when actually a lot of the time the mums and the dads have to go back to work, they don’t have a choice they have to, so they need childcare. But even if its not down to needing to go back to work, its that they want to that’s ok. Having childcare in place is absolutely ok and actually my son absolutely loves nursery, and he does way-more in a day than I could ever think up for him!”

Becoming a parent changes your life so dramatically that its can be easy to feel like you have lost of identity, did you experience that feeling at any point?

“Oh 100% you do lose your identity. I can remember thinking one day, ‘When was the last time I put make up on, I’ve not got out of my joggers or pyjamas for weeks – and that was probably even worse than it would have been because of covid – but me and Ryan tried to make an effort so that I would feel like myself, so we would do date night every other Friday for example. We have this thing now that we call a mini reset, where we look at what is working and not working in our week, what can we do to make this situation better? For example, childcare – what’s working and what’s not working, and what can we do differently. It gives us an opportunity to say, well next week I need to make time for this – be that going for a walk on our own, or to get a coffee etc. We try and plan our weeks as much as possible because our lives are so crazy and we don’t have a 9-5 job, the mini resets really work for us, and it helps us to improve our lives. Everyday is a real juggle and when you are putting your children first, it can be hard to make sure you get what you need out of your week as well, there never seems to be enough hours in the day to fit everything in!”

We usually ask what tips you would give to other parents, do you think that is your number tip?

“Yes, I would say the mini resets, but just communication too – with your partner and people around you. That could be your mum or your mother-in-law, and you could say to them ‘this is what would be helpful for me this week. I think communication is so important and when you have kids you have to have that, you really do.”

How easy have you found asking for help? We all put ourselves under so much pressure, sometimes reaching out for help can feel like admitting defeat – that we can’t do it all. How did you find that?

“I think society puts so much pressure on us and you look on Instagram and you see everyone’s houses that supposedly look perfect and clean, I can tell you now, that there will be a pile of clothes behind the camera, and that it’s been placed at a perfectly placed angle to hide it! [We laugh] I’m guilty of doing it as well, because we try and live up to this expectation that we should be making sure that everything is picture perfect. I love that there is a change in social media though now because its real life is being normalised. There are people doing funny reals that are showing the reality of everyday scenarios that we can all relate to, and you find yourself going, ‘Oh my god, I’m so glad she thinks that as well, or she has to deal with that as well.’ I love that people are normalising the mundane and stressful parts of parenthood too. I think sometimes you wait until you’re at rock bottom before you ask for help, and it doesn’t need to be that way. I remember calling my mum once and admitting that I was really struggling and that I needed help, and of course she was straight around! I think it is really hard to ask for help though, especially when you’re a new mum.”

Do you think the same applies in business too, that it can be hard to admit that you need help as we feel the need to portray success?

“Yes, I think so. I’m 10 years into my business, it’s not been plain sailing, I’ve made lots of mistakes and that’s ok. Anyone who’s in business knows that it’s really, hard work and there’s going to be loads of things that come along to challenge you. But you shouldn’t feel embarrassed by that because you can grow from that and make better decisions going forward because you’ve learnt a lesson. It’s a bit like life in general, you have to grow certain things to grow, and it’s those things that make your stronger in business and as a person. And I couldn’t do it at the beginning but now I could for help if I needed it. Learning to delegate is a skill, to trust someone else to take care of things in your business can be really hard, but you learn that you aren’t always the best person to deal with everything and actually someone else can do a much better job, so you learn to trust them and let them get on with it.”

Did you feel more pressure to ‘snap back’ after having a baby and being in the public eye, as well as having a fitness app, and how did you deal with that?

“I think everyone presumed that I would be really small, really quickly but actually as soon as I had Roman, I didn’t care – I did not care! And I thought I really would, and I had put on 4 stone whilst I was pregnant and he was a big baby, but he wasn’t 4 stone, that would have been a hard if he was! [She laughs] But I thought I would really care but I didn’t. I had such little sleep, and I just was really kind to myself. I decided to just wait and then start to move once I felt ready, and I thought I would have had that 6 week check and be straight back to training, when actually I didn’t start training again until Roman was 6 months old. And I would always say to say anyone, please don’t put yourself under any pressure you’ve just done a huge thing. I mean obviously I would say please look after yourself in terms of eating good to make sure your well in all aspects, but if you’re not ready to train and you’re exhausted then it doesn’t matter. I’m a lot kinder to my body since having children. A healthy body is a lot more important than achieving this so-called view of perfection in any way possible! My biggest concern used to be my appearance, now it’s about making sure I’m as healthy as possibly so that I can be around for as long as possible for the kids. And being a healthy role for the children is massively important, and that goes past trying to encourage them to eat healthy food, it’s about how you talk about food and how you talk about your body in front of them. I would never talk about my body in negative way in front of my children. I don’t ever want Lilah to her me say, ‘I’m not going to eat that because I’m on a diet’ and so many people do without fully realising they are even doing it or understand the damage that can do to a child in the future. I think the best way to promote good health is by encouraging them to be active in a way that they enjoy.” 

And to end our interview on positive, what do you love most about being a parent?

“I think just all those proud moments. Like today when someone has said to me, ‘You should be so proud of Roman, he’s got amazing manners, he’s such a funny character’ and I started welling up. I think that being proud of them and watching them grow – there’s no feeling like it. As much as there is all the worry and all the other stuff, it’s all completely worth it! [She pauses] But I don’t want anymore! [We all laugh]”

Lucy Mecklenburg
IMAGES COPYRIGHT OF BROOD MAGAZINE LIMITED ©
Simon Wood
Written by
Tom Pitfield and his daughter Iris

PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM PITFIELD

MORE ARTICLES FROM BROOD:

No more years of hurt!

No more years of hurt!

This issue of BROOD comes during one of the most exciting international football tournaments, the Euros. For so many of us it’s a time to look forward to, a time of hope – the eternal hope that so many of us have – and a time to go out and enjoy ourselves. But for those living in refuges for survivors of domestic abuse, just the sound of the Euros might mean switching the TV off.

read more
Father’s Day GifT Guide

Father’s Day GifT Guide

IF YOU’RE READING BROOD THEN YOU’RE MOST LIKELY TO HAVE A MILLION AND ONE THINGS ON YOUR TO-DO LIST, SO WE’VE PUT TOGETHER A FANTASTIC GIFT GUIDE TO GIVE YOU SOME INSPIRATION AND HOPEFULLY SAVE YOU SOME TIME WHEN DECIDING WHAT TO BUY FOR FATHER’S DAY; WHICH FALLS ON SUNDAY 16TH JUNE THIS YEAR – JUST IN CASE YOU NEED TO MAKE A NOTE OF IT IN YOUR DIARY!
WE’VE ROUNDED UP ALL OF THE BEST FATHER’S DAY GIFT IDEAS FOR THE SUPER DAD IN YOUR LIFE, WHETHER YOU’RE TREATING YOUR DAD, OR FATHER-IN-LAW, OR BUYING SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR YOUR OTHER HALF.

read more

 KEEP UP TO DATE WITH BROOD:

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BUSINESS, BALANCE & LIFE AS ABLENDED FAMILY – Aaron Willis and Vicky Willis

BUSINESS, BALANCE & LIFE AS ABLENDED FAMILY – Aaron Willis and Vicky Willis

BUSINESS, BALANCE AND LIFE AS A BLENDED FAMILY 

By Lolo Stubbs, Editor-in-chief

__________________________________

Successful entrepreneur Aaron Willis is best known for his appearance on The Apprentice, Series 16, but many won’t realise how inspiring his story is and how the many challenges that he has faced throughout the years has given him the drive and determination to succeed in business and to give back to charity – one of which he is now CEO of – STRIDE UK – which he juggles alongside his successful businesses. Aaron lives with his wife, fellow entrepreneur, Vicki, where they co-parent Vicki’s two boys and Aaron’s two daughters, creating a blended family and navigating the challenges that can arise within the family. Vicki set up her own early years business – Kidsology – 12 years ago, successfully building herself an outstanding reputation as the go-to professional to teach classes such as sensory classes, baby massage, baby yoga, signing, sound therapy, SEN classes and much more.

Aaron Willis the Apprentice Star

 Aaron & Vicki Willis © BROOD Magazine

BROOD LIVE

After sliding into Aarons DMs the couple got together 8 years ago, Vicki had heard all about Aaron through her friendship with his sister. Blended family – Reece, 17, Aaron Daughter, 17, Harrison, 14  and Grace 12.

What inspired you to set up your own businesses?

Vicki – “I set up my Kidsology business, so that I could build a business and a career that I could work around school hours, so that I was still able to drop off and pick up the boys, this was really important especially when I became a single parent. And it’s been going for 12 years now and I’ve got quite a big community of parents around the north west area.”

Aaron – “I was in the military for 12 years and then coming into civilian life, and juggling family was something I found very difficult. I was used to having Monday – Friday on base and then coming home and looking after the kids from Friday to Sunday and then going back to base again. And it was during Covid that I decided to set my own business up, and I chose to set up a security firm as it matched my skill set, and it’s just gone from strength to strength really. And I juggle that business alongside being the CEO of Stride, a charity that helps to improve the lives of deprived children throughout greater Manchester, so it’s full on but I enjoy it.”

What has been your biggest challenge since starting a business?

Vicki – “Covid was a really challenging period for the business as obviously for a while all classes were stopped completely, but then when they were reintroduced again they were really difficult to delive r because of all of the social distancing restrictions that were in place. And also so many people re evaluated their lives during covid and they wanted careers that were more flexible and offered them a better work life balance, so all of sudden in the months after lockdown there were lots of different baby classes popping up everywhere, so there was a lot of competition that wasn’t there before.” 

Your journey as a couple?

Vicki – “Our journey has been so crazy as when we met Aaron was in the military and he was based down south, and sometimes it would be two weeks in between seeing each other and then we would  only be able to spend one night together before he then had to go back. And at that time I didn’t want my boys to be around when Aaron and Aaron didn’t want his girls involved at that point either because obviously it was such early days, so we kept it under wraps and only saw each other when we didn’t have the children. Sometimes he would drive 7-8 hours to come and see me for just for one night.”

Aaron – “It was really difficult, because my weekends had always been dedicated to my girls, and then I had to find time to spend with Vicki, without it taking time away from them, so it was really hard. Then when we knew it was definitely serious, around 4 to 5 months into seeing each other, thats when we slowly started to introduce the kids to each other. ”

Vicki – “Yeah, and thankfully the boys just loved Aaron and I’m really lucky because he’s such a great role model for my boys. Then I got to meet Aaron’s girls and then we all went on holiday and that was a bit crazy and it’s never been any different since! It’s always crazy when we’re all together! [They laugh] They’re all around the same age really so it can be interesting”

Aaron – “Yes, they all come with the same issues – hormones! So it can definitely be interesting!” [They laugh]

Do they all get on?

Vicki – “Yes, they do in the main.”

Aaron – “Yes, they do but because of their ages we have to be mindful that sometimes they want their own space, but when you’re on holiday and they all want space at different times that can can be challenging They are all going through their own things, like you do in your teenage years so it can be tough at times, but they do get on really, really well.”

Luxury Outdoor Furniture
JMW Solicitors

What do you find is the most challenging part of parenting?

Vicki – “I think the thing about parenting is that you can overcome an obstacle and think, I’ve got it, I’m back on track and everything is going to get better now because we’ve dealt with that, but then something else just comes along!

Aaron – “Yeah, I think it’s just the consistent challenges you face along the way and how you overcome them. As they get older the challenges change, because they want their independence more and more and it can be hard to navigate.”

Vicki – “It’s like Reece, wants to be a barber, so he’s working at a barbers,  he’s at college and he spends half his week with us and half his week with his Dad, so he has to be organised and aware of his time table and it can be tough at times watching him juggling everything and sometimes struggling with that.”

As you’re both entrepreneurial, and have followed your career passions, do you think the kids have been inspired by that and do they  look to you for career advice and support?

Aaron – “Yes, we’re a very close family and Reece for example will speak to me a lot at the moment about his career, but equally we’ve all been at that age and know matter how close you are to people, it’s that age where you think you know best rather than choose to listen to someone who has the experience. And I can see my military side coming out in me, because I think just let them drown until they learn!” [We laugh]  “When I was learning to swim my grandad was from Jamaica and he would just push you in and you’d deal with it!”

Vicki – “Whereas I’m a lot more like, ‘Well, how can we approach this? And I’ll still give you advice even though you’ve not listened to me for the past three weeks, I can’t not give you advice and I’m still going to be there to pick up the pieces, because I can’t not.

Aaron – “It works that though, I think the different techniques we have when it comes to parenting really complement each other. And as much as you want to protect them, it is good to make mistakes so that you can learn from them.”

Vicki – “It’s nice to see how much all the children think about their careers and what they want their futures to look like already, and that probably has come from seeing myself and Aaron enjoy our work so much. It’s nice to see your kids have so many aspirations. And they do change their minds a lot, but I think that’s completely natural at that age,”

Being self employed and having your own because can cause uncertainty financially at times, especially when you’re both self employed, we all know what it can be like waiting for invoices to be paid! How have you found that and how do you deal with it?

Vicki – “Funnily enough I’ve actually just taken my foot off the pedal a bit at the minute, so that I can support Aaron in his business a bit more – because he’s very, very busy!”

Aaron – “Yeah, and I don’t stop and I can’t ever just have one thing on the go. I’m always looking for the next step, the next goal. and I will always think in terms of paydays, ‘That’s not really my money yet’ So I constantly doing stuff, it can be 8 or 9pm before I stop working and I’m up early in the morning so it’s hard. And that’s me after toning it down a lot!”

Vicki – “Yes, I was the same, I was answering messages at all hours, and a couple of years ago and I’d feel so stressed about getting back people. So, for my own mental health I’ve been a lot stricter with myself and I try to not much past 7pm, unless its absolutely urgent and I try not be on my phone as much at weekends too, otherwise I’d find myself saying to Aaron or the kids, just a minute this Mum’s just asked me a question, Just a minute…Just a minute’ and it;s not healthy. but the thing is when you’re self-employed there is always that feeling that if you don’t answer that message straight away then there is always that feeling that they are going to go somewhere else. There are times I can’t wait and that can be really hard.”

Aaron – “It is hard, but you do have to switch off and ‘close up your shop’ for the night, because if you had a sandwich shop, or a restaurant etc you would close, and I will always say to Vicki, your shop’s closed, but then I’m still working in the evening, so it is hard.”

What do you do to help you switch off and get some balance?

Aaron – “Well that’s the thing, I might work early morning and in the evening a lot but I will get that time back. If I work until 9pm at night, the next day or the day after I will take that time back for myself. And I am quite good like that. If I’ve got time and I’m at home at lunchtime I will jump on the playstation, because that is how I relax. I have to do something for me and have something that takes my mind off the business. People will say in order to run a business and be successful you need to work all hours, but I disagree with that massively. I mean at the start there are a lot of sacrifices and you might have to do that but once you’re established you have to think of yourself a bit more and if you’re not healthy or happy then ultimately what are you doing it for?

Vicki – “That was very much the case for me, I felt like the business was completely overwhelming me and my life.”

Aaron – “Yeah, you have to have balance. My trigger is if I go to the gym and someone says ‘Hiya strangers’ and it makes me realise that I haven’t been for a while and that I’m not looking after myself. And sometimes you just have to learn to become a bit more selfish and learning what can wait.Knowing your worth can really help you do that”

Vicki – “Every Sunday we all go out for a walk as a family too and we’ll eat Sunday Dinner together because the kids are getting older and you don’t have as much time as them, whenever they are with us we always make a point of doing that. We’ve also started picking a TV series to watch together, so that even if it’s only for a couple of hours a week, we get that time to sit down in the lounge as a family. Or we’ll come into Manchetser and have a shopping trip. Family time is really important to us.”

What tips and tricks would you give to other parents in business?

Aaron – “I think creating a routine is one of the biggest and best things that you can do for yourself when you’re self employed. For example when you’re employed, you get up, you do the school run, you go to work, you finish and you’re in home mode. And obviously that routine is dictated by your employee, but having a form of routine is a good thing and so you need to set some kind of routine for yourself that works for you. I think even if you work from home, you should get up, get a shower and get ready as if you’re going to work. And I think it’s when you don’t have that routine in place, thats when it backwards and you loose that balance.”

What have you found to be the hardest thing about children getting older?

Vicki – “I’ve really struggled with the children growing up and I think I’m only just coming out of this zone that I’ve been in, where I think I was holding onto things, like traditions we’ve always done and it’s really quite sad and hard when your kids don’t want to do things that you’ve always done. Like every summer we’d get in the car and go to Formby with the dogs and nobody wanted to come and I was heartbroken.”

Aaron – “Whereas I just think we just need to find new traditions and new things to do instead.”

Vicki – “But the flip side of it is that we get to do lots of nice things together as a couple now, that a few years ago we couldn’t have done.”

Aaron – “We go away quite a lot now. During the time in the week where we’ve got no kids with us, we’ll book a few days away, and everyone spends money on different things, some people like to go out every weekend, but we like to go away instead. And obviously this is only possible because we’re a blended family and the kids are with their other parents, so we might as well embrace that time.”

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

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

Sarah Jayne Dunn & Jon Smith:

On Creating more time with your family outdoors

By Lolo Stubbs, Editor-in-chief

__________________________________

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

So, with a new sport activity sweeping exciting across the UK – Padel – we just had to find out what all the hype was all about, and to see if it was an activity that would fit into family life.

When we arrived at The Padel Club, in Wilmslow, each court was filled with people obviously having a great time and we were surprised to see that the whole of The Padel Club was completely outdoors – seating areas and all! However, we quickly noticed that it didn’t affect the capacity for pre- and post-match socialising, or people coming along to watch, if anything – thanks to the various pergolas and stylish outdoor furniture – it enhanced it!

Sarah Jayne Dunn playing Padel

 Sarah Jayne Dunn © Tom Pitfield Photography for BROOD Magazine

BROOD LIVE

We chatted to various people at The Padel Club, who explain and that Padel was more than just a fun and challenging sport, it was bringing people together and building an important community. So far Padel, seemed to be ticking a lot of boxes; we all know how important networking is throughout your career or when running a business, and this way you can look after your wellbeing and fitness at the same time! It also felt like a safe and inviting space and when we heard that they also were holding classes to teach children, and that more and more parents were heading down to take to the courts with their kids, it ticked that final and very important box – family time!

We spoke to our friends, Sarah Jayne Dunn and Jon Smith (who were BROOD’s very first cover stars when we launched as an online magazine in April 2022) and they too, had been drawn to The Padel Club for all of the above reasons and they had also transformed their outside space over the summer, incorporating outdoor living range and pergola in to their garden. (LuxSol are the same brand that has created such a clever outdoor space at The Padel Club) So we sat down on the uber comfy corner sofa, snuggled under blankets, and sheltered from the rain under the pergola and chat all about being outdoors and incorporating new activities into family life.

What initially drew you to the padel club?

Jon – “I know a lot of people who play that really enjoy it, and so I was curious because everyone keeps banging on about it! [He laughs] I wanted to see what it’s all about!”

Sarah Jayne – “Yeah, I’ve seen it a lot on social media, because there is a lot of people that we know that come here. Like Nick Bianchi, who is fellow school parent and neighbour, and all the Thomas brothers are always here, and I know them, and so I kept seeing it, and it made me curious too.”

Jon – “I’d never seen it played or played it, so I was just like ‘what is it?’ basically”.

Sarah Jayne – “It’s just become such a big thing it’s huge!”

Do you think that Stan would enjoy playing Padel?

Jon – “Oh yeah, give him something to hit something else with and yeah, and I’m sure he’d love it!” [We laugh]

Sarah Jayne – “He’s played tennis at Summer Club at school, and he liked that, so I think he definitely would.”

Jon – “He likes crazy golf too.”

Sarah Jayne – “That’s another thing that appeals to us, as I think it could ne a nice little thing that we could do as a family. Especially as a father and son activity – just because Jon is sportier than I am – but you could come down and it would be a nice little activity to do at the weekend. I think kids can come and do lessons from 3 years too, and they recently had a little Halloween event on, so I think it’s definitely something that Stan would like”.

“HAVING THE PERGOLA HAS REALLY INCREASED THE AMOUNT OF TIME WE SPEND OUTSIDE TOGETHER AS A FAMILY”

Sarah Jayne Dunn and her husband Jon Smith.jpg

Sarah Jayne Dunn & Jon Smith images © Tom Pitfield Photography for BROOD Magazine

Sarah Jayne Dunn Brood
Luxury Outdoor Furniture

Stunning Aluminium Pergola by LUXSOL Images © 

The Padel Club
Sarah Jayne Dunn, The Padel Club Wilmslow

Kids just love spending quality time with their parents don’t they, be that playing a board game, doing an activity, whatever it maybe, that’s what they crave, and this is something that a parent can enjoy too, isn’t it?

Sarah Jayne – “Absolutely! I remember I used to go and play tennis with my Dad – I was dreadful! But it’s a core memory for me. I was quite young and that was his thing and we used to go to the local tennis court, and knock the ball around, and I loved spending that time with him, so it made us both happy.”

Jon – “Yes, and I think getting out of the house and being outdoors is really important too. Away from technology.”

Sarah Jayne – “It feels like a safe space here as well, you’re coming in, and you can sit with the kids, or if the kids are playing you can sit and have a coffee and watch the kids. And what I found with Padel is that it feels very community based. What the guys we’re saying before was that everyone ends up knowing everyone, so again if you were coming In with your family, then you suddenly become friends, and to have that added social aspect is really nice too. And you can enjoy it regardless of the weather which is great.”

Talking of which, you have a LuxSol pergola and some of their outdoor living range at home don’t you? And you recently added a garden room at home, how has the additional space at home improved your family’s lifestyle and wellbeing?

Sarah Jayne – “For me in particularly, the garden room has made a massive difference as I’m using it as a studio space. So it’s meant that I moved all of my work that I was doing inside the house and that can be creating content, for myself or partnerships, or even just sitting and doing some admin business work; I’ve now moved it into the garden room and  I have that separate to the house, which has been great to create that work/life balance. It’s always organised now and it’s just so much better having a space that is dedicated to work.”

Jon – “There’s no toys anywhere!” [They laugh]

“HAVING A GLASS OF WINE OUTSIDE IN THE GARDEN IS AS CLOSE AS YOU CAN GET TO FEELING LIKE YOU’RE SOMEWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD”.

Sarah Jayn Dunn, Lux Sol & Padel Club

Sarah Jayne Dunn & Jon Smith with Kris Ball, CEO of The Padel Club & Nick Williams, CEO of Olympian Garden Buildings

Sarah Jayne – “Yes, there’s no Lego pieces to stand on! It’s lovely – I don’t actually do any work; I just go in to sit in there” [She laughs]

Jon – “Yeah, I’m a bit jealous!” [We laugh]

Jon – “And having the pergola has really increased the amount of time we spend outside together as a family, because even if it starts raining you stay outside – which is kind of a big thing in this country! It doesn’t mean pack up and go inside, sit I the kitchen and dining room again, it means if it’s not too cold you can just carry on regardless of the weather.”

Sarah Jayne – “Yeah, you just get that indoor outdoor space and where we have ours, it’s just outside the dining room, so it means if we’re hosting and we have people over you can have the dining room doors open and then you’ve got your indoor seating area, your outdoor seating area, but it becomes one space”.

Jon – “We love our garden, but you can’t sit out there much living in the UK, so it kind of gives you a little bit more time in a space that you actually enjoy being in.”

Sarah Jayne – “And actually, when we’re sat under the pergola it’s a really nice view of the garden room and I find myself sitting there just admiring our garden space! [She laughs] Don’t you?” [She turns to Jon laughing].”

Do you have a specific memory at home where the experience was enhanced by having your outdoor living space?

Sarah Jayne – “Yeah, we were talking about this, we had a barbeque at the end of summer – when we suddenly ended up with that really nice weather – we had all just got our jumpers out and then out of nowhere it was warm again!

So, we had a barbeque, and then later, after we put Stan to bed, we went and sat back outside, which we never would have done normally. We put the little lights on that we have around the pergola, we had a glass of wine and we just sat there relaxing and chatting to each other. It was a lovely mild evening, and we wouldn’t have done that had we have not had this lovely comfy and tranquil area outside. Normally we would have just crashed onto the sofa and put the tele on”.

Jon – “Yes, it was really nice. It kind of emulates that holiday vibe. Having a glass of wine outside in the garden is as close as you can get to feeling like you’re somewhere else in the world”.

Do you think it’s important then that people are making their gardens more accessible and enjoyable to be in, in all weathers, and places like The Padel Club doing the same at their venue, given the value of being outdoors?

Sarah Jayne“Yes, definitely, I mean look at us today, we’re all sat outside and it’s absolutely lashing it down!” [She laughs]

Jon – “It’s like what we just said, having the pergola at home means we don’t have to go inside mid barbeque if it starts raining, and here it means we don’t have to pack up and go home – you can wait for the shower to pass; you can have a break.”

Sarha Jayne – “It’s nice seeing the pergola here today actually, as we’re getting the side screens added to ours at home, and it’s nice to experience it in this weather, because you do feel even more sheltered and more of that inside outside feeling. It’s lovely!”

Interview by @lolostubbs.author

Images by @tompitfieldphotography

JMW Solicitors

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CHARLOTTE HAWKINS INTERVIEW: Mum of one, TV and radio presenter

CHARLOTTE HAWKINS INTERVIEW: Mum of one, TV and radio presenter

“I DIDN’T REALLY KNOW WHERE TO START, BUT I JUST HELD ON TO THE FACT THAT ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!”

Mum of one, TV and radio presenter, Charlotte Hawkins has firmly cemented a place as one of Britain’s most loved TV presenters. She is one of the first faces millions of Brits see each morning, as co-host of ITV’s Good Morning Britain. Charlotte has enjoyed a successful career particularly over the last decade, but she worked incredibly hard to get there, showing unwavering determination in an extremely competitive field to achieve her dream career. Like so many of us, although she is living out her career dreams, she too has to constantly juggle work, parenthood and get through the various challenges life can throw at us.

We enjoyed a wonderful afternoon with Charlotte and her adorable daughter 8-year-old, Ella-Rose (who definitely stole the show), at the breathtaking Pennyhill Park Hotel in Surrey; where we made the most of the beautiful scenery for the photoshoot and I sat down with Charlotte for a chat about having a successful career alongside being a doting Mum. Charlotte shared how she bravely overcame her biggest challenge to date following the loss of her beloved father just before giving birth to her daughter; how she hopes to inspire her daughter to believe anything is possible if you work hard enough; and how Hollywood Actor Bradley Cooper features in the highlight of her career…

BROOD Edition 1 - Charlotte Hawkin
CHARLOTTE HAWKINS AND HER DAUGHTER ELLA ROSE
IMAGES BY TOM PITFIELD FOR BROOD MAGAZINE ©

READ THE LATEST EDITION:

INTERVIEW WITH CHARLOTTE HAWKINS

Did you always know what you wanted to do for a career and how determined was you to achieve your career goals?

Charlotte – “Yes, I always wanted to work in news, I always wanted to be a reporter, a presenter – I was just intrigued by that whole world! I was put off initially though, because it just felt really competitive, and I kept thinking, ‘I don’t know if I can do this?’ Then I worked for a year in advertising, and what I realised through doing that, was that being a reporter/presenter really was my dream and I was going to spend the rest of my life regretting it, if I didn’t give it my very best shot!

I remember thinking, if it doesn’t work out, at least I can say that I’ve tried, but I’ll never forgive myself if I don’t give it a go. So, after I finished my job in advertising, I began a post graduate diploma in broadcast journalism. I was then lucky enough to get a job as a trainee for ITV Meridian, and I just kind of worked my way up over the years. I was super determined though, and I wanted to make sure that I gave it my all. Whether that was through working crazy hours, or sticking my neck out and going to people and saying, ‘Can I try this? Can I get some practise doing this? I can get some work experience doing that’. Basically, pestering a lot of people along the way! [she laughs]

I feel very lucky to be doing a job that I always dreamed about doing. Not everybody gets that chance and I feel so grateful to still enjoy it all these years later. Every day is different, every day is challenging, and it just means it makes life so much more interesting and rewarding when you’re doing a job like that.”

At what point in your career did you become a mum and how did you find that transition?

Charlotte -“On Good Morning Britain my alarm clock goes off at 2.45am – which is still a bit of a shock every morning! [laughs] However, it does mean that I can organise my day where I still spend a lot of time at home – especially back in those early days when I went back to work. As soon as I had finished at Good Morning Britain, I could go back and spend the rest of the day with Ella-Rose as a baby. Obviously, I would be super tired. It would be really hard when I had been up through the night and then I’d be getting up to go work so early, so I just had to be really organised and make sure that I had the right care in place for her when I wasn’t there, so that I could go to work and completely trust the fact that I could switch off and focus on my work because I knew that she was being well looked after. Then when I would get back home, I was able to spend time with her and just focus on Ella-Rose. I do feel lucky that I could and still can do that, because I’ve got friends who do various jobs, but they each have to go into their workplace all day every day, and at least for me I could still spend a good amount of time with her.”

Charlotte Hawkins
CHARLOTTE HAWKINS AND HER DAUGHTER ELLA ROSE | IMAGES BY TOM PITFIELD FOR BROOD MAGAZINE ©

How do you try keep the ‘right balance’ between work and family life.

Charlotte – “I think that I’ve tried to continue to achieve balance, by going to work, throwing everything into making it work whilst I’m there and focusing solely on that; but also, then going back home and doing the same there and throwing myself completely into family life. I think it’s important to protect that family time as well. For us it’s about protecting our weekend family time as much as we can, and if we are doing things at different times of the day, we just make sure that Ella-Rose is happy with the set up and we’re happy with the set up. I think you just have to try your best and plan everything with military precision really.” 

People talk a lot about ‘mum guilt’ is it something that you’ve experienced and if so, how have you dealt with it?

Charlotte – “I don’t think people should even use those words, ‘mum-guilt’ ‘parent-guilt’ what have you got to feel guilty about, you know? As long as you love your children and you have a plan in place for their care when you’re not there, who’s to say what’s the best set up for your child anyway! Children want to be loved, they want to know that people care for them, and that the people who are there with them are giving them quality time. I think if you’re happy as a family, and the work set up for you means that you then look forward to having the quality time with them, and you go lovely holidays with them and treasure that time with your children as well, then you have no reason to feel guilty.  

It’s not the right set up for every family, and there are parents that are there 100% of the time with their children, and of course that’s perfectly fine if that’s what works for them, and they are happy. I think that because we just have Ella-Rose, we have always felt like it’s important that she goes and spends time with friends, that she goes and spends time with other family members, and she has done that right from being a young age. She’s been used to spending time with other people and she’s very happy in other people’s company. I know some children who are very clingy though because they’ve only spent time with their parents, and that’s just because that’s what they are used to. Again, that set up is completely fine if that’s what works for those parents, and those children, but for me I wanted to make sure that Ella-Rose was comfortable in lots of different environments, and that she was sociable & happy with going to see lots of different people, to experience lots of different places and I think by doing that it has really benefitted her.

It’s all about building resilience in our children, but at the same and you want to make sure that they are comfortable in lots of different situations. They need that so that as they go through life, for example starting at a new school, or new job where they don’t know anyone, they have to be able to be comfortable in lots of different situations, so I think actually the earlier you can start that the better. As long as they know, where you are, when you’re coming back, that there is a plan in place that they’re happy with, then that’s the most important thing.”  

Ella-Rose is watching you having a successful career, after following your dreams. Do you hope that it inspires Ella-Rose into believing anything is possible, so that she too follows her dreams?

Charlotte – “Yes, absolutely! I think it’s really important to show our children that hard work pays off and that’s the message I want to give her. I want her to know that if there’s a dream job that you want to do, and you throw everything into making that work, if you’re determined and you don’t let things put you off, then you can achieve it. And whether that means getting the right qualifications, working long hours etc, if there’s a job that you really want to do then you must give your best shot!

I think it’s important that you lead by example, and you show them that you can make it work. I want Ella-Rose to achieve her dreams, to work hard for them and to be happy. I’m not going to force her into any particular career, I just want her to be happy with the path that she chooses. I think in my mind anyway it’s about pushing yourself, challenging yourself and making sure that you have new experiences, new adventures and making sure that life doesn’t get boring!”

What has been the most challenge time during your career and how did you overcome it?

Charlotte – “I lost my Dad a month before I gave birth to Ella-Rose. And I needed to go back to work after a certain amount of time, so I went back to work four months after having Ella-Rose. I kind of needed that structure back in my life, but emotionally I was still kind of all over the place, as I think I had delayed grieving for my Dad because I was having Ella-Rose. I wanted to be all happy and smiley for her, and when I was pregnant, and my Dad had died, I didn’t want to her to feel that sadness, so I tried to postpone it – but of course that was always going to come back at some point! So, I was on a bit of an emotional roller-coaster for quite some time afterwards I think. The interesting thing about my job is however you’re feeling in the morning, being on breakfast television you have to have a smile on your face, you have to be bright eyed and bushy tailed, and you know sometimes it’s the hardest thing in the world to do when you’re feeling sad – to put a smile on your face. There are other times I think you can kind of make yourself feel a bit better, because you think ‘I’m getting up, I’m going to work, I’m keeping it all together, I still manage to smile!’ And I think you just have to keep thinking – this will pass. This isn’t going to last forever. I just need to keep going, one day at a time, one foot in front of the other! And I think when you are going through these times, when things are really tough, or they feel insurmountable, you just have to try and think. ‘Okay, don’t panic, let’s just what tomorrow brings’, but it will pass. It’s hard but sometimes you have to just ride it out and keep doing those things that day by day make you feel a little better. Whether that’s being with people you love, going out and getting some exercise, taking a bit of time to do those things to put a smile on your face – a real smile on your face. You have to be thankful for the things you have on a daily basis as well and realise that those are the things that will get you through it.”

What has been the highlight of your career to date?

Charlotte – “There’s been a lot of things, I’ve interviewed so many amazing people that I feel so lucky to have met, including Oprah – who is obviously amazing at interviews, so that was equally a bit scary! [she laughs] But I think for me the highlight of my career has to be when got I asked to take part in the Bradley Copper film Burnt. It is such a highlight for me, and I’ll never forget the day that a Hollywood Film crew came into the studio, and I was the breakfast TV presenter interviewing Bradley Cooper, it absolutely blew my mind! I’d read the script and learnt script, and we sat there, and we had filmed it all and then the director came over and whispered something in Bradley Coopers ear. I didn’t really know what was going on, and then they said ‘That was all great, everything was spot on, but we’re just going to do one more take as we just want to try something a little bit different’. And then Bradley just went completely off script and pretended that everything was going wrong and was looking at the wrong camera and I was just thinking, what is going on! This wasn’t in the script! [she laughs] But, I just went along with it and that’s the take that they used, but I think they really wanted that whole vibe, as his character was supposed to be a really grumpy chef, who kicked up a fuss about everything. So, for me being in Hollywood film like that, and I guess it really hit home where I was at in my career. I got invited to the premiere, which was amazing! And I was sat on an aeroplane one day, and the person in front of me was watching the film and my face popped up and I couldn’t believe, (well I still can’t believe) that I’ve been in that film, and I felt like tapping him on the shoulder and saying, “That’s me!” [she laughs] That was a real pinch-me moment.

My career has been a bit crazy, but I wouldn’t swap it for the world – even with the 2.45am starts!”

Do you have any standout ‘BROOD Moments’ where the juggle has led to a bit of a ‘parent fail’?

Charlotte “Oh, there’s so many, but there’s a recent one where it was one of these days at school where you’ve got to dress up in a themed outfit, and I forgotten that she had to dress up in toga. But I reassured her it was fine, because essentially a toga was the same as a bed sheet, so I told her we’d make it work and we’ll just wrap one around her and then tie it with like curtain tie or something. And I thought it looked pretty good, but she was not convinced at all, she said it just looked like a bed sheet. [smiling] So, I was saying to her, well traditionally that’s how they looked. But what I hadn’t really envisaged was that a lot of the other parents would have gotten special outfits – that were not bedsheets! And there was a moment of mortification when I waved her off and she was walking alongside someone wearing a full-on medusa outfit, and all of these other fancy outfits and I could see this bedsheet slipping down already and I just thought ‘No, that was a bit of fail!’ So, I felt disappointed on her behalf, and I felt disappointed that, that had happened. However, you always have to see the positives in these things, and I thought, well that’s going to build a lot of resilience that one! [she laughs] The thing is, they do have to get used to things not quite going to plan and just making the best of it. It’s happened to all of us over the years. Hopefully it won’t scar her and she’s not still talking about it in 20 years’ time – “Mum, I remember that day you sent me to school in a bedsheet that was around my ankles before I had even got in!” [she laughs] Luckily, I had made her wear shorts and t-shirt underneath too!”

What advice would you give to someone who is following their career dreams, whilst juggling parenthood?

Charlotte – “Don’t aim for perfection. I don’t think it’s healthy to strive for perfection in everything, because then it’s just an unattainable standard. So, I think you have to be realistic. Even if you didn’t do anything else in life, but look after your children and pack for them, sort for them, cook for them, that’s not always healthy either, so I think it’s just about making sure that you try get balance right. Things aren’t always going to go to plan, but that’s life. You do have to give your children that message too, along with the tools to be able to deal with it. To help them look for the lessons when things go wrong, how to learn from it and then we move on.

I would also say don’t look at others and assume that they’ve got it all figured out all of the time – because they won’t have! That’s just the front that everyone likes to put out for public perception, because everyone has got the same juggle, the same struggles, the same balancing act going on. So never compare yourself to someone else, you’ve just got to make sure that as long as your children are happy and healthy that’s all you need, that’s all you can wish for!”

Charlotte Hawkins
CHARLOTTE HAWKINS AND HER DAUGHTER ELLA ROSE | IMAGES BY TOM PITFIELD FOR BROOD MAGAZINE ©
Simon Wood
Written by
Tom Pitfield and his daughter Iris

PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM PITFIELD

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Tips and Tricks from fellow working parents doing the juggle

Tips and Tricks from fellow working parents doing the juggle

TIPS AND TRICKS FROM FELLOW WORKING PARENTS DOING THE DAILY JUGGLE…

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Since we first launched BROOD Magazine we have been lucky enough to speak to a host of parents, who like us and you, are doing the juggle between work and parenting daily. In each interview we’ve asked each person if they had any tips or tricks that may help the rest of us! 

parent life juggles with mum working and juggling her children and parentlife

HELEN SKELTON

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, last year she took what was probably her hardest yet, as she joined BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing Class of 2023; whilst juggling life as a single mum, looking after her 3 young children, Ernie, Louis and Elsie.

 

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!

Helen Skelton

Helen Skelton Images © BROOD Magazine

Helen Skelton and her family

“I THINK YOU HAVE TO FIND THE COURAGE TO REACH OUT AND ASK FOR HELP”

James & Victoria Bye and their family

Image © James & Victoria Bye

James Bye & Victoria Bye

Parents of four, Actor James, and Blogger Victoria Bye, have had a whirlwind few years, as their children came along at the same time as their careers started to soar. Having relocated from London to Cheshire just before they had their first child, James then got the part as Martin Fowler in one Britain’s best loved soaps – Eastenders. Consequently they made the decision to move back down south, so that James wouldn’t spend the majority of the week separated from his family. The couple have since welcomed another three boys to their brood over the years, with the newest addition arriving only in the summer of 2023. James took part in the 2022 Strictly Come Dancing. 

We had the pleasure of chatting to the lovely couple in 2023, about how their lives have changed over the last few years, how they juggle everything and their ambitions for the future.

What tips would you give to other parents who are juggling busy career schedules alongside bringing up their family?

James – “I think what really helps us during really busy times is we are very fortunate that we have a really amazing group of friends, and we all help each other out. I think you have to find the courage to reach out and ask for help, and once you start doing that, you can all work together. So, I definitely think that’s a really important tip – don’t be afraid to ask for help – especially reach out to those closest to you.

Victoria – “Yes, totally. And for me in terms of the family side of things, when you do get those moments together, to remember to put your work down, and be present. At the end of the day, work is just a job, it’s replaceable, family isn’t.”

REBECCA ADLINGTON

Rebecca Adlington OBE is undoubtedly the greatest female swimmer that Great Britain has ever produced, and one of the greatest GB swimmers of all time, not only because she is a multiple Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European medallist but she also broke the World Record in the 800m freestyle in 2008 at the Olympic Games in Beijing ; a record that was 19 years old, the same age Rebecca was in Beijing. 

Becky’s drive and thirst for success did not diminish when she retired from Swimming, and she is still the same overachiever that she was in the water, having juggled a number of amazing career accolades for a number of years, such as her role as a pundit for BBC Sport, running multi businesses, creating swimwear ranges with Slazenger and work in her role as an ambassador for the Encephalitis Society and as a Patron of Women in Sport charities too; all alongside her biggest and favourite ‘job’ as a mum of two to the adorable 7-year-old Summer and 21 month old Albie.

What tips would you give other working parents who are juggling work and bringing up children?

“I think being organised is definitely something that I need to be in order to stay sane – I’m a bit like Monica in friends!” [We laugh] “For instance with the planner that I do on a Sunday, I use different coloured pens, and we stick that on the fridge! We have an online diary too and that is also colour coordinated, and I make sure everything goes in that diary. So I am very organised. I think there is so much going on each week that it’s one of those things that really helps us and the kids to have that reference. I think that really helped me with that transition of being back at work, so it eases my anxiety too and gives me that peace of mind that the kids aren’t going to miss anything. It also saves me time as I’m not checking in with Andy every two minutes like I was when I first came back to work! Which obviously caused a bit of friction too with Andy, because I wasn’t used to letting go so I think having that system in place has worked really well for us.”

Becky Adlington

Rebecca Adlington Image © BROOD Magazine

CHARLIE CONDEAU CORONATION ST

Charlie Condou Image © BROOD Magazine

Charlie Condou

Charlie Condou is a successful British actor, columnist and LGBTQ+ rights activist – not forgetting his important role – a doting Dad of two, to Georgia and Hal. For as long as Charlie can remember, he always had an overwhelming desire to start a family and create the kind of upbringing that his own lacked.

What tips would you give other parents, in particular co-parents?

“I think my advice would be don’t take advice from anyone, find your own way. Everyone thinks that they know the right way how to be a parent, but everyone finds it out for themselves. And from a co-parenting point of view, the most important thing you can do is communicate properly, whether that’s talking about how things will work, logistics, making sure you do it with someone who has the same values and morals, and ideas about bringing up kids. And also, if something is irritating you, just get it out and just say it. That’s what us three do, don’t get me wrong it’s not easy but then it’s done, and we can deal with it. Because if you don’t speak up, these things just fester and before you know you’re screaming at somebody, about something so small! It’s much better for everyone when you can communicate well, and you move on.”

EMMA Neville

Philanthropist, qualified counsellor and doting Mum of two, Emma Neville, has always kept herself out of the public eye despite her husband, Gary Neville’s, extremely high profile and widely documented career; meaning that a lot of Emma’s personal achievements and her incredible dedication to support so many charities have gone under the radar.

Emma is exceptionally modest about her charity work and what she has achieved already in her career as a counsellor. It’s a journey that she embarked on around five years ago; after spending many years embracing her role as a full-time mum and taking the lead with the family’s home life to counterbalance Gary’s demanding career schedule. But as the girls got older Emma realised, she wanted to do something for herself, consequently pushing herself out of her comfort zone and pursuing a lifelong ambition of becoming a qualified counsellor. Emma also accelerated her contributions to several charities through volunteer work, rather than ‘just’ making monetary donations. Emma volunteers for many charities including Destination Florida, Bury Cancer Support Centre, Girls Out Loud, Child Bereavement UK and she is very passionate about enhancing the amazing work that these charities already do, as well as helping to raise awareness for them. She has also recently created a ‘This is Me’ movement, creating a safe platform for women. @emmanevillethisisme

When you meet Emma, you can instantly see why she is so well suited to her chosen career path, as her warm and endearing nature shines through. It was an absolute pleasure to chat to Emma and listen to how she has carved out her new career path, whilst making a difference to so many people’s lives, and to hear how she balances that alongside her role as Mum. We chatted away to Emma before the girls, Molly 13, and Sophie 12, returned home from school and joined us for our photo shoot; that we managed to squeeze in between school finishing, teatime, and netball practise!

What advice would you give to the BROOD readers who are parents of teenagers?

“I would say just listen to them and try and just keep conversations going. I know that can sometimes be difficult, but just asking how they are is a good start. I also think a big thing for us, as parents, to make sure we own up to our own mistakes and learn to say sorry, because when we’re in the heat of the moment and we’re stressing at them and complaining, sometimes just saying ‘I’m really sorry about this morning, I wasn’t in a good place, and I was rushing and I shouldn’t have stressed at you’ that can make a big difference. Sometimes we put a lot on them, especially when I think about the morning chaos and when parents get stressed, it makes you wonder does your child leave the house or the car and take that stress and negativity into their school day?  So, I think holding your hands up and owning your mistakes is very important. Children can read you; they know when you’re not yourself, so being open with them can put their mind at ease that it’s not on them. Just letting them know that we’re not perfect either. That it is ok to not be ok.”

Emma Neville

Emma Neville Images © BROOD Magazine

Emma Neville with her daughters
Brooke Vincent

Brooke Vincent Image © BROOD Magazine

BROOKE VINCENT

Doting mum of two, Actress & Radio Presenter Brooke Vincent is best known for her role in one of the UK’s most loved TV programmes, Coronation Street, but in 2018 Brooke boldly ventured into the world of business launching her company Oh So B. After starting the business in her bedroom, whilst juggling her acting career, Brooke’s fabulous stationery brand has gone from strength to strength, and Oh So B has now become one of the go-to brands for practical and stylish planners for busy professionals. We sat down with Brooke last year to chat about what inspired her to step into the daunting world of business and how different she finds running a business now that she is a mum of two gorgeous boys – Mexx and Monroe.

Do you have any advice or tips for fellow working parents?

“If there are any tips out there you need to tell me because my life is just like a circus!” We all laugh and chat about life within our own circus’.   “I think even though it’s something I struggle with myself, I feel like I’m constantly learning, but you shouldn’t expect too much from yourself. You need to remind yourself just what good job you’re doing. That’s why I’ve included reminders in my planners that ‘you are doing your best’, as I think it’s so important for us to remember that.”

“IF THERE ARE ANY TIPS OUT THERE;
YOU NEED TO TELL ME BECAUSE MY
LIFE IS JUST LIKE A CIRCUS!”

Mike Toolan

Award-winning Radio & TV Presenter, doting Dad of two, Mike Toolan, is one of the UK’s most loved presenters; with an impressive career spanning over 20 years. After starting his career as a radio presenter in America, his career in Radio really took off in UK at the exact same time as he became a dad for the first time! In recent years Mike became a single dad, with his two children living with him full time, so he had to learn to manage the juggle of looking after two teenage children and school runs, alongside his work as a radio & TV presenter, Voice-over artist, numerous theatre roles and the latest string to his bow – writing for TV! We sat down with Mike to chat about how he managed to get through the haze of his first big break as a breakfast presenter (with 4am starts), alongside becoming a father; becoming a dad to two under two, and the job opportunities that he turned down when they didn’t fit into his family life.

Have you got any tips for any other parents juggling work and family life?

“I’m always making notes of everything on my note’s app, and I put everything in the diary, so the iPhone has changed my life in that way as there’s always reminders popping up. So, I would say just to be as organised as possible, as it really helps you from dropping the ball. I have to write everything down otherwise I’ll forget as I have a memory like Nemo!

Then the other thing that I do, that is quite a nice tip, is that whenever we go to bed, I have always got the kids to say their prayers at night – not even from a spiritual point of view, but just for them to think ‘what are you grateful for today?’ And we’d do a little list of gratitude, and then the one thing that does is remind them of the best bits of their day, even if that’s the dessert they’ve eaten or something like that. I think that it’s important that the last thing they do before they go to sleep is remember all the good things that have happened, and then they end their day on a positive. That’s really helped them both actually and I think it’s important to integrate a bit of mindfulness into their daily routine.”

Mike Toolan

Mike Toolan Image © BROOD Magazine

“IT ’S IMPORTANT THAT THE LAST THING THEY DO BEFORE THEY GO TO SLEEP IS REMEMBER ALL THE GOOD THINGS THAT HAVE HAPPENED”

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Drama school set up by Corrie star Tina O’Brien after she couldn’t find suitable acting class for her daughter celebrates 10th birthday

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By Katie Fitzpatrick

___________________________________

away from Weatherfield coronation street actress Tina O’Brien’s own drama school, The Drama MOB, is celebrating its 10th birthday after introducing a new generation of talent to the soap.

Mum of two, Tina, 39, who has played feisty Sarah Barlow nee Platt in Coronation Street since 1999, launched The Drama Mob in 2013 with her best friend, Esther Morgan, 40, after the star couldn’t find a suitable acting class for her daughter Scarlett, who was then aged three.

Since then the drama school has grown from strength to strength. Skills learned by the youngsters at the school have seen them win professional roles in soaps and dramas, adverts and theatre. 

Tina, who has been working in TV and theatre since she was 10, regularly teaches in the classes and offers one-to-one guidance. And fellow director Esther, a former primary school teacher specialising in drama, manages The Drama MOB casting agency.

Launched in 2015 following the success of the classes, the agency represents young actors with roles in Coronation Street and Hollyoaks and their talent has worked with big brands including Waitrose, Tesco and John Lewis.  

In 2018 four-year-old Freddie Henderson became an instant star playing the youngest version of music legend Sir Elton John in the eagerly-anticipated John Lewis Christmas ad The Boy and the Piano, which charted the hitmaker’s musical journey after being gifted a piano for Christmas.

He was chosen from thousands of children, with Sir Elton himself giving him the seal of approval because of his likeness to himself as a child. 

Sebastien Tensel and Jake Ademola star in children’s series The World According to Grandpa and Maizie Wickson stars in the BBC 2 sitcom Alma’s Not Normal.

Other The Drama MOB talent have appeared in the feature film The Railway Children Return and the 2o22 Amazon rom-com Your Christmas Or Mine. Twin brothers Freddie and Isaac Rhodes play Tina’s on-screen son Harry Platt in Corrie and The Drama MOB provided triplets and twins to play Chesney Brown and Gemma Winter’s quadruplets Aled, Bryn, Carys and Llio. 

The Drama MOB represents 11 children in total on Corrie. They also represent Rufus Morgan smith who plays Bertie Osbourne in the show, Eleanor Beckles who plays Glory Bailey and Oakley and Carter Townsend who plays Alfie Franklin. James and Charlotte Holt and Lily, Lucy and Arthur Taylor play the quads.

Tina, who played pupil Bex Fisher in Waterloo Road back in 2010, was proud to see her daughter receive high praise for her role as Izzy Charles when the show was rebooted earlier this year after learning the ropes at The Drama MOB.  They have never been busier while keeping their books small and selective to ensure that they know their talent well.

Tina and Esther have been friends for 29 years after meeting when they were just 11-years-old at Trinity High School in Hulme, both sharing a love of drama.