In the run up to International Women’s Day, I am pleased to share a guest post from Tushna Ghadially, Founder of Marylebone Mums.

Mums

After giving birth to my daughter in March 2013, I gave up work as a fund manager. However, within the first few months of motherhood, I soon discovered that although Marylebone Village is a very family friendly area, it wasn’t easy to find information about children’s activities or mums groups that were available in the area. Having left a very male-dominated City environment, and not really knowing anyone who had children let alone babies I wanted to meet other new mums. I had chosen not to do an NCT course as there were none in the local area so I was feeling rather isolated. I realised I could solve both problems easily so I set up Marylebone Mums to connect with others and to help people exchange information about the local area. Learning how to edit a website and searching for information made me feel like a functioning adult again as I emerged from the haze of the first 6 months after birth! I run Marylebone Mums for free in my spare time for the benefit of our local community. It has been so fulfilling seeing what a difference it has made.

I run a blog where news and information about the many local events, classes and coffee mornings taking place are posted. It’s gradually grown over the years and we now have around 1600 mums and dads following the Facebook group and over 1000 followers on Twitter. Every day I get member requests from women who are pregnant or who have just had a baby who live in the area. Funnily enough, I’ve also had an increasing number of dads wanting to join the group and be involved with the community so I’ve renamed our Facebook group Marylebone Mums (& Dads). Sometimes we also get requests from Marylebone residents who don’t have kids but see the group as a good way to stay informed with local issues as well as fun topics such as new restaurants and shops opening in our area. Parents spend a lot of time walking pushing prams around and we love sharing new finds with our group!

The great thing about the group is that we have such a mix of people who help support each other. Some like me are born and raised in London, but many are people who have moved to the city for the first time. We have so many expats in the area who turn up here knowing nobody and end up meeting so many other people through the various events on offer. I understand how isolating it can be when families move to the city for the first time and how important it is to have a support network. My involvement in Marylebone Mums helps people connect with others so they don’t suffer from loneliness. I run a monthly coffee morning which is an easy way for Mums to introduce themselves to the community and to put people in touch with one another.

I love the fact that there’s a community of people in Marylebone who are settled here and are long standing residents, or who see themselves staying here for a long time, so you do get that real community feel, but at the same we’re right in the centre of London. When living in the heart of a big city I’ve also realised that it’s important to reach out and connect with others, or start a conversation with other mums in the local playground, you soon realise that they are in the same boat and appreciate a bit of extra support.”

Find out more about what’s going on in Marylebone and the local area on the website: www.marylebonevillage.com

 

Run Jump Scrap

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

A porch is the perfect space to use a halfway point between people visiting and entering your home. From the moment you start to decorate your home, the main aim is always to have a warm and welcoming atmosphere that makes people feel at home and comfortable, and this applies to the porch too. Many people overlook the porch and see it is a wasted space, but it actually has a huge impact on the overall image people have of your home. First impressions always count, and your porch is the first point people see before they enter your home properly, so it needs to be as inviting as possible!

Keep Things Fresh

The benefit to having a porch is that more often than not, you have a small space with large windows that enable plenty of natural light to filter through and brighten the area beautifully. You want your porch to be a space that feels fresh and bright, and your décor choices will help you with this. For those porches large enough, introducing a chic oak console table in the corner to position a fresh display of flowers will instantly add that crisp, clean feel you want to achieve. This is also a great way of utilising the space, giving you an area to keep post, place your dirty wellies underneath and so on.

Be Bright and Bold

If your porch is a space that has a nice balance of windows then you can guarantee you’re going to have a lovely flow of natural light passing through from morning to night, but the moment the sun goes down this area can become a little dark and daunting. Whilst the porch is still classed as your interiors, many people overlook this and forget to add sufficient lighting to keep the area lit through the evening time. By adding a stylish lamp to your porch, you can create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for your home, giving it the perfect entrance. The moment people look at your home they will see a delicate glow from the entrance area which will automatically make your home seem cosy and inviting.

Make it Practical

Having a porch is ideal for dedicating a space for keeping shoes, coats, umbrellas and other random items safe and neat, without having to bring them into the main part of your home. There’s nothing worse than someone walking through the house, over your lovely cream carpets with dirty boots on, and this is where the porch comes in very handy. To really utilise the space within your porch and make it as practical as possible, you want to include plenty of storage space, some durable hooks and even some drawers to keep items neatly stored away. This will really help to keep the rest of your home neat and tidy, whilst still having everything easily accessible.

Open it Up

Whilst the majority of people use their porch as an additional room within the home, there is also the option to open it up and create an outdoor space that’s unique to your property. To give yourself an open-style porch, you can create an enclosed space that has no door or windows but contains a couple of seats and a stylish plant to add to the character of the space. This is perfect for those who want to enhance their gardens overall look and introduce a unique touch of landscaping to their home.

Cuddle Fairy

California is a state so large, so grand, and so overwhelmingly wonderful that it takes a long time to explore. California is a number of different kinds of destinations all in one state, so a road trip with the family to explore this spectacular state is a choice well worth making.

If you’re going to soak up all the wonders of the Sunshine State in a single vacation, then you’re going to need a route that is planned with maximum efficiency in mind. The average length of a vacation for American families is just four days, but how much of the best and brightest of California can you really enjoy in such a restrictive timeframe?

A lot more than you might expect, especially if you’re prepared to rent a vehicle for the duration of your stay. Below is a busy but exciting itinerary

DAY ONE

STARTING POINT: San Diego

California

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No trip to California is complete without a visit to San Diego, making this vibrant city the ideal starting point for your four-day family trip. There are so many options as to what you can see and do in this fantastic city, including the world-famous zoo or an educational trip to the State Historic Park, so choose your activity of choice. In fact, this itinerary is designed to allow you the majority of the day in San Diego, so you can choose two sites to enjoy!

Around 6pm, it’s time to make a move— you won’t be spending the night in San Diego. Jump in your car for an hour and a half’s drive to…

NEXT STOP: Cleveland National Forest

California

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This rather confusingly-named forest is northwest of San Diego, and the route to get there is pleasantly simple. After a day spent in the bustling San Diego, the calm tranquility of Cleveland National Forest makes for the perfect place to spend an evening relaxing, as you enjoy the panoramic scenic views.

You can camp in the forest itself, or head to one of the nearby towns to spend the night. There are plenty of hotels in La Jolla Amago, which is perfectly placed for exploring the forest itself the next day.

After a night’s rest, it’s worth jumping back in the car again the next morning. Half an hour from La Jolla Amago (or less, if you’re camping at the forest itself) is the incredible Palomar Observatory. Take a tour of the facility and allow your kids to learn about how the three telescopes are being used to map the skies; a truly wonderful morning trip that the whole family will love. You’ll also have the chance to enjoy the stunning views offered by the forest, exploring the trails and perhaps even hiking Palomar Mountain if you’re in the mood for a challenge.

Just remember to leave in plenty of time to make the two-hour journey to…

NEXT STOP: Huntington Beach

California

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Huntington Beach is truly one of the most delightful places in California. After your time spent in the wilderness, you’ll be back at the seaside, and able to spend the evening wandering along Huntington Pier and enjoying the stunning seafood cuisine. While you’ll likely to arrive a little too late for swimming in the ocean, you can nevertheless enjoy the view of the sun setting over the waves.

Get a good night’s rest, as tomorrow will bring forth (what your children, at least, will consider to be) the most exciting day of the vacation…

NEXT STOP: Anaheim

California

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Realistically, Anaheim is only known for one thing— no offence to the city itself, but most people can’t name much about it… except for the fact it’s home to the Disneyland Resort. After a couple of days spent enjoying the natural wonders of California, now is a great time to indulge in something lighthearted and familiar.

The journey from Huntington Beach to Anaheim is pleasantly short, at just over a half hour. When you arrive in Anaheim itself, you can check into a local hotel if you don’t want to stay on the Disneyland resort itself. With your bags checked, you can head to the park for an incredible fun family day out.

Telling you what to see and do at the Disneyland Resort is largely pointless. First and foremost, the park is so varied that it’s impossible to choose just a handful of collections to visit, and your choices will largely be dictated by the age of your children. So you’re best to plot your own route, using an online guide. This will allow you to ensure you get to see and do all the things you want; the park is sprawling, so you’ll need to keep a careful check on the time.

After a day filled with excitement, head back to your chosen hotel for a quiet evening spent reminiscing about the time you’ve enjoyed so far.

LAST STOP: Los Angeles

California

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As with San Diego, no visit to California is complete without a trip to Los Angeles. Not only is the city one of the most vibrant and exciting in the world, it’s also home to LAX Airport, which should allow you to travel home on a direct flight.

The journey from Anaheim to Los Angeles is less than an hour; with good traffic, you should be able to make it in around 45 minutes. If you choose a night-time flight, then you’ll be able to spend the day exploring LA itself, which can be a nice cherry on the top of a thrilling vacation.

You could head to the beach, or stay in LA itself to walk the famous “Walk of Fame”. Alternatively, if the Palomar Observatory excited an interest in astronomy, then the Griffith Observatory is one of the most well-known attractions in the state. If you’d rather pick up some souvenirs, then heading for the shopping districts and The Grove can also be a pleasant way to round off your vacation.

In conclusion

The above route tries to take in all that California has to offer, from sandy beaches to rugged mountainous terrain. Enjoy your travels!

Post Comment Love

Indulgence is everywhere. From your local doughnut chain store to the wide array of Netflix specials that are released. From the comfort of your home living room to the relaxation of your favorite book. Some of these could be classed as indulgences and activities for growth in the same fell swoop, so distinguishing between them can sometimes be hard. However, if you feel your life has become mostly filled with indulgence (at least in your free time,) it’s easy to feel like you’re not progressing anywhere.

Brighter Pastures

Pexals

In order to empower yourself, you must partake in the journey of life with your eyes wide open. It means taking an adventure regardless of your age, because that is just a number. It means pursuing your goals to the extent that you find them rewarding. It means instead of sliding into comfort as the dominant exercise in your life, you get out and challenge yourself in a way that means the most to you. Empowerment is defined by how well you are able to face the unknown and hold your strength in its presence.

If you’re a mother, you’ve held a career for a period of time, or you’re simply a good person, you can absolutely state that you have the inner strength and power to become empowered beyond your wildest dreams. Here are a few methods for doing so:

Drop Everything And Adventure!

Do you ever get the feeling that the routine and order of your life is getting slightly stagnant? It might not be, but the continual repetitiveness of it might be bringing you down just a little. Heading on an adventure can wipe your fatigue slate clean, and come back grateful for the comfort and security you have built for yourself. However, how should you begin? Climbing Kilimanjaro? Trekking around Everest?

These sound like pretty massive endeavours for someone who might not have ever partaken in an expedition like this. How on Earth are you supposed to organize this yourself? With services like Kandoo Adventures at kandooadventures.com you might not have to. Adventure needn’t be over complicated or risky, using many services that provide you with an organized yet adventurous and unrestricted experience can help you take your first tentative steps around the world. Upon your return, it won’t be long before you’re bragging to all the other ladies at the hair salon.

Implement Slow Change

It could be that you may not feel entirely happy simply heading to pastures new straight away. We are creatures of habit, and that means understanding how to implement small change to veer the course of our life. It could be that instead of relying on online dating, you head to a speed dating venue once a month. It might be you decide to become more social attending music events or simply arranging nice events for you and your extended family. Other people are often a great predictor of adventure because learning about them is often the most complex and enticing thing you can imagine.

That being said, try to implant yourself into new social situations! You’re never too old to join a new hiking group or join a book club. If you’re interested in writing, why not join writing communities on Reddit and Facebook and contribute to them often? You can never tell just how wide spanning your hobby could truly get, and what new, wonderful people could become a fixture of your life.

With this in mind, you are sure to enjoy the unknown of adventure, both social and physical. The Netflix series can wait.

Pink Pear Bear

Falling apart on become a mum is not unusual really. Becoming a parent is a overwhelming experience filled with a mix of positive and negative stress. Childbirth is a shock to the system and then you are thrown into so many new demands that can take their toll on your physical and mental wellbeing.

Falling Apart

What is unusual or at least was until recent times was mums being honest about falling apart either at the time or looking back on their life experiences.  My belief is that we bloggers need to give a true account of women’s lives so that history can report it properly for starters. It is also important to counter-balance the fakery out there presenting apparently perfect lives.

So I am grateful to Laura who shares how she fell apart and then rebuilt her life one baby step at a time. Laura set up Worditude where she helps business-builders write the words for their website.

“I didn’t want to be the boss.

Every self-employed person I knew when I was growing up such as my neighbour, the shop-owner who employed me on Saturdays and my grandparents were stressed out, overworked….and kinda stingy.

I didn’t want to be that person.

So I threw myself into corporate life as soon as I could.

I clawed my way to a first class business degree and then joined a management programme for a financial services company just weeks after my 21st birthday.

I was Little Miss Career-Climber.

In just a few years I made it to a middle management position with a salary I hadn’t dared dream of.

And then came the babies. Like little pink bombs detonating under my corporate world, shattering my plans, and leaving me with shards of shrapnel, from which I needed to rebuild a life.

I love them. I wanted them. But I was in no way prepared for the impact their presence would have on me.

Due to a medical condition my second son couldn’t go to a nursery or childminder. He needed to be with a parent at home.

He clearly hadn’t read my two kids plus full-time childcare script.

So I walked out on my job. Literally. I just left one day and didn’t go back because I felt so out of control at how my life was unfolding.

For two depression-riddled years, I was so so lost. I didn’t know what was important to me anymore (apart from my sons). I didn’t know how to make a meaningful contribution to the world (because even as a full-time mum, I was still overlooking the value of mothers). I didn’t know what I wanted to do.

I spent hours and hours researching online for ‘work from home opportunities’.

I thankfully managed to dodge the scams – goodness knows how, there were enough of them.

I settled on blogging as a potential source of income. And then I loved setting up my WordPress website so much, I started to make websites for other people. And then I loved helping them write the words for their websites so much, that I ditched the website building and focussed on copywriting instead.

And here I am now helping entrepreneurs write their own website content through my templates and tutorials.

As I’ve built my business, I’ve learned to rebuild myself.

The books, the training, the seminars, the meetings. Combined they formed a crash course in self-development I never would’ve undertaken had my little ones not completely destroyed my plans and identity 10 years ago.

It all worked out in the end.

I can’t go back 10 years and tell myself that.

So instead I share my story as openly and honestly as I can, so that other mothers, who fear their identity is irreversibly crumbling can know that sometimes when things look like they’re falling apart, they are actually falling into place.”

Falling Apart On Becoming A Mum

 

Sharing so openly takes a huge amount of courage so please do consider sharing this post by clicking one or more of the buttons below.

If you would like to share your story on this blog please get in touch.

 

Pink Pear Bear
ethannevelyn.com