March is the month where we celebrate many things including Mother's Day and International Women's Day so I thought it appropriate to feature some inspiring mums and we'll be showcasing them throughout March - hope you enjoy the "March of Inspiring Mums" series!
Today marks the start of World Autism Week and so today's interview is with inspiring Chrissie Lowery shares how a rollercoaster of life events and sickness led to opportunities she never believed imaginable. From being a successful Clinical Nurse Specialist to suddenly becoming very ill and spending a year housebound on the sofa together with a son who was diagnosed with ASD that same year, she went on to create her business The Cuddle Bed Company to help children with autism and special needs.
Chrissie lives in Stroud, Gloucestershire and has 5 children (30, 18, 12 year old twins and a 10 year old). She also has 3 grandsons.
To find out more about World Autism Week (26th March - 2nd April) check out the National Autistic Society here.
1. Tell me a little about yourself and how you got into the job you’re now doing?
I used to be a Clinical Nurse Specialist working for the NHS until I became chronically unwell and was placed on long term sick leave. During this time I taught myself to sew and sat on my lounge floor using my Mums sewing machine.
My son Zack had also been diagnosed with ASD later the same year and he struggled to sleep, so I made him my first Cuddle Bed in his favourite hero fabric - his sleep improved dramatically and finally we were not a sleep deprived family. I also found a purpose and a focus in my life.
Tell me one interesting fact about you?
I emigrated to New Zealand in my twenties with a NZ wicketkeeper and I have also met the Queen (that's two facts as I couldn't decide which one!)
Please can you share 3 tips for managing the juggle of motherhood, life and business?
Be kind to yourself, surround yourself with like-minded people and write things down - I use my phone to take screen shots of my white board notes and anything I need, then save them to Dropbox.
What's the best piece of advice you could give a new mum?
- It doesn't matter if your house is messy.
- Sleep when your baby sleeps
- Accept all the help that is offered to you.
- Cry when you need to
- Take time for yourself even if it is a nice hot bubble bath
Colour can make a real difference to our mood - what’s your favourite colour? And how does it make you feel when you wear it?
Pink makes me happy, it lifts my spirits and makes me feel like I can conquer anything! I have lots of pink accessories including a bag that my daughter bought me for Christmas and it is my "I mean business" bag!
What’s your favourite activity to do with your family?
We love to create, so any kind of art, craft or design. We have a recipe to make slime next!
What do you like to do for some me-time?
Oh I struggle with me-time as there is always so much to do, however my friend told me off the other week and now I am taking an hour before work to have a nice long bath and read a book! It has done wonders for my working day too, I am more focused and upbeat!
You really are an inspiration Chrissie! To set up an incredible business that supports others during a time when you were so poorly, let alone to make this a success and juggle a busy family life is awe-inspiring. Your Cuddle Beds are lovely and I know have been so popular with many children who have autism or additional needs.
If you have family members or friends that have autism or special needs you may want to check out the Halia Rose jewellery and accessories collection which is all BPA free and 100% non-toxic plus washable - they are ideal as sensory objects and can also be chewed on.
If you've enjoyed this interview, make sure you check out our other "March of Inspiring Mums" series here