Our "March of Inspiring Mums" interview series celebrates women who are doing some amazing things, whether through business, a campaign or just being fabulous!
Today's interview is with the lovely Lisa Timms. She shares our passion for taking time out as a mum, looking after yourself and finding ways to be you. After having her first child and leaving her career in London, she struggled to find an outlet to have meaningful conversations with other mums without being interrupted by a baby emergency (think nappy explosions or unexplained crying!) that she created and set up First Mummies Club - a regular meeting place for mums to get creative, have some time out and focus on nurturing themselves.
Lisa shares her tips on juggling motherhood with her business and why she loves Autumn and how orange makes her feel confident and decisive!
She lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and two boys, Luca who is 6 and Robin who'll be 4 this month.
Tell me a little about yourself and how you got into the job you’re now doing?
I run First Mummies’ Club, creative evening workshops for Mums in Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted (Hertfordshire). The group offers Mums the opportunity to escape the over whelm of life as a busy Mum and indulge in having the time and head space to learn new skills, create and relax. Some weeks I take the meetings, guiding the ladies through a creative project and others, I source amazing local artists or craftspeople to share their expertise. I put a lot of effort into making the atmosphere as welcoming as possible. I burn essential oils, candles and play relaxing jazz in the back ground. My hope is that Mums leave the sessions feeling happy and relaxed, and they gain a sense of accomplishment through creating something.
I’m very interested in the beneficial effects of creativity have on mental well-being. Indulging in creativity has the ability to boost mood and calm a busy mind and I’ve seen the positive effects indulging in creativity has on the ladies each session. The group tends to attract some lovely, friendly, supportive Mums, therefore it is a great opportunity to bond with like-minded local mums. I like to share our projects across Facebook and Instagram, as well as my own musings on the madness of motherhood and my own personal creative dabbling! I feel very lucky to do something that I love doing and is in keeping with my own personal values regarding the importance of connection and that sense of belonging. In short, I believe it is so important to make time for yourself in your role as a busy Mum in order to function at our best.
Before I had Luca I was working in London as a production co-ordinator at Cath Kidston’s head office. It was an incredibly creative and inspiring place to work with a talented and hard working young team and with Cath at the helm, an incredible visionary in terms of knowing her brand and how she wanted to present it to the world.
While on maternity leave, I knew as much as I’d enjoyed my time there, I wouldn’t be returning to work in London. When Luca was around six months old, I really began to miss that meaningful connection with other women. I was relatively new to the area and although baby groups are nice, I found it was hard to get beyond the initial chit chat with the chance of a sudden nappy explosion or an outburst of sudden tears. I wanted an opportunity to meet other Mums in a relaxed environment, so I could engage with the real them. I felt like I was putting on a pretence sometimes and I remember there were times things would happen and I’d be telling myself not to cry.
In the run up to having Luca and after he was born I had a sudden surge in creativity…. maybe it was the hormones but I realised the pleasure I gained from being able to nurture that side of me. I wondered if there were other women nearby who enjoyed doing similar things to me and learning new things. When my search proved futile, I decided to set up First Mummies’ Club!
Tell me one interesting fact about you?
A few random things as I can’t pick one!
When I was sixteen, I had a letter from Vogue magazine asking me to meet the Fashion Editor of the time, Anna Cryer. This was following a hand written illustrated letter I’d sent her saying how much I wanted to work in fashion and how I felt they should consider using fashion illustration in their magazines, as well as photographs! She was a lovely lady and very encouraging, I thought she was going to give me a job then and there!! All very surreal! Strangely, fashion illustration has worked it’s way back into magazines and David Downton (who I’d mentioned in my letter as being a huge fan of) has gained worldwide recognition and painted all the celebs!
When I was 22 I made the very difficult decision to hand in my notice working as a PA to a handbag designer and go travelling solo for a year! It was when flicking through the draft version of the next seasons look book that I realised they’d named a bag after me, ‘The Tridgell Tote.’ Ironically, the company moved into the baby changing bag arena and became a market leader, with their ‘Yummy Mummy’ bags.
When I was 24, I appeared on BBC’s Eggheads and beat my egghead, Judith Keppel (the lady who won "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" on TV). Sadly, as a team we didn’t win the money!
Please can you share 3 tips for managing the juggle of motherhood, life and business?
I’m not sure I’m yet at that point of saying I’m managing it and sometimes find myself mentally fast forwarding to a time when my youngest is at school and I can get more done and grab more opportunities. Then I remind myself that I enjoy being able to drop the boys at school and collecting them (well, sometimes!) and it’s only for a very short time that they are small.
At the moment, I really try to usilise the fifteen hours that Robin is at pre-school and the evenings to send out emails and schedule some social media posts. I’m also very fortunate to have a supportive husband who understands what needs to get done, and will take the boys off if I’m desperate to get things done. What I do is manageable in the time I have, the problem comes when I have so many ideas, Mums in business that I’d like to collaborate with, trips I’d love to organise and things I’d like to do in the community!
What’s the best piece of advice you could give a new mum?
I found having a baby was all a bit of a shock. Some days I think I’m still recovering as I mistakenly thought by this age, it would all be plain sailing!
I have several pieces of advice. Firstly, it’s an oldie but a goodie. Rest. There is nothing else you need to do in those early days but look after yourself and your baby. Put off visitors for a little while, just hold your baby, get used to one another and just be. Have snuggly mornings together and tell yourself to remember that moment, because before you know it, you have a toddler and any kind of rest is a thing of the past. I think I was too quick to appear ‘camera ready’ but then I’ve always been one to slap on a bit of make up…. I didn’t want anyone to think this could faze me!
Also, if you are sensing that overwhelm, do not suffer in silence, be honest about how you are coping to your midwife or health visitor and if you need support. Having a baby is a massive deal and not one you should put a brave face on for.
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?
Orange!! It’s been a slow and loving transition from different hues of coral but now I’m going bold and orange is the chosen one! Orange makes me feel confident, creative, decisive. It’s also reflective of my favourite season, Autumn. I love all those shades that accompany that season…. reds, rusts and golden browns. A lot of people take energy from the summer months but Autumn is my time where I feel balanced, energised and a bit more zen!
What’s your favourite activity to do with your children?
The struggle with children is that quite often, they are very different. Luca is very homely and Robin definitely more physical and outdoorsy.
Interestingly though, they are both showing an interest to create. They both like colouring, which is a blessing when I just want a bit of quiet time.
I love it when my boys get creative! I’m a bit of a home girl at heart, I love my home and the nic-nacs I’ve collected over time, nothing makes me happier than to enjoy my home. Sometimes I’ll suggest getting the paints out to the boys and they’ll at first be reluctant but I’ll just make myself busy and they want to join in too.
My most favourite moment I’ve had with my eldest is taking him to the National Gallery…. We took a sketch pad and some coloured pencils and I watched from afar as Luca happily drew for hours, copying all the different impressionist great works. It warmed my heart and happened when I’d been feeling particularly anxious and not myself. This is the kind of thing I imagined doing with my children and to think that Luca enjoyed it as much as I hoped he would, created so much joy. Without a doubt one of my happiest days.
What do you like to do for some me-time?
I love to get arty. When I was on a recent holiday in Menorca, although I should have felt totally chilled, my mind was still very busy. I’d made sure to take a couple of sketch books and my travel watercolour set and I found it really helpful to zone me out and switch my thinking.
I also like going to galleries and exhibitions. I’m very interested in self development and the idea of finding our purpose. I really love yoga… and keep telling myself I love it in the hope I’ll actually take it up regularly … I’m not very active but the idea that stretching and breathing properly can benefit you, make you feel strong and balanced, fascinates me.
I also love seeing my close friends for meaningful chat…. I’m a heart on my sleeve kind of girl and find I need to talk and talk and not just chit chat, meaningful stuff… it’s as beneficial as a good work out for me and if there’s cake involved, then even better!
Thank you Lisa for sharing your inspiring story with us.
At Halia Rose we are a big believer of making time for yourself in your role as a busy Mum in order to be the best version of you and therefore being able to look after your children in the ways you want to so we love what you have created with First Mummies Club.
And if you love the Autumnal colours like Lisa, then make sure you check out our Lifestyle Clothing Collection with some gorgeous items which are bang on trend for this season.
If you've enjoyed this interview, you can read our other blogs and "March of Inspiring Mums" series here