Last Friday I threw threw caution to the wind, ditched the laundry, headed up the M2 Coastbound from HQ in North West Kent and joined a load of like minded Mums for a morning of coffee, catch ups and Clemmie Hooper in Whitstable. Thanks to sponsors PG Tips, Mums The Word who launched Mamas Meet Ups in Tunbridge Wells have extended their reach to a far corner of Kent and now Mums in the Coastal region of the county can get involved in some Mamas Meet Ups too.
The concept of The Mamas meet Ups is simple – to host events to bring Mums together in a different environment from soft play, your living room, or the local stay and play, to listen to guest panels discuss their success and share their gems of wisdom with you. To create a bit of you time, where you can meet some pretty awesome other Mums.
Mum’s the Word brings together like-minded Mums and their families with inspiring guest speakers from around the UK to discuss everything from your career, style, health and well-being and you can bring the kids too!
Previous events have included some pretty exceptional guest speakers; Mother Pukka talking flex appeal, Style Me Sunday and Megan Jayne Crabbe talking body positivity, Katie Kirby shouting Hurrah for Gin (and life as a best selling Author who has made a career out of drawing stick people – her words), Melissa Hemsley and Hollie De Cruz talking Eat Happy, Live Happy, and they celebrated Christmas with The Scummy Mummies no less.
For my first ever Mamas Meet Up I couldn’t have been more excited to get to hear about life in the fast lane by the incredibly gorgeous mum of four, Midwife, blogger and Author, Clemmie Hooper.
The Whitstable Mamas Meet Up was held in a pretty gorgeous venue, The East Quay Venue, just past the Harbour at Whitstable. An incredible wedding venue full of charm and chic, this seaside haven had all we needed for a morning meet up – shelter from the rain, a brew on the go, loads of toys for the kids and a pink sparkly backdrop of dreams for the panel.
Some other guests and I had a giggle about how you could have found the venue by following the bright lipstick, pram pushing, fashion forward women making their way across Whitstable. Loads of Mums brought their babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers and this is all encouraged at the Mamas Meet Up daytime events.
Some came alone, some brought a friend. With a friendly vibe there certainly isn’t any need to worry about rocking up alone, and all the staff are on hand with a smile and a bit of small talk to make you feel at home. You needn’t worry about your kiddo making a noise! It’s a totally chilled vibe and hat’s off to the panel for being total professionals and making their way through the discussion over the noise of small people!
Despite having initially planning going along sans child, I did in fact rock up with a plus one, and having a little mini me to keep me company actually felt kinda nice – an ice breaker and someone to focus on when we first stepped into the room. She was super stoked about the snacks on offer, pretty much her jaffa cake highlight!
Natalie and Laura did a stellar job of owning the room (and that pink backdrop), and running the hour long chat with Clemmie. With her new book ‘How To Grow A Baby Journal’ being a pretty great place to start, Clemmie, Blogger at www.GasandAirBlog.com (amongst many other things) talked through how the book came to fruition, having seen a gap in the ‘baby book’ market and feeling there was a need for a beautiful journal that would be the perfect gift for a Mum to Be.
Pull Up The Drawbridge
Clemmie shared one of her fourth trimester philosophies – the importance of R&R once you arrive home with the baby. She advocates a week in bed, ad a week on the sofa, and this is exactly how she recovered from the birth of her twin girls. It’s food for thought – so many of us try so hard to spring back to life as normal, with a painted on smile and an open door, as Clemmie described ‘trying to learn to breastfeed in front of your Father in Law’. In fact, as Clemmie said, so many of us would rather a kind gesture such as flowers and lasagne left on the doorstep, and the ability to lay down snuggling up your new baby in those precious early days. It’s these kind of pieces of advice you can come to find in her book.
On family life
Clemmie had the crowd hanging on her every word as she told the story of how they discovered their third ‘baby’ was in fact twins A story filled with dark humour as Clemmie who expected she was miscarrying the pregnancy was told it was likely a twin pregnancy that one twin was miscarrying. In Clemmies words, she described the sense of relief, which was short lived as a week later a follow up scan confirmed ‘twin one is doing fine, and so is twin two’. As with Clemmies blog, she has such warmth and humour in her story telling, her love for her family was obvious, despite tapping into the FFS moments we all relate to. Like the realisation that, obviously, it was going to be two more girls.
If you know Mother of Daughter, then you probably know Father of Daughters too. An equally successfully (if not more, as Clemmie described his bet that he could beat her following…he’s smashing it) blogger out there representing the somewhat lesser known Dad blogger. Simons book ‘Forever Outnumbered’ is out very soon and details the other side of the Hooper household, from Dads perspective.
Clemmie shared anecdotes about their move from London to the Kent coast, and how she has never looked back. Living close to her family and where she grew up is clearly bringing her a lot of joy and as she said, London is never far away and she is still there two or three days a week.
The question on everyone’s lips was of course, just how does Clemmie juggle this life – with four kids, and two jobs. She puts the success of it all down to balance – and the support network around her now she is living closer to her parents. In fact, Clemmies Mum and the twins even made a cameo on stage appearance at the Mamas Meet Up. Ever the pro, Clemmie handled it like a star, bouncing a crying toddler on one knee whilst talking to over 100 Mums and their kids.
“I will always be a midwife”
Clemmie remains an active NHS midwife and remains passionate and committed to the career she loves, despite her increasing success as a public figure, author and blogger. She spoke on how her work have supported a flexible working arrangement and how important she feels that is in the workplace. Part time or full time, she is a valued midwife, and she talked about the importance of showing her daughters that she has a career she loves, and the value of earning money to do great things as a family.
Clearly the Hooper family have mastered the art of owning it on social media. But even Clemmie has experienced negativity (far more so than Simon, interestingly). Despite describing how the negativity has at times invaded her day, making her question what she is doing, but her attitude is to try to ignore the trolls and move on.
I really loved the way Clemmie sees the use of Social Media in our everyday lives:
“I see social media as your own personal magazine; if you are interested in fashion, food, parenting, lifestyle…you can choose what you want to see in the pages of your magazine. If you see something you don’t like? Just scroll on.”
As Clemmie said, many people out there on social media don’t have journalism backgrounds, so we all need to cut each other some slack. As someone with a platform and a voice, Mother of Daughters is about so much more than pictures of her kids and her house; Clemmie wants to make a difference about bigger issues such as mental health, body image and motherhood, and with her background in Maternity care, she has both sparkle and knowledge – a winning combination.
The future is bright for the Hooper family. With Clemmies second book ‘How to grow a baby journal’ out now, a jewellery collaboration and podcast in the pipeline and a double page spread in this months Red magazine, this is a lady who is one to watch.
How To Grow A Baby Journal
Despite no plans to grow any babies any time soon, I had to grab a copy of Clemmies book, which she kindly signed for me. Clemmie was lovely in person and took loads of time to chat to everyone. I was a little bit nervous as I realised everyone in front of me seemed to have personally interacted with Clemmie online – but she was so nice, and we did make small talk about my outfit, which I exclaimed was from Tescos. Classy Sarah. Anyway, we got a nice pic (one for my personal collection) and I left Clemmie to work her way through the line of Mums waiting to meet her.
The journal is the perfect gift for a loved one expecting a baby, and can be described as a place to capture every magical part of the pregnancy – from how and when you shared the news you were pregnant, felt first kicks and how you felt every step of the way. Combining beautiful illustrations, pregnancy advice along with the space to document your milestones, I would have LOVED this book when I was pregnant. Elegantly covered in a green cover, this is every (pregnant) stationary addict’s dream.
I guess I’ll have to wait for the right person to gift my journal to, so it can fulfill it’s destiny, but until then it’s looking rather lovely on my bookshelf. You can purchase the book online for an RRP of £16.99.
Until next time
So finally a huge thank you to the sponsors PG Tips, to The people behind Mums The Word, and to Clemmie Hooper for a morning to remember.
Can’t wait for the next one…(which I heard whispers of involving The Scummy Mummies, a licensed bar and not a child in sight…)