Tuesday 28 February 2017

Celebrate the texture of your day with LISA JANE PHOTOGRAPHY

Here at Most Curious we are lucky enough to showcase the most talented and creative wedding professionals in the business, and we are especially lucky when in comes to the eclectic chocolate box of photographers we are proud to introduce to you this March. One such lenswoman, who's work gives us little butterflies in our tummies, is Lisa Jane. A proud alt-girl with a down to earth demeanor, Lisa's work celebrates the texture of your wedding day in a creative yet realistic manner. Expect dreamy play with depth of field, clever crops, perfectly framed compositions, dramatic use of shadow and natural light and secret shots from behind doorways or through glass.

Lisa immerses herself in the beauty of your day, artistically preserving it's tactile beauty for generations to come to appreciate. She owns the art of memory making.Lisa has a growing reputation for her relaxed and fun attitude, enthusiasm and ability to blend into the festivities. She strives to make everyone feel relaxed and limits that dry style of direction that can produce half baked static group shots and stiff couple portraits. Instead, Lisa has a friendly approach, something which is evident in her joyous portfolio. There is not an awkward bride or gawping groom in sight amongst her visual anthology of love and happiness.

We caught up with the lovely Lisa Jane to find out what makes her tick, the highs of running your own creative enterprise and just how she produces such beautiful images...

Why did you decide to set up your own business?

For me, photography has never just been about a pretty picture, it’s the memories it can conjure, the stories asking to be told. It’s been a way for me to show people how I see the world and the stories I want to tell, and all those forgotten moments that come flooding back at just the glance of a photo. I never intended to be a wedding photographer and just kind of fell into it. I used to think it was very stuffy and traditional. However, upon trying it out I discovered this world of awesome couples and their weddings! They allowed me to do what I do best, tell a story, walk in their shoes and capture the all the special little human moments.

What's been the coolest/best moment of your career so far?

I've been lucky enough to travel the world with my photography, which has been pretty amazing. I was named one of the 30 Rising Stars, which was a massive achievement for me. But if I'm honest, I love the fact that couples connect with my work. I get to create memories for them which will last a lifetime. That's what it is all about for me.

Who or what inspires you?

I get a lot of inspiration from films - Royal Tenambaums, Lost in Translation, Almost Famous, Blue Valentine. Some of the inspiration is visual and some is the connection and relationships. On a wedding day, I'm always looking for that connection.I get a lot of inspiration from music, and love it when my couples tell me all about the songs at their wedding. Certain songs can just capture a moment perfectly and I suppose that is what I am always trying to with my photography.

What words would you use to describe the trends for 2017?

For me, my couples seem to be really investing in laid back celebrations, shedding some of the traditions and really focusing on having fun - filling their days with their personality.

We cannot wait to see Lisa's colourful photos in person next Month at the Old Truman Brewery, and we can't wait to meet you too. If you haven't purchased your TICKET yet, you still have time, but don't delay or your might miss out!

Monday 27 February 2017

Shining the Spotlight: Proud Jugglist Massive member Dana Dallal Bridal

You may remember a couple of weeks ago, the wonderful Love My Dress featured our take on motherhood and the industry, which we’ve named the Jugglist Massive. You may also remember seeing our beaming faces on the follow-up posts we did, and our babies’ beaming faces too. Those focused on the AMCWF team, but we’re nothing without our exhibitors, and we’ve decided to share some of their Jugglist Massive moments too, to publicly salute them in their endeavours, and to give them a virtual pat on the back to keep them going (which will, of course, becoming a physical pat on the back on March 18th and 19th). We’re super pleased to introduce our interview with Dana Dallal, of DANA DALLAL BRIDAL: mamma of baby Axel, 2 months and a bit, Jugglist extraordinaire, and designer of sumptuous bridal dresses a la the one in our promotional images!

Dana with baby Axel, born December 2016

When did you set up the Business? March 2015

When did you have your baby? We had little Axel in December 2016 and it's been a busy couple of months.

What do you feel the challenges are of running your own wedding business alongside motherhood? I don’t think I realised just how little down time I would have in these first few months! I think I expected the baby to sleep more and that during his naps I could do some work, little did I know. Axel only naps for two hours straight when I have him in the pram walking around but luckily he isn’t a bad night sleeper and I get quite a few good nights of sleep during the week. Because of the limited free time, I’ve had to scale back some of my plans. Instead of making a full new collection, I have decided to add a few complimentary dress styles to the existing line up, which makes everything a lot more manageable. My first priority is to get my existing client’s dresses finished which takes time as well so I have had to make some choices regarding my ambitions and be realistic about what I can achieve.There really is so little time when you have a new baby so you need to take a step back first and asses when and what is possible to get done and you have to base this around your baby’s rhythm. I’m breast-feeding him as well so that takes a huge chunk of time out of my day. Making the choice to scale back and seeing this as a positive decision has been really difficult. You have to remind yourself that having achievable goals is much better and more fulfilling than making big plans and then failing to hit those targets.

How about the positives (which you might not feel but can accept haha!) It’s really hard to find much time in these early days but I have a great mother in law who is happy to babysit while I work. There really isn’t anything as rewarding as seeing Axel’s first smile or his first giggle and being home for those things is a real plus. I think the time flexibility is also a real plus as long as you can keep focused, you can work fun activities into your day and then get some work done in the evening when my husband comes home.

How on earth do you make it work? It's still early days for us so we are trying to slowly get things done but right now, the strategy is to get someone to babysit in between feeds so I can get work done and also fit in a nap for myself sometimes. I think adjusting our expectations is key to avoiding disappointment and remembering that it does get easier (at least I hope it does!)

Describe a day in the life of you and your business. We get up at about 8.00am and Axel eats for about 45 minutes, then the next hour is when he is content to be on his own so I rush around to get myself showered and dressed before feeding him again and then making a break for the nearest café to check my emails and place any orders I need in. Axel eats every 3ish hours and it takes about an hour to feed and change him so you can imagine it takes at least 8 hours of my day up! If I need to sketch or pattern cut I pop him in a sling so he can take his nap in there while I work. He really wants to be close to us at this young age so napping on us is sometimes the only way to get some free time to do work. Usually I can only get about 3ish hours of work done a day so I have to be disciplined and that hasn’t really happened until a couple of weeks ago.

A Dana Dallal Bridal design in our 2017 Campaign shoot

When do you work best? Mornings and early afternoon are when Axel is most content so as you can tell, it all revolves around him and his schedule at the moment! He sleeps for 45 minutes up to an hour and a half so that’s when I can work at the moment.

How do you work best? With Axel in a sling. It’s the only way he will settle at home for an extended period of time. The thing is I also have to entertain him, as he gets older he needs more stimulation to develop his brain and keep him from getting bored so that takes another few hours out of my day as well. It's not easy finding the time!

What time does it all kick off for you? Evenings are the hardest for us, trying to eat dinner and get chores done is pretty challenging and the evenings are pretty baby focused. From around 6.30pm it’s all about Axel until 8am the next morning, when it's also all about Axel…seeing a trend here!

What time do you usually throw in the towel? I am tempted to throw in the towel at all times! But managing those expectations is what keeps me sane; although I won’t pretend I’m very good at it!

What have you learnt the hard way since having a child and running a business simultaneously? You never realise how hard it is until you are in the thick of it and the baby has arrived and you are getting very little sleep! I thought it would be easier which makes me laugh now but we are still working out how much we can get done and when. Obviously the baby is the first priority and he is so young so that means growing the business has taken a back seat which is probably for the best at the moment as it means I can just about keep up with it all.

Let us know your most stressed out/most jugglist/most frustrating/most challenging moment so far? I recently got Axel sleeping 4 hour stretches at night, then feed him and that is followed by another 3 hour stretch so one night I planned that the next day I could get some work done during his naps. Of course that night Axel hardly slept at all and I was completely exhausted and broken! The hardest and most frustrating thing is that I can’t plan like I used to. If we are having a bad day where he is crying a lot or needs extra attention then I cant get anything done so I cant rely on doing things last minute! 

Dana and Axel

Do you think there is enough support for mothers running their own business? This is a hard one - probably not, but my mother in law and husband help me out a lot so I don't really need to seek out extra support at the moment. I think when Axel is a bit older and can go to Nursery I will have a bit more time on my hands, and with free childcare extending to 30 hours from a younger age I hope I'll be able to pick up the pace. But those free spots are hard to come by and the Nurseries they are offered in may not be the ones that you would choose to go for if you had other options.

Do you find the industry supportive? We are so new at being a family that I haven't run into many situations where I felt disappointed with the behaviour or opinions of others. Mostly I’ve been finding that the general public are very helpful, people love babies and are excited about it when I let them know its our first one. I have had to delay some deadlines and so far, I have only received good vibes.

Shout out to Dana Dallal, baby Axel and co - keep doing what you're doing. What beauties, eh? We're going to posting some more Jugglist interviews soon so keep your eyes peeled!

Images by Most Curious Wedding Fair Sponsor MatildaDelves Wedding Photography || Balloons and Paper decos by Pop Pop Papier || Calligraphy by The Golden Letter || Flowers by Rebel Rebel || Jugglist Massive Cake  ClaireOwen Cakes || Geometric pink cake Blossom & Crumb || Peach and red cake Frenchmade London

Friday 24 February 2017

Supermodel For A Day - Make Like Moss in HALFPENNY LONDON

Here at Most Curious HQ, we ladies get particularly excited when one of our luscious exhibitors drops a new collection - especially when it features an iconic design we have previously drooled over. Favourites and kind sponsors, HALFPENNY LONDON, the fairytale creation of designer and entrepreneur Kate Halfpenny, have just launched their A/W 17 bridal collection "Standing on Stardust" and we are most definitely seeing stars.

Inspired by the dancefloors of the hedonistic club scene of 1970's NYC, "Standing on Stardust" features powerful retro silhouettes combined with their signature intricate embroideries. Maribou feathers cascade delicately down a layered floor length skirt, duchess satin wide leg trousers pair perfectly with a structured sweetheart corset, a sheer lace dress fit for a Prairie girl is California-dreamy while a shaggy Goat fur coat wraps up warm.

We are particularly crushing on Halfpenny's 'Kate Moss Dress', based upon the beautiful dot lace gossamer number Kate Halfpenny designed, in four colours no less, for Moss to debut at Mario Testino's 60th birthday party. A white version, with optional satin slip, can now be worn down your very own catwalk *cough* aisle. With soft puff sleeves, covered buttons and a bias cut skirt, the 'Kate Moss Dress' is a perfect contemporary take on 1970s-referencing-1930s goodness. And if it's good enough for Kate, it's sure as hell good enough for us!

You can come browse Halfpenny's new collection yourself at the Old Truman Brewery in the heart of Shoreditch next month at the London leg of our Fair. TICKETS are still available whilst stocks last.

Can't wait to see you there!


Wednesday 22 February 2017

The Northern Soul of FROG FLOWERS - Creative Floristry in the Heart of Manchester

When it comes to planning your very own creative wedding it can often seem like anything worth your while pursuing is based in the dark heart of the capital. For those stylish brides and grooms living outside the Big Smoke however, it can oftentimes be a frustrating game to find and book companies who can cater to your specific style. Luckily for the inhabitants in and around the epicly stylish and buzzing Northern city of Manchester, their floral needs are most definitely taken care of in the form of creative florist, FROG FLOWERS.

Step into the moody slate grey and exposed brick boutique situated in the artistic Northern Quarter, and founder and florist, David Jayet-Laraffe's colourful personality glows from every corner: from the lime green sheep bust sculpture to the very on-trend neon lights. A menagerie of animal sculptures, a vintage mannequin head wearing a plant as a hat, a set of kitsch flying ducks and stacks of colourful yarns co-exist with a vast array of multi coloured flowers and lush leaves. And then there is David himself.

Tall, slim and dapper in his skinny-fit suits and perfectly groomed beard, this dandy Frenchman is both incredibly creative and extremely likeable. A master of his trade with the eye of an artist, Jayet-Laraffe is anything but pretentious. A self-described "sponge" upon first meeting a new client, this expert florist goes into each project with open eyes, prioritising his customer's vision over his own agenda. Just like the gorgeous, natural medium with which he works, the process between David and clients is most definitely organic and evolving.

With experience dressing everything from high end boutiques to fashion sets in flowers, weddings are a perfect opportunity for Frog Flowers to showcase their theatrical ability to enhance the happy couple's dream vision. With a portfolio overgrowing with varied weddings - from soft and ethereal to stylings that wouldn't look out of place in an Amazon rainforest themed rave, David Jayet-Larafe can turn his Chamelon-like green fingers to suit any matrimonial backdrop.

If you would love to meet David and his team, but unfortunately don't live in Manchester, why not make a trip to our London fair for a touch of Northern Soul? TICKETS  are still available, but be sure to snap up yours quickly!

Most Curious

Tuesday 21 February 2017

Tell the story of your love with LEONARD GARLAND PHOTOGRAPHY

Filmic. That's the only true way to describe the visual talent that is LEONARD GARLAND; master wedding photographer and storyteller of modern romance. With his editorial background and keen eye for detail, expect highly art directed photos that still sing with the idiosyncrasies of your very real life. Garland distills the essence of each of his clients weddings through his lens, painting your memories into perfect compositions worthy of being mistaken for a cinematic still. Using natural light and focusing in on pure moments of emotion, textures and flavours of the day, Lee Garland Wedding Photography speaks to the dreamers and adventurers of life and love.

Travelling to epic locations from the Scottish Highlands to the historic buildings in and around central London, Garland translates your wedding venue into a film set. Expect Wes Andersen-esque balanced and wide angled shots, alongside ethereal images that play with depth of field. Your joyous embraces and coy smiles will be transformed into a beautiful art house love scene. Your memories captured in all their moving and theatrical glory forevermore. What more could you want from a wedding photographer!

So if you have always fantasied about starring in your very own romantic movie, the only man for job is Leonard Garland. You can come meet him at our March fair in the heart of Shoreditch, London, alongside a selection of the countries best contemporary wedding brands. Be sure to grab your TICKETS ASAP though, as we are rapidly running low!

See you at fair, ready for your close up of course!

Most Curious

Friday 17 February 2017

The #JugglistMassive Part 2

We introduced you to our #Jugglistmassive in our last blog post – our own band of wedding babes who are juggling the work they love with motherhood. Loads of our Most Curious exhibitors are Jugglist mothers, but so are our team too! We’ve heard from Becky and Cat – now here’s Ann-Marie’s, Penny’s and Ellie’s takes on being absolute superheroes.

3. Ann-Marie Faulkner, Founder of AM Faulkner Bridal and Head of Production with Most Curious , mum to Woody Jude, four months.

When did you set up the Business? December 2014

When did you have your baby? 1st October 2016

What do you feel the challenges are of running your own wedding business alongside motherhood? I think the main challenge is trying to get everything done in a day whilst still giving as much attention to Woody and trying to keep the guilt under control! Mainly the guilt of not devoting all my time to him, but also the guilt of not devoting as much time to my business as I used to. Lack of sleep is also a MAJOR challenge.

But also what are the positives? That I am my own boss and can fit everything around Woody if I need to and when I work - or not work - is completely up to me. 

How on earth do you make it work? I’ve only just officially come back from maternity leave after a pretty traumatic birth and recovery, so still in the experimental stage! Woody is in quite a good routine now though so its quite easy to plan things around him. I work when he sleeps and get a lot done in the morning when he’s happy chilling out in his baby gym or napping. You totally have to plan the week though which is a bit boring but essential. I try to plan something fun once a week so I’m not stuck in the mundane routine of babycare/work/sleep/repeat.

Describe a day in the life of you and your business: I usually get up at 7am and feed Woody. He gets fed roughly every 3 hours and is in a pattern of eat, play for a bit then nap. My boyfriend gets up about 8 and makes us a coffee whilst I write a list of everything I need to get done for the day. I’ll also try and grab a shower quickly before my partner leaves for work otherwise I’ll have to wait until he gets home again at 8pm! 

Each day varies a lot but the morning is always the best time to get stuff done as thats when Woody is best behaved and pretty chilled. If I’m working from home, I’ll pop Woody in his baby gym and answer emails, do some sketchbook work, plan any events etc. If I’m in the studio or need to go out to buy supplies, have a meeting etc, then I’ll wait ‘til his next feed at 10am then get him ready, pack a bag for him then head out in the pram. He usually sleeps in the pram pretty well so I can whizz around and get what I need done. As long as I’m somewhere I can feed him and change him by 1pm then its all good. We haven’t spent a whole day in the studio yet as it’s been too cold, but will have to soon as orders are coming in. 

At 3 or 4pm I’ll take the dog for a walk. I put Woody in the carrier and we’ll head out. I’m lucky enough to live right next to Hackney Marshes, so go for about a 45 minute walk. It gives me a chance to get some fresh air, clear my head and think about what I need to do for the rest of the day. Its also a good chance to make any phone calls if I need to. 

I’ll have something to eat once I’m back then play with Woody for a while. He gets a bit grizzly at this time so I cant really do anything else apart from try to entertain him. He has his last feed at 7 then I give him a bath and get him ready for bed. He’s usually in bed by 8pm and that’s when my partner comes home from work. We take turns cooking and sorting all Woody’s stuff for the next day. If its not my turn to cook then I’ll finish everything I need to for the day. 

We usually both pass out on the sofa in front of a film by about 10:30/11pm then drag ourselves to bed. Woody still doesn’t sleep all the way through the night but hes getting there, so we take turns getting up and comforting him back to sleep in the early hours. Sometimes this is a couple of times, sometimes it's loads!

What have you learnt the hard way since having your children and running a business simultaneously? You are not the boss, they are! The day I’ve described is a good day. On a bad day he’ll be really clingy and just want to be held. I’ve learnt that trying to work when he’s like that is actually impossible, so its best to write off the day and just hang out with Woody. He’s starting teething so there are a few of those days just now. 

Let us know your most stressed out/most jugglist/most frustrating/most challenging moment so far? I don’t think I’ve had any major moments so far, but had a photoshoot the other day and had to take Woody with me. Having to direct a shoot whilst remembering what time to feed a baby and also change nappies on the make up artists table was pretty ‘jugglist’. Luckily Woody is super cute (!) so there were lots of offers to hold him and keep him entertained.

What do you want to say to all the jugglist massive out there? You are all inspirational and we salute and celebrate you all! Good work mamas! I wish you all good sleep vibes for tonight x

Do you think there is enough support for mothers running their own business? Probably not. I ‘ heard of anything but then again I haven’t really looked as I haven’t had the time…Catch 22!

Do you find the industry supportive? Yes! Once you have a baby, it seems like all the other mamas are there for you as they know what you have been through. I was added to really good facebook group called ‘Working mamas’ by Celia who runs Heart Aflutter Bridal boutique in Hackney. It’s full of working mums mainly in the bridal industry and has been a huge support, especially in the dark early days.

4. Penny Baldry, Founder of The Little Lending Company and Head of the Norwich Most Curious Show, brand newbie mum to Della Joany, two weeks old. When we did our Jugglist Massive shoot, Penny was deep in the deepest of juggles with her ten day old Della, but this is lovely shoot she did with Darina Stoda a few weeks before she came along. We didn’t have the heart to completely grill her but she has offered some new Jugglist wisdom!

Penny and her gorgeous Bump-cum-Della

Ok so in the 2 weeks of being a mumtrepreneur there have been some super highs and I'll be honest some all time lows.  As the sleep deprivation takes hold, sleep slipping away from me every night and the pressure to keep up to date with a bulging inbox is my every other thoughts it's really blooming tough already.  Knowing I'm really the only one who can reply to those couples is really hard to handle and I am slowing realising I just can't do it all, if I want to offer the best of me this wedding season.

But saying that, I think I was emailing on day 6 of Della being here (totally my choice as I flipping love what I do) but I felt that for that hour that everything was also falling into place just a little. Like I had the absolute best of both worlds as my tiny little girl slept next to me in a baby beanbag, my heart was bursting with love for her and the fact that I could still have a little head space for my biz. I couldn't stop smiling. I know not every day I'll be able to find an hour of time for Little Lending but on those days where I have it kind of together I think it's going to be pretty brilliant.
5. Ellie Kime, Wedding Planner and Stylist of Ellie Kime Weddings, and events assistant at Most Curious. Not yet a mumma, and still very much someone’s baby!

Events Assistant Ellie

Though I'm not a mother myself (only to various sausage dogs I fall in love with on instagram), I'm well versed in the world of the Jugglist.  I'm fortunate enough to have a boss babe as a mother who ensured I had the happiest and rosiest of upbringings.  She made me the multitasking woman I am today, able to understand and appreciate how somtimes you'll have 10 balss in your court and you'll have to keep them all in the air whilst also launching anouther 5, whilst pretending everything is super cool on the outside.  And she really - I didn't sleep a full night until I was EIGHT AND A HALF YEARS OLD (feel free to give me a stern talking to at the Fair).

The wedding industry is absolutely the best example of this Jugglist life, full of inspirational mothers with children of all ages just continually working on their hustle!  Every boss I've had in the industry so far has, without fail, been not only an incredible mentor to me but also an infallible mother simultaneously, and I think the two go perfectly together.  It results in an often slightly frantic, uber creative energy with constant sass and the strongest work ethic ever.  And this is all provided in the comforting environment of a pair of always-welcoming arms and bosom.  Amazing.  Jugglist mammas, I salute you - one life is more than enough for me currently!

And don't forget you can come see us all at the fab Old Truman Brewery, LONDON from 17 to 19 March and The Halls, NORWICH on 9 April, so get your TICKETS now and come say hello, we can't wait to see you!

Most Curious

Thursday 16 February 2017

Introducing the #JugglistMassive - the team of mums who makes this dream come to life

Something that has struck us over the years at A Most CuriousWedding Fair is just how many inspirational and amazing girl-bosses there are out there in the wedding industry who are also mothers. As the ones who actually create the babies—something we can’t delegate—we can have it all, but part of that is actually having to do it all too! It can be a drag. But there is something undeniably awe inspiring in it: a tribe of women managing to make self-employed magic crammed into nap times and creating enterprises while cutting the crusts off sandwiches; growing businesses at the same time as they grow tiny and excellent humans.

Most Curious Team - Ann-Marie Faulkner, Head of Production, with Woody 3 months;
Cat Brennan, Exhibitor Liaison, with Sophie, 9; Ellie Kime, Events Assistant;
Becky Hoh-Hale, Founder, with Bella, 5 and another one on the way!
In the Most Curious family of exhibitors we are lucky to have seen so many dynamic women build amazing businesses. From stroking their bumps at the shows, setting up with their newborns in slings, taking bookings with toddlers running around, tired looking dads holding their hands while mumma does her thing, and bored tweens waiting to move on to the next part of their weekend—we’ve seen it all. We’ve followed their journeys into sleepless nights and seen the blind panic when they can’t be at the scene while they feed their babies. We’ve seen the classic outfit embellishment of spit up and sick, admired the brave faces put on whilst not feeling like a girl-boss at all, seen the work days modeled around the school runs (god forbid any extracurricular activities), and felt solidary with every email received starting ‘just quickly while Alfie is asleep’ and ending ‘gotta go because Betsy has just pooed on the carpet’. All the while, watching childless up-starts happily doing their thing on social media and loving seeing them again the next year still going strong.

Not only exhibitors, but The Most Curious team are also in this gang of working mummas; a gang that we want to celebrate, salute and take a moment to pat on the back, and tell they are doing a great job. We present to you: The Jugglist Massive!

To celebrate all of the women (and men!) juggling running their own wedding business and being parents, we’re kicking off the Jugglist Massive campaign with one of the biggest and best pro-Jugglist supporters out there - Love My Dress. Along with this photoshoot by our London Show Sponsor Matilda Delves (who defied all the odds and created some cool pics with 12 frazzled women and 15 sugared up children) we’ll be running a blog series of interviews with the Most Curious team and exhibitors on the highs, the lows, the whys and the hows! We’re definitely all on this journey together, so tag your multi-tasking mumma pics and let us know you’re juggling with the hashtag #jugglistmassive – we’ll share your images, your struggle and your excitement.

Keep going Jugglist Massive, the juggle is real and you’re smashing it!

1. Becky Hoh-Hale, Founder of Most Curious, Mum to Bella, 5, and expecting number 2 in August this year.

Becky, with Bella and Bump

When did you set up the Business?

When did you have your baby? 2011

What do you feel the challenges are of running your own wedding business alongside motherhood? Your business is your baby, and your baby is your baby too! Your life is the office and your life is constant motherhood, you can not switch off from either. Both are demanding 24/7, you can’t shut the door on either or forget about it till you arrive at the office again the next day.

But also what are the positives? Although it doesn’t always feel like it, you do have flexibility. You don’t have someone else asking why you were five minutes late because Bella wouldn’t put her shoes on or need to finish five minutes (two hours early) because she has a temperature and you have to pick her up early from nursery. I can be there to hear about her day as comes out of school and give her a kiss as she skips into class. And there’s the afternoons you can decide to just go out to the park and blow the cobwebs away and reconnect, (although you’re maybe looking at your smartphone)—it doesn’t have to all be crammed into the weekend.

How on earth do you make it work? It is 100% easier now Bella is at school. I have a set block of time I know I can work, set up appointments, phone calls, get a bit of head space and not have to feel the guilt of working while I’m with her, or the guilt of not getting back to emails as I am spending time with my daughter. So in all honestly, although there is never enough time when it’s your own business, it’s quite easy now. 

My husband is great as well and is understanding and takes her out for a few hours, or just let’s me have a bit of space to get a hold of to-do list at the weekend, so I can be more ‘present’ when we are all together. I really really struggled for a long time with the juggle, between ages one and three especially. I did my first wedding fair when she was seven weeks old and have been building the show ever since, so it’s almost like I’ve developed both of them together! And they both probably suffered a little because of it, if I listen to the guilt monster. And those early years, with both a toddler and a business, are the hardest, giving everything and not getting much back, in both cases! Both things are finally giving a lot of joy back now, luckily! 

I do think I may have had some delayed post natal depression when she was around 2. It was so hard, feeling like everyone else had set times when they were at work and set times when they were a mum, and I thought it was just me that I knew that was struggling: finding both things hard, not being able to go and sit in cafes and eat cake with other new mums because I was tied to being at home, needing to frantically get as much done as possible in her nap times, rather than just stroll around while she was in the buggy. But in fact, it was just me that I knew running my own business, that was the difference. So it is hard. Errm... Remind me why I’m going to be starting all over again with a new born?!

Describe a day in the life of you and your business: So nowadays, it’s get up, school run and be back by 9.15am and deal with urgent emails and tasks, then work, work, work, through the to-do list and go and pick Bella up at 3pm. Then we usually just hang around at home as the weather’s not great (try and go to the park right next to her school after pick up in Spring and summer), but at the moment, she plays or draws or OF COURSE watches Netflix, I’m not going to lie! There I fit in an extra hour of work, before getting dinner ready, my husband comes home and we eat and then bath, stories and bed for Bella. And then I just try and chill with my husband for a bit or do some work on the laptop at busy times. But I do try to not do anything past 10pm otherwise I have trouble sleeping.

What have you learnt the hard way since having your children and running a business simultaneously? There are things you have to say no to. And it’s actually very liberating. Value your work and value your time not working, so if that means saying no to unpaid projects, or something that doesn’t sit completely right with you or your brand, then let it go. It does not mean nobody will ask you to do anything again.  Also, that having children is not just like having a room mate that you can hang out with when you feel like it (as I once mistakenly was under the impression) it’s a 24/7 type of gig. And ultimately, life is more important than work.

Let us know your most stressed out/most Jugglist/most frustrating/most challenging moment so far? Being in charge of PR for Most Curious, I often have to be interviewed on the phone quite a lot. Phone conversations are THE WORST with kids in the background, because your nerves are in shreds…hoping they don’t start whining, start choking, hurt or wet themselves. Or, in my most Jugglist moment, actually poo themselves while you are doing a Radio interview live on air.

2. Cat Brennan, Exhibitor Liaison (fancy) and general right hand lady at Most Curious, mum to Sophie, 9.

Cat and Sophie
When did you set up the Business?: I actually never took the very brave leap to set up my own business, although I am self employed. I started working for Most Curious in 2013 and my involvement has grown since then.

When did you have your baby?: February 2007

What do you feel the challenges are of running your own wedding business alongside motherhood? I think the combination of work and being a mum, whether you go out to work for somebody else or run your own business, is a challenge. Although I don't run my own business, I feel very lucky to help Becky run hers, a business that I am incredibly passionate about and very proud to be a part of.  The core team is small and the biggest challenge for me personally is time management. 

I think inevitably when you run your own business, or are self employed, you are almost definitely going to put in an awful lot more hours when compared to your average 9 to 5 job, especially in the early years.  There is no finishing time really, you can't just clock off at 5pm and leave it behind, and so other areas of your life, such as family, can become neglected at times.  I do occasionally miss the simplicity of an office job and being able to switch off completely once work is over, but I actually wouldn't trade it now if I could, because doing a job that you are passionate about ultimately really is the best thing you can do.

But also what are the positives? Again, it's time management and the wonderful freedom of being able to work to my own schedule.  I can drop Sophie off, and pick her up, from school, I can take her to appointments, if I need to do something in the morning I can do it and catch up with work later.  I enjoy the feeling of autonomy and independence that you so rarely feel when working for bigger companies. Ultimately I think the reward of doing something you are truly passionate about, even if it does mean longer hours, really is worth it. 

How on earth do you make it work? Routine!!!  Very boring I know but it's so important, not just for work but for life in general. 

Coffee! Very important!

Delegate!  If at all possible ask for help and don't take on too much.  Because we work as a team at Most Curious we are lucky because we can turn to each other if it's all getting too much and can all pitch in if necessary.  We are all ready to help out if possible, if someone else needs a hand.  That team dynamic, the feeling that we've got each other's back, does make working for Most Curious that extra bit special.

Take a day off!  Sometimes, when it's all feeling like too much you need to literally step away, shut the laptop and just take a day off.  It's amazing how much it can recharge your batteries and refresh your mind, leaving you raring to go when you do step back into the 'office'.

Yoga!!! Discovering Ashtanga Yoga last year (thanks Orla and Lisa!) and the benefit of regular (and in particular early morning) practice has been a total game changer for me, it's improved my life immeasurably!

Describe a day in the life of you and your business: Nearly all of it is spent in front of my laptop!  A large amount of time is spent replying to emails but I guess that's the trade off when you don't work together in an office.  I usually work from 9.30am to 2.30pm Monday to Friday, then often catch up with other stuff like admin at weekends when my inbox is quiet! I work best at night usually, I have always been a night owl.  I am trying to change this though as the world isn't designed for night owls, I have to be up every morning and late nights, plus morning starts, just don't work!

I leave to pick Sophie up from school at 2.30pm so between then and around 7pm I am usually busy with her, homework, tidying and getting dinner ready.  I'm often popping back and forth to check or reply to emails though during that time, and often work for another couple of hours at night, but try to avoid this if at all possible.

Let us know your most stressed out/most jugglist/most frustrating/most challenging moment so far? Well, I think a real low point for me was last year, about a week before the show, when I really was just feeling totally overwhelmed!  The Sunday night before the Show I remember I couldn't sleep so sat up working till the wee hours, and then just continued on through Monday, slightly zombified at this stage, having the odd bout of crying as I continued to work!  It wasn't just work related, I was taking care of my Dad who was recovering from cancer treatment and also trying to study for a part time degree, plus I'm a single parent, so it all got a bit much! 

This taught me how important it is to try to maintain a healthy work/life balance. I have had to think about, and be very clear about, what I can and can't manage, and so, for example, I have put my degree on hold for now.

Do you think there is enough support for mothers running their own business?
I don't think there is enough support for mothers, and working parents, in general, whether you are going out to work or running your own business. I mean things aren't as bad as they are in the US where there is no paid parental leave but I personally love the Swedish attitude to parenting and work, and also work in general.  In Sweden, workers are entitled to 16 months parental leave, at a minimum pay of 80% of their normal wage.  Fathers also have to take at least 2 of these months, thus encouraging a more equal share of parenting between partners. 

Also, in general the Swedish seem to understand that there is an awful lot more to life than work and they take the time to enjoy life with their family and friends.  I used to work for a Swedish company in London and during the Summer months we used to joke that there was nobody in the Swedish office, because people really did take long breaks and go on holiday with their families. 

Do you find the industry supportive? Yes, very and this is one thing that I love about working for Most Curious in particular, that wonderful feeling of support from all the amazing people I have come to know through this industry.  You are all inspiring, working so hard to make your dreams a reality, it's such a privilege to watch businesses grow and succeed and see how much hard work and passion goes into what people are doing.

Click HERE to read Part 2 featuring the other half of AMCWF - the wonderful Ann-Marie of AM Faulkner Bridal, the lovely Penny Baldry of the Little Lending Company, and our own AMCWF baby of sorts, Ellie Kime.

And don't forget you can come see us all at the fab Old Truman Brewery, LONDON from 17 to 19 March and The Halls, NORWICH on 9 April, so get your TICKETS now and come say hello, we can't wait to see you!

Most Curious