Taking stock: my new life as a working mum

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This Thursday just gone, I will have been back at work 11 weeks. Friends and family ask me how it’s going, and I usually find myself shrugging at them and saying “it’s fine.”

It is.

And actually, I recognise that I’m very lucky. I’ve been fortunate to be able to go back part time to my old role as an editor. Ralphie spends two days a week at nursery and another day with my dad, and he seems to be loving it. Which means that two days a week we have mummy-baby time. We play around the house together, we head out for walks, we go to baby groups and we meet up with friends.

Weekends with Ryan at home pass us by in a flash. And then we’re doing it all over again. Back to the routine. Is this really it?

But rather than complain, I have started to try and do something about it. Just under a month ago I launched a new little venture I’ve been working on. It’s something I feel very passionate about – and I have to really because to fit it in between life, being a mum and everything else, I tend to work on it late into the evenings.

It’s called Small Baby and I got the idea for it from doing this blog. Basically, it’s an online magazine that shows off some of the best small businesses creating cool stuff for children. Some would say it’s a bit of an indulgence. And I suppose it is. I’m not even going to deny that my insta feed is a glorified wish list! But it has a greater purpose too. I want to give a voice to the brave people (who usually happen to be mums) who have taken the gamble and decided to set up their own business so they can be around for their children and provide for their family. To them, every purchase, every customer shows them that they’ve done the right thing. And I want to celebrate that.

If you fancy popping over and having a read, it would mean the world. It would also provide a welcome boost to my readership figures, which I’m desperately trying to grow!

I’m frustrated I haven’t been able to post on here as regularly as before. But I’m still writing. In fact, I’m writing more than ever! Every day and every night. Hopefully, one day those words will get me where I want to be, wherever that is!

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Think outside the bulb

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I stumbled across Bulb London’s Instagram page (@bulb_london) a couple of months back (this happens quite often these days!), and I was immediately captivated.

I absolutely love it when I find something different and quirky – and this new kids’ lifestyle and décor brand is definitely that. Their designs are unique and clever. As soon as I saw their amazing lightbulb decoration, I was desperate to get my hands on one.

After months of hard work and preparation, Bulb London opened its virtual doors last week. In between running her new business and packing up orders, Agnete Rinne – the amazing mama behind it all – took some time out to tell me what Bulb London is all about, and what inspired her to set up her own business.

Before we hear all about Bulb London, tell me a little about yourself and your family.
We are a trilingual, modern, lifestyle-conscious family living in London. I came to the city in 2006 to study and I’m still here (laughing). I’m originally from Rīga, the capital of Latvia.

I have always been creative; my mum was a painter so I guess, she ‘pushed’ me down the same route, which I’m grateful for. I painted portraits back home, but wanted to try something different when I came to London. So I went for visual arts and graphic design. I’m not exactly a computer person, but I’m happy I hold a degree. I met my partner Farhan (everyone calls him Haan) during our university days, and we are still going strong. Oh gosh, we fight and argue – not only we are from different cultures, but we have our wonderful daughter Mia as well as our joint business to juggle.

So how did the idea for your business come about?
My mother use to paint, as did my grandfather, so I come from a very artistic background. I have a natural eye for colour and shape, and I always wanted to do something big; sometimes I think people don’t dare to dream big enough. So one day me and Haan sat on the sofa and we were like “f*** it – lets do it!” My creativity is unstoppable, but I need someone to manage me, therefore we are a great match. Trust me, not everyone can work with their other half, especially with a control freak like me!

Where did you get the inspiration from for your fabulous designs?
Our darling Mia is the heart of Bulb London. As a parent, I have a job to be a role model to my daughter, and by extension, to other young people too. I also understand how to turn a lightbulb on in someone’s head. Creativity equals inspiration, and if you’ve got a creative mind, you don’t ever stop working. It’s about how you deliver your idea.

Now that your shop is live, what products can people get their hands on?
We launched on 1 June. We worked day and night to go live. Every single thing – from the sketches to the final products – we’ve done ourselves. We have a range of prints, kids’ room deco and tees for kids aged 1-8 years. We also created a tote bag for people who like to ‘think outside the bulb’.

If you could choose one favourite item from your range, what would it be?
Am I allowed to have favourites? (laughing) It’s definitely the Mama Queen print – it’s a portrait of me! I also love the black bulb all over print tee.

I know it’s early days, but what’s in the pipeline for Bulb London?
We are basically building a baby – creating it, evolving it and developing it. At the moment, we are working on our adult range of tees. We’ve got so much more to give. I truly believe that we could all change our entire consciousness if we dared to dream big.

Visit Bulb London’s website to discover the full range. And be sure to check out Agnete’s Instagram page for some amazing lifestyle shots.

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From babies to business: meet the creators

I never fail to be amazed by how many creative, enterprising mothers there are out there, and I feel very lucky to have met, bought from and worked with some of the best over the last few months since my son was born.

As I lie awake at night figuring out what’s next for me and my little family, I’ve been very tempted at times to start my own baby business venture. But then I had another idea. I’ll stick to doing what I do best – writing –  and I’ll use my platform to highlight the fantastic mum-run businesses out there already.

And so is born ‘Meet the creators.’ At least once a month, I will be putting the spotlight on an amazing mama and her business, giving you the opportunity to get to know a bit more about her and learn about what she has to offer. A few you may have heard of and bought from already, others I hope to introduce you to.

The series will launch at the end of this month, profiling a very talented lady who is unveiling her own range of baby sleepsuits very soon. Believe me, they are gorgeous!

I feel truly honoured to be working with her to help launch her business, and I cannot wait for you to see her début collection. I will be sharing more details on my Instagram account over the next few weeks.

If you would like to be featured in my ‘Meet the creators’ series, please do get in touch. You can e-mail me, or send me a direct message via Instagram or Twitter. I look forward to hearing from you.

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