Every now and then, I find myself with a group of people who leave me in awe. You know, the type of people who have done brilliant things. They haven’t just sat in the pub speaking about doing brilliant things and then carried on with life as it is. These people make you look at your own life, your own achievements, and think ‘Could I have done more? Could I be doing more?’ – not in a competitive way, but in a way that makes you want to better yourself.
This very thing happened to me recently. I agreed to go along to a dinner hosted at Benihana, Chelsea. When I agreed to go, I thought it was a bunch of mum bloggers meeting for some food and drinks – which would have been brilliant in itself. But a few days before the dinner, an email was circulated with a bio for each person attending. Yes, there were a few mum bloggers on the list, but most of the people were small business owners and entrepreneurs.
And I asked myself “Should I be going along to this? Am I in the same league as these brilliant people?”
THIS is who was on the bio list:
Janis Curry heads up the product division of a thriving tech start up in Shoreditch, works with the world’s largest brands, and is founder of multi-award-nominated website ReallyKidFriendly.com. Twitter: @kidfriendly_uk Web: reallykidfriendly.com
Laura Evans Vogel just started teaching part-time at the school her children currently attend. Laura runs London-baby.com and is a founding member in the blogging and social media collective Mothers and Shakers. Twitter @londonbabymum Web: www.London-baby.com
Jen Corlew is mum of a toddler and founder of Gobaby App, the map app for parents on the go. Her blog – Gobaby – A London Mum’s Story, focuses on London life with a small person. Twitter: @gobabyapp Blog: www.gobabyapp.com/blog
Ann Nkune is Director of Bloomsbury Babies. She runs the parent-cubator for start up businesses, and markets for parents to buy and sell nearly new and hand made products. Twitter: 2bloomsbabies URL – www.bloomsburybabies.co.uk
Jackie (aka Transatlantic Mom) is a transatlantic Mum who wears many hats – Mummy, wife, worker, and blogaholic. She writes about life and parenting on both sides of the pond. She has 3 kids who regularly feature on her blog and Jackie is the host of the Mum focused tweet chat, #MumsNight Twitter: @TransatlantiMom Blog: www.transatlanticmom.com
Uju Asika: Mother of 2, TV screenwriter for hit Nigerian soap Tinsel amongst scores of parenting magazines and site. Uju is the brainchild behind Mothers & Shakers, a boutique social media firm, and Babe in Chief at Babes About Town, a London parenting and lifestyle blog. Twitter: @BabesAboutTown Blog: www.babesabouttown.com
Jane Austen: mother of 2, Jane is a journalist and writer. She hilariously blogs about the contrasts of being a normal Notting Hill Mum amongst the super models, the straw boaters, the Phil and Teds blocking the pavement up and down Westbourne Grove. Twitter: @NotANottingHill Blog:www.notanottinghillmum.co.uk
Jayne Harris: Professional violinist and Royal Academy of Music alumna, Jayne runs the award-winning Monkey Music franchise for Chelsea and Westminster. Jayne is a savvy small business owner who is a fountain of insight to the parenting market (and loads of fun!!) Web: http://www.monkeymusic.co.uk/area/chelsea-belgravia-knightsbridge-gloucesterroad-westminster
Jennifer Howze is the co-founder of BritMums. Previously, she wrote the Alpha Mummy blog at The Times and as a journalist has contributed to The Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Wall Street Journal in addition to loads of magazines and web sites. Twitter: @JHowze Blog: www.jenography.net
Kelly Innes: Kelly is the face behind the vintage silhouette at Domestic Goddesque. Twitter: @domesticgoddesq Blog: http://domesticgoddesque.com Instagram: @domesticgoddesq
Liz Burton, mum to a 5 year old daughter, blogging at Me and My Shadow. Loves vintage style, great food and the good life. Twitter: @missielizzieb Web: www.missielizzie-meandmyshadow.blogspot.co.uk
Maggy Woodley, mum of two, writes at craft blog Red Ted Art. Recently published her first craft book “Red Ted Art, Cute & Easy Craft for Kids”.
Dina is the founder of Kensington Mums, an award nominated social media website which supports Mums in their journey to motherhood. For more information please visit www.kensingtonmums.co.uk Twitter: @KensingtonMums
Kerri Holland: Mum of 2, former Yahoo executive and now fitness trainer, Kerri runs Hyde Park’s only licenced mum and baby fitness class Buggy Bootcamp. Web: http://noostler.wix.com/buggybootcamp#!classes-in-london/cf6c
Eloise Trippier: Mum of two, Eloise and her husband run the award-winning Monkey Music Notting Hill franchise. Eloise is an inspiring teacher and all-around great person to laugh with about life in London with kids. Web: http://www.monkeymusic.co.uk/area/nottinghill
Shannon Eastman, Blogger 30ish.me – A blog for Self Employed women to go for tips on Mind, Body, Business. A community with 6 dinners per year featuring a story that inspires. 6 conferences per year for networking as well as personal and professional growth. Twitter: @30ishMe Blog: 30ish.me
Nomita Vaish-Taylor: Nomita is an ex-advertising gal who put her corporate life when her daughter was born. Nomita runs the award-winning ebabee likes, and has a fantastic eye for detail and design. Twitter: @ebabeelikes Blog: www.ebabee.co.uk
Lindsey Phillips: Mother of 3, founder of Urban Mums and journalist, Lindsey writes about stylish family life in London. She is also founder of Urban Living London, a relocation service that helps expat families move, settle and enjoy life in London. Twitter: @urbanmumslondon Blog: www.urbanmums.net
And our only fella on the night…
Jonathan Lloyd runs Media Street Apps, the online marketing agency for small and medium sized businesses. They also publish Kingsroad.co.uk, the local website for the Kings Road in Chelsea London.
My jaw quite simply hit the floor, reading that lot. All those people who’ve done brilliant things! AND, ER, ME.
Thankfully, when I arrived at Benihana Chelsea, nobody turned to look at me with a confused face or asked me if I had made a terrible mistake and joined the wrong party. (Sidenote: I have this terrible fear, whenever I start a new job, that I’ll arrive on day one and my new boss will realise she’s made a mistake - “Oh! We thought you were someone else! I’m so sorry!”)
It was a brilliant night, chatting to inspiring people. Ann Nkune told me all about inheriting Bloomsbury Babies from someone and how she helps local families with her network. Jen Corlew was just amazing to talk to – she had an idea for an app AND SHE ACTUALLY WENT AND CREATED IT. (Unlike me, who has had loads of app ideas and created…. none.) Jackie (aka Transatlantic Mom) wowed me with her brilliant new business product – it was one of those moments where I was ready to be underwhelmed and then was seriously impressed (more on her product in a future post…). Ali Clifford revealed she was behind some of the brands that I’ve been chatting to on Twitter – she is one clever digital marketing lady. I finally got to meet Britmums founder Jen Howze in person (having previously met her on a Google+ Hangout). And the brilliant Maggy Woodley gave me a signed copy of her kids’ craft book Red Ted Art.
Rather than leaving feeling inferior, I left feeling inspired. Oh and the food was fantastic too. Sushi, salad, rice, chicken, prawns, steak – all cooked in front of us by our talented (and amusing) chef. Thank you to Benihana Chelsea for hosting our dinner and entertaining us while we chatted!