“Hello, I’m…..Twins Plus One Mummy….” I said to Donna from Mama Squad, who welcomed me into the mix with a sticky name label and a glass of fizz. My insta-handle acts as an alter-ego when attending these mama meet-ups and first names can be sort of forgotten. It kind of suits me actually as I’m terrible at remembering names anyway!
Like an ice-breaker, the sticker kind of allows people to have a sneaky look and work out who you are and whether they ‘follow’ you or not, before approaching for a chat!
This was over a year ago now and I remember being full of anticipation and intrigue as I’d entered the bustling room above a pub in Clapham Junction. I was wearing my trusty Primark pleated skirt and plenty of Dutch courage which had come in the form of several mini prosecco’s on the train. I’d travelled down to London that morning from Manchester with @suburban_mcr_mama … neighbour and mega mum, aka Lianne! We had a lovely time at the Mama Squad eventa and listening to the fab Grace Timothy / @mumfacegrace who was the guest speaker.
I’ve attended many more of these events since, especially with my new ‘social’ hat on and they’re a great way to stop the incessant scrolling and actually meet people in the flesh. Our circles of friends tend to get smaller as we grow up don’t they and you can forget how nice it is to meet new people (to Insta-stalk!) and gain inspiration from.
This event was ace for lots of reasons but because I also met Sunita from Lucky Things for the first time. There’s something about Sunita’s understated confidence and her contagious smile which meant we totally hit it off!
A Northern meet up.
I met up with Sunita again after that at Blogfest’16 and we kept in touch. Her blog is all about confidence, well-being, style and much more and she’s expanded out into doing her own meet ups, which are really popular. She describes herself as a ‘connector’ and that’s exactly what she does. She’s all about getting people together in person so that they can support each other. So when Sunita announced she was going to be holding her first northern Lucky Things meet up in Manchester I was mega excited. We spoke on the phone and I offered to help her with logistics and spreading the word, but as the conversation developed she dropped the bombshell. Would I be her co- speaker..?
I was flattered and flabbergasted at the same time! I tried to play it cool and acted like I wasn’t that shocked but said I would need to have a think about it. She offered encouraging words and has a really lovely way of making you feel at ease. My confidence was initially boosted by being asked to do it and then immediately disappeared as I wondered what I could offer and what I would contribute. These events are filled with lots of anticipation and I didn’t want to let Sunita or any of the guests down!
Oh and the meet up was going to be about confidence too – the irony! Sunita was really supportive and she guided me on how the talk would work and the structure of the afternoon. She asked me to think about what stops us being confident and so it gave me an opportunity to actually dwell on my own self-confidence.
I’m not a natural extrovert or one to be the centre of attention. I used to blush a lot and ever since school I’ve been someone who goes red in the face if someone says something embarrassing to me or draws attention to me.. I would blush because I was embarrassed and then I’d be embarrassed because I was blushing! The fear of blushing was sometimes enough to actually bring it on!
She believed she could and so she did.
Confidence comes from within and I was going to have to dig deep on this one. As I started planning what I was going to say, I realised I DID have things to offer. Everyone has a different story to tell and an experience to share. Of course, I had agreed to do it and so there was no backing out but I did want to back out lots of times!
People arrived from far and wide for the event, and it was a really lovely afternoon. There were about 35 people altogether at the Pen and Pencil in the Northern Quarter. Sunita was a constant source of calm and wonder – she’s the expert and exudes confidence. I wore a very retro ‘hot pink’ dress with ripped jeans but had a last minute panic about whether I should wear heels or trainers for fear of coming across over-dressed! Sunita just looked and said ‘definitely the shoes’ and I instantly thought ‘of course, what was I thinking’! She’d thought of everything from goodie bags to the trusty name tags. People mingled and chatted, sipped cocktails, connected with old friends and made new ones and all was good with the world. I had a large gin to calm my nerves but didn’t want to get too tipsy before my talk so it was a fine balance!
As everyone sat down and all the eyes were on me, I must admit I was sooo nervous but Sunita was as cool as a cucumber so I tried to be her calm companion! She introduced the event in a very informal way and I realised it was going to be ok.
My talk went well (I think) and there was lots of great feedback afterwards. I realised I had a lot to offer, especially as there have been a few events recently that have really boosted my confidence! Doing the Digital Mums course has opened up so many doors and injected me with loads of new skills and knowledge that I’m passionate to share with people. I’ve also started working with some ace brands and sharing social media tips from Pur Candles, Year of Dates, Trust and the insta-queen herself Mother of Daughters!! I’ve been doing some social media work for Clemmie on her new Instagram account @whatclemmiewore which is super exciting and totally crazy too. She’s so lovely to work with and brimming with confidence. Ahead of my talk I asked her what her top confidence tips were and she was kind enough to share them…
Clemmie Hooper’s top tips:
Imagine you’re speaking to a group of close friends and then you’ll come across genuine and engaging. Be yourself as you’ll lose your charm and voice if you try to be anything else.
Be warm and honest, honesty goes a long way when speaking to mums.
Believe in what you’re saying and doing and confidence will shine through.
Wise words hey! So true too, but when you fill a room with lots of fabulous people, you can just feel the energy and positive vibes and really, there’s not a lot that can go wrong (apart from the odd blush!). Instagram and social media can be a wonderful way of connecting but there’s nothing better than a good old meet up and a chinwag. Gathering together and meeting people in person and actually having conversations, making eye contact with like-minded people is a real confidence boost. It’s about finding a tribe, a squad or girl gang – call it what you like – and supporting each other. It’s what the Lucky Things meet ups are all about and I’m so glad I was able to be involved. Call it serendipity if you will but meeting Sunita was a ‘lucky thing’ and I’m so glad I agreed to be her guest speaker!