Who are you?
I’m Jen Chillingsworth, a freelance writer, blogger and photographer. I’m 42 years old, married with one son who will be thirteen in a few weeks time. Eek, where has the time gone?
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Glasgow, but met and married a Yorkshireman, so I relocated to Leeds in 1996. I used to holiday in Yorkshire as a child and once declared to my Granny that I would move to the county when I grew up. I guess I knew even then that I loved it here!
What do we need to know about you?
I started blogging six years ago when my son was in primary school and my husband and I were juggling childcare with work. We didn’t go out much and weekends became about housework, grocery shopping and getting ready for the week ahead. The blog was my creative outlet, I mostly did posts about interiors – writing about beautiful homes was my escape from the daily grind. But after a while I found myself starting to tire of writing these, other bloggers were posting the same homes and finds and doing it much better than I ever could. I simply wasn’t inspired anymore.
I purchased a second hand DSLR camera from Ebay and I became focused on learning how to use it. I didn’t have a clue at first and I messed up shots all the time, but it made me look at things in a very different way. It encouraged me to get outside more, to see my own neighbourhood with fresh eyes and motivated me to get better at taking pictures. It also lead me to exploring this county more, from its stunning coastline, the wilds of the moors to the sheer beauty of the Dales. I truthfully don’t think this would have happened if I hadn’t started blogging. Now I’m always planning my next Yorkshire adventure and thinking about what I’m going to be taking pictures of. I share my favourite places on the blog and I also write for This is Your Kingdom.
Blogging has given me great opportunities to meet and connect with other like-minded souls. This has led to some exciting future collaborations and together several of us in Yorkshire and the North have formed Gather. Harvest. Feast. – a project that celebrates the seasons through nature, food and flowers. We’re organising workshops in foraging, natural skincare and floristry as well as a flower pot luck gathering in the summer at a North East flower farm. It’s brought together bloggers and small, independent businesses who want to positively support one another and showcase the beauty of our part of the country.
Where can we find you?
What is your favourite thing to do as a family?
We love camping trips. There is nothing better than going to sleep at night under the stars and waking up to birdsong in the morning. And if it’s at the coast, well that makes it perfect. We all seem to relax and enjoy our time together more when we are away from the pressures of daily life.
Top Mama tip?
As I love being behind the camera I thought I’d share a Mama photography tip. My son never liked having his photograph taken, so it’s all about snapping images of him when he wasn’t watching. Many of my favourite photographs are moments where he’s so enjoying something and I’ve managed to capture that through the lens. The look on his face transports me instantly back to that time. If he’d been asked to pose, those images would be totally different. If you want a natural image of your child, the key is a sneaky shot!
Your Mama confession?
I was always the Mama who was never prepared. I didn’t ever have wet wipes or tissues in my bag or a change of clothing in the back of the car in case of getting muddy or wet. It was always a dash to a shop to buy something in an emergency situation or borrow something off a friend. Shameful, I know!
Jen will be coming in to speak at Mama Social on Friday 29th April 10:30 at The Showroom, she has also written a blog post about being ask to join us which you can read here
When I was giving birth to my baby boy, I remember being filled with an overwhelming admiration for every woman throughout history who has ever given birth (including my Mum!). We all know that our ‘birthing story’ is unique and very rarely what we expected or planned. For better or worse it becomes part of our history and something we will never forget. As it becomes part of our history, in turn our stories become part of the history of child-birth.
On Friday 22nd April, we will be joined by Professor of Midwifery Mavis Kirkham. Mavis is approaching the end of a long career in midwifery and will be telling us all about the history of child-birth in Sheffield. She will discuss how child-birth has changed over the years and show how our stories form part of this history.
Mavis is Professor of Midwifery at the University of the West of Scotland, visiting professor at the Auckland University of Technology and holds honorary professorial positions at Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Technology Sydney. Mavis has worked continuously as a midwife researcher and a clinical midwife for forty years, still doing some work as a home birth midwife.
Mavis has a published book, ‘The Midwife-Mother Relationship’ and has written articles for The Guardian. We are honoured to have Mavis, who has dedicated her career to supporting mothers, join us at Mama Social and are looking forward to sharing our stories with you!
The upturn in the weather and the advent of Summer vibes is the perfect time to turn our attentions to our ‘Mums’ Night In’. Mama Social has teamed up with award winning Sheffield hairdressers, Laundry, to bring you an evening of indulgence and relaxation focussing on your own well being.
Laundry is about much more than just cutting and colouring hair; It’s is all about making you look and feel brilliant. They take great pride in their approach to finding out how you want to look and feel. The media spotlight is firmly honed on specialists who are worth their weight in gold when it comes to understanding and delivering supreme results, which is what Laundry is known for.
Laundry are inspired by the time you spend in front of the mirror as you get your hair cut, coloured and styled, and what our face, body and soul tells us on closer inspection. Ultimately we all want to look and feel the best we can with our hectic lifestyles and pressures increasing from all angles. During our Mums’ Night In we will be focusing on wellness, well-being and vitality to improve your glow when you look in that mirror!
We will be hearing from Sheffield wellness specialist Rachael Hibberd. Rachael is the founder and creative behind Instinctive Health. A Kelham Island based Yoga Lifestyle Centre, offering a wide range of yoga classes, workshops, massage treatments and Ayurvedic therapies.
A little over six years ago Rachael left a successful career in nursing with a desire to find a happier and more creative life and a greater sense of well-being. Using the tools of massage, reflexology, yoga and the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, Rachael has learnt that feeling beautiful is very different from looking beautiful.
Rachael will be hosting the first part of our ‘Night in’ in the newly opened Laundry Juice and Coffee Bar, after a short break we will move into the award winning Salon, where we will also be joined by Laundry’s head technician Billie-Mo Tredgett for a short chat about hair health and happiness. Billie is a leader in her field and champions a new generation approach when it comes to colouring and improving hair health.
‘Mums’ Night In’ is free to attend and will be held in the beautiful Laundry Salon at Sellers Wheel and there will be treats provided by the Laundry Café. Places are limited so grab yours HERE, QUICK!
Thursday the 14th May saw us hosting our very first ‘Craft Social’. We spent the evening in the serene surroundings of The Chimney House making beautiful things from our own hand crafted pom poms.
Who are you?
I’m Camilla, and I’m a daughter, a wife, a mother of three, an occasional designer and maker, and content lead at Folksy.com.
What is your brand/where do you work?
I have my own company, Butterscotch & Beesting, which is a homewares brand that tells the story of a magical imaginary circus. I started that in 2011 because I wanted to combine my love of storytelling and illustration with interiors. So I came up with the idea of a magical circus run by two characters, Betty Butterscotch and Bumblewick Beesting, where each piece in the collection tells a different part of the story. For example, there’s a pattern I designed based on the story of the Bumblebee Balloon which takes the circus from one location to the next and you can see that on cushions; then there are porcelain tumblers that stack one on top of the other to create Jack the jack-in-a-box clown; and a lampshade printed all the way round like a fairground carousel.
Butterscotch & Beesting was pretty successful in its own little way – it was even stocked on the shelves of Liberty’s, which was a dream come true. But it took a backseat when Folksy asked me if I would run their Summer School. Folksy is the biggest UK marketplace for craft, and they wanted to hold an event where designers and makers could come and learn from each other and from experts – it sounded amazing so I was definitely in! I loved organising that and we had a really special weekend in Ecclesall Woods with loads of inspiring people. After that finished, Folksy invited me to be their new content lead as Emily who did the job before me was moving to Portland. Lucky her and lucky me!
So now I write and commission content for the Folksy blog, interview makers for our Meet the Maker series, help manage our forums where our sellers can talk to each other and share advice, curate content for the Folksy website, design and write the Folksy Weekly (our newsletter for subscribers that looks like this), and work with an amazing woman called Hilary Pullen (author of this brilliant book about selling your craft online on all our social media content.)
What do we need to know about your brand?
Because Folksy is the most popular UK site for buying and selling craft, people imagine we’re some huge corporate beast with headquarters in London, but we’re actually a really small team who are based in Sheffield. There are only six of us, but we’re all really passionate about what we do and try our very hardest to help our sellers. That’s what I love most about working for Folksy – that it gives me a chance to talk to other makers and help them grow their creative businesses. The UK craft scene is a really exciting place right now, there are so many truly incredible makers out there, and part of my job is to show that to the world.
Where can we find you?
You can normally find me on Instagram at @bbutterscotch or hanging around on Folksy’s many social platforms – like Twitter and Facebook. I’m partial to a bit of pinning too and spend way too much time here >
What do you like to do as a family?
Baking, eating lemon meringue donuts (Perfectionery on Sharrowvale Road do ridiculously good ones but enter with care because it’s a dangerously temping place and far too close to the girls’ school), taking road trips to the North Yorkshire Coast, running around the Peak District, dragging them around garden centres, craft fairs and galleries, watching Masterchef…
Top mama tip?
You don’t have to a perfect mother, you just have to be good enough. When my son was born (he’s 15 now) I promised him I would fill his childhood with stories and adventures, now I mostly just fill it by nagging him about his GCSE revision.
Your mama confession…
I’m a bit of a control freak about their toys. I started out with a wooden or vintage-toy only regime, but lost that battle spectacularly when my son fell in love with a plastic US military jet that made machine gun noises. Ugh.