We were delighted to interview top baby guru Annabel Karmel on her motherhood journey. After having organise our coffee morning with her last year, we really got inspired by her story and achievements in life. She is a mother who is passionate about creating delicious, nutritious meals for babies, children and families. Here, she shares her motherhood journey in our online exhibition.
How do you manage to juggle work and life balance as a mother?
It all comes down to time. Juggling the dual demands of work with family life is no mean feat by any stretch of the imagination; I remember completing my first recipe book in between the children’s naps, managing a busy toddler group and running a house. It’s difficult keeping all the balls in the air without dropping one occasionally!
No combination of being a working mum is worry-free so my advice would be to try to keep the guilt in check – it is a waste of energy and mental capacity. Focus on the positive benefits of being your own boss and value the time you do have with your children.
I loved being a self-employed mum. I did, and still do, feel empowered by being able to make my own decisions and follow a truly worthwhile passion.
What was your inspiration behind your brand: Annabel Karmel?
It was the tragedy of losing my first child Natasha, who was born healthy but who died at 13 weeks old from a viral infection that led me to change direction into the field of nutrition.
I started out on my food journey wanting to give some meaning to Natasha’s short life and my first book was a legacy to her. My passion to succeed continued to be fuelled by Natasha and my three children who are so supportive.
What top tips would you give to any mum on starting her own business?
It takes real confidence to start-up a business after having children – and self-belief is absolutely vital in order to succeed. Confidence is just as important as competence – if not more so.
The more you believe in yourself and in your chances of succeeding, the more likely you are to do just that. Of course, we all have doubts from time to time – the danger is if those doubts spiral out of control, creating unnecessary anxiety and negative self-limiting beliefs which prevent us from doing something that we really want to do (and, deep down, know that we can do).
What are your top cooking tips for busy modern Kensington Mums?
Most children adore cooking and tasks like squeezing fresh orange juice or cracking eggs are well within the capabilities of a young child. It’s amazing how being involved in the planning and preparation of a meal can stimulate a child’s appetite. If your child refuses to eat anything other than junk food, don’t worry. They will soon find there’s not much point making a fuss if you don’t react.
How do you define quality ‘me-time’?
My favourite ‘me-time’ is actually ‘family-time’ when I can sit down to dinner with my three children – Nicholas, Lara and Scarlett. Now they are in their twenties, you have to grab these opportunities when you can.
Another one of my greatest pleasures is my dogs. I have a golden retriever, a Samoyed and an American cocker spaniel. They follow me around everywhere and I love taking them for walks and clearing my head. Animals have this great way of relieving stress and they give you an incredible unconditional love.
I also love to get my head in a good book and unwind in front of the TV watching programmes like Mr Selfridge or The Great British Bake Off.
What is your idea of ‘the best family holiday’?
Family skiing holidays have always been hugely memorable. We once gave my daughter Lara, scoops of snow in a glass bowl instead of lemon sorbet and waited to see how long it took for her to realise.
Given Kensington Mums are all about embracing Motherhood, what advice would you give a first time Mum?
Never give up – especially when it comes to dealing with a fussy eater. It’s so easy to feel frustrated and powerless when your child simply refuses to eat certain foods but the key is to not give in or give up. It’s actually the way that we deal with the situation that impact on their eating habits.
What do you love most about London?
Samuel Johnson said that; ‘When you are tired of London you are tired of Life’ and I agree with that. I love the theatre, concerts and amazing art galleries and museums. I also like the fact that I live in the centre of London and all around me are parks and open spaces like Regents Park, Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath as I love walking my three dogs.
What is your favourite ‘hang out’ in London with your children?
My favourite hangout is my kitchen. It’s the hub of my house and I love developing recipes for my books and food ranges there. I often entertain in the kitchen even though I have a dining room as it’s a relaxed environment where I can be cooking and still chatting with my friends.
What does motherhood represent to you?
I always think God couldn’t be everywhere so he invented mothers. Motherhood teaches you to put someone else’s happiness and well-being before your own and you don’t know how much love you have inside you until you have a child.
We would love to interview you on your motherhood journey and be part of our online Kensington Mums Motherhood Exhibition. Please email us at [email protected] with subject ‘I am a Mother’.