FEMALE START-UPS: WE LEFT EMPLOYMENT TO BOOST OUR SALARY BY STARTING A BUSINESS WITH SUPPORT & funding TIPS

The Pandemic may have been a time of painful reflection and small businesses have faced huge challenges but it has also fostered the foundations for flexible working and for many women it has been the breeding ground to take the leap into starting up a business.

Our Co-Editor and Start-up support ambassador for AD:VENTURE reports on some of the sparkly stories of women setting up their own enterprise…

Sometimes we need a push to take the punt, pivot our lives and pursue our passion and turn it into profit… 

This bold move into business from the safety of employment may have felt too big an ask with so many roadblocks and glass ceilings previously facing many females, but these positive stories of success showcase enterprising women breaking through barriers to prosper… Here they reveal their secrets to not just launching but leaping sustainably beyond their salary! 

Meet the women of AD:VENTURE who have been on a pursuit of their purpose and have prospered in the some-what pain-staking pause … 

– “In my early career I battled with being a ‘woman in business’ and often felt unheard or that I needed to work a bit harder to make myself heard. In a room full of businessmen, it’s easy to hide away in the shadows. But now, having become a mum and a business owner, I am completely confident that as a woman in business – we have a power! We have an opportunity to be smart, witty and confident and that gives us an edge that some people may not expect. We can shine brighter than others in the room if we harness that power!”  @YouBeeMedia 

– “We’ve become so much more confident about making mistakes and learning from them too. I don’t think either of us could have anticipated how many there would be!

Speak to other businesses as much as you can. We’ve met so many amazing people, come across great opportunities and learnt so much from chatting to others in the industry. Having a strong and supportive network that you can rely on has been really key for us.”

@northskyyurts

– “Use your networks. Tap up your contacts, request to connect with likeminded business owners and network as much as you can. Observe others and hone your craft, adopt best practice and remember you’re never too old or too senior to learn new skills. Ask questions, seek out advice, get curious. Believe in yourself and learn from every situation – good and bad.” 

@EliteMarComm 

“We live by Holly Tucker’s motto of ‘Do what you love and love what you do’”… @northskyyurts

SPACE TO CREATE: Saving time from commuting gave one social media marketing mum space to create her own career 

Rebecca Hopwood, from Leeds, Director of Youbee Media Limited said: “I started Youbee Media in September 2020. During the pandemic when many of us were working from home. Without having to endure the daily commute I was able to have more time at home and with my family and it made me realise that I had a choice and an opportunity to do something that I had always dreamed of doing. My little boy would be starting school in September 2021 so if I wanted to make a positive change, I needed to do it now.

I have a degree in Media and Marketing and always worked closely with small businesses. In all of my previous roles, I tried to offer solutions to many of the challenges small businesses faced. 

“While working as a social media account manager, I felt restricted by what solutions I could offer and found myself ‘signposting’ other areas of marketing for them to discover themselves. 

“I realised that I could have a business idea here! I can speak to businesses on a consultancy level and bring together all aspects of marketing and communications to help their business see it through the pandemic. 

“This helped me to get the balance I desired, help businesses as I hoped, and come through this pandemic stronger.”    

SUPPORT pre-start-up can elevate your growth (rather than stifle it) 

Rebecca, www.youbeemedia.co.uk, added: “I contacted AD:VENTURE as a pre-start-up and got on the programme as soon as possible. I knew that this was the best way to make sure that I did things right and harnessed every opportunity. I had meetings with my business mentor and attended online training sessions to pick up some new skills. Within 4 weeks of starting my business, I knew that I had secured enough client work to consider an office space and to recruit a member of staff. I found an office space in Morley, Leeds, and used a resilience grant from AD:VENTURE to purchase equipment, furniture, and marketing material. This allowed me to attract potential candidates and show that I was serious about the future of Youbee Media. Without this support and funding, my business wouldn’t be able to grow as quickly as it did.”

CONFIDENCE TO GROW 

Gemma Dunn, Strategic Marketing Consultant & Founder, said that Lockdown was also the push out of her comfort zone she needed to launch her business after working in marketing for the education sector in Bradford. 

“As a stereotypical introvert I have learnt how to behave as an extrovert and how to ‘act’ confident. Face to face networking makes my knees quiver but I throw myself into because I understand the importance and have realised I have so much to learn from other business owners. I also specialise in curiosity and love nothing more than a client deep-dive to get under the skin of a business and the business owner(s). 

“I am pleased that I have not been pigeonholed into the education sector – it’s refreshing to discover that clients recognise my highly transferrable skills and decades of experience and I am loving the variety of projects.” 

With the help of a trusty AD:VENTURE business advisor, she has even exceeded her previous salary within her first sixth months and is forecasting both profit and growth in Year 1.

Gemma of Elite Marketing & Communications, who is about to launch her new website with the help of AD:VENTURE and The Chamber (https://www.elitemarcomm.com/), said: 

Something I never expected to achieve so quickly. I really have to pinch myself to believe how much I have achieved so quickly.”

SPACE TO CURATE From the monotony of the rat race into rapid growth… 

 Becca and Charlotte, aged 30 and 31, were also both in corporate jobs before Lockdown, and Maternity Leave gave them the space to make the leap from the rat race into traveling yurts! 

They started North Sky Yurts in November 2020 before setting up a second business – Yurt and Bell Tent Hire across Yorkshire for Weddings, Parties, and Corporate Events!

Charlotte enthuses: 

“We live by Holly Tucker’s motto of ‘Do what you love and love what you do’”… 

 WITH THE RIGHT SUPPORT! 

 They thank their support network and the fact they have been able to learn from others in businesses with the network and connections AD:VENTURE offers that they’ve not only successfully started one business… but two!

“Speak to other businesses as much as you can. We’ve met so many amazing people, come across great opportunities, and learned so much from chatting with others in the industry. Having a strong and supportive network that you can rely on has been really key for us.”

Follow them at @northskyyurts www.northskyyurts.co.uk

Community, charity and creative influences… 

I may have never had a ‘secure’ job like many of these incredible women…With my optimistic mindset, I have had the fortune of being nurtured by a diverse family with a spiritual art-loving creative practitioner of a mother alongside a wood carving walking enthusiastic step-dad in one home and an LGBTQ campaigner and sexual health specialist Dad alongside my other Step-Pops – a children’s author and strategy consultant… oh and a fashion designer for a sister, a band-playing brother and another brother with a beautiful Autistic brain who volunteers at a school and loves to spend his spare time running. 

Having these creative clans around me meant that I too enjoyed expressing and communicating myself creatively… my go to skill has always been connecting and empathising with everyone and having the ability to write their story or create magazines, newsletters and anything that would help communicate and campaign for community issues. 

Typical security feels insecure to me! … but that was initially my stumbling block in building a sustainable and purposeful yet profitable business… something AD:VENTURE supported my documentary making company with Evoke Media Group Ltd which has made films for Channel 4 News, ITV news and social media videos… I went from a freelance journalist to running my own all female production company.  Ongoing they have helped me evolve my other brands too with my own turning point pivot for my Sparkle Communications company which writes and creates content for ethical businesses to connect them in the media and we have recently launched our Sparkle Up North Business Magazine shining a spotlight on women such as these featured in business, again AD: VENTURE is not just a one-stop start-up shop but they continue to foster growth and faith in our multiple enterprises! 

I have been reinvigorated and truly inspired by writing up these positive stories of women taking the punt from their safety net of PAYE checks and pensions, amidst the pain of the Pandemic and people pulling through together. 

“Crisis doesn’t create community, it reveals it.” 

I too discovered in my own business journey that with the tailor-made support from AD:VENTURE that in order to really create the change and empower other women, is that we also need to prosper from profit as well as passion to build our business! And without realising it I too needed to be instilled with the confidence of such a community who cheerleads one another… and reminds us that we are worthy and more than talented enough (often as women we over-qualify ourselves!) to evolve into a growing business and have the honour to shine a light on our business sisterhood. 

https://ad-venture.org.uk/pursuing-your-purpose/

Read more from Sophie Mei Lan at https://sparkleupnorth.com  https://sparklecomms.co.uk https://mamamei.co.uk Get featured by following @SparkleUpNorth @SparkleComms 

READ ALL AT: https://ad-venture.org.uk/pursuing-your-purpose/

BUILD YOUR FOUNDATIONS: HOLISTIC SKINCARE CLINIC BOOMS WITH RISE OF WOMEN FEELING EMPOWERED BY SELF-CARE & WORKING ON THEIR HOLISTIC HEALTH & WEALTH

BRADFORD SKINCARE SPECIALIST GLOWS UP WITH A NEW HOLISTIC CLINIC IN LOCKDOWN WITH A RISE OF WOMEN FEELING EMPOWERED BY SELF-CARE & WORKING ON THEIR HOLISTIC HEALTH REGARDLESS OF BACKGROUND…

“Fewer women wearing makeup in a bid to glow inside out after time in lockdown for self-care as well as  a rise in complementary therapies, video calls and developing new habits…”

Abigayle Andre of Glam Aesthetic


• Holistic skincare specialist launched new clinic two weeks before the first Lockdown but has seen a surge in customers who now wants to empower the female community with self-care
• With A Rise In Zoom Calls For Work, Women Are Wearing Less Makeup Creating Demand For Better Skin, Without Makeup Or Filters! 
• “Lockdown really could have been the end for my clinic, but thanks to an amazing community of women in West Yorkshire, my clinic has thrived. I’ve helped ladies feel confident in their own skin and have a lockdown glow up and now they’ve revived my business – thanks to those women!”
– “I’m so pleased that women are seeing how worthy they are of self-care & healing!”

Lockdown has changed the way we are working and there’s no sign of change, which means more Zoom and Skype calls and less leaving the house.

Holistic Skin Specialist, Abigayle André, aged 28 from Bradford says there has been a huge rise in skincare and the search for better skin without having to put on makeup or use a filter.

Since reopening she has seen a surge in women having her Bespoke Skin Treatments including The Million Dollar Facial, Dermaplaning, and Microneedling facials, in order to improve their skin and feel comfortable wearing less or no makeup.

“Your skin has a direct effect on self-esteem and mental health”, says Holistic Skin Specialist Abigayle André

Abigayle set up her skin clinic, Glam Aesthetic, based at Dudley Hill in Bradford just two weeks prior to the national lockdown in March last year. Whilst many businesses have had to close their doors due to COVID and lockdown restrictions, she says her clinic has thrived from the support of the local community.

“Lockdown really could have been the end for my clinic, but thanks to an amazing community of women in West Yorkshire, my clinic has thrived. I’ve helped ladies feel confident in their own skin and have a Lockdown glow up and my business has also had its own – thanks to those women!”

Abigayle’s clinic, Glam Aesthetic, is based at Dudley Hill in Bradford and serves women from
across Yorkshire, mainly West Yorkshire.

The Glam Aesthetic Owner and Skincare expert for women, says:  
“Your skin has a direct effect on self-esteem and mental health. I have had clients who couldn’t leave their homes without makeup or would only come to appointments when the roads were quiet to avoid being seen. They now feel confident to face the world without makeup.
“It’s amazing how improving their skin has a direct effect on their mental health and self-esteem.”

Abigayle recommends the following tips for looking after your skin at home:

– Use a cream cleanser instead of face wash as it is better for the skin barrier
– Always use lukewarm water instead of hot as it strips the skin!
– Bin the baby wipes and micellar water in favour of double cleansing with a cream cleanser to remove makeup!
– Wear SPF50 every day regardless of the weather and reapply by it regularly to help avoid premature wrinkles, pigmentation and breakouts
– Ditch harsh scrubs and pore strips that damage and strip the skin and opt for AHA/BHAs for gentle but more effective exfoliation

Glam Aesthetic has gone under recent renovation during Lockdown and is full of WOW Factor decor, featuring: a huge 3D dried pampas cloud, bespoke dried florals, and a wall that reads ‘You Look Like A Queen’. She has created a Bespoke Blending Bar where she creates custom serums for her client’s skin routines.

Glam Aesthetic top tips

The clinic is open for skin treatments including the Million Dollar Facial, Dermaplaning and Microneedling, you can book via their website by going to: http://www.glamaesthetic.co.uk you can also take their Skin Test online to find out what products would be best to help your skin look and feel better.

Glam Aesthetic is based at Suite 1, Dudley Hill Business Centre, Knowles Lane, Bradford, BD4 9SW.

Bookings are via appointment only and can be made via: http://www.glamaesthetic.co.uk
You can follow Glam Aesthetic on Instagram and Facebook @glamaestheticuk

UPSIDE DOWN CAREERS: HOW I SHIMMIED INTO THE MEDIA AND JOURNALISM

By Sophie Mei Lan 

There’s not many journalists who can say that their most powerful stories to date stemmed from back bending on the floors of Shisha Bars as a professional bellydancer, and it’s something I always felt embarrassed about when presenting as a guest lecture in front of the next generation of journalists. 

These blurred lines between personal and professional from a paid hobby as a performer to my professional life as a journalist and business owner used to make me comfortable as I struggled to fit in whether it be in the entertainment world where most people were from private acting schools unlike me who shimmied her way through community groups and funded courses for the “under-represented” or in the media world where it is also not always what you know but who you know. 

Somehow I managed to navigate my own way through the side door of the stage. 

But I would secretly straddling roles as I tried to hide my multi-faceted life as an aspiring woman in the media who loved (and needed to earn the cash to fund my efforts) performing as a dancer. My multidimensional life became even more complex as a young mum with classed ‘disabilities’ and in one day alone I would drop my daughter off at nursery en route to a social enterprise course to fund a community magazine, before quickly changing into student clothes for a postgraduate journalism lecture, before a business meeting, then changing into a bellydance costume to perform that night before returning home to care for my daughter and then the following morning I would reappear in smart clothes on the news desk of a national newspaper before collecting my daughter and my long commute to home to tend to housework and admin for my journalism, businesses, hobbies and life. 

I felt less superhero and more like a Quick Change Artist, my scarcity mindset of “where there’s muck, there’s brass,” meant I was always hustling trying desperately to reach this ‘other world’ of a career as a journalist. Ironically, rather than asking to be paid for my endless ‘work experience’ stints, I would try self-fund my dream and make ends meet elsewhere. 

In recent times however we have all been forced to accept and celebrate the spectrum of humanity we come into contact with via video call ‘unveiling our professional masks’ with so many others are working flexibly from home. 

It was during a video call with my life coach Emily of Quantum Coaching where I had the realisation that I too was responsible for transforming my mindset rooted in my own past and me subconsciously trudging a ‘rags to riches’ fairytale, when in fact we are one world and the ultimate transformation comes from within, as Emily said: “Most of those money sayings are outdated and only serve to keep us in our past. If how we feel about ourselves is determined by anything external, we give away personal power. If something outside of ourselves has the power to make us feel worthy, valued and happy, then it has the power to take that away too. But when we love ourselves unconditionally and hold our value high, money is welcome as an expression of love, gratitude and appreciation.” 

With a rekindled fire in my belly and the new found confidence of speaking up on Zoom for myself and others from the comfort of my own creative home office, I realised that ‘true empowerment’ and inclusivity, means that to truly inspire the next generation and myself that we need to pay for people’s skills and services, because of their background, not just promote a more diverse world, we need to cherish and cheerlead it.

Read more from me at https://Thesparklecoach.com and read more on northern women in business at sparkleupnorth.com

It had previously been primarily women having to explain their need for flexible working hours, but as we all move to one much more flexible world with our colleagues, leaders and teachers feeling less on a hierarchical chain as we share video calls with screeching children, dogs barking and many a creative backdrop cutting through the normal sterile office backdrop we see on the news. 

As one business coffee appointment called it, who turned out to be a fellow creative thanks to displaying her array of craftwork on display at home via Microsoft Teams: “We are “multi-potentialists,” replacing my self-proclaimed misfit badge.

It felt a relief, having always felt held back by needing to have one niche or ‘USP’ in my pitches and CV which so many of us have had to dust off in recent times… to being able to showcase rather than hide my spectrum of skills as secrets. 

With that gusto I then revealed to my call the ‘secret’ behind my sparkly office curtains, which is an array of dance costumes and gym equipment nestled away from my traditional work-from-home media suite. Even though my wide vocabulary of mind and body fitness informs my journalism these days. 

After all there is no competition, there is only one you. 

These blurred lines actually helped us to carve a much deeper profound connection in just one quick meeting.  

It is such an asset to have diversity at the forefront of a more fruitful world where people can thrive. 

The less I too have witnessed the professional and personal world as two separate entities, much like I felt my ‘impoverished’ background as a bellydancer was a million miles away from the ‘rich’ I would often perform for, the more optimistic I feel now that I have overcome my own divisive barriers which were holding me back, as we are one world and there is an abundance of opportunity and money to pay for us all. So if you have the strength to speak up for someone who is yet to actualise their potential, make sure you offer them a space to flourish. 

I am now proudly showcasing my closet of sequins to add some sparkle to the normal ‘bookcase’ or ‘business banner’ backdrop we often see, who knows maybe I’ll be presenting Channel 4 News with all my sparkles on show one day! One thing I do know is that the more money is shared amongst those of us with values the much more prosperous a universe we will live in. 

I have now openly embraced the power of being multifaceted, embracing my beauty of a creative laterally thinking brain and,With a new-found confidence 


Read more from me at https://MAMAMEI.co.UK and read more on northern women in business at sparkleupnorth.com

From Meat based to plant based: how going vegan helped this mum start a community

By Shirin Tahmasebi

After delivering her first baby five years ago, The Superfood Bowl Cafe owner and vegan specialist, Amie Batow, felt undoubtedly insecure about her body and mind.

Being a mum wasn’t enjoyable with the shed load of insecurities pooling around in Amie’s head.

One day while scrolling through Netflix, Amie stumbled across the Plant Based diet docuseries and from that day onward, the food she put in her body, completely changed. 

“I just made the snap decision and I just cut everything out.”

I think many people look at veganism as an excuse to not harm animals but with the diet also comes health benefits such as losing weight, higher serotonin, which in the long run improves your quality of life notably. 

Amie is here to discuss how going vegan did just that for her and how she became inspired to open her very own café.

“My mood had lifted, and I was happier. I could get out of bed, get dressed, go out with my little boy and feel happy to do it.

Whereas before that I’d had a real black cloud over me and I wasn’t really enjoying being a mum, that that then became the main reason for doing it.

And, and the weight loss was like an added bonus that.”

Losing weight doesn’t come easy once you’ve had a child, and a lot of time it’s confusing enough figuring out how to start doing it. Mum of two, Amie found her switch to a vegan diet helped her lose an astonishing three stone but to her, it wasn’t just all about the weight.

“It’s not about fitting into a pair of jeans, it’s just about feeling happier.”

Amie found that the diet helped her mind as well as her looks which she described as an ‘added bonus’. Being vegan helped Amie so much that she began to want to spread the word for other mums or people out there who may be struggling as she was.

“Afterwards I thought, why aren’t people talking about this, mum’s in a position that feel like this, why aren’t we talking about this plant-based diet more, because to me it was just amazing.”

The impact the diet had on Amie is why she then set out to help other mums.

Selling from Home

Before opening her café, Amie had been cooking and selling foods from her house to neighbours and other locals who enjoyed the meals.

She found herself chatting away to mums on her doorstep for half an hour at times. The small home business she had started, grew and grew until Amie no longer had to return back to work.

However, selling from home wasn’t enough for Amie as she wanted to create more of a community between mums, and so while walking through her local town one day, she found the perfect spot for a perfect business. 

“I was walking through town and I saw a little shop for rent. So, I just rang the number, really flippantly and spoke to a lady and ended up going and viewing it and just falling in love.

I thought, this is the next section me to get out there a bit more.”

Not only did Amie want a place for her new community to grow, but she recognised the struggle for mums and where they go when they want to socialise, a coffee shop, a pub or even the dreaded play areas.

Her café would allow mums to eat well, feel better about themselves and also connect with other mums, much like themselves.

Shutting Down

During March 2020, Amie found herself in the hospital with her daughter who had suspected covid which thankfully turned out to be a chest infection.

Due to her focus on her baby girl, Amie struggled to pay attention to what the government were saying in regard to businesses shutting. Nevertheless, she shut her business eventually.

Lockdown became a difficult time for Amie as her landlord was causing problems with his expectations, while Amie struggled to pay rent due to the closure of her café.

These obstacles weren’t quite big enough to stop her.

Amie made the decision to keep her business alive by using her socials. 

“I decided that I was going to stay really present on social media. And so, I started doing Instagram, lives and ag TVs, and I was cooking, sharing recipes.

I was just really, really concerned that I would lose that connection with the group of women that I had built.”

At the same time, Amie’s sister had just shut her own business down and had planned to hibernate during lockdown. But Amie was so focused on keeping that bond with her customers, she couldn’t do what other business owners were doing. 

Looking towards delivery

In the café, Amie had been selling takeout boxes which were kept in a fridge, but some customers couldn’t come in to collect and so she made the decision to start delivering them herself.

However, after hours and hours of driving around, Amie soon came to the conclusion that it would be too much to do every day. 

“This isn’t an effective way to get these meals out, and I don’t enjoy being sat in a traffic parade, I was trying to find all these houses I was getting so stressed”

She then went onto exploring the idea of DPD, which is where the business is at currently. 

Post Lockdown

Amie finds herself at 90% deliveries with her business now, however, still encourages people to pop down and get a drink and some food in order to keep that bond.

“Although we could reopen our cafe. It never ever got as busy as it was before.”

Just before Christmas, Amie’s tenancy was up in the building and so she looked at moving, but the cost of somewhere else was too high. Luckily enough, Amie’s mum came to the rescue.

“If it wasn’t for my mum, I think at that point I might have had to stop. I think if there was a point where you would have had to just say, I need to close the business down it probably would have been at that point.”

Despite her struggles with her café, Amie still finds it within her to fight for that connection and bond she first started out with in the first place. The thought of how many people she has gotten to know and the community she built is what keeps her pushing through. 

She is proud to be the owner of an establishment where she is able to help other mums who may be feeling as she was, to feel better about themselves and to give them a place to gossip about their loud neighbours or scary in laws.

The Superfood Bowl café is now up and running, however, Amie finds herself still ‘fighting every month to keep it going’ so if you pass by on your daily walk today, why not stop in and show some support to help keep the doors to clean eating open. 

Thank you to Amie Bastow for sharing this very inspiring story, I think I’ll be taking a look at the vegan options on menu’s from now on.

To find Amie’s recipes and cafe updates, follow her socials below:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the.superfood.bowl/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BowlSuperfood

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheSuperfoodBowl

Website: https://www.thesuperfoodbowl.com/

If you’d like to be considered to be included in our online magazine, drop us a line on sparkleupnorth@gmail.com or follow us www.twitter.com/sparkleupnorth www.instagram.com/sparkleupnorth and www.facebook.com/sparkleupnorth

How to connect on LinkedIn

Have you wondered why you may not be connecting as much on LinkedIn as perhaps you should? Here’s some ideas of how you can be better:

Find people to sell to , not take from

first 65 characters of first line under your name- what are you going to do for me?

Make sure first characters count, try not to say “I help” as too many people do that now.

People don’t want to do work with corporate companies now.

One thing you must do is come over like a real person

Selling is not wrong it’s the frequency we do it

Connecting is like a handshake and business card.  Mimic what you’d do in the real world on LinkedIn

Tips on how to connect

Be yourself

Once connected you don’t need to use an in mail/build relationship first

There is a way of writing a sales post that goes under the spam filter

You can comment and like other people’s posts

Your posts are spam-checked

  1. Spam   
  2. Suspect  – if there’s any words it doesn’t like
  3. Clear 
  4. Tip 1:  Be in your posts-  build resonance
  5. Search for target market

Search for target market, second degree connections

Connecting with people

Linkedin says only connect with people you know

You’ve got to take part and say Hi

Commenting on people’s posts

People read comments if you’ve said something interesting

What’s possible?

Connecting- Profile view- Post views, Comments and sales

Insight 1

Sell less frequently

Insight 2

Be yourself MUCH more.  Take your corporate hat off and explain about yourself.

Insight 3

Treat LinkedIn like a networking event

self before help: Focusing on the woman before focusing on the mum

By Shirin Tahmasebi

If someone asked you to run a mile, I bet you would… in the opposite direction.

In hope of changing that, Emma Stott, wellbeing and parenting coach, believes that exercise and mindfulness, can improve your anxiety and stress levels significantly.

“I wanted to help other mums like me who were craving balance and lacking time and feeling lost as I have for many years without recognising my purpose or passion. I don’t think I ever knew that.

Lacking confidence and self-esteem, not coping well but doing everything for everyone else and leaving myself till last. Now I teach mums to put themselves first.”

Working in Education

Emma has spent most of her career life in schools, starting out as an assistant support specialist, to becoming a learning mentor, however, also trained as a personal trainer through her time in education.

This training is where Emma started to recognise her passion for exercise and how it positively impacted her wellbeing, but is also a time where Emma took the pressure of becoming a single mum.

Emma came to notice a common theme throughout her time working in schools; the parents always questioned her about ‘fixing’ their child rather than helping their child.

“I noticed there was a theme underlying, ‘fix my child’. They would say ‘there’s a problem with my child’ but then I remember I was thinking to myself, is it the child? It may be but I thought, we need to work with the parents, and then see if we can get them to regulate their emotions because children copy what the parents do.”

Emma soon took up a job in adoption as a family support worker and has worked there for the last three years. Here she deals with a lot of emotional dysregulation trauma, attachment difficulties and behaviours.

It was here, in April 2020 where the thought of parents found its way back into Emma’s head once again.

“That led me to think again about maybe how we need to do things a bit differently and maybe it’s the parents that need a bit more support, which came to this bit where I wanted to be where I am a parent, wellbeing and parenting coach, so I’m doing the job.”

After April, Emma decided to retrain as a personal trainer and life coach but found herself becoming sick regularly and was experiencing the worst burnout she has had up to this day and never understood why she felt so rundown and sick until recently, when she was diagnosed with chronic inflammatory arthritis. A mix of her being off sick and the pandemic meant that Emma couldn’t return to work until June of 2020.

It was only then that she recognised how much she overworked herself and decided it was time for change in her life.

Time for Change

Emma took on less hours at work to focus on herself, and to avoid the impossible of juggling equal time for her health and work. But balancing work and health also came with the responsibility of being a parent.

Having three children can be hard for some parents, but with one at University, one living with his mum and another being the dream child helping around the house, Emma is currently at that point in her life where she can mostly focus on herself. 

The Pandemic vs the business

Emma had hoped to be a one-to-one coach but was forced to revert to online coaching as the country faced a national lockdown last year. 

“Everything had to be on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, if you could do that. Then I was trying to work on three platforms at once which messed with my head because it was too much.

Then I realised that I was going to have to go live, so that means I’m going to have to be more confident in selling things and saying what I do.”

Tackling self-confidence became a prominent factor in the success of Emma’s business.

“I needed to be seen for my business, so that means I need to step out of the comfort zone, and I’m used to doing it at work and training and doing adoption, but it’s different than it is online, just feels a bit weird. I think I’ve gotten over that now.”

Emma found working online a difficult task as body language is an important element when it comes to figuring out and helping someone. Nevertheless, she adapted to the situation and has found a way to help her clients using her own personal experiences.

During her time coaching and helping people, Emma finds herself relating to many of the issues that come up with the fellow parents. 

“Lots of my clients are saying that they’re really grateful. I think because I’ve experienced what they are currently going through, I just get it. You just understand. So, you know when they’re talking and you say, ‘Oh, I bet you felt like that, didn’t you’ and they say, ‘Yeah, how did you know’ and I reply with; ‘because I felt it too’. 

You can’t tell them what to do, unless you’ve gone through it yourself. That’s how people know you’re genuine because they know exactly that you felt what they felt to or are feeling separately.”

Well-being and Parenting

Emma currently offers a one to one coaching and therapeutic programme which uses CBT and EFT and the tried and tested, personally by herself, techniques such as tapping, meditation and mindfulness.

The programme is targeted at mums who struggle with stress or anxiety or just general feel overwhelmed and hoped to calm them initially.

The process of the programme looks at the different stages your brain goes through when experiencing anxiety or stress. Emma discussed the stages with us:

“Your brain will go into fight, flight, freeze mode and it thinks that it’s under attack, so you have to come up first because that part of your brain will let you access the logic. Here, you’re in your primitive brain, and you’re just absolutely out there and you don’t know what the hell’s going on. 

So, we have to get them come first and into the next part of the brain, which is the limbic brain. This part is all about attachment, belonging, love, support, and then you move them into the logical brain, which is where you can process things and kind of help make sense of everything that’s happened.”

After these stages have been identified with the client, Emma intends to go through a time management plan and talk through what the client hopes to achieve within the time they have in the programme.

What Emma hopes they will achieve is being able to manage and discipline those intrusive thoughts of self-doubt and self-loathing and for mums to be able to go be at home with their kids and project none of those anxious feelings onto their children.

After the nineteen weeks of the programme are up, clients will then be offered a ninety-minute consultation where a plan will be made with scheduled actions then can do daily for themselves to keep up the positivity. For example, one of these actions may be the likes of mindfulness, meditation or tapping techniques, already taught within the programme. 

“My mission is to empower mums to create time and balance and find themselves again. I focus on the woman first then the mum.”

Thank you to Emma for sharing your story with us!

To find out more about Emma’s wonderful campaign, Follow her Instagram and join her Facebook group below:

Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/wellbeingandparenting/

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/groups/gettimebalanceandcontrol

If you’d like to be considered to be included in our online magazine, drop us a line on sparkleupnorth@gmail.com or follow us www.twitter.com/sparkleupnorth www.instagram.com/sparkleupnorth and www.facebook.com/sparkleupnorth

Self-Doubt to Self-Belief: Finding your way through a maze of doubt and reaching for the stars

By Shirin Tahmasebi

From cutting men’s hair in the middle of Liverpool to becoming a coach for self-belief and confidence, Jan Ockendon joined us to talk about her struggles with her own self confidence and a new coaching programme she is due to release this year.

With heaps of self-doubt going through her mind, the qualified psychodynamic therapist mum of four, thrives in the world of mental health as she fought her way up through her own struggles, to creating a programme to help others with theirs.

However, since the dreaded pandemic hit the world in early 2020, eager not to have someone else’s ‘targets and expectations’ on her back, Jan came to the realisation that her ideal work involved her being her own boss and so began to set up her own business, whilst working full time.

“I’m in the process of launching at the moment. I think working from home in the pandemic finally made me realise this is what I want. To work from home but as my own boss and not have someone else’s targets and expectations”

Jan told us while discussing her plans for her future launch of ‘Self-Doubt to Self-Belief’.

The start of self doubt

Jan has tackled many different types of jobs; one being working and riding horses. However, it seems a common theme that stuck with Jan throughout her working life, was that she was never good enough to pursue these as life careers. When talking about her time with horses, she told us:

“I know that I was a good rider, I know I had a really good seat, but I was so lacking in confidence, so I never did anything with it.”

This lack of confidence carried through into Jan’s eventual ascent into her mental health career.

Mum Doubt

When delivering her first baby, Jan experienced her first feelings of self-doubt as a new mum. Back in the 90’s, they had a group of professionals walk around the hospital, making decisions on which care would best fit each patient.

It is here where Jan was so cold-heartedly told she was a “failure”.

“I lay in that bed, very sore because I’d had a caesarean, then a baby who was not feeding and then when she didn’t feed, she would scream because she had bellyache, because they were stuffing me full of antibiotics. All I heard from the midwives was ‘Caesarean section, because she failed to dilate’.”

This left Jan with an overwhelming sense of defeat, right after she had gone through a tough time in delivering her baby girl.

“They often talked like that and it fired me up.

I thought, do you know what, it’s no wonder that women go home and get post natal depression and think that they’ve they’re failures because they’ve had a c section, or because they’ve had to have a forceps delivery.

Because that’s how we’re talking about them.

Dynamically that’s going to transfer into that woman’s head. It’s bit like manifesting. That was what started my self doubt as a mother”

However, Jan pushed through the doubt and continued her work as a nurse, but soon took an easy five years out of working as a nurse when her second child was born, but became a childminder during this period.

Finding her way

After the five years, Jan decided to return back to her job as a nurse and was back to working with a mental health service again, before settling down in primary care.

“I wanted to be in primary care. I wanted to work in a sector where I felt I could make a big difference. Particularly to people who self-doubt.”

Jan’s journey for her dream occupation working with people who suffer with self-doubt began as she was determined to not ‘do anything by halves’ and went straight for the top, Tavistock Clinic based in North London, to do her training.

“Eventually I did my degree. I managed to get a 2-1. Then I could go on and do a master’s level course and that’s where I got into therapy. I trained and did a foundation course in that, and I never do anything by halves, so I had to work at Tavistock Clinic.”

Despite the pass marks for the Tavistock test being significantly high, Jan managed to secure a spot on a training course with the clinic and start the process of qualifying as the psychodynamic personal therapist she is today.

Being a therapist is enough for her, but she wished she could experience the more ‘in depth’ areas of therapy, as she believes the sixteen sessions patients are given isn’t enough.

“It doesn’t go into that real in-depth stuff that I really like.

A slow getting to know somebody; getting to know how they think, being able to think about why this is affecting me the way it is and if it’s affected me like this, does that mean something about the patient.

You can do a bit of that but it’s not as extreme, just not as meaty, I suppose”

Nonetheless, the restrictions at her workplace didn’t stop Jan from getting those ‘meaty’ sessions with patients.

Though the pandemic has been a real struggle for some, Jan thrived during her time off from work as she has begun to branch out on her own, letting go of her own limiting beliefs as well as helping others with theirs.

Becoming her own boss

During lockdown, Jan started to complete a coaching course, this opened up a world of creation for her and who is now creating her own belief programme so that she can help other women let go of their own negative beliefs.

The programme is to last eight weeks for each individual that joins.

Branching out on her own has not only made time for Jan to kickstart her own business but to also work on her social media skills. She now runs her own blog in which she never thought she would do due to her self-doubt problems.

“It’s also allowed me to set up my own instagram, my website and do blogs on my website.

I would never have done that before, I would never have written blogs because I would have thought, who wants to listen to what I’ve got to say? What can I say that nobody else can say?”

Jan discussed the plans for her programme with us. It looks at how doubt starts in our minds and how identifying what is ‘poking’ these feelings into action and then separating said thoughts and feelings and how the voice in your head often pulls you down. In Jan’s words:

“I want to ask lots of questions; what does this mean to you, how it has affected you, how can we change that. What would it be like to be different? What are you looking forward to about being different? How’s it limiting your life? And what would it be like to change that? 

Getting people to imagine sitting in that different belief and then rewriting the story and saying okay well this is what I want to believe so.

Not, I am going to believe it just because I want to, but how do I get there.”

In due course, Jan hopes to help people either eliminate those feelings or at least start the process of getting rid of them.

The feedback she has received since putting herself out there has been phenomenal, her audience are as excited as we are to start Jan’s programme. It took the twenty-nine years after her daughter was born for Jan to start feeling more confident in herself, but she is now blooming in the world of social media, as her own boss.

Thank you Jan for sharing your wonderful and inspiring story with us.

If you would like to find out more or see when Jan is to release her programme follow her on Facebook and Instagram below.

Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/clearspacecoachingandtherapy/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clearspacetherapyandcoaching

Or visit her website: https://www.clearspacetherapy.org/?fbclid=IwAR2WYsr5iE1FNpU4Zh8GrS0hNg7FcREInejX5rL5BQmMVF2NbkEZ0kVkLZo

If you’d like to be considered to be included in our online magazine, drop us a line on sparkleupnorth@gmail.com or follow us www.twitter.com/sparkleupnorth www.instagram.com/sparkleupnorth and www.facebook.com/sparkleupnorth

WEST YORKSHIRE SKIN SPECIALIST GLOWS UP NEW CLINIC IN LOCKDOWN WITH A RISE OF WOMEN FEELING EMPOWERED FOR SELF CARE

BRADFORD SKINCARE SPECIALIST GLOWS UP NEW CLINIC IN LOCKDOWN WITH A RISE OF WOMEN FEELING EMPOWERED FOR SELF-CARE

  • Holistic skincare specialist launched new clinic two weeks before the first Lockdown but has seen a surge in customers and now wants to empower the female community with self-care
  • With A Rise In Zoom Calls For Work, Women Are Wearing Less Makeup Creating Demand For Better Skin, Without Makeup Or Filters! 
  • “Lockdown really could have been the end for my clinic, but thanks to an amazing community of women in West Yorkshire, my clinic has thrived. I’ve helped ladies feel confident in their own skin and have a lockdown glow up and my business has also had its own – thanks to those women!”

Lockdown has changed the way we are working and there’s no sign of change, which means more Zoom and Skype calls and less leaving the house.

Hello, running your business from home!

GET THE GLOW for your health and business wealth!

Holistic Skin Specialist, Abigayle André, aged 28 from Bradford says there has been a huge rise in skin care and the search for better skin without having to put on makeup or use a filter. 

Since reopening she has seen a surge in women having her Bespoke Skin Treatments including The Million Dollar Facial, Dermaplaning and Microneedling facials, in order to improve their skin and feel comfortable wearing less or no makeup.

Abigayle set up her skin clinic, Glam Aesthetic, based at Dudley Hill in Bradford just two weeks prior to the national lockdown in March last year. Whilst many businesses have had to close their doors due to COVID and lockdown restrictions, she says her clinic has thrived from the support of the local community. 

“Lockdown really could have been the end for my clinic, but thanks to an amazing community of women in West Yorkshire, my clinic has thrived. I’ve helped ladies feel confident in their own skin and have a lockdown glow up and my business has also had its own – thanks to those women!”

Abigayle’s clinic, Glam Aesthetic, is based at Dudley Hill in Bradford. The clinic has gone under recent renovation during lockdown and is full of WOW Factor decor, featuring: a huge 3D dried pampas cloud, bespoke dried florals and a wall that reads ‘You Look Like A Queen’. She has created a Bespoke Blending Bar where she creates custom serums for her client’s skin routines. 

Abigayle recommends the following tips for looking after your skin post lockdown:

  • Using a cream cleanser instead of face wash as it is better for the skin barrier – always using luke warm water instead of hot as it strips the skin!
  • Binning the baby wipes and micellar water in favour of double cleansing with a cream cleanser to remove makeup!
  • Wearing SPF50 every day regardless of the weather and reapplying regularly to help avoid premature wrinkles, pigmentation and breakouts 
  • Ditching harsh scrubs and pore strips which damage and strip the skin and opting for AHA/BHAs for gentle but more effective exfoliation

With Mental Health Awareness Week just passing, May is mental health month and caring for your mind is for life and helps your business!

“Your skin has a direct affect on self esteem and mental health”, says Holistic Skin Specialist Abigayle André. I have had clients who couldn’t leave their home without makeup or would only come to appointments when the roads were quiet to avoid being seen. They now feel confident to face the world without makeup. It’s amazing how improving their skin has a direct affect on their mental health and self esteem. 

The clinic is open for skin treatments including the Million Dollar Facial, Dermaplaning and Microneedling, you can book via their website by going to: www.glamaesthetic.co.uk you can also take their Skin Test online to find out what products would be best to help your skin look and feel better. 

Glam Aesthetic is based at Suite 1, Dudley Hill Business Centre, Knowles Lane, Bradford, BD4 9SW.

Bookings are via appointment only and can be made via: http://www.glamaesthetic.co.uk

You can follow Glam Aesthetic on Instagram and Facebook @glamaestheticuk

Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

ABIGAYLE ANDRE CAN BE CONTACTED DIRECTLY ON 07939972603 OR ON SOCIAL MEDIA @GLAMAESTHETICUK OR VIA EMAIL GLAMAESTHETICUK@GMAIL.COM

FROM MENTAL BREAKDOWN TO BUILDING A CALM COMMUNITY: LEEDS MUM’S MISSION TO MOVE AND RAISE MONEY FOR LEEDS MIND CHARITY

– A former special needs teacher who became housebound when experiencing a mental breakdown is running 75 miles in aid of Mind Charity this May. – Methley-based mother Abi Fenton, 37, left her job as teacher to become a holistic healer and set up The Calm Mind Community online. – The Reiki, Reflexology and Hypnotherapist Abi is also donating 10 per cent of all treatments to Leeds Mind charity. – The self-care advocate also did a 24hr challenge earlier in May called #carrytheburden for Leeds Mind Charity whereby you carry an object for 24hrs to raise awareness of mental health and then donate. –

Mum-of-two Abi has gone from “struggling to manage with my own mental health to supporting others to heal.” 

“FROM HOUSEBOUND WITH ANXIETY TO RUNNING 75 MILES FOR MIND CHARITY “A LEEDS MUM’S MISSION TO IMPROVE MENTAL HEALTH FOR ALL 

A former special needs teacher who became housebound when experiencing a mental breakdown is running 75 miles in aid of Mind Charity this May. 

Methley-based mother Abi Fenton, 37, left her job as teacher to become a holistic healer and set up The Calm Mind Community online. 

The Reiki, Reflexology and Hypnotherapist Abi is also donating 10 per cent of all treatments to Leeds Mind charity. 

The self-care advocate also did a 24hr challenge earlier in May called #carrytheburden. The challenge was made by Leeds mind charity whereby you carry an object for 24hrs to raise awareness of mental health and then donate. 

Mum-of-two Abi has gone from “struggling to manage with my own mental health to supporting others to heal.”A former special needs teacher turned holistic healer, who became housebound when experiencing a mental breakdown, is running 75 miles in aid of Mind Charity this May as it’s Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week and Mental Health Awareness Week. 

Leeds Mum-of-two Abi Fenton, wants to help others after her own recovery journey from “struggling to manage with my own mental health to supporting others to heal.” 

The Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP practitioner, Reflexologist and Reiki Healer chose to train in complementary therapies after being off work with suspected chronic fatigue . 

Abi, 37, said: “I was off work as a teacher for a very long time and initially I was very ill, breathless, dizzy and I couldn’t leave the house. 

“But all checks came back negative but when I questioned Anxiety, they said it could be, so I didn’t have chronic fatigue, they just gave me that title as they didn’t know what else was wrong.” 

Her condition turned out to be health anxiety, a surging mental illness across the UK as a result of the Pandemic. 

Abi said: ”I have noticed a large increase of clients coming to see me due to the pandemic and they have said they may have always had some anxiety or stress but the pandemic has heightened this that it is now effecting their life and are needing support to help them.” 

Abi, who sought therapy during her “breakdown”, was recommended a variety of natural therapies to complement her traditional treatment. 

She has since retrained as a complementary therapist and set up her own business in Methley, Leeds as well as creating The Calm Community Facebook group to support anyone online. 

Abi said: “I didn’t know how to support myself with my mental health, back in 2010 when I had my breakdown and turning point moment. 

“But through taking a holistic approach to my wellbeing and with the right support I was able to recover and use my experience to support others. 

She now wants to raise awareness, money and share her own journey to help Leeds Mind, a charity close to her heart.Abi who has a treatment and therapy room at home in West Yorkshire, said: “I wanted to challenge myself this May because more than ever we need to support everyone with their mental health and Mind do such vital work. 

“I will be completing a mammoth of events from running 75 miles to hosting a raffle where local businesses have donated prizes. 

“ I have collaborated with another small independent business to create slogan gifts on Etsy with all profits going to Mind Charity. 

“I also completed a 24 hour challenge #carrytheburden for Leeds Mind Charity whereby you carry an object for 24hrs to raise awareness of mental health and then donate.” 

But Abi who is passionate about doing anything she can to give back is also donating10 per cent of all treatments she carries out in May to Mind Charity. 

She adds: Also in my supportive Facebook group: ‘The Calm Mind Community a couple of members will also be taking part in their own personal challenges to increase self-care and get sponsored for doing so.” 

To donate, go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/abi-fentonrunformind 

Or for more information and to book a treatment, go to: 

https://www.reflexology-reiki-hypnotherapy-by-abi.com/

Ideas for changing our lives for the better as we C.O.V.I.D our way out of COVID

Have you thought about how to change your life for the better as we start to come out of COVID? Below are some ideas of how you can by Sid Madge of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) who specialises in branding, physchology, neuroscience, education and sociology.

“I’m a great believer in ‘micro-moments’, the ability to change our life in any moment and how to use these tiny manageable interventions to gain positive momentum – even when things are challenging. I’ve written three Meee in a Minute books, each offering 60 one-minute micro-ideas and insights that can help us to shift our perception in life, family and at work.” Sid Madge of Mee (My Education Employment Enterprise)

Creating a better life

“The period of reflection and stillness that many of us have experienced during the pandemic has made us realise what is important and that we can make life better.  As Covid recedes let’s focus on this and ask – what does better look like for you now?

Take a minute to consider you current situation. Imagine the pandemic is a distant memory – what is your ideal life like now? Forget about bold dreams and grand gestures, focus on the little things, the insights you’ve learned in this stillness about what makes you happy – go after more of that.”

Flipping the switch – nudge yourself to the optimistic end of your range

“Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology suggests that pessimism is largely learned. Which means it can be unlearned. The key is through what he called ‘explanatory style’. This is the way we draw meaning from events and situations that we face. Those with learned helplessness, i.e., uber pessimism tend to see things as personal, pervasive and permanent. In other words, when things go wrong a pessimist will always assume that it’s their fault.

To take a simple example, a missed train is confirmation of their uselessness or spells the end of their relationship or may even lead to ill health.  They let a small incident infect other areas of their life. And finally, whatever is wrong is permanent.

Whereas an optimist will do the opposite. A missed train is just a missed train, it has nothing to do with them personally. This might be a little delusional too if they were so busy talking to a friend, they didn’t see the train arrive at the platform but for an optimistic outlook not taking things personally is key. No spillage into other areas of life!

Flip the switch for a while. See every challenge as beyond your control, that is certainly true of Covid. That’s not to say you avoid responsibility, we all still need to do our bit and stay safe. If things are challenging in one part of your life, don’t allow that upset to seep into other areas. Instead, be grateful for all the things that are still working and are still going well. When we nudge our way to the optimistic end of our range, we will see more opportunity and we just feel better. “

Be guided by your Values

“Take a minute to visit the Meee website (www.meee.global) and take part in the values exercise – this will help you to identify what your values are. What’s most important to you in your life?  Money? Family? Kindness? Honesty?  What do you stand for? What are your ethics or code of conduct? Can you see evidence of these values in your life?  For example, if you believe you value kindness, when did you last demonstrate kindness? If you really want to know what you value look at what you do.  Use your values to keep you focused on what’s really important.  “

Get involved and Stay connected. 

Staying in involved and connected as we transition out of Covid

“Maybe slip a note through a neighbour’s door to make sure they are OK. Can you do some shopping for someone who needs a little extra help?  Pick up the phone and actually make a call. Not a WhatsApp or Instagram comment. Just call them. Have a chat. 

Set up a quiz and get all your friends on it by Zoom. Now that we have a little more freedom, go for a walk, get out into nature. Whatever you do – reach out, get involved. We might not be able to do all the things we used to do quite yet but we can still talk and stay connected. Hugs are coming soon. Can’t wait!”

Dial down your stress

“I know this is easier said than done but invest in selfcare, offer kindness and hope to yourself and others. Be gentle with yourself. Make sure you eat properly and get out into nature if you can. Do some form of exercise or activity a few times a week – it will help to discharge any stress you feel. Take some time to wind down – give meditation or yoga a go. There are loads of free resources online.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sid Madge is founder of Meee (My Education Employment Enterprise) which draws on the best creativity and thinking from the worlds of branding, psychology, neuroscience, education and sociology, to help people achieve extraordinary lives.

To date, Meee has transformed the lives of over 20,000 people, from leaders of PLC’s and SME’s to parents, teachers, students, carers, the unemployed and prison inmates.

Sid Madge is also author of the ‘Meee in Minute’ series of books which each offer 60 ways to change your life, work-, or family-life in 60 seconds. 

Web: www.meee.global

Web: www.meeebooks.com

Twitter www.meee.global
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/MeeeHQ/
Instagram www.instagram.com/meeehq
YouTube https://youtu.be/fISupZWZMQc 
TEDx https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bR3Cyjs62c8