Club is a crafty way to meet more first-time mummies

The First Mummies Club

The First Mummies Club - Credit: Archant

Creative local mum Lisa Timms has been recognised as a finalist in the prestigious Mpower Mums in Business awards.

Lisa Timms

Lisa Timms - Credit: Archant

Having started First Mummies’ Club back in 2013 following the birth of her first son - Lisa was conscious that there were very few places where mums could go to get some time to themselves, and a change to indulge their creativity.

As is true for so many of us, becoming a mum can often mean having to compromise on previous hobbies and pastimes, as time is at such a premium - particularly with a new baby.

With such a huge focus currently on the importance of looking after ourselves, and a massive upsurge in awareness for maternal mental health, it’s not surprising that Lisa’s thriving business has been selected as a potential winner in the Cheerleader category of the awards.

Having been along to some of these fabulous evenings - Lisa sometimes leads the sessions herself, but more often there will be a speaker/artist who comes to introduce a topic, and then the ladies will have a go at the craft themselves.

Peter Rabbit meets a young fan at Willows Farm.

Peter Rabbit meets a young fan at Willows Farm. - Credit: Archant

Many of these speakers are local to the area, which not only shows the members that there is a wealth of local talent, but also gives people a chance to connect with other small businesses.

The sessions run every other week, and bring together a great mix of local mums - all enjoying the designated craftwork, and a piece of homemade cake with a cuppa part way through the evening. The sessions are a chance for mums to meet other mums in the local area - to have time to be an individual, rather than just being “mum”. The evenings are not only a great creative outlet, but also hugely relaxing.

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Aromatherapy oils burn, the lovely venue (held at Fishery Wharf Café in Hemel Hempstead) provides an intimate setting, accompanied by flickering tealights, and jazz music quietly playing in the background.

Many of the ladies have commented that it’s the fastest two hours of their week - the time seems to fly by, but if projects are unfinished, the final result is often shared in the group’s Facebook page - sometimes late that night when the ladies have ended up staying up at home not wanting to stop until they had finished their creation!

Recent projects have varied from necklaces made from polymer clay, and aboriginal dreamtime artwork, to lino cut printing on fabric reusable shopping bags, and “mindfulness” embroidery. Most of the projects have a loose theme of relaxation/mindfulness for the members, and also quite often reflect the eco-values held by Lisa herself, who is passionate about cutting down our use of single-use plastics (everyone was delighted with the cotton shopping bags they took home to use).

In addition to the fortnightly evening sessions - there are trips proposed to events in London, gallery visits, an evening at Hitchin lavender fields, and a butterfly walk at the Boxmoor Trust, to name but a few.

The group has really started to provide an important social outlet for local ladies, and there’s no doubt that time away from the home setting, and a chance to indulge their creative side, is essential for mums who may otherwise not have been able to find time for themselves.

For many mums now, a return to work gives some variety to the week, and a change of scene - but for those who are stay-at-home mums, or those who are on maternity leave, it can easily be several days without getting out of the house, or certainly without getting time to relax.

The success of First Mummies’ Club is easy to see in the growing numbers of ladies who wish to attend. There is a nice turnover of people, with booking normally being for a block of sessions, but with “drop-in” sessions available when people can’t make it, or whe there are spaces. This means that there is always someone new to chat to when you turn up on a Tuesday evening, as well as familiar friendly faces. We wish Lisa the very best of luck, and hope to hear that she has won her category.

Well done Lisa!

Meeting Peter Rabbit and pals at Willows Activity Farm

On Sophie’s first birthday we set off in the pouring rain to Willows Farm. I’d been a few times in the past to events in the grounds (mainly work Christmas parties) but hadn’t ever actually been inside the farm and was keen to know what all the fuss was about!

Because of the weather I’m afraid I didn’t hold very high hopes for the day being much of a success, but once inside I discovered that I needn’t have worried.

Much of the farm now has a Peter Rabbit theme, which we loved! It wasn’t long before we spotted a character meet and greet and could have our photos taken with Mr Tod (another Beatrix Potter character).

My little girl loved this, and it all added to the extra special feel of the place - much more than many petting farms - this felt more like a miniature theme park.

We did spend quite a lot of time in the petting farm area - where we could feed various animals, and stroke guinea pigs.

With the weather being bad, I had thought this would be overcrowded, but it’s a huge barn, and there were plenty of staff and animals on hand that there weren’t big queues to interact with the animals. We enjoyed a Peter Rabbit show too - in a purpose-built theatre, and with several showings each day of different shows, I was really impressed with the quality of the show and those starring in it - the kids all absolutely loved it, and it was a welcome escape from the rain.

In addition to the undercover picnic area, there was a huge restaurant/café, and as you would expect there were decent changing facilities available.

The standout part for us was a little Peter Rabbit village with various different rooms for role play - one laid out as a kitchen, one a school room, and many more.

For toddlers or any children able to stand up, this was a really good way to spend some time in the dry. There were lots of outside activities which unfortunately we couldn’t sample, but we’ll definitely be back to try those out during the summer!