Mumtreprenuers – an interview with Honest Mum…

When Vicki Psarias AKA Honest Mum said that she would ‘love’ to be my first guest blogger for the latest in a series of posts about ‘Mumtrepreneurs’, I was beyond excited. This new series is all about parents that go above and beyond to succeed in life and achieve their career dreams, all whilst running a happy home – a combination I struggle to get my head around. Vicki really is one inspiring mama with a beautiful family and fabulous lifestyle, albeit super busy!

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I posed my questions to her about work-family balance, her career aspirations and her favourite way to chill-out when the kids are asleep. Enjoy!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your family…
I’m a full time, multi-award winning blogger, vlogger and filmmaker – and most importantly a mum to two boys, Oliver and Xander who are 6 and 4 respectively. Together with my husband Peter, we live in Yorkshire and I spend a day or two a week in London with work.

Describe how you feel about life in one word (or as few as possible!)
Ooh what an interesting question! I feel challenged right now in the best possible way, truly stimulated by work and life, never bored but vitally, calm and content. I feel exactly where I want to be, which is the way we should all feel, I reckon.

I’m passionate about what I do and excited for the future, but I’m also happy with my all now, so anything else is just a cherry on top. My priority is the health and happiness of my family and always doing what I love and what feels right for me at that moment in time.

Have you always been career driven or has family been your biggest priority ?  Or, a bit of both?
Both, I love creating and it’s a need, you know, I can’t NOT write or shoot. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s like breathing to me. I used to paint a lot and exhibited too but found myself soon cheating on oil paints with video cameras. You lose all sense of time when you are in the moment, be it painting, screenwriting or shooting a video for YT…I feel lucky doing just that. Creating is my job and the fact that I can combine my passions in a career makes me want to jump out of bed in the morning, every single day.

My kids and husband are my world and my purpose, they drive me and give me strength. I strongly believe happy parents equals happy children. I’ve worked tremendously hard for the last six years on my site, to the point where I have a lot more free time (yay) and flexibility. Most weeks see me working a three day week, which has always been the dream. I work hard but I like to play hard too and by that I mean (these days) playing on the swings with my kids.

I always wanted kids and feel so lucky I could have children. My kids are my purpose and whilst my career matters to me, I don’t want to miss their milestones, so it’s a juggle. I’ve worked incredibly hard to get to a point where I now have more free time with them whilst doing a job I love.

When and why did you decide to start a family?
I had Oliver pretty young really and was pregnant at 27, which for a female director working in the telly and film industry was young and I suppose relatively young generally as women have kids later these days. I suffer with PCOS so was conscious that I needed to try and conceive as young as possible and my husband was broody 2 years before me anyway, so it made sense. I remember becoming broody almost overnight and couldn’t wait to be a mum. I was lucky that I got pregnant quickly and Oliver really taught me how to be a mother, as all first kids do. It was a shock to the system as parenthood is but he and Xander give me untold happiness. I’d definitely like another baby at some point too, I just need to work on my husband!

Have you changed career since having a family and if so, how?
Yes, blogging was a change in career for me as I was a director and filmmaker pre Honest Mum. I started my site in 2010, never thinking it would become a full time job, yet in a short time it became my career and now, crazily, is one of the biggest blogs in the UK and they tell me, the world!

So, your career goals and ambitions changed since having a family?
Yes absolutely. I didn’t want to be on set for 12-15 hours a day as a director, so blogging was the ideal job for me. I could still film and write and be creative, but in a flexible way that works around my family. I’m totally open and believe the arts and being creative is fluid too, I adore working digitally but that doesn’t mean I won’t ever direct again in the more traditional sense of the word. I see everything as overlapping and merging in exciting ways.

What challenges have you faced in your working life since having a family?
As with everyone, it’s a real juggle – childcare, the guilt, achieving balance etc. We’re all just trying our best and the biggest lesson I’ve learnt is to be kind to myself. I’m now flipping good at switching off too. Life is for living. When you live life, you can create greater art.

How did you find returning to work after having your babies?
Directing commercials when Oliver turned one was tough. I’d started my blog and, although I did some paid work around that time, I returned to direct some fashion ads, but being away from him was soul-destroying as I was back and forth to Manchester. I was lucky that blogging became my career when it did and meant that I could work from home and flexibly. I love the freedom of this way of working. It’s liberating and empowering.

How do you manage childcare when working?
My youngest goes to nursery three days a week and I’m off for two usually. My eldest is at school and he attends an after school club too. My folks help as well and we’ve got a good system here.

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What do you consider to be your biggest achievements in life so far?
My kids 100%. A happy marriage to my best friend and a man I love more everyday. My career, the milestones that have come from hard work, passion and dedication. The commitment to keep pushing boundaries and to not stop creating. To trusting my gut. To taking risks. To collaborating with great minds and people who make me think outside of the box. To wonderful friendships.

What is your motivation in life? Tell us what keeps you going on those days when life just seems so chaotic?!
Looking at my kids grounds and motivates me. I do everything for them and we have organised chaos really here. We work to a routine and I’m strict with boundaries and work/life times and spaces. I get tough days of course, days where I doubt myself or feel shattered, but I’m lucky to have incredible, strong people around me: my husband, family, friends, an amazing manager in Neil at Insanity who totally gets me, my vision and who, along with my husband, Peter, always makes me believe in myself.

How do you like to spend days off with the family? Do you have regular date nights with the other half?
I wish we had more regular date nights, but date nights quite often mean eating together before watching Family Guy in bed, having a laugh and cuddling up. I get a massage once a month for me time and mum and I get a mani and pedi done every few weeks for a girly day, which is fun. I adore running too and have a PT session once a week with my friend, Caroline and escape to my treadmill in the garage most days to burn off my energy. I take after my dad and have boundless energy!

What is your favourite way to unwind in your free time (and the kids are in bed!)?
Ooh I love scoffing Green & Blacks chocolate (bit obsessed with milk currently) and Betty’s rose tea whilst watching The Housewives of Cheshire.

You’ve touched on this a little already, but why did you decide to start blogging? And, when did you realise that you were onto something good?
I started in 2010 at a dark time when I was suffering from a traumatic birth.  I was surprised to be a finalist at the prestigious BritMums in Brilliance Awards in the Fresh Voice Category after four weeks of setting up. I was contacted by advertisers after just two weeks. This was the start of everything for me. The blog surprises me everyday. I have a team now, incredible management, I’ve gotten to collaborate with gifted people, absolute legends from Alesha Dixon to Jamie Oliver, James Martin and many more. My family have the most amazing experiences, be it travelling around the world on amazing holidays to working on the most nourishing creative projects that have built their confidence up and given them so, so much.

What are your plans for the future?
I like to live in the now, but I hope we continue having great health and feel happy in all that we do. We love to travel so I hope we get to see more of the world as there’s so much to discover and enjoy! Travel is my greatest love – oh and food!

What advice would you give to a new parent considering returning to work or those who have just returned and are trying to figure it all out?
I wish I could go back and give myself a great big hug and give myself a good talk to, to not be so flipping hard on myself, to remind myself I’m doing my best and it’s OK to feel guilt (but it’s futile). To reach out for help, when others offer to say yes, to not feel I have to be superwoman. I’d tell myself that parenting is hard, but we’re all in the same boat. Thank goodness for blogs reminding us of that fact, hey?

Vicki is founder and writer of parenting and lifestyle site Honest Mum (http://www.honestmum.com)

I’ll be there for you – a mother’s promise to her child 


What a week it’s been. The most testing since returning to work and one that I’m glad to see the back of. Let’s just say, a poorly baby, lack of sleep and a mountain of work equals one stressed out mummy.

I will spare you the details, as I’m sure those of you following me on Twitter will have seen my endless mummy rants throughout the week. I do apologise. At times I just needed to vent and believe me, I held back. But, these babies really do get it tough don’t they? 

It all started last Sunday while we were enjoying a family day at Bournemouth air show with the in-laws. Madeline had gone to bed the previous evening not wanting any of her tea, which was a little strange but not abnormal and had woken up early that morning in tears, instead of her usual cheeriness (I think we have a morning person on our hands!).

I knew something was up; her temp was a little on the high side, nothing major, but all she wanted was cuddles. This is always the way when you’re trying to get out and do something nice, right? I assumed she was perhaps in pain from the molar I could feel making it’s way to the surface…. Ouch! 

Either that or Madeline had previously suffered from a cow’s milk protein allergy and, after a recent negative allergy test, we were going through the gradual process of weaning her back onto dairy… a long and stressful story I will save for another day. I wondered if this change to her diet was causing her discomfort and we needed to take her back a step on the weaning ladder. If only these babies could tell us, or at least give us a little hint, as to what’s up.

As the day progressed it became quickly clear that Madeline just wasn’t being Madeline. Usually so independent, she wanted mummy cuddles all day – that part was nice actually, I’m not going to lie. But, she wouldn’t eat anything other than a nibble of a little Organix ginger bread man and was so lethargic. So, we took her home, had a terrible night and the next morning I made the necessary arrangements with work to stay home and look after my little girl. She needed her mummy.

I can’t tell you the worry I felt at leaving my team in the lurch at such a busy time in the office. At the back of my mind I had a stack load of to-dos that needed completing. I knew the team would be understanding and help out by picking up anything urgent, but I couldn’t help feeling like a bit of a let down. Yet, if I had gone into work and taken Madeline to her auntie’s for the day as part of the usual Monday morning routine, I would have felt like the world’s worst mummy and probably sat at my desk in tears (as I did later on in the week!!). I couldn’t help but question what my colleagues were thinking though. Madeline was definitely not right, but was teething really a strong enough reason not to go in?! 

I know I said that I would save you all the details, but that would make a pretty boring blog post! I will, however, save a bit of time by not going into each individual doctors appointment we attended and late night out-of-hours trips we made over the next couple of days. Madeline was first prescribed Penicillin for a terrible bout of tonsillitis before later in the week being diagnosed with a nasty viral infection complete with an all over body rash. Seriously, could anything more be thrown at my baby in one week?!

My goodness, how glad I was that I stayed at home for her on Monday as the guilt of ‘abandoning’ my poorly baby girl would surely have haunted me for quite some time. I swear now that I will never again question leaving my little girl’s side while she is sick. She is my priority first and foremost and always will be.

That said, the reason I work is for my daughter. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been ambitious and enjoyed working. I’m the type of person that gives 100% to what they do. If I’m going to do something, then why do it half- heartedly? Having a family was also very important to me, but perhaps came a little sooner than expected and I certainly wasn’t in the position or earning as much as as I would have liked before starting a family. So, now it is all about working hard to grow in my career, but mainly to ensure that Madeline and my future babies never go without. I suppose this is why I also find it difficult to ‘just take time off’. 

For this reason, after a night of no sleep, I ventured into work on Thursday, feeling full of emotion but confident that Madeline was on the mend and her nana was looking after her at our house, so she could have another day at home to recover. I arrived at the office, sat at my desk, switched on my laptop and before I knew it, had tears streaming down my face. Bloody hell! What is wrong with me?! Thank goodness I work in an office of mainly women who understand hormones and sent me  home to work for the rest of the day. I had to be with my baby until I knew she was fully back to herself. There seems to be a theme to these posts that I’m a bit of a crier – let’s just go with it! But, please tell me this has happened to someone else?!

After our first full night’s sleep all week, on Friday I successfully managed a day in the office with only a little mummy guilt. I kept my head down, cracked on with that to-do-list and got back on top of things before rushing home to my much better daughter. Madeline had enjoyed a lovely day with her nana, eaten all of her meals and been her usual cheeky self. Now, we are having a nice and relaxed bank holiday weekend – life is good.

I’m not going to beat myself up about the week just gone, it’s been a tough one, but it’s also only my third month back since maternity leave. I’m confident it will all get  easier… Well, maybe. One thing I know is that Madeline must always come first from this day onwards. If ever there are days when only mummy will do, I will be there for her. That is a promise.

Keep going mummies. We are all just doing the best we can! X

Viva España!


If you read my recent post – I get by with a little help from my family – you will know that Fraser, Madeline and I joined my family last week in Benahavis, a Spanish mountain village between Marbella, Estepona, and Ronda. 

As a family, we’ve been travelling to this village on and off for the last 15 years and never tire of the exquisite scenery. Just take a look at the stunning Puerto Banus harbour and beautiful beaches at San Pedro de Alcántara. 

This long weekend break was absolute bliss and the perfect way to spend time off work enjoying quality family time… 

Mummy guilt… 


As I sat at a busy Manchester airport, tears streaming down my face, a middle aged man awkwardly peering over his newspaper in my direction, it dawned on me… I’d finally cracked!

I’d been back at work for two months and had been guiltily enjoying being back in adult company, sat at my desk with a warm cup of earl grey tea (or two, or even three) and achieving a page full of to-dos each day, instead of my usual routine of changing half a dozen nappies, sorting the laundry and building duplo houses.

It’s always been important to me to lead a balanced lifestyle with both a good career and loving family and it seemed I had hit the jackpot, working for an award winning full-service marketing firm on the south coast whilst also boasting a beautiful daughter and doting husband.

Not going back to work just wasn’t an option for me. I knew that in the long run, it was best for our family as well as my career. Plus, I was only going back part-time to begin with – the best of both worlds, right? But, after a year of maternity leave, spending the most treasured moments with my little girl (and some bloody stressful times too, of course!), I was dreading the moment I left Madeline for the day to pursue my own ambitions.

Mummy guilt. There is simply no other way to describe it. It eats at you and torments you, especially as you wear a brave face venturing into the boardroom on a Monday morning after the dreaded child-care drop off, leaving your little one sobbing and reaching out for you as you simply walk away.

The silly thing is, while you are having some well needed time out from being a mummy, your bubba is having an absolute whale of a time once they’ve settled (usually as soon as the door closes!). Whether they be at nursery developing their social skills with lots of other precious munchkins (proof that you are not alone in ‘abandoning’ your children for the day!) or on fun day trips with their grandparents or childminders, they always have a really lovely day.

But, on this occasion I was feeling especially guilty. I’d been planning for a client meeting in Manchester for the last month, had worked extremely hard for it and secretly was looking forward to a quiet plane journey, with a nice cup of tea and a good book (The unmumsy mum – such a good read!). Our previous trip to Portugal with our little Maddie Moo had been stressful to say the least, so I was certainly going to make the most of being child-free for this journey!

At 4am I crept into Madeline’s room, where she was so angelicly sleeping, and gave her a big kiss on her cheek before setting off. It was very rare that I was leaving the house before she woke but I knew that Daddy would be greeted with her usual big cheeky grin when she woke and she would be absolutely fine.

My client meeting went well and I must admit, I was feeling pretty proud of myself. I could do something other than being a mummy and there was no need for that self doubt I had built up inside me before returning to work. I had done what I set out to achieve and now I could make my way back to the airport and get home to my little girl for the usual bed time routine and give her a big cuddle for leaving her all day.

However, I got back to the airport to see that my flight had been delayed for over two hours. I knew it couldn’t be helped but I couldn’t believe it and literally broke down in the middle of the airport – how embarassing!! I just couldn’t handle the guilt that I would not see my daughter awake at all that day, and more to the point I really missed her!

Life is hard as a working mum. But life can be equally as tough when you are at home looking after a tiny person all day. There really is no right or wrong way and I think mummy guilt will come into play whatever route you take. So, I guess we just have to learn to deal with it.

I was so pleased to get home that evening to find that Madeline’s grandparents had kept her awake for me. And, there are no words to describe the reaction you receive as you walk through the door to be greeted by a smiling baby reaching out for a cuddle. I got to tuck my little girl into bed that night and for that (as well as a successful meeting!), the day was good 💗

Keep going mummies… We are all doing the best we can! X

Diary of an imperfect mum

A Cornish Mum

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