Reviews, Social Commentary

Serpentine Summer Party & Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibit

Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibit

RoyalAcademyILoveYouNHYM

Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibit. NHYM 2017

It has been an ‘artful’ week with both a private view of the Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibit and the Serpentine Summer Party 2017. Yes, the summer season has officially started with events such as Queens, Wimbledon and Henley, but I have chosen the art scene to fill my nights. On Tuesday night, I attended a private view of the Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibit.

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The Summer Exhibit was more modern than the last time I attended, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. This painting ‘Art Makes Children Powerful’ set against the sculpture of this child was very powerful. Our children are our future and in all this instability, art provides stability and an outlet for expression.

RoyalAcademyAppetizersNHYM

Not only was the art creative, but these hors d’hoeuvres were absolutely brilliant! They really looked like the real thing.

Serpentine Summer Party

Next, on Wednesday night was the Serpentine Summer Party!

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The Serpentine Summer Pavilion 2017 was designed by Francis Kere, influenced by growing up in Burkina Faso and his schooling in Germany. It is based around the symbol of a tree as a place where people gather together, where everyday activities play out under the shade of its branches. Symbolically, I appreciate its construct, but visually I admit that I preferred last year’s pavilion.

CocosSerpentinePartyNHYM

As a new feature, this year had a pop-up restaurant dedicated to Coco Chanel, therefore called Coco’s. Chanel sponsored the party this year, but sadly Karl was not in attendance. The restaurant offered crudites and a main – stone bass or burrata – that was meant to be eaten in 20 minutes. Mr. X and I loved the concept and were very happy to try it out.

RitaOraSerpentinePartyNHYM

But of course, the private concert is always one of the highlights of the night. That night, despite the freezing cold weather, Rita Ora played some great music to get the crowd moving. What I like is Rita Ora’s story. She is a proper Notting Hill girl and was involved in the Rugby Portobello Trust, which has proven to be truly inspirational in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy. She truly illustrates the power of dreams and of working hard to fulfil those dreams.

Of course, the people watching was, as always, brilliant. From Damien Lewis to Claudia Schiffer, to Dame Shirley Bassey to Mario Testino and stalwarts like Grayson Perry. The amount of talent, artistry and creativity in one place is incomparable to any other party. And for normal people like me, we hope to absorb some of their creativity.

It was a great night as always!

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

 

 

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Social Commentary, the beta mum book

The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha Land is Out Now!

NottinghillBookshopwindow

The day has finally come! After two and a half long years, The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha Land is finally available to purchase on Amazon, The Notting Hill Bookshop, and Daunt Books. (It may take a few days for Daunt to have the books in-store but you should be able to order from them. The Notting Hill Bookshop has books in-store from today).

Just a reminder, this book is fiction! ALL the characters are fiction so if you see any similarities, I promise it is a coincidence! The only character who was influenced by someone is David, who is loosely based on David, the lawyer in The Good Wife (who is just a great character and I was watching a lot of Good Wife when I was writing it). What I did endeavour to do, is create relatable characters. Many of my reviewers felt that they related to my main character Sophie and my one male reviewer related to Michael. Please remember, it is a fun, light, summer read and should not be taken very seriously! No one should feel offended by it!

The setting may be in glitzy west London for entertainment purposes, but the themes are universal. The book is really about Sophie and the challenges of motherhood: loneliness, feeling like an outsider, trying to find your identity (and sanity) as a stay at home mum, battling mum guilt as a working mum, relationship issues and trying to balance being a mother and an individual. It is also about being kinder to one another and not judging others too quickly. I hope that this is a message to all mums: be nicer to each other. At least, I will try my best.

If you buy the book and enjoy it, please, please, please leave some reviews on Amazon! That’s really important to support me. After three years of writing for the joy of writing, now it is my turn to ask for some support!

Thanks everyone!

‘The Beta Mum is the perfect holiday read!’ Tall Mum in Manchester

I came away from The Beta Mum feeling like I’d been through it all myself and not quite ready for it to end. From the marvellous to the mundane, I wanted to read more.’ Me, Annie Bee

Best summer read? Yes…If you read, follow or write…then you need to get your hands on The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha Land as soon as it comes out…The reason I enjoyed the book so much was because of the mix of feelings it brought out in me. I felt like a friend to the main character…Conversations and situations are fantastically written…A great read when you have those minutes alone on a warm evening, sipping on something tasty and melting off into a world of uber Yummy Mummies.’ Mama Chic

I really enjoyed this book and read through it in one day…descriptive and well written, I’ll look forward to more from this author.’ Mrs. Blogg’s Books

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

Instagram: Notting Hill Yummy Mummy

**In honour of the Grenfell Tower Tragedy, The Notting Hill Bookshop and I will have a fundraising bucket today at the bookshop raising funds.**

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Social Commentary, Spotlight On...

Grenfell Tower Tragedy

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All Photos courtesy of NHYM 2017. 

On Wednesday morning, I woke up to this view from my house. It was an incredibly sad day for west London and North Kensington. I am best known for poking fun at myself and my life around Notting Hill, but on Wednesday, I only felt sadness and despair, alongside all my friends and neighbours in the area. That day, it wasn’t about being Labour or Tory, white or black, Christian or Muslim, Remainers or Brexiteers, rich or poor, that day was about being a human.

The Community 

I have never felt more proud to be a part of this community as I did when I went down to various relief centers to help out, where I saw everyone in the community coming to help, whether to volunteer or to donate clothes, bedding, toys and food. The incredible spirit of human kindness was apparent everywhere you looked, from the grandmother carrying a teddy bear to bring to a lost child, to the mother who piled her pram with nappies to bring to a baby in need, to the people who drove three hours from Kent to offer a helping hand. The response was incredible and overwhelming that no more physical donations are being accepted.  

The Rugby Portobello Trust has been a prominent leader from the start, offering shelter and food and accepting donations for the victims. Schools and neighbourhoods have all come together to donate, volunteer and raise funds. All the parents and teachers and community members have shown incredible and wonderful community spirit. Even though there is no silver lining in this tragedy, the solidarity exhibited by our community has gone over and beyond what one could have expected.

 

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The Heroes. Firefighters returning from Grenfell Tower. NHYM 2017. 

Volunteer Profile 

As I tried to do my small share of helping out, I met a lady from Eritrea, strong and enthusiastic, who had been volunteering all day before starting a shift at a nursing home that afternoon. In that moment, we found a common ground and goal bringing us together. She came to London over 30 years ago, escaping the war in Eritrea, when the UK opened its arms to her and welcomed her. ‘Here’, she said, ‘I have freedoms that I wouldn’t have in many other countries. This country has welcomed me, I love this country. Even though this was a tragedy, the UK had helped all these people in that tower.’ This event has been a constant reminder of what is important, of being grateful, and of being united.

The Aftermath

We will probably never know the identities of many who have lost their lives. What are now missing persons, will become the fatalities of the tragedy when they are not found. The process of recovery and identification in a fire like this will be lengthy, arduous and sometimes impossible. The building is not safe yet and who knows if it will ever be for the full identification and recovery process to happen.

But so far, more than £2M has been raised for the Grenfell Tower Tragedy and the number keeps rising. The tireless volunteers are still there helping out, day and night, and will be needed for days and months to come. And now, more than ever, I am proud to be a Notting Hiller and being a part of this community.

To donate to the Grenfell Tower Tragedy: https://secure.thebiggive.org.uk/grenfellhttps://secure.thebiggive.org.uk/grenfell

For donations specifically for babies and children:

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/strawberryfields-grenfell?utm_id=100&utm_term=Eqjy48x9x

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHYM

 

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Photos, Social Commentary, the beta mum book

Brilliant Book Review of The Beta Mum by The Book Bag!

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My books have just arrived! NHYM 2017.

The Book Bag Book Review of The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha Land:

‘Intelligent, thought-provoking fiction that you want to keep reading.’

‘To say that Sophie Bennett didn’t want to move to London is something of an understatement. She’s a shy person who doesn’t make friends easily and the thought of losing all her support systems and having to start again fills her with dread. But, husband Michael has been offered a big job on London’s RailLink project and it’s not a chance he can turn down – even if he wanted to, and he doesn’t. So before long their three-year old daughter, Kaya, has been left with Sophie’s parents and Michael and Sophie have found a flat in west London and they’ve even, against all the odds, managed to secure a place for Kaya at London’s most exclusive nursery school. Well, when I say that they managed to secure the place, I actually mean that they required the services of a nursery consultant, who has a double-barrelled name and a friendship with the headmistress.

Sophie’s willing to try to make a go of it (it’s only for three years, after all) but the first morning’s drop off at Cherry Blossoms shows what she’s up against. It’s all celebrities, supermodels bodyguards, top end cars and power dressing. Sophie has never felt so out of place and can barely get a word of acknowledgement out of any of the mothers and all thoughts of the friendships she’d been hoping for drained away. She’s definitely a beta mum in a herd of alphas. To make matters worse, Michael has turned into a workaholic, coming home late each night and often working at weekends. Kaya’s not settling that well at nursery and getting playdates for her with the children of the rich and famous is difficult, particularly when the staff there assume that you’ve come to apply for a housekeeper’s job. Desperate for an outlet, Sophie starts a blog.

I knew I was in for a treat as soon as I started reading: this is fiction for the thinking woman. Don’t be misled by the presence of celebrities and the super-rich: they have to live somewhere: why not near you? Isabella Davidson takes a sensitive and sympathetic look at issues facing us in the 21st century. In an age when everyoneseems to have hundreds of best friends and a wonderful life, how do you cope when you feel like a fish out of water? When you’re lonely? When you’re looking after a young child, but there seems to be no one to give you any support? When the only other adult you can talk to thinks you shouldn’t disturb him when he’s at work?

There’s a thought-provoking look at wealth. Sophie and Michael are well off. Michael’s job is well paid and the company is covering some of their expenses. Sophie would like to work, but doesn’t need to. By most people’s standards that’s rich, but by Cherry Blossom standards the Bennets are at the bottom of the scale. They’re never obviously judged on the basis of their net worth: they’re just judged. But when you dig deeper there are divisions within the super-rich: some hedge funds have never quite recovered from the financial crash, but the wives don’t moderate their spending to compensate.Then there’s the fact that money can’t guarantee safety. And even at Michael’s level there’s the problem of trying to get some work/life balance that might actually allow you to see your family every now and then. OK, they’re first world problems, but that doesn’t make them any less real.

As a blogger myself the most intriguing thread was about Sophie’s blog. Isabella Davidson (she blogs as Notting Hill Yummy Mummy) catches the feeling completely. There’s the obsession with followers and page views and that sense of being anonymous and being able to say what you like without there being any redress. At one point I think I stopped breathing because I was so worried for Sophie, particularly as she learned the valuable lesson that you should never press ‘send’ when you’ve had too much to drink.

You’ll have realised that I completely bought into Sophie. I wanted to give her a hug. It’s a couple of days since I finished the book, but I keep wondering how she’s getting on. She’s not alone though – all the characters come off the page and into your life. It’s a great story too: I read it in a couple of sittings. It would have been one, but work was particularly demanding! I’d like to thank the author for sending a copy to the Bookbag.’

Buy The Beta Mum: Adventures in Alpha Land by Isabella Davidson at Amazon You can pre-order The Beta Mum: Adventures in Alpha Land by Isabella Davidson at Amazon.co.uk.
Buy The Beta Mum: Adventures in Alpha Land by Isabella Davidson at Amazon You can pre-order The Beta Mum: Adventures in Alpha Land by Isabella Davidson at Amazon.com.

http://www.thebookbag.co.uk/reviews/index.php?title=The_Beta_Mum:_Adventures_in_Alpha_Land_by_Isabella_Davidson

For other reviews, check out Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34030549-the-beta-mum-adventures-in-alpha-land

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In the Press, Photos, Social Commentary, Spotlight On...

The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha Land is available to Pre-Order on Amazon!

 

You can now pre-order my book, The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha Land on Amazon!

Pre-Order On Amazon

The Beta Mum_300CMYK

 

 

My Book Cover Revealed!

It is a strange thing to come up with a book cover, given that I am not the one who actually drew those pictures or designed that cover, yet it is the one thing that is supposed to sell my book. I did give the designers some ideas of what I thought the cover should look like, but they are the ones who came up with it.

The book, which is really like a baby to me, was conceived by me from the first word to the last (well, with some editorial help!), so when I received the book cover, it was hard to feel like it was mine. But I am now thrilled with it, and can’t wait to see the physical copy in a few weeks! The official publication date is June 20th 2017!

And here is the back cover blurb:

When Sophie Bennett moves from a quiet, sleepy suburb of Toronto to glitzy west London, she doesn’t know where she has landed: Venus or Mars. Her three-year-old daughter Kaya attends Cherry Blossoms, the most exclusive nursery in London, where Sophie finds herself adrift in a sea of Alpha mums. These mothers are glamorous, gorgeous, competitive and super rich, especially Kelly, the blonde, beautiful and bitchy class rep.

Struggling to fit in and feeling increasingly isolated, Sophie starts The Beta Mum, an anonymous blog describing her struggles with the Alpha mums. But when her blog goes viral, she risks ruining everything for herself and her daughter. How long will it be until they discover her true identity? Is her marriage strong enough to survive one of her follower’s advances? And will she ever fit in with the Alpha mums?

You will soon be able to purchase The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha Land locally on June 20th from The Notting Hill Bookshop or you can get it straight to your door with the ever so reliable Amazon from June 20th!

You can also enter the Goodreads Giveaway for a chance to win a free copy on May 10th. The Goodreads Giveaway will run from May 10th to June 10th.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha-Land by Isabella Davidson

The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha-Land

by Isabella Davidson

Giveaway ends June 10, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Let me know what you think!

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Social Commentary, Spotlight On...

Mindfulness on Mother’s Day!

Leslie Saglio

Leslie Saglio. Image copyright Leslie Saglio. NHYM 2017. 

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, a time to reflect on our lives as mothers. Here, Leslie Saglio, an international coach, yoga teacher, author and speaker, ‘dedicated to guide others to move through this world with more grace, finding peace and infusing balance in a life they love,’ tells us how to be more mindful as mothers:

Whether full or part-time at home or at the office, all mothers are working mothers – full stop. Hands down, being a stay-at-home mum (SAHM) is hard-core and hard work – I know. Having been an entertainment executive to a real estate entrepreneur in Los Angeles to a SAHM to a mumpreneur in London and now Barcelona, being a parent never runs out of ways to stress you out.

Everyday is a constant juggle of checking off your to-do lists – everything from the school runs, after-school activities, homework, play dates, birthday parties, doctor/dentist appointments, to “what do I cook for dinner?” the list goes on and on – and that’s just for the kids.

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The Chettinad, Ibiza. Copyright The Chettinad. NHYM 2017. 

As a result, we can often find it difficult to be in the present moment. I admit sometimes I’m guilty of checking my messages while playing with my children. While I’d love to always be Zen by nature, that’s just not humanly possible, at least if you’re a parent caring for another small human being. I don’t know about you, but if there’s something that can help decrease my stress and help me be a better mum then I’m all up for trying.

Through a practice of mindfulness you can start to balance and experience more joy and peace throughout your day. Mindfulness can help you switch from a state of constantly ‘doing’ to being present and enjoying this wild ride of motherhood (or fatherhood). Because in truth, the moments of our undivided attention and being fully present are some of the greatest gifts we can give our loved ones and ourselves.

Mindfulness is purposefully being engaged and being deeply connected in the flow of moment-to-moment as it’s happening. It has the power to make you less reactive, and instead behave from increased awareness and conscious action. This includes practices such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, or just deep conscious breathing.

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The Chettinad, Ibiza. Copyright the Chettinad. NHYM 2017.

For nearly a decade, through my commitment to personal growth and mindfulness practices, I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my relationship with my children, my husband, and everyone I’ve come in contact with. More recently, having moved to Barcelona after ten beautiful years in London I’m definitely more aware of the benefits of s-l-o-w-i-n-g down. In slowing down you invite space; in your mind, body and spirit, to see that there is more to life than rushing from one thing to another.

As a mother, life coach and yoga teacher, I know first-hand through personal experience while witnessing with my students and clients, it’s just as important to live more mindfully as it is to nurture and mother yourself just as you would your own children. We cannot pour from an empty cup. We can only fully give from a nourished place.

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The Chettinad, Ibiza. Copyright The Chettinad. NHYM 2017.

Here are my top three tips on how you can start living more mindfully and enjoy this wild ride of motherhood:

  • Go Offline. So often our week is spent consuming content and communicating with others from afar. Concentrate on your family and friends near you by being fully present, in-person and full contact. Start your day in peace without looking at your emails and messages for at least one hour upon waking up. This sacred silence and calm has the power to overflow into the rest of your day. During your day, even if it’s just for a 30-minute activity, try putting your phone away on silent mode while you’re with your kids. As cliché as it sounds, they do grow up fast and there’ll come a time when they’d rather be with their friends instead of mummy/daddy.
  • Remember to breathe. If you feel yourself becoming stressed or anxious I invite you to try this simple acronym, these four ways, to help you become more present: Slow down. Take a deep breath. Observe what’s happening before you Proceed. Allow yourself to S-T-O-P, to shift, to go outside, to look at the sky, to be in nature and connect back to you. I encourage you to try it for one week and see if you feel any difference in your experience of life. Just as we exercise our body for better performance, the mind can be trained to better handle those sometimes chaotic, childhood moments.
  • Time out. Mums can burnout easily feeling exhausted, stressed and over-worked. We need to put as much energy in as we put energy out. So without any mum-guilt I highly encourage you to do something that will nourish your body, mind and soul. Without a doubt, the highest return on investment your can ever make is investing in yourself. Have a massage or mani/pedi, take a yoga class, have a girls night out or my all-time favourite, go on retreat. Give yourself full permission to take care of you first. Every time you return home you’ll have way more to give to your family, you work and your community.’

 

Thank you Leslie for those inspirational words! For those who are interested in learning more about mindfulness or who need a break from London’s fast pace living, Leslie is hosting a retreat in Ibiza this June at this amazing villa, The Chettinad, seen in the above pictures.

www.lesliesaglio.com/ibiza-summer-retreat

I hope you have a wonderful, restful, and mindful Mother’s Day!

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Leslie Saglio Copyright 2017. 

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Quote of the day, Reviews, Social Commentary

My Book Is Coming Out This Summer!

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A few days ago, I submitted my final manuscript to my publisher and she sent me back a timeline of the publishing schedule. It has been a long, hard road full of sweat and lots of tears, but I have now finished a novel that I started two years ago, The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha-Land. It hasn’t been easy, but this summer, I will finally be able to hold the paperback copy of my book in my hands.

10 Things You Need to Know About My Book: 

  1. It is fiction. No, I am not the main character. And the evil, mean mum does not exist. This is purely a product of my imagination. Of course, experiences and stories overheard may have influenced my book, but it is a work of fiction. Everything else is coincidence.
  2. It is about fulfilling a dream. I’ve always wanted to write a book and for those who know that feeling, it remains a dream until you sit on that chair and write those 70,000+ words. It may not become a bestseller, but it is finished and it has a beginning, a middle and an end, and it makes sense. To me, that is a great achievement.
  3. It is a silent achievement. As a writer, no one is around when you get to the finish line. No one cheers you on or tells you how great you are. It is purely a personal achievement that I always hoped I would fulfil and I am so proud to have finished it.
  4. It is so bloody hard to write a novel. I can’t tell you the times I’ve wanted to give up, when I wanted to throw it all away and never look at it again, and the times I wanted to quit. The plot holes, the unrelatable characters, the writing, the negative criticism etc… Even my pen name, Isabella Davidson, took hours of discussion and debate in my head. With writing, it is 99% about perseverance and determination. All writers will tell you, it’s about sitting on that chair and starting to write.
  5. It is not perfect. And the moral of the story is that none of us are perfect and that we should try to be understanding and tolerant and kind to each other. Ultimately, it is about kindness, although you may not see it that way when you read the book!! This is my first novel and I have learned so much through this process. I wish I knew all of what I know now before I started.
  6. It is not Dickens, Dostoevsky, or Dumas. It is a light, summer read which is more like a gossip-session with a friend than a life-altering book. So this summer, put it on your ‘Summer Read’ list! It is not meant to be taken seriously but does deal with issues of modern motherhood.
  7. They say to write about what you know. So, I’ve written about what I know best right now: the struggles of motherhood in London. It is about loneliness, relationships, losing your identity after becoming a mother, competitive mothering, trying to be the perfect mother, and trying to find the balance between being a parent and being an individual.
  8. All West London mums are not horrible. Although, reading this book you may be led to believe so. Most London mums are absolutely lovely and wonderful (I am one and most of my friends are!), but no one wants to read a book about mothers all being lovely and nice to each other! There would be no story to tell and that would just be very boring and no one would read it. So, I’ve piled on the bitchiness and horridness on a few of my characters (And we’ve all come across one or two ‘Mean-Mums’ or super-competitive mums…) Hopefully my next book will be more positive!
  9. I have mixed emotions about it. I am full of excitement but am also full of self-doubt (Will anyone buy it? Will anyone read it? Will they hate it? Will they hate me?)
  10. Please be kind. An author’s ego is so fragile and vulnerable, so please tread gently.

 

It won’t be ready until this summer, but I will post the book blurb soon so you get a better idea of the book. I hope you read it and laugh with it! A few quotes from my readers so far:

Thanks for a cracking read!’ 

I didn’t want to stop reading!’

I really enjoyed it and it did make me laugh. Great characters and setting.’

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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