In the Press, Press, the beta mum book

Interview with The Book Bag

Here’s a great interview with the Book Bag:

Sue was grabbed by The Beta Mum: Adventures in Alpha Land as soon as she started reading. She decided to tackle author Isabella Davidson about what it means to be an alpha or a beta mummy when she popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.

  • Bookbag: When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, who do you see?

Isabella Davidson: I see a normal mum, who has sometimes felt lonely, or felt like an outsider, or who has struggled with the many shapes and forms of motherhood. I wanted her to feel less alone as a mother when she read my book, or at least felt that she wasn’t the only one experiencing those feelings that you can have as a mum. I think motherhood today has many challenges and struggles, whether from loneliness or trying to find the right work-life balance or feeling guilty from not being the perfect mum. I wanted my reader to feel that it’s OK to be just who she is.

  • BB: What inspired you to write The Beta Mum: Adventures in Alpha Land?

ID: Well, firstly, I live in a very entertaining part of London. It is quite over the top at times and I just thought there should be a book or film about it. So, I decided to write a book! I get inspiration from everyday moments and from stories I hear from my friends. I will listen to conversations and think ‘Oh, that would be great in a book.’ I also felt that sometimes we aren’t nice enough to each other as mothers and I felt a need to write about that. I think that’s one thing I try to do with my book. I feel like we, as mothers, should just be nicer to each other. I’ve also had moments of frustrations, like something simple like trying to organise a playdate, and wondered why it had to be so hard!

  • BB: My qualifications as a beta mummy are well established. I once went to collect my daughter from a party and the staff had a list of the mummies who were to be asked to stay for a sherry and another list of those who were not to be asked. I was on the second list, the maid explained, without being asked. But which are you? I had a look at your blog: Notting Hill, the Maldives, Antigua… That looks pretty alpha to me!

ID: First of all, I can’t believe someone would do that! That’s just awful. I would rather not throw a party than start excluding people from the party. It’s just how I was brought up and I just don’t understand it. About the Alpha part? Well, yes, I am actually quite Alpha in that I am quite driven and motivated and I make things happen, like this book. But I am not competitive with other people, I just don’t find the need. I try to be supportive and happy for other people’s successes, but not everyone is like that. I try to only be competitive with myself. I also have a softer side to me and am incredibly sensitive and empathetic, which is how I was able to write the book from the point of view of a Beta Mum, which I thought was really important. It was the only way to make it relatable to most people. But even as an Alpha, I have had experiences like Sophie, like the time she is interviewed for a housekeeping interview. That actually happened to me!

  • BB: There’s a wide range of wealthy people in your book, from the well-to-do through to the super-rich. How do you define ‘rich’?

ID: To me, rich, is when you don’t have to worry about your financial situation and have a surplus to do whatever you want whether it is traveling or buying material goods, so it will really depend on the individual and how much they need to live and be happy.

  • BB: I see that you’ve lived in seven countries on four continents. How much of you is there in Sophie? Do you ever have a longing for a settled life?

ID: When I was growing up, I moved so many times, so I know all about moving to new places and being the outsider because as soon as you move to a new school, you are immediately an ‘outsider.’ I had to prove myself time and time again and make friends over and over again, so I know how Sophie was feeling when she was told they were moving to a new country. It’s also why I settled in London 15 years ago and haven’t moved. My husband would love for us to travel the world and move to different countries, but I don’t have that need, because I’ve already done it.

  • BB: What made you start blogging? And how important is it to you?

ID: Blogging really started out as a bit of fun. I thought it would be fun to chronicle some of the funny things I heard or saw in my every day life. I thought it would be entertaining and some people liked it so I continued. I also always dreamed of being a travel writer or restaurant critic, so that was one way to fulfil that dream! But blogging was always going to be a hobby for me, I never intended to become a professional blogger. My real dream was always to write a book so that’s where I put my energy and focus, but the blog has been incredibly useful as a platform to get my book to readers and has helped me get featured in The Saturday Times Magazine!

  • BB: Sophie’s blog gets her into lots of difficulties. Do you think there is less accountability on the internet than in traditional publications? Should writers be held to the same standards?

ID: Yes, I think there is less accountability because it can be anonymous. Trolling can be done anonymously so people say things that they wouldn’t normally say if they were standing in front of that person. Writers and bloggers should be accountable in the same way.

  • BB: How did you learn to write so well? And how long did it take you to write The Beta Mum: Adventures in Alpha Land?

ID: Thank you for the compliment! That’s really kind of you, especially since writers are always so self-critical and doubtful of their own work. I always wanted to write a book, ever since I was a child, so I was always working on something during the holidays. So, in a sense, I’ve been writing and practicing forever. It was when I started writing the blog and when I received a lot of compliments that I thought that perhaps I had enough talent to write a book. It’s taken two years to write The Beta Mum. The first year, I had lots of ideas and various drafts, but it was the second year when I was in the Faber Academy Novel writing course that I really wrote my book. It was a great place for support, feedback and motivation, because writing is a solitary craft. There is an application process to get on the course and everyone else on the course is really brilliant and they are all incredibly talented writers.

  • BB: You’ve got one wish. What’s it to be?

ID: Well, if it is related to writing, to have a best-seller! But that’s in my dreams, so my real wish is that people enjoy my book! That would be enough to make me happy.

  • BB: What’s next for Isabella Davidson?

ID: If people enjoy this book and want more, then I will definitely write a sequel!

  • BB: Then we really hope that lots of people enjoy the book, Isabella. Thanks for taking the time to chat to us.
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Spotlight On..., Uncategorized

Spotlight On: Raphaele Canot, Jewellery Designer

In a new series of interviews, I will be asking inspirational women and mothers for their story and what advice they have to give to their younger self. 

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Raphaele Canot knows her jewellery. After spending twenty years working for Cartier and DeBeers as Creative Director, Raphele has launched her own Jewellery Collection last May exclusively at Dover Street Market and is launching a new line, OMG, in time for Christmas. Her pieces are romantic, playful and flirtatious, easy to wear day and night, and perfect for your Christmas wish list. There is something for everyone, with a price range starting at £500 and averaging around £1,000. Alongside her collections, Raphaele does bespoke diamond pieces, so if you’re looking for a creative, bespoke piece, look no further and let your husband meet with her for something sophisticated, timeless, yet young and fun. http://www.raphaelecanot.com. On top of running a jewellery business, she has three children and lives in Notting Hill.

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OMG ring from her latest collection, all pictures in this post taken from http://www.raphaelecanot.com

1. What’s your story? How did you become a jeweller?

I graduated in Intellectual Property law in Paris, didn’t like it but managed to get an internship at Cartier… And stayed for 11 years! My creative flair caught up with me and made wonders for my career combined with my lawyer/ business background. I was lucky enough to grow in the jewellery business at one of the most inspiring global brands, before moving to London for De Beers 10 years ago. I made my way from business backoffice to creative directing to mumpreneur, launching my first solo collection at Dover Street Market last May.

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Bracelet from her Skinny Deco line. 

2. What is your favourite piece of jewellery?

Diamonds! Diamonds are iconic yet playful, timeless yet fashionable. They are the epitome of style. Small diamond jewellery for everyday life, icons revisited with an edge. That’s my motto!

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Bespoke piece from her website http://www.raphaelecanot.com

3. Describe your style 

My style is parisian with a hint of Notting Hill relaxed attitude. I believe in basics spiced up with an iconic piece. Think a red Couture coat or a Courreges trench coat thrown over you favourite slims, a neat designer handbag and heels. I used to run errands in heels in Paris which I would not do in Notting Hill. That’s the big change in my wardrobe in the past years: trainers and low boots for school runs!

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Bespoke piece. 

4. What is your most prized possession?

Artwork… Most of it in storage unfortunately! That’s what can happen when moving countries!

5. What are your favourite places in Notting Hill?

The Grocer on Elgin for morning coffee and last minute lunch or dinner panic on a hectic day. Lutyens Rubinstein for grown ups and kids books!

6. Where would you be living if you weren’t living in Notting Hill?

In Paris in the 6th arrondissement overlooking the Luxembourg gardens…a nice alternative to our lovely communal Garden.

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Gold and diamond earrings from her Set Free Collection. 

7. What is your favourite holiday destination?

Chamonix for adrenaline, Big Sur California for the myth and wilderness.

8. What was the proudest moment in your life?

Launching my business after 20 years of corporate life. Reinventing my daily life with all the compromise that comes with it…it felt really good!

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Gold and diamond bracelet from the Skinny Deco collection. 

9. What advice would you give to your younger self or to young people?

Follow your instincts and work hard on them. Passion brings love and success!

10. What book are you currently reading?

The Power of Now. Brilliant!

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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