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Hannah: Welcome to Happily Ever After the podcast where we talk about life's big stories from great sex to sexual trauma. Break-ups and breakdowns. Icky secrets and happy endings. It's the stuff that makes us human. And boy, do we cover it all. I'm your host, Hannah Harvey. I'm a writer and a parenting blogger at Mums Days.com. That's M.U.M.S.D.A.Y.S .com. I would be very grateful if you could subscribe and leave a review because it means more people can find the podcast. And I also really, really, really love hearing from you, so please contact me through Instagram @Mumsdays with all your stories of life and any thoughts you might have on the episode or even questions you want answering. You can find all the details from this episode in the show notes.
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Hannah: Hello and welcome to Happily Ever After with me, Hannah. And today I'm joined by Claire Venus, who is @creatively.conscious on Instagram. Hi, Claire.
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Claire: Hello. Hi.
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Hannah: Hello. Thank you so much for joining me.
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Claire: Oh, you're so welcome. I'm so excited to talk to you. Having listened to some of the podcasts and followed you online for a little bit. We've never actually met, and this is our first time meeting in real time. So love this.
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Hannah: I know, I've got my coffee here. It's like we're having a little coffee morning.
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Claire: Yeah, I've got my tea. I might take a little sip, actually, before we get started. Why not?
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Hannah: So it says on the gram that you are a slow lived entrepreneur, and I'm hoping to find out a lot more about that because I find it very appealing. But the first thing I wanted to talk to you about is one of the first conversations where we were like, Oh, like we worked out that we sort of knew each other. And it was through our mutual friend Jambo. Who..
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Claire: Mr. Dragon
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Hannah: Mr. Dragon, who was on the podcast a few weeks ago. Um, so I was doing my yoga forest yoga teacher training, and we've been chatting about something completely different. And then we discovered that you knew Jambo too, But you have a love story related to this, don't you?
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Claire: Yeah, I do. So Jambo was the fabric in the fabric of. And my husband's love story. So it wasn't like a simple introduction. It was like a fierce introduction. And by fierce, I mean fiercely energetic. So I was working with Jambo as a mentor ten years ago, and. And I had hit like a bit of a crisis in my life. There were some things bubbling up that I didn't understand. My yoga practice was really strong. But as you know, with forest yoga, it's not just about the poses, is it? So I was like working through all this energetic stuff and just being like, you know, I don't know what I need, but can you help? And he could. You know, we started by actually going for a coffee in Cafe Royal. Don't even know if it's still there in Newcastle. But I remember just being really open and honest with him and being like, Look like I've got these gifts and I've never spoken to anybody about them before. Can you help me? So, so we work together in that way. And then we started talking about relationships and how I relate to people, romantic partners, all of that sort of stuff, bit of the picture. And he said, Claire, can you write me your relationship ethics? And I was like, Ethics about relationships. What do you mean? He was like, from 'Do you want someone to hold the door open' to 'How do you want to feel' like, How do you want to feel ten years down the line? How do you want to feel 30 years down the line? And I was like, Wow. So I think I was about 31, 32 at this point. And so I had some experience of dating and long term relationships and kind of all of that bit of the picture that you have from kind of teens through 20s. And so I had a go and and he sort of gave me it back and he was like, go deeper. And I was like, okay, all right, okay. Had another go. I was like walking my dog at the time, thinking about it all, like imagining this love story, imagining all through my kind of cultural reference points of kind of Disney and Eat, Pray, Love and all of that sort of stuff and being like, okay, like, what do I want? I can ask for what I want, What what is it that I want? So then you were the revisions went backward and forward, honestly, about six times. And I was like more. And he was like, more, more specific, deeper. Go deeper. This is not enough. This is not you. This is not your essence. This is not what your soul wants. And I was like, Oof! Which you all know, working with Jambo, like, he just gets to it. Like he gets right to the crux of where he needs to go with you as a student. So I wrote those down and then literally within two weeks and my husband will tell a different story, there was a Facebook friend request popped up from David Venus, and I was like, This is interesting.
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Claire: Now I'd clocked David at yoga class. You couldn't not like. He used to arrive on a motorbike and then there was very few men in our yoga class at the time in the Buddhist centre. And so you just would clock him. He always had a suntan. Nobody knew why. You know, it's like this mysterious character. But I also knew he was married. So it was like for me, okay, like, there he is. He's married. So it wasn't something that I'd ever sort of considered. I hadn't like clocked him in that way. Like in a romantic way. I was like, There's a guy who's coming to yoga with a suntan and a motorbike. And anyway, so this friend request came in and I just freaked out. I was like, It's a man. It's a married man. Like a married man at yoga is requesting to sort of, Oh, Facebook and what do I do? And then so I sort of thought about it a bit and I was like, okay, like, it's fine. Like married people have boundaries. It's all fine. Like, it doesn't mean anything. It's okay. So I accepted it and then I think sent him a message just like a nice Yogi, you know, boundaries message.
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Claire: And then I went to see Jambo and I was like, This has happened. What does it mean? He's married. He went, He's not Claire. Like the marriage has broken down. He's going through a divorce. And I was like, this, like this changes everything. So. So as I then went back into the yoga class and then he was there, he kind of gave me this smile and I was like, Oh my God, this is my like, this is my person. Like, I, I it was honestly like a movie. Like, I just saw him and he saw me and we were like, This is it like, this is this is, this is happening. So we went backwards and forwards chatting on Facebook a little bit. There was no kind of chat about what was going on with his divorce or his marriage or anything. That obviously is kind of a really heavy topic and very difficult. And so it was just light yogi chat and it was a lot around where he was at in his life. He was working over in the Indian Ocean and on the big cargo ships as security. He'd been in the Marines and he'd found yoga. You know, I'd found yoga, we'd both found Jambo. So we ended up sort of practising together. Jambo had this group of us that were kind of quite advanced in our practice that he called his angels. And so we were like the Jambos Angels. So we were kind of in that space and we just fell in love, you know, We went on dog walks and we just fell in love. And it was just all incredibly beautiful and and an incredible shock. Like I just wasn't expecting those feelings and those energetic connects at that point. But it was all because I'd done the work of writing down what is it that I want from a relationship? And then so I recognised it as soon as I saw it. And it was. And it was that.
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Hannah: Okay. I know this is like. Totally off topic, but I have so many questions.
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Claire: Yeah. Okay.
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Hannah: How long were you single before you met David?
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Claire: So I'd been. I'd been in a relationship for about three years, and we'd lived together and that had broken down maybe a year before. And then so I was dating, but sort of. I just found that a whole online dating sphere just alien and quite odd, and I just couldn't really find any connects like I could sometimes find like a quirky friendship connect. But I was still in this place of like, trying to understand how somebody presented themselves online. And then when you met them, how that wasn't at all who they were. Like, it just it was just making me trip out. It was just a lot to, like, get my head around. So yeah, so probably for around about a year, I'd like to say maybe a little bit less. Maybe about a year. Yeah. I remember at the time I had my own flat in Heaton that I was renting and I was in the process of buying a place on the river side. So it was around that. And so when I met David I had the place on the riverside. So yeah, yeah, about a year.
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Hannah: Okay. It's that whole thing of trying to work out what it is you actually want that's so fascinating.
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Claire: And I think, yeah, society tells us a lot and our past experiences tell us a lot. But when you're in conversations with your soul on the regular, you know, when you've got your yoga practice and you're doing your journaling and you're in meditation, there's a whole lot of different sparks and experiences that are almost otherworldly to the world that we've been living in. It's like a breaking open of self and you're like, okay, this is this is something totally different. This is like putting everything down that we might have learned or society might have told us about relationships and getting to the real crux of what is it really about? And actually, you know, a lot of what we were doing probably wouldn't have been acceptable by, you know, maybe like other people in my life, like a divorced man or what does it all mean and stuff like that. But obviously, because I'd written the ethics, none of that mattered. It was like, okay, well, none of that matters. Like, I'm just here and I'm here with this person and our souls have connected. So off we go.
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Hannah: Did you communicate that to him? Did you, like, go through your ethics, ethics and be like, this is what I want? Or did you assume.
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Hannah: Yeah, we definitely we talked about it and it was less about the ethics. I could probably find them, to be honest. I could send you them and it was less about what I'd needed, like in the person and more about what I needed in the connection. So it was about connection. Like I remember just writing about that and writing a lot about nature actually, like a lot of nature sort of came out because Jambo wanted jambos questions was like, How will you know? And that is a massive question and that's why it went back six times backwards and forwards, because it's a huge question. How will you know if all of your life you've had relationships with people and you sort of think, you know, and like you sort of have these connects and it's nice and all the things, but then it breaks down and things disconnect. Like if you only really know disconnect, how do you then know connect? Like, what's the difference?
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Claire: Hannah's just gone quiet there!
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Hannah: Like I'm speechless. But I think it's because.
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Claire: It's quite a story. Yeah.
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Hannah: Like, do you remember ages ago you said to me, oh write me the big dreams essay for your email newsletter that goes out.
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Hannah: And to be honest, like, you know, you're just busy with life and stuff and hadn't really thought about it, but now I'm starting to think it's because I don't know, like the conversation started last week on the podcast with Katie when I was house hunting.
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Claire: Okay, Yeah. Yeah. Read your email about that. Yeah.
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Hannah: And I don't know what I want.
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Claire: But then isn't it fascinating to ask yourself those questions if you don't know what you want and you're in this conversation with your soul and you've got your yoga practice. Maybe it's because you need to listen to what your soul wants more and what society thinks that you might like less. Maybe.
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Hannah: You do a lot of stuff on journaling, don't you? And journaling prompts.
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Claire: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. So I think that journaling has been a real it's been a real medicine to me. Like I've done it ever since I was a child and you know, lots comes out through the creative techniques that I use. So I'll use a lot of kind of big sheets of paper and coloured pens and lots of different ways and lots of different prompts. And I think when I had my children, especially in the early days, it was that tool to self-expression when I couldn't get to yoga class. So when I couldn't like connect to the medicine that I knew before and I had this new kind of intensity of motherhood, it was like, okay, like it's journaling again. Like, that is the space. So now I would like to blend more of the two and be more physical in my practice as well. My daughter is two and a half now, so I feel like I've got space for that, but I've kind of fallen out of the habit of the physical, so I need to get back into that embodied space as well.
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Hannah: And that in itself can be tricky.
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Claire: Yeah. Yeah. Roll the mat out. Well, I've got one behind me, so maybe I'll do some stretches after this. Yeah.
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Hannah: Yeah. When I spoke to Natalie, I went through a phase of being like, I can't sit on a yoga mat. And it was between the two trainings, so I just had a super intense two week period with Jambo learning, you know, to teach yoga. And then we had six months until the next one. And nearly that whole time there was this huge resistance to yoga. And I don't know why or what it was. I think because we went so deep, I was like, Oh my God, I can't even sit on a yoga mat.
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Claire: There's a there's a queasiness that bubbles up. Yeah. The first bodywork session that I had with Jambo, I felt sick for four days. So all of whatever was processed through that experience was just like coming out. And I just needed to sort of feel sick and like detox from whatever that was. And I think that's probably some of my resistance of going into back into forest yoga, back into that deep practice, because I've been through a lot, you know, like we've been through a lot as a family and in the last couple of years, well, in the last ten years, we have, but actually especially in the last two years. So I feel like just that kind of being gentle with myself and going, okay, like what is it like maybe I need someone's voice to guide me back in and maybe it's more about lying down than it is the kind of fierce flow of poses. I don't know. But yeah, I'm hoping that this summer is the summer to get back to some sort of, like, regular practice, if that makes sense.
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Hannah: Oh, I'd love to come up and practice with you.
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Claire: Yeah, that would be so nice.
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Hannah: And I've gotten to see dipping. How do you feel about that?
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Claire: Well, I mean, I could tell a story - we were on Warkworth Beach. So my husband is a yoga teacher. He had a regular class on Warkworth Beach just near us. And it was like a boiling hot day. And I'd gone down to do his class and everybody would go into the sea after, um, after doing class. And I looked at the sea and I felt my body and I was like, It's just not for me. And he was like, Claire, if you don't do it today, when are when are you going to do it? And it's not like I've not swum in the sea all over the world. I definitely have done that loads. But here in the North East, I just feel like, wow, that is not my space, that is not my medicine, and maybe that'll change and and maybe there's something that I'm frightened of in that. But no, I've never done it. Never been in the sea in the North East. Never. Not once. And Dave goes in nearly every week or, you know, he's cautious about it with his health and stuff. But yeah, he loves to go in.
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Hannah: Um. Well to be fair, I only did it for the first time on Saturday.
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Claire: Well done, though. Well done. How did it feel?
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Hannah: It was really cold, but I felt like insanely euphoric for about two hours afterwards. Yeah. So then I did it again yesterday and took my kids.
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Claire: Love it.
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Hannah: I think I'm going to go again today.
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Claire: What did you do to get warm afterwards? This is my main like resistance because I love the heat and I don't love the cold. What did you like? Did you have one of those, um, what do you call them? Those big towelling robe things? Or did you just get changed?
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Hannah: No. I've literally took a towel in a really big jumper so that I could get changed under the jumper.
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Hannah: But because you're cold from being in a sea when you come out, you're not cold.
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Claire: Right. That makes a lot of sense. Yeah. So you're not, like, shivering because of the experience you've had. You've had the experience, and then you come out into the warm. Oh, okay. That. I've never heard anyone explain it that way before. I like that. Yeah.
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Hannah: Maybe not true in January.
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Claire: No, no, no. And I love, all the stuff that's popped up around see swimming in the last couple of years, it's so inspiring that people are like, connecting to our north east coast in the way that they are. I remember going to Tynemouth like 15 years ago or something, and it's all about the surf sort of community, isn't it? But now I bet if I went, it would be like loads of sea swimmers and stuff. It'd be so different.
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Hannah: Everybody's got a dry robe.
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Claire: Yeah, the dry robe.
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Hannah: They just walk around. Walking the dogs in them. You know?
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Claire: Yes, I've seen it. I've seen it. Actually, here on the school run. Someone wears one for the school run. And I'm like, that's interesting. Is that lovely and warm? Because, you know, I'm obsessed with warm.
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Hannah: Because it's lovely and warm. Yeah. The whole thought of it for me has been a bit like, Oh, everybody's doing it now. But then I've done it and I'm like, that's why I felt weird about it because I knew I was going to love it.
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Claire: Yeah, right. Okay.
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Hannah: I was judging my future self.
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Claire: Yeah. Yeah. What that would be. We've got a cold plunge pool outside, so me and Dave obviously massive on wellbeing and all of our wellbeing practice. So we've got this cold plunge pool outside. So when you come up and we meet in person, you'd be welcome to plunge. Or we could just pop to the beach. See how you feel.
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Hannah: That fills me with dread but yeah. I definitely felt really good afterwards. And when I put it on my stories yesterday, a friend of mine messaged and said it releases more endorphins than a line of coke.
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Claire: So for those hedonistic days, we can actually revisit it through sea swimming. Okay, love that.
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Hannah: I know. And apparently a line of coke lasts ten minutes, whereas this last 2.5 hours.
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Claire: Wow. I'm like, oh, that might explain why I'm already addicted.
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Claire: Yeah, already up for it. Yeah. No, that's amazing. Yeah. Gorgeous. And what an opportunity mean. It is just beautiful living by the coast, isn't it? We've got sea views from where we are, like from the yoga studio and it's just incredible. I just love it.
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Hannah: Gorgeous. So that probably ties nicely into What the hell is the slow lived entrepreneur?!
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Claire: I really resonated with what you just said there about like, everybody's doing it. So because my background is in creative producing, so I've been a creative producer since I graduated and it's difficult because lots of people don't know what that is and because it's project to project, you end up like feeling like you're a chameleon trying to kind of explain what you do and then post pandemic. Um, I really wanted to kind of step more into the online space and kind of find my creative voice and teach other people about that as well. So I started doing that and all of the creative producer work was alongside that. My commissioned work was alongside that. And I had this month in my business that was like a £12,000 month. Now I'm not like boasty about money in any sort of way, and everybody's got different reference points about money. But to me that was absolutely incredible because that was about £10,000 more than I usually earn in a month. And I realised I'd stepped into a new space that was kind of combining all of my skill sets and allowing me to show up in a multi-hyphenate way while still working part time living this life by the sea, bringing up my daughter who's just two, and my lovely son who's eight and it feels like it's a bit zeitgeisty at the moment to kind of connect to a slower paced life. And I was like, This is just my life. Like this has been my life for as long as I can remember. I've always worked part time. I've always been freelance. Well, since 2008, I think 2008 was the kind of the real change for me. And I felt like I just wanted to articulate that as an invitation. So the slow lived entrepreneur thing is an invitation, really. It's there at the top of my Instagram because I want people to go, What's that like? Like, what is that and what's that about? It's definitely not an aesthetic. Like, I don't feel like I'm particularly good at Instagram in the way that you're meant to be, you know, with kind of churning out content around video and reels and like loads of photos and stuff. I'm just like, there, showing up like, mindfully and kind of trying to express who I am and what I do. And I just really hope that that connects as an invitation to other people to think about life in a different way. And I just feel like with society the way that it is and the pressure and I felt this more I don't know whether you connect to this. Since my son started school, I feel like him going into that little society every day and what that feedback is like has reminded me of like what we're taught, you know, what we're taught around achieving and happiness. And when you get to this, then you'll feel like this. And I just want to just throw all that away, really. And, you know, not in a kind of like bonkers, like, um, put the whole of society down and sort of be amad hippie on a hill. Like don't mean it like that. It just mean in a really embodied way that like, shakes up change, change for anybody that's seeing it and kind of curious about what it is and what I am.
00:21:00 - 00:21:35
Claire: And I know that for me, having an online presence is multi-layered and complicated. And that's why I think I was really, you know, really happy to have some chats with you because I was like, Look at Hannah. She's got this online presence and she's got this podcast and that's so exciting and amazing, and I think it's been a real craft for me. Like I've had to really learn what it means to show up online and what parts of myself I'm really comfortable with sharing and how that lands with people. And that's been a real, a real journey since sort of 2017. I think I started my Instagram account.
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Hannah: Yeah. Oh, it's honestly fascinating because, um. I mean, I know everybody does this and they probably look at maybe me or you or other people online and go, Oh, I'm sure they don't. But it's just that going online and as soon as I'm in, like, I want to connect with people through Instagram, but when I go on Instagram, I get totally overwhelmed and that feeling of like, I need to keep up so-and-so is doing this or someone else is doing that. I'm not producing good enough content, I'm not getting good enough engagement, all that kind of stuff. And you really have to just put it down.
00:22:18 - 00:23:52
Hannah: Yeah, you kind of have to get those horse blinkers on. Don't you. Like I love horses, they're one of my spirit animals. And I just feel like, okay, like it's just about this whilst also staying connected in heart space to how everybody else is trying to do the same thing. And some people will be at different stages and some people will have some of the skills and opportunity of like that kind of platform raising. So, you know, originally for me it was like, Oh well, okay, like when I get to 10,000 followers, I'll have that swipe up thing. I don't know whether you were like doing Instagram then when it was like, We've got to get to 10,000 because then you can put links on and that changes everything about your business. And then all of a sudden they let you put links in your stories. And I was like, Oh, well, I don't have to do that now. And I probably didn't have to do it anyway. But I was telling myself I had to do it and I had to learn it and I had to understand whilst also trying to understand what connects with people and what do I want to say. And actually like going through all of that mad imposter syndrome that the internet makes you have when you're first starting to kind of carve out space for yourself on it. So yeah, I think also, you know, like we were joking about like having our first little coffee date together and love that. And I feel like a lot of the time in the early days of Instagram, I'm mistook connection on Instagram for genuine connection. And I was really hurt. It was like, oh no, the, the no, they're not really asking me that. They're asking me that because that's a comment. And that means more, you know, when you just like realise it all and you're like, this is hideous. What is this like, I can't do it.
00:23:52 - 00:23:58
Claire: And so don't do it. Don't do it. I just do it the way that I want to do it. And that feels really good.
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Hannah: But I find. That that lots of the comments are genuine.
00:24:07 - 00:25:47
Claire: Yeah. Yeah. For you I reckon. Because you'll have cultivated this beautiful community. And I think for me, when I was first starting out and I was genuinely interested in what other people were doing with bigger platforms, because it was fascinating to me, that's when the connect wasn't real. So if I ever say, for example, met some of those people in real life, which I did, and I was really excited to meet them and chat to them, and then we chatted about something and then I would follow up and like give them all the things that we chatted about that they'd asked for, but then they wouldn't stay connected. So either they wouldn't follow me and I'm like, I'm really not about the followers, but there's like, is there a, is there a genuine connection or not? Like, what is this? What? Like, what is this? I don't get it. So yeah, I feel like those experiences were good for me because I understood at a deeper level everybody's playing a different game on there. And actually when you want to connect with community like you do and like I do, it's not a game at all. It's just like an extension of self. It's an extension of you. So I did a few like little ads and stuff in the early days, you know, even though I've got a small account, like I was like, Yeah, I can absolutely do that. And then I was like, okay, like, I don't have to keep doing that. Like, that was fun and nice to try and felt like a really nice, like, fun thing. But it doesn't have to be the way that I show up there. So I just kind of strip that back and went, okay, well what is it now? And reflect every three months on all of the aspects of my business. So that could change again, you know, I could be like, Oh yeah, I'm up for doing some whatever on there. And I just think having these creative platforms on whichever one you choose is a gift, isn't it? It's a gift of the modern age and we have to kind of embrace it the best way we can.
00:25:49 - 00:26:02
Hannah: Yeah. Definitely. And I think it really depends on how you make your money, because when you're a person that loves to connect with other people, yeah, it can then feel really icky about how you actually make money.
00:26:03 - 00:26:44
Claire: Yeah. That the balance of it all and hoping that people will come along with you and understand like where you're at with that and being transparent about all of that. Like I don't mind at all buying through people's affiliate links. In fact, I love that. Like supporting a small business is like, Yeah, just I just love to do that and I'll actively seek that out. Like if I've been looking for something, I'll be like, okay, like who might have a link about that? So yeah, I think that that space is really important and it's really important that people feel supported in that way as well and can continue to do that work because that is that slow lived entrepreneurial spirit. Like if you've got those links, you've taken the time to set up those links and you've got your community that want to use them. That's great, isn't it?
00:26:44 - 00:26:56
Hannah: Yeah, I think that's right. I think it's just reframing it and being like. You have to make money. And this is what I love doing and hopefully the two things can meet together.
00:26:56 - 00:26:59
Claire: Yeah, I think so, for sure. Yeah.
00:27:00 - 00:27:20
Hannah: So you when I look at your, you know, you've got your substack, you've got your online courses, you've got your Instagram and you just seem to have like 20 fingers in lots of different categories. Do you want to like talk through some of the things that you're working on at the moment?
00:27:20 - 00:30:33
Claire: Yeah. And I think it just circles back to like being a creative producer. Like Jambo always used to say, you're such a spider. Like, you're always weaving these webs, like and you're done with that web. And then you come and you'll do a weave or another web over here. And I really loved that analogy in that connection, because that is, that is my creative practice. So all of my work is co-created. And what I mean by that is I create it with the communities that I work with. So traditionally I've always worked with children and young people, and then in the last couple of years since I had my daughter, I've pivoted to show up more in a space for mothers, show up more in a space for creatives and like do more mentoring, like 1 to 1 work. But one of the projects I wanted to mention today was a project that me and my husband are doing together. So we have very different working styles. And when I was setting up the funding bid for this project, I was like, Oh, right, okay, like Dave will do these parts of it and I'll do this, these parts of it. And I think after ten years together, I've got it right. But I don't think I could have done it even five years ago with him. I would have just been so frustrated. So it's called the Soil Web and it is a community garden project. So we've got an allotment garden space which is opposite our house. We live in an Ex-mining terrace. So traditionally, 100 years ago, the miners would have had allotment gardens and shared produce and all that sort of stuff. So there's some of that culture that still exists here is like stepping back in time. If you're local, then you'll know. Beamish Basically, we live in like a real life Beamish and it's beautiful. So the soil web is about making compost, but it's also about connecting people to the earth. So all of the wellbeing work that my husband does has got this kind of deeper level of physical connection to self, but also connection to the earth and connection to Mother Nature and what we need and what we need to sort of detox from and all of that other stuff. So for him, like he's been geeky about composting and worm hotels since he did his permaculture design course seven years ago and there was this opportunity through Creative UK and the Rural Design Innovation Fund to look at ways to do something different in rural Northumberland. So that's what we're doing. So we've got a series of worm hotels, we've got a partnership with a local cafe where we collect their coffee grounds and fruit and veg scraps. And then we've started the process of working with the community to see how they want to make soil for their allotments, but also for their gardens. So we're going to have an online toolkit and then it's going to be woven into retreat days here. So if people want to come practice yoga with Dave, do sea swims, they'll also be this element of like riding the electric bikes up to the cafe to like get the coffee grounds coming back, learning about composting, taking some worms away if they want, whatever. And so we're at the beginning stages of that. And um, it's a relatively short term project, but that will just kind of be embedded in the fabric of what we do here. And so my part of that is kind of working with the artists, working with the film makers, writing the copy, designing the online toolkit. Dave's is like geeking out about soil and worms and like all of the stuff surrounding that. So he's writing about that on his substack and then I'm doing the kind of the other stuff that kind of packages it all up, if that makes sense.
00:30:33 - 00:30:38
Hannah: Wow. That's absolutely mental.
00:30:38 - 00:30:39
Claire: I know
00:30:39 - 00:30:44
Hannah: So you've written to somebody, got the funding for this. How long is the project going to take?
00:30:44 - 00:32:49
Claire: So this this kind of research and development part of it will come into the end. So probably like by mid-June that bit will all be sorted. So we've got like a research survey out in the world and we've kind of worked out what's the best system for our space. But what we want to do is like advise people for their spaces through the tool kit. So that will be kind of ongoing. We'll just put that out as we've got as, as we kind of, yeah, as we kind of learn it and we've got it. And then we are looking at the allotment garden space and this kind of retreat idea and this kind of this sensory garden, really. So we've been working with the gardener to kind of explore what it means to come and spend time in an allotment garden. Last year we had a ten person teepee up with a log burner in the allotment garden and it honestly was absolutely incredible. So I did like my 1 to 1 mentoring in there and my friend Zoe at postpartum matters and I did circles together, women's circles and it was just the most glorious space for like journaling and being in creative. And when people came to it and would kind of like in this, it's not a big garden by any means, but they were just in this secluded space where they could hear the birdsong, they could listen to the wind and they just could really connect to that. Like, Oh, there's no noise. Like there's no other noise, there's no traffic, there's no having to like be pulled in a different direction and do lots of things, I can leave my phone somewhere. So we know that it's possible. And I guess that's what we're passionate about, that you don't have to go off on like a big expensive retreat. You can totally, if you want to, to connect back to yourself. Like you can connect back to yourself in really small ways. And so, yeah, so it's bubbling up what might be possible. But we're working with an architect and a gardener around what we could design as a kind of permanent space in there. So a bit like our yoga studio, but different somehow, and I don't know more than that at the minute. So we're just we're doing that and hopefully that will be built by kind of next spring. So we're on that sort of timeline with that part of the project.
00:32:50 - 00:32:52
Hannah: Oh my God. So that's, did you say it was called Soil Web?
00:32:53 - 00:33:03
Claire: Yeah, the soil web. Yeah. Yeah. So I'll send you the link where people can sign up for more information when we're ready. But yeah, we're just we're just on with it really, And it's just going to. Yeah, it's just going to be a strand of what we offer here.
00:33:04 - 00:33:14
Hannah: Lush So, yeah, you are an expert in fundraising. I know you did a online. Kind of online course thing recently about it.
00:33:14 - 00:36:34
Claire: Yeah. It was a master class. So this this is the thing about the opportunities on the internet. So I bought into a course platform when I did my pandemic project Creativity Island for mums and I will share some of the links around that. But that was a very sort of time limited like pandemic inspired me having a baby in a pandemic like and weaving all of that personal practice side into like showing up for what the community of mums out there needed. So I bought this course platform for that, and then I was like, Oh, this course platform does quite a lot of things. What else does it do? So masterclasses were the other option, and I was like, Well, let's just see. So in March I hosted my first masterclass, which was around Substack because I absolutely love Substack as a platform. I love it as a communication tool, I love it as a community tool. So I wanted to sort of share that knowledge. And then, you know, you sort of show up on Zoom and it all connects and it emails people beforehand and was like, Oh, it's like magic. So then I thought, okay, well what other masterclasses could I teach? And I always get asked about fundraising because people are like, That can't be real. You can just apply for money to do things. And I'm like, Yeah, yeah, that's real. That's what I've done all my career. Like, so I know it inside out. I know the funding landscape inside out, but I realised that not everybody does. And I was like, Oh no, you can all do this. Like, what do you want funding for? What do you want sponsorship for? What do you want to do? And it connects to all of that big dreams bit of the picture, which I'm super passionate about because I feel like. Now is the time. You know, we've got the tools at our fingertips. Like, what do we want to do? What do we want to share with the world? So, yeah, it really connects to all that vision board stuff and all of that kind of soul whispers and that quiet ambition that we need to really tune into to hear properly. So, so that was the funding one. And yeah, I think my next one is a bit dry. Project budgets. That's on Thursday. If anyone wants to do magical project budgets with me, but I'm just going to kind of keep going and see I'm just it's that test and adjust and that co-created space. And with my 1 to 1 clients, they give me all the ideas. They're like, Oh, could you like teach me about this? Could you do this? So yeah, so that that's a really lovely part of what I can offer. And I mentioned Substack there. And I think for me that's been the other big breakthrough the last year or so. So I started last April. I moved my monthly newsletter. I used to only send one newsletter a month Notes from the Sea. It's called, Um, and I moved that over in October and I've doubled my mailing list. It's still a really small mailing list relatively, but I just love it. I love showing up for the community there. I love reading long form, I love taking, you know, I just have Instagram, but I take Instagram off my phone for what is it like five days a week now? So I just do Instagram a couple of days and then put it down and I'm just on substack and I just yeah, I just love being a writer. I just love writing and kind of going, Oh, like this is something that I've always wanted to do and but I didn't think my writing was good enough. I didn't think I had, um, enough education, enough writing craft practice. But actually everything's encouraged on substack. And yes, it was started for writers, but we're seeing like huge shifts in the way people claim that title as writer now. So yeah, I'm just super passionate about it.
00:36:34 - 00:36:35
00:36:37 - 00:36:40
Claire: Get Hannah on Substack, get Hannah on Substack.
00:36:41 - 00:36:44
Hannah: You know when you're like, how many new things do I need to learn in my life?
00:36:44 - 00:37:47
Claire: For sure. And I think that's the thing, isn't it? And so for me, because I run a course called Creative Content Club, and one of the reasons why I did that is because there are so many things that you can show up for. And the content club is about you designing your spaces to show up. So I tried TikTok for a while, like a year ago. I was like, okay. But honestly, it was making me like, just scroll the Internet like a mad person. I was like, What is it doing to my brain? And it's just there's nothing wrong with TikTok. Tik is TikTok is amazing. It's funny. It's got all the things on all that, but it's just not for me. Like, it's not the platform for me. And I don't feel like I'm missing out by not being on there like Facebook as well. I'm just I'm I've got a presence on there, but I just literally go on twice a week for one of my commission projects and that's it. So for me, I think it was about putting stuff down and showing up in a way that felt good to then show up for like the two platforms that mean something to me, which are Instagram and Substack.
00:37:48 - 00:37:52
Hannah: And I think that's key, isn't it? Just going, what? What's actually going to work?
00:37:52 - 00:38:34
Claire: Yeah. And sometimes I think people have a team behind them, right? So they've got a social media team. So like we were saying at the beginning, you see these kind of like larger accounts or like bigger influencers or however they want to describe themselves bloggers. And they actually have a plugged in team that support all of that for them. So I did try that last year. I tried working with a virtual assistant and I just learned so much about myself through that process. I was like, This is just not me yet, and it might not ever be me, but right now this doesn't work. So I think that there's always an option, isn't there, to be on every platform and have that level of support. But you would need a team like you probably need a person for each platform if we're honest.
00:38:35 - 00:38:47
Hannah: I think if you're going to do it properly, like I was reading something the other day about Instagram, someone had, it was a substack thing. I think I'd signed up to your substack and then it's like you have to join so many others or something.
00:38:47 - 00:38:47
Claire: Oh Okay.
00:38:48 - 00:38:53
Hannah: I don't know who they were, but it randomly came through and it was like about Instagram. Is it worth being on it anymore?
00:38:54 - 00:38:55
Claire: Oh, okay.
00:38:55 - 00:38:59
Hannah: And she'd done She's got an online course all about it. And she said fundementally.
00:38:59 - 00:39:01
Claire: Oh I think it was Sarah Tasker. Yeah, yeah.
00:39:02 - 00:39:25
Hannah: Like fundamentally the only way you're ever going to make it is if you enjoy it because you'll constantly be trying new things and coming up with new ideas and engaging with people. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's a funny one because I've been on TikTok as well and I've just been a bit like, I think if you've got any form of neurodiversity, tiktok is really stressful.
00:39:25 - 00:40:05
Claire: Yeah. Stressful. Yeah. I find it hilarious. And also I was seeking out content where people were like jet washing the drives. There's lots of people that make that. And I was like, This is lovely. You know, like that snake in the Jungle Book was just totally hypnotised. By jet washing drives and like, organising cupboards and I was like, okay, this is just a phase. It's fine. But in consuming content, like, how can you hear your own voice? Like it's just if it's entertaining, that's one thing. But like me and Dave loved to watch MAFS so like, we'll watch MAFS and like, that scratches the itch. This is like so entertaining. The psychology is fascinating. Like we love the format of the show. It's not connected.
00:40:06 - 00:40:08
Claire: Married at first sight, Australia MAFS
00:40:08 - 00:40:16
Hannah: Oh, I was like, What do you watch?! I thought you meant M.A.T.H . And I'm like, I don't get why you love algebra.
00:40:16 - 00:40:26
Claire: No, no, no, I definitely don't. I'm quite good at budgets, but no, I don't love maths and no married at first sight Australia. We've watched it for years. It was like a pandemic find.
00:40:26 - 00:40:28
Hannah: Only Australia ?
00:40:28 - 00:40:29
Claire: Yeah, yeah, yeah,
00:40:30 - 00:40:32
Hannah: I only like the aussies, I'm not interested in anyone else.
00:40:32 - 00:41:02
Claire: Honestly it's because of the fantastical locations. The fact that there are so many differences depending on where they've been, you know, where they've lived and where they've been brought up. Like there's just, there's so many interesting clashes and like interesting connects and there's some love stories and I just love it. I love it. So that is my definite downtime. And I'm not ashamed to say that sometimes we put it on in the afternoon when my daughter is sleeping and we're just like all sit like a little family just watching an episode. It's lovely.
00:41:03 - 00:41:12
Hannah: Oh, but you know what? That's mindful in itself because you're invested in it. It's not just, Oh, what is the internet going to put in front of my face?
00:41:12 - 00:41:12
Claire: Yeah, Yeah.
00:41:13 - 00:41:17
Hannah: I am choosing to watch this thing because I'm already invested in the people.
00:41:17 - 00:41:44
Claire: Yeah, yeah. Just love. I love love stories. Like, that's why I was, like, so keen to talk to you on the podcast as well because I genuinely like, I guess I've just always loved love. Like I've just I'm from a my my childhood, my parents divorce. When I was very young, my mom and stepdad then divorced, like I've had like a pretty rocky time of understanding all of that. So that's one of the reasons, obviously when I met Dave and he was going through a divorce, I was like, not this again.
00:41:44 - 00:41:46
Hannah: Not you, you're wrong.
00:41:46 - 00:41:58
Claire: Exactly, exactly. Um, but yeah, so yeah, if you don't, if you, if you've never seen an episode of Married at First Sight, please just have a look because it is joyous. It is so joyous.
00:41:59 - 00:42:01
Hannah: Oh I have never watched it and.
00:42:01 - 00:42:10
Claire: I just think you'd love it. You'd love it. You can, you can watch it with someone as well. It's like one of these where it's nice to like go, Oh, what do you think? And all of that sort of stuff. It's nice.
00:42:10 - 00:42:16
Hannah: Oh, So have you always been like the way you are now as you were growing up? What kind of kid were you?
00:42:16 - 00:44:00
Claire: Yeah, like pretty um. I was very creative as a kid, so there's a lot of kind of storytelling with my toys and all of that sort of stuff. And like the journaling I've mentioned, like I was a, I was big into reading, so I used to read every night until I couldn't keep my eyes open. Um, and I feel like when I kind of grew up and understood more about who I was in the world, it was really interesting being from quite like a small village and having those kind of, um. Those kind of doors just close to me. So I remember sitting with a careers teacher and she was asking me what I'd like to do with my life, and I said, I don't know how to explain it, but I just feel like I want to work in the entertainment industries because that entertainment industries was like a box and that had sort of been spat out in a form that I'd done or whatever. And she said to me, and I always remember this, she said, That's really interesting, but not many people make it or able to work in that industry, so you'll need to have a backup. So what else do you want to do? And I was like, nothing. You know, I just literally was like, No, no, Like that's what I'm doing. So it was an interesting conversation because I kind of heard myself for the first time and I was like, okay, so if if there really isn't anything else that I know about that I want to do, like I've really got to find a path to make this work. And I just knew that I wanted to use my creativity in a job and I didn't know anything other than that. So yeah, it was like a yeah, it was like a deep knowing, like, this is what I'm doing. So I don't know where that came from. I don't know why it existed in the way that it did, but I just followed it and then, yeah, I'm here now, so yeah.
00:44:04 - 00:44:24
Hannah: I think I have exactly the same feeling, but. I think I'm probably still there and I'm still like, right, want to use creativity in my job, but I still don't know what that is. And because I was good at maths and science, I ended up going down the route of engineering.
00:44:24 - 00:44:27
Claire: Wow. Did you? I didn't know that. Wow.
00:44:27 - 00:44:29
Hannah: I've got a first class degree in civil engineering.
00:44:30 - 00:44:30
00:44:31 - 00:44:41
Hannah: Yeah. And I worked at the university for maybe three years. But it just, you know, don't even know what civil engineering really is. I couldn't tell you now.
00:44:41 - 00:44:42
00:44:42 - 00:44:54
Hannah: It's interesting that you can go to uni and it's so theoretical that when you come out you're like, I'm still not really sure what I would do, but I think it is a lot of just project managing.
00:44:54 - 00:44:55
Claire: Okay. Yeah, yeah.
00:44:55 - 00:45:03
Hannah: Research and that kind of thing. And so I think there is actually a lot of space for creativity.
00:45:03 - 00:45:09
Claire: Yeah. Yeah. It sounds like, it sounds like getting hold of something and like, seeing it through to fruition.
00:45:09 - 00:45:11
Hannah: Yeah. Yeah.
00:45:11 - 00:45:14
Claire: Do you do any of that then? Now?
00:45:14 - 00:45:28
Hannah: I would say the only thing I do with my degree is make really great Lego and Train Tracks. Excellent. Really good. On a beach. Yeah. Make really fun like waterway systems.
00:45:28 - 00:45:30
Claire: Wow. I love that.
00:45:30 - 00:45:40
Hannah: I do think the the practical side of. Like seeing something from the beginning to the end is quite an engineering way of thinking.
00:45:40 - 00:45:56
Claire: Yeah, and you can just kind of get hold of it as well. Like when you describe being on the beach there, like my experience of being on a beach is like I'd sit and stare at the sea a lot. Yours will be like, okay, like, let's just sort of get some bits and yeah, dig a hole. Yeah, yeah. Love that.
00:45:56 - 00:46:04
Hannah: And I normally get all the kids involved and I'm like, Bring your spades, right? You dig over there. So I quite like to project manage things. Yes.
00:46:04 - 00:46:04
00:46:05 - 00:46:06
Hannah: A bunch of kids on the beach.
00:46:06 - 00:46:54
Claire: Yeah. Yeah. So we're probably quite similar in that way, in the way that our brains can see. Okay, like this is a way through. So like obviously with the soil web, like completely created that project like I have with lots of different projects before. So create the project, like bring in the people to make it happen, work on the project, evaluate the project, do another one, you know, or keep kind of doing that one. Yeah, it's interesting, I think, and I think project management is really creative because you have to think on your feet and you have to work out what are the best moving parts to make this vision like come to life. So if you've already got a vision for like a big structure on the beach and then you bring in all the people in, you might not know exactly what it's going to look like, but in the end it's like a fabulous thing and everybody's having a lovely time.
00:46:54 - 00:47:00
Hannah: Yeah, definitely. I think my problem though is I don't really like finishing. I'd love to start.
00:47:00 - 00:47:01
Claire: Okay. Yeah, yeah.
00:47:01 - 00:47:04
Hannah: Seeing it through to the end. I'm, like, bored halfway through.
00:47:04 - 00:47:59
Claire: Oh, that's interesting. Yeah. I feel like I've definitely had some of that in the past, like, and it's when it's been, when I've taken on too many projects. So my 1 to 1 mentoring is called Inspiration Island and it's based on this framework of trying to fathom out how many projects you have at any one time and what feels really good. And then also visiting these other islands of Wellbeing Island and Inspiration Island so that you can stay connected to both your wellbeing and your inspiration because they can be things that we put down just to kind of show up and do the work. And then we wonder why we're sort of like falling out with ourselves or we're bored or, you know, other things are manifesting, like we can't sleep or we're worried or anxious, and often times it's because we've just forgotten that wellbeing is like fundamentally important to who we are as people. But so is inspiration. You know, like if you don't feel inspired, it's like, well, what we're doing it for, you know.
00:47:59 - 00:48:18
Hannah: 100%. It's great tool. So. To me. From the outside, it looks now like you're kind of living your happily ever after. Do you think that when you're a kid, this is what you saw?
00:48:20 - 00:51:06
Claire: Oh I love that question Hannah. I just think that's it's so difficult for me to answer. Like, I want to say yes, like wholeheartedly. I want to say yes. But at the same time, like I guess that it's not Disney. Like in the end I did my dissertation on Disney, so it's interesting that I should sort of reference Disney, but at the end of Disney, like it's the wedding, isn't it? Like it's the wedding. It's the kind of connection of the people, the couple like, that's it. And actually the practice of being with someone and being in the thick of motherhood, it's intense, you know? So to sort of understand that as a child, I just think you don't like you've got your kind of little reference points, but you're just in your little bubble of like creating sort of fantasy worlds. So then when you're actually in it as an adult and you've got to make it work, you've got to show up with your partner or your husband every day and make it work like. Yeah. Guess. Yeah, it is happily ever after. But I think that it's only that in moments, you know, like sometimes I'll be, like, on my way upstairs to take Dave his cup of tea. Like, if he's having like, a particularly difficult start to the day. Like that's not, not happily ever after. Like, that's still a beautiful act of service that's going to make him feel better just by like that. Having that kind of connection of someone kind of coming in and and seeing him. But it's also not what I would have seen as a child because I just didn't have any of those reference points to like what deep love for somebody is not really, you know, I didn't I didn't really understand love, I don't think until probably until really recently and probably until Dave got sick. You know, you say in your wedding vows in sickness and in health. And we did in 2019. But I didn't mean it. I didn't know what I was saying. I was just saying that because we've written these beautiful vows and they made a lot of sense, like we wrote them ourselves, but sickness to me was just like, Oh, well, you know, you might get a flu or, you know, you might, you know, break your foot or something. Like, I didn't realise what sickness is and what I was saying, like what I was saying out loud and what everybody was witnessing around us in our wedding. Like I had no clue. I just had like an incredible party and wore an amazing dress, you know, like did that did have the that was the that was the Disney finisher, you know, did that did create an amazing wedding at Brinkburn. It was it was incredible. It was like a beautiful, beautiful experience on so many levels. But, um, there's more beauty than that. Like, there's more beauty on, on the deeper levels, I guess. And, and, yeah, I mean, I've, I've sort of stumbled to answer you, but I feel like it's so complicated, isn't it, to answer that.
00:51:07 - 00:51:28
Hannah: I think the problem with the whole idea of Happily ever after is it's like, you know, in a book, you know, you're going through the chapters and in one chapter there's. The wicked witch or I say that as if it's a because that's a horrible concept in itself, because I'm a single woman living on my own. Is that me?
00:51:29 - 00:51:30
Hannah: I've also been astepmother.
00:51:30 - 00:51:32
Claire: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
00:51:32 - 00:51:45
Hannah: You know, um, but. Yeah, so there might be an ogre or there might be, um, a beautiful moment between two characters that had misunderstood each other. Like, those are the. It's just snippets of time, isn't it?
00:51:45 - 00:52:20
Claire: Yeah, it's snippets of time. And you're taking the reader on a journey, aren't you? Whereas actually life is really different to that. Like I've got into reading memoir the last little while, and that is like something else. Like, I know that you've interviewed Caro on the podcast, my friend Caro, who I live really close to, and like her memoir, like changed everything in me. Like I could cry, like speaking about it. I literally couldn't speak about it. And we had to do an event together. And I was like, How am I going to get ready enough for this event with this incredible person because.
00:52:20 - 00:52:27
Hannah: I didn't sleep the night before, after reading the book, I was like how can I even interview her? Like,
00:52:27 - 00:54:12
Claire: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Because, because she's an incredible human. But she also has articulated a load of stuff that I need to process like. And that's what the exchange is, isn't it, between a brilliant writer and the person picking it up at that point in their life. So that feels to me now like if I'd had some of maybe those influences as a kid when I was ready for them, maybe in the teenage years or something, like I used to read point horror and point romance and stuff as a teenager, but even that, like it just feels like maybe we don't give like children all of the kind of aspects of what adulthood is and can be. And we're obviously trying to do this beautiful job of curating their childhoods for them. But sometimes and my son's been amazing with this, like, you know, we had conversations about whether his dad might die. Like that's literally what we thought was going on when Dave was really sick, like nobody could help. And so for him as a seven year old, to have to have those conversations with us, it was really, really tough on us as a family. But we couldn't do the other thing where you just keep it all from him because we thought it was going to lose his dad. So it was like, okay, like we have to pick this up really gently and we have to try and articulate it with him at the same time as being like devastated and confused and angry at the system and like everything else that there was. So it's interesting in terms of this is the like and I fully believe that this is the life that we've been given and I surrender to all of that. You know, I'm here and I'm wholeheartedly like open to it and living it. But it doesn't it's not the same happily ever after that I think I would have thought of as a kid. No, no.
00:54:16 - 00:54:18
Hannah: No. That's so tough.
00:54:19 - 00:54:20
Claire: Yeah. Yeah.
00:54:21 - 00:54:29
Hannah: I don't even you know, there's bits and pieces with the divorce where I just totally fucked it up with my son in particular because he's older.
00:54:29 - 00:54:30
Claire: How old is your son?
00:54:30 - 00:54:32
Hannah: He's ten now.
00:54:32 - 00:54:33
Claire: Ten now. Yeah. Yeah.
00:54:33 - 00:54:39
Hannah: And it's just. Yeah, it's really hard communicating these really tough things because you just want to protect them.
00:54:40 - 00:56:36
Claire: You do. Yeah, you do. You do. And then at the same time, you want to be like an authentic human as well as a mother. And I think that was where I realised because I was trying to mask so much from him, like it was confusing to him and I had to actually work it through and then be able to like sit with him and talk to him about things. And it was really interesting and it's interesting how he processes things. And I think with them being pandemic kids, there's maybe this is different from when I was a kid because they'd already lived through a pandemic. You know, they'd already like been told you can't see your friends. Like his very essence was completely broken during the pandemic because he was an only child. So he literally had two adults that were self-employed and still trying to do their work. And he was here at home and all of his little buddies on the back lane, that all just literally the rug was pulled overnight. And so it was like, wow, he'd already been through so much. And his I hate this word in some ways at school use it a lot. This resilience, especially for a neurodivergent kid, had already built up to such a point that when we spoke about Dave's health with him, he was like, okay. And he had quite practical questions around like what would happen and what would life be and like would we have to move like. Would I meet somebody else. You know, there was there was some quite interesting questions that I never could have kind of prepared for. There were just like things that he as he was processing what was going on, wanted to ask. And and now we've moved past all of those conversations. And sometimes he's just a bit curious, like, where's Dad? Oh. Well, he needs to have a rest and then he doesn't even say, is he okay? Like he just goes and then, you know, cracks on and sort of goes on the trampoline with his buddies. Like he's just a very like, there's loads of acceptance, I guess. That life can be a bit up and down like that.
00:56:37 - 00:56:39
Hannah: Wow, what a lesson to learn. At such a young age.
00:56:39 - 00:56:41
Claire: Yeah. I know.
00:56:41 - 00:56:48
Hannah: Because I think the hardest thing is managing transitions and potential change and just not knowing.
00:56:48 - 00:58:01
Claire: Not knowing. Yeah. And just being like, as you know, you're the version of self that you can be with them and that, like, kids need a lot of reassurance, don't they? So since I had my daughter, like my son like acts out a bit sometimes and like sometimes, you know, we'll be in Dave will joke and call him teenage Billy like he's alter ego but you're like, Where's where's my little son gone? Like what? Like what's happened? But he just needs more love. Like, if I say, Do you want a cuddle? He'll always say yes. And it's super interesting because he's not he's not one for like so much physical touch. But actually that's what he needs. He needs that physical touch and that reassurance in his little body. And then off he goes, you know? So I think it's really interesting. And I think like having like grown up around divorce, I don't think you'll have fucked anything up. Like, you know, you showing up as you is like all they want, Like they just want you to be you. So it's not there's nothing. You can always replay it, can't you? And think, oh like, you know this kind of tumbled out in the wrong way or got angry about this or said this, but we're not living in a pantomime of kind of goodies and baddies, are we? Like we're just fundamentally flawed humans on lots of levels doing our best.
00:58:01 - 00:58:40
Hannah: Yeah, that's it. And I love what you say there about them needing touch because I think especially like I guess it's the stereotype of little boys, you know, they're just taught to like man up and say, those are big things that I've really made sure I do with Ruben. You know, he's ten now, but I found the years of like seven, eight, nine were really tough. Like he really struggled to. With lots of things and couldn't articulate what it was. So what did make sure I did. Because he didn't really want me hugging him or touching him is every night when he's here. I read him a chapter of a book.
00:58:40 - 00:58:41
Claire: Oh, yeah.
00:58:41 - 00:58:51
Hannah: Just so that we have that connection. And, you know, if we're watching telly, we try and sit with him, because otherwise he's like, Get away from me. I want nothing to do with you.
00:58:51 - 00:58:51
00:58:52 - 00:59:00
Hannah: So I'm like, Well, we're going to bed at eight whether you like it or not. So I will read to you now, or you can just go to sleep because sometimes I don't want to. I don't want it.
00:59:00 - 00:59:36
Claire: Yeah. And it's hard, isn't it? Because you've got a kind of like be firm with those boundaries, but like, I feel like we've got to, like, practice that every day. It's like I said to him last night, it doesn't change. It's the same every day. Like, we've got to try and get you to bed, otherwise you're too tired and I'll be waking you up for school. And was I waking him up for school this morning? Yes. And so it's just holding those boundaries, isn't it? And holding within the boundaries as much love as you possibly can and as much honesty as feels like appropriate, because at the end of the day, they can only process what they can process. They're just they're kids, aren't they?
00:59:36 - 01:00:38
Claire: So yeah, it's not like shying away from the big topics, but then also kind of being mindful that they can pick it up and put it down a lot easier than we can. And I think that's it, you know, now. And when I met Dave, the divorce was just like, you know, big red flags going off like, Oh my God. But that was my childhood stories like that wasn't living in the moment. Like that was like, I couldn't possibly, but I couldn't possibly because that child was so wounded from those experiences of just looking for love, like, Oh, that's all I wanted. And and just for context, like I don't have a relationship with my birth father, I never have. So that looking for love like I'm a parent missing, like, so. Whereas most people might have two parents to show love like I just had the one. So you're constantly looking for that in like ways, other ways like trying to find it, but it's because you've never had it, you know, it's, it's complicated. It's a complicated thing that I only figured out through therapy, to be honest.
01:00:38 - 01:00:49
Hannah: Yeah. And I think especially if it's, you know, the male that was missing to then go on to do I want a male in my children's life and can you trust them?
01:00:49 - 01:01:33
Claire: And yeah, then it's back to that pantomime baddie thing isn't it? So I think that for me it was like I could only pigeonhole my birth father as that and I could only pigeonhole my stepdad as that because, you know, as the flawed parts of the sort of human experience were playing out in front of me, that felt like that's the easiest way to cope. Okay? Like that's just a bad person, like a bad person does these things and therefore you don't need them in your life. So it's very black and white, but that's my childhood way of dealing with it, I guess. So not every child would deal with things in that way, but that was the way that I did. And I have a lot of compassion for that little girl. You know, she just. She just did her best.
01:01:33 - 01:01:53
Hannah: Yeah, exactly. All you can do. So I mean you were mentioning Caro's book there, but do you have a book that you feel like I have to read. Like a book that like changed your life or really like, I don't know, gave you a completely new perspective?
01:01:53 - 01:02:40
Claire: Yeah, I think I've always been quite, um, into self-development books. And I read The Power of Now in my 20s and I pick it up every few years and I think that is the book really like I was thinking about this when you sent the questions through. I think Big Magic is another one of my go-to's by Elizabeth Gilbert Yeah, I adore it. And again, it's the sort of book that I would pick up again and again. And we've just been on holiday and I actually reread, um, one of Brené Brown's books that's on my Kindle, The Gifts of Imperfection, I think it's called. And I think these, these, these were like, we don't need more, like, I don't need more books. I just need to go back, like circle back, read Power of now again, even eat, Pray, love. Like that story of romance. You just need reminding.
01:02:40 - 01:02:40
Hannah: Oh maybe I should read that again.
01:02:40 - 01:02:50
Claire: Yeah, read that again. And um, yeah, it was a total cliche and actually read some of it in Bali like
01:02:50 - 01:02:50
Hannah: Stop it
01:02:50 - 01:03:08
Claire: I did. I did Yeah. So yes, I think, I think that kind of permission to circle back and also like I'm excited about memoir, I'm excited about reading memoir, but I think I'm also realising that it stirs up a lot in you. So yeah, like, yeah, being cautious about it as well.
01:03:08 - 01:03:14
Hannah: Mixing in a little bit of light-hearted rom com. Yeah.
01:03:15 - 01:03:24
Claire: Yeah, for sure. Watch a disney movie. I mean, watch Frozen with my daughter. Most days she's obsessed. So we've got, we've got all of that space as well. It's nice.
01:03:24 - 01:03:50
Hannah: Yeah. Good. Oh that's wonderful. Okay. To end because this has been a nice, juicy, long one. If you could give someone like Guess, it's kind of like your rules or the boundaries that you set for yourself so that you can live a slow life. What would you say would be your tips for somebody trying to get into sort of space that you're working in now?
01:03:50 - 01:04:00
Claire: Yeah. And do you feel like people would want to know about slowing down, being more conscious, like doing work in a different way? Which which direction?
01:04:00 - 01:04:19
Hannah: Like what if So say, for example, um, I was speaking to Josie Baxter about how to be healthy and she has like three things that you need to do as a minimum every day. And one is drink three litres of water, do you 10,000 steps and get 8 to 10 hours sleep.
01:04:19 - 01:04:19
01:04:19 - 01:04:25
Hannah: And then at a minimum, do those three things. So it's that sort of vibe I'm going for.
01:04:25 - 01:09:45
Claire: Ah I get it. Yeah. No, like that. That's lovely. Um, so I think for me it's about routine and routine is something that I would say like is only really happened in this latest chapter of my life. So maybe like the last five years, I understand the importance of a routine for me and for my wellbeing and how it influences my work and my creativity. So in the mornings I tend to get up before everybody and I have at least an hour to myself, drink a coffee, I write and I go and let our chickens out. So we've got pet chickens. So I'll go and let our chickens out and I check on my plants in the greenhouse. And that collection of things that I'm able to do and I'm only able to do this now that my daughter is a bit older and we're in summer because I'm, you know, I'm really charged up by the sun, I wouldn't be able to do this in winter. Um, but this summer routine has really kind of given me that space to feel like I'm heading into my day and I'm heading into my week and I'm feeling very aligned. I feel like I've taken care of myself. I feel very happy to kind of stride forward into my day. So definitely the routine. If it's not a morning routine, it might be like a Night-Time routine for someone, but just having something that is like the same nearly every day and and that works to help you feel connected to yourself. And I think the second one, I'd say, is about thinking about things differently. So I think in the conversation I have kind of talked about thinking on my feet and kind of trying new things and haven't been afraid to do that. But that's come from like a place of, um, like a whole career of trying new things and seeing what happens if things don't work, but also kind of snuggling up to curiosity, like, what if I try this? So with the Masterclass on Substack, it was like, Well, what? What happens if I try this? Like, shall I just try it? And if it doesn't work, it's not a big failure. Like, it's just I tried it and it didn't work. And actually it did work. And it was my most successful kind of product that I'd launched. And that's probably because I've had some practice in that. So it was like, okay, so yeah, curiosity around trying new things. And then also I think collaboration in the right way would be my third thing. So I feel like there's this whole I don't know whether it's toxic, but it's not real messaging around incredible women that are doing incredible things but they're not doing it on their own. Like, we don't know what, you know, what backgrounds people have had, what starting life people have had, both financially and both through kind of security of like their tribe and their family and all of that sort of plug in. We don't know what sort of teams that people are employing. There's a lot of showing up on the Internet that looks like it is just them. And because of the industry that I work in, I work in the cultural sector as well. I know that those people have teams of people behind them on every single level. And so acknowledging that, but honouring that, we can also bring in people that we want to bring in. So I've got a podcast about to launch called Company of Two with my friend Laura, and Laura lives in Surrey. I've never met her, but she said, you know, do you fancy doing a few podcast episodes together? What would it be? And we've created this space, but then we decided it was bigger than us and it was about community. So it's being balanced and business and motherhood and it's a substack space and like interactive magazine for mums who are mainly in the early days but want to find other people to kind of vibe off and connect to and like ask questions to. Because on the outset, social media has given us this impression that we're all just pulling it off. And actually, you know, there's so much other stuff like we're all maybe being sort of a collection of lovely swans swimming together. Fair enough. But actually there's so much that's happened both in years gone by and both behind the scenes as well. So yeah, I think that kind of seeking out collaborations that feel good and seeking out co-creation, that feels good as well. So the people that we're working with on the Soil Web project, there were a couple of new people that have not worked with before, but there are some people that have done quite a few projects with now and I'm like, I love working with them. This feels really good. Um, and then something can be bigger than the sum of its parts. So I think just being able to kind of go, okay, if the vision is this big, who's going to help with the vision, you know? And I guess that's the last strand really, isn't it? Like if we're doing these vision boards and like feeling connected to like those heart leap moments of, Yeah, I would really like to like, I think for you. You mentioned in your last email like, I'm writing a book, I'm really writing a book. It's going to happen. So if you're writing a book, who's helping? Like, what's the book about? Like, who are you working with? Who's helping you out? Like with your confidence with the kids, like with, you know, meals, like whatever it is that you need to write the book because we don't do things in a vacuum, do we? Like we as humans, like we want to be in a tribe. We're like fundamentally wired for connection. And that's why we've ended up showing up online, I think, as much as we have. Um, so yeah, hopefully that connects for people and, and I'm always happy to chat more online. Like I'm really, I love, like chatting online. It's just a lovely gift isn't it. A lovely space to be.
01:09:46 - 01:09:55
Hannah: It is. You're so good at doing it. Like just finding out people and connecting with them. Like just getting messages from you and be like, Oh, there is a human out there.
01:09:55 - 01:09:55
01:09:55 - 01:10:05
Hannah: Sometimes you can feel really isolated and you're like, I really want to share and I really want to connect, But it doesn't always get a response.
01:10:05 - 01:12:03
Claire: Yeah, like sometimes if you put something out there and like, you're looking for that, aren't you? And I think last year I was really lonely in my commissioned work, so I have a commissioned piece of work, um, the plug on my laptop and I have a commissioned piece of work called the Culture Northumberland Project, and it's Northumberland County Council and North-East Cultural Freelancers Commission. And I was doing it all, but I just felt like I couldn't really like hear anyone else's thoughts other than mine because I've got this Facebook group for it. But it was just sort of crickets. I was like, Nobody's really responding to anything and it feels weird. And I just set an intent to like get more connection for that work and then just unpacked what that might look like. And actually some of it was like WhatsApp voice notes with, with a colleague and a friend and another bits of it. And it's now like a project. You could go along to one if you wanted is co-working. So just like free co-working spaces in cultural venues. So it was recognising that I felt something and I felt a disconnect then going, okay, like what am I going to do about it? And, and it feels much better. Like it feels much better for the people who have kind of turned up to co-working. But also the Facebook group is like a lot busier and people are understanding how to use it. And I think we've gone through a bit of like burnout, haven't we? And maybe this is to do with the pandemic where there was a lot of online opportunity and then people sort of kind of put bits of it down and we're like, Oh, no, it's too noisy or I can't, or they're not really talking to me. Like, I genuinely was wanting answers to these questions on the group, you know, wasn't just sort of posting them just for fun. So yeah, I think just constantly questioning that kind of space of like connection, like what is it? Maybe it's not an Instagram post, maybe it's a voice note with my coach, like who's amazing? Sarah Radd. She's so good and she's, you know, she's really good with me as well. Like we're kind of colleagues as well. But I do book a professional coaching and sometimes it's just knowing, isn't it, where to, where to put a thing.
01:12:04 - 01:12:15
Hannah: Yeah, that's really interesting. A perspective on like so what does connection mean to me? Because actually, since, you know, I went through a period of being like, is anybody out there?
01:12:16 - 01:12:16
Claire: Yeah. Hello?
01:12:18 - 01:12:26
Hannah: And then all of a sudden, as I've started, just it's the sharing the day to day stuff that now I get people messaging me all the time and I'm like, oh.
01:12:26 - 01:12:30
Claire: Yeah, yeah. The stuff that people can connect to.
01:12:30 - 01:12:36
Hannah: Yeah. Um, so it's just working out what's what. But yeah, honestly, thank you so much for today.
01:12:36 - 01:12:37
Claire: So welcome.
01:12:38 - 01:12:45
Hannah: Lovely to actually finally chat with you and yeah, you've got such a calming presence.
01:12:46 - 01:13:04
Claire: I feel like we've just gone so deep. Like I've kind of had an out-of-body experience because I've been so vulnerable like in my chat. But I just feel like I just really wanted to be open. And so I came in with that intention and I've gone to some quite deep places there, but I'm super happy to have had the conversations I think they're important.
01:13:04 - 01:13:19
Hannah: Yeah. I think it's really easy, especially on Zoom, to be like, Oh, we'll just cover these things. But at the end of the day we're just two mums trying to get on and have a career and, and have connection with people however that is.
01:13:19 - 01:13:21
Claire: Yeah. So yeah, for sure. Yeah.
01:13:21 - 01:13:22
Hannah: Thank you so much.
01:13:22 - 01:13:23
Claire: Thanks, Hannah
01:13:23 - 01:13:24
Hannah: Thank you.
01:13:28 - 01:13:51
Hannah: Thank you so much for listening and I'll see you next time for another episode of Happily Ever After with me, Hannah Harvey. It would be wonderful if you could leave a review and subscribe. And of course, if you've got a friend who might enjoy this episode, then please do pass it on for anything else. You can get in touch with me through either Instagram @Mumsdays or through my website. Mumsdays.com.