Our "March of Inspiring Mums" interview series celebrates women who are doing some amazing things, whether through business, a campaign or just being fabulous! - hope you enjoy the "March of Inspiring Mums" series!
Today we'll be featuring the lovely Amanda Overend who lives in Leicestershire. She's a mum of 3 boy (3, 5 & 7 years old) who also has her own business Books & Pieces, which specialises in discount books for 0-6 year olds - very appropriate given it's World Book Day on 1st March and World Book Night on 23rd April
1. Tell me a little about yourself and how you got into the job you’re now doing?
I first set up Books & Pieces when I was pregnant with my middle man. I’m a total bargain hunter and I love books too – I’d be at children’s events with my eldest and see people selling books at full price and I would know that if I went online or to the supermarkets I could get them at a discount.
It got me thinking about a developing business where I could offer really great books to parents at low prices. And after a lot of research I set my business up in 2012.
My first event was at a local table top sale that one man and his dog attended and I now sell at UK baby shows with over 20,000 coming through the doors. I’ve had two more babies since that first event, and the business has developed and changed quite a lot too.
I’d always run Books & Pieces alongside a permanent job in PR, but in December 2016 I left the day job to focus on the business and be around more for my children (my eldest two go to a small village school with no local childcare so they were being farmed off all over the place before and after school!). It’s been a steep learning curve, but I’m so glad I did it and I really haven’t looked back.
Tell me one interesting fact about you?
I’ve played international rugby for England.
Please can you share 3 tips for managing the juggle of motherhood, life and business?
I wonder if I’m really the best person to dish out advice, but here are some tips that I may (or may not, ahem!), always follow:
There’s no such thing as perfect
We’re all chasing the dream, right? And with the regular bombardment of images on social media showing all those super mums and brilliantly behaved children, it’s so easy to compare yourself to others and think what a cr*p job you’re doing, or that you’re never going to get where you want to be. But remember – most of these photos aren’t real. Embrace your own level of craziness and, if needs be, stop following those accounts that make you feel bad and stop hanging out with those people who make you feel like a rubbish parent. No one needs negativity in their life.
Celebrate the small things
I’ll be honest – my boys and their regular fighting, bickering, and failure to listen drives me up the wall. But when they’re not doing that, they have such a brilliant time together. I’ve started to take mental snapshots of all those special moments, and make the most of the time I have with them, so when they start to annoy me again, I can refer to the happy picture in my head! This works for business too. There’s often so much I want to achieve that I forget to celebrate what I’ve accomplished already. Regularly reflecting on how far I’ve come and what I have achieved rather than what I haven’t has been a real game changer.
- Make some time for yourself
I rarely get time to myself when I’m not working, but my husband and I recently had our first night away in what feels like forever, which was total bliss. And at the start of the year I signed up to an online exercise programme that I can do in my own time at home, and I’ve really loved it.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give a new mum?
Do what’s right for you. There’s so much information available to you when you’re a new mum, and everyone wants to give you a piece of advice, but it can often lead you to question yourself or think you’re doing a rubbish job. Listen to your gut, and you’ll usually find it’s right.
Colour can make a real difference to our mood - what’s your favourite colour? And how does it make you feel when you wear it?
I’m really into mustard at the moment – it goes with so many things and is a real pop of colour. It’s not a colour I’ve really worn much before, and I guess it makes me feel quite colourful, and vibrant!
What’s your favourite activity to do with your children?
I’ve got to say sharing books – not only do we all really enjoy it, but it’s one of the few times I can actually get my boys to sit quietly! We’re also really into board and card games right now.
And I love to get the kids outside too – my boys are so full of energy that they really need to be exercised every day…just like dogs!
What do you like to do for some me-time?
Exercise is my favourite me-time activity at the moment – partly because when I’m exercising I don’t really think about anything else.
And it will be no surprise that books are another way I like to escape; I love a cheesy chick lit but I’m a member of a local book club which has really expanded my reading horizon!
Thanks Amanda for telling us a little more about you and your business - managing a busy home life and a successful business is a true inspiration. Happy World Book Day!
Photos by Ursula Kelly
If you've enjoyed this interview, make sure you check out our other "March of Inspiring Mums" series here