Textile Designer Lynda Shell has become a regular face at Little Otter Markets showcasing her fantastic collection of bags and accessories. Lynda's journey began at the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, in 2001 where she studied BA (Hons) Contemporary Textile Practice. She then went on to establish her own successful business, becoming a Member of the Makers Guild in Wales, whilst looking after her growing family.
Ahead of Mothers' Day on Sunday 31st March, I asked Lynda to tell us a little bit about her family and how she has found motherhood...
When did you become a Mum? Hattie was born in 1996 and is now 23, Freddie was born in 2007 now age 12 - so a big 11 year gap!
How has motherhood been for you?
I have loved being a mother, it is both the hardest and the most rewarding thing I have ever done.
Was it what you expected?
To be honest I didn’t have any preconceived expectations of motherhood I have always just gone with the flow.
What have been your biggest challenges?
I don’t think I have had one big challenge, every stage of a child’s development into adulthood and beyond brings a new challenge to face, you just deal with them as best you can and move on.
How do you find juggling family life and your own business?
Well it's not always easy but I somehow make it work. I think it's good for my children to see me work hard at something I feel passionate about, hopefully it will inspire them to do the same.
What advice would you give to a new Mum?
Trust your natural instincts to guide you, there are no hard and fast rules to being a mother, just do what feels right for you.
What do you enjoy the most about being a Mum?
The smiles, the laughs and the cuddles for sure!
To see more examples of Lynda's work, and to find out how to get in touch with her, please visit Lynda's directory page.
I first met Aquila Cook from Love and Lovelier back in 2013 when she applied for a stall at the very first Little Otter Market in Rhiwbina. Shortly after that, I booked on to one of Quil's workshops and had a go at making my own ceramic Christmas decorations. The workshop was a lot of fun and provided me with a chance to get to know Quil better.
Quil is amazing. Not only has she created a successful business from scratch but she has done this whilst looking after her two daughters Sasha and Erin, who both have Cystic Fibrosis. It is a daily struggle for her juggling their care and her business but she never lets this show on market days and her professionalism is flawless.
Ahead of Mothers' Day on Sunday 31st March, I asked Quil to share with us her journey in to motherhood and to talk about the challenges she has faced....
I became a Mum when I was 27 in 2006 - that took a bit of working out! We were living in Lanzarote at the time and the whole process of pregnancy and birth in a foreign country was not one I'd like to repeat EVER! So Erin who is now 12 was born in Lanzarote and then almost four years later Sasha was born in Wales.
I was about 20 weeks pregnant with Sasha when we found out that Erin has Cystic Fibrosis. In Wales CF is tested for in the 'heel prick' test in newborns. But every country tests for different things depending on what they feel is most prevalent, so it was un-diagnosed for three and a half years in Erin. CF is genetic, so there was a a 1in4 chance that Sasha would also have it. When she was tested after birth we found out she too has CF.
Prior to having Sasha I had a well-paid (but boring and un-inspiring) office job. I never went back after my maternity leave. I started a evening course in Ceramics just to get out of the house for an evening, and after a while I started looking for somewhere to sell my pieces, and Love & Lovelier has taken off from there.
CF is tough because there is a heavy load of daily medication and physio that needs to be adhered to. Erin takes about 40 tablets and 5 nebulised medicines a day, and Sasha has about 25 tablets and 3 nebulised medicines. Also Erin has regular in-stays in hospital for IV antibiotics. Each stay lasts about two weeks and they are every three months at the moment. Try holding down a regular job with all that going on! I've made L&L fit round this crazy life but it's still tough at times. There simply isn't enough of me to go round sometimes.
The best thing about motherhood is seeing your kids blossom into their own characters. Erin's really emotional and gets really excited about things and equally quickly gets anxious and worried. There are no grey areas with her. She is so kind and can't stand any kind of meanness or cruelty at all. Sasha is hilarious and will definitely be treading her own path. She doesn't care what others think of her and takes it all in her stride.
Advice for new Mums: whatever you think it's going to be like, it'll be much better and much worse. Get ready for a roller-coaster ride! You'll get through the bad times and wonder what all the fuss is about in the good times.
To find out how to get in touch with Quil, please visit her directory page where you will find all her contact details and more examples of her work.
April Liddell. Founder of Little Otter Markets. Lives a crafty life. Loves going for walks with her dog Betsi, listening to music, and eating chelsea buns.