Sunday 15 May 2016

Motivational Mum - Dina Maktabi

Kensington Mums is an award winning website connecting Mums in their journey through motherhood. We caught up with Dina Maktabi, a Mum of two and founder of Kensington Mums to talk about her business and how it all started.

Tell me about Kensington Mums and how the idea came about?

As a first time mum, I struggled a lot as I was the first one from my group of friends to have kids. I did not have family around and really found it difficult to transition in my new role as a mother. I realised there was a lot of activities for babies to do but not much support helping mums to cope with their 24/7 job as a mum. Kensington Mums was established in 2011 and has become an award-winning social media website connecting mums in their journey through motherhood. We organise ‘mumthly’ events and meet ups so that mums can connect, network and meet like-minded Mums. In 2014, we introduced the KM app as a way to keep mums in the loop with the local scoop. This is free downloadable app available on itunes and Google Play. We keep adding new features to the website and in 2015, we introduced KM recipes as a platform to share international recipes by our Mums as well as authors and renowned Chefs.

What were you doing before you founded Kensington Mums?

I was working for the NHS and private pharma in the oncology department.

What makes Kensington Mums different from any service out there?

Kensington Mums is a niche community of Mums, and a free to join network support.  All mothers want the best for their children, so we keep mothers in the loop with the local scoop.  We offer them support from one mother to another, we organise events and meet ups to connect liked minded mums together so that they do not feel alone in the early days and even years of motherhood. It is a journey after all that we all embrace together.    

How do you juggle running a start-up company & being a mum?

I am still trying to figure that one out! It really is multi-tasking as its best (sometimes in one hand). I do my work hours and meetings when the kids are in school and then I spend the afternoon with them with after school activities, playdates and homework. Prioritizing would be my top tip and get help at home whenever you can so that you can focus on other important aspects of family life in London.

What are the most crucial things you have done to grow Kensington Mums?

Kensington Mums has always been a free to join network support. We have never charged to become a member. Mums only pay to attend some of our events and meet ups and these have varied over the years.

Would you say Kensington Mums has changed from the first initial idea?

When I first started Kensington Mums, it was just a mailing list and a private Facebook Group. Fast forwards to nearly 6 years on, and Kensington Mums is now an award winning website for Mums in London and beyond. We have worked and collaborated with prestigious brands including Geox UK, Bulgari Hotel and Virgin Active Gyms just to name a few.

What’s the biggest lesson you have learned in business?

Just like in any business, it’s a learning curve, but as Mother’s its also important to also trust your own instincts when things do not feel right.

What’s the most difficult challenge you’ve faced so far?

As Kensington Mums was growing, the most difficult challenge was finding the right business partner to share my vision with and  also to find the ideal team to work with to grow Kensington Mums.

Were there any times when you’ve felt like giving up?

I have always run Kensington Mums from the heart, my kids are my biggest inspiration and they help me with my ideas and inspiration to grow Kensington Mums. I do not believe that I have ever felt like giving up. In the contrary, I think every country needs a support system like Kensington Mums to make our motherhood journey a bit more fun and exciting along the way.

What can we be expecting from your company in 2016?

We are organising lots of new and exciting events, make sure you are in the loop with details of our second Christmas Fair 2016 in Kensington bringing you lots of Christmas shopping and entertainment under one roof.

What three pieces of advice would you offer to other female entrepreneurs especially mothers starting out?

Do your research setting setting up your idea into a business
Expect lots of sleepless nights and your business will become a new baby to your family
Get advise and support from friends and family members who are able to help

What’s the most rewarding thing about motherhood?

It is a real blessing and ever lasting love. I have best friends for life.

What’s your favourite place to go as a family?

In London- this will have to be Holland Park. It is where I grew up as a kid and now raising my kids, making new memories to last forever.
Abroad- this could be anywhere together as long as there is sun, sea and good food.

What would your perfect weekend be?

It would be great if I get to squeeze a bit of ‘me time’ during weekends, but that’s always hard. Spending time as a family, even if its at home all cuddled up watching TV, its those kind of simple joys I enjoy the most. Having a lie-in the morning and breakfast in bed would be super perfect too.

If you'd like to take part our Motivating Mum interview, please email

Tuesday 3 May 2016

Motivating Mum - Jenny McLaughlan

Jenny is Mum to Maisie & Miller. Before having children she was  a pharmaceutical sales manager  and has since launched Gemious.  
Jenny McLaughlan, Founder of Gemious

Tell me about Gemious and how the idea came about?

It all started with my second baby, who unlike my daughter was a terrible teether. He would literally bite me in a frenzied attack to relieve the pressure on his sore gums. I had to have something to hand, to let him chomp on with ease. I ended up strapping traditional teethers to myself and wearing them. It then struck me… this could be a real practical solution to the problem, if only I could make it look nice and less like a toy around my neck… make something truly beautiful that to the lay eye would not look like anything other than a stylish bit of jewellery. After months of research Gumigem was born, soft flexible silicone teething jewellery – teething with style. Shortly after that we found the sensory community were buying our products and raving about them. They served this market well, as kids and adults with a sensory need to chew were fed up of chewing aids that looked like a disability aid. So we created the brand Chewigem and began to meet the needs of an older market who wanted something that did not make them stand out from the crowd but met their need to chew. Since then we have also branched into innovative kids clothes, with babygrows which have integrated outfits meaning you can just ‘babygrow and go’ and also ligting up Tu-tu’s . This brand is Moozels

What were you doing before you founded Gemious?

I was on maternity leave in 2010 with my second child from my role as a Sales Manager with a pharmaceutical company covering Scotland & NI. I was looking for something to supplement my income, as despite having a good salary, double nursery fees would leave us with next to nothing and no quality of life. All I wanted was to cover those nursery fees. When I returned to work I continued driving the business for another 3 years, working every evening and weekend after the day job was done. It was really tough, but I loved the challenge and began to realise I had hit on something that could take me far beyond my original aim. In Feb 2013 I took the scary decision to give up that job and focus 100% on the business.

What makes Gemious different from other products out there?

It’s a mum made and thought out product that really meets the needs of babies and the sensory market. We use our customer base to help us make decisions

and we employ people who like me struggled with work life family balance.

How do you juggle running a start up company & being a mum?

After juggling running a business, doing a full time job and being a mum,  running a business and being a mum feels like a walk in the park! However its still tough, its not like a normal job where the office doors close and the weekend is all leisure time until you return to the office. It's 24/7. I have learnt over the years to manage my time. I try to ensure when I am working on the business it gets my full attention and when being a mum I give them my full attention. I manage it most of the time. It does lead to odd working hours though. I work short school days and then most nights 7 days a week!

What are the most crucial things you have done to grow Gemious?

Social media has been key and involving our customers. Expanding across the globe and using experts to help develop our products to better suit the needs of the market.

Would you say Gemious has changed from the first initial idea?

The initial idea is still the core of the business, but it has opened my eyes to how much is possible and I now find my brain just works that way. We have so many ideas, the challenge now is time and money to bring them to market. But it is very exciting and we have a lot more to deliver!

What’s the biggest lesson you have learned in business?

Nothing just happens, many people say ‘you are so lucky’ but its not luck, its hard graft, when others are watching Eastenders or in the pub, I was working. I lost a lot of my social life in the early years and a good few friends along the way too. But my dream became big and I needed to follow it. The other thing I would say is picking the right people to work with. We have a truly exceptional team, and we are a real team. Without them we are nothing.

What’s the most difficult challenge you’ve faced so far?

Cashflow, just a steep learning curve in managing stock and cashflow. Not wanting to be out of stock of popular items but restraining myself due to cash in the bank and factory minimums means sometimes you have to be patient and that is hard and scary!

Were there any times when you’ve felt like giving up?

Honestly… never… my biggest fear is having to go back to a ‘proper job’. I work far harder for less money than I ever did, but my quality of life is now much improved. I don’t need a day off to see my children in a nativity play, if I am stressed I can just get up from my desk and go for a walk. Its given me freedom and choices and I would hate to loose that.

What can we be expecting from your company in 2016?

We have a really exciting new range coming for Gumigem, 2 more Bubba bags and a couple or really cool traditional teething toys and for Chewigem some really innovative products that we hope to get to market this year that will help us reach the needs of even more chewers.  For Mooozels we will be bringing outsome very cool and different bibs.

What three pieces of advice would you offer to other female entrepreneurs especially mothers starting out today?

1. Dream big it can be done
2.Social media is key to success at a lower cost than traditional printed methods. As a platform its incredible how well targeted you can be and what ROI you can get, take the time to learn it
3. Competitors will come, but don’t focus on them, for every second your looking at them you are not growing your business

What’s the most rewarding thing about motherhood?

Watching little people, grow, discover and become who they are meant to be.

You can find out more about Gemious at, @TeethingGumigem,

If you'd like to take part our Motivating Mum interview, please email

Friday 10 January 2014

Kelo-cote scar gel - it really works!!

As mothers we have all been there - you see it happening, you can't get there fast enough and next thing you are in A & E watching your baby's head being glued back together.

This is what happened to me this summer! I have three kids - a lively girl aged 10, a seven year old son who is a ball of energy & my almost five year old baby boy, a wee sensitive soul.  Having three kids you would think I would now be used to the many trips to A&E but funnily enough we have up until this summer been spared the misfortune.

What started off as a lovely family day out at London's SouthBank ended when my youngest tripped on a concrete, rocky verge and landed head first onto a sharp rock. I grabbed him and did what we have all been told to do, put pressure on the cut (this also meant I could delay the inevitable having to look at the damage!). When his head finally stopped bleeding we found ourselves in an ambulance heading to St Thomas hospital, with my middle son thanking the youngest for giving him the opportunity to ride in an ambulance!

His cut was a vertical line above his eyebrow and we were lucky to escape stitches & instead the wound was glued together. After the recommended five days, we took the stiri-strips off and surveyed the damage. The cut had now scabbed over but we could see a very obvious scar. Now I don't know about your other halves but mine, bless him, gets extremely particular with any bumps, scraps, cuts that are obvious to the eye on his children. As a result we have used everything from Bio Oil to some strange, unknown, completely untested Brazilian treatment but we never felt satisfied the scar had reduced!

This was until I gained 5 nephews & between them, my poor sisters have had numerous visits to A&E with many split heads. Without the slightest doubt they both immediately recommended Kelo-cote, which is a gel formulated to reduce scarring. My sisters couldn't say enough about this wonder gel and I set out to find it. Kelo-cote is not widely available over the counter at the moment but it is available online or through your local pharmacy as they can order it in for you.  I ordered it from my local pharmacy and I picked it up the next day. Kelo-cote comes in a 15g tube which is small but I used (and Kelo-cote recommend) a tiny amount on the scar every morning and every night. The gel is a very light weight, self drying silicone gel which dries quickly to form a sort of sheet over the scar. It works by forming a bond with the outer layer of skin forming a protective barrier against the scar allowing the scar to mature and improve dramatically in appearance.

I started using Kelo-cote on my son in August, we fell into an easy routine, applying it every morning after brushing teeth and every evening after brushing teeth. It is very simple to apply and does not itch or irritate when applied. Over the months we slowly noticed the scar reducing. We have used Kelo-cote for almost four months now and it is truly remarkable - the scar is barely noticeable, even my scar obsessed husband is impressed!!

It is recommended you use Kelo-cote for 60-90 days for the best effect and it can be used on any type of scarring from wounds to burns to caesarean section scarring and for any ages young to old.

The 15g tube is not cheap, it cost me £32 but it is well and truly worth the investment and four months on I am still using the same tube.  The results are beyond remarkable and it truly is the only scar gel I can hand on heart say reduces scars and restores confidence. I cannot recommend this product enough. Thank you Kelo-cote!!

So mums next time your beloved terrors have a fall, remember Kelo-cote the magic scar reducing gel!

To learn more about Kelo-cote, visit them on facebook, twitter and their website.

myHospitalBag has teamed up with Kelo-cote UK to WIN a FAB GOODY BAG (worth £55.98) containing Kelo-cote scar gel & Kelo-cote stretch
To win, click to post the answer on our facebook page
 What is the recomended time period to use Kelo-cote?
 a) 0-20 days
 b) 30-50 days
 c) 60-90 days

myHospitalBag has a Discount Code for readers to get 30% off Kelo-cote gel using code BLOGCOMP 

Thursday 7 February 2013

What was your NHS midwife experience?

Lily Allen has recently jumped into the debate surrounding the lack of midwife care at NHS hospitals.  Midwives are incredible caring & giving people but I do feel for them just now, they work so hard to help us and they are getting such bad press. 

We all know there is a shortage of midwives and it is such an incredibly important role but how many of you were 100% happy with the care you received in hospital pre or post labour?

I am afraid I will never forget the shock of my post natal care.... After a relatively long but normal first time delivery, baby Tami, myself & Wayne were happily relaxing in the labour room.  Unfortunately this happiness was shortlived when we were transported to the postnatal ward.  As Wayne settled himself in the chair by my bed, a scary voice announced "why are you taking your coat off and making yourself comfortable? It's 4am you are leaving."  "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAH, no, don't leave me" was my reaction.  Yes there were other ladies in my 4 bed ward, but surely if she was worried about noise, she should be sending the new babies home not the fathers??? Off Wayne went and left me on my own with no clue what to do.  While he slept peacefully at home, I panicked. When I asked the midwife if I should start feeding the baby her answer was "If you want to do it."  A smiliar reponse came when I had no idea how to change a nappy and asked for help.  Why I thought, did my antenatal teacher spend so much time showing us (with the help of a doll) how a baby arrives into the world, why didn't she spend more time teaching us the practicalities of what the hell do I do? So what did I do? Well I cried, disturbed Wayne from the last peaceful nights sleep he was going to have for awhile and moaned to everyone till quite frankly they couldn't wait to get rid of me and sent me home - yey!!!

With baby no.2 I was prepared!! I had heard due to bed shortages, you are kicked out pretty quickly, perfect! But no, they discovered I had Group B Strep and no matter how much I cried & complained I had to be observed for 24 hours.

However it's important to share the good as well as the bad and my care antenatally and during labour was fantastic!  With baby no.2 I was luckily enough to have the same midwife who'd seen me the day before at my antenatal appointment & who also happened to have been the practise midwife (in the days a surgery had a dedicated midwife) when I had baby no.1. How lucky was I to have such personal service courtesy of the NHS.  And following baby no.3's delivery, a familiar faced midwife (who funnily enough was named Posh!) who I remembered me from antenatal appointments with baby no.2 popped in to say hi and meet baby Ari!

So in my humble opinion, both antenatally & during labour midwives provide great care but why is it postnatally those gorgeous, warm, caring and friendly midwives lose their smiles and charm and turn into scary matrons?

I would love to hear your comments, especially if there are any midwives reading this, please chip in!

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Harper Beckham takes her first step

It has been splashed all over the newspapers today that Harper Beckham has taken her first step.  Now do we really care? Not really but let's be honest ladies, that voyeuristic side of us all took a sneaky peek at the article, am I right?  Now why did we look? Is it because we are all secretly fascinated with the Beckhams? Or is it because we are curious as to what age she is and if she's an early or late walker? 

I remember with my first child, ALL her friends were walking by 12 months and rightly so, all the mums were so chuffed.  Not my wee Tami, she started crawling at 6 months, how proud and chuffed we were until the crawling went on abit too long, actually 12 months too long and that chuffed feeling dissolved into frustration.  How I envied my friends who were able to lift their babies out the car and put them staight onto their feet or going to the park, all those gorgeous pink purchases, ruined at the knee - are the memories coming back, ladies? 

Post a comment to me and let me know your thoughts and in the meantime, have a read at the Harper Beckham article on

Ps. Tami finally walked at almost 18 months, not long you may say but after having ONE year of crawling, boy it's too long!!

Monday 11 June 2012

David Cameron leaves daughter in pub....

I couldn't believe it today when I read that David & Samantha Cameron left their 8 year old daughter, Nancy in a pub on her own for 15 minutes!  I know they have an entourage but how could they not realise she wasn't with them.  Funnily enough, I was discussing it with my sister who is also a mum, she made a good point - how could the minders not notice she wasn't there! Time to re-think the staff I think!

It got me thinking about when I was pregnant with my first child and the terrible fears I had about forgetting her, I pictured putting her car-seat on the pavement and driving off forgetting that she was still there, going shopping and putting the shooping in the boot and forgetting the car-seat with baby was still in the trolley!

Luckily, when my baby was born I always remembered her, but when it came to the 3rd baby.... well that's another story!!!!

Have a read of the Camerons story and I'd love to hear from mums if this sort of thing nearly or did happened to them

myHospitalBag, the perfect gift for a friend or family member, with 35 products packed into a gorgeous bag, it takes the stress out of packing your hospital bag and gives you one less thing to worry about!

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Why myHospitalBag ?

Isn't that euphoric feeling when you discover you're pregnant amazing? You can't wait to see your bump pop out, feel tearful the first time you hear the baby's heartbeat and laugh together over what to call your bundle of joy.

But as the months go on, the practicalities of preparing for a new baby become a reality. Which pram do I buy? Do I use Pampers or Huggies and aaaah.... what do I put in my hospital bag? How much do I take for me, for the baby, to hospital?

I went through all these emotions in the run up to my first baby being born. The minute my maternity leave began, out came all the baby magazines and I spent an indulgent day putting together what was to become know as my "baby bible". As the months went by friends started asking for my "baby bible" too.

It wasn't until after my third child was born that I decided to turn my baby bible into myHospitalBag.

myHospitalBag aims to make the 48 hour stay in hospital more comfortable for mum and baby during the labour and post labour stage. It contains over 35 branded & essential items, packed in a large stylish bag that you will enjoy using long after your baby is born.
Why not log on and have a look! At £85 including delivery, it's cheaper and more convenient than buying all the items yourself!

You can read more about myHospitalBag on facebooktwitter & on our website