As my little one gets older, I am finding myself wondering what I should do - should I go back to work, should I find a new career, or should I just focus on being a full-time stay at home mum.
Over the past couple of years I have met lots of mums living in the area, some with older children and who have faced similar choices. I thought it would be interesting to talk to mums who are doing some fun sounding things, in order to inspire me and other mums out there.
If you are a local mum (or dad) doing something you love and that fits well around family life, and would like to be featured here, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our first Inspiring Us... Marylebone local is Lillian Luk, who runs Shanghai Supper Club
Lillian sat down to talk to me recently, after having met when I ordered some delicious food from her. She runs a supper club and also classes, details of which can be found on the website linked above.
Lillian lives in Marylebone with her husband and 2 sons, having moved her 8 years ago. Having worked in the City for 20 years, and worked full time after having children she believed it was time to follow her passion and felt she was at a point that she could take some risks in life. With a love of food, she knew that she wanted to venture into the world of food in some way but did't have a clear idea of exactly what she wanted to do - just that it should be centred around cooking.
She started a take-out business supplying food locally (delicious - I can vouch for that!), then a supper club as well as catering . She is running a dumpling making class on 20th May, which sounds like fun too. The food is authentic Shanghainese, which is hard to find in the UK so provides a great opportunity for people to try some new flavours and dishes.
The idea she has is that this can be a hobby with income but is targeting it to become an alternative to a career. Importantly though it must fit around the family. She aims to work the equivalent of 3 days a week, 7-8 months of the year, which fits in well with the demands of a young family. 1 supper club dinner takes 2 full days of work, and she has help from her long-standing nanny who works in the kitchen with her while the kids are at school. The preparation is all flexible around the needs of the family so it is an ideal set up.
Lillian did say that she has found things to be harder work and more stressful than she initially imagined, but its a different feeling than corporate work. The offset is that she is doing something she loves and is passionate about. She pointed out that setting boundaries more clearly has been a key learning.
Since I have a fussy toddler, I couldn't resist asking about her experience with feeding her kids. She said that the children eat the same food as parents, and she encourages trying new dishes, flavours etc. Dumplings and soft tofu are hits with her children. Surprising things have been a hit sometimes, so its worth putting new dishes in front of children even if you think they won't touch them!
Lillian is following her passion, and has found something that can combine this with the needs of her family. I hope it inspires some of you too!