We were thrilled to get the chance to chat to Clare Grogan. From 80s pop starlet to ‘Gregory’s Girl’ to poster lust icon for Sci Fi Geeks, it seemed like Clare had done it all. Except fulfil her dream to be a mother. After heartbreaking failed IVF, Clare and her former-bandmate-now-husband Stephen decided to adopt; and life has seemingly never looked rosier. In fact, Clare is now a patron for the BAAF (British Association of Adoption and Fostering) and Clare describes her latest children’s novel as ‘a love letter’ to her gorgeous daughter.
The latest novel – titled ‘Tallulah on Tour’ and released on 6th April – follows on from ‘Tallulah and the Teen Stars‘ and tells the story of fifteen year old Teresa as she takes her band on the road. Peppered with words of wisdom, but written in pure teen-speak, this one will definitely resonate with your little lady (and the illustrations are beautiful too).
Clare: Actually, in some ways I found it easier than my husband because I am quite used to being scrutinised, having spent all my working life in a public arena. So answering very personal questions is something I’ve done quite a lot of over the years in interviews and having my work reviewed and critiqued…I think it’s important that they take the time to get to know you and it’s only right they ask you some probing questions which although its tricky it seemed to both Stephen and I appropriate. After all it’s precious little lives that we are dealing with here…
SM: Is it still very rock and roll ’round your house?
Clare: No – I am such a little sister in fact. I am the youngest in my family and I LOVE having big sisters.
Clare: Elle loves to sing and loves coming to work with me…she has come on filming trips, helped with props at Theatres I have been working in and stood at the side of the stage refusing to wear her ear guards at gigs. I just hope Elle finds something she is passionate about and works hard at which is what the whole Tallulah thing is about. Chase your dreams is what I love to tell all kids! t’s not about being famous it’s about being fabulous at whatever you do.
Clare: I think X Factor is a great entertainment show but I do worry about how harsh the experience is for some people. But, I just love the idea of kids being in garages or bedrooms or community halls playing instruments and having fun and seeing where it takes them…it’s not all about having that big belter of a voice.
Clare: I felt completely bewildered by the comments that Domenico Dolce made…in fact I was horrified at the word ‘synthetic’ and the whole attitude he expressed. apart from anything it was horribly unkind. Not buying Dolce and Gabbana won’t be a big problem for me!
Ali Burlingham is former Aquatics Manager at WaterBabies – the baby swimming lessons which have thousands of parents, including celeb SM Fearne Cotton, ‘splish splashing’ with their little ones – and she has now launched a new ‘sister’ venture called WaterBumps.
WaterBumps is an aqua fitness regime aimed to help pregnant women prepare for childbirth and get back into shape afterwards through gentle but effective workouts in the pool.
Currently regional, but with plans to expand nationwide, find out more at http://www.waterbumps.co.uk/
Many of our team’s own little ones were or are avid Waterbabies and we were delighted that Ali agreed to chat to us…
How did the idea for WaterBumps come about?
Ali: During my time as an Aquatics Manager at Water Babies I was challenged to keep ahead of the competition by thinking centred around other areas we could develop into. Lots of other competitors and swim schools were already doing 4-7 year old swimming lessons, but no-one was looking the other way!
As a practitioner of pre/post-natal reflexology, and having attended pre-natal yoga classes throughout my pregnancies, I started researching how we could break into this market. In the summer of 2012 Paul and Steve took the leap of faith (based on my research) and in January 2013 I became the Head of WaterBumps, a new and exciting role developing a new franchise business in pre and post natal water-based exercise classes – WaterBumps!
Most of 2013 and the start of 2014 saw us complete a feasibility phase where there was strong evidence that this market is untapped, especially in the water. An outstanding piece of internal market research (20% of the Water Babies client base – 8,000 clients) also proved to us that this market has great potential. Therefore the business modelling phase and programme trials were done and are now completed!
At the start of July 2014 we appointed a Business Development Officer, Penny and we relocated the Head Office of WaterBumps to Bristol. Since being here we have built the brand of WaterBumps, finished the website and on the 15th September 2014 we launched the first ever WaterBumps – WaterBumps Bristol & Bath. This is a company-owned franchise that I run with the assistance of Penny.
Can one do WaterBumps at any stage of pregnancy/post partum and does one need to be a good swimmer?
Ali: Women can join our ‘before birth’ classes after their 12-14 week antenatal check right through to due date. Our ‘after birth’ classes can be joined either once a woman has been medically signed off – 6 weeks after a normal vaginal delivery and 10 weeks after a caesarean as the recovery time is a lot longer, or any time after they have had a child – this can be years after too!!
No women do not have to be good swimmers, all our skills can be tailored for them to have their feet on the pool floor, we don’t ask anyone to go underwater or do anything that they feel uncomfortable with.
As you are currently regional, is there one ‘taster’ exercise you could share with us to try at our local pool?
Ali: Push and Glide – as soon as you are pregnant you don’t and can’t lie on your tummy and lots of women miss this. This skill is a great way to glide across the water on your front and give your body a full stretch. Stand with your back to the pool wall, with shoulders under the water. Place arms out straight in front of you holding a float. Bend your knees and gently push forward by pushing your feet either off the pool floor or the wall behind you. At the same time really stretch your arms forward and straighten your legs once you have started to glide. Sometimes you won’t go very far – this is more about getting the full body stretch rather than reaching the other side of the pool!!! It’s lovely and very relaxing, our mums-to-be really like this skill after a long day.
Are you running WaterBumps courses for would-be-instructors as well as for new/expecting mums?
Ali: Yes, as the business grows we will be training teachers through on the WaterBumps teacher training course which will include the brand new ASA Level 3 qualification that we instigated, designed and developed with the ASA (National Governing Body for Swimming)
And – we had to ask – is there any singing involved…?
Ali: Hehehe – not in WaterBumps classes – the peace and quiet of the classes is exactly what our ladies want – time to bond with baby, stretch and tone, as well as relax and switch off!!
Ali – we hope the new venture goes ‘swimmingly’ (and without any Happy Nappy accidents!)
When Maggie Howell got in touch with us we whooped for joy. Amongst our team – despite the fact that I don’t think any of our children came out ‘to plan’ as it were – we all loved her book and cds on Natal Hypnotherapy and generally regard her as a bit of a guru.
Maggie’s methods have aided a staggering 100,000 births and she has a network of practitioners who run workshops and classes. Her books and cds rank in the top selling on Amazon.
The anecdotes of her devotees (and Maggie herself, when she talks of the birth of her five sons) describe a warm, calm, primal, gentle birth – without any screaming, tearing or distress to the baby. (I hope Maggie won’t take offence but the image that springs to mind is that lovely scene in Julia Donaldson’s book ‘Tabby McTat’ where the cat calmly produces kittens under the bed..!)
So we obviously had lots of questions for Maggie – who, interestingly didn’t come from a background in midwifery but in fact was an international sales executive – and you can read her words of wisdom below:
Celebrity trainer and gym empire owner Matt Roberts told us about his luxe retreats – and some of them are family friendly!
Slick Mummy: At first glance your Retreats look like the chance to top up my tan or snoop on a celeb wedding… Will I actually get fit?
Matt Roberts: There are between 4 and 5 hours of structured training every day, so getting fitter is a guarantee. In fact, for some this might sound like a lot of exercise to get through each day, however the way each day is planned and orchestrated means that your body is being tested in different ways and different intensities throughout, making sure that you are stretching your ability but staying within the realms of possibility!
Slick Mummy: What made you decide to include the Retreats as part of your brand?
Matt Roberts: The demand and trend for fitness and activity based holidays is one that is growing rapidly. Clients have asked me to do these for years but I only wanted to do them when the time was right and I had the best venues available for the Retreats programme. This isn’t slumming it and eating basic food, this is being pushed physically, staying in a luxury surrounding, having first class service throughout and some incredible food. Only when it was a perfect offering was I keen to get the service out there, and now it is ready so we are pushing ahead at full speed.
Slick Mummy: How did you choose the locations?
Matt Roberts: They are places that I personally like to go to and that I have tried out many times. Whenever I travel I exercise hard, and wherever I am I am always thinking how great the venue might work for a group. So I have picked the places that I know work well, and there are more to come too!
Slick Mummy: Are the fitness programmes tailored to the venues…? How does working out on a Retreat differ to in one of your clubs?
Matt Roberts: The programmes vary venue to venue based upon the setting, facility, environment and climate, however the basic structure of each day remains similar in format, with the same approach to the overall timing and scheduling of the day. The Training itself is comprised of many of the approaches that you would get in my clubs, it simply provides us with an extended time each day with each client in which to get even more work done. This concentration allows us to get some great results in the Retreat and gives the client a massive boost in their programme once they are back home again. Clients all say that the effect on their body when they had returned home was amazing and that the results just keep on coming!
Slick Mummy: You’ve been quite vocal about parents setting a fitness example to reduce child obesity. Are your Retreats family friendly?
Matt Roberts: Our retreat at Forte Village is certainly family friendly, there is a great kids programme of sports and exercise at the resort and the service is set up to allow parents to do the Training programmes and kids to do the sports and then meet up during the day at various points along the way.
Slick Mummy: You’ve trained the likes of Tom Ford and John Galliano, did they teach you anything about fashion in return..?
Matt Roberts: I’m sure some of what they said rubbed off!
Slick Mummy: We hear you’re a fan of photography/arts. Has anything caught your eye recently?
Matt Roberts: Yes, but unfortunately they weren’t for sale and even if they were I’m afraid the price might be prohibitive. The Picasso Museum in Barcelona has some amazing pieces and I’m particularly keen on the Blue period. Most people describe it as melancholic but I personally just saw a great deal of calm in them (probably something Freudian!)
Slick Mummy: And finally, do you have any vices..?
Matt Roberts: I always get asked this! I guess people would love to hear that I’m a secret choco/alcoholic!
No, sorry, I don’t! my answer used to be that I love a really great glass of Bordeaux or Barolo, however I stopped drinking completely a year ago, so even that’s gone! sorry to disappoint!
Visit www.mattroberts.co.uk/retreats for more information.