Hannah Saunders, Big Fish Little Fish
Tell us a little about yourself?
I'm Hannah Saunders, Founder of Big Fish Little Fish. I live in Brixton which feels like SE London even if it does have a SW postcode! I have two kids - my daughter Winter (5) and my son Atticus (4).
What is your BFLF and why did you set it up?
Put on family raves - weekend afternoon dance events in licensed premises for families drawing from my experience as a seasoned clubber, festival goer and parent.
I needed to do something different with life after leaving 20 year central Government civil service career. This is VERY different. I wanted to create something I myself wanted to take my children to and couldn't find elsewhere. So I just got up off my arse and did it. It seems to have struck a chord with people from the off and is massively popular.
How do you balance running a business with motherhood?
I am very lucky in that my partner is the primary care giver and the demands of my business mean I can work flexibly in the evenings. So I can sometimes pick children up from school or nursery, take them to appointments, playdates etc. It was a lot, lot harder at the beginning when I was setting up, my partner was working full time and I was yet to draw together the Big Fish Little Fish crew. I was trying to both take care of the kids and use the phone/computer during the day. I had always intended to return to work full time after maternity leave so it was very stressful to be trying to work all the time but not have the childcare in place to allow me to do it. Running my own business also means that if I do have a sick child and need to take care of them then there's no raised eyebrows in the office. My business, my child, my choice.
What do you love about SE London and particularly being a mother here?
Lots of green spaces and things to do. I've lived all over London for the last 28 years and it feels like a really London-y part of London.
Can you share one secret tip to other mothers in this area?
I've got to put a plug in here for The Minnow Club craft cafe for pre-schoolers - the Prince of Wales, Brixton every Thursday morning 10am-noon. It's run by Captain Cookie from BFLF and is really ace. Different things every week for the kids to make, bit of storytelling and songs etc but what's very different about it is that it's very relaxed. The parents sit about and chat to one another and drink coffee which Cookie weaves her magic. It's in a pub - which probably helps. £5 per family.
Other than that I used to love the Big Scream cinema for under 1s at the Ritzy. They show a lot of 18 films to give the parents a break from too much fluffy nursery stuff.. My son's first film was Kill List - the British horror. He was 4 weeks old.
Now they're older Greenwich is our favourite trip - time,space,sea,boats, park,architecture - has it all! It even has a foot tunnel under the Thames. Also good beer.
Oh one more - Chistlehurst Caves are amazing. Chalk mines dug by druids/saxons/Romans, used as an air raid shelter in WW2 and Jimi Hendrix and the Who played there in the 60s. Just go see.