Bonny Snowdon 00:06
Hello, I'm Bonny Snowdon, ex-corporate person, a mother turned successful artist-entrepreneur. It wasn't that long ago though that I lacked the confidence, vision and support network to focus on growing my dream business. Fast forward past many life curveballs, waves of self-doubt and so many lessons learned and you'll see Ignite, my thriving online colour pencil artists community, a community that changes members’ lives for the better and gives me freedom to live abundantly, whilst doing what I love and spending quality time with my beloved family and dogs, all whilst creating my best artwork with coloured pencils, and mentoring others to do the same. But this life wasn't always how it was for me, it used to only exist in my imagination. I've created the It's a Bonny Old Life podcast to help increase people's confidence, share mine and my community's experience and hope through fascinating personal stories, champion the other amazing humans in my personal, professional and membership community, and create another channel through which I can support others to realise their dreams. If you're a passionate, coloured pencil artist or an aspiring one who's looking to create their best work and a joyful life you love, you're in the right place. Grab a cuppa and a custard cream, let's get cracking. There are some people in life that you just gel with, even if you've never met or chatted before. When you do it feels like you've known them forever. My next guest is this kind of person. We actually share many of the same values and run businesses that have kindness at the core. I'm delighted to introduce Ubermummies owner, the fabulous Alex Smallman.
Alex Smallman 01:40
Hi, Bonny, how are you?
Bonny Snowdon 01:43
I'm really well. Thanks, Alex. It's so lovely to chat to you. I know we've just had like 20 minutes chatting before and catching up on everything. But it's really, really nice to speak to you. So, I feel we haven't ever met in person and we've only chatted a few times. But I honestly feel like I kind of know you and we could just sit and drink coffee all day.
Alex Smallman 02:07
Oh, my goodness. Well, first of all, I feel exactly the same. So, that's a lovely place to start, isn't it? I feel I would love to sit and drink coffee with you all day, Bonny. I absolutely would. I think we could probably talk for days or weeks. I feel like we're definitely cut from the same cloth. I'm delighted to be here with you and I want to just say, I'd like to be able to congratulate you on all of your success, because it's just absolutely amazing what you do with [inaudible] people together.
Bonny Snowdon 02:37
Thank you. It's funny I'm not very good at celebrating my wins. I'm trying to get better. When people say that I have a big smile on my face, I have to stop myself from going, oh, well, it's not such a big deal. But I am really, really proud of what I've done. So, thank you ever so much, and you have so much to be proud of as well.
Alex Smallman 02:58
Oh, thank you. Well, yeah, absolutely and thank you very much for saying exactly that. Talking about celebrating yourself, I have within my business and the way I work, a bit of a structure called the Ubermummies approach. One of the modules, if you like, is celebrating yourself, because I think it's so important in the world we live in now, people need to take a breath and take a little step back and give themselves a pat on the back and say, bloody well done.
Bonny Snowdon 03:29
Yeah, and, you know what, even if it's just getting out of bed in the morning. Because sometimes it's so hard.
Alex Smallman 03:41
Yeah, it is. I think also, again, the world that we live in with all of these different touch-points, social media is a good one to mention, I think it's very, very easy for people to feel the overwhelm, to feel like they're not where they should be. They're not achieving what they should be and that person's doing this and I'm behind or whatever it might be. But, it's really important that we all stay in our own lane and put our own blinkers on and quit the noise, is what I always like to say, just celebrate the small markers, the small wins, because they all stack up.
Bonny Snowdon 04:20
Yeah, definitely. So, we've kind of hovered around but your business is something that I, at some point, would really like to join you.
Alex Smallman 04:33
I would love to have you with us.
Bonny Snowdon 04:35
At the moment, I can't even flipping walk. I might have to do some sort of sitting down toe taps. But just give me an overview of what your business, but how you started it. What was the inspiration around starting Ubermummies?
Alex Smallman 04:53
So, my business is called Ubermummies. But it's quite interesting, what it's involved into is just a community of amazing women, women that want to feel part of something, that want to focus on themselves, that want to get their exercise and how it began, Bonny, was when I moved to Hove where live down in Brighton, six years ago and so I'm a personal trainer and it started with a girlfriend getting in touch with me, or a friend of a friend in touch and she said, I see you've moved here, I'd really love to do some training with you and I said, oh, so lovely to be back in touch. She said that the only thing is, I would like to be able to bring my little one with me and I said, well, that's no problem. Come on, we'll get some sessions in and we'll get going and then she went away from the first session and messaged me later that day and she said, I really hope you don't mind. But I've mentioned it to a friend and she'd like to join our sessions next week. But the only way she can do it is if she can bring her little one. So, it was that kind of like lightbulb moment of I want to really help people, I want to help shift the dial on how people feel about themselves and help people realise that, you can get that movement into your day and feel part of something then everything in your life is going to shine brighter, everything's going to be better. It very much started and evolved into me teaching various different classes, all outside in different parks across Brighton and Hove where I live and growing this really lovely strong community of women that came together some with children, some without children, of course, when the message spread, where people could exercise together and there's nothing groundbreaking in that. But when you have the ability to be able to make people feel special and make people feel like they can, then that's not every single person has the ability to be able to do that. The biggest change came, Bonny, when I took Ubermummies online, and that was when we went into lockdown and I think that's probably the same for many businesses. It's probably the same for you. You've had a lightbulb moment where you're suddenly realised you can touch people all over the place now, right?
Bonny Snowdon 07:07
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.
Alex Smallman 07:10
That's a very special thing. I remember somebody saying to me years ago when I first started Ubermummies, and they said, well, Alex, one day, you'll have an online business, and I was just thinking like online videos, and I was thinking I bloody won't. I'm not interested in being another workout video.
Bonny Snowdon 07:31
You like it.
Alex Smallman 07:32
Yeah, exactly. Because you can jump on YouTube or the internet and find a gazillion, billions of workout videos if you want. So, when lockdown hit, I thought, right, I've got this powerful community of women, I cannot let them drift without me by their sides and I thought, well, I'm just going to take it online, we've got zoom, we'll just see what happens. But then, of course, what happened with that was that, suddenly, women were saying, well, you can be part of this now to their friends, people that were dotted all over the place, people that had perhaps seen Ubermummies on social media pre-lockdown, and thought, oh, that's a good idea. I'd love to have something near me like that and suddenly, we had girls joining from Scotland and from Spain and from Yorkshire and Cornwall and all over the place, and girlfriends all working out together online, but with their friends dotted all over the place, and so suddenly, it became a different beast, and has just grown into something really, really super special and we work out live every day. There's something really powerful in that. I have workouts at 6:30 in the morning, which could sound pretty unearthly to some people or to many people, but actually, if you can get your workout done early, it's done. It's out of the way and you get on with your day. So, it's very, very special and has grown and is growing by the day or just looking after people Bonny, it's what people need.
Bonny Snowdon 09:07
It really is, it really is and although we have very, very different, obviously, I'm doing the art and everything, you're doing the personal fitness, there's always that sort of commonality running through it, it's the building people's positivity, building their confidence either in their mindset or feeling more confident about their bodies and I am a woman of a certain age now. I think you called me middle-aged probably, which is very scary and I know full well, I mean, I'm going through the menopause at the moment. I've always been somebody who's been 100 miles an hour all of the time and all of a sudden now I'm thinking, I am really struggling to move with different area. I mean, weight has always been a problem but my knees now, they're horrendous and a lot of it is accountable to me eating far too much chocolate, but also to the menopause and actually being part of the community where you've got other people going through the same thing that you feel safe to talk about it. I think it's just such a wonderful thing to be able to do and your community sounds amazing.
Alex Smallman 10:22
Well, it is and various points you've just touched on there, so many people put blocks in their way themselves because they think, oh, too overweight, or something's not working right and oh, I'm not sure how to get back there. One thing that I'm really, really, really big on with Ubermummies and my approach, and helping people and holding people's hands is actually just getting people off the starting block, making people really realise that they are capable, and we are much more capable than we actually quite often believe ourselves. So, I'm not the type of trainer and Ubermummies, it's not the type of community where anybody is going to be called out. I mean, I don't even mention weight. Weight isn't even something I even focus on with Ubermummies, because it's not even relevant. Because the main thing is that people understand the fact that they can just get started, they can put one foot in front of the other, they can realise actually how powerful they actually are, and how capable they actually are and once that begins, then the rest of it follows. But so often, those blocks are so big for people. So, I'm really powerful and big on breaking down those barriers, it's really important to me that people know that something could just start. It's probably like somebody could look at what you do Bonny, and think, I'd love to be able to do that. But I wouldn't have a clue where to begin and I bet you instil so much confidence in them to know that they just need to literally put crayon to paper, this part.
Bonny Snowdon 12:07
That's exactly it. That is exactly it. It's just one small little mark, and you're started. The same with you, just moving around a little bit more, or just even if it's the thought of, you know what, I think I might. My youngest son takes his driving test next week. I'm kind of 50-50. I really hope he passes and then I really hope he doesn't, because I can't even imagine my little baby boy driving on its own. But what I'm thinking is, if he does pass, which hopefully he will, he's a good little driver, it means that actually I could join you because at the minute my mornings are taking him to the bus or whatever. I'm up at half past six anyway and I might, sorting the dogs out and taking him to the bus. But if I've got that time, I've got it taken in my head now. Actually, I'd really like to be part of that community, even if it means that I just sit and just wiggle my bottom around a little bit.
Alex Smallman 13:16
Well, you know what Bonny, and this is a really good point to mention, you've mentioned that you've got creaky knees and what have you and, again, anybody that's part of what I have going on, I think the first thing is, you've got to find connection with somebody. So, you already know that you feel a lovely connection with me and I feel exactly the same. So, you know that you're going to be looked after. The second thing is, the biggest thing is just showing up and once you show up, and then knowing that you've got all the options. So, it's not about thinking, oh my God, I'm never going to be able to keep up. I'm never going to be able to do that, looking at what one person is doing and thinking that's not me, it's actually just about putting those blinkers on and thinking, okay, well, Alex has given me the option to do it that way and I'm going to do it that way until I feel strong, and then I'm going to progress it and I'm going to move it into something else. So, the confidence thing, but going back, I know you said when we first started this conversation a bit about my backstory, this hasn't always been my life and this hasn't always been my business. For the whole of my 20s, I worked in construction. I was a natural stone tiler, I cut my teeth into the construction industry when I was 21, came back from travelling and told my parents that I was going to be a painter and decorator. They were like, you're absolutely not, sweetheart. You are going straight back to London. You've been travelling, you've obviously just had a little bit of a holiday job. You're not doing this, that's not a job for you and I was like no, no. I've been painting and decorating in New Zealand. I'm going to be a painter and decorator. Anyway, long story short, I found somebody locally and I said I want to be a painter decorator and I want you to take me on and Rob, the guy was like, if you can gloss those three doors and I can see my face on them by the end of the day, then you've got yourself a job. So, of course, me being super determined, knowing that I was capable, did exactly that and before I knew it, that was it. That was the start of 10 years in construction.
Bonny Snowdon 15:32
Isn't it funny how we just have no idea what people do or did do? But I love that.
Alex Smallman 15:39
Well, that then progressed into me watching him tile people's bathrooms when we were on jobs and I then said to him, I want to do that. I want you to teach me to tile and so then I ran with that and then I found my absolute passion, which was to work with natural stone and hand-cut stone and hand-cut bathrooms and wet rooms and kitchens and I had with my ex, a very successful construction company and my tiling business. So, for the whole of my 20s, I dramatically changed people's lives and people's homes and we took on whole projects and we took on massive renovations and we had a great big team of subcontractors that worked with us and making a difference to people's lives in a different way to what I do today. But I hit 30 around my 30th birthday, and I had a massive breakdown. I was really unhappy in my relationship. I was so sad, Bonny. I literally would be tiling, I would drive every day to the builders’ merchants in my van crying, hardly managed to drag myself out of bed. I was in that horrible washing machine cycle of like, I'm so unhappy and I'm so low, but I don't really know how to get out of it. I don't really know what's next. It was terrifying. I mean, the whole thing was blooming terrifying. But the reason I'm telling you this is that we are all capable, no matter how terrible things are, at varying times in our lives and every single person has a story and every single person has been through something. But we can always pull on something within us to be able to make that change. So, I remember things getting really bad and I knew in my heart of hearts that I was going to end my relationship and that was actually the reason that I was suffering with really bad depression. I just knew that it wasn't my future and I had to be big and brave and own up to that and be really honest with myself, be really honest with him. So, anyway, long story short, went through a big breakup, left my home, it's a beautiful home, our home that we bought that we've renovated, we've literally smashed it to pieces and rebuilt it and left all my clients and then we're suddenly left with this, oh my god, what is next? I don't really know what I'm going to do. But I know that I don't want to do that any longer. It sounds so silly now. But like silly things like I love having my nails painted now. I didn't want my hands to be looking like they're 100 years old, covered in grout and adhesive and covered in dust all day long. I didn't want my life to be like that anymore. So, when I'm relating this to where I'm at now, I found exercise and exercise changed my life. It sounds like a massive thing to say but it really did and the reason I'm so passionate about everything I do now with people and why I focus so heavily actually on doing people exercising and moving their bodies for their mental health is that if you can focus on your mental health, what it does to that more so than focusing on the physical, the physical will naturally follow. If that makes any sense.
Bonny Snowdon 16:11
It does. Yeah, I know that it does completely. Completely makes sense. Have you always exercised or is it just something that, I mean, when I say did you always exercise, were you sort of like going to the gym and running and exercising and everything before?
Alex Smallman 19:22
I'm a country girl. So, I know that you live in the countryside. So, I grew up in the country. My father was a gamekeeper and we always lived in the countryside. So, I grew up walking the south downs out beating on my father shoots and always been very, very active. What I say, I love the outdoors. I absolutely love the outdoors and again, something that I massively champion within my community and to anybody that I can positively impact is just get out into nature. We've got something that's free at our fingertips that we can be in whenever we wish and even if you can take small breaks in the day to just get out and move in some capacity and take it in, and that's going to be massively, massively, massively impactful in a positive way to your life. I mean, I've always loved doing challenges. I've always loved exercising. I love exercising amongst people, which again, I think is why I've created something like I've created now is because the power when you could be working out alongside others is far more exciting and far more interesting than doing it by yourself. I remember the day when a girlfriend said, because coming out of going through this, what I always considered a big breakdown, a big, very pivotal, life-changing time, I remember a girlfriend saying to me, Alex, you've got so stuck into your exercise, you should do this, you should run with this, you should become a trainer yourself and impact other people and all I immediately thought was, oh, my God, I don't want to be a personal trainer in a gym. I couldn't think of anything worse. So, it's really funny but what I took from that was actually what have I got to lose? I love it. I love the way it makes me feel. Actually, what if I could create something where I could positively impact other people and share a bit about my real-life story that people could perhaps resonate with and think, yeah, I want a piece of that.
Bonny Snowdon 21:34
I imagine, you'll have changed so many people's lives doing all of this, because I know myself how hard it is to make a decision to do some exercise, because, you know what, it is so easy sitting down on my bottom all day. It's a very easy decision to make and the exercise side of things, actually, it can be really, really tough to go, you know what, I need to do some exercise. I mean, I'm mentally, I'm really strong. I think I have a very healthy outlook in life and I started doing yoga, and my yoga instructor said, you have an incredibly active mind, and your body just can't keep up.
Alex Smallman 22:27
Yes. It's very interesting, you say that, and I think, again, this is probably the entrepreneurial spirit in us, as well, is that your mind is probably like my mind is. You probably always got 100 ideas floating around. But you know that at some point, you could easily do, you could easily launch, you could easily, I know you're like me, where you just say I just want to impact loads of people's lives, I want to show people they can and that quiet thing, that mind down is tough. If I do a yoga class, I have to work very hard at that. So, that's probably exactly what you're like, I should imagine.
Bonny Snowdon 23:15
Yeah, I just have all of these things in my head, I want to do this, I want to do that and you usually, I'm thinking that this is probably, quite a lot of these people who join you, I would imagine, some of them think the same as me and with me, obviously, with my weight problem, and I had a hip replacement at the age of 44, for goodness sake, that that kind of scuppered my riding, I used to compete and everything, but a lot of the time, I'd say, 99% of the time, I'm like, you know what, it's fine, everything's fine and then all of a sudden, I'll see somebody running or, down on the floor with their dogs or children or something like that and it then kind of hits me and I'm like, oh, my Lord, what happens if I can't ever, not that I want to run, but getting down on the floor with the dogs, being able to kind of move around, being able to flip and go out for a walk without getting back and holding the back and going, oh, God, I'm glad to sit down for a bit. That actually, it makes me really sad some of the time but it's only a tiny proportion of the time and then I'm like, oh, just sort yourself out, Bonny, you're absolutely fine. Blah, blah, blah, you're healthy.
Alex Smallman 24:36
I think, reading between the lines and what you're saying there, Bonny, and I think you would be speaking for quite a lot of people as well, so first of all, don't ever give yourself a hard time which I don't think you do because, as you say, you've got very positive mindset but how I always like to try and speak to people is I never focus on weight whenever I talk to people about what their next steps are or where they want to get to or what perhaps the goals are. It might be that you think, I'd love to be able to get to the stage where I could hike up that hill and get back and not be feeling like I've got cringy back or not feel really out of breath, or I would like to think I maybe could run a 5K, or whatever it is, it doesn't have to be anything absolutely massive. But the thing that I'm so passionate about is that we have to take control for our futures, and our future selves are going to thank us for what we do today. So, we need to be always thinking about prevent, prevent, prevent. We want to prevent things getting worse and we want to get ourselves into a mindset where we can really be thinking, in 10 years’ time, I still want to be able to move well, I want to be strong, I want to be mentally fit and physically fit. So, it is about putting those baby steps in place and actually staying in line and just showing up. It would be a bit like, I guess, you coaching somebody with their art, you wouldn't say to them, I'll just do an hour one day and then pick it up in three weeks’ time, and you'll get back to it. You need to focus on it for 10 minutes a day, 15 minutes a day, whatever you can give, but you want to do it consistently and that is the word that I probably use the most amongst my community and my messaging is, I don't give two plumbing hoots, whether you turn up for 10 minutes of the workout online with me, or whether you turn up for the whole session. No session is longer than 45 minutes. But carving out that little bit of time for yourself, which is not selfish, it's so blooming important. I don't care two hoots whether you turn up late for class, just be there, just show up, because you're going to feel so much better for showing up than not and once you can find that rhythm, then each time, you will just feel more and more proud of yourself and more and more confident and more and more part of something and you can take on the plumbing world.
Bonny Snowdon 27:31
No, you're right. It's the consistency and it's the commitment, but not the commitment to somebody else, is it?
Alex Smallman 27:37
Bonny Snowdon 27:38
It's commitment to yourself. It is. It's so important with what anything that you want to do, and you're absolutely right about that little bit of me-time, taking time out just for you, to look after you because we all live busy lives, don't we? We all live busy lives and we're always doing stuff for other people and we tend to kind of leave us behind and we're kind of the last, the last one.
Alex Smallman 28:15
There's good reason behind the madness, some might say, of getting, some people are like Alex, working out at 6:30 in the morning, I'm hardly even awake. I'm like, but imagine the satisfaction of 7:15 in the morning when you're done. Imagine that feeling when you get to the end of the day, and you think, well, I feel a bit tired, but it's okay. Because I've served myself first and that's what I always say to people is, fill your own blooming cup because as soon as you're in that mindset and that mode of moving through your day where you're suddenly like, I'm now focusing, I've got to take the dogs out for a walk, I've got to do my classes, I've got to get the kids to school, I've got to get lunch prepared, whatever all these things are and whatever your life is, when you know that you served yourself first, then everything just becomes karma. Everything becomes better, everything becomes stronger, everything becomes more manageable because you are filling your own cup.
Bonny Snowdon 29:16
Yeah, I know. Do you know, it's something that I teach or I coach and I kind of encourage and I pass on. I find it very, very difficult to not necessarily look after myself but I find it very difficult to do things for me and it's always like if I've got a bit of spare time, all I'll just edit this video so that I can put it up so somebody else can watch it or I'll just go through all my emails and make sure that I've responded to everybody in it. Running a business can really, really take over your life and I'm naughty when it comes to that because I really enjoy it. I do really enjoy it. But I only work Monday to Thursday.
Alex Smallman 29:26
If you wouldn't mind fitting in another 12 or 13-hour day in the week, it would be-
Bonny Snowdon 30:15
I know. It's funny when people say, well, you're an artist and my mum when I became a full-time artist she would always, so lovely dear that you've retired. I'm like, I'm not. I think people just have this beautiful, lovely vision of sitting there in your Behr and your paintbrushes. Off you go, I do two days in one day. So, my nine to three is all admin, editing videos, creating videos, go through different bits and pieces, doing live streams. I do quite a lot of stuff for people in America for different things. They'll say, oh, could you come and do live streams for schools?
Alex Smallman 30:58
I mean, this is amazing, Bonny. But then, the thing with that is you're on a different time zone, aren't you?
Bonny Snowdon 31:04
Yeah, but then come seven o'clock, there I'll have a break of like, three till seven, come seven o'clock, that's when I start doing my drawing. So, then I fit five hours in there, which I love and that is definitely yum time. Exactly. I really, really love it. But Friday, Saturday, Sunday are my days off, and I still do bits and pieces. But Friday, now I'm filling up with things just for me. So, I have yoga in the morning, followed by a massage because my back is horrific and then I've started doing oil painting lessons in the afternoon. So, I can't possibly fit anything else in on a Friday. But it's all for me and that has made a big, big, big impact and I think in my wellness anyway.
Alex Smallman 31:51
But the positive spin that comes out from that, subconsciously as well is that you know that you have got a whole day where you have got a whole day for Bonny and I think probably anybody listening to this podcast will probably be like, hallelujah, I'm so thrilled because, as you've just described, you work an awful lot, even though it's your passion, everything I do is my passion. But it's really important that also, us as people that, coach, mentor, support other people and our communities, it's really important that we also fill our own cups, and so I have Tuesdays now where I don't teach any classes and it's quite funny you saying about thinking about how you fill your time. I was thinking the other day, somebody asked me if they could do some private work with me. I could fit it in on a Tuesday and then I set the boundaries and I was like, actually, no, I'm not going to do that because that's my day.
Bonny Snowdon 33:07
Yeah, boundaries they're so important and I haven't had any boundaries for a very long time. I mean, partly due to my marriage and how I kind of wasn't allowed to do anything. I think that squashed me down quite a lot and I couldn't kind of speak up for myself and that was really hard and that then came into my business. So, what happened was, people will take advantage and I found that was really weird, because I am a nice kind person, but pushed me too far and I can get really quite cross and I have had people take advantage of me, and really, really pushed me to the point where, I've actually had to do something about it and I found it really hard and what happened, I was saying this to my fabulous coach Susie, oh my goodness, she laughed. I said, Susie, what happens is and I've been trying to kind of build these boundaries so that I can put them in place that they actually people understand, all right, Bonny has boundaries and these what they are. I said, I find it really hard because what happens is when I start to put those boundaries in and say, no, I said it comes across as passive-aggressive. She laughed and laughed and laughed and I was like, I can't put my boundaries out there without being passive-aggressive person because I don't know how to do, it's really hard, because all I do is oh, yes, of course. I'll do that for you. Oh, no problem. Yes, that's fine.
Alex Smallman 34:54
There's nothing wrong with that. But I would say that I'm a very similar character and I've been the same where probably could be classed as over givers. But the reality is the only person that really suffers with that is ourselves. Because everybody else feels really looked after. It's an interesting one and it's a bit like we were saying before we started this that every day is every day is a school day. There's always a lesson to be learned in something. But as long as we all just keep moving and taking one step forward, we're always moving, which is important.
Bonny Snowdon 35:38
Yeah, definitely. Before we finish our chat and everything, I just want you to talk to me about your gorgeous Jessica.
Alex Smallman 35:49
Oh, [inaudible]. Okay, well, our gorgeous Jessica, well, she is nearly one, Bonny. It's her birthday this month. So, she is our fur baby, our little Jessica Rabbit. She's a mini–Wirehaired Dachshund. My brother has got her mummy, Gretel and her sister Inca at home and we got her in May of 2021 at eight weeks old, and she is absolutely gorgeous. Well, probably just on a side note, so we're trying to have a baby ourselves, we've been trying to have a baby because I have a stepson, John, my other half's son Joey, who was six when we got together and is now nearly 13. So, he's an absolute dream and joy. Although being a stepmom is a big gig, I have to say.
Bonny Snowdon 36:48
Yes. I'm actually going into those teen years as well.
Alex Smallman 36:52
Well, he's great. He's absolutely great. But it's an interesting one. But it's probably a conversation for another day. But anyway, he's absolutely lovely. But we've been trying to have a baby ourselves the last four years and we're just about to leave in a couple of months. We're going to America at the end of this month. But that probably won't make any sense to when somebody listens to this in a year's time, so I won't bother mentioning dates. But we're a couple of months off having IVF or it's actually called ICSI, which is the next step up from IVF. So, we're very, very, very hopeful that we're going to get our own real baby this year or certainly get a bun in the oven. But yes, Jessica Rabbit is our fur baby and she's just brought so much joy to our lives, Bonny. I mean, I always grew up in a home where we had gundogs, my father was gamekeeper as I mentioned. So, we always Labradors living out in the kennels, Springer Spaniels and then my mom had always had a little Jack Russell that we always had knocking around the house at varying stages. So, dogs have always been part of my childhood. But this is our first one, mine and John's first of our own, and she's just brought so much joy to our lives. Honestly, I can't imagine life without Jessica Rabbit. So, if anyone was to join my workouts online, she's always part of the workout. She's invariably just lying on the mat or playing with her little goose or jumping on my head or underneath my legs. I mean, she's hysterical. I mean, you have to see it to believe it. But she's just that sweet. I'm looking forward to getting an absolutely fining shot of her and sending it over to you and have you draw her because I know that you're keen to do that, aren't you?
Bonny Snowdon 38:49
Yes, absolutely. Because she's the most gorgeous colour and that the wirehair as well. It's something that a lot of people find a bit of a challenge because you've got kind of the softness underneath and then you've got the wiring on the top. She does look absolutely gorgeous.
Alex Smallman 39:10
She is and I took her to the groomers. I've got recommended this groomer and took her and I really like, I call them like, her britches, her baggy trousers. She looks great, scruffy and I took her to the groomer and she has to be hand pulled because she's got that type of fur and she didn't look an awful lot different. I thought, bloody hell, to spend 50 quid and three hours of my time and she doesn't look that difference and then I thought I'm going to go to the pet shop and I'm going to get one of these stripping combs and see if I'm quite capable of doing this myself and I stripped her but didn't go too crazy on her baggy trousers and also because it's painful for her. But her hair stripped beautifully, but actually, she comes back to her old, how we really love her, which is scruffy and wirey and a bit crazy looking and that's how we like her best. So, she's dead sweet but she's. She can be crazy, she can be wild, and she's actually bloody lazy and she likes to be curled up as close to us as possible most of the time.
Bonny Snowdon 40:27
Oh, bless her. Well, a little bit like My Three. My Three she's probably the size of one of my paws.
Alex Smallman 40:36
What dogs have you got again, Bonny?
Bonny Snowdon 40:39
Oh, they're like elephants. I've got two Newfoundland Cross Standard Poodles and then I've got a Deerhound and it's awful, isn't it? When you put so much on to a poor dog but Slipper is almost like our saviour. She came along when my ex-husband walked out. We wanted another dog and he wouldn't let us have another dog. So, as soon as he walked out, I was there. I was like, right, what dog are we getting? I saw this litter of puppies. I was like, what are these? I call them Newfoundland Cross Poodle. A lot of people call them Newfypoos and I was looking on that like, we've got to have this dog. Anyway, I bought her and she was the best thing we could have possibly done as a family. It was 2017. How old is my youngest? I can't remember. He was quite young still and she just put so much love into the family. The dogs are just the most amazing things.
Alex Smallman 41:50
Well, this is exactly and I was just about to say exactly that. So, John, my other half, has never grown up with dogs, never had dogs and oh my goodness, me. The love he has for Jessica Rabbit is so funny, Bonny. Honestly, John comes, she hears his van pull up outside, she runs to the door. He walks through the door and he picks her up and he goes, hello Jessica, Oh, Jessica. Mummy has a lovely day. It's like having this full-on chat with her while she's going absolutely bonkers and then he walks into the kitchen and goes, hi babe. It's so funny that the unconditional love dog brings to the family and like my stepson Joey, he just adores her and actually, his mummy and him have also just got a puppy, they've got an English bulldog this week and I'm so delighted for them to also have. So, Joey, my stepson has now got a dog and in either camp that he just loves and I'm so pleased because from our perspective like me, and you, Bonny and anybody that's listening to this as an entrepreneur, or maybe somebody that stay at home or whatever, they have to go out and be walked. They are real excuse to drop what you're doing. They can make you feel guilty as hell. They've got those eyes that can look at you that you can just say, oh, okay, I'll stop exactly what I'm doing right now and take you out. Because I just think they're just such a positive because they make us stop and for me personally, obviously as I've just said, we're trying to have a baby, she's given me a real focus where I think it's not all work and no play. She just brought that extra dimension of love where I just love to have her sit on the sofa and have a cuddle with her and not feel guilty about it in the slightest and that's one thing, I know we're going to wrap this up. There's one thing I would love anybody to take from this, if I could give just if you don't mind. Just give maybe so just a few like three top tips, if you like to, why it's so important that we love ourselves and we give ourselves time and that is, as human beings, we always feel we have to be so blooming busy. I would say to anybody if you want to take a nap, or you feel exhausted or you just feel like you're not functioning right or you're not getting things done in the way that you feel that you potentially could be, you need to take a rest, you need to stop for 20 minutes. I do it quite often. Quite often in the afternoon, I'll take a 20-minute nap or literally a power nap and I'll put my Insight Timer app on. Insight Timer is an amazing app that has loads of 10-minute meditations, 10, minute yoga nidras, whatever amount of time you want to take and I'll literally put something on for 20 minutes, I'll say to myself, I'm just going to have asleep and then I'll get back up on a crack on and there's no guilt or shame around that whatsoever. I would urge anybody to do that more because it's so, so important. If you don't incorporate any exercise into or movement into your life, or feel like you need to, at some point, grab hold of the hand of somebody that's going to help you. It doesn't need to be me, it needs to be somebody, you need to find somebody that's going to champion you, somebody that's going to hold your hand, somebody that's going to lift your spirits, lift you up, look after you and make you believe that you can and be okay with you just showing up and doing a small amount because it's those small amounts that are going to get you to where you want to be and my final thing is, note how you feed yourselves. By feeding, we didn't even go down this route Bonny, and it may be a conversation for another day and I'd be more than delighted to come back on talk about nourishment and fueling our bodies correctly. But just trying to be really mindful of what you put into your body. Because what we put into our bodies is what's going to impact our futures, it's going to impact how our body operates. So, tons of colourful whole foods cooked from scratch as much as possible. Make sure you're hydrated well, ease up on the sugar, ease up on the white, turn everything into as much colour as possible, and you'll get yourself onto a good track.
Bonny Snowdon 44:17
Wow, that's wonderful. So, no chocolate. A bit of chocolate.
Alex Smallman 46:56
You know what, I am somebody that loves to inspire people to have balance in life and it's not an all or nothing. It's not a one size fits all approach. It's just, get in tune, start noticing what makes you feel good, and what makes you feel crappy. If you eat something and you feel like you could go to sleep 10 minutes later, don't eat so much of that, it's going to make you feel worse. If you eat or drink something that makes you feel really good, do more of it, but maybe just not the wine so much. Wine can make us feel good at the time and also you touched upon it earlier and this is important to note that I'm 40, I'm not sure exactly how old you are Bonny, and you don't have to divulge that but my 40-year-old body is not what my 30-year-old body was. My body doesn't respond well to battering it. So, I move more mindfully, I put weight through my body, I love to do more strength training, which anybody can do at home by just utilising a few things from around the house. I don't pull up well from a heavy night of drinking, so I do less of that and I don't do it as often. But I love to have a drink. I'm real and anybody that knows me, will know that that's what I am not somebody that doesn't live life.
Bonny Snowdon 48:27
Absolutely, it's about moderation, isn't it? I'm totally with you. I mean, I don't really drink. It's not that I don't drink. I prefer to have a cup of tea or whatever. Goodness me, if I do, oh, my goodness, I know about it, it'll take about a week to recover.
Alex Smallman 48:48
Yeah, and also that for women will play out in a much bigger way. The older we get with our hormones changing, the drop in estrogen within our bodies, going through the change, and so that's why it's really, really, really, really more important than ever, that we lock into the things that we know are good for us, and that we do a bit more of those, but in a really mindful way, in a really, really mindful way. But I'm sure it's very difficult in a short chat like this to get all the correct messaging across but what I would say to anybody that if anybody just is listening to this and feels like they may be needed just a little helping hand or they want to reach out and ask any questions, please know that my inbox is always open and I say that to everybody because I want people to make sure they have the support around them. I didn't change my life by myself. I changed my life by taking some of these hands and letting someone else help me.
Bonny Snowdon 49:56
Yeah, that's really, really, and such a nice message to end on as well. We've got all of your information and everything in the whatever you call them show notes, blurb, whatever. Thank you so much, Alex, for chatting to me today. It's been really insightful and actually, it's got me thinking much more about, I mean, it's kind of been on my mind anyway, that I do need to be moving, but being gentle with myself.
Alex Smallman 50:29
That is so important, Bonny. It's so important being gentle, but moving forwards with those gentle steps. Not all or nothing. I said somebody the other day, you don't need to turn up and work out and wreck yourself so you're not going to be there for the next three weeks. You need to turn up and move mindfully and do what you can and do your very, very best and then just show up and do exactly the same again, and again, and again. Go gently, everybody and especially in the world that we're living in at the moment, we've got an awful lot of very stressful external noise and again, we spoke about this very briefly before we started this, Bonny. But just be very mindful about what you're consuming. Like, for me personally, I don't have the news on because I don't want that continual drip-feed of negativity. I need to be informed enough. But I can't take it on constantly. So, just fill your cup with good stuff. More of this, positive podcasts.
Bonny Snowdon 51:42
Oh, brilliant. Thank you so, so much, Alex.
Alex Smallman 51:46
Thank you for having me, Bonny. I really admire everything you do and love you very, very much and thank you very, very much for having me as your guest.
Bonny Snowdon 51:53
Oh, you're a darling. Thank you.
Alex Smallman 51:55
All right, lots of love everybody. Take care. Bye.
Bonny Snowdon 51:59
I really hope you enjoyed listening to this episode of my It's a Bonny Old Life podcast. If you did, I'd be so grateful to you for emailing me or texting a link to the show, or sharing it on social media with those you know who might like it too. My mission with this podcast is all about sharing mine and my communities experience and hope by telling your fascinating personal stories, championing the other amazing humans in my personal, professional and membership community and to create another channel through which I can support you to realise your coloured pencil and life dreams. If you haven't done so yet, please help me on my mission to spread positivity and joy throughout the coloured pencil world by following me on my socials at Bonny Snowdon Academy, or by getting on my list at bonnysnowdonacademy.com and remember, I truly believe if I can live the life of my dreams doing what I love, then you can too. We just need to keep championing and supporting each other along the way in order to make it happen. Till next time.