13 September 2016


Let me start by being all 'Alice in Wonderland'... and giving you some instructions...


I am shocked and "TOTES AMAZED" to tell you that I have been lucky enough to get through to the semi-finals of the Devon Venus Awards for 'Business Mother of the Year', which is sponsored by Heart FM, alongside these lovely ladies below! 

The Venus Awards are AMAZING, and I am sooooo excited to have got through with all of these incredible ladies..... but now I need your help! (Pretty Please!) The Business Mother award is judged by YOU! This award is judged by a public vote, and I would LOVE it if you would vote for me! To vote for me please click here: http://valasystem.com/public-voting#public-voting/Devon/2016 and let me know you voted by putting your name in the comments below!

As a token of my appreciation for every vote I get, your name will be put into a prize draw to WIN a Flossy and Jim HAMPER, including a family portrait commission (as featured in Coast magazine - what, whaaat!) and a selection of our top products! Just so I can show my appreciation for your support! * This is also blatant bribery because it would mean so much to win - haha! To vote for me please click here: http://valasystem.com/public-voting#public-voting/Devon/2016 (just incase you forgot...and don't forget to put your name in the comments below to be entered into the draw!)

An example of one of our commissioned family portraits
Flossy and Jim merchandise

I thought it might also help, if you understood why I have been put through...

Here is my story. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin....*cough, cough...*
Once upon a time.... I was lucky enough to give birth to two amazing children...(every mum thinks their children are amazing, but mine actually really are very special.) They are called Kai and Kaitlin. Kai likes computers and hob-nobs, and Kaitlin likes eating nutella out of the jar when she thinks I'm not looking. 

When they were born, I was married and living in Swindon. I was living a normal life, working in an office and shopping at ASDA once a week. (Like you do.)

Unfortunately, myself and my husband both got made redundant (at the same time). We got into a lot of debt...and ultimately, we got divorced. Overnight I had become a single parent, and a few weeks later, I found out my son had autism...things were really tough. 
It was an incredibly scary time. I was a single parent with no money, and no way out. I couldn't get a job because the cost of childcare cost twice as much than I could earn. I was stuck, and I had to go to court to declare myself bankrupt. I went to the bank to hand back my house keys...I could no longer afford the mortgage and three weeks later we were declared 'homeless' by the council.
We were then offered a flat in a high rise block of flats in the centre of town, where people were setting fire to mattresses outside and people were doing drugs in the stairways. I don't mean to sound ungrateful...it was lovely they offered me anything, but I feared for myself and more importantly for my children. I wanted more for them than this, and I felt like a massive failure. I had never felt so scared or alone in all my life. I was having several panic attacks on a daily basis, and ended up in hospital with a heart problem....just to top off what was already a really horrible time.

Once out of hospital, I decided to use all of my scared energy into something positive and with this fear, I discovered my inner 'She-Ra'. I managed to find us a house to rent in Brixham, South Devon. The kids loved going to Brixham for days out by the seaside, and I wanted a better life for them. Brixham is such a beautiful place and it was the top of my 'wish-list' of places to live. I begged a lovely Brixham land-lady to give me a chance and let me rent her house. There was such a stigma attached to single parents on benefits....I told her I would prove her wrong. Luckily she gave me a chance and we moved in a couple of months later. We drove down in a clapped out £50 Fiat Cinquecento with a boot that would not shut and kept flying up in the air! I managed to get my whole life in that little car, and I couldn't have been happier. We sang songs all the way down the motorway!

This was the start of a new beginning and an amazing new adventure! I went on lots of courses about Autism to help my son. It was a crazy few years, learning sign language, the PECS system, and going through lots of speech and behaviour therapy. We had numerous trips to hospital but with help, Kai did incredibly well and we started making a lot of progress. 

Our first week in happy Devon.
Both the children settled into school and I decided I would also go back to school...I went  to University and after three years of study graduated with a 2:1 BA (Hons) in Illustration. 

During these three years I also did a business course, and I'm not going to lie...it was an incredibly difficult time! Trying to juggle looking after the children, coping with Kai's needs, looking after the house, paying the bills and all the coursework and dissertations. I discovered my inner Margaret Thatcher and survived on 3-4 hours sleep a night....but we survived....although there were some moments of delirium.

Once graduated and with my new business skills, I set up my own business under the stairs in my house. It was all very surreal and very exciting.

I started the business on my own and called it 'Flossy Illustration'. My mission for the business was to 'make the world a more exciting, imaginative and fun place to be!' I felt a real need to make people happy and to form some sort of escapism for anyone dealing with anything negative. After the last few years I had been through I just wanted to make the world happy again, so with the use of bright colours and bold comical designs, I set on my way!

The business soon got busy, and after a year or so, I managed to get my boyfriend 'Jim' (who I had met at uni and who is now my husband!) involved and 'Flossy Illustration' turned to 'Flossy and Jim'. Our first big job was painting a giant mural in Brixham harbour. This became the world's biggest business card for us, and from there the work started pouring in. We got ourselves a studio in Dartmouth, and we were getting jobs working for local businesses all over the bay. We then got work nationally and internationally. Literally within a few months we had worked on a re-brand in Australia, children's books in America and logo work in Spain....things were kicking off. 

Our actual real studio, that is not under the stairs.

First Job.

Again, it was very hard work...juggling motherhood with running a full time business. One week we were asked to draw 3000 images in four days! We did it...(with A LOT of coffee and very late nights.)

We even worked with famous people! We now work with Jaz from The Apprentice, and a Hollywood film director! 

We are now an international company working on several major global projects. We have our own range of merchandise and a worldwide publishing deal, with books being published in twenty-two different languages! We have a sticker store on the latest new messenger app YUBL, and we also provide illustrations for BOOMF marshmallows.

Flossy, Jim & BOOMF

Victoria Beckham wearing my cartoon hat and party accessories on the actual red carpet!!! Wah!!! ;)

One of our books!

Throughout this whole process, my children have just been my biggest inspiration. The fear of letting them down just gives me this incredible energy to keep going, and to build them a good future financially. It has also spurred me on to teach them life skills such as overcoming challenges and turning negative situations into good ones. I hope that I have taught them that whatever life throws at you, you still have choices and you are in control of your life. I hope that they know if they are ever un-happy, they have the power to change their lives and create a better future.

My tough cookies!

Together we have been on such an adventure. We have been through so much and I'm so proud of our little team. The children now know how to help other autistic children and we even wrote a book together about Autism. We discovered a gap in the market for cool books about autism so we made our own. 

A lot of people talk about how having children holds you back, and stops you having a life. I believe the opposite...my children set me free. They made me braver than I thought I could ever be.

To be nominated for 'Business Mum of the Year', was really overwhelming. No-one ever gives you a guidebook when you have children...you never know if you are really doing a good job. 

I feel like I just got given a gold star in 'mumming', and that has made me feel so happy. 

To all the mums out there...know that you are doing an amazing job, and that being a mum is the hardest job of all. Running a business is easy in comparison. I would like to share my gold star with all of you.

Thank you Kai and Kaitlin for setting me free, and for making me laugh. You guys rock my world.

My mission at Flossy and Jim is to make everybody a little bit happier...through our illustrations, stories and customer service. I also try and give back whatever I have into charity work and sponsoring charities like Circus Starr and the National Autistic Charity. Promoting happiness is now  my business.

This is the end of my little story....if you are still reading....well done! Haha!

If you would like to vote for me as the 'Venus Business Mother of the Year', (sponsored by Heart FM) you can do so here: http://valasystem.com/public-voting#public-voting/Devon/2016

Remember! If you do feel like voting and think I am worthy of this award, your name will be put into a prize draw to WIN a Flossy and Jim HAMPER, including a family portrait commission as a token of my appreciation. (Just incase you forgot.) 

Why not follow our business on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/flossyandjimdesigns and Twitter https://twitter.com/FlossyandJim too - to keep up to date with all the other giveaways we do, and find out more about our business!

Thank you for reading. Xx