Tino interviewed Tammy Clark From UR Fantastic

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Tino: Welcome to Business First TV, my name is Tino and if you're listening on Business Radio, welcome to you and if you're reading, welcome to you too. I have the pleasure of having with me today, Tammy from U R Fantastic, which she is. Tammy, what is it you do?

Tammy: Hi Tino, I'm an author and illustrator of books that I've written for children. They're actual books, they're not eBooks, they're A4 size, full colour. They're activity books with different activities throughout a story, it's all entwined. It's called The Secret in the Rainbow, the Secret in the Rainbow Children
And, this particular book, that I've done, is a gift of positivity. So each one, hopefully, in the long run, will have a different subtitle. But, for this first book, it is all about reaching out to the children and the point of it is to help them understand their emotions, their feelings.
All of the activities throughout the book are a way to really engage the children, so it's not just this fun story they're reading, it's not just emotion that they're going through like any other fictional story. It is actually based on what can happen, within school.
So, this first story is about a young lad called Leon. He's struggling in school because he just finds his work really difficult. So, because obviously he's struggling, he doesn't want to be there. So, two of my characters, Confidence and Courage, there are many of them, they actually come down from the rainbow and they take Leon for a journey of... well, pretty much a fun self-discovery of how his emotions affect him, how the way he thinks about himself and what he's doing can actually affect the outcome of what he's trying to achieve.
It's really a book about, very gently and subtly, teaching children about how to take responsibility for their own feelings and their own actions. The reason that I wrote it, is because, being a parent myself, I know that there are just shelves, and shelves, and shelves of self help books out there for us a grownups. There are books out there of how to the best type of parent, but do you know what, with all of that type of help out there, I've got to say from my own personal experience, that parenting is probably one of the hardest jobs I've ever had to do.
And, this was one of the reasons that these books came about, because I just thought, if our children understood themselves, so much better, then the communication between child and parent could actually introduce something more positive within the family environment. And I have tested it, I've been out to schools right across Kent and London, South East London, and the feedback has been absolutely fantastic. I've tested it with my own children, because my eldest son has got ADHD. And, I've got to be honest, when I first learned about this I was very sceptical because I was one of the many that had quite a bad attitude around it because it had obviously come linked with the stigma of being naughty child syndrome.
Tino: Wow.
Tammy: Yeah, yeah, it had. So, when it first got brought to my attention, I was obviously very emotional, my husband was in denial because we knew that he wasn't a naughty child, And the more that we actually went along and learnt about this, the more we understood and realised that, actually, this was a real problem. And it was a real situation, and without the right help, he would have never have been able to flourish the way that he has.
And I think, to be honest, he was my biggest goal, I needed to do more with was I was doing at the time in my life, to help him as well.
Tino: Wow.
Tammy: Yeah, so he was my inspiration of where this all started. And, all the work that I've done with him, at home, around the Secret in the Rainbow, he just... it changed him massively and dramatically to the point, that now, even though he struggles academically, he now sees ADHD as a gift rather than a curse.
Tino: Okay.
Tammy: Because is mindset now is, his ADHD is his gift to allow him to be creative, because his mind is not set in a box, or it's not set in a certain way. Although, he struggles with his reading and writing, he understands, and is now thankful, that, that title actually does give him a load of other fantastic benefits about himself, creativity being one of them.
Tino: Okay.
Tammy: So, going on that journey together, between me and my son, was basically where this all begun. So, it was all from life experience really.
Tino: How fantastic, so from life experience to writing a book and an author and so on. Wow.
Tammy: Yeah, yeah. And, my message is that I want to really get this out there, because I've just felt that the parents I have worked with, the schools that I've worked with, it has been successful for the children that have interacted with these books. Because, on my website, I've also supplied lots of different lesson plans that teachers can download for free so that they can actually integrate these into any type of lesson within the curriculum.
So, there's not even... the way that I've designed the whole programme is so that schools have got that freedom to be able to interact it in their daily lessons without having to look for extra time, which I know they're already struggling with, to try and fit it in under a heading like PSHE, that not all schools are having to do by our Government laws.
So, the lesson plans that I've done, it was to enable the use of these books within the classroom.
Tino: So, where do people get these books? Are these books available in the shops or...
Tammy: Not at the moment, they're available to buy only on my website at the moment because I am still in conversations with a publisher. The reason that I have been extremely picky about publishers is because I have had lots of experiences with publishes and also with agents. And, up until now, every time I've tried to go down that route it's always ended up being about the money and the actual message and the story behind it, and the meaning behind it, is kind of getting lost.
Because, it'll all become about it... very, very quickly become about profit and turnover.
Tino: Businesses are like that though.
Tammy: They are, they are and I absolutely appreciate that and I get it, an absolutely fantastic to those businesses that are making profits.
Tino: And this is where you're coming from?
Tammy: Yeah, this is a book to help, generally make a difference to kids lives. So, for me, it was about trying to keep it as true to the original form as possible. And, that wasn't because I believe that it can't be improved because I'm a big believer that there's always room for improvement, always. And, in actual fact, I've written the book six times.
Tino: Wow, okay.
Tammy: Yeah, and re-done illustrations three times before I go to the copy that I've got now and that was all based on feedback and information that I was pulling back in from the children that I was seeing and the schools that I was visiting. So, it's not the case that I've not listened, it's just a case that the message can't be lost.
Tino: So, somebody that's quite keen on getting this book, where do they go, what's the website address called?
Tammy: It's www.urfantastic.co.uk, but it's the letter U and the letter R.
Tino: Okay, alright, and if you missed that, it'll be along the ticker on the bottom here anyway. So, tell me about your involvement with Women Work then.
Tammy: Okay, so December last year, very, very cold morning, Anya Jeffries contacted me out of the blue. Unbeknown to me, she'd been following me via LinkedIn, watching my progress on the Secret Rainbow Kids. And, it started off as a simple question of, would I like to speak at her event that was coming up at Tunbridge Wells, March of this year.
And, what started off as one, very quick question, ended up in a 45 minute conversation because we just clicked. It was such an amazing connection between two people, well considering until that moment we'd been complete strangers. But, by the end of that 45 minutes, I kind of felt like I'd known her my entire life.
She invited me along to a meeting, literally within the week, I went along to the meeting, listened and heard all of what Anya and the group of people she had brought together were trying to achieve. And, I just loved it, everything about it, because there was such a big part of the concept of what they were building, just resonated with me at a really deep level as well and a personal level.
So, I literally got home from that meeting and contacted Anya and just said to her, I need to be involved more, I can't just be a speaker, I need to do something more. So, it was at that point Anya invited me to join the committee and from that moment onwards I've never really left her side, I've grown with her and the whole idea behind what Women Work is and what our vision is, going forward for the future.
Tino: Okay.
Tammy: The main vision behind Women Work is about bringing women together, allowing women to have a stage to voice... and it's the voices that are not already being heard. So, yes, you've got lots of really great, professional speakers out there at the moment and I'm not saying that our speakers are not going to be professional, but what I'm saying is, is that the big known names out there, their voices are being heard on a daily basis.
Whereas the speakers that we are asking to come and speak at our event, we're actually giving a stage to those that are not being heard yet.
Tino: Okay.
Tammy: So, it's about helping women, helping each other, because one of the things that we have realised, Tino, what I've realised personally, is that women can be women's worst enemies.
Tino: Oh yeah, absolutely, yeah.
Tammy: We can, we can. We judge each other, we compare ourselves to other women, if we're not back in our jeans three months after the birth of our babies, we're beating ourselves up because this woman did it and that woman did it. Do you know what I mean? And this is one of the things that I love about Women Work, it's the biggest thing. Because, what it is, it's a safe environment where women can come together and actually celebrate each other.
Tino: Let me just ask you about that safe environment, so it's an all women event, no guys?
Tammy: Yes, it's going to be at Salomons Estates this year, because we have changed the venue.
Tino: This year or next year?
Tammy: Sorry, yes, next year, 2018. The date has been set for the 20th April. Really excited about it, it's an absolutely stunning venue. We're going to be having four speaking rooms next year and we're also going to be having a lot of space for exhibitors as well. So, we felt that, that would give even more value to our speakers that wanted to do that extra for themselves to build recognition for what they're trying to achieve. Because, it gave them a base.
So, for those speakers that decided that they wanted to go down the route of the exhibit tables as well, it would give them an all day base to do welcome people back to, our guests. So, ultimately, although the majority of our speakers are women, I'm guessing that the majority of our attendees are probably going to be women. However, because we are, what we are, it's not the case that there's going to be a big cross at the door, no men allowed.
Tino: Okay, alright.
Tammy: As far as I'm aware, I think there is talks at the moment, that there might even be a few male speakers.
Tino: Oh excellent, fantastic.
Tammy: Yeah, so if men want to come along then, by all means, they do. Because, I also feel that men are a big part of a lot of women's lives.
Tino: Yeah my wife would say so.
Tammy: Yeah, and I would say that about my husband too.
Tino: So, tell me about what you're going to be talking about at the next event.
Tammy: Okay, well my subject actually, with Women Work is completely separate to my business in terms of U R Fantastic because, my part of Women Work is that I help with all things creative in terms of helped build the website and things like that. But, ultimately, my message is all about mental health.
Because, one of the reason, although a lot of it was based around my son, one of the reasons I found myself going back to my original dream of wanting to be a writer and illustrating was following, quite a severe breakdown I'd had back in 2012. I'd had an extremely successful sales career for many years, the highlight of my career was even winning a trip to South Africa fully inclusive.
So, it was kind of way up there. But, I got to the stage, after having my second son, it started as post-natal depression and because it wasn't recognised, or it wasn't picked up on, it kind of very, very quickly went along into full blown depression, anxiety, to the point that was one morning my husband came home and found my rocking, literally, backwards and forwards in my kitchen staring into nothing.
Tino: Wow.
Tammy: Yeah, so basically, my message that I share through Women Work is, the importance of self love, self forgiveness and the importance of really, really focusing on you as a person. Because, when you forget all those things, and you're so busy trying to go out and do everything in life to help others and be everything that everyone expects you to be, a good mum, a good wife et cetera, et cetera. You kind of forget yourself and, along the way, your self starts to crumble.
Tino: Sure.
Tammy: And, you know, I think it was the recovery from that, that really set me on a completely new... well, a path into a new a life and Women Work has become a big part of that. And, that's the message I want to share with people out there.
Tino: Fantastic. Well how can we find you?
Tammy: Well, you can visit our website, which is www.womenworkevents.com.
Tino: Magic, Tammy, thanks for coming on the show.
Tammy: Thank you very much.
Tino: Guys, thanks for watching.
Tammy: Thank you.

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