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Over the last two years I’ve attended a fair few, if not most of the Maidenhead Business Girl’s meet-ups. Yet last Wednesday everything seemed just a little bit different. Magical even. Perhaps it was because the sun was shining. Or perhaps it was because everyone was getting the ‘end of term, bring in a board game’ type of feeling. (I might be showing my age there as I’m not sure that schools even do that anymore?!) If you’re curious to see what happened, I donned my paparazzi hat and photographed the whole thing for you:

Mingling and chatting in the sun

With a ‘Garden party’ theme, the conservatory doors at the Golden Ball had been opened up and chairs arranged in the sunshine. As the ladies arrived people grabbed coffees and began to chat. There’s something about arriving around 9.30 that means you arrive desperate for caffeine!  For those that have just survived the school run, they’re usually in need of downloading the mini dramas that they’ve just survived. Behind the scenes there were a few technical hitches getting video content ready for the presentation, but I think this actually worked in everyone’s favour as we had a few more minutes to chat informally… much easier than to officially ‘network’

World class athlete, world class speaker.

Next we heard from Naomi Riches, ParaOlympian who won a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics. I’ve heard a few ‘motivational’ speeches in my corporate life so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m not particularly sporty and I’m not a huge fan of motivational quotes so if I’m honest, I wondered how much would resonate with me. 10 minutes in I found myself on the brink of tears! Naomi is so humble and down to earth and talked to us about how to overcome barriers. Things that you think are preventing you from succeeding can be turned into opportunities.

We watched a video of her medal winning race at Dorney Reach and everyone was glued to their seats, even though we knew the outcome was a success. Naomi remembers that at the time she couldn’t see what was happening, but for the last part of the race the sound of the infamous Dorney Roar was incredible. It gave me goosebumps as I remember watching those races back in 2012. Amazing to hear it from a different perspective.

Check out the VIDEO.

Nibbles and networking

After Naomi’s talk we had the chance to sample some rather lovely nibbles from the Golden Ball, along with some cake testing for Hardip from Perfect Lovely Cakes and Sarah from Poundies Bakes. Out in the garden Jo from Perfect Friday wine had some of her favourite tipples for us to try and Ali from The Pop up Deli had bags of her lovely Taralli biscuits for us to try.

Don’t just take my word for it.

Seeing as I was taking photos throughout the meet up, I didn’t really take notes so I thought I should ask some of the ladies that went to see what they thought. I think we all felt their was something special in the air, here’s there comments:

Angela Mitchell

First of all, thank you to Amanda for bringing such a wonderful group of ladies together! It was inspiring to hear Naomi’s amazing story. She took all the limitations put on her because of her disability and turned it onto a CAN DO. I think it was a hugely positive story for all of us to hear, especially as many of us go through rejection and disappointment in new start-ups. It reminded me, as I sat there, about my peacock painting, which like the phoenix, symbolises rebirth and new beginnings. It reminds us to stand tall and “shake our tail feathers” too! I am so glad everything worked out so I was able to attend today’s meeting as I felt so energised and motivated. I came home straight away and set up my Esty online shop and even created a little video for my Facebook page about today’s meeting! I was thrilled that we got to hold her gold medal! You don’t get to do that very often. I loved catching up with some of the ladies I already knew and making new contacts, exchanging ideas and socialising. Loved ‪ Sarah Pounde ‘s and Hardip Pabla’s cakes, Jo Randells’s cava and the awesome cookies from Ali Tretolli

You can view my Petulant Peacock painting on my website.

(note to self, turn the light ON next time!)

Sarah Pounde

I had a great time and loved listening to Naomi. When she was telling us her story I had goosebumps all over. Naomi has definitely inspired me to accept that I am good at what I do as I am my own worst critic. I CAN make my business a success. YOU CANT change me now there’s no going back to that me that was running my business yesterday

I was truly inspired by today’s meet up and am planning to join regularly if that’s ok with you ladies. Thank you to  Amanda Ayres for inviting me and thank you to everyone who tried my cakes and gave me feedback.

Poundies Bakes.

Marissa Holden

What a great meet-up! Naomi really is amazing, and is living evidence of how to turn can’ts into cans. Loved the cakes, canapés and wine, hope everyone has a fab summer. Xx

Holden Media Productions.

Jo Randell

“Excellence is Habit”. There’s something to live by! A great meetup today, it’d be fantastic to get behind Naomi and her ‪#165challenge. Thanks Amanda for arranging. Lovely as always to meet up with an ever expanding group of local business owners, what a great bunch, and to be inspired by the achievements of such a fantastic sportswoman.

Perfect Friday Wine.

Tabitha Beaven

If I remember it rightly ‘a woman can build strong foundations with the bricks that others throw at her’ – this has been particularly applicable in my Tuneless Choir journey so far but the foundations are definitely building. Lovely to meet so many of you this morning, just for a giggle this is what I wore to ‘work’ this evening as we had an 80s night at the choir… Slightly different to my garden party attire!

Tuneless Choir.

Meli Paramio Lopes

I came out buzzing yesterday! What an amazing lady Naomi is. So inspiring! For me the determination to succeed, that success is built on set backs, that you have to believe in yourself and that you can is what I took from Naomi ‘s talk. All of it very meaningful to me after all the challenges I had to face in the last year. It was lovely as always to meet you all ladies. It is such a friendly group! Thanks Amanda!

‪Facial Reflexions.

Leah Parr

Such a fantastic morning and what an inspiration Naomi is! I loved her opening quote from Nelson Mandela. It’s so true, to achieve success you must have got up more times than you’ve been knocked down, which is what makes such an interesting story.

Best Version Of You.

Sophie Comas

What an inspirational speech yesterday by Naomi. Complimented by great wine from jo at Perfect Friday Wine, cakes from Hardip and Sarah and energising company from some amazing small businesses. Looking forward to the September meet up. Thank you ‪ Amanda Ayres x

Rimu Marketing.

Hardip Pabla

Amanda, ladies, yesterday was definitely a great example of how we have all grown and are learning how to help each other succeed. Jo and Ali your wine and the biscuits are a great hit! Naomi was clear and actually very humble in my view. I loved the video that reminded her and the team of their goals and abilities. She is clearly visualising success comes from what you Can do, not what you can’t. Thanks to the ladies for their feedback on my gluten free tasters. meet ups are like therapy . Gives you time to step back and think.

Perfect Lovely Cakes.

Great work Amanda Ayres!

Details of the next meeting HERE.


Photo Credits: Jodie Humphries – Maidenhead Mum.

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