Image of white piggy bank wearing jewel tiara with the words The Queen Eats First


29 June 2018

This blog started life as a Facebook Post, as many of my blogs do.

It was a straight from the heart post, a flurry of words that needed to come out.

I didn’t post for any response; I just needed to post about what had happened during the week as lots of people had asked me (when you’re quite a public figure in your local region and something happens people do want to know why; they’re not being nosy parkers, just genuinely curious).

As it turns out the response was amazing and very humbling; my post touched a nerve with so many people. The themes of being kind to yourself first, making your business work for you and caring for your mental health all hit home. People responded so honestly and openly and it was lovely for all of us to know that we’re not alone in our feelings.

Here’s the post and below you’ll also find the link to it if you’d like to comment.

Much love and Marketing, Michelle



Thanks to everyone (and there’s been quite a few of you!) who have popped me a message to check everything is okay after I bowed out of running Inspire Derwentside with Rachel.

Everything is okay!
I’m okay and Rachel is okay – all is good <3

But because I’ve had some messages I thought I’d tell you why I decided to purchase my licence and then drop out in such quick succession.

Since I was 24 I’ve been part of the Derwentside business community – so given I’m 40 in a few weeks it’s fair to say I’m really invested in what happens here. Especially with the women in business community, and I’m blessed to call so many amazing lasses my clients and also my friends.

I’ve also spent much of the past six and a half years speaking at Inspire events and giving my time and energy to support as many women as I can through my free talks (random though they often are, but to be fair my old Custard and Bear tagline used to be ‘Random Name – Awesome Marketing’).

And until December 2020 I’m running my free NBSL Masterclasses for I businesses which have a grant attached to them, so Inspire Derwentside was a great way to find clients for those.

It made total sense to be part of Inspire Derwentside and I jumped at the chance to grab a licence.

Rachel was already running her facebook group, had grown that to nearly 400 members and had dabbled in meetings. So it made sense to work together as we were friends and colleagues.

Perfect – job sorted – we bought our licence and forged forward.

But in the background Kieran Rose was beavering away on his website – his last post had 30K+ hits in a day – and working on how to take all of his knowledge about autism and turn it into a business. Soon Kieran will launch his CiC and last week he asked me to officially work with him as a director. We’ve always worked side-by-side – with The Gift Mobile and now with Custard and Bear – but it’s always been Kieran supporting me, never the other way around.

Now I have the chance to return all of the support and help Kieran build a business that will support families to see autism as a positive and professionals to stop pushing it as a negative. I wasn’t expecting Kieran to ask, it wasn’t even in my thought process as he had a group of directors in mind. So I was thrilled.

But I knew at that point something had to give.

My history of depression isn’t something I shout about but I don’t keep it a secret either. I could feel the anxiety rising in my throat when I thought ahead a few weeks… there was just too much to do and instead of being excited I was flipping terrified.

I looked at everything I had to do and came to the conclusion that it had to be ‘Last In – First Out’ (that’s my accountancy background showing up). So it was Rachel or Kieran who had to go.

I had to choose between my lovely friend and my lush husband.

I had to choose between supporting the business lasses of Derwentside or helping to change the perception of autism across the UK.

Not an easy choice as both are massively important to me.

A few weeks ago I watched Kieran deliver a talk to a full house at the Tyneside Theatre for The Life of Reilly – Autism & us premiere and he made my decision for me. I was so proud of him, so in love with him, so excited for him and I knew I’d follow my heart and My Love wherever his journey of advocacy took him.

So I guess that once Kieran asked me I knew where my heart lay…. but I sat on my decision over the weekend to make sure it was the right one. Then on Monday evening I talked to Rachel and explained why I wanted to step down as co-licensee of Inspire Derwentside.

We were both sad – we were sat in Consett Sports Centre so we couldn’t really hug or cry, but I think that’s how we both felt.

I dropped it in her totally unexpectedly.

And quite frankly I made a very selfish decision – I decided to protect my time and protect my mental health. Previously I’d have plodded on, doing it all, putting everyone else first no matter the cost to me.

But now I know that my time is limited and my energy is limited; working part time around the kids during term time and just trying my best during holiday time is enough for me. It really suits me because come 9pm I’m shattered; I knew if I tried to work with both Rachel and Kieran that I’d implode and be no help to anyone.

I’m proud of myself for making this decision. I’m proud of me and Rachel for talking and listening to each other and knowing that the only important thing was that we stayed friends. And we have <3 Because years ago I imagine there would have fireworks and fallings out. So the headline of this post is misleading because thankfully I haven’t hurt Rachel, but that was a real possibility….

Hey, hitting 40 doesn’t half make you chilled out about major stuff – I’m liking it so far!

I was truthful when I said to Rachel that I’d be there to support and champion her in the background, that I’d be at meetings, would speak at meetings and would generally be there drinking tea and eating cake, chatting to everyone and being the last one out of the door.

And the same goes for whichever lovely Derwentside lass steps into Rachel’s shoes.

It’s not goodbye to Inspire Derwentside – not at all – just belonging to it in a different way.

And you know me…. so long as there’s cake I’m happy…
Much love and well done if you’ve stuck with and read this far

This post original appeared on Facebook on June 28 2018.

Please feel free to head over and comment: Why this Queen had to East First – Facebook Post