Community...

So much has happened since my last bog post in July; sorry for taking so long to write back.

In this post I want to talk about community not only because there is this sect of evil that continues to attempt to take our community down with these devastating atroscoties with their evil, Manchester, LDN and I include Grenfell because that too was a man made horror against those who knew no wrong. But as a community we continue to stand strong against this evil... And we will win!

During the last two months I have been dealing, battling against my own internal terror, my health which has been difficult. Normally a very well (never been sick, never been to hospital other than to give birth and avoids doctors and all medical healthcare professional at all costs even though I spent 5years working at Addenbrooke's Hospital, kind of healthy) and one day, 1st August I wake up in searing agony across my abdomen!

Having been to hospital twice now because of this pain (because my GP is adamant that there is something wrong with my appendix...) and discharging myself twice because I hate hospitals and observation is a nonsense term for 'I haven't a clue' which I would much prefer being admitted to rather than, being told that I am 'under 72hour observation'... Not that I'm the slightest bit annoyed about the whole experience or indeed contuining to be in a ridiculous amount of pain!

I am glad that I went to hospital because they ruled out so many things and were in fact amazed at how healthy I am and indeed I surprised myself at how much pain I can take because almost three months living with pain, I can honestly admit that I have not taken a single pain killer and it's all because of my little boy.

Taking care of myself means having to take care of Beaumont, of Michael, our extended families which includes the many friends that we have made since we opened the doors to Maggie and the Dragon.

When I posted that I was in hospital, I never expected anyone to message back (seriously, as much as I may be in my 30s, the @MATD social media pages are literally the only pages I own and have ever owned. I don't do FB for personal use and never have done. It's all brand new to me and I ask so many of our customers how to use it... cos seriously... I don't really get it... If you can't tell by my many mistakes and edits...) I was so touched and amazed at the get well messages that y'all sent. Thank you so much. Sincerely.

As much as all those who know me, have heard me say that I wish I was mega rich so that I would never have to work, I joke. I love working, I love working for people. I love being sociable and I love getting to know people, to help which is probably why I have spent my working career in the charity sector, in health and social care because I want to ensure that people are happy. It's probably why I provide 8 different types of milk when many cafes and restaurants don't even provide one milk alternative, even in so called cities (was in Ely the other day and I couldn't find anywhere that would make me a soya hot chocolate and I really couldn't be bothered with a busy Costa with a 17month old Beaumont running riot..!

I know that my health will improve, because I know that my body needs to learn to combat stress. At the moment I don't have much time to myself to exercise but I enjoy and have always enjoyed healthy food and good company. This will settle down and I know that I am blessed to have a business that is growing (Have you seen the booze fridge!) and becoming known! I have a lovely little family and amazing friends and customers who are all quickly becoming a lovely friendship group of their own...

King's Lynn is a small community within a wider region and with events like Hanse Festival, Heritage Day etc that bring outsiders in, makes King's Lynn a vast community that is fast evolving.

It's a nice little place to bring up a family, a nice little place to settle for a while, a little peace and far enough away from the crazy, but close enough to enjoy the fun of the crazy. There are days I miss where I truly London; the convenience, the stuff, and then there are days when I am glad that that there is a 90minute commute between me and my old home.

I am asked on a daily basis what brought me to KL and every time I say, 'Michael!' and, yes, it was Michael. And what keeps me here... this cute little community that I know is just right for the first few years of our family's life: quaint, history, countryside...

So, as you know, I am licensed to sell alcohol and now, Maggie and the Dragon is a licensed premises for customers, the community to enjoy an alcoholic, or what I am calling inebriating beverages on its premises! It was a very stressful process, I am not gong to lie. I have had quite high powered jobs in the past, worked abroad, had bosses from HELL, but this... Wow! So, now I have to tell everyone to come along of an evening for cocktails, a beer a... boozy evening which is funny because having not drunk alcohol for almost two years (pregnant and breastfeeding... still...), I forget that adults are up and about after 7pm... MATD now opens until 10pm on a Saturday night and I can just about keep my eyes open! Silly! Lol!

I am really looking forward to seeing you all dressed up and not as parents, but as people with your own identities, within this new grown up community without babies, without breastfeeding bras, without slings and papouses, without dirty nappies or talking about the next baby event, sober sleepless nights wishing it was sleepless because it was booze and sex filled (or is that just me..?)

So whatever is going on with my body (I believe is stress induced IBS), it will pass and can hopefully be managed. Whatever is going on the world and in the minds of these evil people, they will be stopped never to be remembered in our history but the lives of those affected always in our hearts. Together we shall be strong as a community, share and enjoy time, food, drinks and our lives whether in a quaint historic town like KL or a city like our capital which holds the ancestry of so many of us, that we can but thrive.

It's hard to do things alone, but together, as a community... we can achieve so much, and I am so grateful that we started Maggie and the Dragon in King's Lynn, that the root of my happiness started here, that this has fast become our family home...

Ps. The wedding is fully booked for September 2018 with the exact date and venue that we wanted! Stupid excited... But will probably not give away any details until next year cos you know... It's ages away! But... Yaaaaay!

Pps. Michael is proving to be an amazing baker of all these vegan. He amazes me everyday! I am so proud of him. Well done 'puppy'!

Ppps. Beaumont grows more beautiful with every passing day, doing things that astound me such as unlatching from my breast, looking at daddy and saying "Boobie", whilst pointing at my breast! Jokes! And his lovely obsession with 'Hey Duggee' that when he wears his themed pj's he points and says 'Duggee, Duggee, Duggee...' at all of the images and boy, he gives the best Duggee Hugs ever! Such a lovely boy (I don't know where he gets it from!).

I promise to write again but much sooner (I'm currently writing this at 1:54am as I can't sleep for the stomach pain, so, maybe not under these circumstances but maybe I will update you on my new health regimen...I'm sure that you are all interested... Just tell me to ssshh, if I go on...)

Night guys xxx

Licensed to Sell...

So a fun few weeks have been had, a lot of successes and many challenges of course as you know, things can't be too easy cos that'd be what... Easy!

The yoga and the flexibility classes are going well which is fantastic and we have had a great response to the Family Yoga and Creativity Brunch. We have booked in a Vegan Supper club with Emaline Delaplaix who is an Australian acoustic singer from Germany currently doing a tour of vegan restaurants and she has chosen our little café to perform. She will be here the evening of Thursday 31st August and we will be serving a vegan jerk curry with chargrilled and roasted aubergine, courgettes, okra and squash with cauliflower and coriander rice and a black bean and chickpea ginger and lime salsa, vegan wines and beers, vegan ice-cream and cake. Tickets for the event will be available from 1st August, just get in touch (£20pp if you book a table of 4people dining £75 for main course and entertainment)!

In my last post, I told you all that I was taking my Personal License to sell alcohol and... Yaaaaay! It has come through the post and I am in the process of licensing the venue ready for an August baptism, so to speak! I am so excited about this is unreal. We will be selling a selection of local wines and beers both traditional and vegan so that those who are devote vegan also have an option if they which to partake in an alcoholic beverage.

We are also going to have a cocktail hour with an amazing selection of cocktails and mocktails made with real fruit, smoothie-style!

Now that the alcohol is on the way, our evening opening is beginning to take shape: mixers, comedy, poetry and spoken word, acoustic and open mic nights, supper clubs, wine and ale tastings, rum, gin and tequila festivals... Ah, the list goes on.

So, yes alcohol is exciting, but to top that we now sell ice-cream, Dann's ice-cream which is so lush it's stupid! Our stock arrived this morning and as a huge ice-cream lover, I was more than a little excited to receive the delivery an hour before we opened (what, ice-cream for breakfast, whaaaaat! Yes!). Ginger, Coconut, coffee, lemon and prosecco sorbet... Hopefully by next week the vegan ice-cream from Booja Booja will arrive and that is seriously good and tastes just like lovely 'normal' dairy ice-cream'; chocolate chunky monkey, raspberry ripple, smooth vanilla... yum!

So yes, things are moving forward.

I am looking less and less like I have just had a baby; literally for the entire year I have felt like I have just had a baby, and up until this week, I still felt like my body had gone through the mill. But I feel like I have turned a 'physical' corner as my stomach is flatter, noticeably flatter. My clothes are fitting and sitting differently (when I was pregnant I was adamant that I wouldn't buy any maternity clothes or any clothes after pregnancy and apart from some dungarees, bras and pants, I haven't. At my biggest, I wore Michael's clothes. Maternity clothes are really expensive and I quite like baggy clothes so even though I may have been a size 6/8 I always wore 10/12, so...) My back arch is less concave and those of you who know me know that I have found that really annoying (Beaumont was a big baby for my little size 6/8 frame and I literally looked like the letter C, my back arch was huge! Lol!). I would love to say that I have been an exercising fiend, which I wish, but I haven't had any time, I do just think however, that my cheeky little breastfeeding monster has been suckling my body back into shape... Yaay boobie milk! A little toning wouldn't go a miss, but, I'm getting there and I'm glad that I've taken my time with it (even though it has annoyed me). And although it is so not the right time to think this let alone do anything about it, I do feel that we're moving in the right direction of baby number two (I didn't want to get pregnant again without losing the 2.5stone I had put on with Beaumont)! Now, we need to keep the momentum of the business going to make some baby money...

What else, work related... Oh we have been hosting Board Game Fridays in the afternoon from 1pm. It's been so much fun. Those who want to play pay £1.25 (aged 5+, under 5years are free) and they get to bring their own games as well as play ours between 1-4pm. It's been great and have had all ages 3years - 40years old home educators, general public passing and seeing what's going on and it's become a regular thing over the last month.

Those of you who pop in regularly have seen that we have regular staff now, Emma and Lauren (and Fiona who will be working with us when she is on holiday from university or back for weekends etc). We have a lovely little team and we hope that they enjoy working with us. Although they are staff, I don't really like to think of them as staff and I am their boss, they are such great fun, that I know it would be hard work if I thought like that. They each have really sily personalities which is great for me cos I am a big kid and can easily laugh and play the fool all day. Really intelligent, with great ideas and all of them love Beaumont and he likes them and OMG is he hard to please (but he does like pretty girls - player!)!

Michael and I have been talking a lot about our wedding, again not like it's going to happen tomorrow, but because we know it's happening... We were talking about what he and Beaumont will be wearing, my hair and make-up (those who know might be surprised) and the entertainment and we have this narrowed down to exactly what we want including the venue!!!

Michael wants to turn his dad's ring into his own wedding band which is lovely; sadly Terrence passed away sometime back and this is such a nice way to have him represented in our lives together and keep him close. Michael thinks about him a lot and talks to Beaumont about him which is lovely. Although I didn't know Terrence, we have lots of photos up in our house and sometimes when I look at Beaumont I see that he looks like a Chivers. He looks like Jacqui, Michael's younger sister. However, he has the Kaggwa foot, the Kaggwa hair line, and the Kaggwa clap (we like a clap when we find something funny).

On another note; some people have asked if we are concerned about the new Soul Café Restaurant opening on Tower Street. No, we're not. They are a completely different entity to us and trying to create a totally different enterprise. We have met and I hope that we become local business friends and not competing enemies. I wish them luck; it's a huge building and an exciting prospect for them and for the town. KL needs exciting places to eat and go out of an evening. We might even go. Lol! So, no fear, competition is great it keeps everyone on their toes and without it, what are you motivated to do... Nothing. So hopefully we will be collaborating and not fighting! (Aaargh, even I make myself sick at how hippy lovey I come cross sometimes, yuck! Where is my LDN fight and trample on everyone attitude gone..! Lol!)

Gosh, there is still so much to tell you, but you must need something to eat/drink or even a wee... I will hopefully be writing a lot sooner with news of the premises license that will be posted this week so fingers crossed that it comes back quickly as it will soon be 'MATD O'Clock!'

Please note: That sadly Shop KaTi wil no longer be with us from August. If you would like to purchase any of the beautiful gift cards, the very handy teething jewellery or bespoke bibs, there is only a few days left before all is changed. The space will continue to be a shop but the products will be different, so if you are in need, please pop by. Thank you to the beautiful ladies, Kat and Tiff for hosting your shop with us and we wish you all the success in the world with your venture. We would be delighted to have you back at any time for a pop up shop etc...

If there are any products that you would like once it has gone and would like to get in touch with them directly you can at: kat4183@hotmail.com

Speak soon lovely people of KL

Laters xxx

 

 

 

Stick to what you know... Err, what do I know..?

It's been a month since the launch, since Beaumont's first birthday and a year since I have slept properly that now with this new baby, my adrenalin has stepped up a gear, because trying to keep Beaumont and the café alive is definitely enough to keep me busy! Oh and what with all the babies coming into the café, how broody am I! But, too tired to do anything about it even if we could afford to! Sex. What? What's that again..?

To be quite honest, when we opened I genuinely didn't know what to expect; I didn't know what people would think of me, my (boys) lovely little family, the venue, the food, the events on offer... Again, I just thought about getting through the launch and Beaumont's birthday, not the actual day to day running of the venue and the process of work. If I had, maybe it wouldn't have become a reality...

Well, as a home cook who loves feeding everyone especially children, I have been so honoured, surprised, delighted, shocked that the people of King's Lynn like my food. Apart from mucky little cutie pies I can literally count how many plates come back with food on them... 97% clean plates... I'm stupid happy!

There have been a few days where we have been really quite, maybe one day a week. Once I served 3 people all day and I genuinely thought, 'oh my days, why have we ploughed everything into this business...' With stock, rent, utilities, insurance... it's scary and thankfully we are busier than we are quiet, but those quite days send the mind spinning. So what do you do...

Organise events!

Yoga brunch! We had such a fantastic response from our first brunch on Sunday 9 April! We are definitely doing it again especially as we have been asked to by those unable to attend!

Ps. We are going to host them quarterly as well as bi-annual all day wellness retreats!

We have begun advertising 'Bump Fit Buggy Ready Toddler Steady Walking Meet-Up', 'Yoga for You and Your Child', business networking, and the Rocking Raw Chef who has created a vegan tasting experience event for us on Friday 28 July!

We are booking in local authors for our book club called 'Books and Booze', a daily Breakfacise workout class.

With so many activities in the pipeline for children, evening events for adults, wellness programmes, we are achieving what we set out to. I hope, we hope that the are all received warmly!

So, with all this in mind, you're probably thinking that we have such an organised life... Well you'd be very, very wrong! Work is amazing, it's clean and beautiful. Home... well, if we could move into work..! SERIOUSLY! And to top it all off the eldest of our two cats is feeling a little neglected, so much so that she started to pee on the rug! Annoying! But it goes to show how difficult it is to manage work, home, family life balance. With no family close by to help with Beaumont, I worry that he is feeling neglected especially because he still breastfeeds, and now the cat! Aaarrrrgh! I need to sign up for a yoga brunch!

I can't imagine us not doing this, but I do have to stop thinking too far ahead otherwise I will scare the s@#t out of myself, but a little fear keeps us all on our toes!

Watching Beaumont take his first steps, seeing him share with other children, watching his amazing personality blossom; funny, sensitive, cheeky, boisterous, bossy, greedy, and I feel the stress dissipate and the weight fall from my shoulders...

Month one done, just the rest of our lives to go... Easy, right!

With that in mind: wedding dress... bought, shoes... bought, Michael's shoes... bought... Date... decided but not booked...

 

 

A Leap into the Unknown

So with less than two weeks until our official press launch on the Saturday 1st April, I am sitting here in the café on our new teal sofa with both my son and my laptop on my lap thinking, 'right, I am now a working mother' juggling between an 11moth old that doesn't want to sleep on his own and deadlines.

Since waking up this dreary March morning, we have gone to Bounce and Rhyme time at Lynn Library, sorted out insurance, checked and answered emails, had a snack, made some calls and now... I'm writing this.

Michael has been amazing. Apart from the electrics and plumbing, he has practically done everything himself. I think we have made quite a good team on this project (which is how I am seeing things, otherwise it'll seem too big for my head to handle), to be honest, this has been easier than being a mum. Work is work and I know how to do that already. Being a mum is simply winging it the whole time and it can be tricky, especially when the baby is winging it too.

Learning to stand and walk are the activities of the day at the moment. It's really exciting to see our little boy turn into a little toddler. I know there is still a way to go, but this year has literally flown by for us, I don't now about the rest of you, but, I feel as if it were only yesterday we were bringing him home from the hospital. I still remember taking almost 40minutes to walk down the stairs whilst in labour. And now, in 13 days I will have my own business and in fifteen days, a one year old son!

We knew pretty early on in my pregnancy that it wasn't likely that I would be going back to work in Cambridge. I did really love my job, I enjoyed what I did and I was good at it, but I woke up in a cold sweat one night and asked Michael, 'who's going to look after my son..? while I'm at work, who is he going to be with..?' it made me feel sick because in my dream I couldn't see him with anyone. I was walking out of the door at 6am and then what... I never thought about just being a mum and then it happened. I became a mum (did you see that I didn't add the 'just' that time - because being a mum is JUST so hard, that we are not just mums).

I love being a mummy to Beaumont and what's crazy is that looking at him makes me broody for more. Because of him I feel so courageous and strong, why not start a business that keeps me close to him and allows Michael and I to work together? Why not do something that we know we want and that the area needs? And if not now... When?

Just like making the decision to become parents, if you have a dream, find the opportunity, and do it. If you can, just do it. Because there is nothing worse than not trying and, sadly in life we don't always get second chances. Take a leap of faith and give it a go...

I hope you follow us on our journey of exploration...

 

Maggie and the Dragon.... Coming {very} Soon to King's Lynn

Maggie and the Dragon

Saturday 1st April 2017 will see the launch of Maggie and the Dragon; the first creative arts, community and wellbeing café in King's Lynn. Situated within the tranquil courtyard of Hanse House on the South Quay, the doors opened to a vibrant healthy eating café and happening events space.

Founded by first time parents Michael and Mercy Kaggwa-Chivers, the couple explain that the inspiration behind their new venture came from a personal need to find somewhere fun, comfortable and suitable to go with their new baby son Beaumont. In fact the concept of a family friendly food and wellbeing centre mixed with a community art space was something the couple discussed on their very first date, wandering the streets of Cambridge. The launch is not only the successful amalgamation of their dreams and ideas shared one winter evening over hot chocolate, but also more significantly coincides with the celebration of their son Beaumont’s first birthday.

Mercy explained, “When I was pregnant and on maternity leave I really struggled to find affordable healthy food and somewhere comfortable to sit and breastfeed and of recent, somewhere comfortable for Beaumont to crawl around and throw finger foods about without annoying other diners.”

Michael followed by saying that, “Art should be accessible, inclusive and open to everyone especially early years who are developing an understanding of the world around them. We want to encourage everyone to express themselves through all mediums from cooking, yoga, painting, acting, spoken word, storytelling and dance, crocheting, playing games or simply colouring in. With an extensive events calendar, this will finally be possible on our doorstep.”

Maggie and the Dragon have a varied menu catering to everyone including vegans, vegetarians and meat lovers. They feature an eclectic events calendar focused towards new parents looking for support, babes and toddlers, children, young people and adults. There will always be rainbows and a large helping of magic sprinkles courtesy of the amazing Hartbeeps providing regular workshops and special events. Other events include yoga classes for children and adults, the Artsy Craftsy Café™, Storytelling, and not forgetting Rhythm and Baby™ dad’s

disco with a playlist featuring, Classic Hip Hop, 90’s Brit Pop and many more. Michael said that the “Rhythm and Baby™ Dad’s Discos are really important to me. As a first time dad, I’m new to the whole baby scene and I want to be an active parent, but all of the groups are {quite understandably} aimed at mums. It can be awkward and difficult for the lone dad at groups singing nursery rhymes when everyone else in the room is singing at a higher pitch. But I give it a go because I want Monkey {Beaumont} to enjoy it. I am looking forward to creating a ‘dad’s group’ and I’ve spoken to several daytime dads who feel the same.”

The café offers an array of colours and tastes for those who eat meat but also for vegetarians and vegans. The couple say the emphasis is on delicious healthy food. From freshly cooked hot flat breads and plantain to crispy okra and kale, jerk chicken, pulled pork and brisket served at quarterly supper clubs.

With special events and daily activities to get involved in, the venue is safe for children of all ages, secluded and picturesque for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the High street. While close enough to the Vancouver Quarter, that you can come and go freely. Plus a quiet walk along the quayside is perfect for getting baby to sleep.

There is simply nothing like this anywhere in town!

Michael and Mercy both come from a charitable background; Michael a support worker and Mercy an events fundraiser. Maggie and the Dragon have chosen NCT West Norfolk as their partner charity. Please look out for information about their fundraising.

For information about events and activities you can find them on Facebook or Twitter and Instagram @MaggieATD or visit them at www.maggieandthedragon.com

To book your little one's birthday party, please call 07806 395371 or email maggieandthedragon@gmail.com

“Join us on our exploration through imagination...”