Hello Léa, what kind of little muse are you?
Hello, I’m Léa and I’m 35. I’m a real little epicurean who loves to eat, sleep and laugh!
I like doing all kinds of different things like drawing while listening to music, going out to do things with my 3 boys and, of course, going out and having a few drinks with my friends!
Where do you live?
I live in Fulham, London, which is a very family-oriented district where lots of French expats live along with Italians and Spanish. We send our children to a bilingual school, Marie d’Orliac, which is opposite a big park where children and parents meet after school and at the weekend. This district is also right by the Thames and we often go out cycling on the banks of the river. We like to stop and have lunch at a pub to enjoy the famous “Sunday roast”.
How did you come to be in London?
For several years, we had really wanted to live abroad and, one day, my husband had the chance to move to London for his work. We jumped at the opportunity. The timing was perfect; we’d just had our third little boy. Personally, I didn’t want to go back and work at the bank where I’d spent more than 10 years! I wanted to do something else professionally and take some risks!
Had you already lived abroad?
Apart from during my higher education, I’d never lived outside of France. We’d been working in Paris for more than 12 years and had a nice apartment and a busy workload.
How long have you been here?
We’ve been in London for one and a half years. We came here at Christmas time, 2016. I have to say it was a little hard at first. It got dark at 3.30pm and I spent my time driving. In complete contrast to life today, the way things were organised then wasn’t the best for me! My oldest boy, Gaspard, aged 7, adapted very well. He settled into a primary school and quickly made friends. Louis, aged 5, found it a little harder as I wasn’t able to send him to school straight away. In England, school starts in the second year. He had to go back to nursery but he’d already started infant school so it was a bit of a backwards step for him. My youngest little boy was only 4 months old when we arrived.
You’ve started a project: how did you get the idea for this? Why did you choose this theme?
I have to say that the idea for “Mumentz” didn’t come to me spontaneously. I really wanted to leave the bank and start an entrepreneurial adventure. In the end, my children gave me the idea. While spending more time with them, I started to
document our family memories and pay attention to their thoughts. They had so much to tell me about their new life! So, I used “Whatsapp” a lot to share this with my husband and parents.
I realised that many parents wanted to preserve their memories with their children but weren’t able to do so because of a lack of time or not having the right tools. So, I thought about a developing an application to save these memories, which would then allow me to create little memory notebooks that people would enjoy looking through, a little like the old-style photo albums that people enjoy looking at.
Also, while doing a quick sketch of a little mouse after my son made a funny comment about this, I got the idea of illustrating the notebook. Little by little, the original idea of “Mumentz” started to take shape.
Tell us how you organise your activities around your personal life
After the first 6 months of managing everything at home with my youngest son in my arms, I quickly realised that I wasn’t succeeding in launching my project. I needed time to myself and to properly start the project. When we got back from our summer holidays, we decided to get an Au Pair to help me and I found a nanny to help me with my youngest child. Today, things work pretty well. I take my 2 older children to school and pick them up twice a week. The Au Pair takes them the rest of the time. I stop work at 5.30pm to help with homework and make dinner while the Au Pair baths and plays with them.I’m a lot calmer and spend more quality time with them. I’m aware I’m lucky to be able to do this!
Can you share an inspirational moment of happiness with us?
One of the benefits of being a Mompreneur is being able to manage your time. I’m now free to occasionally go on school trips with my children’s class, something I didn’t do before!
You spend a lot of time looking after your children. Do you have a little home-made recipe to share with us?
As I do my own illustrations, I encourage my boys to draw with their crayons. Unfortunately, this isn’t something they like best. Their dad has got them into board games and we’ve got loads of these at home! We’ve just discovered the game
Kingdomino, which we love.
As well as being a “Mompreneur”, what do you like to go out and do in terms of culture right now, either on your own or with your family?
London is a great city for museums. Most are free and are great for children. When I’m on my own or with friends, I like exhibitions at the Tate Modern or the British Museum.
Time for a bit of culture! Can you tell me about one of your favourite paintings or books?
My reading is pretty varied. When I started my entrepreneurial adventure, I avidly read the biographies of Elon Musk and Steve Job. Find out more here . To inspire myself as an entrepreneur, I listen to podcasts such as La Poudre and Generation XX . Otherwise, the two last books that I enjoyed are classics that I never got time to read: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, where the black picture of motherhood and the status of women makes me think and be aware of the importance of spreading the feminist message.
Is there a cultural event on at the moment in the city that you can recommend?
I’m very fond of painting exhibitions. Recently, I went to see Modigliani at the Tate Modern as well “Picasso 1932” which was fabulous.
Can you summarise the lifestyle in the country where you’re living as an expat?
England has a very “family friendly” lifestyle. Evenings start earlier than they do in Paris. Family life benefits in some ways from dining early, going to the pub, having a beer with your friends and getting home at 11pm! At the weekend, mornings are more productive and the children are ecstatic. Above all, London is a very green capital and we can get out to the English countryside pretty quickly.
Léa, can you describe your project?
“Mumentz” offer parents the opportunity to record and easily keep anecdotes connected to their children. The format is a nice notebook, designed to last and provide the opportunity to read it again, remembering those moments you never
want to forget!
Apart from baby albums that everyone knows about, I found there was no real method of keeping memories from my children as they got older, especially when they were uttering their first words and making funny little comments. You can buy many products for children’s photos; but there was nothing to keep the anecdotal memories I wanted to preserve.
So, Mumentz was born from this concept.
How did you develop your project?
Initially, I built up my community through my Facebook group to make sure there was enough interest. I took part in a little publicity contest and got my first members. I’m also starting to communicate on Instagram to reach a wider audience and promote my visual images. Mumentz aims to note down and preserve memories but also to highlight these with
illustrations. The members of my Mumentz Facebook group post their anecdotes; I then save them to my database and each anecdote has a small illustration. Then, as soon as they have enough anecdotes, they can order their fully personalised book.
The next step for Mumentz is a mobile app, which will be fun and easy but, above all, more confidential than what I can offer on Facebook. This will be an important step for my project and I hope to get there as soon as possible. It’s a long road but so rewarding!
What do you get from your experience on a professional level?
I’ve met many female entrepreneurs through being one myself and some have become friends, including Marie-Caroline (Mi Casa es Tu Casa) and Agatha (Alice in Paris). We chat a lot together. I also crossed paths with Béatrice who created her company “Merci Maman”;. 10 years ago. I hope to enjoy the same success one day.
Can you summarise your professional journey?
My path has been fairly classic and not at all original. I went to a business school then to an investment bank where I climbed the ladder to a sales position.
1. Mum, can I have some sweets? No my love, you know don’t have to
eat sweets every day. Oh ok, but don’t you know that I’m not forcing myself to
eat them every day!
Cloe, 1.5 years.
2. Chloe falls over on the ground and hurts herself. I ask her “What hurts
sweetie?” She replies, through tears, “The ground, mummy!”
Chloe 1.5 years
3. Mum, can you help me to get dressed please? Come here my love and then
you can get dressed by yourself. Pffffff I’ve had enough of this! I get dressed
on my own every day. Daaaaaad can you help me get dressed please?
Mummy won’t help me!”
Alienor 3.5 years