Our recent Members of the Month

Our Member of the Month for August 2016 - Cath Brearley.

To let you know a bit more about Cath, Maggie asked her some questions about herself:

  1. Who is your hero/heroine? It has to be my mum! She is an amazing lady and has guided me into the person I am today.
  2. Favourite music? A difficult one. I don't have a favourite but music tastes range from Mozart to Metallica, Gypsy Jazz to Blues.
  3. What was the defining moment for you in your business? I haven't really been going long enough to have a defining moment but I suppose it would be the moment I stopped panicking about if I was doing the right thing!!
  4. What's been your biggest milestone so far? I don't think I've really ever set myself any milestones, that way you don't get disappointed if you don't reach them. I'm a live 'day to day, kind of girl'! Saying that, I'm proud of myself that I have got to where I am today, on my own.
  5. Best holiday you've ever had? Back packing across Botswana with my dad. He goes out there regularly to record the traditional music of the bushmen, so i had an expert guide. Amazing experience that I remember like it was yesterday, not 23yrs ago!!
  6. What is your hidden talent? Playing the violin and singing at the same time whilst balancing on a ball! Ok,maybe not, but I do play the violin! I could try the above though and fail miserably on Britains got Talent, for a laugh!

Our Member of the Month for June 2016 - Julie-Ann Amos.

To let you know a bit more about Julie-Ann, Maggie asked her some questions about herself:

  1. Who is your hero/heroine? Evil Knievel. My secondary hero was Eddie the Eagle, so I was very glad to see a film being made this year. I so badly wanted to be a daredevil. We lived in front of ascrap yard, so I had unlimited access to old cars and bits of bikes and machinery, so it could have been a lot worse, but you could only get in there over a fence so I couldn't ever get my bike in there to try stunts involving buses and cars. I was banned from riding my bike on many occasions as a child, due to the large amount of minor accidents and trips to casualty. When I was about 13 I was stopped in a minor car chase by the Police and given a warning - for overtaking a police car on my bike going down the steep hill from Cribbs Causeway Mall towards the old Severn Bridge. I used to put planks on walls and dustbins to make precarious ramps and jumps, but fortunately people wouldn't lie under anything for me to fly over. I also used to climb wooden telegraph poles, mark how high I had climbed with a pencil and jump off - to see how high I could jump from before I broke my legs. I would have loved to be a stunt man, but back in the 70s there weren't really any stunt women so I had no career prospcets. Therefore, all the sympathy members have given me for my bad knees is rather misplaced - I have definitely "abused the parts" over the years!
  2. What would be your dream meal, and name your three perfect guests (dead or alive!)? I would return to a time when I worked in investment banking and ate out for work 5 days a week, and I'd go back and have a meal at what was my favourite restaurant - The Orrery (Jasper Conran) on Marylebone High Street. Smoked salmon and scallops, vegetable Veloute of the day, Fillet steak with peppercorn sauce, gorgeous puddings, and the cheese board to die for. I'd start with a G&T, then top it off with a small bottle of Tokaji, one of Montrachet and a bottle of Pavie. Guests - that's VERY easy - Eddie Izzard, Bill Bailey and David Tennant. I'd have Freddy Mercury resurrected and also Russel Brandt on standby in case of last minute no-shows.
  3. Where does your drive come from? I have a rare subset of bipolar, Chronic Hypomanic Disorder. Whereas "traditional bipolar" is up and down, I describe it Chronic Hypomania as "up and upper". It's rare to live to my age without medication, but I have managed it for many years. Without medication, my high is just below manic and my low is restless anxiety, which means my "low" is still some way above "normal" (if such a thing exists) for the rest of you. So I don't quite do the manic things like thinking I can rule the world and have superpowers, but on a high it's not far off - it's just below manic. At worst I am a restless, pacing, "caged lion" full of anxiety. Both are active and energetic. Over the years I have MOSTLY managed to channel all that drive into activity that is useful and valued by my employers and then after I started my own businesses, clients. It's a blessing in many ways, giving me what can seem to others to be endless energy, and incredible optimism, but has caused a LOT of problems over the years. Frankly, it's exhausting being me, but I wouldn't change it. Never, ever give me antidepressants. That's when I really do think I have superpowers and can do anything. I have been depressed, as you do get periods of crashing, when not on meds, but only a handful of times in my lifetime.
  4. What is your favourite film? Cloud Atlas. I've not read the book, just couldn't stick at it, but the film was amazing. I saw it with a friend on a Tuesday, went back on my own to see it again on the Wednesday, and saw so many little things and touches that I went again on the Thursday! Then I bought it on iTunes. The story and the film are just mesmerising. There are a thousand tiny, tiny touches where the different parts of the story are woven together with little things placed in the background, or throwaway lines that reference other storylines. It's like a big ball of knitting wool of 5 different colours all woven together so beautifully... I could watch it again and again.
  5. How often do you buy clothes? Never. Please tell me it doesn't show! Maybe once every 3 years or so I will visit a clothes shop, but a large part of my wardrobe is very old, and the rest is bought online. I have a few staple online sources, and a lot of course I knit or have someone make for me now and again. That sounds very grand doesn't it? It's not. So yes, I BUY clothes but not in a shop
  6. If given a chance, who would you like to be for a day? Me, and I'd have back the day with my dad in Italy. It also answers the 'Best Holiday you've ever had?' question. When my Father was terminally ill, he mentioned that the Mille Miglia classic car race in Italy was just one of the things he would never do now. He was a classic car buff all his life, and it was his huge passion, so I decided I had to make it happen. First hurdle, I had to pay privately to get both knees fixed up so I could walk, and only in the nick of time was I walking ok. Second hurdle - we now have me post knee surgery, and him post chemo/radiation so we needed help. Third hurdle, I know nothing about the race or Italy, and everything is sold out months ago anyway. So I hired a travel organiser, and we were chauffeur driven around Italy and followed the race, and even took a diversion to the Ferrari museum. The start of the race day was the best day ever - Dad and I walking slowly round Brescia poking about in all the old cars of the 1950s. I bought him a red and gold race hat, which he didn't take off for months! He was very frail, and we were both on walking sticks, but it just didn't matter - we got the energy from somewhere. It was just me and my dad poking about in old cars like when I was a kid, in glorious sunshine all on our own together, and I'd go back there again in a heartbeat and do it exactly the same. It was perfect. When it got dark and the race started, we stopped for a pizza and discovered that the route brought all the cars right past the restaurant, so we were in and out of the door to cheer each one as it passed and didn't miss any of them. He ate an entire huge pizza, which was astounding given that he'd not eaten properly through months of chemo and radiotherapy. Then we found the start of the hill stage, and watched that, cheering as the old cars got started up the steep hill (those that made it, anyway!). I will always remember him in the pitch dark after midnight, sat on the kerb at the side of the road in the dust and dirt, happy as could be, clapping and cheering, waving at every car. For that one perfect day, the Gods smiled on me.
  7. What is the last joke you recall? I don't really remember many jokes, but from childhood my favourite one always sticks in my mind - Cecil the Caterpillar. You'll just have to get me to tell it live, though, because it involves a LOT of actions.

Our Member of the Month for April 2016 is Alison Morgan.

AliCat Design www.alicat-design.co.uk

To let you know a bit more about Alison, Maggie asked her some questions about herself:

  1. Favourite music? A wide range, everything from rock and disco through to country and musicals!
  2. Favourite place? Italy - doesn't matter where just anywhere in Italy, coast, mountains or cities. I also love the open space of the big american states.
  3. What is your top tip for business? Get rid of the customers that are a pain in the neck and you don't make any money from - you don't need the stress.
  4. What are three things you cannot live without? Tea! - can't think of anything else specific ...
  5. If money was no object, what would you do all day? Travel. Also buy somewhere and renovate it, with lots of shopping involved!
  6. What aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? The creativity and the fact I am doing something different every day.

Our Member of the Month for March 2016 was Teresa Owen.

Three Counties Mortgages www.threecountiesmortgages.co.uk/

To let you know a bit more about Teresa, Maggie asked her some questions about herself:

  1. Greatest impending challenge? The new legislation coming in in March, which means having to learn what's going to happen, being tested on it to the Network's satisfaction, waiting to find out how the lenders are going to cope with it and dealing with any fall-out as a result!
  2. Are you messy or organized? I work in a kind of organised mess. My files are reasonably well organised and I have 'to do' lists to keep me on track but, with so much paperwork to deal with and lots to remember, I tend to have piles of notes everywhere so my desk does often looks messy, which means a blitz is required every now and then.
  3. If you were an animal what would you be? I'd be an elephant as I'm strong, knowledgeable, loyal to my customers, and unstoppable when it comes to getting my client's mortgages through from application to completion. Unfortunately, I can't say I have a memory like an elephant though. Without a list, I'd be lost and the less said about the wrinkles the better!!
  4. Can you describe a recent challenge you faced, and how did you overcome it? The nature of the job makes every day a challenge, particularly the difficult to place cases. The challenge is finding the right lender and the only way to overcome it is research, research and more research.
  5. What's your favourite childhood memory? When I was little, my dad used to work on a farm and we lived in a tied cottage. My favourite memory was taking him a flask and sandwiches across the corn or hay field on a lovely, hot summer's day when he was harvesting.
  6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? I want to meet and, hopefully, exceed my own expectations for my business, if I don't go mad in the process trying to keep pace with the never ending legislation that's associated with the industry.

Our Member of the Month for February 2016 was Meave Cray.

MyWeb2Go Ltd www.myweb2go.co.uk

To let you know a bit more about Meave, Maggie asked her some questions about herself:

  1. What are 3 things you cannot live without? 1. Bob my partner, 2. Our Hottub, 3. My Special Friends
  2. What do you want to be when you grow up? The easiest question of all. I have done growing up and it was pretty boring so now I just intend to grow old disgracefully.
  3. Favourite music? Neil Diamond, Tom Paxton, Leonard Cohen, Elkie Brookes, the BeeGees and all things Jazz
  4. Top 3 items on your bucket list? 1. Revisit Berlin - I visited in 1972 before the wall came down and absolutely loved it. I would like to see how it has changed today, 2. A night at the Ritz, London including afternoon tea, 3. A flight in a 2 seater Spitfire (and I hate flying!)
  5. What is your favourite thing about your career? That after 47 years I still enjoy what I do both in terms of design, developing and maintaining websites as well as the large contracts relating to major production control systems. Also over the last 25 plus years I have employed young people who have now gone on to start their own successful businesses.
  6. What would you choose for a memorable meal, and who would your guests be (up to five)?
    To eat & drink 12 Oysters, Lobster Thermidor, Pavlova washed down with a bottle of Prosecco. Absolutely no vegetables or potatoes. Followed by a glass of Ballantines whiskey.
    Guests:
    No 1: As this can include people no longer with us then it would have to be my best friend ever Liz, who died of breast cancer at the age of 49. Just to have her company for one more meal would be magical.
    No 2: Tom Kitchin - Michelin starred chef - he has curly hair and a cute bum and he can cook.
    No 3: Quentin Jardine the Scots writer of the Skinner novels, amongst other things, as I feel he would be a good raconteur.
    No 4: Billy Connolly whose Glasgow humour I will always enjoy
    No 5: Last but not least my partner Bob because no occasion is complete without his company and I would have loved him to meet Liz my No 1 guest.

Our Member of the Month for December 2015 was our Treasurer, Cecile Hunt, a long-standing member of FBWN.

These are the questions she was asked:

  1. What is your top tip for business? Be sensible, get advise, do research and mix with other business people.
  2. What are three things you canít live without? The ability to learn, researching history and happy home life.
  3. Top 3 items on your bucket list? Write a book (history based of course!), learn to ski and see the Northern Lights.
  4. Dogs or cats? Dogs before cats - and, of course, horses.
  5. What motivates you to work hard? A satisfaction that the end result will be the best I can achieve; what ever I am involved in whether it is for myself, voluntary or paid work. Learning something new, or getting a better understanding of things along the way is an added bonus.
  6. Would you rather be good looking or rich? Both would be good but good health would be my first and foremost choice.


Our Member of the Month for November was Felicity Edwards

Forest Therapies www.foresttherapies.co.uk

To let you know a bit more about Felicity, Maggie asked her some questions about herself:

  1. What motivates you to work hard? Depends on which work, I love working with sick people and helping see them improve. I have no interest in the financial aspect of working though, which makes running a business an interesting experiment, fortunately I have always had talented accountants to keep the business afloat although in Africa I was often paid in strange currencies like a live hen or a plate of baking at Diwali or Eid I love the challenge of crafting, of making beaded articles, thinking about the colours and the patterns, of designing and making jewellery and crocheting toys especially to use as illustrations for my books and I love the feel of making felt. I have always had a passion for words so writing is the natural outcome and I love the feel of books so have to keep on writing them.
  2. Have you read any good books recently, that you would recommend?
    A Game of Proof by Tim Vicary - An interesting tale of a woman's commitment to improving herself by gaining an education, qualifications and eventually becoming a barrister and the cost of this in her personal relationships. Then she has to fight to defend her son on a murder charge. I found it a gripping tale of the interaction between the police and lawyers; how lawyers see it as a game until it is for real, the life of her son is at stake, strange
    Atlantis Gene by G Riddle - An interesting book combining both world wars, current tensions and linking it to the Atlanteans, one of whose cities in in the Antarctic. Made me think about violence, the pursuit of power and that is balanced with the essential good in others.
    Series of Clan of the Cave Bear the Children of the Earth series - I read these about 20 plus years ago but listened to the Audio books, made me think about the structure of different societies and how nice it would be to live in a simple unsophisticated society where money did not exist but commerce did
  3. What are three things you cannot live without? My iPad ( what a wonderful invention where I can carry around loads of books, both reading and audio take photos and even write! What more can you want in life? Pencil and notebook for when I forget to charge the iPad so I can still write and even note down friends email addresses etc.
  4. What do you want to be when you grow up? Tall, slim and wear slinky cloths and be terribly sophisticated (Have a long way to go!)
  5. Dogs or cats? Has to be dogs as I am very allergic to cats. I once tried to cure the allergy by keeping two lovely kittens, after being dragged off to the Doctor every day for a week for very severe asthma I confessed to my experiment and was told I could die if I did not find a home for them instantly! They went to a home and I eventually recovered with huge respect for cats but no desire to touch them again.
  6. What would be your dream meal, and name your three perfect guests (dead or alive!)? Spicy butternut soup, cauliflower cheese followed by apple crumble and custard (only if I can have the skin on the custard!) Guests: Buddha, Jesus and Mary Magdalene. I think that could be the basis for some wonderful conversations
  7. Top 3 items on your bucket list? Visit the Okavango, Visit Machu Pichu, Visit Tibet

Our Member of the Month for October 2015 was Caroline Jones.

Fashion Revived

These are the questions she was asked:

  1. Hobby? unsurprisingly my favourite hobby is needlecraft, specifically at present crochet which I picked up earlier this year but also patchwork, quilting, embroidery and lacemaking. Oh and canals!
  2. Proudest moment? probably graduating in Archives and Administration, I got my Masters with Distinction 7 yrs ago age 42.
  3. Next big milestone? retiring to live on my narrowboat full time, as soon as possible please, there's lots of canals and rivers to be 'done' in the UK.
  4. Top 3 items on your bucket list? Drive Route 66 across America in an AC Cobra sports car, Walk the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path, Make my daughter a wedding dress
  5. If money was no object? I'd spend all day needlecrafting and drinking bloody good whisky on my boat. (Scuse the language)
  6. How often do I buy clothes? rarely, as necessary and usually from sales, TL Maxx or charity shops.
  7. Biggest milestone so far? reaching our Silver Wedding anniversary a few years ago as three years previously my husband collapsed and stopped in front of me one morning! I did CPR until help arrived, a helipcopter trip, a few days on life support, emergency cardiac surgery and 6 months off work and he is now fine albeit with permanent partial heart failure and I still have a husband! Thank the Lord!!


Our Member of the Month for September 2015 was Wendy Guilfoyle.

Complementary Healthcare Solutions at the Sanctuary, Broadwell

These are the questions she was asked:

  1. Where is your favourite place? Apart from my home and garden, Falmouth beach and Lohafushi, Maldives. It is difficult to have just one.
  2. What is your favourite music? Mozart: Clarinet concerto. Dvorzark, Romance in F sharp minor, Rhythm and Blues from 1970's. James Taylor
  3. What motivates you to work hard? That what I do will make something/someone as beautiful and able to be as fully who or what they are as they can be, be they flowers shrubs trees or people!
  4. What would be your dream meal, and name your three perfect guests (dead or alive!)? A selection of fresh fruit, freshly caught reef fish barbecued in banana leaves, blackberry and apple crumble and rice milk curtard, very good coffee.
  5. What are three things you cannot live without? The washing machine, the computer and the phone
  6. What's your proudest moment? It is still a long life, Maggie so a few. First was when my newly born daughter was laid on my chest still damp; passing the various exams for the different courses I have done; they have all been demanding and none of them a given. The most recent was when I was awarded my blue belt in Budo karate!
  7. Dogs or cats? my lovely border collie, Bella




The Forest Business Women's Network is a network of both fledgling and established companies within and around the Forest of Dean. Set up to provide support and a point of contact, our aim is to promote the professionalism and increase the stature of women in business in the area.

We meet once a month for a morning meeting. This provides a framework for sharing experiences and the potential for meeting new clients and forging strong business links. Each member is invited to give a short introduction on the products and services their company offers, thus providing a platform for promoting their business. We welcome guests who wish to come along and see if they feel that the FBWN will be of benefit to them.

If you would like additional information or advice please contact FBWN's Secretary, Maggie Mortimer by email or by phoning 01594 542578 or complete our Contact Form.