Zarouhi GrumbarZarouhi/Zaz calls herself French-Creole, having grown up in Trinidad & Tobago, but with a French passport! London is now her home, where she married a husband who works in film, and she is a working mother of two monkeys/angels so she feels she straddle many cultures.

Zaz works in luxury brand marketing, loves writing, yoga and is passionate about style and about people who inspire her. She has a severe weakness for shoes (150 and counting!), jewellery, peanut butter, guava jelly sandwiches and a classic margarita shared with friends!

All sounds far more grown up than she ever imagined her life to be!

Describe a typical day for you?

When I’m working, I try to be showered and dressed before my monkeys rise, and then get them dressed and chat to my big girl while I finish getting ready for work. My amazing husband then takes over for breakfast and the school run while I rush out to work with my thermos of herbal tea.  He runs his own business so has a bit more flexibility most mornings.

On the tube, I catch up with emails, the blog posts I subscribe to, and try to comment on blogs for as long as I’m above ground! I also start to draft blog posts on my iphone while en route, or else make notes on future posts I want to remember to write. Once I’m in the door of the office, it’s all go, as I cover 30 countries for a huge multinational brand. I’ve worked in fragrances for over 10 years, and in fashion for 7 years before that. I’ve always worked on brands or products that I love; I think it’s important in marketing and makes going to work far less of a chore.

I always try to leave on time – being a full time working mother means I count every delicious moment with my children, and I use the commuting time to write, make my to-do lists or do online shopping! Once home, the working mummy me is parked, and I rarely do anything work related until after bedtime, and even then, only if there’s a crazy deadline.

After bedtime my husband and I need some reconnecting time over dinner and a snuggle on the sofa with a glass of wine! I usually squeeze in some time finishing up and posting on one of my two websites – Mama and More and Mama Likes Pretty Things – before heading off to bed, stopping off in the children’s room for sneaky kisses and adoring gazes!

What do you feel are your biggest achievements?

It’s no surprise that I’d say my children, but I actually feel like they are a work in progress, and I hope that one day I will have brought up confident, strong, caring, responsible, happy and smart adults with whom I have wonderful and connected relationships.  That would be a fantastic achievement.

One of my biggest personal achievements has been coming to terms with and managing an eating disorder, and given the industry I work in, I’m really conscious of the effects of marketing and how my daughter will perceive herself, and make a point to remind her that yes, she is beautiful, but being beautiful inside is the most important thing of all.

I’m also really proud to have started my blogs, and to have built them up and kept them going for as long as I have. Again though, they are a work in progress, but I love the space they give me.  Oh, and a little known fact and achievement – I studied part time for 18 months while working to become a qualified Thai Yoga masseuse!  It’s good to have different strings to your bow to give you options and expand your mind!

What’s in your handbag?

So much! My iPhone, mints, wallet, a spare purse for all the loyalty cards I’ve amassed (nothing worse than all your cards falling out from an overstuffed wallet in the middle of a shop!), shoes – flatties or heels, depending on the time of day you catch me – my bright orange Jimmy Choos stillettos and flat gold sandals today – baby wipes (a must when travelling on a hot and grimy tube), lip gloss, notebook with a picture of my husband and children slipped inside, pen, housekeys, perfume, and whatever nail polish I’ve got on at the moment – I hate chipped nails!

What advice would you give your pre baby self that you now know having had a child?

Know that having a child will be the most utterly transformative thing in your life. It will be the hardest, most challenging, most fantastic thing you will ever experience. Put your life and career on fast forward pre-children, and then accept that it will change. It will have to.  Don’t believe in the myth of work-life balance.

Where it exists, it involves compromise – that’s not a good or bad thing, it’s just a fact. Hold on to your sense of self, keep nourishing your relationship, it will give a good example and loving environment for your kids, and make you happy. Oh, and get rid of all your debts much earlier, and don’t wallow half as much over lost loves.

What are your ambitions in life?

To bring up adults I’m proud of, to write a book, start my own business, do more yoga, travel with my family, have a successful blog, to have no regrets.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

We could be living in LA or London, depending on my husband’s work, so I think by then I want to be sharing my time between running brand consultancy projects freelance, and developing my blog into an online magazine, inspiring and celebrating women with style and lifestyle pieces, and especially about holding onto and nourishing your sense of self, while also juggling all the balls we have in the air. I’d also like to be involved in my children’s school life, I get pretty involved now, and love being part of something that takes up such a big chunk of their lives, and sharing it with them!

What advice would you give a budding Marketeer / Blogger?

My advice in general, whether for blogging or for your career, or pretty much anything in life is to be realistic with what you want to achieve, and at the same time push yourself and take a few risks. Set little milestones for yourself, and reward yourself when you get there. Network, talk to people.

Be honest and authentic.

Do something you love and look forward to in the morning. As soon as you dread doing something, then think about what you can change. Life is too short to be miserable for most of your day.  Put your dreams out there. I’ve always believed in a saying that basically says that when you put your dreams in motion, Fate acts to place people and opportunities in your way to help you.

Finally, happiness is…

Being loved, feeling the warmth of the sun, kisses, knowing my children are healthy, safe and happy, spending time with true friends and my wonderful family, enjoying great food, a cocktail or two, and of course, fantastic shoes!

Zaz’s blogs:

Mama and More  is about exactly that – being a mother, and all the things that make you more.  I cover style, food, beauty and life, while over on Mama likes Pretty Things she hones in on fashion and accessories specifically.

Facebook  Page- Mama and More aka Zaz

Twitter – @mama_andmore and @mamalikespretty

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4 Responses

  1. Colette

    What a lovely inspirational woman. Its so nice to hear from someone who has the same home/work life as me! Juggling certainly is a skill!

    Reply
  2. Babes about Town

    What a fantastic interview. Here and on her blogs Zarouhi comes across so warm and wise, and accessible, like someone I would become instant friends with 🙂

    I really appreciate your honesty about your eating disorder and so glad you’re passing on that sense of inner confidence and self-worth to your daughter.

    It’s always fascinating to read how other mums manage the juggling act of work/kids and holding onto who they are inside. Zaz seems to be coping with grace and insight. Lovely post x

    Reply
      • Mummy

        Beautiful article and I am so proud of my little “Petit Poi(d)s”. My 3 beautiful girls are my life’s joy. I am hoping to achieve more, to live up to the inspiration that they provide. Zarouhi, you amaze me – you do so much and have been able to put so much of yourself into your children who are wonderful already, kind and generous, smart and so well-mannered… and I love the blog.

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