Q&A about Reena & The Mummy Project

I don’t usually like talking about myself as there are much more interesting people out there. But I’ve been getting lots of questions from readers about The Mummy Project and about me so I thought I would share my answers.

Why did you start The Mummy Project

After my daughter was born, it was one of the happiest times of my life, but it was also one of the most challenging. I went from full-time work surrounded by other adults to being at home with a new baby on 12 months maternity leave.  Honestly, some days it sucked.

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I was lonely and life started to feel a bit like Groundhog Day with every day the same as the one before. I wanted to get out but I just didn’t know where to go. I remember thinking that it would be so useful to have a website that contained information on local attractions, events and activities for parents with babies and kids.

A year after I returned to work, I was made redundant from my position and decided to start The Mummy Project. I figured it would be a great learning opportunity while I had a career break for a few years. The universe had other plans though and soon after launching TMP, I ended up receiving a part-time job offer.

Are you Newcastle born and bred?

Not even close! I was actually born in the UK to parents of Indian ancestry (hence my tan and my tasty Indian Butter Chicken recipe).  When I was ten, we moved to Canada to a small town in Northern Alberta and then to the big city of Edmonton (home of West Edmonton Mall and the Edmonton Oilers hockey team). I quickly dropped my London accent for a Canadian one and learned how to survive -30 degree temperatures in winter.

In my twenties, I decided to fulfill my dream of visiting Australia and arrived in Sydney for a year’s working holiday*.  I ended up working in Sydney for four months and then backpacked all around Australia and New Zealand. I fell in love with Australia (and later an Australian). Fast forward a few years, I moved from Canada to Sydney to be with my partner. Although I love Sydney, the relaxed lifestyle, beaches and friendly people attracted us to Newcastle and we’ve had eight happy years here. (By the way, how long do you have to live in Newcastle to be able to call yourself a local?)

As a result of my upbringing, I have a mangled accent, wide range of interests and a collection of passports. I love travelling, experiencing new destinations, cultures and cuisine and meeting new people. If you spot me out and about, please do say hello.

*Coincidentally, on the flight to Australia in 1998, I was sitting next to a friendly woman from Newcastle. When I asked her if I should include Newcastle on my list of places to visit, she replied “Don’t bother, it’s a dirty steel town”. How I wish I had ignored her advice and visited then.

Are you married? How many children do you have?

Yes, I’m married to Mr Mummy Project, a firefighter who is the love of my life except for when he annoys me. We have a six year old daughter who was conceived after a few years of  IVF. We would have loved a larger family but due to my infertility issues from severe endometriosis, just having one was a bloody miracle. My ongoing thanks to Dr Andrew Hedges and the staff of Hunter IVF and endometriosis specialist Dr Danny Chou at St George Private Hospital. Without them, I wouldn’t have my daughter or this blog.

Do you work on The Mummy Project full-time?

No, I work three days a week and balance paid work with my blog.

What kind of work do you do?

I’m work for the state government managing online IT systems and writing technical documentation. It’s quite different than my efforts on The Mummy Project blog and social media channels but I enjoy it.

How do you do balance work, family and a blog?

I won’t lie. Sometimes it’s a challenge and I get stressed when I look at the unclean state of my house or piles of unwashed laundry and an empty fridge. Like many other busy mums and dads, it often feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day. I juggle what I need to do but sometimes I do drop the ball in a spectacular fashion. It helps to have a sense of humour to keep things in perspective and remember family comes first. Alcohol or chocolate help as well on those bad days!

Is it just you working on The Mummy Project? How do you find out about what’s on?

Yes, it is just me working on the blog. I do accept guest blogs if I think my readers will find them useful.

I find out about local events through press releases, emails from contacts and my natural curiosity about what’s going on. I also get plenty of tips from readers about upcoming local community and school events which I greatly appreciate.

Do you make any money from The Mummy Project?

Yes, after two years of running it as a hobby, I’ve finally started to earn a bit of money in the past few months which helps with IT and web hosting costs. I’ve set up a directory on my website showcasing local businesses which cater to parents and families. So have a look at my directory and support all the wonderful businesses who support The Mummy Project. (Big love to all my sponsors!)

But honestly, making mega bucks isn’t the main driver of The Mummy Project. I’m more interested in keeping my blog real, authentic and useful to local parents . So when I receive free products or services to review, I will always disclose that to readers as I think it’s important to be honest and transparent. By the way, getting free stuff doesn’t affect my opinions.

What do you like about running The Mummy Project?

It gives me a great excuse to get out and check out the family-friendly places and events in our region. From discovering the Fairy Garden in Broadmeadow and travelling on a steam train to being chased by a T-Rex at Newcastle Museum, we’ve had some fantastic family excursions and great memories.

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I’ve learned so many new skills through The Mummy Project such as researching, writing articles, blogging, social media and and taking photos. It’s my much-needed creative outlet!

I love that I have met so many amazing mums in person, via Facebook and email who follow The Mummy Project. (I’ve made so many new friends in these past few years).  Thank you to those who have emailed or PM’d me the most lovely comments. You have no idea how much your kind words mean to me.

Also, it’s lovely to receive emails from mums who have moved to Newcastle who find my website and Facebook helpful. As someone who’s moved around a lot, I  understand how challenging it can be moving to a new city or country and trying to fit in and belong. It’s very gratifying to know that I can help other parents.

One thing that has blown me away is the sense of community of The Mummy Project. It’s wonderful to see the helpful, supportive and positive community of mums, dads and carers on Facebook and website providing tips to my readership and me.

What are your plans for The Mummy Project?

Basically, keep continuing what I’m doing and see what unfolds. The Mummy Project has already surpassed my expectations so I’m just enjoying the ride.

Thanks to all of you for your help, support and tips about local events and activities. I really appreciate how many of you have recommended me to your friends and family.

Reena x

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If you have any other questions, feel free to ask!

Something Random:

Here’s a TV commercial for a 2010 Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation that we ended up in purely by fluke. We were at Wallsend Library and my baby was being extra loud when Julie Swane, the Childrens Librarian approached and I thought we were going to be kicked out of the library. Instead, we (myself and my fidgety baby) were invited to be in a commercial. Blink and you’ll miss us.

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3 Comments

  • What a clever woman you are! As an immigrant myself, I relate to SO many of those experiences you talk about. It was a real pleasure to meet you the other day and I hope that was the beginning of something bigger in the future for us as women and professionals. All the best with this wonderful project!!. Count on my business Photography by Cleo if I can help you in anyway to go one step higher in the ladder. xx

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