Above: Hannah, her Husband Warren and baby Henry on opening day.
Who are you?
Hi, I’m Hannah, owner of Sweet Retreat Sweet Shop in Rugby. I’ve just turned 30 (eek!!) I’m a Wife and a parent to two little people, Henry three and Daisy one. I suppose I’m just another Mum trying to juggle work and family life!
Tell us all about Sweet Retreat and how your business idea came about
Sweet Retreat has all the charm of a traditional sweet shop with its wooden dressers and glass jars of sweets, but it’s modern in that it is all Pick’n’Mix. I think the kids (and adults) love being able to help themselves.
Having lived in Hillmorton my whole life I’d had the idea to open a Sweet Shop here for a few years, but I was happy in my full-time Accounting job. Then, when my son Henry was born in May 2014 two months early everything changed for me really. I knew I didn’t want to return to a full time role after maternity was over. When Henry was six months old a shop became available and it was just before Christmas, I was enjoying maternity leave, but figured it was now or never!
What makes you happy?
Family time. It doesn’t have to be a day out anywhere just the four of us all together is my happy place.
Above: Hannah and her babies.
What makes you sad?
When my kids won’t play nicely together! With less than a two year age gap I want them to grow up together and be the best of friends. That, and housework!
What is your number one desert Island item?
Salted caramel fudge
Above: Gorgeous new Belgian Chocolates now available at The Sweet Retreat.
What’s your dream destination?
I love to travel to new places and explore. We did a lot of that before the kids came along and are slowly being able to get back it now that my youngest is over a year old, and I’m not breastfeeding anymore. We went to the Maldives as part of our honeymoon and it really is the most peaceful and beautiful place! We keep dreaming about going back as soon as the kids are old enough to stay with Grandparents for a week (and we’ve had chance to save up!)…It will be just a dream for a bit longer I think!
What are you reading?
I recently managed to get hold of a copy of ‘Sweet Shop Success’ written by the Cadbury Bros’ (I guessed they knew what they were talking about!) It is the first book I have read in about a year. I love to read, but I just don’t seem to find the time anymore.
What new thing have you learnt in the past week?
I don’t have childcare during the holidays so in the last week I’ve surprised myself by just how much you can get done in a short space of time if you set your mind to it!
Early riser or Night owl?
Both, unfortunately! I’m rarely in bed before 23:30, I get so much done during those hours while the kids are asleep it’s not uncommon for me to work at night and get a couple of hours done before bed. If I’m not working it’s nice to have that grown up time to relax. My eldest wakes me up EVERY DAY at 5:15. So yes, early riser and a night owl!
TV or radio?
Can I say both!? I love the radio on in the shop throughout the day as I find I work quicker making orders up if there’s music in the background. I love getting into a good series or box set to watch at night though and if I’m working at home during the day I always have the telly on – it makes doing the book keeping that bit more interesting!
Chocolate or chips?
This one is easy for me! Obviously chocolate! Love it so much that we are going to be selling luxury handmade loose chocolates by the end of the year. I had a rep from a Belgian chocolate supplier come and see me recently and gave me boxes and boxes of them to try as samples! Best job ever!
Above: Toddler Henry helping Mummy in the shop.
Shoes or handbags?
Shoes! Having spent the last 4 years either pregnant or breastfeeding I’ve realised the difference a fun trainer or shoe can make to plain old jeans and t-shirt when you aren’t feeling your best! And besides handbags are just changing bags for me at the moment.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Literally eating the profits! 😉
What parenting advice would you give to your former ‘parent-to-be’ self?
Take joy in the little things and know it’s okay to put yourself first sometimes. I find as a Mum that it’s so easy to feel guilty for doing something for yourself but the saying ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’ and all that stuff is true! It’s taken me 3 years to realise though…
Above: Baby Daisy having a cuddle behind the counter with Hannah’s Mum
What is your parent pause?
A glass of wine in peace while cooking a meal once they’ve gone to bed!
I went to Dubrovnik with my husband last month for a few days and that was a real Parent Pause! I look forward to booking our next trip while the Grandparents are still so obliging!