(I don't speak French but my husband does!)
Hi I'm Marie, and yes, I do love flower crowns! You can read up a bit more about me below and my story, but I'd also love to hear yours! I hope to see you at our venue here in the woods :)
As a child I spent every weekend at my Grandparents and my Uncle's house who lived together in a small farmhouse in Hertfordshire. With them working as farmers, game-keepers and avid nature and garden enthusiasts, my days would be filled with hours of exploring the countryside, filling my pockets with treasure, gardening, getting muddy and going for rides across the fields in a very old, but reliable Land Rover to spot wildlife. Between them, they taught me so much about nature and it has inspired me to pass on their wisdom and slower pace of life.
During the week, myself and my mum lived in a small terraced council house in Cambridge city centre. My mum taught me to be strong, independent and to stand for what you believe in, she worked hard to keep us both happy in our little home and always shone a fun light on a dull day by dancing into my room to some good old Bob Marley tunes, with a Jamaican Dad, reggae was never far away!
In 2016 my husband and I were blessed with our first of three little people. The last six years have been a huge parenting rollercoaster of lessons and experiences. During this time I have found that not all parenting facilities are what many modern parents need them to be, resulting in many parents feeling unheard and unsupported and children not having opportunities to truly develop their natural senses that will equip them for life. I have been inspired to create a 'Parenting village' that welcomes all, fills you with confidence and helps you to have a happy spring in your parenting step. I'm really keen to welcome parents from all walks of life.
After 18 years of working with families in the animal charity sector, I decided I wanted to follow my dream and create a venue that offers a safe and welcoming space to ALL parents and their little people. Nature, wellbeing, and creativity are three of my biggest passions and I love nothing more than empowering people to realise these passions for themselves. I knew I wanted to channel these into my very own venue and finally the day arrived that I could follow my dream and so 'The Beautiful Bear' was created.
What do I know?
Raising my very own tropical family alongside my husband with a mixed heritage of Jamaican, British and Mauritian culture gives me a good understanding of how different cultures & backgrounds may have different parent/family values.
Over the last 20 years I have built up a huge amount of experience working with families from every background offering workshops, school lessons and one to one support. I love to teach in a fun and engaging way that is easy to relate to. I have trained in mental health first aid and supported many people through difficult times, mental wellbeing is very important to me, especially since becoming a parent.
I wanted to offer a space where parents from all walks, backgrounds and ethnicities can come and feel safe and supported on tough days, discover the beauty in nature to then feel empowered and inspired on energy filled days. A few of my credentials:
30+ hours of CPD (Continuing Professional Development) the 'need to play' and 'nature based play' with 'Fairy Dust Teaching'. This included lectures from some of the most amazing early childhood specialists and really encourages Reggio teaching and imaginative play.
Level 3 in preparing to teach
Paediatric first aid support workshop
Diploma to become an Antenatal Teacher (ongoing) which also includes:
Breast feeding support
Parent mental health support
LGBTQ+ parents support.
Health and safety trained
Managing safely course
I have spent my whole life immersed in wildlife and the outdoors so have a great understanding of nature, wildlife, flora and fauna. I think understanding the environment around you helps you feel part of the world and not just a passenger on it.
The Beautiful Bear Venue
So the venue, well this nature filled venue has been created to support you through pregnancy right up to fully fledged adulthood. As mentioned some of my passions are teaching and inspiring others, so I love seeing families walking away feeling energised and seeing those families flourish.
The venue has been bespoke built and is based here in my wildlife garden at our home; with an outdoor classroom and indoor retreat. The beautiful Bear is an all year round venue which allows you to really soak up the benefits of nature and meet some like-minded families along the way. It has all been designed with families and little ones in mind.
The real magic is that we are fortunate enough to back onto a beautiful area of Forestry Commission woodland called West Wood, it's a hidden 200 acre gem with such rich diversity. Because of its unspoilt nature we are home to some rarer species of insects including rare butterflies. There are some tranquil footpaths suitable for slings and off-road buggies, babbling brooks, endless ridings all escaping into the surrounding fields.
Because I want the venue to feel like a 'parent village' I also welcome in other facilitators with a like minded vibe to hire the space. If you are a family photographer, offer family / parent services or have a related use for the space then please get in contact.
I can't wait to meet you all!