Life Lessons x


Bella with the lovely Nathalie

Wednesday was the night of the Exhibition to celebrate the life of my cousin Sam Archer-Fayet and to raise money for SMArt.  We made the executive decision to take Bella with us even though it was a school night as a) I wanted her to see Mummy’s work and b) I wanted to introduce her to the excitement and sparkle of a razzle dazzle night in a safe, controlled way..

It was a sharp contrast to the previous week when Bella and I had argued at her school –  it had been a bleak, stormy autumn night – the first night where it was dark by the time it came to picking them up from their after-school clubs which I hadn’t anticipated so we had no lights for our bikes which meant walking them home and to top it all, it was raining.  Halfway home Bella announced she’d left her PE bag behind in the drama room with her school uniform and school shoes in.  Disaster.  We went back.  Rather than face the hassle of locking up the bikes again, I asked Charlie to wait with them whilst Bella and I dashed into school – I would then wait in the hall where he could see me, whilst Bella ran and got her bag. ‘Off you go’ I said, ‘But I don’t want to’ said Bella.’Come on – I’ve got Charlie outside in the dark and rain and I won’t know where your bag is.’ Reluctantly she went.  Then came back with no bag – ‘There’s a class in the drama room’ ‘Well, knock on the door’ ‘I can’t, I can’t’ By now I was fuming…so I explain to Charlie and march her off to the drama room, knock on the door, say ‘I’m sorry to interrupt but can my daughter grab the bag she’s forgotten’ then gesture to Bella to go inside. ‘I can’t, I can’t’ says Bella, backing off down the hallway.  I turn into a towering inferno of mummy-rage. ‘IF YOU DO NOT GO IN THEIR RIGHT THIS MINUTE BELLA BENTLEY THERE WILL BE NO POCKET MONEY FOR A MONTH.’ A teacher came out and handed me the bag..

But I was so livid I couldn’t speak to her for an touched a real parenting nerve..the philosophy of our house is that confidence, self-respect and manners are the cornerstones – even more important than good grades.  This episode put a shining spotlight on some seriously wonky foundations that I had no idea were there.  I hadn’t handled it well when I’d calmed down we sat down in my study so I could explain why I felt so cross and disappointed.   It’s not an easy subject..but I wanted her to know that at some point we all feel shy or scared of a situation but it’s the way we deal with it that matters.  We came up with three coping strategies:

1. Rehearse what you’re going to say for both a positive and negative result and always be very polite – it always gets you so much further.

2. Think of the most confident person you know and pretend to be them.

3. Worse case scenario, imagine the intimidating person in their underwear..


Fast-forward to Wednesday night and Bella was asked if she would choose the numbers in the raffle.  


She did a brilliant job – cool as a cucumber, confidently reading the numbers out to a full gallery of adults..I was so impressed..she got the biggest bear-hug afterwards and she whispered in my ear..’I remembered what you said’…


 My picture also a top night all round. One I won’t forget in a hurry..

Laters, Kate x


  1. .virginia.romo.

    Wow! Such a nice story. Everything: Your good advices (I have to write them down) to Bella, her words after to you after using your advice and then: the picture! Sold! Great! Congratulations.

    • Maison Bentley Style

      The funny thing is..when it came to writing this post, I grabbed Bella as I could only remember number one and three..and she couldn’t remember either! It came back to me later when I was brushing my teeth! xxx

  2. Alison Pentland

    Not a pretty situation. I know I’ve had some and appreciate the share. We also added, if a video was recording you how would you want to be remembered you? I know that one has helped me channel Audrey Hepburn a couple of times 🙂

  3. laurenkahan

    Awe! Love this story! Ok, not the bad parts 😁🙊, but the lessons that came from it, and how quickly Bella put it into action! Way to go Mama! And BIG congrats on the sale of your beautiful painting and it raising money in the process! Xx

    • Maison Bentley Style

      Those moments when you’re juggling..and everything lands on the floor! Sometimes I think it’s harder to be confident in your peer group than say with adults…it’s always a learning curve.. xxx

  4. Andrea Designs

    Beautiful story and the learning process, and the more important thing is your daughter listened and put in practice what she learned. Again, she is making justice to her name beautiful inside and out!!!!

    • Maison Bentley Style

      She’s taken to doing art projects underneath my desk as I work so I’m very happy..this week we have to make a Roman toga together..I had visions of some lovely mother/daughter far neither of us is very good with compromise! xxx

  5. jackiemallon

    Isn’t it funny how shyness strikes so randomly? I still suffer bouts and I can never predict when they’ll come or why and my husband thinks I’m such an outgoing person. I don’t see myself like that at all. Weirdness. But your post-incident conversations ith Bella was spot on Mum! XO

    • Maison Bentley Style

      I really could relate to her..which I think was why it hit such a nerve..that a large percentage of my parenting is to encourage confidence..but that’s life hey…always ready to bit you on the bum when you least expect it.. xxx

  6. vintageattitude

    I love that your picture sold….and even more I love your honesty. You are allowed to explode….and look how well Bella listened and then acted on your advice? Xxx

    • Maison Bentley Style

      It’s my second row with a child this term..the first was with Charlie who was desperate for flute lessons and I said no..I hate the flute and I don’t agree with children playing full sized instruments when they’re too young to hold them properly. I said he had to wait until he was at least seven. THen I had to walk out of the playground with him hanging off my leg. Attractive.. xxx

  7. dievca

    “I love you, but I really don’t like your behavior right now.” is one that has come out of my mouth after an explosion. I get it, and well done on all fronts.

  8. KerryCan

    What a good mother you are–this is such an important lesson and I think you taught it well. Even the fact that you lost your cool a little–that clearly got Bella’s attention that this was really important! And YAY that your picture sold!!

  9. redlipstickmama

    Well done for finding the right words after losing your cool. I often find it very hard to go back on tackling issues or silly behaviors more calmly after I snapped. I am trying to get better at this. The other day she was mimicking me when I was telling them to go to bed. Annoyed the hell out of me!!!!