Woman in Progress: Laetitia Maklouf

Our final Woman in Progress of 2017 is the wonderful Laetitia Maklouf.  Laetitia's funny and informative Instagram feed (a nearly impossible combo to get right) is where we first 'met' and we've been hooked ever since.  Whether you're a keen gardener or just starting out, her newsletter is one of our favourite emails of the week and a real motivation to achieve a bit of gardening every week.  Sign up to it here.  

We're thrilled that Laetitia's taken the time to answer our questions.

Photo by Jill Mead

Photo by Jill Mead

Woman in Progress: Laetitia Maklouf

I'm a writer and gardener based in London, married to a hunky rotter and mother to three humans (8, 4 and 3), two books (The Virgin Gardener and Sweet Peas for Summer) and a garden.

What’s the one thing in your life that makes things easier?

I try to get out into the garden and mess around for at least five minutes a day.  

What’s the one thing you couldn’t live without?

My au-pair, Caitlin. She shares the burden of motherhood with me, and is basically a big sister to my kids. I spent a long long time coping on my own, or with one day a week's help, and it almost broke me.

What’s one thing that you would stop if you could?

I'm really aurally sensitive; if there's too much noise going on around me, or if the noise level gets to high I become very anxious and pretty unpleasant. I'd love to find a way to enjoy lots of noise (which is often just joyful children doing what comes naturally). Any advice much appreciated!

What one piece of advice would you give yourself 5 years ago?

Stay calm; you will have another baby, and then another. Loss is part of life. It's not your fault.

What one piece of advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Stay in bed. Stay there. Very soon you're going to stop getting any meaningful sleep and after that (if my mother is right) you're never going to sleep again. So STAY IN BED!

What are you most proud of?

After birthing three humans, my two books. They make me feel like an actual grownup.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned at work?

If you don't value yourself or your own time, then you can't expect others to. Invoice with pride and panache.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned at home?

Your children don't care if your house is a mess, or if they get fish fingers three days in a row. They want your time and attention.

Did you expect to be doing what you’re doing right now?

No! I was utterly clueless about my future and therefore open, I suppose to most things.

How did you end up doing what you’re doing?

I was bored, heartbroken and had no direction.  I opened a packet of seeds and planted them in a mug.  They sprouted and I got all fascinated in what I took for the OPTIMISM of those plants - they just kept growing!  It was the kick I needed to get me started.  I enrolled in a horticultural course and I was the only person there with no garden.  I did all of my gardening on my balcony and windowsills, and then someone asked me to write a book, so The Virgin Gardener was born.

What top tip would you pass on to other women in progress reading this?

Perhaps to take a leaf out of a plant's book...find some light, water and food, and keep on growing, one step at a time.

Are you done yet?  What’s next?

Hopefully there is another book in the offing...watch this space!