If you follow me on social media, you'll almost definitely have seen that I'd been on Channel 4's live daytime TV show, Steph's Packed Lunch recently, and I wanted to write this blog post to share the amazing day I had.
First let's rewind to when I got the very exciting email from a producer on the show. I was replying to a customer's email and I saw an email appear in my inbox and I just saw something about "channel 4" and I was thinking... Why are Channel 4 emailing me?!
Upon opening said email, it was an invitation to appear on Steph's Packed Lunch, a magazine type show where they have a variety of different guests and features on each episode. They were doing a feature on disabled entrepreneurs and wanted me to showcase my braille greetings cards.
To say I was excited was an understatement! But I tried to reign it in because the email had said nothing was confirmed at this stage, so I knew there was a risk it wouldn't happen.
My mum however, did not reign it in haha, she told everybody she'd ever met about it! I got it though, she'd been so instrumental in Dotty even existing, so she was very excited about it all.
A few days later, the Tuesday before the show aired, I did get the green light from the producer and that's when I got very excited but also very scared! I'd never been on television in any capacity, let alone talking for several minutes on live TV!
I'd hit a bit of an obstacle though, the disabled entrepreneur feature was going to be set up like market stalls, and I don't do markets, so I had nothing to display my cards on. So I put some feelers out to local businesses and several responded and offered to loan me stands, a table cloth etc.
What an amazing, supportive community! So proud to be apart of it.
The Big Day
My husband and I woke up bright and early in the hotel next to the studio, he came with me because, well one he needed to drive me and all my stuff but also to help me set up and offer support. I couldn't stomach any breakfast due to it being quite early and my nerves but Scott made sure to eat enough for both of us!
At around 8.30am, one of the runners greeted us in the reception and took us over to the studio, where we were shown to a dressing room but for the sake of wanting it to sound fancier, I'm going to refer to it as The Green Room!
There were drinks, snacks and a menu for a local coffee shop where we could order anything we wanted, I was very disappointed in myself for still being unable to eat, all this free food being offered to me! I did eventually force down a banana, because I was aware if I didn't eat, my blood sugar can go a bit funny and I didn't want to make myself poorly.
The runner took us over to the studio so we could get our stalls set up, the stalls were just outside the studio so I was glad it was a really warm day (REALLY warm, it got up to about 29C later that day!)
This is when we got to meet the other businesses for the first time, first we met Funmi from ClipKnix, a fantastic business offering adaptive underwear and then we met PJ and Tom from Wonky Candles, PJ was going on air and Tom, who also works on the business, was there to help set up and support PJ. These candles smelt amazing, I sadly cannot have candles because my dog has crazy sensitive allergies and his eyes go funny, but I will definitely be stocking up on these for family members for Christmas.
Once set up, it was quite a bit of back and forth between The Green Room and the studio, we did some rehearsing of what Steph might ask us with the producer and at first, this actually made me feel more nervous because I fluffed my lines on the first rehearsal. After that, I made some notes on my phone and did lots of practicing!
And then they were taking us over, for our big moment! I can't even describe how nervous I felt at this point, everybody had reassured me that Steph would make me feel at ease and I had a nice chat with PJ as we were walking over and he also reassured me. But, yeah, I was terrified.
They fitted us with mics and as we were waiting, Gaynor Faye came down the stairs so I had a little chat with her, I loved The Syndicate so I wanted to say hello, she was so so lovely, myself and Funmi had said how nervous we felt and she reassured us that it would be fine.
Then we were led around to the market stalls, my legs felt heavy, my heart was pounding. I kept telling myself over and over again, you've got this, you can do this. As well as reciting my notes so I knew what to say.
As we were waiting for Steph to come out and interview us, I had a very peculiar feeling, I felt like I couldn't feel my arms properly and my vision went ever so slightly funny and I was thinking, if I ruin my (one and only...) chance to be on television, I will be furious with myself! So I focused on my breathing, I thought about I was going to say, and then it was happening, the cameras were on me and Steph was coming out.
My Three Minutes of Fame
My heart was pounding in my ears as I started talking but then I relaxed, I got into it, because I know these products, I know this business, I created it! I love talking about Dotty and braille in general, and as anybody who knows me will testify to, I am a chatterbox!
And then it was over, the cameras moved over to Funmi who was being interviewed by Caroline Flint. Steph whispered to me that I'd done a great job and I was so happy because I felt like I had.
I'm my worst critic and I thought I'd come away from that being really harsh on myself for stumbling my words, or getting confused (hello brain fog) but I didn't, I spoke confidently, clearly and most importantly, I enjoyed it.
And then the show was over, we were packing up and getting ready to leave.
The One and Only
I couldn't leave without first meeting an absolute legend in my eyes, the one and only Chesney Hawkes, I LOVED his most popular song growing up and I had such a crush on him! It was the cherry on top of a well iced cake.
We met a lot of people that day, and every single one was lovely, friendly and reassuring. You know when people on game shows always say, I had a lovely day, well I get it, because it is a really good day. It’s fun, it’s different, it’s cool seeing behind the scenes of how it all works.
So that was my day, it was honestly one of the best experiences and I'm so glad I did myself and my business justice.
And one final behind the scenes photo, my husband, thinking he’s the next the Steph McGovern…