A Portrait Of Modern Mumhood

 In case you had forgotten, it’s Mother’s Day on Sunday, which got us to thinking about motherhood in all its shapes and sizes. To celebrate all the marvellous mothers out there we decided to go straight to the people that know them best—their children—to ask them to give us a portrait (both figuratively and literally) of what it looks like to be a mum today. Smythson spent the morning with Joan Murphy and Pip Black, founders of Frame Fitness and Mumhood and Oxfordshire-based florist Willow Crossley and their beautiful broods drawing, chatting and discovering how they’ll be spending their Mother’s Days.


Joan Murphy and children Zayden (aged 3) and Jayla (aged 5 months)

Pip Black and Joan Murphy are the founders of Frame, the cult group of London gyms beloved by work-out geeks and gymphobes alike. The pair opened their first gym in the heart of Shoreditch eight years ago with the sole aim of making exercise accessible and fun. They have since expanded their empire to five London locations, have started their own clothing line and are the brains behind dozens of energetic classes—expect anything from TRX and Reformer Pilates to 80s Aerobics.

As if Frame doesn’t keep them busy enough, Pip (mum of Phin 2 and who is currently expecting a second child) and Joan (mum of Zayden 3, and Jayla 5 months) have recently launched Mumhooda program educating women in all stages of pregnancy on the importance of keeping fit and active for the full nine months and beyond. 


What’s the best thing about your mummy?

Phin: “I love my mummy because she makes me happy.”

If you could buy mummy any present for Mother’s Day, what would it be?

Zayden: A present!

Phin: A card!

Joan: Time and a lie in! The gift of sleep, that’s it.

Pip: A holiday, just some time to chill. It’s priceless.

What’s your favourite thing to do together? 

Phin: I like playing toys and cars with Zayden. I’ve got some in the cupboard…

Joan: I love going swimming with Zayden and I love sitting him on the bench when I cook. I love chatting with him at eye level. I just enjoy having him there.

Pip: I love reading him stories at bedtime. Phin’s favourite is The Night Before Christmas, we read it every night, even though Christmas was a few months ago…and he can name all the reindeer.

Phin: Dasher, Dancer…


Pip Black and Phin (aged 2)

What’s the hardest thing about being a mother?

Joan: The hardest thing about being a mum is to keep your cool. You have to learn to breathe through it!

Pip: Patience and multitasking, and accepting that you have no control because children never tend to do what they are supposed to at the right time.


Willow Crossly is a floral stylist who, after a brief stint working at Condé Nast, made a huge jump and moved to France where she spent the next few years starting her online business Willow Rose Boutique. She has subsequently written three books and now spends her time working with flora and fauna in her own private studio.

Today the mum of three lives in the Oxfordshire countryside with her husband Charlie and three boys Wolf (7), Rafferty (4) and Kit (2) and works as a floral stylist. Her creations are known for their quintessentially British feel and she has collaborated with some of the countries biggest brands to create floral masterpieces for events and installations.



Can you describe your drawing to us?

Raff: It’s mummy making us pancakes. With her yellow hair. Before she takes us to school so we can learn loads.

What is your favourite thing about your portrait?

Willow: I think my hair is pretty sensational in both.

What do you think hardest job is that mums do?

Raff: Clean Kit’s nappy.

Wolf: Make her horses for Chelsea flower show.  And bath time.

What’s your favourite thing to do with your children? 

Willow: We’re doing a lot of football at the moment—I love being in the garden with them playing football and hide and seek. I also love being on a beach with them—Crab hunting in Tresco is their absolute best thing.

 What is the best thing about motherhood?

Willow: How much love you have for them and how much they love you back.


If you could buy your mum anything for Mother’s Day, what would it be?  

Raff: A dragster. And roses and poppies and salted caramel cake.  

Wolf: Daffodils and her favourite chocolate, and tulips.



Words: Sophie Hay

Photography: Sophie Hay, Brent Darby 

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