The lateste guide to having it all, by the £12m Dragons’ Den mum of four: Sarah Willingham reveals how she juggles her high-flying career with raising her children. The entrepreneur, 41, says all working mums can be as successful as her. But they have to be willing to compromise and live by strict rules, she says. The partners must share all the family’s responsibilities and never mix family and work time. The multi-millionaire who juggles her high-flying career with bringing up four young children and remaining a loving, attentive wife. The Dragons’ Den star Sarah Willingham is superwoman but hardwoking restaurant entrepreneur, 41, says all the working mothers can be as successful as her. They must be prepared to live by a string of strict rules and learn compromise. Sarah Willingham, pictured with fellow new dragons Nick Jenkins (left) and Touker Suleyman (right) Sarah Willingham, pictured with fellow new dragons Nick Jenkins (left) and Touker Suleyman (right)
In addition to the hit BBC show reported to be worth £12million – said this was the recipe which enabled her to have the best of both worlds. Her highest priority is keeping business separate from her time with children Minnie, eight, Monti, seven, Nelly, five, and Marly, four. One-on-one time with her children and date nights with her husband Michael Toxvaerd, 40, are blocked off in the family diary, which is run with military precision. She has no voicemail on her mobile phone turns off email alerts to make sure there are no distractions when she is with her children. Enter the new dragons is mumpreneur, a multi-millionaire who fled Moscow in fear of his life and the businessman who bounced back from rock bottom. The mum whose son has struggled with serious food allergies has cooked up £4 million with her own range of gluten and dairy free deluxe ready meals homemade into business!
While a cleaner helps Miss Willingham with chores at her Oxfordshire home four days a week, the personal assistant sacked so she can be fully in control of her own life. Miss Willingham made her name turning The Bombay Bicycle Club into the largest and most successful Indian restaurant chain in the UK. She now invests in various businesses from her home office with her entrepreneur husband. Miss Willingham, originally from Stoke-on-Trent, said: ‘For me, I have to be a mum. I feel it in my tummy. I can’t sacrifice it. But that doesn’t mean I have to be a mum all the time. Far from it. It is about finding balance. Sarah Willingham pictured when she was a judge alongside David Moore on The Restaurant +5 Sarah.‘Our diary is the one solid foundation that stops everything falling down.
If it’s not in the diary then it is not allowed,’ she said. So she can spend a guilt-free day with the children, Miss Willingham claims to fit three days worth of work into just one. ‘You do have to be super-efficient with your time,’ she said. ‘When I am working I am all over it, head down, not a single second is wasted.’ Referring to her new role on Dragons’ Den, she said: ‘I’m think I’m a new breed of Dragon. I’m different to anyone that’s gone before me because I am a working mum. I think I’ve done alright for myself and now I’m standing up and saying “I love being a mum.” I hope other mums see this and realise they could do it too. There is always, always, always a way.’