In the summer of 2014, shortly before I flew off to celebrate my 50th birthday in San Francisco, I bumped into my local MP, Steve Brine, in Sainsbury’s. I had spent the day on the golf course and on my way home popped into the supermarket. I strolled in, thinking about my mental shopping list, and stopped in front of a banner inviting me to come and talk to my local Member of Parliament, Steve Brine  www.stevebrine.com

The picture on the banner matched the man seated beneath it, and as I stood there, he noticed me staring, broke off from his conversation and beckoned me to come over. Oh well, I thought, I’ll have to go and talk to him now! Steve quickly put me at ease as I explained I had invented a new product to help kids with times tables, and asked him if he could give me any advice or help in promoting it. I remembered I had a Flipp Flopps booklet in my bag so I was able to show him how it worked, which produced a nod and a smile and then a more focussed and thoughtful look. Steve explained that his young daughter, Emily, was keen on maths, and that he’d like to see what she thought of it and then get back to me.

I was delighted by Steve’s positive response, and days later, after a stroll by the Pacific Ocean, I received the first of several emails from him, explaining how Emily had loved using Flipp Flopps and that he felt they had real potential. He made some helpful introductions and asked us if we’d like to feature in his next newsletter. Steve found time in his busy schedule for a photo shoot and his office staff were helpful with their advice about contacting the papers. The resulting article featured in local papers as well as his own bulletin and led to an invitation to appear on BBC Radio Solent with Katie Martin  .Our internet sales soared!