Back to Blogging. Hello September!

I’m writing this sat in my car outside of little L’s nursery. It’s his last settling in session before he starts one day a week. I’ve been okay up until now. Heck I’ve even excited for him to start this new chapter and for me to gain a solid day when I can begin taking on clients and putting my business brain on again.

But now… I’m a bit emotional. This is normal right? When I look back at these past 10 months I can’t believe how far we’ve come. There have been ups and downs, laughter and tears, sick and smiles, but overall, I’m kind of loving this motherhood gig.

Bag packed and ready for nursery!

Bag packed and ready for nursery!

That being said, it’s only been for the past er, couple of months that I’m finally starting to feel a little bit myself again. Little L is going to bed much easier in the evenings which means this mama can have a night off – and catch up with friends over dinner and drinks like the old days. Except of course that I’m ready for bed by 10pm. Baby steps okay?

Out for a sunny stroll... the sunshine didn't last (it is England!)

Out for a sunny stroll... the sunshine didn't last (it is England!)

But the dawn of this new chapter is a bit emotional. I’ve always loved September and this one is no exception. Its fresh start, which is probably engrained in our brains from school days. It feels exciting and fresh. Which is kind of weird because autumn is all dead leaves and darker days. But I don’t care, I love it.

I’ve already had my first (but by no means last) pumpkin spice latte of the season. Thanksgiving is just around (my) corner. And funnily enough, Little L’s 10 month birthday yesterday also meant its just 100 days until Christmas! So it's now 99 and counting (even if I'm the only one counting)... 

Summer loving... see ya later! Bring on autumn!

Summer loving... see ya later! Bring on autumn!

Lolo Lovett at St Albans Fashion Week

Over the past few months I’ve had the pleasure of working with St Albans Fashion Week as their resident stylist. This culminated last week when I hosted an event called How to Look Good Knackered, alongside their week long celebration of fashion, retail and local businesses.

The event itself was a great success – I had around 25 fabulous women in attendance and I was pleased to welcome the gorgeous make-up artists from Bare Minerals and the lovely Julie Cole, a stylist with Stella & Dot jewellery, to showcase their wares.

I also learnt that speaking in front of a group of people for an extended period of time is not an easy task when 37-weeks pregnant! Due to the length of the talk, I hadn’t done a full run-through … and didn’t anticipate that baby L would be burying himself in my upper torso, giving me very reduced lung capacity!

Lolo and her rail of clothes at St Albans Fashion Week

Despite this it was a lovely evening and so far I’ve received some great feedback! As such I thought I’d share with you some of my top tips if you weren’t able to attend the evening….

Let’s face it, we ALL have those days when we feel like no amount of makeup will hide our exhaustion, our favourite outfit isn’t coming to the rescue, and even carrying that beautiful bag won’t draw attention away from the bags under our eyes. Let’s be honest, life can be exhausting. And for most of us, our selves are one of the first things we sacrifice when the diary gets full and we’re running on empty.

So the million pound question, how DO you still look good when you are absolutely knackered?! Here are my top tips…

1) Know your shape and style

It’s not about fashion and what’s trendy, it’s about your personal style and what works for you. We all have different personalities, different lifestyles and different body shapes.  

If you struggle with this, there are plenty of online resources to help (check out Pinterest!). I also offer a free body shape guide when you sign up for my email newsletter – you can do so here.

Which of the main body shapes are you? 

Dressing for your shape is one of the best things you can do to look more pulled together and stylish. It’s not about size - anyone at any size can look fab, but you have to know your shape and how to dress for it!

2) Get your wardrobe in shape

I always suggest new clients start with a wardrobe detox. The best way to get the most out of your wardrobe is to know what’s in it. I’m sure you’ve heard that most women wear 20% of their clothing 80% of the time – I actually think these numbers are even more skewed!

My general rule is that if you haven’t worn it in six months, it doesn’t belong hanging up. Also anything with stains or holes needs to go (unless it can be repaired – and you actually will do it). If your clothes look knackered, then so will you!

Invest a couple hours, twice a year, in a closet clear-out and you’ll save yourself so much time in the long run!

3) Wear colour

Colour is so important. You don’t need someone telling you what season you are though. I strongly believe that all women have a natural instinct and know what works for them – they just often choose to ignore it. And then retreat to basic black and white.

If you’re tired, colour will liven you up. Black absorbs light, and will make dark circles and fine lines more noticeable. White does the opposite – it reflects light. Which is great if you’ve got a glow, but not if you want to hide under a duvet. Choose something colourful and you’ll be amazed at the difference it can make. 

4) Make-up, make-up, make-up

This is a pretty obvious one, but it works. Have a basic routine ready that you can nail in a matter of seconds, focusing on features that you love.

If you’re frequently looking drab and don’t have time for a face full of make-up, invest in longer term solutions – like getting a monthly facial. Or even just regularly exfoliating and using a great moisturizer will make a difference.

Bare Minerals Make-up Artist Lucy, showing an attendee how to liven up her skin

If I could only choose three products to pick me up, I’d go with 1) a concealer to get put those bags at bay (this Bare Minerals one is my favourite), 2) mascara to open up your eyes (no need to spend here though – cheap supermarket brands are just as good as premium!) and 3) a bright lipstick to draw attention away from where you look most tired. At the moment I’m really loving lip crayons like these from Bobbi Brown and Lipstick Queen – they’re a great all-around product.

5) Know how to pull an outfit together

This is probably the most difficult one and it will take some practice. Obviously, I’m going to say get in the professionals who will help make it easy on you!

When I take clients shopping, they often ask for one of my Look Books- it outlines several different ways to wear the items they bought. I also do Outfit Building – where I come to your house and working with what you already have, pull together a number of outfits (up to 50 in three hours!), take snaps and leave them for you to use as necessary.

If you want to work on this one on your own, follow the ‘three-piece Rule’ – wear at least three articles of clothing that are interesting in their own regard. You can also spend some time taking snaps of your favourite outfits and keep them somewhere handy (like posted inside your wardrobe) so when you have those ‘ I don’t know what to wear!’ mornings, you’ve got a handy guide right at your fingertips.

Put these tips into practice and your routine will work better for you and you’ll look less knackered, I promise! If you need more help, do get in touch. Or if you’d like to add something, please comment below!

My five must-haves for surviving your first trimester

As I begin the third trimester today (yay!) those first twelve weeks of pregnancy seem like a distant memory. While it was a super exciting time, it was also just a bit stressful. Having to avoid certain things and activities whilst keeping it secret, was not easy. Add to that silent stress about the health and well being of the tiny human growing inside me, and my mind was full of what if scenarios!

Then there were all the actual physical changes happening in and to my body. I read a lot, and Googled ever more (who am I kidding, I still am!), but not really knowing what was normal and was not is somewhat emotionally draining. Especially because none of it is ‘normal’ to you – everything is new and unknown.

I’ve been very fortunate to have a reasonably straightforward pregnancy thus far. I was never sick and aside from excessive tiredness, I can’t really complain. Then at the end of the first trimester when you first get to see your little baby – well it’s just magical.

It’s been, without a doubt, one of the most exciting and anticipated periods of my life. But I won’t pretend navigating the unknown has been easy. Here are a few of the things that have helped me along the way…

1) Reading materials

Available on Amazon.co.uk for £11.89

I think within 24 hours of finding out I was pregnant, I had ordered What to Expect When You’re Expecting from Amazon. It’s everyone’s go to guide, probably because it contains a huge amount of information in easy to digest format. I highly recommend!

I also downloaded their app – while I think its more geared toward an American audience, it’s a great resource. I also use the Pregnancy+ app – another great one for daily and weekly updates.

2) Nakd bars

Nakd bars available from Amazon, health food stores and most supermarkets

One symptom that appeared almost overnight was the hunger pains. If I didn’t eat something, anything, every two to three hours, I was not in a happy place. Between working and travelling it was sometimes difficult to have a healthy or fresh snack, so I stocked up on these.

They’re the perfect size to carry in your handbag. Plus they’re made from 100% natural ingredients – just fruits and nuts. They’re gluten and dairy free, have no added sugars and they keep that hunger at bay. My favourite flavours are Berry Delight, Cocoa Orange and Café Mocha.

3) Hair elastics

Just loop an elastic through the button hole and over the button - loop around a few times if needed! 

Once again a simple hair elastic came to my rescue (if you missed my video, I use them to help put bracelets on too!). A couple months into pregnancy, my jeans became a bit snug but were still totally wearable.

I wasn’t ready to get into maternity clothes quite yet so I used an elastic, looped around the button and hole, to add a bit of an extension. It seems too easy, but this trick never failed me – until my bump grew too big!

4) Lotions and potions

I’m not sure how common it is, but I was sooo itchy in the beginning of my pregnancy. I’ve always been a bit slack about applying the moisturizer but quickly realized what a godsend it was.

You’re skin is stretching and there’s all kinds of hormonal changes happening so it makes sense. My favourites at the moment are Aveeno and Palmers.

I was also gifted a Mama Mio Pregnancy Starter kit and some Bio Oil – both of which I’ve quickly went through. I’ve become consistent in applying either the oil or cream to my belly twice daily – so far no stretch marks!

5) Water bottle

From a selection at TK Maxx

I drink water like a camel regardless, but have found myself even thirstier throughout pregnancy, especially when I’m out and about.

I totally recommend buying a proper water bottle. I got mine at TK Maxx for I think £3.99. I love the no tilt straw bit – which will be super handy during L&D and while breastfeeding. Plus the tuck in straw means I’m less likely to spill it – becoming clumsier during pregnancy is no joke!

Did/do you have any must-have items for mums-to-be in their first trimester? Please share your tips and recommendations or any thoughts on my favourite things! And stay tuned for my must-haves during my second and third trimesters as well. 

Lolo's Life - A Quick Update

One of my goals for 2016 and for this blog was to make it a bit more personal. Looking back, I’m not sure that I’ve totally achieved that quite yet… so I started brainstorming on a more ‘personal’ blog post. It just didn’t feel like I had a natural lead in and I wasn’t really getting anywhere, rather quickly.

So I decided I’ll just go for the awkward, ‘I know I said this, but here’s the reality’ lead in. And here we are. And here’s a little update on the things going on in my life…

Being Pregnant

I’m just about to start my third trimester of pregnancy and I definitely ‘feel’ pregnant. I’ve been fortunate to have a fairly easy (knock on wood) pregnancy up to this point. No major morning sickness or other crazy side effects. I’ve been lucky to be quite mobile and exercise regularly throughout (swimming and pilates are fab).

I’m hoping these last three months will go by without a hitch. I definitely can’t hide the bump now and am starting to get a bit restless. There’s a definite ache in my back, I’m pretty darn tired, sleep is rather restless and my stomach is all kinds of smushed, making it difficult to eat much. But as it’s getting closer and closer, I am so excited to meet my little boy!

I also plan on blogging more about my experience, so stay tuned… Next week I plan on posting about the things that helped me survive my first trimester.

My Personal Styling business

I’m gearing up for a really busy start to AW16. I’ve loved having the past few weeks to have some me time and relax as everyone else seems to be on summer holidays, but from next week business is going to get a bit crazy.

I’m looking forward to detoxing and shopping for several wardrobes before I go on maternity leave. My last day for Personal Shopping is Friday 16th September. Then I’m taking a mini holiday as my best friend from the US is visiting. I have very limited availability in October for Wardrobe Detoxes and Online Shopping, and I’ll also be participating in St Albans Fashion Week – whilst I enjoy the early days of maternity leave!

My plan at the moment is to take a few months completely off, with the occasional blog and social media post, and return to the business part-time from March. I’m keeping this very loose for now though!

St Albans Fashion Week

I am so excited to be the resident stylist for St Albans Fashion Week. I’ve already started blogging for them (check out their fab blog and my posts if you haven’t already).

I’ll be hosting an event on Tuesday 25th October (tbc), aptly titled ‘How To Look Good Knackered’ (I’ll be 37 weeks preggers, eek!). Tickets will be on sale shortly but if you’d like to know about it first, please sign up to my email list.

I’m also hoping to help out at the catwalk show and potentially with some mini shopping sessions during the weeklong extravaganza. More details to follow soon!

House updates

We keep getting asked if the nursery is ready…. Err, not even close!

You see when we moved in two years ago we did a lot of work to our downstairs living space – and were too burned out to do much upstairs. So we’ve had our work cut out to get ready for the baby.

I’m giving up my dressing room – which will become the nursery and we’ll be converting our second bedroom into a guest room/wardrobe/office space for me. I’ll be posting regular updates over on my Instagram, so give it a follow if you’re interested in seeing the progress.

On Blogging

As I write this, part of me is thinking, gosh this is rather dull – will anyone actually read it?! But my more personal posts have often been my most popular one so who knows.

I am planning to blog more as it gets more difficult to move around and be on my feet, and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to keep it up, even if only rather occasionally, once our little boy arrives.

I’ve got lots of exciting posts planned for the next few weeks… from more about my pregnancy to maternity styling help and of course, plenty of content to kick off Autumn/Winter 16! If you want to receive updates straight to your inbox, be sure to sign up here

Five of the Best: Denim Shirts

I often get asked what my essential everyday clothing item is. The answer? My favourite denim shirt. It’s a light-weight chambray style with snap buttons from River Island that I’ve probably had for three or four years now. One of the snaps is broken so I have to cleverly safety pin it (shout if you’re a seamstress who can help with snap – no luck so far!) but I don’t care. I LOVE it. And I feel like it loves me back.

There are very few items of clothing that get better with age. A good denim shirt is one of them (aside from aforementioned missing snap). While you can pick one up at nearly every price point from Primark to Tom Ford, I suggest investing in a middle level one that fits perfect and I promise, you’ll be wearing it for years. 

Here are five of my favourite denim shirts currently available in the shops:

1. The classic, GAP, £34.95
GAP has a huge selection of fits and washes so definitely top of my list to check out. It even has maternity styles for my preggo ladies!

2. The romantic, Topshop, £36
I love the floral embroidery on this one. It would look great with a pair of black jeans or girly girls can go all out and wear it with a tulle skirt.

3. The shacket (ie. Shirt jacket!), River Island, £35
This one is great for plus-sized or big-busted ladies (and everyone else too!). The epaulettes draw attention upwards and the flat front eliminates bulk or bulging.

4. The fashionable one, H&M, £19.99
This is a great update on the classic. The collarless look is fab if you have broad shoulders and the raw hem gives it a modern edge.

5. The universal one, Warehouse, £18 (on sale from £39 so be quick!)
Super simple and fuss-free this one will look great on anyone, and can be worn with anything. The straight-forward style will look fab for seasons to come.

I’ve also pulled together a board for style inspiration over on Pinterest, that will be updated regularly. If you’re a denim-loving fashionista, be sure to follow it!

In the meantime, here are a few of my favourite ways to style a denim shirt:
 

If you need help tracking down the perfect denim shirt for you, get in touch. I offer both personal shopping and online shopping sessions. Not only can I help you find the perfect shirt, I'll show you several ways to wear it with completely styled outfits.