Thursday, 21 August 2014

Letter to a new Mummy



You don't feel like reading about style now; you barely remember your own name and the last time you slept was several seasons ago. 

Style is an alien word, an alien world. You have no thoughts about anything other than, does the baby burp show up on this?

Style is something you had once, in those halcyon dating days, where you and your best girl friends knew each item on the shop floors.

And what drew the right kind of noise to your best assets.  Yes, you had assets.

And you wore shoes that you could stand up in for three minutes, but made your backside look terrific.  The blisters were early-Sunday-morning collateral damage.

Now you have a gorgeous baby in your arms, and you sleep-walk through your new routine (or non-routine; there is no right way).

This is your style, and it will be this way forever.  Well, you will throw a toddler over your shoulder and hug big kids, because your arms aren't made of titanium.  Maybe. 

One Day you will wear perfume again without fear of irritating your baby's new skin.

One Day you will wear necklaces again, and bracelets, without fear of injuring your new baby.

One Day you will find a pair of heels (or flats; there is no right way) that make you feel amazing.

One Day you will discover your assets again.

My One Day arrived a mere two years after my daughter was born, and now she rummages in my beauty bag while I dry her hair.

Your style is you.  

Carry on.  


Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The week I become an official Author

It's been a very stylish weekend, what with my first book being uploaded onto Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing, and receiving actual sales.  From non-relatives and friends.

And so I simply had to take advantage of a (flipping well-timed) House of Fraser's bag (and shoe) sale by treating myself to a gorgeous DKNY document holder (55% discount!).

For all the drafts of my second book, you see.

In lime green and  mykinda* pink this beautiful accessory also doubles up as a clutch (not an accessory) - pretty handy for upcoming birthday celebrations.
 

Back to work this morning, however, with a six am start (think I'll reserve the five am geddups for the editing process).  I created my Author Pages on Amazon's UK and USA sites, which was more challenging than proofreading my first book.  What do you say about yourself, when you nestle amongst other authors?  FFS their sample biography was that of multi-award-winning Mr Frank McCourt! (Love his books, though).

Still, at least I had my trusty practical guides to assist me, from Sally Jenkins and Steve Scott - their KDP advice is utterly invaluable to anyone fascinated by the publishing revolution, whether writer or reader, and certainly made the process of uploading to Kindle less terrifying.

Going to head back to Word now to work on the blank page that is currently book two, attend a few networking meetings this week, write a few guest blog posts and then take a few days off to enjoy the end of August. 

Toodlepip.

*I have a rubbish camera phone, and it took me ages to get this shot so not taking another one of the inside -  but the pink is the same as my blog's pink and is tres flipping gorgeous.  This has now sold out on HoF's website, but they have a the same document holder in black, currently not on sale.

 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Are you ready?

My brand new, shiny, helpful style guide, is now available for your reading delight!

119 Style Boosts from the Size15Stylist

Written as a light style enhancer, this handy reference guide reminds readers to look after themselves as well as others. Top style essentials and five minute instant boosts to recharge with throughout our busy days.

What's your favourite tip from the book?


Monday, 11 August 2014

6 Hair necessities

I love my hair.  

This was not always a sentence I was comfortable saying - I had a perm right after I watched Dirty Dancing in 1987 and it took me twenty years to become happy with my hair again.

I now offset bad hair days against productivity (stay with me, this isn't a technical post) and realised that I should head to the salon each 6-8 weeks and consider this my vice, if necessary, to maintain this routine. The days of staring into the mirror, despairing over roots and frizz, because I was:
a) fed up of home-dying my shoulder-length mop, and
b) thought hair salons were expensive,  are lonnnnnnnnng gone. 

My first grey hairs showed through, my then-hairdresser announced, when I was 17.

Yes, not quite as romantic as Sinatra lyricises in It Was a Very Good Year.  Now, I'm friendly with dyes and after many colours, I chose to finally embrace my DNA by working blonde hair and black eyebrows, because:
a) I just don't suit dark hair and
b) wouldn't bleach my Cara Delevignes any more than I would wax my legs every again; Low Pain Threshold (LPT).

My hair, understandably, is a bit dry and a bit thick and a bit unmanageable at times.  Currently it's a bit shoulder-length.  But I have an amazing Hair Stylist who knows how to wield thinning scissors and does a cracking blow dry which lasts four days (love Dry Shampoo, too, Rosie Green, although I couldn't not wash my hair for two weeks, a la Red magazine; my hat off to you).

So, I dedicate this post to my 6 hair necessities:

1) If you don't yet have a Stylist, find the time to head to your local college or salon on their training nights. Not only will you receive a heavily-reduced cut/colour, you will pick up great tips. From these nights I have:
a) changed my career (from Administrator to Teacher, based on news of  course funding) and
b) discovered how to blow a dry which lasts 24 hours: patience is the key. I have a toddler-daughter, my hair patience has been non-existent since 2011.

2) Buy the best electrical appliances you can afford for your hair, whether you are attached to straighteners, tongs or hot style brushes. 

3) Invest in one or two good quality brushes to suit your hair shape.  Not sure which then make sure you have a good paddle brush if your hair is past jaw-length, and a good round bristle brush for pixie/short dos.  A Tangle Teezer will cost you a tenner, and works very well on my wet hair, meeting my LPT standards, although I bought a tangle attack from my local quid shop which is okay.  I have a wide-toothed comb which sorts out my knots and John Frieda's Frizz Ease, so until these go out of production I don't yet intend to invest in a Tangle Teezer, but a lot of readers swear by them.

4) You don't have to know hair terminology to find the right style for your face - a salon should offer you a free consultation before your appointment to talk lifestyles and hair maintenance. You can suggest celebrities whose hair you admire, or show pictures, but you don't have to know your feather from your layer, or blunt cut.

5) When you find a Hair Stylist who listens to you, look after them, and hopefully you'll enjoy a long relationship. Sometimes they move on, but a great person will drag you along, too. I have discovered a lot of Plymouth's hidden gems by following mine.

6) If you haven't discovered the Babyliss Big Hair, it will change your life once you do.  I can now rough dry my hair so it's about 20% damp (no exact calculations were used in the writing of this post) and then rotate this fabulous brush through my Simba-esque, shoulder length mane, to a perfect, bouncy, gorgeous, light, fat-free 'do, while I dream up blog posts work on my business.  It is literally The Best Hair Essential since the millenial GHD revolution.  I used the 50mm barrelled brush last night and my hair was still pretty good at 6am (will need a bit of a hand-fluff and head shake later this morning when I venture out of the door).

I received no products or money for this post, the views are entirely my own, and you can decide whether to transform your life or not by hearkening to my blog yak. 

What hair product do you swear by?




Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Waking up two hours before the family

For the last few days I've set my alarm to wake me up two hours earlier than usual. 

So instead of waking up at 7.40, blurry-eyed and blah, by my partner dressing for work and then my toddler-daughter needing a nappy change, I've been waking just after five.

Now, I'm really not a morning person, but I work from home and I have writing deadlines to meet and it's the summer (nursery's closed!) so I deduced the only way I'm going to be productive is before the day has really begun (by bath-time I'm only fit for reality TV on the sofa).

So far, I've been very busy-bee-like, enjoying a stress-free breakfast and a gentle start to my day, allowing my mind the opportunity to wake up as it was always meant to - with coffee and quiet and creativity.  If I can maintain this habit then I may even find time for a spot of stretching and exercise of a dawn morning.

I said may; Autumn and a 10 tog duvet are around the corner. 

But for the moment I'm writing and editing and researching as much as I ever did during an afternoon in an office (as I said, I'm not a morning person). I feel more relaxed during the evening, knowing that I don't have to rush upstairs to my computer to force some words out, because my work from home has been done.  So there's more time for housework drawing and colouring with toddler-daughter.

What's your productive time?

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

This early-morning writing malarky

This is day two of my challenge to wake at 5am,  before the house is awake, before toddler-daughter starts demanding Peppa Pig or Curious George. 

Yesterday I woke naturally at 4.50am, so that was fine (although by 10am I wasn't quite sure who the hell I was and by 3 I definitely needed a sit down).

Today, I woke at 4.30 and reset the alarm for an hour later. 

I'm following the advice of other, more published, writers out there, to crack on with my first ebook, which has a title change about every half an hour (procrastination, eh?).  I write alongside planning my marketing campaign (eh?) and eat my way through our snack box (don't look at me like that, I'm on a self-imposed deadline).

But it's now almost 8pm on day two of early geddups (and the toddler is still asleep I give thee) and I've stopped thinking clearly. 

Few more pencil squiggle edits on my paper draft and I'm off to the other sofa. 

This working from home malarky is almost as fun as the early-morning writing malarky.

Toodlepip.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

A Canterbury Tale, and a Designer Outlet

Well, what a weekend I've had of it, and it's not even Saturday morning, yet! 

On Thursday I popped along the south of the UK to arrive in Ashford, home of friends, and a McArthur Glen Designer Outlet

But before I could mind my Gap, we headed to Canterbury today, and what a lovely city! Amongst the narrow alleyways and recognisable brand names, however, we happened upon the lovechild of Ikea and Paperchase: Tiger.

Remember the song from The Little Mermaid, where she's singing about whosits and whatsits and everybody's old favourite, thingummybob? 

We felt like that as we walked two laps, yes, two, of the store.  We oohed at and wanted everything we picked up, whether stationery, craft or home item. 

Choice, at a reasonable value, and sturdy products in a clean environment. 

Ah-mazing, said the Size15Stylist and her friend, over tea and cake and chicken salad.  Please be sure to check out your nearest Tiger store if you're heading to the south of England, Cardiff or Birmingham.  

The Designer Outlet was disappointing.  It seemed as if the stores were trying to take advantage of the fact that people will travel there to shop, and only discounted items that no one wanted, while keeping the goodies at around the price of their high street counterparts (Gap and M&S I'm looking at you).

The assistant in the Lindt shop was very helpful, however, and I'll waddle back to Plymouth with A Lot of Excellence chocolate.

Happy weekending, all.  And happy August - my double birthday month (the size15stylist blog will be 1 year old on 7th August!)