Welcome back… I hope you’ve had a perfect end to the weekend. I am absolutely thrilled to be able to bring this weeks Successful Mother insight to you. Falling in love with her style when I was pregnant with Margot and she was just a few weeks ahead of me with her second pregnancy I took all the inspiration I could from her on how to style my bump. Not only is she insanely beautiful, stylish and chic but this woman has ambitions and is gearing up to take on the beauty industry with a big launch next year – and to top it off she is incredibly kind and actually really quite hilarious with an infectious dry sense of humour. You’ll see what I mean when she goes into her morning routine with the kids. Without further ado – introducing the talented entrepreneur that is Anouk Yve.
 
1. Do you plan your outfits in advance?
It really depends, believe me or not but I really make an effort every morning to look nice. I think if you look nice you feel nicer too. This indeed takes some planning in advance, usually either the night before but most of the time half an hour before everybody in the house wakes up. I not only plan my outfit but also the outfits of the kids. In this way when hub leaves the house to go to work, I’m dressed up and after I do the children. My son is 2 years old, my daughter 9 months.
2. What is the average morning routine for you?
Dress myself and the kids (I usually put the television on for my 2 year old son so he can watch while I can do all the work).
Afterwards we go down to the kitchen and I prepare food for the children while Teun plays with his Toys and Elin is watching me from her Trip trapp chair. I always make porridge (oatmeal and almond milk). After they have breaky, I will eat something quick. By that time the first baby made the first poo, so diaper changing can begin. I’m fully done with the morning routine at 9 oclock. About that time Elin is getting tired so I’ll put her to bed, while Teun is playing and I will clean the kitchen, check my mail etc. After an hour Elin wakes up again and I prepare her bottle, change diapers again and start making lunch. Yes everyday the same. Mornings are the most busy.
 
3. Do you have any quick makeup hacks that hide a sleepless night?
Hihi, yes, the obvious Touche Eclat, but also make up fixing spray from Urban Decay (skindinavia). This will leave my skin with a fresh radiant glow, some lipstick on my cheek and voila a healthy look is born.
 
4. Do you manage to style your hair everyday or do you have a tip for making second/third/fourth day hair last?
Haha I have curls so my hair is the best at day three and four. Because Elin pulls my hair all the time I usually have it in a low bun, I think it’s chic and minimalistic. I also – like you Ashley – love a good hairtuck, that’s my quick hair hack if I need to go to the supermarket.
5. Any sneaky ways to look better than you might be feeling?
Always dress nice, It’s my number one rule. It’s so easy to grab a track suit and just really be a mom mom, but I refuse. I want to look nice. Teun and I make a little play out if it. I will do my make up and Teun will watch and sometimes I draw something on his face with a eye pencil. The other day I made him a cat and he ‘Meowed’ at me the whole morning. It was so much fun.
 
6. Do you have to work a lot in the evenings too?
My time is very limited. My kids are so so young, the younger the more work you have. When they are in bed I can work two hours max, but I also have a boyfriend who wants attention so I try to do that too. It’s difficult. My boyfriend hates Instagram and everything that comes with it. He refuses to make photo’s of me so I really have to plan shooting days. I have friends who help me out, and I work with a photographer too. Usually I shoot one time each week. We do 4 looks, I cannot do more. It drains me out. I mean I’m 33yrs old. My goal is to succeed with my brand – I’m launching a special curl cream and spray next year – not to be instafamous for what I wear but for what I have accomplished as an entrepreneur. I always had businesses. That’s what drives me, not the amount of likes on a special pair of jeans I happen to wear.
For this time being it’s ok to earn money with my account, but the end goal is more complex and deep than just looking nice on instagram. I see it as a tool to reach my goals and to keep a close eye on influencer trends etc.
7. Do you have any tips for keeping the baby/kids entertained whilst you get ready?
Haha, eh Youtube? Yes my son does watch the television and yes sometimes more than an hour straight after each other. First I thought I was a bad mom, but it’s just the new era I guess. I know other moms do it too and I know our moms would have done it if they had the technique we have today. I have a few rules: No television during dinner – any dinner that is, I want them to really eat consciously. During the day time television is on only after 4 oclock, and we go out to play everyday for at least two hours. We live in the country side and the nature around our house is just so pretty. The only annoying thing is that it’s fall, Teun loves to jump in puddles. He’s always soaking wet haha. Yes this means again extra work for mommy.
 
8. Do you have any help with the kids in the morning from your husband or anyone else?
No I don’t I do everything myself. My boyfriend is gone two or three nights a week too and he works six times a week. Leaving 6.30am coming home 4pm. He’s almost done being a football player (we used to live in England by the way – he played for Southampton, Millwall, Norwich). It’s hard having two young babies and being alone a lot. I simply cannot go to events, or be on Instagram all day like the fulltime Insta-influencers do. I don’t have the time. My number one priority is my babies. Luckily sometimes I can ask my parents or Jos can ask his parents.
One side note: Every monday Teun goes to daycare, so I can do some extra work. And every friday we have a nanny. Friday is my day, I collect things I really want to do, put it on a list and make them happen on friday. Whether that is a stroll into town, quality time with friends or doing a yoga class. If I didn’t had one day ‘off’ from being a mom I literally will loose it haha!
9. Any style tips to make you feel and look better if you’ve not had time for makeup and hair?
Go outside for a walk, this will give you a fresh radiant look. 😉

If you don’t follow her already I would highly recommend getting on and following… her stories make me laugh, expect dancing and babies, fashion and family, life going by… and everything done with such style.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this week – let me know of any other mums you’re dying to know just ‘how do they do it?’
With love,
Ashley
xx

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This Sunday evening I am so excited to have one of my absolute favourite women on Instagram giving us a little insight into how she makes it work. This woman is not only hilarious, but she is so supportive, kind and generous. Beautiful, real, raw at times – her social media helps me feel sane when I could otherwise be found crying in the bathroom. This lady is also a Sunday Times No. 1 Bestselling Author and currently pregnant with her third child. Introducing the lovely Sarah Turner – otherwise known as ‘The Unmumsy Mum’.

  1. Do you plan your outfits in advance? 

No. Well, not unless I have something fancy to go to and that’s very rare! I generally find I have a couple of pairs of jeans that are in favour at any one time, alongside several tops and a blazer of some description as if I’m off for a coffee or a meeting a blazer is an easy way to look like I have made an effort! On a normal home-working day, where I am writing between the school runs, my outfits are definitely on the casual side of smart/casual (and by ‘casual’ I mean I have been known to baby-wipe the toddler’s yoghurt off my trousers and Febreze yesterday’s jumper … not proud, but some days things are hectic!)

  1. What is the average morning routine for you? 

I do the school and/or the nursery run three days out of five so mornings are always a bit of a circus. I try to get up and shower before the boys wake up and after getting them fed and dressed (where do the bloody shoes go?!) I usually find myself with wet hair and half an outfit on just five minutes before it’s time to leave.

  1. Do you have any quick makeup hacks that hide a sleepless night?

Anything refreshing I can spritz on my face to wake me up a bit is always a winner – the Body Shop’s Vitamin C face mist is a quick (and inexpensive) option. I don’t wear a lot of make-up, generally, and have never successfully managed to ‘contour’ anything but I am a fan of highlighters, such as Benefit’s High Beam, as I think a dewy glow helps to mask sad, tired skin.

  1. Do you manage to style your hair every day or do you have a tip for making second/third/fourth day hair last?

Do you know there is one thing I swear by when it comes to my hair and that’s purple shampoo! As someone who has been getting highlights for about fifteen years, my hair has the tendency to go a brassy yellow colour and without exaggeration purple shampoo has changed my life! It definitely makes the colour more ashy and I find it looks so much brighter between washes – I couldn’t be without it. I also rely on dry shampoo and, for home-working days, I tend to opt for a messy bun because I am lazy and it does the job.

  1. Any sneaky ways to look better than you might be feeling?

Even if I am running late, I refuse to leave the house without getting the eyebrow pencil out – my eyebrows have never recovered from being over-plucked in my teenage years and I feel completely naked if I head out sporting feeble patchy caterpillars. A quick sweep of tinted lip balm always makes me feel like I’ve got my shit together, too.

  1. Do you have to work a lot in the evenings too?

I do LOADS of work in the evenings. In fact, I wrote almost all my first book outside of daylight hours. I think I actually work better at night.

  1. Do you have any tips for keeping the baby/kids entertained whilst you get ready? 

Netflix, Sky, iPads and Nintendos. I’m joking (well, sort of – TV is a saviour!) but my littlest, who’s three, actually likes ‘helping’ me to get ready. Though very cute, it can be quite stressful, particularly at the moment because he likes to point out all the growing areas of my pregnant body (“BIG boobies, Mummy! Wibbly wobbly bottom, Mummy!” Thanks buddy).

  1. Do you get to shower/bath every day? 

We don’t have a bath (sob) and this saddens me every day. In fact, we often have domestic disputes about it (I want to move to a house with a bath!). I do generally shower every day but sometimes life gets in the way (hello wet wipes and Febreze, again – I wish I was joking).

  1. Do you have any help with the kids in the morning from your husband or anyone else? 

It depends on what day it is, but there’s always an element of teamwork before the first person leaves the house. We have childcare help from family when we’re both working but we don’t have any family living on the doorstep (they’re all about an hour’s drive away) so we’re on our own in the mornings.

  1. What time do you normally leave the house? 

For the nursery run, 07:45. For the school run, 08:40. We live in Devon, so if I’m heading out for a day of meetings – which are predominately London-based – I’m usually up and out before 7am.

  1. Any style tips to make you feel and look better if you’ve not had time for makeup and hair? 

Tinted moisturiser with an SPF is a great time-saver. And a decent coat! Even if I’m looking a bit ropey I find that a nice mac makes me feel brighter. Plus perfume and a smile. Fake it ‘til you make it, and all that.

I hope you can use Sarah’s life hacks – totally with her on the baby wipes. I’ll be checking out the Vitamin C face mist tomorrow – and second a good coat especially this time of year. Go full-length and who knows what you’re wearing underneath. Sometimes the mornings are just too hectic its all about making life easier.

Thank you so much Sarah – may you continue to inspire and keep women’s sanity intact for many more years to come.

Ashley

xx

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The incredible thing about Instagram is getting a look into other peoples lives… people in other cities, countries, worlds apart from your own lives… whether they’re a doctor, stylist, blogger, architect, scientist, teacher, model… yet they’re going through the same life experiences, dealing with life changes as they become mothers, balancing their old life, work or no work, with motherhood. Like postcards sent from a distant pen-pal, little snippets of other peoples lives. And with that comes comparison of course. But comparison doesn’t have to be negative, it can be a powerful instigator, a motivator, a drive. When you look through that squared peep-hole at someone elses (edited) life – take inspiration, lessons, ideas, feelings and use them in your own life.

After having Margot I would spend a lot of time browsing through those little squares in the middle of the night whilst feeding. And I would find myself wondering how these other mums are managing to get out the door looking like they didn’t have a care in the world when I was struggling to brush my teeth before the nursey-school run.

So I thought well why not ask them…

And here it is, my new Edit series: The Successful Mother.

And I am incredibly proud to say that for my first Edit of the series I spoke with a mother I find immensely inspiring, kind, beautiful, open and honest as well as being a powerhouse of a business woman and mother.

Introducing Charlotte Groeneveld also known as ‘The Fashion Guitar’.

 

Charlotte Groeneveld
Founder & Editor
Thefashionguitar.com 

1. Do you plan your outfits in advance?
I do plan my outfits for big events, or when I travel for work. For the first, it’s mainly because I sometimes borrow a look for an event from the respective PR, and this needs some time to be processed – and fitting, the pieces have to be sent to my home, etc – for the latter it’s because of packing. Needless to say, I do have only a certain amount of suitcases I can bring, so rather than stuffing them all full, and have no idea what to wear, still, I rather plan my looks for Paris and bring what I need! Saves spaces and stress 🙂 Day-to-day looks I never plan.
2. What is the average morning routine for you?
I wake-up, and try to leave my phone until my work day starts. I don’t want my kids to see me holding my phone first thing when they wake up.. I get out, prepare outfits for James and Stella, and jump into the shower. Meanwhile my husband prepares breakfast, and COFFEE – we need that! Then we eat in our kitchen, very casually and fun. Either Thomas brings the kids to school on the bike, or I by taxi. After that, my workday starts!
3. Do you have any quick makeup hacks that hide a sleepless night?
I have a concealer from Laura Mercier that is the one and only for me. It works so well!! Shop it here. 
4. Do you manage to style your hair everyday or do you have a tip for making second/third/fourth day hair last?
I wash it every other day, but I make it wet every day. After sleeping there are just too many waves and wrinkles in it. Then I brush it roughly, and blow-dry it straight. Super simple, but best “casual” look for me.
5. Any sneaky ways to look better than you might be feeling?
Really rich and hydrating day creams – Estee Lauder for the eyes and La Prairi for my skin – and good make up. As mentioned, I have a wonderful concealer, that ALWAYS does the trick. I also cover red blemish, and other things that bother me. Then a light compact powder – I use Chanel at the moment Shop it here. – and a good bronzer to slightly contour, and a blush for some freshens. Mascara is key for me as well, and I do my brows a little too (Shop it here). Done!
 
6. How do you manage to fit in keeping fit with work and the children?
I’m going to be honest with you, I never work out, and I hate it. But I’m too busy, and just not the person who will get up at 5AM to make it work. I make sure I eat healthy, drink plenty, and sleep well. Being active when I’m with the kids is one thing I do, and I try to walk everywhere I go.
7. Do you work a lot in the evenings too?
Yes, almost every night there’s some event or party. I’m not going to all of them, but still a good amount of nights I’m away for work.
8. Do you have any tips for keeping the kids entertained whilst you get ready?
We have a lovely nanny, who’s there to help in those moments, too. If she’s not around, they come in my room when I get dressed, and we make it fun, or I put up a film and make them comfy on the couch until I’m done.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Thank you so much for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed the first in my new series and have been as inspired as I was by this little insight into Charlottes life. I will definitely be purchasing her beauty hacks.
And watch this space I have some amazing mothers stories, tips and tricks to share with you every Sunday night in the following weeks. And if there is someone you’d love to know more about and how they make it work – comment below and drop me an email.
Thank you again,
Ashley
x

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I live in my jeans and I have to force myself out of them these days – but when I do – a maxi skirt or dress is always there to comfort me – Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter. So today I wanted to shine the spotlight on the maxi skirt and what an essential piece it is to have in your wardrobe. How best to style it. And where to buy one right now.

Five tips to style the maxi

  1. Always show your waist – a longer coat or cardigan leaves you in a swathe of fabric that can just be drowning even on the tallest of people. A little cropped jacket like a biker or denim is perfect.
  2. Go big on the knits. I love a big chunky knit styled with a floaty maxi skirt.
  3. Thinking opposites again – feminine skirt – masculine shoes. Opt for biker boots, this seasons trekking boots even – or your old faithful trainers.
  4. Don’t keep for best – that gorgeous maxi you’ve worn twice in ten years for weddings – just wear it in the day. Throw on an old leather biker and it’ll instantly dress it down. Add a messy top knot, push up the sleeves and you’re day-chic-done.
  5. Take a big bag with you – smaller bags like clutches will change the look to ‘Ascot’ which is not what you’re aiming for. Big, soft or structured it doesn’t matter but in this case – bigger is better.

 

 

 

The highstreet edit – and all the inspo below…

 

 

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I get a lot of questions about my check blazer – its old, was pretty cheap from H&M, wool-blend, fully lined and I wear it all the time. A really good buy that sadly I can’t pass on – sorry!

BUT I can do my research and offer you up in one neat little blog post on the best checked blazers on the highstreet right now waiting for you to buy them and wear them with everything.

My only tip would be to size up – then you can wear with a hoodie or a big knit even when its really cold.  You loose the feminine shape but you gain that androgynous cool look. Perfection!

Also worth mentioning the more expensive tend to be wool or wool blends so if you want to wear it as it gets colder if worth spending a little more. But if the budget it tight – then the cheaper ones would work well styled under a Winter coat too – layer layer layer.

Here goes…

 

And here’s a big dollop of style inspo for you…

Ashley

x

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