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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When does a trend become a wardrobe staple? I’m not sure but I am sure that the sumptuous, huggable, snug as a bug in a rug Borg coat has now been on the highstreet for three years and I have a feeling its not planning on leaving anytime soon. Topshop have brought back their sell-out design from last year, H&M have updated their bomber style into a biker and offer a heavenly full length version which looks a hell of a lot more than the £69,99 it costs. ASOS has a plethora and the higher end highstreet versions are just divine. Admittedly not for everyone – not particularly flattering – you wouldn’t find your typical guy putting it at the top of their ‘turn-ons’ list… but I LOVE them!

Don’t forget my favourite styling rule – the power of opposites. Think big coat – small legs. Whether its bare legs, tights, skinny jeans, tailored trousers. Just something to balance out the huge-ness of the Borg.

Shop my edit here (I’ve included mens too just buy small) and below is a plethora of styling inspiration to indulge in….

Ax

p.s. the biker I am wearing has sold out online but it’s H&M and may still be in stores…

H&M £69.99

 

 

 

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