A wardrobe revive…

The time has come to reign-in my sports luxe look. Mat leave is officially over and I’m well and truly #backtowork. And, aside from the heart-tug of leaving Little Miss M’s side, it feels good to be back. It’s also great to be getting dressed for the office…Nadine Style, of course.

About a month before I was due back, I started thinking about sorting my wardrobe. I opened the doors and then closed them again. It felt like a huge task and part of me just wanted to start over.

But then something – or rather, someone – amazing happened. My friend Debra Hogan – Personal Stylist and founder of One Velvet Morning offered to give me a wardrobe makeover. ‘I’ll help you clear-out, revive and refresh’, she promised.

Well, how could one fashionista possibly refuse the help of another?! So, we booked three diary dates.

1. Assess. First up, the wardrobe assessment. Debra rocked-up to my boudoir looking like she meant business (she also looked gorgeously awesome). Her macbook was fired up and ready to go…in no time.

Debs

‘So, tell me what you want to get out of this session?’ Wow, part of me felt like I should be lying down on the sofa ready to reveal all. This, I thought, could be like, the best back to work therapy ever….

It didn’t take me long to figure it out. I explained that I was happy with my personal style so we didn’t need to mix things up there (obvs). But, my wardrobe definitely needed sorting. What was driving me mad was the amount of clothes I have that I hardly ever wear.

Apparently this is the most common wardrobe issue for women…and I was assured we’d turn this around.

We then chatted more about things like my clothes shopping patterns, likes and dislikes, body shape (and insecurities) etc. to give Debra a clear picture of what was required for session two.

2. The makeover. Debra arrived (looking amazing once again) and wasted no time getting to work. She went through my wardrobe to see exactly what I had and questioned me on each piece. We then worked on reorganising my clothes so that I would think about my outfits more readily and, importantly mix things up. Before I knew it we were uncovering lots of wee gems that I’d forgotten about and getting seriously excited about wearing them again. We made separate piles of ‘keeps’, ‘lose for good’ and ‘reinvents’. The latter were the items we agreed could be revitalised with a little help from either my own fine hands or Debra’s tailor Barbara, including these crazy 80s style culottes to bring them up to date.

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Other fab finds were this coat to re-rock the 70s trend, a bo-ho leather bag and an ol’ favourite Marc Jacobs skirt (which now looks amazing btw with frilly socks and boots).

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We also made a list of my ‘wants’ for shopping to update my looks. This included a new leather jacket, denim flares, statement shoes, new tops that weren’t navy or black (my wardrobe is bustin’ with these) and a new bag.

3. Shopping. Finally we had session three when Debra and I went shopping. This was great too. Debra had booked the styling room in House of Fraser and had picked out lots for me to try on.

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We then hit-up my favourite shops and more. I got the most amazing leather jacket from Kakao by K, fab Zara flares (which are off to Babs to be taking up slightly) and these shoes along with some much-needed basic tops.

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Overall, it was such a great experience. Utterly therapeutic and lots of fun. A good clear out is, as they say, good for the soul. It also really helped me get back in the zone for work. Debra is the ultimate style pro too – completely ruthless when she needs to be and inspiring and creative when bringing out the best in you and your wardrobe.

Oh, and one of the best organising tricks from this lovely lady was what she did with my scarves – check it out. #GreatIdea.

debs scarfs

Thanks Debra – you’re awesome x

If you’re in need of a wardrobe revive, some styling advice or even some wellbeing support then I’d highly recommend giving Debra a shout. The wardrobe makeover and styling sessions also make a great gift. I loved it and keep feeling stylishly inspired.

You can connect with Debra on facebook and twitter too.

Have you got a wardrobe full of clothes you forget to wear? I’d love to hear about it.

Being (a New) Mum

Baby illustration

Last year was a big year for me. In April, I became a mum. It’s been an exciting, tiring, happy, roller-coaster nine months and I’ve learned a lot too. So, with 2015 here already, I thought I’d share with you some of what I now know about being mum…

  • Babies cry. A lot! M didn’t find her lungs until around three weeks in so, I spent the first two thinking I had one of those great babies that just sleep all the time. Erm, turned out that was just a touch of jaundice. M started to cry…and cry…and cry. Pretty soon, I was crying and crying too. WTF was wrong with her?! I was convinced she had colic and frantically googled what this meant, which made me want to cry even more…I would NEVER be able to leave the house for months and months because what would I do if she was crying like that in public?! HELP!! Thank goodness for my mum. ‘that’s what babies do’ she said; ‘they cry’. Stop googling and just take each day as it comes – you’ll get her settled’. So, I did and she was right…luckily for us M did settle after just a few weeks and…we were able to leave the house and enjoy mat leave. Hurrah!
  • Breastfeeding is pretty special. It’s not easy at first but the perseverance is worth it. I actually got off lightly compared to some of my mom friends, who had a not so lovely experience. It took me a few days to get the latch right and then…we were off. But once Little Miss M got going, she didn’t want to stop. In those early weeks it felt like all I did was feed her and that my boobs were the only thing that would settle her. It was quite stressful and hugely draining. At the time, people would ask me if I was enjoying breastfeeding and I’d think to myself ‘enjoy?!’ ‘are they kidding?!’ As for the thought of feeding her in public, I was panicked to the core. Little did I know, however, that in just a few weeks’ time it would be like second nature and so incredibly special. M loved feeding and I loved nursing her. She would get so excited before a feed and it was amazing to to be able to comfort her in seconds. It was also lovely to watch her wee ‘I’m in heaven’ face when she was drunk on my milk. I’ll cherish the memories forever. It’s also been like… the best diet ever!
  • It’s great (and important) to have new mum pals. I wasn’t going to bother doing an NCT class but so many other mums kept saying that I should, that they convinced me. So I dragged Mr. T to a weekly class (including one all day Sunday session!!!) so we would learn everything we would need to know about being mum and dad. It was a bit weird but it was a bit of a laugh too and, I was lucky enough to get a great bunch. All the mums have been there for one another (thank gawd for our WhatsApp group) and we’ve hung out together with our babes. It’s so cute watching them all get bigger and have fun together. I’ve also had a few colleagues on mat leave at the same time, which has been great.
  • Your ‘mum instinct’ IS incredibly strong. I didn’t believe it would be but it’s true that ‘mum knows best’. Don’t get me wrong, some days I wonder what the hell am I doing and it’s so frustrating when I don’t know what’s wrong with her. But you have to do what you feel is right, or best for you. You get so much unasked for advice every single day from people everywhere about what you should and shouldn’t be doing with your little one but you quickly learn to take the good bits and ignore the bad.  You do get some lovely advice and tips too though!
  • The words ‘You’re Doing Great’ mean so much. As a new mum you are, at times, literally like a wee rabbit in the headlights. I took great comfort from my amazing mum and friends (particularly second or third time mums) who told me how great I was doing in those early months. Thanks girls! That SMA advert makes me smile too with their strapline ‘Take it from us you’re doing great’. Nailed it!
  • I’m actually quite good at this. I was freeeeeaked out when I found out I was pregnant and, I really wanted to be a mum. It was so daunting though. I can be a bit of a worrier at times and this new chapter opened up a whole new worry list. It was also a bit scary to be saying goodbye to my child-free existence. My life, my body, my relationship, my work bla bla… would never be the same again. And what if I was a crap mom?! It’s funny when I look back now at how I felt. Things aren’t the same but they’re brilliantly different and, as for being mum….I’m loving it! You do miss your ‘me’ life too though so, when the time comes it will be great to get stuck back into work.
  • Turning into sporty spice really helps you rock the pram look. Long live sports luxe! Great trainers, great jeans, sweater-style top things…and not forgetting rockin’ vests and hats. Check, check, check. You’re mama and pram ready.
  • Weaning is stressful. Some days M eats food. Some days it’s a NO. Annabel Karmel’s recipes are fab and like most uber-enthusiastic, first-time mums I’ve been busy trying her weaning stages. But… it’s just so frustrating when that spoon gets swiped away. FFS! Oh well…maybe tomorrow she’ll enjoy my ‘salmon with tomato and sweet potato sauce’.

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What’s your experience of being mum? How was breastfeeding for you? I’d love to hear.

Let’s go to the Gap.

For everyday basics, stylish work-wear and the BEST kidswear, Gap is one of my go-to shops. It’s the high street at its best – great styles, great quality and… it loves offering a deal. If you missed out on its recent 40 % VIP event, you’re getting a Christmas pass of 30% off online now and 20% off full price styles.

I’m obsessed with (and living in) its legging jeans just now. They work with my trainers, work with my boots, dress them up, dress them down etc. And, as I’ve gone all sports luxe this year (it’s the mat-leave style effect) there’s no better place to pick-up some sweater-chic items.

Here are my latest purchases

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Quilted Dark Grey Jacket

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Quilted Pink Sweater

Gap’s shops look fab just now too with the Christmas displays in. They even have stripey scarves back! Do you remember when everyone went mad for its stripey scarves?! I do (and did!) so, was inspired to dig mine out of the fashion archives. Of course, I can’t find it…always the way when you go looking. I’m annoyed as it’s the cutest, pastel-shade-stripes, perfect to match my jacket and top. Where could it be?!

Will let you know if I find it. In the meantime, I might head back to the Gap for a new one…

Long live stripey scarves!

Here are some more of the season’s must-haves. The scarves must have sold out online already!!


Cashmere hoodie


Cashmere sweater leggings



Coated biker super skinny pants


Sweater coat



Convertible wool mittens



Pom-pom holiday stripe wool beanie

Did you have a Gap stripey scarf? Will you be wearing one this season? I hope I will be.