So we are spreading our wings and heading south of the river for the launch of Rock Up Frock Up Pop Up Tooting. If you want to be more precise Furzedown a lovely little area on the Tooting, Streatham, Balham boarders and with the wonderful Fran from @coldfeetpetite at the helm of this event and the stylist for night being @cocomamastyle this will be one event you wont want to miss out on.
For the next shop we head into the The Living Room, 19 Thrale Road, Furzeldown, SW16 1NS on the 20th April from 6 – 9.30pm and our charitable donation from sales on this event, continuing to follow our mission to give something back to the community, goes to The Little Village. A fab local charity to the area which promotes sustainable living and a sustainable community. They offer support to local families both with items for your babies and emotional support. To find out more about this brilliant charity have a look at www.littlevillagehq.org
To find out more about this event follow the local page on www.facebook.com/rockupfrockuptooting
At the beginning of the year i had a coffee with Jess who runs @socialmamahertford, her mission is to run alternatives to baby groups. Something for mums to go to on their own and something to help you find your pre baby self again. I love this idea as its so easy to loose your identity and become mum of x when the new baby days wear off. We talked about fashion and how i have always wanted to take Rock Up Frock Up into a panel discussion. We know its needed as the Stylist slots at our pop up shop get booked up fast, Jess was up for the challenge and a night booked in.
So with the amazing Allie from @thestyleallie , Lucy from @bornatdawn and Alison from @gingerlileboutique i shall be leading a panel discussion on how to dress post baby, how to reclaim your fashion mojo and maybe find a style which is yours.
@thestyleallie will be telling us how to shop vintage and let us into her secrets on how to make a successful charity shop haul. New outfit for less than a tenner? yes please! Allie has over 2K followers on Instagram and a successful career as a personal stylist. Allie also works part time in her local charity shop, so she is the person we need to show us how to make a success of the charity shop shop!
Lucy @bornatdawn will be on hand to show and tell us how to build a capsule wardrobe. What basics do we really need to tie an outfit together, what should we be spending our money on to get something which lasts and works a treat for the school run to work to a night out. Lucy runs a successful on online fashion site with an emphasis on simple styles and easy to wear brands, this lady has some tricks up her sleeve to help you shop smarter.
Allison @Gingerlileboutique is onhand to give us some confidence to shop in a small boutique. How do we know where to start, whats the expectation to buy if your the only one in the shop? How to find the brands you like and not be fazed by a ‘trendy’ boutique as you drag your pram and unwashed hand in. Alison will tell us as a store owner how to face our boutique fears. Whilst also showing us what trends to look for this Spring. Alison has been in fashion for over 15 years this is her second boutique in Hertford (a break to have some children) now she is firmly back in the game with some great options for us Hertford ladies.
Finally we will have a few rails of clothes ahead of the next @rockupfrockup pop up for sale and each of the panel will also have a rail for you to have a browse on the night. With a drink before and the chance to ask questions, shop and mingle this is one socialmama event you wont want to miss out.
Tickets available though the @socialmamahertford Instagram page and also a link over on the events page.
Hope to see you all there March 15th Hertford House Hotel.
Recently i was asked by the lovely girls at The Hertford Women’s Society to write a blog for them all about my top picks from their sale so here it is repeated:
I love the January sales, it’s a throwback to my teenage self when I was gifted money from various far flung relatives to treat myself. So over the years I have honed the art of sale shopping, and figured out how to spend like a pro and make decisions which you won’t regret. My top tip for a boutique is to look online, screen shot what you like then ask the sales assistant to help you find it to try on. Saves being elbowed in the face (I’m only 5ft2) or missing what you really want as you can’t find it.
Hertford isn’t blessed with too many clothes shops but we do have a few boutiques which stock a great range and save you the bother of day tripping to London. The most established is the Hertford Women’s Society sat proudly on the corner of Old Cross and a beacon of possibilities when you’re sat at the traffic lights on St Andrew Street. I like to play a game with myself that I really hope the lights are red but I’m the second car so I can have a looksy in the window. At the moment the window screams ‘SALE, SALE, park your car and head inside’….this is my interpretation. But the sale banners are up so here are the Rock Up Frock Up fave buys for 2018:
First up I love trainers and wear them pretty much all the time, you can dress down anything which may seem too ostentatious for daytime but get your trainers right and you can dress up anything which is too daytime for evening. Ash high tops fit the bill, always on trend, super comfy and now at £89 from £149. High tops are great as you don’t have to worry about cold ankles or what socks your wearing for the school run. A good metallic high top works well with many of the longer pleated skirts around at the moment too. It’s a nice alternative to boots if you’re not a girl who wears Nikes outside of the gym:
Now if you’re sale savy you’re going to be investing in jeans . The January sales are a brilliant way to get an expensive brand at a fraction of the price. At the end of last year we saw the fashion girls of Instagram ditching the skinnies in favour of a boyfriend cut and if you’re a little unsure how to let go of your fave skinny jeans then these beauties are a great starting point. The embroidery makes them a little different and the more relaxed shape works well with both a chunky jumper, shown here or a little vest top come the summer months. I can also see these being dressed up with a simple blazer and heels. Jeans, Maison Scotch £89 from £154.95.
But if you’re going to spend wisely I try to buy a few going out clothes. I don’t like the stress of trying to find something to wear for a night out and frantically searching the high street a few days before, so sale shopping for me is about buying a few key timeless pieces which work well for both nights out and any smarter work days. This lace top fits the bill of a useful sale buy perfectly. Available in both grey and pink this is a wardrobe winner. Pop under your dungarees to add a feminine edge. Wear under a jumper with ¾ sleeves or wear on its own for a grunge rock chick edge, a look which is returning big time in 2018. At £19 it’s a steal, shown here with a pleated skirt from Yaya down to £35 and the most fabulous Second Female leather fringe skirt down to £55. I’m a little in love with this fringe skirt, how many years of nights out could you get out of this? Would also be perfect for festival chic over the summer months and wear with thick tights and a chunky jumper and head of to work with a vibe which is definitely saying you’re ready to rock up!
If you’re feeling a little more reserved my most worn purchase last year was a Gillet, under my leather jacket as spring approached and over my gym gear in the evenings after a class. This sporty beauty from Barbour would do the job nicely. £55 down from £89.99.
Last but not least Hudson boots are comfortable, fashionable and in the sale. I loved the navy velvet ones, now £85 but then pony ones add a little something different if you tend to wear all black and are currently priced at £89.
Wondering what I spent my pennies on though? Well that would be this rather beautiful Mustard shirt from Second Female……
Its a week on and i am now suffering the comedown from a most amazing event. Shall park to one side that both myself and Lorna have ended up on Antibiotics and i’ve been back having ECG’s and blood sugar tests again but we survived, if only just.
Anyway people of Hertford & Ware what a night, we had over 160 people visit over the course of 2 days in The Creative Sanctuary, we had a queue outside a Haberdashery shop in a market town and for that i was proud! But what left me in tears after (yes i went home and had a massive blub) was the overwhelming sense of support and fun that women can offer each each other, i watched women offering fashion advise, sharing stories of their struggles with PND and their fashion loves and mistakes. The atmosphere was electric and the Prosecco was flowing, for which we will be forever grateful to both The Oak Room and The Creative Sanctuary for providing more when supplies were beginning to run low and letting us use their amazing space!
For anyone that’s wondering it takes a huge amount of time and effort to organise the Pop Up nights – around 4 months in total from when we pick a date to the final payment being made. But we love hosting them, and we love seeing clothes being re-homed and for me it took alot of courage to go from one little idea to the nights we now run. Standing by me has been a great friend who without her marketing skills and faith it would have been a very different event, but also many other local ladies, friends and businesses who get involved and help make the Rock Up Frock Up Pop Up a night to not be missed. Also we must not forget that a percentage of sales goes to the wonderful Butterfly Community which supports local women with Post Natal Depression. Invaluable support by local women for local women.
Follow us on Facebook (rockupfrockuphertford) and Instagram @rockupfrockup to find out when we host the next event.
We are getting ready for the Pop Up Shop this weekend and as you ladies are finding the idea of a Stylist so useful, we have another on board to solve our wardrobe dilemas on Friday night. The fabulous Karen aka The Style Nurse will be on hand and ready to advise we especially like that she wants to make people feel good, we want to do that too, over to Karen:
Hi, I’m Karen, aka the Style Nurse!
A nurse with a keen eye for style and a life long passion for fashion, I retrained as a fashion stylist and image consultant at both the London College of fashion and the London College of Contemporary Arts.
Continuing to help people, just in a slightly different way, I am passionate about encouraging my clients to feel good about themselves, look good, feel good is my motto to live by!
With a professional career in the NHS spanning over 20 years having worked as a specialist nurse, my slightly diverse career path has equipped me with the professional skills necessary to continue to provide a uniquely holistic approach, whilst working with each individual client, giving them a daily dose of style and confidence from their carefully selected new wardrobe.
I provide a wide range of styling services tailormade to suit your needs, always ensuring a friendly and personal service, individually designed to create your signature style from a wardrobe that inspires you, filled with beautiful pieces that work for your personality, lifestyle and budget.
As part of my day job in music i get to attend a Broadcast conference every year in Las Vegas, it’s one of those work trips which has most people thinking lucky thing. Which is true to some extent but for the record i don’t get to sit at the pool, instead i do spend most of the trip in an air conditioned meeting room. But as you may have gathered i love people watching, it fascinates me and there is no better place on earth to people watch than Vegas. Vegas has people from every walk of life wandering round the casinos. Its the best place to listen in on conversations too. They say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas and i’m not surprised. From the gossip at the tables (always lots of celebs about the hotel we stay in – this year seemed to be the cast of Towie on a hen do ) to the super rich shopping in the many many high end fashion stores. I heard the phrase ‘darling you look fabulous…splurge sweetie splurge’ (Hermes) .
It is after all the only place i have been where you walk down an Esplanade of designer stores Chole, Prada, Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Hermes and after a few days you start feeling like this is normal. Clothes cost that much right? I stroked a dress in Chloe which was $9,000, it was beautiful and far far far too small for me…they offered to have it altered to fit they showed me beautiful matching shoes and i suddenly wanted to be the sort of rich that this is normal. I am not driven by money at all…but Vegas has changed me baby!
Disclaimer: I then purchased a $10 straw hat with a pom pom trim from Forever 21 and contained my disappointment that the new Levis 501 Skinny looked according to my colleague like ‘mum jeans, and not in a good way’ they were $90 anyway and out of this girls price range, not a High Roller quite yet….
Being a women is hard, being a mum is hard and being human is hard, and i think all of us have at some point suffered or know someone who has been affected by anxiety or depression. This is a subject close to my heart and something i get very emotive about. Here at Rock Up Frock Up we want to make a difference to our local community so for every sale on the night a percentage is donated to the local group for Post Natal Depression. Below Jenny (not me, another one!) tells us her story and how our local group started:
Postnatal Depression and Me
When I initially fell pregnant I was so excited over the prospect of being a mummy. I had so many ideas in my head of what motherhood would be like. I never thought anything could go wrong during labour, despite hearing a handful of horror stories. I lived in my lovely bubble of baby-bliss, where I figured I’d have the textbook labour and birth, which would result in amazing skin to skin contact with my child and we’d have an instant bond unlike anything else in the world. This is didn’t happen though. I ended up haemorrhaging during birth; I then “failed to love” and bond with my child for a good couple of months. The one basic thing that a mother should do and I failed at that, right? Well, actually, no. I didn’t “fail”, and neither do the many, many women who feel like this.
Postnatal depression took a happy time and turned it into the worst time. It made me doubt my abilities as a mother. It convinced me that my beautiful baby boy would be better off without me. It planted anxieties in my head which made it hard to breathe. Whilst my friends were all enjoying motherhood, I was caught up under this grey cloud that meant every smile was just a cover for what really lay underneath: a lot of self-hatred.
“Ah! What a beautiful baby! You are so lucky!”- I didn’t feel lucky. I felt trapped, and like I had failed at step one of this parenting stuff. Once I’d developed a bond with my child PND then convinced me that my child wasn’t putting on weight, so I ended up meticulously measuring his milk intake. I got obsessed with my child getting ill, and would have full on panic attacks if he got a fever or rash, blaming myself for his sudden ill health. My husband would come home and I would be sobbing, having convinced myself that my son was better off without me.
“You’ve got postnatal depression.”- What, me? Noooo! This is a happy time; no way has a mental health illness taken away from my joy. But it had, and it happens to a lot of people. No one wants to talk about it because of the stigma attached to mental health illnesses. People assume that if you’ve got a baby, you’re happy. People assume that if you look ok, and go out to do things, then you’re ok. I wasn’t ok. I was slowly losing who I was as a person, and without intervention from my amazing GP, and the support from my husband, it would have gotten a lot worse. I received counselling for postnatal depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress caused by my traumatic labour. It took a while, but eventually I started to feel less like an alien had taken control of me, and more like myself. I started to enjoy being a mum (although I still struggle with certain aspects… terrible twos anyone?), and actually felt more confident to ask for help.
Let us not pretend motherhood is all sunshine and roses. Let us accept motherhood is a gritty, anxious and difficult time for a lot of mums. Let us accept not all mums can breastfeed and that if your child gets ill it is not your fault.
Once I had started to heal I began to think that a local support group would have helped me at my lowest. Being able to talk with like-minded mums about how hard motherhood can be at times is very liberating. Talking about the good times, and also the bad times can help mums through the darkness. Gaining friendships, in an otherwise isolating time of our lives, can be vital for helping mums conquer the black dog of depression. Mums matter, and our mental health needs to be looked after, just as much as our physical health, which is why I had the idea to set up a perinatal mental health support group. Having never done anything like this before I had no idea where to begin, to which Rebecca McCann from Butterflies, a community support project that aims to help mums going through tough times, contacted me saying that she’d provide the support I needed to set up the group. Although I found it difficult initially to find a venue that was suitable, I didn’t give up as I was so sure a group like this was needed in the local area. Postnatal depression makes you feel like you’re on your own, when in fact it is totally the opposite. I figured providing women with support from other mums would be beneficial to their recovery.
We help so many women at Butterflies by providing group and online support for free. We don’t just help mums going through mental health struggles either; we help women who are just overwhelmed by the difficulty that is motherhood. We build women up, and listen to their experiences. We let women know that it’s ok to not be ok, and that there is no shame in feeling anxious, guilty, low or overwhelmed by it all. It’s ok to not enjoy every aspect of parenthood, and it’s ok to parent however you like. The groups provide a judgment free space for mums to vent over a cup of tea, and build peer support with similar minded mums.
There are several support groups dotted around Hertfordshire in Welwyn Garden City, Ware, Stotfold, Borehamwood and Hitchin. All of the groups are set up and run by volunteers who are fully trained by Butterflies. Groups are confidential, and 100% judgement free.
This wonderful post by Karran from @themamaedits is a fabulous read and full of some great advice to help you find your style in those first crazy new moments of being a mum. Thank you for letting us repost this here!
There comes a moment after every woman gives birth, whichever way the baby made its arrival, when they stop and assess the damage. While some may escape near enough completely unscathed and look like they haven’t just spent the last 40 weeks growing a human, for many of us it is a moment we have been dreading. A moment that perhaps we have been putting off or have just been too wrapped up in our bubble of love and nappies to think about or even care, but just like your baby, arrive it will. Eventually it’s time to look in the mirror and (if you’re brave enough) step on the scales.
It can be scary losing complete control of your body, literally not being able to do anything as you watch your body drastically change. If, like me, you spent months religiously rubbing Bio Oil into every inch of skin (twice a day) that first time when you look at your body properly can be extremely daunting and feel like a reversed episode of Ten Years Younger.
Many women most probably don’t like what they see, many others will be pleasantly surprised and will do a little exhale of relief when you realise it is nowhere near as bad as you thought. Whichever outcome you find yourself at you will most likely still find yourself confronted with a body you no longer recognise and wondering how long it will be until you can get back into your old jeans.
The first time I stopped to survey the damage I was wearing my boyfriend’s old boxer shorts, a nursing bra which was too big for me and had some sort of pad attached to every leaking hole in my body; including a soggy maternity pad stuck to a cesarean wound which wasn’t healing as well as it should; I hadn’t really been aware of the full extent of the damage until the bloodied dressing had been removed.
I stood there and inspected, poked and prodded at my rock solid misshapen boobs, my baggy belly and my bloodied, bruised and weeping cesarean wound with my partner looking on, knowing exactly what was coming next:
‘Do you still fancy me?’ ‘Of course I do darling… Don’t be stupid…’ ‘But I look like an episode of Botched Up Bodies!’
And I did, and I cried and then we laughed… Of course he still fancied me, I was a bit (a lot) of a mess but I was bound to be… I’d already decided long before that I wasn’t going to get hung up on my post pregnancy body, I’d known for a long time that I was going to have a cesarean, I’d googled the pictures, I knew what to expect, but nothing really quite prepares you for the body that looks back, it’s not the body you’ve had for the last nine months, it’s not the body you had before but now it’s yours.
Anyone who has had a baby will know that cooking pretty much goes out of the window in the first few weeks and together you survive on convenience food, take aways and dinners that can be assembled quickly by stabbing a few holes in some packets and whacking them in the microwave – and that is okay, priorities have shifted.
For the first month or so we survived on crisps, sandwiches and what we called a ‘Ploughmans’ but really it was just pate, bread and chunks of cheese with a slathering of Branston’s Pickle.
After about three weeks I realised that I had actually been putting on weight since having my daughter, not losing it like I was supposed to, not masses, but it was slowly creeping on. I was already feeling pretty deflated after the botched cesarean and this realisation made me feel even worse so I decided to do something about it. I knew that going to the gym was unlikely and I knew that I could easily improve my diet, but I needed an interim fix, so I sat and thought about what what I could do about it in the short term. I had a mini mum overhaul and the difference it made in my outlook was huge. As silly as it may sound, by making a few changes and thinking about ‘me’ as a priority made me feel like I had won a small war where I had regained (some) control of my body.
You may not need, want or care to do any of the following, but for some, like me, it might help you just begin to feel a little bit like yourself again and less like a leaky hormonal milk vessel.
So these are my tips for a mini mum makeover:
1. Buy new jeans, chuck (or hide) your old ones, stop lusting after them; they do not matter.
There is an unspoken challenge amongst mums which is called ‘I can get my old jeans back on, can you? I bet you can’t.’ And it is basically designed to make new mums feel better about themselves while making other mums feel worse. I didn’t even bother trying my old jeans on, but I didn’t want to be flopping around in maternity jeans or leggings, so I bought new ones, cheap ones, but it was a way for me to not be pining after my old body and, after all, why beat yourself up about the fact that you can’t get in a pair of old jeans?
2. Get a decent bra.
Whether you like it or not, your boobs will be different, perhaps not even noticeably but the size and shape of them will have changed somewhat; get yourself measured properly and go buy a couple of new ‘nice’ bras. Again, you don’t need to spend a lot of money as they will probably change size again in the coming months and even if you only invest in one, just wearing a bra that fits properly can change the entire shape of your body and lift more than just your spirits.
3. Get some support pants.
Don’t go mad and buy a full Spanx body suit, just some control pants with light support will do, your body has been through enough without wedging it into the world’s tightest knickers, however, underwear with some support will make your stomach feel supported (especially if you’ve had a caesarean) and clothes will be more comfortable and better fitted.
4. Get a mum uniform.
Trying to find clothes that you feel comfortable in after having a baby can be difficult; your body may be an entirely new shape that you have no idea how to dress. Where you once had a flat stomach may now be a bit paunchy, breasts tripled in size and your bum gone flat. Find a style you are comfortable in and stick to it until you have the confidence to branch out. If you are breastfeeding this can be even more difficult and the last thing you want when you’re feeling knocked for six is the rigmarole of trying on numerous (hideous) outfits that make you feel like you’ve raided a stranger’s wardrobe. Buy a few tops in a style you feel comfortable in and rotate them. My go to was dungarees as they hid my belly, I could dress them up or be casual and I was lucky they were ‘in’ when I gave birth.
5. Don’t hide yourself.
Don’t keep wearing your maternity clothes because it’s easy. Pack them away; quickly. You have probably felt comfortable and secure in these clothes the last few months, but you are no longer pregnant, your feet aren’t swollen; you don’t need to wear leggings and flip flops. Ditch the security of maternity wear.
And finally… You are not a celebrity. Sadly, for the majority of us we are unlikely to walk out the other end of childbirth looking like Abbey Clancy, we will not have personal chefs, private gyms and a modelling contract. Don’t put unattainable pressure on yourself; you are doing a great job.
Early Sunday morning and due to doctors orders i attempt to go running. Running according to the breath physio, forces you to breathe properly, without really trying. Deep breathing from your stomach rather than the shallow breath of a stressed out nearly 40 something with the remnants of pneumonia altering the bodies natural breathing rhythm. Anyway, i put on some random items of clothing, a T-shirt from a trip to the states many years ago and sweaty betty yoga bottoms and off i went. All going well i looked more like a runner than a person late for a train ( a game i like to play when out in the car – runner or late?). I only made 2.6 miles then staggered home to eat a Viennese whirl whilst thinking ‘bugger, was also hoping to loose the mum tum as a bonus’. 3 years after my youngest was born is probably long enough to stop using the ‘i’ve just had a baby excuse’.
Maybe, therefore, its time to think about investing in some proper running attire, if i keep it up i have the excuse to look at the gymwear section of The Outnet and buy Stella Macartney for Adidas to wear on the school run. I may be a Run Mum. Its doubtful, i’m more likely to attend the ‘Sew a pair of leggings’ workshop at the Creative Sanctuary. I could have my own bespoke run leggings in whatever fabric i want. The possibilities are endless, i could even run there.
The next ‘Working with Stretch – Sew a pair of leggings’ workshop is on the 12th April 1.30 – 4.30 at the Creative Sanctuary, Fore Street, Hertford.
I’ve always liked the idea of a stylist, someone who can objectively send you out of your comfort zone and also be brutally honest and say ‘come on lady, seriously, wear something other than the stripe T-shirt and the jeans’ or even ‘there are other colors than black you know’. But that is the thing with fashion as you grow and change what did suit you often doesn’t anymore and its easy to keep buying the fave’s as you know it suits you, or you know it did suit you but often then trying to change your style is hard, and quite frankly trying to figure it out whist keeping two small children from pulling over rails of clothing or playing hide and seek in the changing rooms isnt ideal. So bring on a Stylist!
Luckily i met the lovely Allie of #Mumof2minisandtwomanyshoes to come along on the night of the next Rock Up Frock Up to show us what to wear and how to wear it, you can book a slot with Allie by sending us an email or contacting us through our facebook page. Over to Allie: Continue reading “Help I need a Stylist!”