As a mum of three under five (including twins!), by 10pm I would usually be tucked up in bed, with my eyes forced shut wishing they were already asleep and my fingers crossed for a wake-free night. But today I find myself, as I have in recent weeks, nursing a glass of red at gone 10, tinkering away on Instagram, Facebook and my laptop. Why? Because I need childfree time, and sometimes it is worth sacrificing those precious evening hours when I could be sleeping, to actually feel like a grown up human again, time to soak up a little bit of “me” time and for me right now, that means time dedicated to my new venture…
In the last few months, I have taken a big lifestyle change and leap into the unknown world of ‘mum bossing’. After five extremely tiring years of giving myself more than 100% to my children and answering simply to “Muuuummmmy” more times a day than anyone should ever be expected to cope with, I have decided it is time for Sophie to emerge again.
I have recently started my own personal styling business for women, particularly mums and mums-to-be in Cheltenham and the Cotswolds, My Stylish Friend. Before I became Mummy, I was Fashion & Beauty Editor of HELLO! Magazine in Dubai and known not, as poo wiper or endless snack supplier, but Sophie the fashion stylist and Sophie the fashion writer. Even though my twins are still under two, I decided there is never an easy time to start a business, and with the notion of “no time like the present”, I have taken the bull by the horns and put my fashion skills and Mummy wisdom to use and am launching My Stylish Friend at the Cotswold Baby & Toddler Show on Sunday 29th April at Cheltenham Town Hall.
As My Stylish Friend, I want to help other mums and mums-to-be stay sane and stylish throughout pregnancy and into motherhood, offering styling services and gift packages including one-on-one personal styling consultations and personal shopping, wardrobe consultations, a virtual Pinterest online shopping service and group styling parties.
If you have recently had the joy of seeing two blue lines appear on your ‘pee on a stick’, I am so very happy for you. Nothing compares to that feeling and the journey you are now embarking on. Having a baby (or three!) is the best thing I have ever done. The happiness is overwhelming. But even in the early days, this happiness can often be overtaken by huge worry and a massive lack of confidence as our Mummy brains start to kick in, our bump pops out and our body begins to change (forever). This is where I hope My Stylish Friend can step in and help mums-to-be navigate your way through pregnancy feeling as prepared, happy and confident as you should – knowing how your body will change, how to adapt and retain your style, what you can buy (jeans under or over the bump, maternity or non-maternity, bras, nursing tops – the list goes on!), where you can buy the clothes for your body and how to wear them through each trimester.
Then once you have your baby, not only do you have a new bundle of joy to look after 24/7 but you also have a Mummy body with some ‘extra baggage’ to deal with and a lot of hormones. Nothing can prepare us for our Mummy hormones. And much as I hate to say it, there is often little we can do in the early days about our “Mummy tummies”. Unless you are super lucky or have a personal trainer and nutritionist on speed dial, your body never quite pops back to the pre-baby bod you expect it to. Well, at least, it hasn’t for me!
Then there is the challenge of breastfeeding, if you are going down that road, and how to keep those bad boys stylishly under wraps yet without becoming a wall flower, the thought of venturing out to the local baby and toddler group in something other than your trackies or more often than not, PJs purchased for your hospital bag. Then before long, may be the stage of thinking about going back to work and re-joining your pre-baby work life. All of this requires an extra boost of support and confidence and usually a change in wardrobe. If you are comfortable in your body, your self and your clothes, you will feel so much more confident to make your way out of the newborn haze and say hello again to the outside world.
Being a Mummy is the best job in the world. But it is hard. Really hard. Tiny humans, whether inside or outside your body, are exhausting and we all deserve some “me” time.
I love my children, don’t get me wrong, but there comes a time when we need to put ourselves first, if only for a short time, and give ourselves a pat on the back. We need to take time out from sibling squabbles, deciphering toddler mentality and having way, way, way too much poo under our finger nails. There comes a time when we need to do something for ourselves again… Even if that is just taking some time out once in a while.
For the last five years, I have been on an emotional roller coaster, as I’m sure all of us mums have. Sometimes I feel like a failure, sometimes I feel like Superwoman. I have certainly felt like I have lost myself along the way, but I have survived… So has my marriage and so have my children. So I take that as a success in my book. And I hope I have done so in style.
Yes, I have worn pyjamas post 7pm more times than I have heels, and yes I admit to wearing non 100% clean clothes, knowing it is only a matter of time before they become splattered in stains anyway, but I wear what makes me feel happy, what works for my body and my lifestyle and what makes me feel confident and stylish. I know my body, I know what suits me, I know what doesn’t and I know some really simple style tricks, which make looking good with very little time possible.
But now, it is time for more than just survival. Now it is my time. I am more than ready to find myself again and I am going to put my knowledge and experience to good use as My Stylish Friend. Every woman deserves to survive and succeed in style…
If you are a mum-to-be, new mum or just a mum, please do come along to The Style Zone at the Cotswold Baby & Toddler Show on Sunday 29th June from 10am – 3pm. I am the show’s Style Hunter, hosting The Style Zone, offering fashion advice and styling tips, showcasing styled outfits and taking polaroid snaps of stylish mums, bumps and babes for a chance to win a group styling party or one-on-one styling session. Come along and get your photo taken, quiz my brain on style stuff, mummy matters or just come along and say hello.
A Guest Blog from Sophie Jones-Cooper
Sophie Jones-Cooper is a personal stylist and ex-fashion and beauty editor who has worked in the fashion industry for over 10 years for magazines including HELLO!, Cosmopolitan and Time Out. She is also mummy to Leo aged 5 and twins Amelie and Archie aged 22 months. She is now offering her styling skills to women in Cheltenham and the Cotswolds as My Stylish Friend, helping mums and mums-to-be feel confident and look stylish throughout pregnancy and motherhood.
Sophie will also be exhibiting at the Cotswold Baby & Toddler Show on Sunday 29th April at Cheltenham Town Hall from 10am – 3pm. You can meet her at The Style Zone where she will be on hand to offer style advice, fashion tips and take a Polaroid snap of your bump or babe for your chance to win a one-on-one styling session or group styling party for you and your friends.