Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The baby likes mango (I'm pregnant)

This is clearly not a picture of my baby. 

Rich and I are over the moon thrilled to announce that Baby Brown will be coming into the world in July. The past couple of months have been challenging to say the least: all day morning sickness, 2 weeks in bed to get over a cold, weird pregnancy cravings (tinned ravioli, cottage cheese and mango have been a highlight of my sick strewn days). Pregnancy has taken its toll on my energy; sleep has become my saviour. The sleep of the dead actually. I feel like I've been out for 5 minutes, turns out I've been out for 45 and could easily and greedily lap up more. 9pm is my new bedtime. I eat at 5.30pm.

I'm not only growing a child but eating and sleeping like one. 

And what about my wardrobe? Bye bye to 3/4s of my high-waisted wardrobe. I wore a trusty pair of naturally high-waisted culottes to an interview one day and the feeling of pressure was enough to (nearly) make my puke on the face of my questioner. So it's hello to a 90's low rise jean, a plethora of Rich's shirts (gorgeously oversized on me) and welcoming with open arms flat shoes. My whole centre of gravity has changed and I am now shopping for trainers rather than heels. Rich looked at me in amazement when I came home with some trainers before Christmas and exclaimed "we really are living in upside down world!" Amen husband, Amen.

But can we just talk about the sisterhood?

A powerful network of family and friends has opened up and support has flowed through loud and clear. 

A suitcase full of maternity clothes from my sister, books on pregnancy, a Baby Bjorn baby carrier and a foot muff for the pram, an offer of a spare car seat, and bags of baby clothes from couples who have walked this path before us. We have been touched, and overwhelmed, at the generosity of our nearest and dearest.

I'm nearly out of the worst of it - hoorah!!! Apparently in the next 3 months I will "bloom" and "feel energised". No evidence of that yet but as always, trust will out. So onward into 2017 we go. The year we will become parents. And nothing will ever be the same again. 

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Why there's no such thing as a small business

To all the business owners out there, big and small, this one's for you! Photo Quote from Google Images

I met a wonderful lady in 2015 who said she ran a "small business". This phrase has been percolating in my mind ever since. Well, not all the time but sometimes that phrase "small business" would just pop into my head and irritate the heck outta me. Why? Because, honestly,

when you run a business, however big, nothing you do is small

As a business owner you actually go out into the world and make your own money, precariously providing your own paycheck, and none of the actions you take in order to do this are small. Constant learning and innovation drive your business forward and whole rafts of shiny new skills have to be honed at each stage. Want to send a newsletter? You need to learn how to use Mailchimp. Want to keep data? A CRM System (Customer Relationship Management) or a fricking large dose of Excel spreadsheet should do the trick. Want a shiny new laptop, premises and some sparkly stationary? Hello basic forecasting, book keeping and cash flow. And all the time in the background, foreground and side-to-side, there's brand building: every tweet, each picture posted to Instagram, the wording in your blog posts, that networking interaction and client satisfaction. Learning how to say NO ....and YES so your business, and your goals, advance. Getting outside your comfort zone, time and time again, believing in yourself and finding the people who believe in you when you don't have any more to give. To sum it up business  = persistence. And a frickin boat load of it.

That's why no business is small - you take HUGE actions everyday to make your business succeed and to achieve your goals. And part of being a business owner means celebrating those successes. So here are mine from 2016. The picture above is from my Instagram feed 87 weeks ago, in April 2015. It was part of the awesome Gala Darling's #InspirApril. The word missing from the picture on the bottom left hand side reads RADIO. Despite the political side swipe that 2016 served up for us all, I've loved the majority of this year. I've filmed my first TV show, got a radio show, contributed to a book and now write a column for a national magazine. Those goals took time to manifest but damn were they worth waiting for! That's why I refuse to call The Wardrobe Angel a small business: what I've built is epic.

And I look to other female business owners doing epic things: Frances Day of Bird Board, Cate Wood from Flowers at 180 and Natalie Willingham make-up artist. Women who have all taken their businesses from scratch to success and keep on building day after day after day. It is a pleasure and an honour to know them.

This is my last post of 2016 and I wanted to say a HUGE THANK YOU for stopping by and reading my posts. I hope 2017 serves up something truly amazing for you. 

Til next time ...x

The Wardrobe Angel 

PS - As a business owner it would be remiss of me to mention Wardrobe Angel Gift Vouchers are on sale NOW! Give the gift of an awesome wardrobe this year and never have to hear the words "I have nothing to wear" ever again. Drop me an email to buy buy buy!

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Ode to ASOS

Years ago when I was a graduate manager for M&S, my bi-weekly treat was a Tuesday off. I'd have a lie-in, go for a run then head into Manchester for a full day of shopping. Yes - a full day. I'd try on armloads of items, trekking back and forth to the fitting empty rooms, I'd saunter through the northern quarter and buy one-off jewellery pieces from Afflecks Palace, stop for a brew in one of the quirky cafes and spend huge portions of my pay check on Diesel jeans (which I still own and wear to this day, albeit for decorating!) I'd see how the fashion seasons were changing by what was on the shop floors and avidly drink in the styling techniques of the staff I encountered. The joy of those solitary Tuesdays and my love of shopping got me through a pretty hardcore year of suit encased management training.

12 years later and my solitary shopping trips have turned into a disappointing sad faced smiley: I don't love shopping in shops for me any more. And I know why;

 I love shopping for other people instead. 

Each venture to the shops is either to plan a Personal Shop or to 'keep my eye in'. I take copious notes and photos, clients receive numerous picture messages with recommendations for things for them to purchase, styling ideas and colour combination inspiration. When I try and shop for me in a shop, I soon find myself looking for things for clients instead. So where does that leave me? ASOS. Simply put ASOS has been my saviour this year. Trends change not only on the catwalk but also how we shop - more and more of us are shopping online. I'm late to the game but now I'm a fully paid up, card carrying member of the ASOS Next Day delivery service.

I had a week off last month and after 2 hours in the Trafford Centre trying to re-kindle that feeling of solitary shopping, I bought some birthday presents and got the hell out, drove back to my sofa and planned my winter wardrobe with a brew in hand and my Ipad on my knee. Two deliveries later and 1 pair of leather look culottes that smelt like fish swiftly sent back, my capsule winter wardrobe is done.

Thank you ASOS, from the bottom of my wardrobe.