Mum, voiceover artist and BBC Radio Bristol presenter, Faye Dicker, meets the Bristol businesses that make family life easier…
As a mum, it’s very easy to put yourself at the bottom of the list. The kids come first, the cooking, the house, tending to your partner, extended families, birthdays, the list goes on, before finally – if you’re lucky, you might make a little time for yourself.
That’s not a hard done by story, just the reality of bringing up small children. ‘Me time’ takes on a whole new meaning. Once it might have been a spa day with friends, now if you’re lucky, it’s a child-free trip to the supermarket. And within all of that, you’re going to toddler groups and introducing yourself to new people on the ‘baby circuit’ when you hardly even know yourself. A key part of that identity is what you wear. While it might sound superficial, if you feel good on the outside, it makes you feel good on the inside.
Or, put another way – look good, feel good, feel good, look good. More to the point, most women change body shape after they have children and typically have a wardrobe full of working clothes they never wear. Which is where Karen Lowe comes in – she’s an image consultant who loves helping women to be the best version of themselves. I first met Karen earlier this year when she was guest speaking at a networking event. She was amazing. A down to earth Liverpudlian, who can make you look great, even if you have champagne taste and lemonade money. I know what you’re thinking –what exactly does an image consultant do? Is it just a lot of shopping?
Well, in part yes – but for Karen, she helps give people back their confidence, while creating a capsule wardrobe which is current and relevant. It’s more than just clothes shopping – it’s about helping women enhance their beauty, express themselves and making it effortless for them. I need Karen. As a mum to an 8 year old, Karen knows the score when it comes to getting ready in the morning and looking after children.
The mornings are all about them. Her first tip is simple – take 10 minutes every evening to plan what you’re wearing the next day. Think about what you’re doing, where you’re going and put it all together. If you haven’t got time for hair and make up, at least you feel good in your clothes. Happy mum – happy children. With both my girls at pre school age, my life is all about chasing after them – there has to be an element of realism when it comes to getting dressed. Jammy finger marks are an accessory to most of my outfits and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to wear ground-in Weetabix with style. When I met up with Karen over coffee, she was brimming with advice – you can be clever with texture and colours, which help to camouflage no end of smear marks.
Not only is she stylish, but practical too. I think one of my favourite ‘Karen catch phrases’ is, when it comes to clothes shopping: “Unless it creates three new outfits from your existing wardrobe, don’t buy it.” That way you can be mindful with the choices you make and buy classics, rather than trend led pieces, and get off the merry go round of shopping each season. We haven’t been clothes shopping yet, but we’ve had a great consultation. I can’t wait to give my wardrobe the overhaul it needs and feel the best version of myself again.