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Emma Smith

Real Couples

Winter Luxe Wedding at Ulster Folk and Transport Museum: Janice + Graham

December 31, 2018
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield

Good morning! When I shared todays bride, Janice, in her knitted jumper and sparkly wedding dress on Instagram a few weeks back, well you loved it, a lot! I’m delighted to be sharing her wedding to Graham at the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum today. Their day was incredibly stylish and filled with a family centred feel, as well as stunning details throughout. I hope you enjoy and have a great time welcoming in 2019 later! Happy New Year from all at Promise HQ, see you on the other side! xx 

Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield

Couple: Janice + Graham 

“We had our first date in the Bureau bar in Whiteabbey. I was late (as usual) and Graham very nearly went home! What was meant to be an afternoon coffee date turned into coffee, dinner, and a bus trip into Belfast for drinks until late.”

Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield

The Proposal

“We were on a city break in Berlin for a few days. Following an intense day viewing the Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall, Graham decided it was the perfect romantic moment to propose… 

When we got back to the hotel that night Graham suggested a walk by the river. We’d been walking all day, so I wasn’t fussed, but went along with it. Then he insisted on going up to the hotel room to change his trousers before we went, which I also didn’t understand. Turns out the ring box wouldn’t fit in the pocket of the ones he had on! On the walk Graham got down on one knee and proposed in the moonlight on the banks of the River Spree, and I cried onto his face.” 

Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield

Wedding date: Saturday 2nd December2017 

Ceremony: Omagh Meeting House, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum

Reception: Cultra Manor, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum

Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield

Our Planning

“We really just wanted to be surrounded by friends and family and for everyone to have a great day. Graham has two sons, and it was a priority to feel like it wasn’t just a marriage between two people, but a family being expanded. I also love dancing and wanted to make sure everyone got on the dance-floor and let loose! 

On a practical level, it was important to us that the venue was convenient for people – that it wasn’t too far away from where most of our friends and family lived, and then that people didn’t have too far to travel between the ceremony and the reception. We looked around quite a few venues, but as soon as we viewed the ceremony and reception venues at Ulster Folk and Transport Museum we knew it was the place for us – it was beautiful, a bit different and ticked all the boxes.”

Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield

Our Budget & Suppliers

“We didn’t really set a budget. We just accepted that it would cost what it would cost. Though we did have a very detailed spreadsheet recording every penny spent as we went along, so we always knew where we were financially. We were really lucky in that both sets of parents were very generous.

We had a few suppliers that we knew we wanted to be part of our day. I had seen Adam from The Just Adam Band at a friend’s wedding a few years before and thought he was brilliant – really charismatic, with great tunes and so good at getting everyone up and dancing. Apparently they were incredible at our wedding, though we hardly saw them as we were so busy chatting to people. Somehow we managed to entirely miss a conga line going through the whole venue! 

Graham’s friend also has a son – Scott Macaulay – who is a singer-songwriter and was on Let It Shine. He came and did an acoustic set for us during the milling-about part of the day and was fantastic – he got rave reviews from guests! 

Our photographer Lynn Stanfield is an old family friend – she lived next door to us growing up and I’ve known her since I was born, so we never even considered anyone else.

Also my Uncle (Derek Kernoghan at DKNI) is a florist, so he was a must-have! He very generously did all the flowers and decoration as a wedding gift.”

Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield

Our Style 

“We went with a cosy Winter luxe theme. I’m not a particularly sparkly kind of person, but I ended up buying a fully sequinned wedding dress and that set the ball rolling! The bridesmaids were in sequins, my mum was in sequins, the flower girl had sequins – there were sequins everywhere! I wanted lots of candles and a roaring fire, but our venue didn’t allow naked flames, so we went with lots of fairy lights instead, meaning even more sparkle!  

Having said that, I really wanted to balance out the sparkle and sequins with different textures, so I wore a woolly jumper as my cover-up, and my mum knitted all of the bridesmaids gorgeous aran cable-knit wide scarves. Unfortunately we managed to miss getting photos of the bridesmaids in them! I wanted our flowers to feel very loose and natural to avoid things feeling too glam, so there was a lot of wild greenery with some cream and white blooms. 

We also had a very understated star theme, with a star cake topper, little star bangles for the bridesmaids, a subtle galaxy design on our wedding stationery, and I walked up the aisle to City of Stars from LaLa Land. (Graham put his foot down at star cufflinks for the groom’s party.) There’s a bit of a long story behind it, but ultimately it just felt fitting for an almost-Christmas wedding!” 

Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield

My Dress

“My dress was called Caitlyn by Karen Willis Holmes. Though I loved my dress in the end, I didn’t particularly enjoy shopping for it. I think I’d watched too much Say Yes to the Dress and expected some huge emotional revelation, when actually it’s just some clothes! There’s so much pressure on brides to look perfect that it can kind of steal the fun of getting to try on lots of lovely expensive gowns.” 

Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield

Bespoke Touches

“My Mum is a great crafter and surprised us with a lovely cross-stitch she had hand-made with the details of our wedding, which we displayed at the entrance to the church. 

As a combined favour and name-setting, I wanted each person to have a little cactus or succulent in a personalised pot, which as it turns out is easier said than done. It turned out to be a real family affair! Since we couldn’t find any small navy plant pots anywhere, my poor Dad ended up spending hours in his garage in the depths of winter spraying and re-spraying multi-coloured plant pots navy! My aunt hand-stamped over 100 personalised gold name-plates, and since we were trying to be organised, my florist uncle ordered the plants nice and early, but they seemed to grow really quickly and we ended up with a few monster cacti with my Dad desperately trying to stunt their growth!

We asked both sets of parents for photos of their weddings, and their parents’ weddings, so we had a lovely display of vintage family wedding photos going back to four sets of grandparents. 

Graham was put to work building the table plan display, the idea of which I’d stolen lock, stock and barrel from Pinterest!”

Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield

Our Advice

“To be well organised, have a comprehensive to-do list and make sure you tick at least a few things off it every week. We were surprised with the amount of planning required. It’s like taking on a part-time job on top of your existing job and all your other commitments!

Accept all the help that’s offered for tasks that you can delegate, and keep a money spreadsheet! The night before the wedding, have a time after which nothing else is being done. At about 8.30 the night before the wedding, I sat down to fish, chips and a glass of wine with a big bunch of family, and it felt like the celebrations began then. From that point onwards everything went like a dream, and we had an idyllic, relaxed, fun day.”

Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield
Ulster American Folk Park winter luxe wedding by Lynn Stanfield

Wedding Suppliers

Ceremony: Omagh Meeting House, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum

Reception: Cultra Manor, Ulster Folk and Transport Museum

Photographer: Lynn Stanfield Photography, Belfast. 

Wedding dress: Caitlyn by Karen Willis Holmes, from Ivory and Pearl Bridal Boutique, Comber. 

Bridesmaids dresses: Purchased online.

Alterations: Sheila’s Alterations, Whiteabbey.

Hair: DaniBelle Wedding Hair, Belfast. 

Makeup: By Kerri Professional Make-up Artist, Lisburn. 

Grooms wear: Red, Belfast. 

Stationery: Papier

Cake: Cakes by Jenny G, Newtownards.

Flowers: Derek Kernoghan at DKNI, Newtownabbey. 

Bridal cars: Northern Ireland Wedding Cars.

Entertainment: The Just Adam Band, Scott Macaulay

Honeymoon: We spent two weeks in Zanzibar at the Ocean Paradise Resort.

Life

A Big Birthday, A Giveaway & An Exciting Launch!

December 28, 2018
birthday blog
birthday blog

Hello, welcome and hello again!

I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and are enjoying this wee random bit between the big event and New Year? 

Today The Promise turns five – I can’t quite believe it, I have been hanging around here for five whole years! On Saturday 28th December 2013 I hit publish on my first ever blog post, Style Saturday. The site looked nothing like this and I didn’t even tell anyone about it for three months. I’m glad I found the courage to speak up and would like to take this perfect opportunity to say a huge thank you for all those supporters who have been here from the beginning and still come back now, I’m really touched and grateful. 

blog birthday,
Image by Honey and the Moon 

By way of a thank you to the beautiful brides who currently follow The Promise here, on our Instagram and Facebook accounts this evening at 8pm we’ll be launching a giveaway in association with Sinead Smith, Maid By Sinead Bridal Makeup. Make sure you hop over and enter, all details will be on each post. 

Now, today I’m being brave, I’m going with my inner courage and I’m launching the latest string to my bow – Emma Smith Wedding Consultant. Yikes, I’m excited and nervous in equal measure but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time now. 

Emma Smith Wedding Consultant

Back in the days when I worked for a bridal magazine my favourite parts of the job were planning the content, working out a plan to create that content and plan the cover and bridal photoshoots. I am the ultimate planner and love nothing more than a project to manage. Add in my clear love of weddings, my 13 years (wow, that makes me feel old!) experience of the NI wedding scene and suppliers and I have a great package to help couples who need a little help, who don’t have the time or are seriously scared of the whole dam thing!! 

To read more about this new venture visit here

I’m SO excited for 2019 – I declared to my bestie a few weeks ago that ‘it will be my year!’ and I really believe it will be. Once again, thanks for hanging out here & here’s to the New Year, have a good one and see you soon, Emma xx 

Emma Smith Wedding Consultant

Emma Smith Wedding Consultant

December 28, 2018
Emma Smith Wedding Consultant

You’ve said yes – you’re loved up, you’re excited and you’re a tiny bit scared, dazed, confused, and even more excited. Correct?

All perfectly normal feelings to have when YOU ARE OFFICIALLY GETTING MARRIED!

Emma Smith Wedding Consultant
Image by Kat Mervyn

For over ten years, I have written, researched, planned and adored weddings in Northern Ireland. I very literally do eat, sleep and breathe them and now on the fifth birthday of my wedding blog, The Promise, I have opened my heart, my black book of contacts and my knowledge to offer couples getting married in Northern Ireland a bespoke wedding consultancy service. 

Maybe you’ve no idea when to get married, where to get married or even how to get married? 

Maybe you’ve found the dress of your dreams online but have no idea where it might be stocked locally? 

Maybe you live abroad and need a local contact to be the eyes and ears through your planning journey? 

All these things, and much, much more I can help you with. From the smallest of tasks to entire bespoke wedding planning of your event, if you need help, I’m here to help!

Email me directly at emmasmith.weddingconsultant(at)gmail(dot)com

I look forward to helping you on your married way! Em x

Life

The Real Mama #4 – Lauren McGee

December 21, 2018
The Real Mama, Lauren McGee, LIT Photography

Hey, happy Friday! Hopefully it’s your last working day before Christmas? 

I’ve a real treat of a mama to share today! Over the last five years of blogging I have met (both online and in real life) a lot of lovely and very interesting people, many of them mums who, just like me, are doing their best to provide happy homes and lives for their families. One of those people is Lauren McGee, North Coast photographer who runs under the name of LIT Photography. Lauren was one of our suppliers at the last Love at the Linen Green event, and a nicer wee doll you couldn’t wish to meet! Thanks Lauren for taking part in this series. 

The Real Mama, Lauren McGee, LIT Photography

Who are you?

I’m Lauren, wedding and lifestyle photographer also known as LIT photography NI. 

Instagram handle?   

@litphotographyni for my work photos but personal stories or @lauren_lit_ for more personal photos. 

Love it or Loathe it?

I absolutely love Instagram and the wonderful community we have in Northern Ireland. When I was suffering from Postnatal Depression after I had my daughter, following honest open accounts such as @TobyandRoo @Mother_pukka and @motherofdaughters really made me feel less alone. 

What is your family set up?  

My partner (impatiently waiting on the ring) Jason and I have two children. Tyler who is 7 and Isla who is 3. We also have our dog Yogi who we rescued. 

Where do you live?

I live in Portrush. The most amazing place to raise kids. People think Portrush is best in summer, but we love it in winter when we have it to ourselves. There’s nothing better than getting wrapped up and exploring an empty beach.

What do you do for work? 

I’m a self employed photographer, but I’ve done it all. When my son Tyler was diagnosed with Autism when he was 2, I was a stay at home mum while I navigated getting him support and therapy. After I had Isla, I really wanted to get back to work and started my business. By chance I then got, what I thought was my dream job in politics, so I juggled a job, a business and being a mum. I soon realised that wasn’t sustainable so now being self employed allows me the flexibility my family life needs. 

The Real Mama, Lauren McGee, LIT Photography

Three words that describe your household?

Chaotic, strong and loved.

Do you think you have a good work/life balance?

Definitely not, but I don’t think there is any such thing, in fact I believe it’s another unnecessary pressure we put on ourselves. Some weeks will be all work, other weeks will be all about the kids and family time. It’s just how it goes. It’s taken me a while to accept that it’s ok that I love my work and that I want to work. I used to feel like that made me a bad mother because I didn’t want to spend every moment with them. Now I realise that I’m actually setting them a great example of work ethic and my balance is that the work I’m doing allows me to give them wonderful experiences.

How do you manage to work/run a creative business around your kids? 

I am so lucky to have the most amazing family support. My son can’t go to childcare, and he struggles with school, so my mum is so vital for helping me with Tyler. Isla goes to childcare and has a wonderful Nanny who is a great help. I do tend to work best in the evenings though when they go to bed so a lot of my work gets done then. 

Any hard rules you stick to both in work & family life?

Your mental health is the most important, and I live by a firm ethos that it takes priority over everything. As someone who has struggled with depression, and now my son is struggling with his mental health, I make a point of taking mental health days whenever they are necessary. 

How do you relax? 

Weirdly, even though it’s my job, taking photos is how I relax. I love taking personal photos and letting my creativity run free. I also love getting a massage whenever I can.

Best book you’ve read recently?

‘Start With Why’ – Simon Sinek (this changed my life).

Any other books you need to share?

‘You’re a Badass at Making Money’ – Jen Sincero. This was amazing at changing how we look at money – a must for anyone who is self employed. 

Music choices?

The Greatest Showman soundtrack is my anthem and has been for the last 6 months. I’m also pretty obsessed with A Star Is Born and its soundtrack (bit of a theme here). 

Favourite podcasts? 

I haven’t really got into podcasts. I do love a good audiobook though. 

How do you and your partner stay connected?

We try to get nights away as often as possible. Getting away from the house and the kids and just being us is so needed. 

The Real Mama, Lauren McGee, LIT Photography

Style – do you feel you have a signature style? 

I wish I did. I have a ‘whatever mood I’m in’ style. Most days when I juggling the mayhem of life you’ll find me in jeans and a hoody, but when I’m feeling a bit more together my clothes reflect that and I’d say I can look pretty smart. 

Shops you love?

Marks and Spencer is amazing this year. I also love New Look for a bargain. 

Did your style change since becoming a mum? 

Completely. I look back at what I wore before and can’t believe I ever went out in anything so short. But considering I had Tyler when I was 21 it wasn’t really inappropriate. 

Beauty products you love? 

Mario Bidescu face spray and Simple moisturiser. I also swear by Revlon’s Uniq One for your hair – it’s a miracle worker for blondes. 

What family meal is guaranteed to be eaten by everyone?

Spaghetti bolognese.

Rainy day survival tactic?

Movies on the sofa with lots of popcorn. 

Any mum hacks you couldn’t live without? 

iPads. I know that they can be really frowned upon, but I’ve found them so useful and there are some incredible educational apps for the kids. Tyler really struggles with reading, but I was able to get him the Biff, Chip and Kipper books and games on his iPad and that’s how he learned to read. 

What one piece of advice would you give to your 18 year old self? 

You are good enough. You might not see it yet, but there is a place for you in this world and you will find it. Keep your head up, keep going and know that every challenge is helping you become the person you want to be. 

Once again, thanks Lauren for the insight into your life and career! 

Well, that’s me until next Friday when I have something VERY exciting to share, so I’d love to wish you all a merry Christmas – see you back her in a week! Em x

Real Couples

Boho Romance: Emily + Daniel’s Sublime Summer Wedding at Corick

December 17, 2018

Good morning!

I’m guessing a lot of you wedding planners have hung up that hat until the new year? I don’t blame you, Christmas is only around the corner and sure, there’s plenty of time (and weeks!) in long old January to get back into the swing of wedding prep, enjoy the festivities! 

Today’s wedding is the last we’re sharing in 2018 and wow, we’re going out on a high! Emily and Daniel’s June wedding was ultra stylish from the very beginning and is full of inspiration for your wedding day, huge thanks to photographer, Simon Hutchinson Photography for sharing their photos.

Couple: Emily + Daniel Johnson

“We met at a young peoples meeting at church in Banbridge Baptist. Daniel and his friend came over afterwards to talk to me and my friend and the next day he added me on Facebook and it started from there!”

The Proposal

“We got engaged 10 months after meeting (when you know, you know). We had talked about marriage from the beginning. One weekend Daniel said lets go out for a walk and when we got out it was raining and I wasn’t pleased about getting wet but he insisted we get out. Eventually after me moaning he suggested we got into the car to go get food but he ended up stopping somewhere else! We got out and he told me that he was going to send me a text and I had to read it out to him. Daniel had sent me a poem and he got down on one knee! Such an exciting day!”

Wedding date: Monday 4th June 2018 

Ceremony: Lurgan Baptist Church 

Portraits location: The Argory, Moy 

Reception: Corick House Hotel, Augher 

Our Planning

“We loved planning our wedding. The hardest part was pricing everything at the beginning! My top priority was my dress, hair and makeup and the finer details of the day. Choosing our cars was hard as we wanted Land Rover Defenders but couldn’t get them. I was happy with my choice in the end but it wasn’t what we originally wanted.” 

Our Style

“We wanted our wedding day to have a romantic and bohemian feel. I used Instagram and Pinterest to find what I loved. The one supplier I had to have was The Posy Barn from Magheralin! I actually based our wedding date around her availability.

My favourite shade is nude/blush so that’s what I went for my maids dresses. I didn’t want anything too formal so I opted for multiway dresses with a tulle overlay on the skirt.

For the grooms wear Daniel wanted a country style theme, something relaxed! We visited Statement Menswear in Portadown and chose a navy suit with very slight check which was exactly what we were looking for.”

My Dress

“Choosing my dress was easy peasy! I always knew I wanted and Anna Campbell dress and I found the perfect one at Ivory & Pearl in Comber.” 

Our Advice

“Don’t stress too much about the finer details and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. It’s only about you and your husband to be. Write a list of the photo that you want.” 

Wedding Suppliers

Reception venue: Corick House Hotel, Augher.
Wedding dress: Ivory & Pearl Boutique, Comber.
Bridesmaids dress: Victoria Lou Bridal.
Grooms wear: Statement Menswear, Portadown.
Photographer: Simon Hutchinson Photography, Belfast.
Cake: Cake Couture NI, Bangor.
Flowers: The Posy Barn, Magheralin.
Bridal cars: Groom Wedding Cars, Banbridge.
Videographer: Screencraft Productions, Killinchy.
Entertainment: Eternity Socials
Hair: Chocolate Blonde, Markethill.
Makeup: Sian Cullen Makeup,  Antrim. 

Life

The Real Mama #3 – Emma Martin

December 14, 2018
Emma Martin The Real Mama | The Promise NI

Hello and a very happy Friday! 

So, how are your Christmas preparations going? I am so nearly set with gifts but having ‘all-the-bad-foods-of-the-world’ stockpiled hasn’t happened yet. Next week for sure, before the kids break up for the holidays. 

Today we have the very beautiful and sweet mum of three, Emma Martin from Amble & Ash on board to share her wisdom. 

Emma has one of the prettiest Instagram feeds and an incredible home that I could literally move into tomorrow if she let me! She also enjoys sharing the South of France with her kids as do I, so you know, we’re practically besties! 

Thanks Emma (Martin- wow, lots of Emma’s!) for sharing your real moments. 

Emma Martin The Real Mama | The Promise NI

Who are you?

Emma Martin. I’m a blogger and freelance writer and mum of three.

Instagram handle? 

@littlewoodlife

Love it or Loathe it? 

I have phases with IG. I love the community and the chat amongst likeminded people. It can be a pretty dark place at times too though. I always try to focus on the positive where possible and it’s the individual people that keep me coming back!

What is your family set up?

I have one husband 😉 and my children are 9, 11 and 13 – Annie, Noah and Eva.

Where you live?

In the Co.Down countryside.

What do you do for work? 

I’m self employed and I write for various brands and businesses as well as styling for interiors photo shoots.

Three words that describe your household?

Manic, Loud, Happy. 

Do you think you have a good work/life balance?

I like to think I have but then sometimes it all catches up with me and I’m inevitably trying to keep all the plates spinning. The self employed life is one where you have to accept that routine often isn’t possible. I’m constantly squeezing things in where I can, between ballet and school runs, homework and putting a wash on.  It’s a constant juggle.

How do you manage to work/run a creative business around your kids? 

I try to work while the kids are in school, but sometimes 9-3 won’t always suffice. I don’t have any childcare and am a full time stay at home mum too, so there is a fair bit of answering emails from the car and catching up after they (eventually!) go to bed. They are older now, and have lots of evening clubs and activities, so I’m often burning the midnight oil.

Any hard rules you stick to both in work & family life?

If you are going to do something, then do it wholeheartedly. I think that applies to both work and family really! I never commit to anything that I might begrudge doing, and always want to bring enthusiasm to everything I do. I hope that has rubbed off on the kids a little too. 

How do you relax? 

I don’t think I’ve properly relaxed since 2003, ha! I love an evening bath though, and a flick through an interiors magazine. I’ve a stack of unread ones that I keep meaning to get to!

Best book you’ve read recently?

I’ve not long finished The Keeper of Lost Things which I really enjoyed. I’m a huge fan of Kate Morton and can’t wait to read The Clockmaker’s Daughter.

Any other books you need to share?

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton is my all time favourite. I’d really recommend!

Music choices?

I’m not a big music person. I’ll always choose silence over noise. 😉

Favourite podcasts?

As above!

How do you and your husband stay connected?

Lately we’ve been trying to take little breaks away together more regularly. Now that the kids are a bit older, it is easier to escape on our own and we really see the benefit every time we do.

Style – do you feel you have a signature style?

I’m really influenced by French style, both in interiors and my personal style too. In my opinion, French girls do everything perfectly – from undone hair to their beautiful clothes and minimal makeup.

Shops you love?

Zara, Mango and my wish list is a mile long at Sezane!

Did your style change since becoming a mum? 

I actually think I honed it a lot more after. There was less time for experimenting and wearing fussy, impractical clothing. I was never glamorous before, but everything just became so much simpler after!

Beauty products you love? 

I’m a huge fan of Origins products, and they just seem to work so well on my skin. My holy grail is Becca highlight though. It gives you glow on the days when you definitely don’t have any!

What family meal is guaranteed to be eaten by everyone?

Sunday Roast! Specifically, chicken. My kids are classically fussy eaters and I’m tearing my hair out most evenings. Everyone loves a chicken dinner though!

Rainy day survival tactic?

IKEA! Ha! Andrew absolutely hates it but I bribe him with a milkshake and hot dog at the end. 😉

Any mum hacks you couldn’t live without? 

We’ve recently just put a chalkboard up in our kitchen and I’m writing important messages and things for the kids to remember up there. I spent many years racing about organising everyone but I’m trying to give ownership over to them a little more now. So far so good! 

What one piece of advice would you give to your 18 year old self? 

Don’t be so concerned with what others’ think. Will it matter to you in five years time? If it will then it’s worth worrying over, if not then let it go.