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.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Time for Tights Lesson 3 Sock It to them kid!

Photo from The Cut

I have spent the last 4 Wardrobe Angel appointments waving various photos showcasing feet-encased-in-socks at clients imploring them to try this new styling trick. I'm not talking about a pop-sock (dear gawd, no) or your A-typical black ankle sock seen on most commuters. I'm talking about the rise of the fashion sock: a fish netted or metallicised beast of an ankle grazer which can add a layer of awesomeness to the most pedestrian of winter outfits. Imagine your everyday jeans and a jumper worn with a tasty sock and heel. Well, for me that's heaven!

Here are my top picks:

1. ASOS Micronet Fishnet Ankle Socks - If you want to jazz up the area at the bottom of your leg without going full fish net then these are the guys. Great with a navy shoe, a silver shoe, a trainer. I just added these to my basket. I've worn mine with a metallic silver heel and mom jeans and I got a raging compliment (more on that later.)

The 80's called. They want their look back.

Image from ASOS
2. ASOS Pothole Fishnet socks - a looser, more blousy affair than the micronet fishnet. Again, added to basket. I'm wearing mine with a vintage navy and gold striped court shoe for the texture. These socks are genius as you can layer another sock underneath - warmth and style?! Be still my beating heart!

Image from ASOS

3. ASOS Gold Glitter Socks - Cute stuffed into white trainers for the school run and worn with party shoes. These would look cracking with a white heel (yes, white heels are back. Again.) If gold isn't your bag then try a coloured sock. Swap your black socks for a shot of colour and match them across the colour spectrum. Yellow socks and blue shoes, navy socks and burgundy heels.

Image from ASOS

John Lewis opened recently in Leeds to much fanfare. I waited a week to venture forth and when I my John L, you outdid yourself: Baum und Pfundgarten and Hush just 2 juicy labels to get your hands on. My favourite part of visiting the new mall on the block was walking around COS and &OtherStories. Ye Gods how long us northerners have waited for these shops, Talk about the north/south divide! You guys south of Watford Gap are swimming in Scandi brands whilst us heathens up here on the moors have a had a mere whisper of these gods of clothing with the COS concession in Selfridges and only recently a full brace of &OtherStories opened up where French Connection used to be. Anyway, as I drifted up the stairs to COS menswear the assistant on the fitting room said

"Your sock and shoe combo is to die for."

Did I blush? Heck no, I bloody loved it! Who doesn't love getting a compliment?! So go forth, enjoy your socks and shoes this season. The man in COS have given us his blessing.

Til next time ...x

The Wardrobe Angel

Friday, 28 October 2016

My new skincare find? Totally Tropic of course!

I was SO EXCITED to receive my Tropic goodies!

In September I was lucky enough to try some products from Tropic Skincare, a brand which offers natural and cruelty free skin care free from toxic chemicals and Vegan certified. With absolutely no nasties I was looking forward to seeing the result. 

First up – Firming Buttercream.

The scent of this is delicious – lemony, fresh and a perfect post-shower pick me up. It takes a while to work into your skin but once it does you won’t be disappointed. If I was going on a beach holiday anytime soon, this is what I’d take with me. Even though the formula makes it a very rich body lotion, the scent makes me think of post sunbathing showers and dips in the sea. Plus what awesome packaging! It's wrapped like a present!

Huzzah! The flame of Tropic skincare has landed in my bathroom!

The travel essentials come in a grab bag and the products are miniaturised. The clasp on the bag is a soft magnet so you can open it with one hand – really handy if you dealing with kids/holding a baby. I took the travel kit away for my first wedding anniversary earlier this month and wasn’t disappointed. I forgot to pack babywipes to remove my lipstick so in a stroke of genius I used the Organic Elixir. Just a couple of drops of the oil on a cotton wool pad wiped my lipstick clear off! Not only a fab facial oil it multi-tasked the hell out of getting my lippie off!  I was really impressed as the Maybelline 24hr Super Stay Lipstick does exactly that – it stays on! With the oil it came straight off, no messing.

To remove my foundation I used the smoothing cleanser. In a hot shower with plenty of steam, the combination of this cleanser and the mini face massage I gave myself had extraordinary results (more on that later). After my make-up was running down the plug hole I applied the skin nourishing cream which smells like a box of rose Turkish delight. Even Rich noticed the smell and commented on it (he loved it). As the temperature had dropped that week I whacked on a couple of drops of the Organic Elixir Face Oil. In winter my face feels like a sheet of thin parchment stretched over my features - kind of like Voldemort from Harry Potter. Even though my fringe covers my forehead, the skin there gets super dry (not the clothing label). This oil was enough to combat the dryness and didn’t feel greasy.

Face skin woes courtesy of Voldemort. Photo from Click's Clan Blog

So – the verdict? The morning we left our anniversary get away I didn’t wear a scrap of make-up. Now that for me is unheard of. My skin was GLOWING. In honesty, we’d been at a Spa hotel and I’d had a back massage so I was super relaxed anyway BUT my skin was plump and fresh and glowed. It radiated.

If you’d like to buy any of the products mentioned please contact Kati Tyler an independent ambassador for Tropic:

Phone: 07817 774892
and shop online at

You can also contact Kati directly for a free personal consultation

Monday, 10 October 2016

Time for Tights Lesson 2 - How to wear Sheer Tights

The Times sounds the death knell for Opaques....

I was in London last week where there was a nip in the air. Happily skirting around wearing my 80's charity shop double breasted wool blazer, I noticed many-a Londonite battening down the hatches readying themselves for winter by going full pelt: coat, scarf, tights, boots. Was a single one of these people wearing sheer tights? Nope. As a northerner I found the article above slightly hilarious - bare legs or sheers? Give over, have you ever experienced a winter in Yorkshire? In winter it isn't survival of the fittest, it's survival of the warmest. As I type this I'm wearing 100 denier tights and I'm inside a warm house, warmer with the black coating of a thick tight. I guess what I'm saying is take the "advice" from The Times with a pinch of salt. Ladies up and down the land will be reaching for their opaques this winter regardless of what fashion decrees are handed down to them. As it says in the article sheer tights aren't as practical as an opaque: they aren't as warm, the ladder easily and they skirt dangerously near to the edge of the 80's (which I LOVE but that's my personal taste). But if you do want to switch things up this year, alternating your opaques for sheers can the way forward. I began wearing sheer tights last winter and love them. I don't wear them everyday and yes they do ladder exponentially often but it's a break from the norm. I even took them a few pairs on my honeymoon in April (and WORE THEM! Dear gawd it was freezing in Chicago!)

 Let's begin this weeks masterclass using the master of the sheer tight: Carine Roitfeld.

1. Just plain sheers - Carine has a cracking pair of pins which she dresses really well in pencil shaped skirts. Her style is very sexy, a lot of body-con type stuff in a monochromatic colour palette with hints of grey, brown and khaki. Easily identificable she mixes it up using different fabrics to add interest: leather, brocade, lace. Here she has a monochrome look broken up with a sheer tight. If she had worn an opaque (and I highly doubt she ever would - maybe I should invite her to Halifax to see if the cold weather would force her hand?) the shoe would have disappeared into the tight, all you would've seen would be one black mass resting on a stiletto heel. Carine has so kindly answered another question here - is it ok to wear tights with peep-toe shoes? Why yes but don't show the seam where the tights are sewn. That's a fashion tragedy waiting to happen.

Image: Stockholm 

2. Patterned Sheer Tights - this once again is down to personal style. I myself loathe them, they make my outfits overtly fussy and I don't like how my legs look in them. But let's look to Carine for some guidance if you do want to head down this road. Below Carine is once again loving black and using a mix of textures to make her outfit visually appealing. A heavy coat is broken up with a patterned skirt and patterned tights, both in contrasting patterns. The tights draw attention to arguably her crowning feature: her legs. And after years in the fashion game, she's savvy - sitting on the FROW what's on show? Her legs.

Image: Pinterest

3. Fishnets - I had a fab client recently who I re-styled with a vintage 1950s grown-up Rockerbilly vibe. One of the key things I bought for her was a pair of black seamed fishnet tights to wear with her full circle skirts. But fishnets are not just for vintage wear. Carine shows us how - look close and you'll see the tights below aren't sheer, they are a pair of close knit fishnets. Clever Carine has worked broken up a fairly matt, flat outfit, with the texture of a fishnet and the colour of a pink stiletto. Her take on a business suit subverts the traditional ideals of the office and gives us something fun to look at.

Image: Getty Images

4. Oversized Fishnets - Carine is also known for wearing a larger scale fish net (below) which works as she's gone bold with a mid length textured coat. I don't think a smaller knit fish net would've worked with this, it would've gotten lost and ended up looking like a sheer in the photo. A larger more open weave is the way to go this winter (2016) - check out this article from WhoWhatWear for more inspiration.

Image: WhoWhatWear

5. Socks - the saviour of a winter wardrobe and a sharp turn away from those gawd-awful pop-sock things. Wear them with your 7/8th trousers and heels for a stylish extra layer of warmth. More on socks next week...

Image: ASOS

What will be adorning your legs this season?

Til next time....stay wardrobe happy x

The Wardrobe Angel

Friday, 30 September 2016

Time for Tights! Lesson One Opaques and Sheers.

Ho Ho Ho. Image from Google Search.

The temperature has plummeted this week, I have gotten my winter pj's out of storage and I am ready for jumper season. Hand-in-hand with jumper season comes tights-time! Recently a few clients have asked about what tights go with what so here's a quick summary to get you started. Firstly Opaque tights versus sheer tights.

Opaque = tights you can't see though it. 
Sheer = tights you can see through

1. Black Opaque Tights - I LOVE a thick black tight. Never has an excuse for a hairy leg been so chic! The ones I have used for the past 2 years have been M&S Body Sensor tights which do the job of staying up rather than riding down your crotch like so many pairs of tights seem to do. I wear mine under a black leather A-line skirt which hits my mid thigh and under a black leather mini skirt for more coverage. Now, if I was wearing my black A-line midi skirt like this picture below, I would go tightless as there's only a wee bit of leg exposed, and I'm northern so I can (supposedly) handle the cold.

Photo from Pinterest. If this is your image please let me know and I'll attribute it.

2. Sheer Nude Tights - Kate Middleton favours a sheer tight but they have the fashion world divided. If you have varicose veins, scarring on your legs which you are conscious of or extra pale legs (I'm talking seeing the blood actually pumping through your veins pale) then a sheer tight can work wonders for giving you the extra layer of warmth AND providing a comfy blanket under which you can forget about the things on your legs which you are conscious of. This RED online article perfectly surmises the 2 forces at play when it comes to sheer tights. I'm happy to admit to wearing sheer tights at weddings in March and October when the weather was a bit chilly and my legs were the colour of white flour: white. There's suffering for your art (hello brave New York fashion person out in the snow with a bare leg) and there's being comfortable with how you style yourself. Considering Wolford's best sellers list starts with 3 pairs if nude sheer tights, that means plenty of women out there are loving that little bit of extra coverage. Amen to that. 

Image from Luxury Shoppers 

3. Sheer Black Tights - these are dripping with 80's connotations. For me, that's simply wonderful as I love the 80's, shoulder pads and all. I started wearing 10 denier tights last winter and LOVED it. Coverage without thickness. Think of these tights as your tinted moisturiser as opposed to your foundation. They are great for breaking up an all black outfit and are even better for an alternative take on evening wear. Below, Alexa is sporting a very eye-catching cape worn with a black roll neck, black box bag and black boots. Thick black opaques would have been too dominating with this ensemble but the sheer black tights break up the outfit and create another focal point (her amazing legs) along with the focal point of the cape itself.

Alexa Chung at Tommy Hilfiger Anniversary Party (photo cropped from German Instyle magazine)

4. Grey tights - For some these bring back memories of school tights but the fashion elite have embraced this colour of tight so we fashion underlings are good to go! Below Jenna Lyons (of J Crew awesomeness) is wearing a winter white skirt and top but her jacket is the palest grey. She has pulled this element of grey through her outfit by wearing ribbed grey tights. The whole outfit screams texture: patent shoes, ribbed tights, jersey sweat top and cotton skirt. 

Photo cropped from German Instyle magazine

That's lesson one done from tights-time. Next time we'll be covering brightly coloured tights plus a few hidden extras! For more info visit the UK Tight Blog and 40+ Style which has some fab tips and examples.

Til next time....stay wardrobe happy x

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Things I'm Looking Forward to in #September

Hey there September! My, you came around fast! It's back to school month and the steady slide into the Christmas season has begun! So what has the 9th month of the year got in store for me....
  1. My family is spread from Yorkshire, to North London, to Reading and back around to Hertfordshire so twice a year we have a family day where we meet up, chat and have good times plus loads of food. This year saw my Mum & Dad celebrate their Ruby wedding anniversary so they've laid on a tasty spread at the September family day. Cannot wait!
  2. Getting back into the swing of WI (Women's Institute) talks. Got 2 booked this month. Love the vibe of the WI and I love the cake at the end of a meeting.
  3. Going to see Amy Schumer. I'm a huge fan of Tina Fey, Amy Phoeler and Tig Notaro and loved Schumer's Trainwreck film last year. Schumer's comedy is on point about aspects of the female experience - how she feels being "plus sized" in Hollywod (she says her arms register as legs in Tinseltown) and the double standard of men sleeping around vs. women. 
  4. Researching tights. 3 clients in the past week have asked me what tights go with what. Now, as a fan of a bare leg or a thick black tight and nowt in between, this month I am determined to crack the tights 'code'.
  5. Learning to relax.  Blogging, Instagram and outfit posts all took a hit in August. Behind the scenes at Wardrobe Angel I experienced a huge uplift in business: August was fully booked with appointments and it's heading that way into September as well. Being self-employed, you pretty much take the work when it's there but carving out time off can be hard. I was taught the most beautiful, simple action of placing my right hand over my heart and breathing deeply by Katy Garner, a wonderful Yoga coach. That coupled with regular meditation has helped me tremendously with being able to switch off and get a good nights sleep!
I hope you have a cracking September, whatever you are doing.

Til next time....

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Things I'm looking forward to in #August!

Uma Thurman on the set of Pulp Fiction. Image courtesy of Pinterest.

This is a posthumous "Things I'm Looking forward to" because I had a week off last week and most of the stuff off this list has already happened!

  1. Hair Treatment time! I was booked in for Olaplex (invented by 2 guys in a garage apparently) and the hair dresser took 1 look at my barnet and told me that I needed KeraStraight. It's a smoothing treatment which lasts a month and works by pushing a tonne of protein into your hair. When I left the salon with my new do and poker straight, shiny, non frizzed up hair I caught a glimpse of myself in a shop window, Wearing a white top, black jeans and black boots I had a sudden realisation I looked like Uma when she was in Pulp Fiction. Altogether now "It was a teenage wedding and the old folks wished them well..."
  2. Cheeky trips! One to Leicester and one to Whitby. One of my favourite places on the planet, I am so excited to roll up my jeans and walk along the beach eating fish and chips. 
  3. ASOS Premier Delivery - I signed up for this last week and dear lord it is amazing! 
  4. Spending time with my nephews, I have to say I am much better acquainted with Room On The Broom after spending time with my nephews last week!
  5. My TV show coming out! Fingers crossed it will air by the end of the month. I'll keep you posted!! 
How is August looking for you? What are you up to?

Stay wardrobe happy x

Monday, 11 July 2016

The Wardrobe Angel and Part 2 of my journey to Hair Health

Big Sur Sunset

For the most part I wore my hair up on honeymoon (hiking and windy city breaks didn't bring out the best in Brian) but disaster struck: my hair and the sulphate and paraben free shampoo and conditioner from Kind Natured fell out BIG TIME. Rich and I had arrived in Bodega Bay. I headed out to the hot tub and watched the sun sink slowly in the distance. After an hour stewing in human soup, I donned my big fluffy robe and headed back to our room for a shower. Naturally, I washed my hair. We ordered room service and when I went to dry my hair it had turned into a matted mess, much like an oil slick taking up residence in my barnet - just gross. Ah Kind Natured, I had such high hopes for this shampoo and conditioner. I used them for a couple of days before Rich and I jetted off to America for our honeymoon and to be honest, the frizz seemed worse after I'd used them but I packed them nevertheless: I wanted to give them a fair try. Three weeks of use, one disgusting oil slick of a hair disaster later and they were gone; I ditched the Kind Natured shampoo in the cabin in Big Sur and at the next CVS Pharmacy I bought some TIGI Moisture Maniac.

The cabin in Big Sur was the "lucky" recipient of some really dodgy shampoo..

We got back from honeymoon in May so what have I done since? I have changed my hair brush, worked out that washing my hair at night is a frizz inducing fest BUT come morning, the frizz has (nearly) abated and it kinda looks ok! I've resisted getting a fringe trim for the last few weeks and it has grown out to hit my eyebrows, plus my hair has gotten past my shoulders and has started to wave - gotta say I am LOVING the new relaxed vibe atop my head, even if there are still some frizzy mountains to climb. A chance conversation with my friend Cate also drew my attention to the fact the the frizzy  hairs are a lot shorter than the rest of my hair. She reckoned the pesky frizz hairs are re-growth of hair lost after a period of stress and will eventually settle down BUT they ain't gonna grow if they kept getting broken by being swept up in to a topknot every day.

San Fran and a Whistles Bardot Top. Oh yeah, and I LOVE riding the tram cars

I have broken and used my GHD's on a couple of occasions (insert guilt trip here) BUT I had no end of compliments on those days. Rich came home from work one day and said

"Your hair is all nice and straight and lovely. What have you done to it?"

I've had some cracking suggestions via Facebook to help my hair health - try the Kerastright Smoothing hair treatment, Olaplex (although I thought this was just for coloured hair?) and some other shampoo and conditioner ideas. If you have any tips please let me know! I finally dug out some photos of my mane back in my late 20's and there was some frizz there! In the mists of my mind I thought my hair was wavy and frizz free but nope! So maybe I'm just going after this unreachable hair ideal....

My journey to hair health continues...

Til next time...The Wardrobe Angel x

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Things I'm looking forward to in #July!

Is it July? I hadn't noticed.

We really are half way through the year now. GULP. STEADIES SELF ON COUNTER SIDE. Yes, I do understand how time works, I own a calendar and a watch, I get how time moves along and that yes, despite much protestation, the year flies by. It's because I'm a goal orientated person that when I lift my head up from the awesome grind stone of self-employed life, I feel I have so much more to do and that time, sometimes, isn't on my side. So, July, you tricky bugger, here we are and here's what I'm looking forward to this month:

  1. Bringing back my Teacher 10 campaign for the summer. Teachers ROCK. FULL STOP.
  2. Decorating our bedroom. The last room in the house to be done and by jove it needs a hefty dose of everything: plastering, carpets, curtains and some form of wardrobe. Now this is the weird thing that has held me back from moving the bedroom up the list of house priorities: I've seen a lot of wardrobes in my time and almost all have design features that don't work. I've seen a pull down wardrobe that had to be reached with a pole, a wardrobe that covered  half  a room but with only one sliding door it made it nigh on impossible to get to most of what was inside in a hurry, and many, many wardrobes which conceal the clothes in a way that makes things hard to find. I'm talking about draws, hanging spaces, nooks and crannies that have no real purpose for the clothes they are supposed to be serving. So for the last 8 years I have kept my clothes on rails, open rails with jumpers, jeans and tees folded in an upright chest of draws. My friend Clare always thinks it is hilarious I am called The Wardrobe Angel and don't have a wardrobe but I've seen enough to know I'm scared of committing to the wrong wardrobe. 
  3. A cheeky weekend away in Oxford. Rich and I fancied seeing some more of the UK so first up: Oxford. And a trip down memory lane for Rich as we visit Banbury where he was born.
  4. Lunch with a old friend. Haven't seen for her ages and she only lives 30mins away! Life man! It just kinda happens unless you are intentional about it!

Who stands in the sea with their jeans on?! Image from Daily Mail.

And finally - getting stuck into my radio show - 4 weeks in and the nerves have steadied! Filling 3 hours is no longer terrifying and the guests through the door have been AWESOME! You can listen live by clicking here. I'm on every Tuesday morning from 9am-12noon. My favourite feature of the utmost awesomeness is: 

3 songs you shouldn't like but secretly do
This week I played Darius, Peter Andre and Mambo number 5. Ear Candy or what?!

What are you doing this month? 

Til next time....The Wardrobe Angel x

Monday, 27 June 2016

5 women who are rocking my world this week

Image from Body Posi Panda website

1. Body Posi Panda - ON MY GOD I LOVE THIS WOMAN!! I found her Instagram account this week and was blown away by her message of self-love. I'm getting pretty sick of the airbrushed images we are subjected to in magazines, and all the so called "perfect" lives displayed around us on social media and Megan, the Body Posi Panda is a breath of fresh air. In the summer months where every magazine cover screams "lose weight" "get beach ready", this website tells it like it is: you are good enough exactly as you are.

2. Oprah's Super Soul Sunday - this has been rocking the world for a good few years now. Created by Oprah so she could have the kind of conversations she wanted to have, the full episodes, shorts and You Tube clips provide a nourishing and thought provoking space for questions about spirituality.

Image taken from Smart Girls website

3. Amy Poehler's Smart Girls - "An organisation dedicated to helping young people cultivate their authentic selves" is the official blurb but this site offers so much more: 

"We emphasize intelligence and imagination over “fitting in.” We celebrate curiosity over gossip. We are a place where people can truly be their weird and wonderful selves. We are funny first, and informative second, hosting the party you want to attend."

There's a YouTube channel stuffed full of awesome videos and I especially LOVE the Ask Amy videos where she covers: love, crushes, negativity, anxiety and my favourite, Bodies. Listen from 1:50 for the body confidence moment of clarity!

4. Elizabeth Warren - Any woman that stands up the orange buffoon that is Donald Trump deserves a mention in my book! Her Twitter feed calls Trump out over and over: taxes, Wall Street, student loans, his position on the minimum wage.

"Hillary Clinton will be the next president because she knows what it takes to beat a thin-skinned bully who is driven by greed and hate."

5. Lisa Lister - Exploring the blood and guts of being a woman, Lisa encourages us to have a "bloody conversation" about our menstrual health. She's got a cracking book out on 5th July called Love Your Lady landscape published by Hay House, which you can pre-order as I type. She's a taboo lifting author of awesomeness.

Til next time..x

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

A TV and Radio Presenter - step forward The Wardrobe Angel

Getting ready to film with Michael from Always Wear RedWearing a Maje dress and Zara kids bomber. 

An old manager of mine used to say "blowing your own trumpet plays a very bitter tune" then laugh and say "bollocks! If you've done something you're really proud of, you should tell people." I know people who are so good at sharing all the exciting things that are happening in their life but in a non-bragging sort of way. After you've left the conversation with them you think 'oh WOW. They are so talented.' (And you want to weep a little bit because you think you aren't as talented.)

Well, since Rich and I returned from our honeymoon 3 really exciting things happened:

I got my own radio show, was offered a TV show and was asked to contribute to a book about wardrobes.

Let's break this down. First, my radio show. On honeymoon I made 3 promises to myself, 1 of which was to trust my gut. I'd been aware of Phoenix Radio for a while and I've had their website open on my phone for months but it never felt like the right time to contact them. After 1 day back at my desk I rang them, told them what I wanted to do and headed down for a meeting. At the end of the meeting I was offered a slot on Tuesday mornings, a slot which had only become vacant the day before. HELLO SYNCHRONICITY! My show features awesome guests who are running their own businesses and doing awesome things.

Amazing headphone game, if I do say so myself!

Secondly, the TV show. I owe this to a man I have never met: Michael from Always Wear Red, a fantastic accessories brand. We've chatted on the phone, followed each other on Social Media but never met in person. He'd been approached to appear on a new TV show called Fashion House, a show which didn't have a presenter. He recommended me, they loved my YouTube videos and the rest is history; filming started last week. I get to chat to stylish people in their wardrobes and try on their clothes.

Thirdly, the book. It's being pulled together by a couple of fashion academics I know:

"The wardrobe is an under-investigated space within the fashion and clothing system, below the radar of many traditional academic disciplines and also popular culture."

I've wanted to be a successful broadcaster for as long as I can remember and the events that have transpired over the past 3 weeks are the seeds of years of hard work, making connections and having a true intention and trusting that it will happen. So, toot toot! This week I'm blowing my own trumpet.

Til next time...x
The Wardrobe Angel

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Things I'm looking forward to in #June!

Dial up your workwear game with a Cecily dress

So we are nearly half way through 2016!! Crikey - how time flies. This month sees the manifestation of a couple of long held dreams when it comes to my business, The Wardrobe Angel.
  1. First up we have me landing a radio show! I did student radio when I was a first year at Nottingham University and loved it. Since then I've been invited to talk about all things wardrobes on BBC Radio Leeds, Manchester and Humberside. Now I have my own show on a Tuesday morning from 9-12 noon on Phoenix FM, talking to awesome people who are doing awesome things in awesome businesses. You can listen online, text in for shout outs and request songs. See you there - I'll be live every Tuesday from 7th June!
  2. Secondly I've been asked to contribute to a book about wardrobes. Erm, hello? How perfect is that?! The book's purpose is to investigate the space of the wardrobe:  

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Truly Gifting and The Wardrobe Angel

Before Rich and I headed off on our honeymoon I found Truly Gifting on Twitter. Now I love a sustainable gift every now and again, a piece of vintage clothing always has the ability to catch my eye and I'm not averse to some pre-loved clothing coming my way via eBay but I've never seen anything like Truly Gifting before. They provide packaging and gifting cards, designed to encourage consumers into giving pre-owned items as gifts. Now, I'm sure we've all done a cheeky re-gift before, I know I have (usually with scarves) but the sense I get from Truly Gifting is that they want the pre-owned gifts to be given more gravitas in the gift giving arena. And rightly so - according to a survey carried out by Truly Gifting, over 50% of respondents were interested in second hand gifting. I guess it's just dusting off those preconceived ideas that only a "box fresh" gift is a real gift. 

Here's one scary ass fact from the Truly Gifting website: if everyone in the UK were to give just one second hand present per year, 60 million new items would never have to be produced. WOW.  Even the Ikea's Chief Sustainabilility Officer, Steve Howard, said earlier this year that we've hit "peak stuff."

“If we look on a global basis, in the west we have probably hit peak stuff. We talk about peak oil. I’d say we’ve hit peak red meat, peak sugar, peak stuff … peak home furnishings,” Steve Howard said at a Guardian Sustainable Business debate

One of the gorgeous cards to go with your pre-loved gift

As I unpacked the box of Truly Gifting goodies I had a stroke of genius thought. When I'm working with clients we sometimes create a space in the wardrobe for 'heirloom' pieces: pieces that the client won't wear again but may leave to a family member or friend further down the line: a silk dress, a designer handbag, a piece of vintage clothing. These items would be perfect for the Truly Gifting packaging, especially when paired with one of the awesome cards (the LOVE one is my favourite - see above - and blank for your own message) that come as part of the set. I am more than happy to recommend this packaging to clients in the future, especially as the ethos is just so delicious:

Now to play devils advocate you could just buy a box yourself to do the re-gift, use a shoe box maybe. But then there's the wrapping of the box, finding your own card and ultimately it looking like a bodged Blue Peter job if you aren't craftily inclined. I'm much rather use this packaging which is created from sustainable sources and looks AWESOME than have a go myself. Plus I think the wording on the package really explains WHY you are giving a second hand gift. For those who don't re-gift or trade in pre-loved items with friends and family, Truly Gifting packaging will hopefully spur them into action. 

The Silence & Noise jacket that no longer cuts the mustard in my 'joy filled' wardrobe

Luxury tissue paper is provided which makes your gift look AMAZING. Bye Bye jacket!

All wrapped up with the sleeve explaining what's inside.

I regularly send Wardrobe Angel clients clothes which I have found on my travels - be that clothes from charity shops I think they'll like, or clothes from my own wardrobe after I've had a clear out. I am so bad at wrapping up said clothes that I inwardly cringe from the thought of these wonderful, successful, awesome women opening the gift I have sent. And that's where I see the boxes and packaging options that Truly Gifting sell coming in handy. 

Instead of just handing over a piece of pre-loved clothing, give it the honour it deserves! It served you, and your wardrobe now say 'thank you' by gifting it on. 

A couple of weeks ago I re-Marie Kondo-ed my wardrobe (read my 1st post here) and came across an orange jacket that had survived the 1st joy sparking cull. I've used it to style many-a-dress in the past as due to the jazzy open back feature it looks nigh on awesome with a back splash of pattern poking through the material. BUT. This time as I held it in my arms I realised that it wasn't structured enough for my liking. So, a client that looks AWESOME in orange is the lucky recipient of said jacket, all packaged up mightily smart thanks to Truly Gifting. I hope she likes the jacket as much as I loved the packaging. 

Please click here to visit the Truly Gifting website.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Things I'm looking forward to in #May...

Maypole dancing
Picture reference Mandy Barrow

We are deep in 2016 now people. Rich and I are the proud owners of a blue velvet beauty from, we've found a light for the dining room which means we can actually see when we eat in that room (!) and after some joinery skills (not ours, I hasten to add) we have a cabinet on which to sit the TV and in which to hide all the wires that come with a DVD player and Freeview box.

So what's does May look like for me?

1. No Maypole dancing on the cards unfortunately but it is time to UNLEASH my summer dresses. That Banana Republic full skirted beauty bought in the January sales is coming OUT!
2. Meeting Old Fashioned Susie for some blogger chats.
3. Handing over my books for the past financial year. This is always a task accompanied with a sense of relief that A) I don't have to do my own books and B) you get to see how much your business has grown over the year and give yourself a pat on the back.
4. My healthy hair story continues - what's next after I've switched to sulphate free shampoo?
5. Rich and I have been planning lots of city mini-breaks this year and this month we are getting some dates in the diary. Watch out Sheffield, Bristol, Edinburgh. Oxford and Cambridge Team Brown are coming to get ya!

Til next time....Stay Wardrobe Happy!

The Wardrobe Angel 

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

The Wardrobe Angel and Coconut Hair Oil

Like she just stepped out of a salon...Salon Selectives!

Last week I had a coconut oil hair treatment - the 1st step on the long road to hair recovery. I got in the car afterwards and snapped this super cool selfie. Like I just stepped out of a salon or WHAT?! For a day I was blessed with the kind of locks that dreams are made of - silken, smooth, frizz free. I felt like a million bucks, baby! I specifically asked for no hair straighteners after the treatment so this was the blow dried result.

My hair dresser did allay my fears that I'd utterly cocked up my crowning glory,

"Your hair is not in bad condition," Chantelle said running her hands through the tangle of Brian May locks pre-treatment, "your hair has a real depth of colour considering that's your natural hair colour."

Preaching to the converted sister! If it's not all bad then it's just the frizz to work on. A couple of days after the treatment my hair was still silky and completely grease free but the frizz was back - not as bad as before - but noticeably back. I snapped this pic below in &Other Stories. What I have noticed is that the natural wave in my hair is ever so creeping back and I am LOVING IT!! Can you see the little waves creeping around the side of my face? When I wore my down and long in my late 20's it had a slight natural wave to it so it's a pleasant surprise to see it return.

Wearing a magnificent 80's dress from eBay, leather jacket (4 years old and counting), boots from ASOS and cross body bag from Aurora London

I have been digging around on the great world wide web and apparently shampoo with sulphates can make your hair frizz worse so I hot-footed it to Boots yesterday and spent the best part of half an hour reading the back of bottles to find a sulphate free shampoo. Discovered Kind Natured which is free from chemical nasties so I'll let you know how I get on with that over the coming week! The reviews online aren't particularly glowing but, hey, can't win them all.

Til next time...Stay Wardrobe Happy!

The Wardrobe Angel

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The Wardrobe Angel needs your hair care tips!

Wardrobe Angel reporting for duty. Aged 9. Strong hair game. 

In January I talked about giving my hair the chop. I'm going to renege on that chat and go long. Now, the only problem is that my hair literally looks like Brian May when it's down and after 4 years of GHD torture, my hair has inherited a halo of fuzz. At my niece's 1st birthday a couple of weeks ago there was much hilarity at some old pictures my sister Penny had unearthed of me basically feeling up trees and flowers in what can only be described as some pre-blogging pose premonition shots. Now the photos are here for you to laugh at but what I'm most interested in is my HAIR. Aged 9 it was awesome!!! Poker straight, amazing colour and in fab condition. My Dad implored me during my teenage years to "stop messing with yourself and leave your hair alone." Bloody hell, it really pains me to say this but Tom Roper was right. My hair now verges on black, which I don't mind, however it's the condition I am worried about - it ain't pretty. I love how my 9 year old hair is just flipped over on one side my head, all nonchalant and GLOWING. It is a cascade of hairy wonder!

No trees were harmed in the taking of these photos....

SO - join me on my hair restoration journey over the next few months as I try to reclaim my crowing glory. First up I'm booked to have a coconut oil treatment at my hair dressers next week. I've also been reading up on Hairburst and Hairfinity and googling what Kim K uses on her tresses (only washing it twice a week seems to be her top tip.) If you have any "get my hair back to aged 9 awesome" tips then please leave them in the comments below. This is what we're dealing with people, prepare for the halo....

This is a product free, halo heavy day. 

PS - if you look really closely at these pics you'll see my red nails - started young, eh?! AND I'm wearing a white denim skirt. I happen to have a Preen white denim skirt hanging in my wardrobe right now. Those style seeds were sown early!

Stay hair happy! Til next time... x

The Wardrobe Angel

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

How much discount do Teachers get this Easter?

So the Easter holidays are upon us! Rich and I spent last night listing our top 5 egg choices (the creme egg got my number 1 spot, despite my dairy intolerance!) During a school holiday period my mind always turns to teachers. My Mum was a teacher all her working life. I remember coming downstairs, stuck on a homework problem, to see her sat marking piles of books at 8pm at night. This happened on Sundays as well. And school holidays. A teacher friend texted me the other day with woes of having to re-apply for her teaching job along with the gift of her hours being cut! Notwithstanding the endless assessments and criteria check boxes she had to keep on doing on her students, bookending her teaching day, she was pretty pissed off. My sister-in-law, Janet, who so excellently writes over at Words That Can Only Be Your Own, left the teaching profession at Christmas for a myriad of reasons including stress. 

I have never wanted to be a teacher. At uni the careers officer told me that with an English degree it was either teaching or journalism. Journalism - ok, sounded great, Teaching? No. Way. A uni friend went into teaching because he didn't know what else to do. He trained, taught, then tanked it and went into physiotherapy. But it works the other way - my friend's brother went into banking out of uni, then turned to teaching later on and has found his calling. 

Half my friends are teachers, both parents were before they retired and a fair few clients hold the responsibility of stuffing information into tiny minds. So with the utmost respect for all those engaged in reaching Government targets whilst trying to get everyone to listen and the homework marked, this Easter 

I'm giving all teachers 10% off any Wardrobe Angel service. 

If you are a teacher and want to go back to work post-Easter rockin' and raring to go with a really awesome wardrobe to boot then drop me an email to with Teacher 10 in the subject line. 

Please share where you see fit. Thank you!

Stay wardrobe happy....til next time

The Wardrobe Angel