I don’t like fashion so why are clothes still important?

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By Catherine Strawbridge, published in Cambridge News, May 25th 2017 edition

You’ll remember that last month I said I was going to answer some of the questions that come up time and time again with clients and other people interested in what I do.  The question I answered was about how to feel body confident.  I talked about asking yourself what you wanted from your body. The answer, whether it be health, fitness, strength, etc should give you the tools you need to make that happen and enable you to proud and confident about your body.

This month’s question is, “Why are clothes so important when I don’t even follow fashion trends?”.  To answer this I want to talk about the power of wearing the right outfit.  We get dressed every single day – well the odd Sunday in PJs is forgiven!  Clothes, whether you buy into ‘fashion’ or not are integral to the image we portray, but even more important than what other people see and think, is how they make us feel.  Wearing a great outfit versus just throwing something on really can make all the difference.

I often cover this subject in my workshops too.  Here, I ask everyone to close their eyes.  So go on, take a minute to yourself – do read to the end of the paragraph though!  Imagine you are about to have a telephone interview.  You are sitting in your pyjamas, fluffy slippers on, dressing gown loosely done up.  Next, imagine the same phone interview but this time you have got yourself up, showered and put a dress/suit/appropriate interview wear on.  Got that?  Now you really can close those eyes for a minute.

Done?  Let me ask you, where did you picture yourself sitting in each scenario?  What was the difference in your body language?  How did you come across?  Relaxed, laid back, keen, competent, confident?  How do you think you did in each interview?  Did you get the job?

The response I often get is when in their pyjamas people are sitting on the sofa for their interview, legs up, cup of tea in hand – very “comfortable”.  But, when dressed appropriately for their interview, they are sitting at a table or standing. They feel more professional, ready. I wonder if you had a similar reaction?  Often they do better in the second interview!

In that scenario you were on the end of a phone, no one could see you but what you imagined wearing could still have had an impact on the result of the interview.

Face to face you don’t always get the chance to worry about how you sound and what you say.  When you meet people it takes just seven seconds for them to form an opinion of you.  That’s why your clothes, as part of your overall appearance, are so important.

I’m not talking about having a designer suit or bag.  Rather, feeling comfortable, professional, appropriate and put together.  If you feel you look good, you’re going to feel good – happier and confident in your own skin.  That feeling is then going to be projected into your day, and will have an impact – not just on you but on the people you meet during your day too – whether you are trying for that new job, or simply doing your weekly shop!

If you have a question you would like answered email me at cat@yourwardrobeedit.com or come and find me on Facebook.

#pickoftherails

Cotton Pyjama Set, £60 top £55 short, Amaella at www.amaella.com why clothes
Cotton Pyjama Set, £60 top, £55 short, www.amaella.com
Alexandrina Dress, Baum und Pferdgarten, £309, Elegant Atelier- Why clothes?
Alexandrina Dress, Baum und Pferdgarten, £309, Elegant Atelier
Thistles Silk Scarf, £150 available from www.artumascarves.com -Why clothes?
Thistles Silk Scarf, £150 available from www.artumascarves.com
Silver and Mother of Pearl Feather Earrings, £325, Windsor Bishop - Why clothes?
Silver and Mother of Pearl Feather Earrings, £325, Windsor Bishop
Carmen Fabric Ballet Pump, £75, Modish Shoes - Why clothes?
Carmen Fabric Ballet Pump, £75, Modish Shoes

What’s the secret to being Body Confident?

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By Catherine Strawbridge, published in Cambridge News, April 20th 2017 edition

How can I feel good in the clothes I wear if I don’t feel good about what’s underneath them? A question I’m often asked by people.  Styling for me isn’t just about clothes, it’s about how you present your whole self to the world. I often find myself working with people who are at a low point in their lives. Others are stuck in a rut. They all have one thing in common; after losing their way, they want to feel good, about themselves and where they are in their lives. I love working with my clients and seeing them gain confidence and rediscover their motivation to get back to their happy place.  But I know not everyone sees a stylist so I thought, over my next few columns, I would address some of the issues that regularly arise.

The first – Body Confidence.  How can you get it?

Experience tells me that no matter what end of the size scale, people often have the same gripes –  I don’t like my boobs, bum, stomach, legs etc.  I want to lose weight.

I’ll be honest, there’s no magic trick. However, I’ve found if you come at something from a different angle you might just get different results.

One of the most common weight issues I come across is wanting to lose that last half a stone.  Having lost some weight recently, I found myself about to enter this very battlefield at the beginning of the year. My weight had crept up over the last few years and it had been getting me down.  I knew it wouldn’t be an overnight fix but I made the decision to watch what I ate and slowly but surely a year later I was within my “target weight”.  But I still didn’t feel confident. Nothing that extra half a stone couldn’t fix, right?

This is when it struck me – I couldn’t actually remember being that last half a stone lighter.  I’m pretty sure it had happened at some point in my life but it was now so long ago that I think it was a different me. A teenage or early 20s me perhaps? That’s not who I am anymore. My mind, relationships, career, style, home – everything – had changed.  Why hadn’t my expectations on my body changed too? When everything else is so different, why do I expect my body to be the same?

So rather than fall into the trap, I sat and thought about what I wanted from my body.  What would it take for me to feel confident?  The answer – I wanted it to be strong.  Strong enough to support me every day.  No matter what I face.  Weight isn’t my concern.  2017 for me is about being strong not skinny.

Everyone’s needs are going to be different. My doing weights at the gym is another person’s running to get fit and healthy.  Others will want to eat clean to detox from the inside out.

The key to body confidence is deciding what you want from your body, not what size or weight you want it to be.  Getting to the bottom of that question, and then working towards it, will give you a head start to looking and feeling great about yourself whether or not you’re dressed. As I tell my clients, at that stage you’ll realise clothes are simply a tool to enhance the already attractive and confident person underneath.

What will it take to make you feel body confident?  What do you want from your body?  Share your thoughts and suggestions on my Facebook page or comment below.

This months #pickoftherails

Mr Hulot Scarf £77, cashmeremoon.com - body confident
Mr Hulot Scarf £77, cashmeremoon.com
Vinyl Factory Sunglasses £250, Taank Optometrists - Body Confident
Vinyl Factory Sunglasses £250, Taank Optometrists

 

Leather Wrap Bracelet £24, Little Gems by Mel - Body Confidence
Leather Wrap Bracelet £24, Little Gems by Mel
Lace Blouse £42, Lilac Rose - Body Confidence
Lace Blouse £42, Lilac Rose
Peep Toe Clog £69.95, Ark Cambridge - Body Confidence
Peep Toe Clog £69.95, Ark Cambridge

What’s it like for you?

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Me and Em from Pretty Normal Me feeling confident
Selfie time with Em!

“The whole process has definitely made me more body confident (now I know that I shouldn’t be hiding behind my clothes, rather finding things that actually work for me).” – Em, Pretty Normal Me

On February 14th I donated a Wardrobe Edit to The Pants Project Valentines Party auction.  The Pants Project was set up by Tash to help women feel feminine and beautiful through the power of pants, no matter what fertility issues they’re facing and all money raised by them is donated to The Fertility Network.  

The generous winner of the lot was Em, founder of Pretty Normal Me, a blog set up to help women be the happiest versions of themselves.  It’s amazing how women who want to support women seem to come together!

A few weeks later Em and I spent the morning going through her wardrobe. It was a real pleasure to spend time getting to know her and helping her declutter some of her wardrobe and discover new outfits. The result, she now feels more confident in her clothes and her outfit choices – without buying anything new!

Following her Edit, Em wrote a blog post on her experience.  You can read that post here now.  Thanks for this Em, and, even more importantly, for donating to the Fertility Network UK.

If you haven’t got time to read the whole post right now, here are some of the highlights.

“I thought that this process would kill me…But I have to say, I thought it was SO great. Already my outfits feel so much more calculated, I feel more confident when I am dressed and I realised that I actually own some really great stuff.”

“I loved Cat so much and am so so grateful for this whole experience.”

Wow, praise indeed! Thanks Em!

Em's Pre Edit Wardrobe
Em’s Pre Edit Wardrobe
Em's Post Edit Wardrobe - much easier to navigate in the morning!
Em’s Post Edit Wardrobe – much easier to navigate in the morning!

How can you shop better?

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By Catherine Strawbridge, published in Cambridge News, March 23rd 2017 edition

What type of shopper are you?  Do you plan or are you a last-minute panic buyer? Years ago I used go to sleep and spontaneously dream about an item of clothing.  Those were the days of ‘social shopping’ with friends every weekend so I’d get the chance to scour the shops to find aforementioned item. Admittedly success was hit and miss.  I do remember a pair of wide legged trackie bottoms, many moons ago. The joy when I found them in Gap, success!

For those lacking that random psychic shopping gene, which I have since lost, do these sound familiar? Skint and finding everything you try on is perfect, if only you had some cash.  Or, shopping when you desperately need an outfit, money burning a hole in your existing pocket but you can’t find anything to spend it on!  Why is it never easy?

We had some friends round for dinner last week and it got me thinking about how we shop.  I don’t normally get too involved in cooking but in this instance I decided to offer my services and make dessert. I’m no chef so I called on one of my mum’s tried and tested, Delia’s Chocolate Truffle Torte. Recipe in hand I checked the larder to see what we had and drew up a shopping list for everything else. Off I pootled to the shops. Back home, ready with my ingredients I followed the instructions and voila! Rave reviews.

Wouldn’t it be great if we all applied that process to the way we shop for clothes?  Think about what we want to create – in this case outfits rather than desserts. Refer to someone in the know e.g. a stylist, some magazines etc to see what we want to create. Look to see what we already have in the wardrobe and write a shopping list for the missing ingredients. List in hand, and only then, do we head to the shops to buy those additional items that we know we need.

Admittedly food shopping in – insert chosen supermarket – is more likely to be successful first time round.  But the concept is the same. The result even better. Well planned outfits that we can confidently pick out of our wardrobe at a moment’s notice.

“My life is so busy I don’t have time to plan my clothes” I hear you cry. My answer – you wear clothes every single day of that busy life.  Whether or not you are into fashion those clothes are a huge part of your identity and how you present yourself to the world.  You will reap the rewards of planning your wardrobe – remember I got to eat the cake too! – and the more you practice putting outfits together, the easier it will become.  You’ll get to know what you have and what you need and more importantly what makes you feel and look good.  Give yourself a minute to imagine that feeling.  It’s a good one.

This month’s #pickoftherails from Cambridge independents

Shop Mira Mikati Skirt Giulio £347
Mira Mikati Skirt £347 from Giulio Fashion
Shop Anonyme Rosie Dress Petrus £72
Anonyme Rosie Dress £72 from Petrus
Shop Elia B Perforated Ankle Boot Boudoir Femme £185
Elia B Perforated Ankle Boot £185 from Boudoir Femme


 

Nnoodl Secret London Adventure

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When it comes to a wedding (or any other) anniversary often one of the couple does the planning, in my case unless we’re planning a holiday it’s usually my husband.  In fairness he’s not a great fan of surprises whereas I love them so it works well.

However, for some reason, on this our 5th year, I volunteered. I had a couple of ideas – have dinner back at our wedding venue etc but then I heard that Nnoodl were holding their inaugural adventure on the same day and that was it, mind made up.  Bonus, it was going to be a surprise for both of us!

Nnoodl is a young company founded by Denise Yeats, a veteran events planner in both the corporate and charity world. If you need an event planned, she’s your gal!

Booked in December we knew we wouldn’t hear anything about the adventure until the week before and even then – as planned – it was only where to meet and what to wear.

So, at 10.30am there we were outside the Royal Mail office in Whitechapel wearing ‘casual’ clothes with a loose fitting top and flat shoes as per instruction.  Warned that where we were going was a legit place, ‘it looks like a disbanded warehouse’, nine of us were led inside by Denise through a games arcade, round the corner to…Whistlepunks Axe Throwing range. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t immediately excited about the prospect however that quickly changed. Because of the type of person Denise is and therefore the clients she attracts everyone was really chatty and fun and we quickly developed a good camaraderie, even with the three other people who joined us on our ‘lanes’.

We each had a couple of rounds of practice throws and then the tournament began.  It was all very fun and because none of us had thrown before the levels were very varied ie those with beginners luck and those without – I was the latter.  I have to admit I lost track of time but I’d say we were there for about an hour and a half or so.  Times flies when you’re having fun!

The last axe thrown we were then taken for a walk through the streets of London towards Liverpool Street.  We knew lunch was at the end of the rainbow, we just didn’t know where until we got to the Breakfast Club, but even then there was a twist. Led past a huge line of people waiting for this evidently popular restaurant (VIP all the way!) we were taken through a Smeg fridge door – yep, you read that right, a fridge door!  Down a dark stair case we found ourselves in a secret basement restaurant the Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town.

Sitting down for some well earned lunch gave us all the opportunity to get to know each other more – Bloody Mary/Reuben Sandwich 0 – Me 1. Yum!.  Needless to say, if you’re the type of couple who want to sit in a romantic corner just the two of you this probably isn’t the anniversary celebration for you.  But if you like surprises, enjoy going on new and interesting adventures and getting to know new people I highly recommend you check out Nnoodl.  I will definitely be going back for more!

Wedding Guest Dress Etiquette

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By Catherine Strawbridge, published in Real Cambridge, March 2017 edition

On the 25th February I celebrated the 5th year of being married to the wonderful Bob.  He’s a keeper!  Our anniversary is a good reminder to look back at the pictures, sparking memories of the day and also the lead up to it.

Mr and Mrs Strawbridge Wedding
Mr and Mrs Strawbridge

As you may know, a lot goes into a wedding – choosing your dress, the groom’s suit, bridesmaids and flower girl dresses, venue, colour themes.  The thing is, I list all of those things but these days you’re as likely to come across a wedding of 4 people in a registry office followed by a Steak and Honour burger wedding breakfast (have you been to their new restaurant, delicious!) as you are a 400 people affair in Ely cathedral.  Either way, as the bride and groom you are the ones holding the reins and making the decisions about the day.

During my time working in a bridal store I was often asked what the etiquette was when it came to Mother of the Bride or Groom outfits – should it match or at least tone with the bridesmaids? To hat or not to hat?  Should the hat match the shoes or bag or both?  All the time avoiding the faux pas of wearing the same outfit as the other mother or another guest – never really a good thing whatever the occasion.

My answer then, as now, is: the rules are there are no rules except those chosen by the bride and groom.  Tradition isn’t followed as closely as it once was and, when it is, it’s more acceptable to mix and match old traditions with new ones that you create yourself.  Yes to a wedding dress, but a purple one.  Yes to bridesmaids, but they can all wear different dresses.  Sometimes hats are a must (thanks to those who put this type of guidance on their invitations, most helpful).  You get the picture.  Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with breaking from tradition, it’s your day and you should have it your way. However, it can leave some of the wedding party a little in limbo when it comes to their choices.

So what am I getting at with this column.  I guess it’s a plea really.  To all would be and soon to be brides and grooms from all the mothers, fathers, family and friends. Try to let us in on the dress code.  It’s your day and we want it to be fabulous!  But, when you’re sharing your wedding snaps by the likes of Lina and Tom photographers all over social media, we also want to know our #ootd (outfit of the day) made us look and feel good, and most importantly made you feel as proud as punch!

If you have an upcoming wedding, or any event, and you’re not sure what to wear let me help you.  Contact me for more information and a free telephone consultation.

#pickoftherails

Lattice Pillbox by Karen Lewis Designs, from £80, available at http://www.designsbykarenlewis.com
Meadow flower on ivory pearl string necklace, £135 by Cloudberry Design at www.thisiseclecticmix.com
Amelie by Willowby Wedding Dresses, from £1,395, available at the Tailor’s Cat
Mia Dress by Vilagallo, £199 from www.FiveSixBlue.co.uk
Rieker Shoes, £59.99 available at North Shoes

The (Non) Valentines Edit

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By Catherine Strawbridge, published in Real Cambridge, February 2017 edition

This isn’t going to be your typical February Valentines column and I make no apology for that.

Cat's Wardrobe
Cat Strawbridge – Picture: David Johnson

We’re just not that big on it in my house.  However, if you are a man or woman prepping for present shopping – or just going about your everyday shopping life, I recommend you keep reading.

It’s simple really, one main piece of advice and that is – drumroll if you will – talk to the people working in the shops.  That’s it.  If you read no further, make sure you take that in (but don’t leave now, pretty please).

As small business owners, or part of a very select team that work in each independent store, they have insurmountable passion for, and knowledge of, the items instore. They are the people who are going to help you find exactly what it is you are looking for.  Admittedly sometimes they find you something you didn’t know you were looking for – but you’ll only leave with it if you really want it, they won’t force you to buy it.  The reason for that is it’s not in their interest to have you leave feeling dissatisfied with your experience.  They want you to enjoy yourself in their store, to buy what you want, or at least enjoy looking through what they have.  If you have a good time, you will go back, often time and time again.

In addition, the thing that sets them apart from the chains is that the ladies and gentlemen that work in our independents are the people who work face to face with the brands to select their stock personally. Because they have taken the time to build up these relationships with their suppliers, they can pick up the phone to order a one off piece for you because what you’re describing isn’t in store but they know how to get hold of it. They know the stories behind the brands, where the items originate, the fit, form and fabric specifics of each and every item they are selling. When you’re out shopping, they really can be the difference between success and failure.

Having worked in independent stores and both on the shop floor and in buying offices of high street chains, I really have seen it from all aspects.  My own experience tells me that the independents know their stuff.  Just to be clear, I’m not saying that you won’t find a fabulous shop manager/assistant in a high street chain, they are there.  However, they would be hard pressed to match the tenacity, passion and product knowledge to satisfy your shopping needs like those working in an independent.

I read something last year during the publicity for small business Saturday and it really made me smile: When you buy from a small business an actual person does a little happy dance! It’s true – although admittedly they might wait until you leave the store.

So back to the (non) Valentines vibe.  Make the most of your independent shop owners, like Sinéad at Elegant Atelier or Della of Della Kaur, and their lovely staff.  They want you to enjoy being in their store.  They want you to find what you’re looking for and to come back again.

Most importantly, next time you’re shopping, go and give someone a reason to have a little dance.

#pickoftherails

Custommade Umama Jacket, £189 (was £270), available from Elegant Atelier
Custommade Umama Jacket, £189 (was £270), available from Elegant Atelier
Shovava, Purple Scarf, £60 available at Podarok
Shovava, Purple Scarf, £60 available at Podarok
Chinti & Parker Lovecats Cashmere Sweater, £340 available from Bowns
Chinti & Parker Lovecats Cashmere Sweater, £340 available from Bowns
Diamond Round Set Engagement Ring, from £1,200 available from Della Kaur
Diamond Round Set Engagement Ring, from £1,200 available from Della Kaur
Ilse Jacobsen Rain Boot, £115 available from Cuckoo Burwash Manor
Ilse Jacobsen Rain Boot, £115 available from Cuckoo Burwash Manor

Underwear Solutions – Review

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I was approached by Mercedes of Prohibido Lingerie, Cambridge to review a new product Bye Bra she is looking to stock.  Knowing my background – Contour Fashion Degree and Lingerie Buyer – she knew I was probably going to be a tough critic.  They retail for under £30 depending on style chosen.

Bye Bra Product
Bye Bra Product

Bye Bra description (from their website)
The Bye Bra adhesive breast lift with silicone nipple covers is a simple solution for a quick and effective enhancement of the female breasts without the need for surgery or even a bra! The adhesive breast lifts lift the breasts from the top. Therefore Bye Bra is the perfect solution for a strapless, a backless, V-necked or plunged-necked outfits. The Bye Bra can also be worn under a bikini.

The adhesive breast lifts are made of a very thin and flexible self-adhesive foil which is produced by 3M and shaped like a horseshoe, with which it is possible to position the nipples upwards by several centimeters. The adhesive breast lifts can also be used to make adjustments — for instance, if a woman has two different breast shapes or sizes, or nipple heights the adhesive breast lifts will help.

Review

I’ll be honest, whilst I was initially excited to try the Bye Bra it did take me a bit longer to commit to trying it on.  In the run up to Christmas there’s a lot of running around and I just never felt like I had enough time in the morning to apply them.  Cancelled meeting one Friday allowed me the time and when I did do it I was pleasantly surprised to find it took just a matter of minutes!

Product needs to be cut to size before applying
Product needs to be cut to size before applying

During the preparation I took some pictures of the product so it took me a little longer but the actual cutting (you cut them to size) and application took about 3 minutes, which I thought was fantastic.  Initially I didn’t think I would use the nipple covers however, realising that the alternative was doing a Rachel from Friends, I did opt to use them in the end.  Now we wait and see how they last, client research and some shopping, not the time to be coming unstuck or lop sided!

I immediately went for my bra when getting dressed – it’s amazing how automatic the routine is.  Realising my error I simply put on a vest top and jumper (well it was December) and went about my day.  Personally I can imagine wearing a Bye Bra product for an event such as a wedding or BBQ/Summer party when I’m wearing something strappy/strapless but not doing anything too strenuous (unless of course I’m murdering the dancefloor which is entirely likely!).  So, a bit of food shopping and instore research for a client, coupled with some home working and house chores felt like a good test of their “hold”.  I must say I was, again, pleasantly surprised.  After an initial check to make sure everything was “level” I didn’t really think about them again – which is exactly how I like my underwear.  They stayed put and kept hold of the goods all day.  At no point was I concerned that they were going to unstick and based on this experience I would happily use them again.

The size/shape of the top would dictate which product needed to be used – I am a little unsure as to whether these would show over the top of a strapless top, I guess it depends on the top.

Price
Between £20 and £30

Directions
I watched the video which was very clear and easy to follow.

Application
Quick and easy – although only stick them once.  I did start to unstick one of them to reapply but stopped peeling as I felt it wouldn’t stick again.

Overall Thoughts
I would use this product.  It was easy to use and did the job it set out to do.  Warning: if wearing with fake tan I suspect it would peel off the tan – not a deal breaker but something to be prepared for.

I was not paid for this review although I was given the product free to test.

Dress yourself slim for Christmas and the New Year

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By Catherine Strawbridge, published in Real Cambridge, January 2017 edition

Apples, pears, strawberries. – no I’m not talking juicing. These are the delightfully flattering names often given to women’s body shapes.  But, as much as I dislike them, they do make it a little easier when recommending clothes people should be wearing to help them look their best.

However by the time you’re reading this, for me at least, the fruit bowl will be well and truly out the window and I’ll be feeling more like a Christmas pud! I don’t know about you but I have no plans to do anything about it until we’re at least a few days into January.

So, what’s a girl to do? With lots of festive shenanigans still in the calendar I want to be looking and feeling good, especially with my Christmas capsule wardrobe sorted this year. Did I tell you? It’s going well.

The good news is I’ve read a lot over the years and apparently – well I know this to be true – you actually can dress yourself slimmer. “Oh no you can’t,” I hear you say, “Oh yes you can!”. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Now, there are lots of you so I can’t give specifics but I thought I’d use this month’s column to cover some of the basics.

Step one – stop wearing clothes that are too big for you.  You think it hides all the wobbly bits, it doesn’t. It simply makes you look as big as the clothes are, not very flattering at all.

Step two – now that we can see that figure (which is a good thing!) we need to make sure everything is in the right place.  This calls for a trip to Prohibido in All Saints Passage. If I were a betting lady I would say that more than half the population are wearing the wrong bra size, and it simply won’t do.  Not to worry though, Mercedes will have you ship shape and Bristol fashion in no time. Measured and wearing the right bra your posture will improve and everything will be lifted into the right place – she can help if you need a bit more volume too!

Step three – whether you know your shape or not you will surely be aware of your good and not so good areas.  My overarching advice is this – enhance your assets, reduce the liabilities (if you have any).  Move the focus away from any problem areas by using colour, jewellery, pattern and cut to draw the eye to the good bits. Dressing yourself thin can be achieved by simple optical illusions.

Many of you will be reading this in the New Year.  A time when lots of us make promises to eat well and exercise, usually because we want to be healthy and feel more confident. It can be hard to begin with but if you adopt the tips above you can make a start without even breaking your first sweat, you can’t say fairer than that!

If you are an independent business owner or maker in Cambridgeshire and would like an opportunity to be featured in my column in 2017 please get in touch. In the meantime, I wish each and every one of you a happy, and very stylish, new year!

#pickoftherails

Empreinte, Irina Bra, £112 available at Prohibido Lingerie
Empreinte, Irina Bra, £112 available at Prohibido Lingerie
Gestuz Reversible Sheepskin Jacket
Gestuz Reversible Sheepskin Jacket, £895 available at Boudoir Femme
Waterproof 11inch Melissa x CSC Satchel, £100 available at Cambridge Satchel Company
Waterproof 11inch Melissa x CSC Satchel, £100 available at Cambridge Satchel Company
Sailor Dress, £45 available at Cambridge Retro Market, Market Square
Sailor Dress, £45 available at Cambridge Retro Market, Market Square
Handcrafted Sterling Textured Cuff Bangle, £110 available at www.aboojewellery.co.uk
Handcrafted Sterling Textured Cuff Bangle, £110 available at www.aboojewellery.co.uk

Do You Co-work? – Review

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Whilst this isn’t my usual subject matter I felt compelled to write this post after spending the day at Cambridge Space recently.  For those not in the know, Space is a new co-working project that started several weeks ago.  The brainchild of five individuals, it found its home in the Hundred Houses Society just north of Chesterton Road.

I was invited along after meeting Ieva, one of the founders, at my first CamJelly event.  Working from home I often find myself distracted by housework(!) so I have been trying out other options.  I will definitely attend more CamJelly events but Space has something extra special about it.

The host for the day I was there was John who welcomed me and gave me a tour before anyone else had arrived, keen beans that we are!  The space consists of the co-working space which can hold approx. 20 people, meeting room, chill out area, lunch table and kitchen. We then sat on the sofa in the chill out area with a cup of tea (all provided) and John talked me through the concept of “Space Camp” as it’s known and how it runs day to day.  Still in its infancy he explains that nothing is fixed, they are constantly moving the space round and experimenting with ideas to make it work better for its members.

As the morning progresses people start arriving and everyone introduces themselves to the new face.  Chatting to the members there that day they all seem to be in creative fields – musicians, graphic designers, role play facilitators, social media experts – and everyone is incredibly friendly.

In addition to the member facilities they also run free events most days, open to members and non-members. Lenka is there all day for her social media surgery, somewhat underused on the day but I’m sure other days she’s run off her feet. At 12.30 there is a workshop on presentation skills facilitated by the thoroughly engaging (that’s what you want from a presentation expert I guess) Jon Torrens – highly recommended if you get to hear him speak. Other days see sessions on Improvisation, Do you feel like a fraud?, Brainwalks.  Needless to say there’s always something going on.

I headed off just before close at 5pm a little sad that I wouldn’t be returning the very next day.  As someone who spends at least a portion of my week working on my own writing blog and social media posts, newsletters, researching and accounts, I know that I would benefit from working in a space like Space regularly.  I love the collaborative atmosphere the founders and early members have managed to create and I very much hope to be working with them over the coming months.

If you would like to find out more visit the Cambridge Space Facebook Page.