I know what you’re thinking because I’m thinking the same thing… Can I pull off a pink suit? Well, Michelle Kennedy is making a strong case for it in Boden’s Wear It Like A Mum campaign.
Boden research unearthed that nearly half of British young mums (49%) felt less attractive after having children and that 38% blame media for contributing to the negative attitude associated with mum and style.
I think we’re all in agreement that this kind of statistic completely sucks, so to celebrate all things mum style, Boden are bringing you a brilliant bunch of power mums to showcase autumn fashion at its best.
Step forward the likes of entrepreneur, mother and Peanut and Bumble founder Michelle Kennedy, all round inspiring mama, ready and at your service. But hold that thought a second because I have something I need to get off my chest. You see, I’ve had her app Peanut downloaded on my phone for months but have been too scared to set up my profile. An app designed to connect mums with other like-minded mums in their area, it feels a bit like online dating (which I was never very good at) and I’ve 100% been chickening out of mum-networking.
“Don’t be scared, what’s the worst that can happen?” Michelle Kennedy reassures me.” Be brave and go and do it. There are some amazing women on there, honestly.” By the end of our chat I’m feeling totally motivated to go forth and target a potential new mama BFF. Michelle has that friendly, informative, confident air about her and after five minutes of swapping notes about our baby boys she has me captivated and feeling totally uplifted. No wonder she’s aced it in the tech start-up sector. But more on that later because it’s time to get down to the fashion.
So Let’s Just Talk About That Pink Suit A Little More Shall We?
“Before millennial pink was a thing, it had forever been my favourite colour. There was a very distinct period when it was absolutely not cool to like pink because it was too girlie, too feminine and too all of those things. Not edgy enough, twee, poppy, whatever you want to call it, and well, I never let go of the love. It was always there and when I was building Peanut I thought, I’m bloody well going to use pink, and I don’t care because it’s exciting and it’s fresh.
I saw the suit and was immediately hooked. This kind of pink just lifts your skin tone and makes you feel good. It doesn’t accentuate the black under your eyes. You see, what no one ever told me was not to wear a black turtleneck when you’ve got a baby because then your whole face just becomes grey with black under the eyes. The suit just lifts me. Sometimes you just feel good if you wear something a bit vibrant. Somedays you want to be in jeans and a sweater and then others you’re like, I’m going to kill it today, I’m going to wear this and look amazing. It’s that feeling.”
Ultimate Autumn Outfit
“I love a boot, I’m all about the boot. At the moment I’ve always got a little ankle boot on but have you seen the Boden Icons velvety knee high’s? Gorgeous.”
New Season Trend Goals
“I absolutely love dark emerald green and there’s loads of it around, it reminds me of winter, it’s so beautiful. I’ve never seen anyone look bad in it actually. I’ve always loved that french classic style, the navy’s, the dark green’s, it just has that kind of elegance to it. And I like some of the Victoriana, almost gothic style necklines. The laces, the ruffles and velvety bows, very chic.”
Denim You Can’t Live Without
“I haven’t worn skinny jeans for the longest time, they’re at the bottom of the pile. I love mom jeans, with a high waist, they’re flattering and cool with a t-shirt tucked in and your sleeves rolled up a bit. I wear them to death. And the old Levis, the reclaimed ones. Still working the flares too, I’ve got a lot of them, they always make your legs look long.”
Item Forever Making You Feel Put Together
“You know when you have a really beautiful coat and even if you’re wearing scruffs underneath, you’ve got your coat on and you look really done? Even if your hair is messy you just scrape it back because your coat is well tailored and will do all the hard work. It’s my favourite part of this time of year when I can start going and looking at the coats. I’ve got my eye on a rather nice navy masculine cut one, quite French.”
Five Mins To Get Ready – Bold Lip or Smoky Eye?
“Always the eye, always eyelashes. I don’t think I wear lipstick so well, I occasionally go for a bold lip but very, very occasionally. My go-to for smoky eyes is Charlotte Tilbury’s palettes. I’m really not very good at make up but that’s pretty damn good because you can’t really go wrong, it’s just four stages, even I can follow that. And I was an absolutely addict of L’oreal Telescopic for the longest time until someone suggested Benefit They’re Real. I tried it and it’s amazing.”
Michelle Kennedy On Raising Boys
“Boys are amazing, they just get better.” (Hector is bouncing in his Jumperoo while I take the opportunity to chat to Michelle and she totally relates. Her son Finlay is three and a half years old.) “So many times I used to put Fin in the Jumperoo while I was desperately trying to bang something out on the laptop. All I know is, that Jumperoo saved my life, it enabled me to go and do things like have a shower.”
Turning Peanut From Idea To App
“For me the moments I used to find the weirdest would be around two o’clock in the afternoon, particularly in the winter, you’re not going out, none of my girlfriends were around, they were at work like a normal human and I’m just over here with this little person and I don’t know what to do and I’m going out of my mind. I don’t want to watch daytime tele and I also don’t feel quite like I want to go to a baby class, so just being able to say hi to someone, there’s no commitment to it. That is the idea.
It’s like texting someone, you can just have a laugh, and then they make you laugh, it’s a connectivity I felt was really missing. And also, you know when you’re doing the night feed and you feel like you’re the only person in the world who’s awake and you literally begrudge anyone who’s asleep? You’re like, this is taking forever, I hate everyone in the world, and I’m sitting reading weird articles online and I really, really wish I could talk to someone and be like hey, anyone else feeding right now? So it was that kind of feeling that sparked it all.”
Hacks For Juggling Motherhood And Work
“You’ve just used the word and it is juggling. I get asked a lot about work life balance and I always say, there is no such thing as balance, I just don’t really understand it. We’ve got so many roles, you’re trying to be a mum, and a worker, a sister, a friend and a partner, a daughter and all those different hats that we wear and you’re just juggling all of it, all of the time. I think probably the best hack was when I stopped thinking that there was a balance because up until that point every time someone said there was a balance I though well I must be failing, because I don’t have one therefore I must be failing.
As soon as I accepted the fact that there isn’t really a balance, I relaxed and was a bit kinder to myself. So that’s the first thing, and the second hack is just really being a bit more realistic and kind to yourself, some days you’re going to be the most amazing mother in the world, and some days you’re going to forget the packed lunch but you’re going to kill it at work, so it’s just the way of the world and constantly berating yourself and telling yourself that you’re not doing enough is just no good. We’re always told to make some ‘you time’, and for me that just became another pressure, it just became another thing that I had to do rather than just keeping on juggling, keep on balancing my plates in the air and if I drop one, I drop one and I’m not going to give myself a hard time.”
How Does Michelle Kennedy Stay Motivated?
“You’ve always got to think about why you’re doing what you’re doing. Even on the days when I’m feeling really frustrated, I have to remember why I’m doing what I’m doing and ultimately, I’m doing it because I believe in what I’m doing and I believe in changing things for women. I also want to do something for Fin, and to show him that mummy works hard and if you see something and you want it, you can try and get it. It doesn’t matter if you fail or fall along the way. I want him to see that motivation in me. Even if I’m having a rough day, I want Fin to see that you still go ahead and you do it because anything worth having, you work for.”
Thoughts On Wellbeing
“I’m not very good at wellbeing. I’m a really horrible sleeper, I don’t sleep very well and I find it really difficult to turn my brain off. But there is one thing I do, I use an app called Calm. They’ve got Sleep Stories and every night before bed I listed to one of these Sleep Stories, they are very soothing and often I don’t make it to the end of it and it helps me to turn off my own internal monologue. It’s not even an active ‘me time’ but ultimately it is because I silence everything else that’s going on in my brain. The ‘I must do this for Fin’, or the ‘I need to do this at work’ and I just switch off from that and it really helps me. They have kids ones too so on a Sunday night I can have a little cuddle with Fin before he goes to sleep and we can listen to Wind in the Willows or whatever, it’s totally cute.”
Addressing The Mum Guilt
“The mum guilt is something that I still don’t know how to overcome. I’m working crazy hours and then I look at Fin and I’m like, how come I’m not spending all of my time with him or I make a commitment for work on a weekend and weekends are meant to be my time with him. Ultimately, we’ve all got to make money, so what are us girls to do? My other half literally is bottom of the pile of priorities and the guilt is so, so hard and it can be all consuming, I hate that sense of guilt. Sometimes that internal monologue gets really loud, so for me, switching it off by having the app at bed time works.”
Boost Your Tech Skills
“YouTube is such an unbelievable tool to show you everything and I’m not above Googling something to find out how to do it. Then, if you get a feel for something and want to know more, there are so many good things around at the moment. My friend runs something called Mums in Tech which re-skills women to learn how to code, there are so many opportunities out there, be nosey, have a play around. There’s no shame in Googling or using Youtube for a tutorial video I do it all the time. If I’m doing something on Excel and I can’t remember how to do the formula – Google! No shame in that! What could ever be wrong with being proactive and trying to find an answer, it’s definitely self-improvement, I think there’s no issue with that.”
And on that note, I’m off to download Calm and set up my Peanut profile page via ordering that pink suit.