Eyeliner on the School Run

Eyeliner on the School Run

Up until just recently I was a commuting working mum. A mum who dropped her kids off with an amazing childminder 4 days a week, hopped on a train and worked in an office with other nice adults. Rather than a freelance, working from home, trying to juggle a jelly, a peeled banana and a nappy with a turd in, working at home mum. Obviously, not technically those particular objects but trying to juggle housework, mumming, actual real life paid design work and this funny old world of blogging.

 Even as I sit at my kitchen table trying to write this while the littlest one naps I can hear him stirring from his sleep MUCH earlier than normal and I am about to lose my precious window of writing. I am being an awful mum, ignoring the noise and hoping he might go back to sleep. Please don’t call social services on me for letting him whinge for 10 minutes, I just really want to write at least 10 sentences. He probably has a massive shit in his nappy and that’s why he is moaning. He’s been in bed for an hour and 48 minutes, which is an acceptable nap time but I was counting on him having at least 2 hours so I could write this.

Any way life as a freelance mama is much harder than I imagined. I am pretty organised, I’ve always been good at managing my time. When I worked in an office and managed a team, I was always good at time management and helping them manage theirs. I have never been a ‘leave it until the last minute and then work really late’ kind of person. I was always on top of stuff so there was never any stress. I really bloody hate stress, stress doesn’t suit me. I’m an arsehole when I’m stressed.

Working at home while trying to manage 3 boys, cooking meals, grocery shopping, keeping my house tidy (and occasionally clean), homework, families, friendships, staring at my phone, exercise, box sets, drinking wine, having fun and sleeping (phew I think that’s it?!) is much, much harder than I thought it would be and my time management is now poor, very poor. Somehow after everything gets done I’m left with approximately 43 minutes to get anything done for myself. Then I just feel pissed off.

But there is one thing that really helps me tackle all of the above and it is getting properly ready every morning. By properly ready I mean shower, hair washed and dried, and make up. I have to wash my hair otherwise I get greasy stringy fringe, which is quite frankly unacceptable. The only exception to this rule is on a Saturday when I have 8am boot-camp. To be honest though, even then I manage a bit of make-up because without concealer and blusher I look like a heroin addict.

I don’t do it for anyone but myself. It makes me feel like I can tackle life. It stops me from teetering on the edge. Over the years I have had a bit of grief about it too. My family were always making digs as to how long it takes me to get ready…. ‘well we will probably be late as Lucy has to do her face’. Can I just categorically state now that it takes me 30 minutes to get ready, shower and hair included. If I’m really stuck for time I can do it in 20. I can hear you saying well you could use that extra half an hour to do something productive? But by getting ready it makes me about 10 times more productive.

As I mentioned before, until recently I have always got ready to go to an office, and it’s the getting ready bit that I miss the most. That and my nice quiet train journey where no-one asks me for anything and I can read a book and gather my thoughts. So, this getting ready for an office each day is part of my routine, but this time I’m getting ready for the school run, playgroup or sitting at my tiny Ikea desk. I still apply that blusher and eyeliner. Without it I don’t feel like me. A lot of mummy bloggers and influencers talk about the power of a bright lip detracting from tired eyes and I’m so in that camp, but for me its eyeliner. I love a bright lip, but it’s not essential to my confidence and sanity. On the school run the other day someone asked me what time I got up as my hair and makeup must take so long. I get up at 7am on school mornings and I think that’s pretty ok isn’t it? When I went back to work after having Jesse my alarm would go off at 5.45 so I could get everything done, and everyone fed and watered. But I did it as that’s what made me capable of managing the day. I needed that 30 minutes of getting ready time.

For me the power of makeup isn’t about vanity, worrying about how you look to others. It’s about how it makes you feel. After I had Charlie and we were in hospital for a while, as the days went on and we both started to feel better I started to put some makeup on again.

It is just the same as your dressing style. Or your choice of footwear. I’ve got many friends who are shorter and always wear a heel. No one questions it, it’s just what they do. If wearing red lipstick to a meeting with your directors makes you feel more confident about presenting then good for you. If wearing eyeliner on the school run makes me feel like I can manage my day better, then good for me. If wearing any makeup makes you feel uncomfortable then that’s fine too. Or if you would prefer an extra half an hour in bed, go for it.

During mental health week, there was a campaign called #howcanihelp and many people were asked to list all the things that kept them going, helped them keep their balance in this crazy world, whether they had mental health problems or not. I listed mine and I totally forgot to put ‘putting my game face on’ We can’t underestimate the power of makeup or belittle it as it seems vain. The benefits it can give to someone’s confidence and mental wellbeing are endless. If you are ever feeling a bit crappy about yourself I can’t recommend a little swipe of a mac lipstick (my fav is tropic tonic if you are interested) or a swish of bobbi brown everlasting gel eyeliner, coffee is my shade on this, black is a bit harsh in my old age 😉 But like I said we are all different.IMG_5644

Check out the chunk

 An attempt to get all three boys in a school run selfie

Fashion YES or Fashion NO

Fashion YES or Fashion NO

One of my first posts was all about how my ideas of fashion have changed since I have become a mum. It was all about what suits me and what I feel confident in and how that has changed. After I wrote this I had lots of people asking me if ‘teetering on the edge’ was going to be a fashion blog. After working for 15 years in the Fashion Industry and having done a fashion degree this probably seemed logical to them. I do think about what what I’m going to wear and its a conscious decision every day, even if I am just doing the school run and sitting at my computer. I love clothes and choosing outfits. What I wear everyday makes me feel together and confident as does makeup and decent hair.

My initial answer was no. I tried to explain the blog is all about teetering on the edge as a mummy. Teetering on the edge of making a good or bad decision. Whether its big life decision like going to the doctors because you feel really low or its a decision about whether wearing a ripped jean with a dress over it makes you look like a knob at 38 years old. Its just about how as mum or a busy adult there are so many daily situations that I feel like I’m teetering on the edge, its just about making something succeed or it failing terribly because I totally pushed my luck.

Anyway, every single morning I teeter on a fashion edge. When I was going into an office 3 or 4 days a week it was easy. But now I’m not, I struggle. As I have mentioned before I’m a skinny jeans and loose top/shirt/sweatshirt kind of girl. I love a sneaker, I also love a little heel or a bit of leopard for confidence. I totally love colour, print, embroidery, anything neon or metallic (as long as it adheres to the guidelines above) But I doubt myself every day now. I never used to. I know its because my situation has changed. Its also because I have been pregnant 3 times and got over my post baby body 3 times and my body, face, skin and hair has changed so many times.

fashion 1
This look is a definite Fashion YES for me these days, not exactly sexy. Dungarees- Topshop, Shirt- And Other Stories, Jacket – Madewell, Sneakers- Air and Grace.

In my wardrobe I have loads of wicked shirts and blouses. I have 3, yes 3 blue and white striped jazzy Zara shirts. I love them all but I just haven’t worn them as much as I thought I would. It just doesn’t feel right for baby music class and sitting at my kitchen table. When I wore the lush embroidered one the other day, mum came over and asked if I was out that night (I don’t mind that…. but I wasn’t) then last week I wore the one with the crazy tassles at the bottom and two of my besties popped over for coffee and one asked if I had an interview later as I was looking posh! None of this is so awful I hear you cry and I should just wear what i want but its about what you wear making you feel good. With the popularity of dress like a mum on the up and up and where she is a massive advocate for just chuck it all on. The more pink, embroidery and metallic the better. She looks amazing, as do many other mums. I don’t. I look like a female version of Timmy Mallet on wackaday (Is that how you spell it?) Ultimately though its about how you feel about yourself and I feel like a tool dressed like that.


fashion 11
Doing the Housework and chilling with my bub in one of my fav jazzy Zara shirts.



fashion 3
Trusted Fashion YES formula- jeans and jacket- Topshop, Sweatshirt- Cos, T shirt- H and M and Traners- Adidas Gazelles


So every morning I look in my wardrobe and peruse and sometimes decide to put on something totally inappropriate or just plain odd. I know all the bits above aren’t really a big deal, its not like I’m deciding to wear a PVC catsuit or a crop top on the school run, but after a while it has started to wear away my getting dressed confidence. I have this lush burgundy tunic dress from Whistles that I got in the sale at Christmas I have previous season’s versions in navy and washed denim and they have been worn endlessly. Such easy pieces to pop on over a polo neck or a Breton, they have earned their pounds per wear. I looked at it this morning and thought ‘ Gosh (I would never actually say gosh) I have barely worn that!’ My jobs today were a hospital appointment for baby Charlie and writing this post. I thought jeans under the dress will dress it down and I will still look cool and well put together? Well I felt like I was still at uni in brighton circa 2001 and all I needed were some acupuncture trainers to finish it off.

I love buying clothes, but I’m not a willy nilly spender. Since babies and a mortgage I always have to be able to justify buying something, I always have to be able to calculate the pounds per wear. All the lush bits in my wardrobe were all bought with thought and consideration. I love a basic but I love a wow jacket or shirt too, i will always dress them down with jeans and sneaks. But I cant seem to get my head out the fact I don’t go into a fashion office every day now. The days I feel like I’m not teetering on an edge and have a definite fashion YES are when I’m in trusty high waist ripped skinnies or boyfriends (Mom jeans are not designed for c section bellys) black and white or navy and white stripe, denim and khaki. With some camouflage, a bright pop or my leather to make feel trendy. Oh and not forgetting the trusted Mr Tumble dungarees. This basically blanks out 90 percent of my wardrobe and that just makes me sad.

fashion 2
Rocking the Mr Tumble look. Outfit details as above.


I’m sure like many other time poor mums I don’t have the time to really ponder on my outfit for that day. I decide in the shower. The above formula is a no brainer for me. I have so many mummy friends who don’t think about it and just look effortlessly chic and casual. I’m hoping that’s what I portray but to be honest these days I question it at least half the time. On a night out, I usually need the first drink to think yeah I’m good, I’m rocking this, or yes I’ve made a really good understated statement (You girls know what I mean eh?)

fashion 7
Christmas Party outfit with the trusted Leopard boots. Boots- Next, jeans- Topshop, sequin sweat- Next and Shirt-Cos.


Don’t get me started on the days I’m heading into town for work or going out…. well actually you can. This is much easier. The jazzier shirts come out, the leather, the orange lippy. The Leopard…. of course the leopard. I cant actually believe I haven’t mentioned the leopard print. Especially leopard shoes. My lovely friend is a leopard bag fanatic, mine is shoes. So this winter the outfit game changer for me were some Air and Grace leopard trainers and some Next leopard ankle boots. The trainers were reassuring for any day to day outfit and the boots were my confidence saver for any going out situation. They totally stopped me from teetering on the fashion edge.

fashion 8
Father Christmas brought me THE best trainers ever.


Anyway, I’m sure with time I’ll find my fashion formula for my new freelance life. I’ll carry on filling my Zara basket with stuff I wont wear or buy- this lush jumpsuit has been hanging around in my basket on Zara for a couple of weeks. If I was doing the office thing still it would have earned its keep by now. Its not revolutionary, but so easy.

fashion 9


In the mean time ill carry on looking for the summer game changer, its always footwear for me. I’m thinking some orange or yellow high throat flats or low courts for going out (see the next ones or topshop ones, let me know which you prefer?)  and some silver supergas or grey snake vans for casual…. what do you think? then there’s these lush topshop laofers! These on the school run? Let alone bright lippy when I have nowhere to go. The home counties won’t know how to cope.

fashion 10

fashion 6fashion 4fashion 3


fashion 2fashion 1

As for sandals I think ill stick with my trusted nanna sandals. you cant beat a birko eh?