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2015 in review

3rd January 2016
us

Enjoying country life!

Happy New Year everyone!   My blogs in 2015 were thin on the ground – thankfully down to a lack of time and brain power rather than a case of ‘nothing to report’.   As we begin a new year I wanted to write about it, mainly so that I remember it myself! Here’s what I got up to:

  1. I relocated my business (and the rest of my life!): In February we moved from Richmond to Fleet – a small town in Hampshire noted for its quality of life, and yes, its service station.  It turned out to be a great decision as we love the laid back pace of life and community feel here, as well as being closer to family.
  2. Chic by Charlotte became my main work: Following my maternity leave and the move, I resigned from my part-time Project Manager role at The Royal Marsden, and now focus my energies on being a mum and an image consultant.  I’ll leave you to guess which is the most exhausting!  It has been a luxury to be able to devote more of my attention to what I really love doing.
  3. Corporate work: I’ve had some very exciting opportunities this year:
  • ‘Christmas in July’, Sainsburys: Every year on a particular day in July, a few major retailers host a launch of their Christmas produce. Sainsbury’s called on CMB to add a little pizazz to their event this year.  And so it was that on the hottest day of the year I found myself at Somerset House surrounded by Christmas jumpers, with ‘Frosty the Snowman’ blaring out! My role was to offer mini colour consultations and help the invited press to find their best looks among the Tu A/W collection. An utterly bizarre and fun day.
  • lisa

    Lisa Snowdon chatting to the GH ladies

    Good Housekeeping and Triumph photoshoot: A couple of weeks later I was asked to work on a photo shoot. A group of Good Housekeeping readers had been invited for a special day which was to be photographed for the latest Triumph campaign. My job was to run a workshop to demonstrate the ladies’ most flattering colours for lingerie.  It was overwhelming to be surrounded by lights and cameras, not to mention that I had to follow Lisa Snowdon (the new face of Triumph) and Poppy D (famous for her ‘What I Wore Today’ blog) in the line-up, but all ran smoothly.  A fascinating insight into the world of magazines, especially the lunch which included a vegan ‘raw chocolate cheesecake’ made primarily of avocados.  Apparently this kind of thing is all the range now but a few months out of London and I felt a real country bumpkin!

  • Max Factor Miracle Match campaign: In September Max Factor launched a new foundation, the USP of which is there’s a shade to suit every skin tone. They got CMB on board to give their campaign some welly.  I spent a week responding to #MiracleMatch tweets, ‘diagnosing’ people’s colouring from selfies they’d tweeted.  This culminated in spending two days on the Max Factor counter in a Boots store giving mini colour consultations.  I’d forgotten how hard it is to be on your feet all day but there’s a thrill about being on the shop floor!
  1. Workshops: The move has given us more space which has enabled me to run regular colour and style workshops for small groups. These have proved popular and have helped to spread the word! Whether the groups know each other or not, there’s a lovely sense of friendliness and support between the women (possibly helped by an ice-breaking glass of Prosecco!).workshop
  2. The Ridgeway School: I’ve been able to donate some of my time this year and a highlight for me was running a workshop for parents and carers of children and young adults at The Ridgeway Community School. This was a group of lovely ladies who don’t get much time to themselves and really enjoyed finding out how a simple scarf and lipstick in their colour could transform them.
  3. Women’s Institute talk: I ended the year on a high with a colour presentation for the 120 strong Camberley WI at their Christmas meeting. I included showing a Christmas jumper to flatter each colouring and offered a lipstick clinic to help the ladies find their perfect shade.  This was a hit and I really could have done with an extra pair of hands!  A real milestone as I’ve always been terrified of public speaking, but finding a subject I love and building up from small workshops to presentations over a number of years meant I was almost nerve-free on the night.
  4. Consultations: My bread and butter is, of course, seeing ladies for colour, style and make up consultations, wardrobe weeding and personal shopping. This is what I love most and has been happily continuing in the midst of all the more unusual jobs I’ve taken on this year.  I’ve been privileged to meet all sorts of kind and interesting and kind people this year who have really blossomed as they’ve discovered how to make the most of themselves.  And I’ve had some lovely feedback which you can find on my Testimonials page, including this wonderful Christmas card:Card

 

Goodbye Richmond, hello Fleet!

24th March 2015

So, life has changed dramatically since last April when our little boy, Ben, arrived.  The last eleven months are a blur of smiles, giggles, time with family and lovely mum-friends as well as more than a few tears, tantrums, and sleepless nights.  Perhaps the temporary decline of the blog was inevitable, but I’m pleased to say we’re now back in business!  While the blog might have been on hold, business itself has been continuing as usual when possible, with colour analysis, style consultations, image makeovers aplenty.  A lovely change of scene from bottles and bedtimes!

Anyway, with the onset of our new life it was only a matter of time before we decided to relocate from our first floor apartment in Richmond to somewhere more suited to family life.  And so we find ourselves in Fleet!  A peaceful, woody haven full of families and situated within a manageable drive from both sets of doting grandparents, plus a hands-on Aunty and Uncle – ideal!

Fittingly, my first client in my new Fleet studio is also embarking on a major life event, with an impending nuptials taking place this year!  It was with her wedding day in mind that Linda booked to see me for a colour analysis.  She didn’t want to go down the traditional white route, preferring to find some of her most flattering colours to give her the wow factor on her big day.

Kevin Ahronson Photography Weddings Portraits Hampshire Surrey-4

Linda arrived with her partner Kevin who, as a professional photographer, was intrigued by the idea of colour analysis (and also pretty suspicious of it as I later found out in his blog!).  With a special interest in recording different elements of the wedding process, up to and including the day itself, Kevin wanted to document the session.  Though I’m not a fan of being in front of the camera, we were almost able to forget he was there – in the nicest possible way!  This meant he captured some lovely images illustrating how the warm shades complement Linda’s red-toned tresses and topaz-ringed eyes.  Kevin had to leave before the end to meet with another couple whose wedding he was photographer for, which meant Linda and I could have a proper chat about what she might choose.  Well, rusty reds, olive greens, corals and golds – Linda can take her pick! Watch this space and hopefully I can fill you in on what she goes for (after the event, obviously!).

swatches

Kevin Ahronson Photography Weddings Portraits Hampshire Surrey-9

Kevin Ahronson Photography Weddings Portraits Hampshire Surrey-8

 

Thank you to Kevin Ahronson for the images used in this blog – http://www.ahronson.com/

Life update!

4th January 2015

After a quiet spell on the blog I thought it was about time for a bit of a life update.  I don’t like to make excuses but the last few months have been particularly busy, not least because we have a baby on the way – due in April! I’ve been lucky not to suffer morning sickness but the initial tiredness was a bit of a drain on my creative juices.  Feeling better thankfully coincided with a very busy time in my other job as a Project Manager at The Royal Marsden, as I geared up to run a large conference.  So although I’ve been beavering away doing lots of colour analyses, style consultations and make-up, I haven’t found the resources to write about it…

I won’t go into too much detail, but highlights from the last few months include:

  • Attending a fantastic conference with my CMB colleagues where the inspiring Sue Donnellydemonstrated some imaginative ways to approach consultations.  Something to think about: if you had to have a tattoo, what would it be, where and why?  Mine would be a small rainbow on the inside of my wrist to illustrate my love of colour and remind me to be positive.
  • Doing image makeovers for several lovely young ladies between the ages of 13 and 17.  I’ve enjoyed rediscovering my inner-teenager, putting together Pinterest boards of styles and celebrities I thought would appeal to them.
  • Doing a handful of mother/daughter colour consultations – my favourites!
  • Doing my first joint husband and wife colour analysis – very sweet to see them complimenting each other on how they looked in their respective colours and make-up (wife only!), and both left excited for their planned shopping trip.
  • Being interviewed by The Career Stylist, Beth Reacher about my ‘portfolio career’ –see the feature in her newsletter.
  • Receiving some particularly nice testimonials.

I don’t like to focus on the lows and I’ve been fortunate enough not to have too many but here are a couple of silly ones:

  • My husband returning to the house looking like this as I was about to head out for a make-up party for five ladies – he’d had a collision with a cyclist while out for a run (and thankfully after some  worry the missing tooth was the extent of his injury!).
  • John teethThe lack of decent maternity-wear out there!  After weeks of feeling bloated and bigger than normal but not big enough to go into maternity clothes I was excited about a little shopping spree as the bump emerged.  My excitement was short-lived when I saw the bland array in the shops.  In fact most of my purchases  have been normal clothes in a loose style or with stretch.  My best buy has been this charcoal sparkly dress in lycra from Oasis which has seen me through the party season and will be worn at every special occasion until D-Day (and probably after!), teamed with this rather gorgeous necklace.

Oasis dressNecklace

Anyway, for the moment I’m feeling good and looking forward to image makeovers aplenty up to when I start maternity leave in early March – I’m evening doing some special offers in the lead up to my time off – take a look!

Lovely lace

8th September 2014

With my ‘romantic’ style personality, I’ve always had a soft spot for lace, so the fact that the lace dress is being hailed as one of THE investment pieces for the new season has already made my autumn!

Lace always looks feminine and this season there are more designs than ever to choose from in a huge range of cuts and colours.  Whether you choose a striking red or black dress for evening wear, or a vibrant blue or delicate lavender that you can wear to lunch with the girls, you can buy now and it will see you through to Spring.

The black lace dress is classic, and always the most popular.  However, black is not for everyone so if you want to wear it and it’s not your best colour, choose one with low neckline, or even strapless so the black isn’t so close to your face. I recently wore a black lace dress for a funeral (the only time I go near black) and found that a softer chiffon at the top of the dress made it less harsh against my light hair, eyes and skin tone. And you can always accessorize according to your colouring to lift the black.

Which is your best lace dress? Take a guess then find out below:

(Clockwise from top left)
LIGHT:With your fair hair, pale skin and light eyes, this gorgeous Phase Eight dress will make you glow!  Light teal will also look striking on you and for something softer, try grey lace with chiffon over a pale shade such as light periwinkle.
DEEP: This beautiful John Lewis number will balance with your strong, dark characteristics and the blue adds a bit of interest.  You wear black best of all the colourings so you can also make the most of the classic black lace dress. Choose deep red or rich burgundy for eye-catching colour.
WARM: You will glow in this teal Yumi dress, which will complement the warm tones in your skin and red hair perfectly.  Dark navy is your black. For a statement shade, go for a brighter emerald green or a bronze overlay.
COOL:  This vibrant blue Kaliko dress will wow against your ashy hair and pink skin tone.  Cerise or fuschia are your statement colours.
CLEAR: This two tone Phase Eight dress will be great with your contrasting dark hair, pale skin and bright eyes.  Otherwise a classic bold red or bright emerald will look fabulous.
SOFT: This soft red Oasis dress will flatter your understated, blended colouring beautifully.  Cocoa and charcoal are also a lovely look for you.

Baby talk

13th July 2014

This may be premature (unlike my baby boy who was nearly two weeks late) but almost 11 weeks on from giving birth to Benjamin the fog is starting to lift and we are settling into a new ‘normal’*. Not only that, but I can now see what all the fuss is about when it comes to babies! Since making his entrance into the world in April, Benjie has developed from a curled up little new-born to a smiley, communicative miniature person – some of the time anyway!  Those moments when he’s in a good mood mean I’ve actually started to get out of bed with a teeny spring in my step, even after the longest of nights.

570

The first few weeks really were like nothing I could have imagined and passed in a sleepless haze of endless feeding, nappies, painkillers, phone-calls to my mum and, thankfully, visits from lovely family and friends who showered us with cards, gifts, support and FOOD.

Anyway, onto the matter in hand.  Yesterday, after a break of three months I saw a fabulous, high-flying yummy mummy for a colour and style consultation, while my boys went on a bonding expedition to Kew Gardens.  Soon after she arrived I’d forgotten all about my new ‘mum’ status and was engrossed in doing something else I love – helping someone gain confidence and get excited about clothes and make-up.  So feeling re-energised I wanted to write a blog, using the bubble I’ve been in for the past couple of months as my context.  Here’s what I learned about style, and more importantly, comfort, for the lead up to and the very early days as a new mum.

Labour

  • Let’s be brutal, labour is an unglamorous business.  However, when I went to Primark to buy my two ‘baggy t-shirts’ listed on the NCT labour must-haves, I did pick them out in my colour – a light coral. Well, there’s no point in looking worse than you have to! Just as well I liked it as I was still covered in coral-coloured bits of fluff several showers later.  The t-shirts matched my pedi, efficiently carried out two weeks in advance of my due date.  By the time I went into labour four weeks later my toes were looking chipped and the worse for wear, but at that point I really didn’t care. Still, it’s nice to have a bit of pampering while you’re waiting for baby to make an appearance.

Nightwear

  • Before I started NCT I’d asked my sister for some new pyjamas for my birthday for my hospital bag.  She’d picked out a gorgeous floral pair in the pastel shades that suit me best.  I got a rude awakening when I looked at the NCT must-haves, which listed ‘pyjamas in dark colour’.  The florals were hastily returned and exchanged for a navy Primark pair – not what I would choose.  Sadly, I have to agree with NCT that straight after having a baby is not the time for a ‘light’ to embrace her colours in nightwear.  I found it wasn’t worth spending a lot and other important criteria were cool (hospital is hot!), soft and stretchy.

Lounging around wear

  • I spent a few days in hospital following the birth.  Not having anticipated this, I’d optimistically packed my maternity jeans (which hadn’t fitted for three months) and a loose top as my ‘going home’ outfit.  However, I soon found out that whatever kind of birth you have you are unlikely to want to go anywhere near jeans for at least a week.  Leggings all the way.  Also, maybe it’s a good idea to make a list of what you’d want if you did have to stay which you can present to the relevant person should the need arise.  I learned this the hard way when my husband turned up with an assortment of my gym-wear.  What I found I wore in that couple of weeks, at hospital and at home, was LEGGINGS, as I said, and loose t-shirts in my colours (I needed all the help possible to look human) with stretchy vests underneath.  The up and under option (up with the t-shirt and under with the vest) is the easiest I’ve found for feeding…but that’s a topic for another blog.

*This definitely was premature – I wrote this a week ago and haven’t had a minute to upload it to my website due to a very grizzly baby and severe sleep deprivation!

Camera shy

2nd October 2013

A few weeks ago I was approached by the lovely Creative Director of Colour Me Beautiful, Veronique Henderson who asked whether I’d like to be interviewed for the new CMB YouTube channel.  It’s hardly like being asked to appear on The Graham Norton show, but a big deal to me.  You see, standing in front of a camera, or worse, seeing myself on screen is enough to bring me out in a cold sweat.  I’ve always been a little (video) camera-shy and I’m not sure that looking back at my teenage self in videos from the 90s has helped matters! But if there’s one thing I hate even more than the camera, it’s saying no to something I should have a go at.  Saying that, on one occasion I was stopped one the street by Myleene Klass to comment on a 10 Years Younger lady and refused!  Anyway, on this occasion I managed to say ‘I’d love to’.

A little too much black for my liking!

It seems I’m not the only lady who shies away from the limelight.  Last week, I was invited by  Anna De Vere, CMB’s Director of Corporate Training and Development, to accompany her to  a ‘Women in the Media’ networking event run byPrimedia Solutions.  The event was about encouraging successful female executives to engage more with the media.  Guest speaker, Siobhan Kennedy, Business Correspondent for Channel 4 News, highlighted the difficulty of recruiting female interviewees, to the point where entire stories often have to be shelved in order for the channel to comply with equality regulations.  I had no idea that this was a problem common to other women.

Showing this beautiful deep lady some colours to avoid

My role for the evening was not ‘successful female executive’ but to give mini-colour consultations to the guests.   Also on offer were hair consultations and mini-makeovers.  Why?  Well, one reason for this under-representation of women in the media is that women tend to worry more than men about their appearance on camera.  This proves a distraction and impacts on performance in an interview situation, which in turn affects self esteem – so a vicious circle emerges.   So the idea of the event was to get these women feeling confident enough to take their place in front of the camera next time the opportunity arises.

Andrew Barton

The evening was hosted by Andrew Barton, celebrity hairdresser from ‘1o Years Younger’ at his gorgeous salon in Covent Garden. As he said, not a typical venue for networking, but actually what could be more natural place for a group of glamorous women to gather?!  After a some inspiring words from some seasoned interviewees including Dale Murray CBE (who has appeared as a panellist on The Apprentice – You’re Fired’!) and Peter Ibbetson, Director at Primedia Solutions, the champagne and canapés were flowing and guests could try the treats on offer.  Within minutes we had a long line of ladies queuing to find out their colours.  Everyone I saw was super-enthusiastic and amazed to find new colours that could make them look and feel younger, healthier and more confident, and mix and match to create an easy capsule wardrobe.  A moment that stands out is one lady who was convinced I couldn’t tell her anything new, who was absolutely stunned to see a combination of purple and burnt orange transform her!

As for me, well I’m going to practise what I preach! I recognise now that I’ve learnt a thing or two since those embarrassing teenage videos (not to mention the braces are off and I’ve discovered hair mousse!).  Maybe I still won’t like being in front of the camera but feeling that I’ve dressed to my colours and shape may give me a little extra confidence.  Coming soon to a small screen near you soon!

The trickiest accessory…

21st July 2013

Up to recently, occasion headpieces (my collective name for hats, hatinators and fascinators) have been something I’ve admired from afar but personally avoided.  This comes from a deep-routed idea that I am not a hat person, due to my large head and square jaw line.  Adding a hat to this lovely combination of characteristics usually only serves to emphasise them.

But with my brother-in-law’s nuptials approaching and feeling inspired by Ascot, I felt my wedding outfit needed something to top it off.   My crafty and creative friendly Dacia had recently asked me for some colour advice when creating a fascinator for a mother of the groom. I was so impressed when I saw her masterpiece that I knew there was only one woman for the job.

Knowing that the style for headwear this year is veering away from flimsy fascinators I wanted something more substantial with a hint of drama.  And while I know matchy-matchy is not cool at the moment (although I hear that’s about to change) I stayed true to my style personality (borderline OCD when it comes to matching my accessories to what I’m wearing) and asked her to use a couple of colours from the floral print of my dress.

A week later, Dacia presented me with the finished article.  I was wowed! It met my brief but completely surpassed my expectations.  Its height and curved lines lengthen my square face shape and offset my angular jaw, it is big enough to
make a statement without making me feel silly and the colour match was beyond perfect.  It stayed on my head until the last dance and I loved every minute of wearing it.

A headpiece can turn an outfit into something special, but can be disastrous if it’s not done right! It should compliment your colouring, be in proportion with your scale and height, flatter your face shape and of course, work with the rest of your outfit.

If you’d like to know how to attract attention for all the right reasons with this tricky accessory, I can show you how, just get in touch. And once you know what you want, talented Dacia can help to turn your vision into reality – find out more (and give her a like!) on her Lilac and Lily Facebook page.

And the bride wore…

13th May 2013

Last year, after years of wondering when I might be a bridesmaid, my friend Cathy finally popped the question.   In fact, this was before her boyfriend, Joe, had even popped the question to her.  When she rang with news of her engagement and confirmation of my position a few weeks later I was overjoyed – I would get to go wedding dress shopping! (Oh, and of course thrilled for the lovely couple.  When Cathy was my bridesmaid, she was excited to the point that my husband apologised during his speech for imposing on her special day).

When our shopping day arrived, Cathy informed me that she’d already bought a dress she’d seen in a sale. After a quick try-on we agreed it could be a back up option but we couldn’t let the fact she already had a dress get in the way of a day’s shopping.

Cathy wanted to avoid the bridal boutiques so we headed forCoast.  This particular store had an exclusive wedding fitting room with a chaise longue on which I spent the next several hours luxuriating with a glass of fizz.  Meanwhile Cathy stepped out of the cubicle in ivory dress after ivory dress.  She tried long, short, ruffled, bejewelled, strapless, sleeves, chiffon, silk, A-line, fishtail.  Although I thought she looked stunning in many of them, for her something just didn’t feel right.

A couple of years earlier Cathy had had a colour analysis with me.  With her dark hair, pale skin and gorgeous hazel eyes, her colouring is clear, cool and deep and she looks best in colours that share her characteristics.  She favours the deeper colours in her palette.

We concluded it wasn’t the styles that were the problem: it was the colour. Cathy decided it was time to step away from the white.  A few dresses later, she’d found ‘the one’ – a beautifully flattering, strapless number in…well I won’t spoil the surprise.

A few months later, after several glasses of wine Cathy plucked up the courage to tell me that she had found another ‘the one’ and therefore now had a total of three dresses hiding in various places around the flat she shares with Joe. Cathy has always had phenomenal ability to shop, so I’m not sure why I was surprised.  This one was the same colour but had straps and a few extra details.

When the big day arrived, Cathy had settled on ‘the one’ number three.   As she walked down the aisle it was clear she had made the right decision.  By bucking the traditional white and choosing one of her ‘wow’ colours with vibrant accents of cheery yellow daffodils and hot pink shoes to match her strong, contrasting colouring, Cathy looked fantastic, oozed confidence and had added a sense of individuality to her wedding day. Needless to say, the groom was wowed by the beautiful bride, as were all the guests.

Cathy is a great example of a bride doing things differently.  Whether you’re a bride looking for advice on colours, styles and make-up for you and your bridesmaids or a member of the wedding party or guest wanting to dress your best on for a special day, I would love to help – just get in touch.

And here she is!

 

The journey to my perfect handbag

26th March 2013

Last Saturday I spent the day re-living the weekends of my teenage years, working on the shop floor.  Although I used to love my Saturday job at BHS (except for the terrifying weekly possibility of being sent to the manager’s office for not pushing enough ‘Gold Cards’ – only slightly offset by the Bacardi Breezer incentive for the winner) it was a real treat to be in the more premium environment of the Radley store at Westfield, Shepherds Bush.

Radley have a bright and colourful spring/summer 2013 handbag collection and asked Colour Me Beautiful to collaborate with them to help launch it.  The launch was marked with a series of short films about colour analysis and some in-store events comprising the winning combination of vibrant macaroons, pink champagne, handbags and mini-colour consultations with Colour Me Beautiful consultants.  So I had the pleasure of offering browsers the chance to discover their most flattering colours and find their perfect handbag.

At the end of the day I had the excitement of choosing a bag of my very own!  However, as I discovered, choosing a handbag is not always easy.  I had been on the Radley website for weeks in advance of the event doing my research, but just couldn’t narrow it down.  I wanted them all. In the end I took the scientific approach, using the following criteria to help me:

Purpose: Gents, I’m afraid it’s a fact of life that women need more than one handbag.  Imagine arriving in the boardroom with a beach bag or at ball with a satchel – no siree!  So make sure you’re clear on the job of your handbag before you buy.

My purpose: I wanted a medium sized bag, large enough for my diary and Kindle, to take to the office for my other part-time job.

Colour: If you want to play it safe then find a neutral colour that suits you and goes with everything.  If there are colours that are in your colour palette that you love but are shy of wearing, a handbag in that colour is a subtler way of wearing it and will add fun and interest to your wardrobe.  Clashing colours and two-tone bags are on trend so if these suit your personality, go for it.

My colour:  I wear a lot of colour and prints so I want to avoid overkill with my bag. I chose a plain bag in a gorgeous, neutral, charcoal-blue from my ‘light’ palette.

Shape: The shape of your bag needs to follow the line of your body. For example, Rectangles, Lean Columns and Inverted Triangles need structured bags to reflect the lines and angles of their bodies. Softer, unstructured bags work best for those with a Full Hourglass or Round shape. Triangles should avoid bags that hang at hip level as they will add width to the widest area.

My shape: I’m a mixture of curvy and straight and managed to find a bag with a structured shape but curvy edges.

Scale: your bag needs to be in balance with your overall scale – a small bag will be lost on a larger woman and an oversized bag will swamp someone who is petite.

My scale: I chose a  medium sized to go with my average scale – happily, this fits with the bag’s purpose too – not always the case.

Style personality: You might prefer neat and classic bags to slouchy, more relaxed styles or you might be drawn to dramatic details or colours – go with your gut on this!

My style personality: Hmm I’m a ‘romantic’ and love lots of pretty detail.  The bag I chose is relatively plain but I can add frills and fancy elsewhere.  Sometimes you have to bend the rules and compromise on one of two of your criteria.

So – here is the little beauty!  This is my second Radley, the first was a graduation present many years ago…but I think this is the beginning of a long relationship.

Mum’s the word

27th February 2013

With the big reveal of Kate’s baby bump (or molehill), IVF in the headlines, and Mother’s Day just around the corner, Mums are clearly where it’s at.  I see a huge range of people for colour analysis,style consultations and make-up lessons, from business women looking to progress their careers to hen party groups wanting an afternoon of fun – and motherhood is something many of them have in common.

I see lots of Mums with young children and it’s great to see them enjoy some ‘me time’.  They come because they’ve lost confidence, lost sight of themselves, need to start thinking about a work wardrobe or are not sure how to dress for their shape, which often changes after pregnancy.  The ultimate job satisfaction for me is to watch someone like this who arrives feeling worn out and lacklustre leave with a spring in their step after I’ve helped them to discover  how to look younger, healthier and less tired than they feel by wearing the shapes, trends, colours and make-up that suit them.

I also see many Mum and daughter duos – from  the awkward  teenager with a despairing Mum wanting to steer her away from black, to the step-mother (or step-mother to be) trying to bond with her step-daughter, to the more mature lady treating her elderly mother.  Whatever the situation between them, a few hours spent together doing something positive and uplifting like this seems to work wonders for their relationship. And while as a professional I try to take a tactful approach, having a pair so comfortable together that they don’t mind ‘saying it how it is’ can be very helpful!

So a colour, style or make up consultation makes a fabulous Mother’s Day (birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s) gift – it’s a fun, relaxing, pampering experience that will benefit the recipient for years.  To celebrate Mother’s Day I am offering a free lipstick in your (or your mum’s) colour with every colour analysis, style consultation or make-up lesson voucher bought by 10th March.  If you would like to find out more, do contact me – I’d love to hear from you.

My only regret is that I can’t offer my own Mum the gift of a consultation – she has her own image consultancy, Style Potential, in the New Forest.  My Mum and I trained together two years ago and I must say this in itself was a lovely mother/daughter bonding experience.  It was also a bit of a revelation –  I discovered she takes a ‘relaxed’ approach towards learning, and breezed seemingly effortlessly through the process while I was left feeling like the class swot when trying to compare homework notes with her on our daily commute – “what homework?” was her usual response!  Despite our different approaches Mum and I share a huge passion (my long-suffering husband and dad would say obsession) for our new-found careers and we were surprised and delighted to be crowned joint ‘Best Newcomers’ by Colour Me Beautiful in 2011.