Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Yo Mama! An Interview with Nearly Nude's Lucy Hosken

Back in 2013 I launched Yo Mama! - a series of interviews with creative, working mums, chatting about work, life, inspiration and the juggle. I've had some awesome women onboard, gaining some brilliant insights into what makes them tick. 

It's been a long time since my last Yo Mama! interview - not for lack of talent, but for lack of time.

Funnily enough, today's Yo Mama! is a wee bit funny. I'm chatting with Lucy Hosken from Nearly Nude. Lucy is very good friends with two of my very good friends. But what I didn't know until I'd met her recently, is that she's the sister of another of my friends (hi Edwina!!). 

I don't know if you can hear it but 'It's a small world' is now playing in your subconscious. (Blame me for that later.)

Anyone that knows me well, knows I love a good foundation garment. It's not just because I am a frockstar (pun intended), it's because underwear can really make or break a gal's day. 

Launched in 2005, Nearly Nude is an Australian brand with a strong global presence. 

Without further ado, let's cut to the chase and chat with Lucy.

How did Nearly Nude all start? I started NN 9 years ago. I had a really low cut top and couldn’t find the right under garments so with an entrepreneurial spirit at heart I though, 'Why not, I can do this!!' Little did I know how much work it would be! Such a roller coaster ride, a fabulous one though.

What was life before Nearly Nude? 
I studied Marketing at University and then worked in magazines for 10 years. I started Nearly Nude in my last year at ACP Magazines and tried to juggle both, then NN got so busy I eventually left the world of magazines. I also had two children whilst trying to build the business so this was a huge challenge just trying to balance my life, work and trying to put the kids first. I think that is an ongoing battle for all working mums.

Tell me what a normal day looks like for you. 
I am not a morning person so normally my little ones jump on me and wake me up at around six. I take the children to school then come home and start my day. I am lucky enough to work from home so it’s very flexible. I normally check emails for for the first hour, then get into any calls I need to make, do the days NN social media and work on any product developments or website strategy. I then pick the kids up, take them to the park or go swimming, make them dinner then pass out!

How do you juggle motherhood with a busy work life? 
Well, this is the ongoing question everyone wants to know and after seven years of doing it I can now confidently say you can’t do it all!!! I used to think I could back in the early days but I genuinely think something has to give and it’s all about priorities. Mine are obviously my children, I love Nearly Nude and it’s my 3rd child in a way but to be honest I realised very early on that you cannot sweat the small stuff. Children are only small for a small time frame and I never want to miss out on anything. I no longer work any weekends or nights, I try to balance it all so we have a happy and balanced family life. I do feel though that this has taken me a good seven years to master! I am finally in a happy balance. In the early days I worked day and night, all weekend and never rested when they were babies, I think after a few years of doing that I almost fell in a heap, it ’s not sustainable. It’s not fun for anyone either but this is what happens when you start your own business.

Career highlights? Getting approached by a large US based lingerie company about selling the overseas rights of my business to them! This was five years ago and we did in fact do that deal. I am still involved in the international business but on a much smaller scale. After all these years of hard work, someone was interested in buying my little underwear company!!

What's the best bit of your work? 
The creativity….I love the design side of it and being able to imagine something and bring it to life. Then taking that product to market and then watching it sell, it’s very rewarding.

And is there a worst bit? 
The admin - which I don’t often do too much of anymore. I luckily joined forces with The Ambra Group in Melbourne earlier this year so they are the most wonderful group of people and they assist with all aspects of running Nearly Nude, it’s a dream come true.

Running your own business, and being a busy mum is tricky. How do you take care of yourself? 
I make sure these days I go to bed early, I am an eight hour a night type of person. When the kids were younger I think I got an average of about three hours a night so I figure I have a lot to catch up on! I am also trying to go swimming a few times a week these days and I have just started Yoga.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received? 
Stay true to your values. In my case it’s about priorities and for me my priority is always my family. If we spend a lot of time together and have fun that is the fuel I need to have the energy to run my business. The rest comes easily.

What's your favourite, must-have piece from the NN collection? 
The Cotton Slip dress, it's made of almost 70% Egyptian Cotton and is also super shaping but Comfortable. It is a staple piece to have in your wardrobe that goes under anything.

What's next for Lucy Hosken? 
At the moment I am just trying to consolidate the existing Nearly Nude Collection, we are also working on some exciting new launches for NN in 2015. We are branching out into everyday underwear so this is very exciting for us. I am continually coming up with ideas and I am sure my family and friends think I am crazy but I love it.. I am sure I will continue to create ideas but for the moment I am in a very happy place with my work/life balance.

Take a look at Nearly Nude's website.
Follow Nearly Nude on Instagram.

This is the 13th interview in my Yo Mama! series. Interviews with creative working mamas. Look out for them weekly. Or almost weekly. 

Monday, 20 April 2015

Life of a big foot: Shoe Shopping tips for ladies with large feet

On the weekend I posted a pic of my new kicks. 

My Converse had lived a long and dedicated life, but they're so flat and don't give support - and you know, it was time for something new. Well Matt told me to buy something new, and so who was I to argue. 

I kept selecting all these cool women's kicks (we were at Hype DC) only to be told that I had to in fact look at the men's shoes. Because my feet are so darn big. 

This is going to sound crazy, but I wanted to walk out. I could feel the heat climbing from my chest, trying to reach my face. I felt really sad about my huge feet. And the fact that not many shoe makers make shoes big enough for big-footed babes. 

But Peter, who was helping me in Hype DC was so super helpful, I stuck around. 

Since forever, shoe shopping has been a real pain the watoozie. During school years I usually wore Doc Martens, men's sneakers, and then graduated to Converse. I remember my Year 10 graduation, I was so stoked to have this new pair of black suede Converse and one of the mum's had a go at me and asked why I would wear *those* shoes with my dress. 

Well - put simply, because I had no other choice. It was Converse (which made me feel cool and kick-ass) or Doc Martens. Needless to say, I didn't feel very grateful for her comments on my footwear, and have remembered what she said to this day.

So this made me think - I know I am not the only woman with big feet. And over the years shoes HAVE started to be upsized (hoorah!), but sometimes navigating your way to those shoe shops is not easy. So here is a list of shoe retailers/makers who accommodate ladies with a lovely long foot.

Habbot: I have a few pairs of these, and it can be hit and miss to what fits me (I have REALLY long toes) - but their returns/exchange policy is excellent, their staff super knowledgeable, and me being in Sydney, and them in Melbourne? Well I've got four pairs of Habbot shoes and that alone can vouch for their awesome-ness. But have a look at the range - aye carumba. Annie Abott is super clever, creative, and they're made in Italy, so you know you're getting some high-quality shoes. 
Goes up to: size 42

Bermuda Black (formerly Marcue): These guys seem to have gone a bit quiet, but keep an eye out for them. Hand-made in Sydney, beautiful shoes and custom made, and with personality to boot (pun intended). Yes please! 
Goes up to: custom

Hobes: the quintessentially cool shoe, Hobes go up to a size 42 in women's shoes. They're more a casual kinda gig, but the cool palette and look can work back with jeans or dresses. 
Goes up to: size 42

Trenery and Country Road: I used to always be able to shop here for shoes, but then they switched who made their shoes a few years ago, and that all went out the window. I can occasionally find heeled shoes that fit. The enclosed flats never fit me, but if it's got a bit of a heel, I can usually make it work. Sandals are usually also good (with a little overlap, but I can live with that). 
Goes up to: size 42

Boden Clothing: Super cool, cute and quirky, on-trend and excellent, Boden has a great range of shoes that make my heart boompity-boompity boom!
Goes up to: size 42

Radical Yes: In case you haven't been on Instagram in the last forever, Radical Yes are the latest cool kid on the shoe block - with a range of ace, quirky and cool flats to take you 'round the world and back.
Goes up to: size 43

Bared: Cool and classic AND designed by a podiatrist (schawing!), these shoes not only look good, but they're ultra-comfy too. 
Goes up to: 45 in limited styles (43 in lots)

Got a big foot? Where do you find kicks? 

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Reading:: Me Talk Pretty One Day (David Sedaris)

I'll be honest - I've been pretty crummy at reading lately. I started the year with great gusto, tearing through three books in one month, and have dwindled to taking two months to read this book.

Which - let me clarify, is no reflection of this book. It's a reflection of me needing to unwind in front of bad tv, with tired eyes, instead of read a book, propped up in bed. 

But today I finished it. Lying on the sofa, with the Doctor fast asleep right next to me, I laughed out loud - so funny is this book, it makes you laugh the whole way through.

I don't think that's an easy thing either, to make someone laugh out loud via a book. But David Sedaris never fails. First published in 2000, it's been out for a long time. A really long time, but it's still as relevant, entertaining and hilarious as ever. 

I read David Sedaris' piece regarding his obsession with his FitBit a few months ago - and it spurred me on to read more of his writing. 

If you want an easy read, that's funny, self-deprecating, and totally good value - read this. I am sure it won't disappoint. Particularly the chapters on living in France. Bloody funny. 

Me Talk Pretty One Day - David Sedaris $16.95 from Booktopia

* Reading is all about what I'm reading. It's not sponsored. It's simply me, reading a book and sharing with you. A book club of sorts. In 2015 it's my goal to read at least one book per month - and share my lowdown on them with you. Maybe you'd like to read along? If so, let me know and we can virtually have a book club. 

Monday, 6 April 2015

Three Movies for the school holidays: Home, The Book Of Life, Cinderella

A couple of weeks ago we had the happy fortune of taking the smalls to a preview of upcoming DreamWorks release 'Home'. And yet here's a picture of me with the lead character. Awkward. 

With the voice skills of Rihanna, Steve Martin and J-Lo, I really had to check it out for myself.

It was funny. It made me laugh.

"It was great. My favourite bit? All of it." - The Doctor, 9.5 yo
"Yeah, I liked it." - Tiny, 7 yo. 

My outtake? I think it's good for younger kids. Younger than my kids. It's a simple storyline. It's funny. But it's not something I think my kids or I want to see again. 

I give it 2.5/5 stars. 

"The Book of Life" was something I was not that excited to see. But we went anyway - and I am ever so glad we did. 

It is freaking brilliant. 

The graphics are enchanting - old-school meets new-school. The story is wonderful. The whole she-bang is ace. And hello people - Channing Tatum's voice is in it. HELLO! 

It's complicated, dark, sad, happy, scary, bright, funny, belly-bouncing funny, I can't say enough good stuff about it. Plus you go for a tour through Mexican history. It's colourful and wacky, and I know you are going to love this as much as I do. 

And it's got Ice Cube. And Biz Markie. And all the goods. Honestly. I am going to buy this movie when it comes out. SO SO GREAT!

How many stars? Give it ALL THE STARS! 

So Matt and I got to go on a date to see 'Cinderella' at the State Theatre. It was pretty darn special. 

Introduced by Cate Blanchett herself, the film was every inch eye candy, staying true to the traditional storyline, and with Blanchett playing a hideously wonderful wicked stepmother. 

Directed by Kenneth Branagh, it's every inch theatrical as you'd expect - and Helena Bonham Carter is delightful as the Fairy Godmother.

I'd recommend this for older kids (6+) because the littlies in the cinema were restless people. And they were kicking the back of my chair. I know this because they were kicking my chair. 

How many stars? 4.5 out of 5. 

Have you seen any of these films? Did you love them or loathe them?

Thursday, 12 March 2015

The case of the disappearing Lexi

Time flies when you're... super busy. 

It's been a while, yes it's been a while. But I've been lurking. Thinking. Dreaming.

One of the highlights of being on hiatus was hanging out with Em from Little Tienda, at Little Nicki's house while being photographed by Luisa Brimble

Honestly, it was a brilliant, bright, wonderful day and I had so much fun! 

Spending time with three excellent strong, talented women was a real coup for me, and filled up my buckets. You know what I mean? When you hang out with people like that you can't help but feel buoyed and inspired. It was really good for my soul. 

Other than that I'm madly trying to get my reading on (I was aiming for two books per month, but hit Feb and FAILED!), working my way through Orange is the New Black (like a true TV binger) and last night I had a little too much champagne. Oops!

Clearly the shoot was the most exciting thing that's happened to me in a looong time.

What's been cooking in your 'hood? 

Monday, 23 February 2015

Oscars 2015: Lupita Nyong'o, Solange, Patricia Arquette, and a whole bunch of other people including Oprah

 Lupita is someone whose style never wavers - and she never fails to try something risky. And 99.99 repeater sign % times. It pays off. I love this pearl encrusted dress. She looks amazing although I am guessing it would have translated better in person (i.e. photography doesn't deliver on the lustre-factor). 

Solange looks like she's become a Scientologist in a 'beam me up Scottie' kind of way. It took a lot for me to say that. Because I love Solange. 

Seriously - Patricia classic in black and white and I am still glowing after her speech. Nailed it. 

Nicky looks like my Crystal Barbie. Except Crystal didn't have that red ribbon off the Lindt bunny. And neither should Nicole. 

Love the colour. Meh about the dress. 

Really, really beautiful Oprah. 

Don't know who this is, but as an avid fan of frocks with pockets, I can relate. However I am not a fan of your Nana's valance re-styled into this dress with pockets. Little Bo Peep can loan you her crook and you can BYO sheep. 

Oscars 2015: Cate Blanchett, Marion Cotillard, Sienna Miller, Julianne Moore's teeth, Rosamund Pike,

As everyone knows Cate Blanchett and I are BFFs and I pretty well hang out with Cate and Andrew like ALL THE TIME. So I know this is really simple, but Cate looks incredible in this column dress. That turquoise is just BOOM! Perfect. I really dig on this. High fives Cate. 

I called it very early (over on Facebook), but I do love Marion Cotillard's dress. Personality, style, and it just looks so banging good on her. And the flip side is cool too, unpredictable and just the way I like it. 

 I didn't even recognise Sienna Miller tonight. I was just clicking through and then reversed to find out who it was. And just in case you missed it: It's SIENNA MILLER.

Julianne Moore - one of my all-time favourites, and here practicing her cheesiest smile for the whole world. If I was her dentist I'd give her a gold star. Actually I'd give her an Allen's Snake, but let's not even go there because that's how I came to have so many fillings. 

The Ice Princess in roaring hot red with the sexiest split. Super beautiful, but I feel like she ran out the door and forgot: 
a) a pedicure
b) her handbag
c) jewellery
d) her smile
e) all of the above

Yeah. Nah. Looks like the designer had to lay a lot of bricks to make this dress. 

 Why does Adam Levine look like a cartoon character?

Margot Robbie, really simple, really beautiful, and I love that she's gone back to blonde. Game over.