Now I have always loved fake tan, fake tan has not always loved me however (burnt looking knees and elbows, patchy hands etc etc etc). But it’s something I do that makes me feel better, I feel more confident and healthy with a tan. SO when I became a new mum and was in the two hour window of change, feed, sleep then repeat, finding 8 alone hours to myself to allow my fake tan to dry and develop seemed impossible. I gave it a good go, cue then night feeds painfully aware whilst nursing I'm probably unintentionally tanning my baby’s tummy and face, then remembering we have a music class to attend the next day and how would I explain this?!
So the days of waiting 6-8 hours for a tan to develop where momentarily out of reach. (Just momentarily, there will be a day where baby does sleep through the night and you can have that tan again) So I discovered the fast tan, you only need 1-3 hours for your tan to develop, my favourite is St Moriz Pro 1 hour tan at £6 it’s a bargain and I love the results.
In the early days of having a baby it was more so a focus of just put on the tan and move on to the next thing, but now my children are older I can pamper myself more. I take one evening a week where I will scrub and exfoliate then put my tan on to really milk the experience.
I used to love my acrylic nails and do sometimes get them from time to time now. But practical wise I found them a nuisance with a small baby. The amount of times you’re changing a baby’s bum from black tar, to green tar, to mustard seeds, to regular mustard poos it became a chore to scrub underneath my nails as well. Of course I was also concerned I'd scratch the baby, not that I wore them as long as Kylie Jenner. So I adapted to Gel nails over my natural nails. I went as far as training to become a Nail Technician from home which taught me a lot of the things I didn't know about the Gel nail application and a lot of things I could live without knowing (anatomy of the nail was a struggle to get through) But over time I purchased everything I need to do my own gel nails from home and can do so now on a fortnightly basis.
It's important to stress the "over time" as it can be expensive. I love the brand Blue Sky but the bottles can range from £5-£7 a colour, not to mention everything else you will need from the LED lamp, base coat, top coat etc etc. By doing my own gel nails it’s easier for me as I can fit it in around my own schedule, I can choose and order the colour I want ahead of time, It makes me feel put together if my nails aren't chipped, but it can be time consuming initially whilst you get to grips with the application and definitely not as relaxing as getting it done in a salon.
I'd say exercise is a big part of what I enjoy doing, it’s something I have always done and over the years I have had countless gym memberships and when I finally dragged myself there I would focus on cardio. Just cardio. All I cared about was burning at least 500 calories so I could go home again. When I became a new mum my gym membership had long ran out and finding the childcare, money and energy to go to a gym was out of the question. So I adapted and started home workouts. Initially I'd use my workout DVDs I'd collected over time, the likes of Josie Gibson’s and Charlotte Crosby’s were my favourite. But I found them repetitive and not obviously new mum friendly with all of the jumping (If you know, you know)
So I tried a mixture of different activities until I found what I loved. I tried for a few months a mum and baby exercise class local to me, which was fantastic as it got me out the door whilst I had undiagnosed post-natal depression, it allowed me to be with my baby but whilst exercising, and initially she would be asleep during the class when she was young. Then as she got older and started crawling the class became impossible as I spent more time chasing her away from climbing over other babies than actually doing the workouts. I tried an outside pram and mum exercise class, which again was lovely as it got me out the house, allowed me to be with my baby and rain or shine we were working out whilst she was safely contained in her pram.
But as she got older it became harder so that class stopped too. So I went back to my home workouts but this time after realising cardio was out of the question I purchased some weights and started weight training. It was a complete game changer for me and again it can be expensive so I went slowly and purchased what I wanted over time, places like ALDI are good at selling weights and exercise mats.
Now I could fit in a 15-20 minute workout whilst being absolutely focused on my exercise whilst my baby napped or played happily at home with her toys or was eating her lunch next to me. I found weight training I got more sweaty and could feel it working more so in what I used to do in an hour at the gym doing cardio.
I'd also add never underestimate walking. Although I prefer a workout where I get sweaty and can feel the workout, walking daily is a great gentle exercise to ease you back in.
almost 6 years on I've still not purchased a gym membership and have no intentions of doing so, my weights have built up and resistance bands have been added and I aim for 3-4 exercises a week, sometimes its 0 but It's something I always come back to.
I have had many colours over the years but I gravitate towards blonde and now I'm almost 30 and the grey hairs are looming I feel blonde will hide them best so blonde is where I shall stay. But being blonde can be high maintenance and expensive. I tried home colouring when I had darker hair and although it personally washed me out as I went too dark for my skin tone (despite my dark fake tan) I found going to a professional hairdresser is best to achieve the colour I want. Finding your hairdresser is like finding a gold mine, once you've found one you like hang on to them! I've had my hairdresser for almost 4 years since she saved my hair colour a week before my wedding day thanks to a different dodgy hairdresser. Jess introduced me to a shadow root. By giving me a shadow root or a smudged root it allowed me to go months between visits before I needed to have a touch up, being cost effective and luckily I love the style so will continue to do so. I now tend to go every 4-6 months (lockdown permitting) and it allows me to save up money in-between visits and also not worry about childcare every 6 weeks.
I also discovered the "mum bun" since becoming a mum. My husband called my hair this when I was in the early days of our eldest and I have since discovered he did not in fact make up this term, but it is widely used and loved by a lot of mums and I can see the appeal!
Having your hair down for a new mum for me personally was distracting, especially when you need to put on all of your PPE to change the monstrosity of a poo explosion, the last thing you'd need is your hair getting caught up in the mix.
I didn't have the time to style my hair whilst being down, so throwing it up in a mum bun was time effective too. Not to mention with my post-partum hair loss there were hairs everywhere, if you ever lost me in the house you'd just have to follow the badly coloured, home dyed hairs and that’s where I was.
Also when your holding your baby and your making eye contact and feel like it’s just you two in the world and you see their tiny hand reaching up towards you and you admire how perfect they are, just for them to grab hold of your hair in a clenched white knuckle grasp that you then have to pry open whilst crying at losing even more hairs.
So a mum bun is my go to on the daily pretty much.
5. Make up
Now I'm really not a makeup professional in any which way. I can't even apply my own fake lashes, but I did discover the foundation that works for me years ago and that in itself feels like an achievement. When I had my first baby I feel like contouring wasn't popular back then, or maybe it was and I'm just really out of touch but I definitely didn't have that in my makeup routine. But I did have liquid black eyeliner with a cat flick. Now this is something I found really hard to achieve with a new baby.
It’s hard enough to have a steady hand to do said cat flick but try doing it under pressure because your baby’s fussing at not being held for 5 minutes or you do try holding them then realise you've made a grave error and definitely cannot do your eyeliner one handed but daren't put the baby down as you'll be back to square one.
So initially I gave up the black liquid eyeliner and started to wear an eyeshadow instead to make up for my now bald eyes. I have green eyes so I started buying browns and gold eyeshadow, my favourite for day to day was by urban decay but at just under £12 for one small pot it was soon becoming an expensive favourite. I then tried using my bronzer as my eyeshadow and have been hooked ever since, for a day to day look it worked well and I didn't have to faff with finding different products.
After figuring out my eye situation next was lipstick, I'm not one for a bold lip colour but a nude pink was always my go to. But now I had the conundrum of either a lipstick or kissing my baby. Of course kisses took priority. I remember one time at a baby music class I was feeling low so I did put on a pop of lip colour for the class, and the one time I did was the time the song we were doing we ended it by kissing our baby all over. So there’s me thinking oh for fu...SO I had to fake it, I had to fake kiss my baby because I was mortified I'd been as foolish to wear a colour then didn't want to make my baby all sticky and stained with this bloody colour I chose. So I started wearing a lip moisturiser so I had the shine but also could still give my baby all the kisses.
My makeup routine also became a lot quicker. I didn't have the time to put concealer on or pencil in every little eyebrow it was more of a case of foundation, bronze cheeks and eyes, mascara, tiny bit of brow pencil and lip moisturiser so all in all I could do it in probably 5 minutes.
So moral of the story is these are all things I do to make me feel like ME. I lost myself after having my baby and found by continuing to do these things but adapting and tweaking them to my new role allowed me to feel like a woman and not a toe which I felt on the daily initially with the exhaustion.
It’s also important to stress having a new baby and feeling like you can't do everything you used to do beauty wise is temporary as they go through each stage. My children sleep through the night now so I can fake tan and do my gel nails in one evening sometimes. My exercise length of time has increased to 30 minutes and I do it on a morning before the children get out of bed, my makeup routine is now probably 10 minutes and I'm back to my black liquid eyeliner and cat flick.
The only thing that is consistent is my mum bun, that is staying for the long term.