This week, we catch up with super mum to four girls and instagram star, Clemmie Hooper also known as Mother of Daughters on the launch of her new book, mum style, how to dress the kids stylishly and her edit of the Outside the Lines SS18 collection.
Tell us a little bit about your new book?
With my new book ‘How to Grow a Baby Journal’(Vermillion £16.99), my concept was to encourage pregnant women to document their pregnancy in a journal format. There were plenty of books out there for after but very little during pregnancy and nothing which spoke to me. I saw a gap in the market and thought it would be great to create one where I can also use my experience as a midwife. The journal is a chance for mums-to-be to write about their emotions each week, their changing body, when they experience the first kick for example and even their relationship. It really talks about the highs and lows of pregnancy. There’s a misconception that pregnancy is always wonderful but that is not always the reality. The book is intended to be a journal of feelings and a keepsake which you can look back on in years to come and even share with your partner. I’ve had a fantastic response to the book so far and it makes an ideal gift.
How do you juggle motherhood with a successful career as a midwife and now as an author?
For me, balance is bullsh*t. I was very lucky that in my role as a midwife, they encouraged flexible working so I was able to continue my role part-time and work one day a week in London. This is what keeps me grounded and sane! It’s a false illusion that women can have it all however times are changing. For example, my reasoning is that if I am doing well at work and getting everything done then the opposite side is that I am not seeing the family as much. If I am with the twins at a playgroup, I may miss 20 work emails so the idea of balance is always tipped to one side. You definitely can’t have it all! There are times in your life when you need to take time with everything. The twins are at nursery three days a week and that is my allocated time to get my work done. I have help from my mum one day a week and then I dedicate a day to the twins on Friday. It’s important to have that day with them. At the weekend, we are very strict about keeping that time especially for family.
How do you feel about being an influencer and having so many followers on social media?
I don’t really like the term influencer. I prefer something which is more about inspiring or encouraging people. I am not a hardcore professional blogger creating paid for content or which is making my followers buy, buy, buy! In the US they don’t call them influencers but content creators which is more creative. I am very fortunate that I have engaging followers and I am not afraid to use the social media platform as a way to tell the truth and have an honest discussion and debate. With nearly 500k followers, there are bound to be lots of opinions out there and I am happy to discuss them and create conversations. I like to use the platform to discuss things I am passionate about rather than posting about my kids all the time. I look at Instagramas a magazine and essentially followers are downloading the content for free but there is all times of content on there. I usually turn down 9/10 paid for opportunities as they don’t fit with what I am about or don’t feel right for me. You have to go with your gut instinct about what’s right for you. I definitely don’t create ads on a regular basis, there are plenty of people who can do that but I prefer to use my platform to encourage interesting debate and conversations.
As Simon has a new book coming out too (we are delighted to note that Anya is wearing an Outside the Lines pom pom sweatshirt on the cover!), is there ever any competition between the two of you?
Our books are very different. Simon’s book, Forever Outnumbered(Vermillion) is a memoir and a funny take on parenting and mine is a journal about emotions experienced through pregnancy. There is never any competition between us. It generally doesn’t bother either of us and we are very proud of each other and the success we have both achieved. For us, when it comes to book sales, all of the earnings from our books are going into the same savings pot for our children.
How do you unwind after a long day? Do you and Simon ever get time alone?
We get very little time alone. Generally during the week, we are going out separately but make time for each other and the family at the weekend. We always make dinner for each other and at the moment as we are having our lounge redecorated, we spend more time together in the kitchen at the table. We are definitely appreciating our food more and the wind down chat! I can tell that is already making a difference. I go to bed earlier and read and Simon goes to bed much later. We enjoy having and making that nugget of time together.
What three fashion essentials should every mother have in her wardrobe?
1) A really good trench coat – I bought the Alexa Chung mac from Marks & Spencertwo years ago and have worn it on repeat. It really goes from season to season. I usually wear it up until October then pack it away and wear it again from March/April. I love it with jeans and it really is a coat that is transitional
2) A good pair of well fitting jeans – whatever fit suits you most. I love a jean that I can turn up and is more loose fitting. Love it with trainers or with Birkenstocks.Marks & Spencerhad a really good Mum jean recently which was very different to the Topshop one as there was a lot more fabric and it was more comfortable.
3) A floral dress – I am a sucker for a floral dress and have so many. I had the Bodenone last year which I wore all the time. For daytime I wear a floral dress with Converse trainers and then smarter shoes for evening. I love the look of putting smarter dresses with trainers
Has your own style changed since you became a mother?
I became a mum at a very young age (22) so I didn’t really have a particular style. I used to wear a lot of clothes from Primark! Now as a 33 old I am definitely more confident. I am very cautious about high fashion and aware of quality of clothes and where they are coming from. There is also now so much more choice available. I have found that with children’s clothes, the better quality clothing can always be passed down where as the cheap stuff doesn’t survive.
What is your approach to dressing your children? Do you let your older girls choose what they will wear? Does Simon ever get any say in what they wear?
Simon never gets a say in what they wear! When they are with him, they just choose themselves. I have a real thing for age-appropriate clothing especially as a mother of daughters. From age 8 upwards things start to get a little bit cropped and tighter. I usually browse online for the older girls and show them what I like, creating a little capsule collection for them that they can choose from as there is nothing worse than buying something and them not wearing it. My 10-year old does tend to like black leggings and hoodies but she also loves fun dresses in the summer and any playsuits or jumpsuits. For the twins I dress them in more classic pieces or they tend to love anything with an animal print. I never dress them in the same clothes, they always have different pieces. They have now got to an age where they want to help to get dressed!
What are your favourite pieces from the Outside the Lines Spring Summer ’18 collection?
I really like Outside the Linesand have many pieces from previous seasons. The quality is fantastic. When I have mentioned the brand before to my followers, a lot of them are really grateful for the introduction.
I am still continuing with my book tour and am pretty busy up until the summer. I may have another book coming out and I have a new jewellery collaboration launching in September where I am designing the jewellery which I am really excited about. I can’t say too much yet about any of these but watch this space!