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December 10 0

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The Style Insiders Q &A – Hannah Strafford-Taylor

 

In our new series, The Style Insiders, we interview mothers about their style secrets on women’s and children’s fashion and how to juggle motherhood with successful careers.

This week, we caught up with the beauty that is Hannah Strafford-Taylor, former model and now instagram influencer about motherhood, her edit of our Autumn Winter collection and celebrating Christmas in style.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family and what you do.

I am Hannah Strafford-Taylor, mother of two daughters, Soleil (7) and Winter (1) and live in London with my husband. Previously I was a fashion then a commercial model and worked for a number of years in Japan. I also worked for Net-a-Porter where I was modelling for them every day as a ‘headless model’. The team there were fantastic and I have such fond memories of my time working there.

I had always wanted children but due to various reasons I knew that it was always going to be difficult. I went through IVF for both babies and fast forward eight years, I am now a happy mother of two beautiful girls.

I suffer from chronic vestibular migraine which has really changed the way I live my life. Daily tasks become difficult but I have learnt now how to manage my illness.

I started Instagram when my daughter Soleil was young. I first started posting pictures of her on Instagram really to keep a diary for myself and family and to keep myself busy while being a mum. It then got to a point where she didn’t like being in the pictures unless I was in the photos with her. I have always loved fashion from a young age and then started taking pictures of my outfits which were getting a great response and over the last year it has grown quite quickly from there.

For me now, managing my instagram has become a full time job, especially as I am a full time mum also. I never realised how time consuming it would be but I enjoy it and my outfit pictures seem to get great feedback.

What’s a typical day for you?

I get up just before 7am and get ready as quickly as possible, then get the children up and ready. For us it is that mad hour and a half that every family has before the school run. My husband has been taking Soleil to school on his way to work which has really helped me out. I usually go out for a walk with Winter and get my daily Chai tea latte Starbucks fix, I am an addict!

Winter has a nap at around 9am and I then after go out and after that do the daily food shop. I love cooking and love to wander around our area looking at the produce in the stores and like to buy fresh, organic produce in season. Then return for lunch before I put Winter down for a nap.

While she is asleep this is my time to do my instagram account, post some outfit pictures and tidy up the house. I pick up Soleil from school after that. That time goes so quickly and I completely respect mothers who have a full time job and juggle motherhood. It is so crazy that when I am with the children, I try to stay away from my phone as  much as possible. I want to be with them and devote all my time to them.

I am a total Granny, I go to bed really early. If I am not in bed by 9pm and asleep by 10pm, I am literally having a panic attack! We usually go out for dinner once or maximum twice a week but we would never go out two nights in a row! This would really have a knock-on effect for me.

 

What has motherhood taught you?

Definitely patience. Being a mother the second time round I am less anxious. You always know the children are going to walk and talk  eventually and this time round I am not monitoring each and every aspect, I guess I am far less anxious this time round.

I really appreciate the value of life. Winter is a miracle baby and I want to relish every moment with the family. After Soleil was born, I didn’t want any help and wanted to create that intense motherly bond that I had with my own Mother. Life is really about your family and nothing else matters. I do love clothes and fashion but at the end of the day family is all that is important to me.

Has your own style changed since you became a mother?

Definitely. I was always about comfort but even more so now. For me, I always dress according to the day-to-day situation. I never like to be too “overdressed” I adore the French casual chic look, rather than a look that is too overdone.

Again comfort is always key, I am spotted in heels occasionally on Instagram, as I do LOVE them but the reality is I can’t run around in them all day!

 

What is your approach to dressing your children?

I have always liked the traditional look for the children but perhaps with a modern twist. I would never put the girls in garish colours, I much prefer muted colours.

I like to invest in fewer pieces that I know will be worn regularly. It’s just how I dress myself really. I am drawn to beautiful fabrics, Liberty print and a bohemian look especially in the summer; just the kind of style that you have at Outside the Lines.

Soleil had a phase where she was difficult to dress when she was around 4. Now she is 7 she doesn’t seem to mind so much. She likes the pieces I choose, or we go together to shop, I wouldn’t dress her totally in items that are too traditional now so I love a little modern twist. I love all the finishes and trims that Outside the Lines has. They are not too bright and all pieces have a touch of bohemia about them. I have never bought anything for Soleil or Winter that I have not loved myself. The theory was always if I bought only pieces that I really loved, only those would be in the wardrobe and would be worn regularly.

That all goes out of the window as soon as friends or family buy something for their birthdays or Christmas! Someone once bought a Peppa Pig onesie with a tutu for Soleil she loved it, but I won’t lie, I was happy when she outgrew it!

What are your favourite pieces from the Outside the Lines Autumn Winter 17 collection?

For me, my favourite pieces from the Outside the Lines Autumn Winter collection include:

The Esme Shaggy Fur Coat – it is such a beautiful piece and so soft. Such a good price point as well and the one I have snapped up myself. Soleil will definitely get a lot of wear out of this beautiful coat this winter

 The Georgie dusky pink faux fur gilet and the Isla ivory faux fur gilet – really nice, bohemian pieces and beautiful colours

 

The Kitty knot embroidered jumper – the detailing is very bohemian and very much both mine and Soleil’s style.

The Oriana tapestry dress– this is such a beautiful piece and I adore the embroidery and tassel finishes and trims

 

 

Do you believe in dressing your kids up for Christmas? Do you make an extra effort?  

Yes absolutely we always dress up for Christmas and do really make that extra effort. I love that age old traditional ritual to get the children dressed up on the day in a pretty party dress, skirt or Christmas outfit. Recently we have been going out for Christmas day lunch with friends. I love to cook, but my husband hates me being in the kitchen all Christmas day. So instead I cook another festive lunch on Boxing Day.

How do your kids choose what’s going on their Christmas List?

I may take Soleil on a shopping trip to see what she is interested in and to get a hint of what she may like or like everyone else, children are influenced by what they see on TV or by their friends. Hatchimals have been on the Christmas wish list this year and last Christmas too

 

Please share any special Christmas family rituals  

Every Christmas Eve, we go to see the Nutcracker at the London Coliseum which Soleil has loved. Again this is such a traditional and old fashioned thing to do and we love it. This year we are going to see a Pantomime as I think Winter will enjoy this more. We were lucky to see Cinderella last year at the London Palladium and the cast was amazing so we are going to this year’s version. Such a worthwhile thing to do and hopefully the children will love it.

 

Follow Hannah Strafford-Taylor on instagram @hannahstraffordtaylor

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