And so this Sunday morning I met Mel Wall for brunch in her home town of St Albans, and for a lady in her forties she is a busy bee as a working mum, singer and stylist of Styled By Mel.
Here’s what she had to say!
What’s a typical day in the life of Mel?
Let’s see, I get up 6.45am to make tea for myself and my partner plus breakfast for my eleven year old son. Then I usually head out around 8am for the school run and get to work for 9am; work for me is PA to the CEO of a marketing agency in the grounds of Hatfield House. Lunchtime is usually the daily grocery run but I occasionally meet a friend for coffee. As soon as I get home from work the bra is off!! (She says with a big grin and a little laugh) & I then get changed into the baggies! Then it’s dinner by 8.30, usually cooked by other half, followed by a bit of telly; we love Gogglebox, Ripper Street, Humans, Planet Earth and of course, Strictly!
You’re a PA, a stylist and a singer – how do you juggle it all?
I always wanted to be a singer and was lucky enough to be asked to join a band in my early twenties and I’ve been singing ever since! My band is called MacLaren Wall which I’ve always said sounds a bit like a firm of Accountants, but that’s been our name for the last twenty years. We’re well known around St Albans and usually gig once a month. Singing makes me very happy – it “feeds my soul”. I like to say it’s like going to the best party ever as my family and friends are usually in the audience along with the usual ‘groupies’.
My PA role is very varied to say the least! Mel goes on to clarify that she really is a “personal” assistant and not your typical just managing the diary kind of PA. I’ve been given a varied range of tasks which have included spraying a toilet seat gold for an award ceremony, flying to Florida to look after a directors child for a week, to dressing up as a breakfast bowl and singing for client (breakfast cereal related btw). The bowl was massive and I had trouble getting through the door and so had to bend over double (oh the glamour) and then start singing!
And as for the Styling, this is saved for the occasional Wednesday (my day off each week) and weekends. I do colour analysis, wardrobe weeding and personal shopping.
Out of all the jobs you do – which is your favourite ‘hat’ to wear?
The mum hat. My son is always my priority and I love spending quality time with him – he’s great company and very funny.
What’s the best part about being a stylist?
Watching a client looking into the mirror and saying “OMG I look amazing. I’d never dream of choosing this outfit”. I will always have one moment with each client when I get goose-bumps and or a little teary and that for me has to be the most rewarding part of the job.
You’re Mum to Tom, do you give him style tips or him to you?
Both (with a little giggle again) – So he’ll sometimes come down the stars and ask if what he’s wearing looks OK? And sometimes he will look at me and go “I’m not going into town with you dressed like that”, the last time I remember him saying that was when I had my black & silver, embroidered bomber jacket on! But most of the time he’s actually quite complimentary (big grin whilst saying that)
What kind of Mother-in-law do you think you will be?
Let’s see, a shopping & wine drinking companion would be good! I don’t want to be a nagging/annoying one, that’s for sure!
As a mum, is it important to stay stylish?
As a mum it’s important not to lose your own identity and if that’s staying stylish then that is important. Being a mum can affect you in different ways, but staying true to yourself is the best.
What advice have you got for mums who are struggling with the know-how to look good?
Ha! Give me a call and I will help you! Failing that, spend time flicking through magazines or perhaps try Pinterest – both are great ways to get an idea of what you want to wear. Once inspired by these you can then decide what you need to buy. Consider key pieces as you don’t need a whole new wardrobe, just focus on a few things and get them right.
If money is a little tight put the effort into wearing some make-up & accessories – mascara and a bit of lippy go a long way and a really good scarf is a great way to bring an outfit together.
How do you relax?
With a glass of wine and I like to write my blog.
What’s the best thing going on in your life right now?
I love getting ready for Christmas. I’m also excited because I’m preparing for an audition in January at our local Abbey Theatre for a musical taking place in June, wish me luck!
Who’s your style icon?
Audrey Hepburn and Victoria Beckham
What’s your beauty regime?
Cleanse, tone and moisturise – twice a day! Been doing this since my early teens.
What’s your favourite beauty product?
Clearcalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser by REN. I used to have really spotty skin but this has helped immensely.
What’s the best thing you own in your wardrobe?
My new silver boots or my 7 For All Mankind jeans were also a favourite but they don’t fit me anymore. I won’t be losing weight to fit into them though as I like the shape I am – I’ll just need to invest in a new pair or add them to my Christmas list. Nudge nudge wink wink.
What book are you currently reading?
I’ve just finished this brilliant book called Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Are you a book fan or kindle?
Always a book, I don’t actually own a Kindle
What book should every woman read and why?
Going Gently by David Nobbs, I love everything about it, it’s touching and very funny.
If you can only buy one magazine a month – which one?
Hello Fashion, although I used to love Easy Living, but sadly it’s no longer published.
What three things should every professional woman must own?
- A good dress
- A good phone
- A great pair of shoes
What three things do you always take on holiday?
- Coconut oil, great for removing eye make-up remover and for looking after sunburn
- A book
- And my favourite Clark silver sandals that look “Birkenstock-esq”
Handbags – Big shopper, cross-over or clutch?
I would say a mix between big shopper and cross-over; I need to keep my hands free – I’m a busy mum and it’s also ideal for when I’m personal shopping with clients.
High heels or trainers?
What’s your favourite app right now?
PicTapGo – it’s got great filters which I use for some of my Instagram pictures
What’s your favourite indulgence?
Shopping, Dining out and Perfume – Chanel Coco Mademoiselle
And so brunch was at a new coffee shop called Gail’s in the centre of St Albans, and we munched on almond croissants and fruity scones with lattes – delish!