This is my 300th post on my blog – can you believe it?! And there is no better way to celebrate than with a new feature – Lunch with Lizzi
I’m delighted that I am joined by fellow blogger Catherine Bruce of Style & Coach who is both a Style and Image Consultant and Life Coach. We had a lovely lunch in the beautiful grounds of Luton Hoo, and here’s what we had to talk about…
What is a day in the life of Catherine?
Very varied, no two days are the same. I arrange my own diary around work commitments, spending time with the family, having lunch with a friend, attending business networking events or enjoying a walk, a run or a cycle ride in the lovely countryside in my home in Hertfordshire or my apartment in Harrogate.
What has been your journey?
I am enjoying life now as a Style and Image Consultant and Life Coach after many years as an English teacher. It’s a 360 degree change but the people skills I learnt in teaching have really helped me relate to and motivate clients. That’s really important for the Life Coaching side of my business. I’ve always loved style too and I enjoy helping others to find theirs.
Your services offer advice on styling and on life coaching – what made you join the two together?
If you’re confident and happy with how you look on the outside but not happy with what’s going on inside, you can’t be really happy and at peace with yourself and vice versa. The two are so interchangeable and I love it that I can offer professional help with both if my clients want it.
What’s the best part of what you do?
Seeing people change for the better, inside and out.
And what’s the worst?
The effort of marketing myself!
What do YOU get out of taking someone personal shopping?
Seeing someone try something on they never would have considered and finding they love it. There’s no better feeling than seeing clients’ confidence in themselves soar when I’ve helped them find the clothes that make them look and feel as good as they do.
You’ve taken a few ladies shopping in preparation for a wedding – what advice do you have for a soon-to-be bride?
Understand your body shape first, then go with a personal shopper who can guide you to the styles of bridal gowns that really enhance your shape. I see too many brides bursting out of ill fitting, unflattering dresses.
And what tips do you have a someone who is trying to buy an outfit as a guest to a wedding?
As above but also make sure you personalise an outfit with lovely accessories. If the worst happens and another guest is wearing your dress, then the accessories will make you look different and well put together.
How do you relax?
Mentally by getting out in nature. Physically by reading or having a facial or massage.
What’s the best thing going on in your life right now?
Who’s your style icon?
Helen Mirren . She always looks amazing and understands exactly how to dress to look feminine, sexy and fabulous, especially as a mature woman.
Your a mum to four – how did you juggle everything when they were young?
I was fortunate enough to be in position to take an 11 year career break to concentrate on being a mum. When I returned to work though, it was challenging; I used after school clubs quite a bit and got up very early in the morning to get my marking done.
And how do you juggle it all now?
I’m not sure I do but it’s important to be organised and put ‘me time’ in my diary so I make sure I’m not working too hard. I have a life coach who helps me get perspective and ensure my life’s in balance.
You have a connection with Gambia – tell us about it?
I am voluntary secretary to www.helping-Gambia.org.uk I love the fact the charity is family run, all the money raised goes to The Gambia. The Meeks family in Hertfordshire , who started the charity have spent the last 17 years building nurseries, supporting schools and developing a clinic and ambulances to help the poorest of people in Gambia. I loved going out there this year to do some voluntary work in the school. Anyone is welcome, we are always looking for volunteers to add whatever they can offer through helping children or fundraising here. It’s safe out there and the accommodation the charity has built for volunteers is of very good standard. There are some great hotels out there too to relax in at the end of a voluntary stint, if you, like me feel the need to indulge yourself a bit.
If someone wanted to get involved with volunteering what do they need to do?
Please contact me – catherinetbruce @gmail.com or go onto the charity website www.helping-Gambia.org.uk to find out what’s involved.
You blogged about how there is so much colour in what they wore in Gambia – why do you think we don’t adopt the same approach?
Our climate seems to dictate our colour choices. It’s dark and grey a lot of the time in the UK so we reflect that in our clothes. Studies have shown though, that wearing colour not only brightens our mood but also shows our creativity and can lead to promotions at work.
What three things should a professional woman own?
A quality handbag, a wonderful haircut and a professional capsule wardrobe. You don’t need loads of clothes and shoes. Investing in good quality neutral key pieces in your best colours and enlivening them with some colourful tops and accessories will give you a great working wardrobe that will transition into your social and leisure wardrobe too.
What three things should every woman take on holiday?
Comfortable shoes, a great dress, a beautiful pashmina.
You look fantastic for your age – What’s your secret to ageing so well?
I’m lucky with my genes. My mother and all three of her children look younger than their age! I’m also health conscious and watch what I eat and try to exercise regularly.
What’s your favourite beauty product?
I change a lot and don’t stick to any one brand but I do like the feel and smell of anything Clarins and I love their anti ageing serum.
How is life coaching different to counselling?
Counselling focuses on coming to terms with events in the past. Life coaching focuses on where the client is now and what they would like to change and achieve now and in the future.
What should someone expect from a life coaching session with you?
A chance to express and clarify what they want to change and what’s not working. Help in putting together a step by step plan to achieve new goals and dreams and help to overcome limiting beliefs that hold a person back from realising them.
Who motivates you to achieve your goals?
My own life coach and in built desire I’ve always had to make the very most of the life I have and all the opportunities we have in this country to create a wonderful life. I’m especially happy when I’m helping others.
What book do you think every woman should read?
‘Thrive’ by Adriana Huffington. It’s full of ideas on what’s really important in life and how to achieve it, starting with encouragement to get enough sleep!
If you could turn back the clock to when you were 25 years old – what advice would you give yourself?
Believe in yourself! I was full of self doubt at that age!
And finally – what’s your favourite indulgence?
Learn more about the services Catherine provides by visiting her website – Style and Coach