Admit it. We all love flicking through glossy magazines, keeping tabs on what our favourite celebrities are wearing this week. But the expensive, and often outlandish, outfits featured are a world away from what most of us can afford – not to mention unacceptable for wearing to the office!
But there is a way to be stylish, and classy, on a limited budget; and the lady to show you how is Avril Keys, blogger and down-to-earth style maven at School Gate Style. I was delighted to catch up with Avril recently, and get the lowdown on her personal style.
What is most important to you – feeling good or looking good; or a bit of both?
Most important to me is looking good – as I instantly feel better when I do. Waking up, feeling rubbish and tired, I know I can transform it with the right clothes and make-up!
What is in your bathroom cabinet?
I have two different fake tans and some tanning mitts, a couple of body creams, exfoliator, cleanser, toner, moisturiser, lots of muslin cloths for cleansing, make up bag, contact lenses and a selection of sachets of all sorts of products that I keep for going away.
What treatment/product can’t you live without?
Self tan. All year round, I’ll keep a light glow of colour on my arms and decolletage. During the summer, I’ll do my legs once a week. What’s great about self tan is that I no longer have that Irish obsession with lying out and roasting myself to bits as soon as the sun comes out. I don’t bother lying in the sun at all and that’s got to be better for my skin in the long term. Current favourite is Vita Liberata as it’s paraben free and smells great.
What is your top product for hair/face?
I love Neal’s Yard products, particularly their Frankincense range. It’s totally chemical and perfume free and is actually amazing for anti-ageing. The Egyptians used Frankincense to preserve their mummies – so it’s been proven to work! I use the Eye & Lip Serum and the Hydrating Cream, day and night.
For hair, I recently discovered Wella System Professional Luxe Oil. It was recommended to my by my hairdresser as I’m growing my hair and need to protect the ends. It’s the only oil I’ve ever used in my hair that doesn’t make it lank and needing washed sooner. I use it before drying and then again afterwards. Sometimes I put it on an hour before I wash my hair (if I’m organised). I’m so pleased with it and although it’s pricey, I only need about three pumps each time, so it will last me ages.
What is your favourite scent?
Jo Malone all the way! My favourite is Pomegranate Noir, closely followed by Lime Basil & Mandarin.
How did you get into blogging?
Frustrated with the lack of blogs for women in their late 30s featuring clothes that a busy mum could actually afford and enjoy wearing, I decided to start one myself.
Originally, I featured items that I liked more than my own outfits but it’s developed into more of a personal style blog. I love how it inspires other women – the emails I get from readers are just so amazing and really motivate me to keep up the good work. For me, blogging has given me the confidence to try different looks and styles as I feel I should keep the material fresh for my readers. I’ve also made a lovely circle of blogging friends through it, which has been wonderful.
What’s next for you?
I’m days away from hitting the 1,000,000 page hits mark, which is exciting. As is the blog being short-listed in the Britmums Brilliance in Blogging awards. How amazing it would be to win! But mainly for me, it’s about keeping the content fresh, building the audience and developing and growing my writing portfolio.
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