We love Jemima Bradley’s style blog, Musings from a London Mum. Reading it, I always think, ‘Ah, she’s one of us’. By which I mean a woman who juggles a creative career (she’s a freelance stylist) with being a mama to her two little girls, Rose and Martha, and a blogger – you can follow her via Twitter (@jemimabradley) and Instagram (@musingsfromalondonmum). She also has a genius eye for style and nails a great on and off duty look – who better to be our latest Style File candidate?
Jemima started working in fashion 11 years ago, when she was a fashion intern at Red magazine (“I walked in wearing a ripped, homemade denim skirt, high street replicas of Birkenstocks (the first time they were trendy) and a terribly boho top. I couldn’t believe it when they hired me. It was amazing to actually be around clothes and work on the magazine.”) She worked her way up the masthead until she had her first little girl, Rose Bay: “After she was born, I decided to brave the freelance world with the continuing support of the wonderful team at Red, I started to gain some clients and freelance seemed to be a perfect fit to spending time with my precious new baby and fulfilling my career.”
The inspiration behind Musings from a London Mum
I was feeling a little frustrated with at times with the lack of creativity with some work. As a freelance stylist, it really is making hay while the sun shines, and whilst I am so appreciative of any day I get booked, some of the jobs were lacking the creative freedom and styling that I’d had at the magazines I had worked for. So Musings from a London Mum was born: it was the perfect fit for slightly quieter times as a freelancer and nap times!
I have a brilliant network of help from a part time nanny, super supportive Mr B and grandparents too , so I make sure that I really put down some time in the schedule to blog. I really enjoy it and the response to it has been amazing which spurs you on a bit more.
I think I am a bit style schizophrenic! It changes from day to day really. I really love clothes and love dressing up in totally different styles. One day I might decide that I am a super chic, pulled-together women and wear head-to-toe Cos, and the next day I go all out in a sequin skirt and big curls. I don’t really have a style identity; I just have fun playing with different trend
But the pieces I always fall back on in a day of no time or energy: a classic boyfriend jean (J Brand are the best); a super chic jacket (I have tonnes of jackets – from vintage silk Chinese jackets to denim): they are the perfect thing to invest in as they can be a total game changer worn with dress down separates. I also love a bit of costume jewellery or a classic oversized hoop earring.
One thing I always do is wear lipstick. A coral for an off-duty look with the girls and red for work. It instantly makes me feel pulled together – whether I am or not!
My favourite shopping destinations
For grown-up pieces that will last and last in your wardrobe head to COS. Super chic simple classics with a grown up twist. I have tonnes of their dresses and I always get lots of compliments, and it really is a case of ‘What? This old thing’ as I seem to spend most of my money on the girls clothes!
H&M is great for a little fashion pick me up, It is super-cheap and you have to look hard, but at times they have some great bits. Think neoprene midi skirts, lace slip on trainers… It’s a great place to buy something that is bang on trend and can be styled with something chic and pared-back like a grey marl t-shirt.
I am really loving my-wardrobe at the moment: they have such brilliant buyers that edit and get it bang-on for their customers. Their sales are brilliant too.
My go-to brands
My ‘instantly dressed up’ trick
I am loving the jumpsuit trend. I have one from years ago from Reiss, and I love rocking it with a high classic court and red lip. I always feel chic and pulled together. Although I also love a vintage, feminine dress with a statement earring for really special nights out with Mr B.
Jemima in her Reiss jumpsuit; this jumpsuit (on sale now) is similar (Roco jumpsuit, £195, Reiss)
I seemed to rotate quite a lot with my bags. I have quite a few. My faithful sidekick is my Chanel 2.55, which I picked up at a sample sale for £100 (I was pregnant with Rose so it was pregnancy present to myself). I wear it all the time, even on days off with the girls! I don’t believe in keeping things for special days. As they just sit in a dust bag in your wardrobe, better to be out and proud! I brought quite a few Anya Hindmarch bags in silver, tan and black. So they get rotated depending on what my outfit is.
Maxi Zip cross-body bag, £550, Anya Hindmarch
Shoes: flats girl or a heel devotee?
Oh, I was a heels girl and spend lots on incredible shoes. I have actually just had a big clear out and sold lots of them. They were just taking up space and I never wore them. So I now have a little bit of shoe spending money. I will be purchasing flats! On my shoe shopping list: a pair of Charlotte Olympia flats; Penelope Chilvers’ velvet boots and some Mother of Pearl slip on trainers. All totally flat and practical, but it is what I wear day to day so I would rather spend on them then have super silly shoes gathering dust in my cupboard!
The last 3 things I bought…
A silk long sleeve black playsuit from Topshop. I went a size up, so it’s looser. It looks great in the day with flats and a denim jacket thrown over it.
An off the shoulder white top from Topshop. I love wearing it with loose boyfriend jeans, messy hair, gold hoops and red lipstick.
A vintage printed sun dress with smocking on the front. Am a sucker for pretty floppy sundresses. They are perfect for the summer.
On my A/W wishlist
A camel coat. I still don’t own one and, at 32, I think the time has come! So I will be scouring the high street for the perfect mid-budget one.
A leather skirt. Again, it’s an investment piece, but I am really concentrating on less is more and spending on good items that will last.
A skinny black cigarette trouser – a super useful piece in your wardrobe
My beauty must-haves…
I only use Avene, an amazing French brand. My skin went a bit haywire after having Martha and this was the only range which soothed it, so I am a total convert. (Bonus: the price-point is friendly, too.)
Make up must-haves are: a good foundation – I alternate between a tinted Chanel Lumiere and Yves Saint Laurent foundation. I also love cheap high street lip crayons – they are brilliant for a pop of colour on your lips and also work as cheek stain. I have one in pretty much every bag I own. I also have my eyebrows threaded and waxed religiously. The rest of my look can be a bit thrown together, so I think great eyebrows make everything else look a bit more groomed!
Martha and Rose’s style
I dress the girls in classic prints and simple traditional styles, so I love brands like Miller, Bonpoint, Caramel Baby and Child and La Coquetta. I shop in the sales for them, as the brands I love do have a big price tag. I love Zuilly: it has amazing flash sales of my favourite brands. They seem to have the best brands and up to 70% off, so I tend to stock up when they come up. Then I fill the other gaps in from the high street: Zara, Marks & Spencer, Cos and H&M. I work a lot for Marks and Spencer and they have lots of super pretty prints and classic styles for A/W. They really seem to have great buyers for the children’s department.
I am a sucker for anything a little bit kitsch, so my home is full of a mix of old and new: there are always tonnes of cushions throws and candles everywhere.
I always have fresh flowers everywhere. I buy two or three cheap high street bunches, then add in some florist-brought foliage and create posies and bunches for the house. I love doing this on Saturday mornings with Rose.
I shop all over. I I love Jonathan Adler and a bit of vintage, so I’m always looking in vintage furniture shops (you can get such a bargain), and auction houses – whether you buy anything or not it is a really fun day out! I also love Zara Home, which is brilliant for a bit of a statement throw or cushion. Their Kids range is fab for the girls. And The White Company for our sheets: I am now at an age where I really appreciate good sheets that wash well….(Yes it happens to us all!)
Bargello Dunbar Road Pillow, £175, Jonathan Adler; Striped wool blanket, £69.99, Zara Home; Embroidered stars children’s bed linen, from £9.99, Zara Home; Adeline bed linen, from £20, The White Company
Thanks so much Jemima! Come back tomorrow when she shares the secrets of looking cool and stylish whilst hanging out with your kids…