As if writing a blog, running an online shop and being driven demented by three kids wasn't enough, I'm now going to be blogging on a monthly basis here at Target Dry - the brand that has kept my family and I warm and dry on many a school run.
I still get asked by people what a blog is and more often than not when I tell them, their next question is 'why'? Truth is, I often ask myself the same question. School Gate Style came about completely by accident - more of a social media experiment fuelled by a love of shopping. I'd barely been blogging for 6 weeks when the Daily Mail decided to run a story about style on the school run, did a google search and found me. That story ran in May 2012 and the rest, as they say, is history.
My stay at home mum/part-time church admin life changed quite a bit and within weeks, I'd left the church job to focus on my new passion and 3 years on, the blog has become a replacement part-time job.
So what is 'School Gate Style'? The blog is most definitely not about dictating what should be worn on the school run. It just shows what I wear on my school run - a style that has evolved over the past 6 years from corporate power dressing with a generous budget (pre-kids) to practical, wearable but most definitely not frumpy, on a low budget. From what my readers tell me, this is not an uncommon predicament for many mums.
My day starts pretty much the same as most parents...the first challenge is to get the kids out the door, dressed and presentable with whatever random selection of 'stuff' they need for their day. Frequently I'm back at the school with something that's been forgotten but usually, I'm either back home or in the gym by 9am (alternates through the week...with the gym often missing out for some reason....oh yes, that would be laziness).
During the hours I work, it's a mix of writing my own blog posts, making up & dispatching orders from my online accessories shop, checking in on social media profiles of clients and researching future blog posts - be that via the shops, trawling the internet or catching up on my own favourite blogs...it all gives me inspiration.
I also try to squeeze in time with other mum friends who have those few precious hours in the morning too and the housework gets an hour or two throughout the week - but definitely it's falling almost as low in the priorities as the gym...funny that.
Once the kids get home at 2 and 3, it's back into mummy mode with homework and dinner prep and I usually don't use the laptop again until they're all in bed at about 8pm - though I have been known to check the phone a few hundred times while chopping onions or while the kids play. It goes with the territory - especially when looking after client social media accounts...afternoons and early evening are busy times on Facebook and Twitter.
By 8pm, I'm usually ready for bed myself but evenings see me putting in another hour or two of writing or shop/blog admin. There's always something that needs done. I tend to not watch TV as it makes me less productive. I'd rather work steadily until 10pm and then turn everything off. Catch-up TV is my friend!
I'm always asked about my go-to style and I would say that while I do try to mix things up on the blog to keep the content interesting, if I have one of those days where I look in the wardrobe and have nothing to wear, my go-to would be skinny jeans, a breton top and trainers. Topped off by my Target Dry Emily Parka...of course!
I've been fortunate enough to have styled a couple of coats from the ladies waterproof coat range at Target Dry and I can confirm that they are genuinely the best 'bum-covering, waterproof coats for the school run'. Even Mumsnet agrees with me on that - and that's some endorsement.
My blog posts for Target Dry going forward won't be all about fashion - they'll be more of a mix of outdoors, kids, cooking and good old Norn Iron - where Target Dry was born...I mean, where else could you find the inspiration to start up a rain coat company?
See you next month when I'll be sharing my 10 best tips for school holiday sanity....only 4 weeks to go before the kids are off *passes the wine*