There is no secret I’m possibly the biggest stalker of fine women with enough motherhood wisdom to pour and a few high res creative pixels, but when you run into #instamums like All That Is She, you would understand too why Instagram is such a blooming success and THE very place where to get your best stalking job done.
Meet Dominique, mum of two charming daughters, who is here to share her views on motherhood in the countryside while growing a grand insta community and a sophisticated website which doesn’t feature the classic fashion posts or motherhoody talks. Instead you’ll be captivated by a minimalistic approach to her wardrobe (watch out for her capsule wardrobe project), flawless photography and real life stories.
1. Motherhood is a game changer. How did it change you?
It’s hard to say how it changed me as a person as I was only 19 when I had Amelia – I’ve never known an adult life without being a mother. My life was already changing as I was transitioning from a teenager into an adult, so being a mother became part of that too. My 19-year-old self did see an abrupt end to partying, drinking, and thinking only about myself and I had to grow up overnight. I had to start thinking about another little human being, and although it was tough, I guess it shaped me into the person I am today.
2. How did Allthatisshe start? Tell us a little about the wardrobe capsule.
When my maternity leave after Penny finished, I had to go back to a job that I didn’t enjoy; but as with most new mothers, you don’t have a lot of choice. You begrudgingly return to work and tell yourself that it will do you good to be out the house mixing with other adults, instead of talking to a baby all day. So, I went through the usual motions, putting on a brave face but deep down I was miserable. My feed at this point had already started, but it was something I would concentrate on only at night and during my lunch hour. After a year of being back to work (and still hating every minute of it), my childcare system started to crumble, and we began to struggle. In October 2015 I took the leap and decided to quit my job and concentrate on being at home, and my blog.
My capsule wardrobe started a few months later. I toyed with the idea of starting one after reading many blogs about it; however, I never had the nerve actually to do it. When we sold our house and moved in with my mam for a few months, we had to cram everything we owned into one bedroom and so finally I was given the push I needed to start a capsule wardrobe of my own. Since then I have lived with 37 items, or less, in my wardrobe at any one time. Over the last few seasons, the amount of clothing in my wardrobe has reduced each time, and currently, I have just 30 pieces and these are the only 30 pieces that I’ll wear until next season.
3. What (and who) inspires you?
I don’t think that there’s one person in my life who inspires me completely, but rather a number of people who do collectively. I’m lucky enough to have grown up in a family full of strong, smart and beautiful women, who have inspired me all of my life. I’m inspired by my daughters every day – it’s amazing how much you learn from the teeny tiny humans – and of course my boyfriend, Dominic. I probably don’t tell him enough, but he’s a huge inspiration to me. He self-taught himself his trade using only YouTube videos when he was 18, started his own business and is still going strong. If it weren’t for his encouragement, I would never have started All That Is She.
4. How does a regular day of yours look like?
Chaotic! We have the usual morning whirlwind that blows through the majority of family homes every day. Once this settles, and the girls are both at school and nursery, I then try to resist the temptation of social media and instead knuckle down and cram in as much work as I can into the limited timeframe that I have. Once Penny has finished nursery, our afternoons are spent at playgroups, crafting, playing games and sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly lazy, bribing her with biscuits to watch films on the sofa with me. Once Amelia is home, and the teatime rush is over, I sit down to finish any uncompleted work and then post my Instagram image around 9 pm. The evening is then spent replying to comments, drinking tea, eating chocolate while trying to watch whatever series I’m addicted to.
5. Today so many of us may experience periods of low confidence when motherhood kicks in, often when a career change is also involved. What would you advise mothers to do in order to overcome this and pursue their dreams like you seem to have successfully done it though your cool blog?
When motherhood kicks in, so do high emotions and utter exhaustion. On top of that you’re struggling with how to become that ‘perfect’ mother you’ve heard so much about (F.Y.I. there’s no such thing), so to then add the stresses and strains of a career change really pushes you to the limit. What’s worked for me – apart from being naturally so laid back that I’m almost asleep – is to not put too much emphasis on whether or not it’s the right thing to do. If it doesn’t work out than it wasn’t meant to be, but stressing over it failing isn’t going to help either. Enjoy your new venture, stay positive and if you do work from home (like me), then make sure you allocate a certain amount of time each day to remove yourself and do something you enjoy. Spend time with the kids and give them your undivided attention (leaving your phone in another room will help).
6. What would you advise the new mum bloggers to keep in mind in the early days of growing an insta community for example, and their blog?
Don’t try to be anyone else but you. When I first started I was trying to be all of my favourite accounts rolled into one, but it becomes messy, hard work and most of all, it’s not a true reflection of yourself. Find your own style. People follow you for you, so if you’re not sharing photos you love, then your followers won’t love them either.
7. Which are the 3 ‘I got this from my mama’ lessons you’d like your daughters to learn from you and proudly use later in their adult lives?
Dominic’s family name is McCann, so whenever either of the girls says, “I can’t…”, we correct them and say, “you’re a McCann, not a McCann’t”. So, I think the most important lesson for them is never to think that you can’t do something – if you want something enough, and you work hard enough, there’s nothing you can’t achieve.
Secondly, similarly to what I mentioned about finding your own style on Instagram, I want them to realise the importance of being yourself in life. It’s hard to convey this message to a ten-year-old who is just about to start seniors, but we really try to emphasise that someone who doesn’t follow trends and who is confident in their own choices – even if they are different to the norm – are way ‘cooler’ than someone who just follows the crowd.
And thirdly, I want them to know the importance of reading. In an era where smartphones and tablets are depended on so heavily (I fall culprit to this too), I want them to see that you don’t get anything back from them. Yes, they maybe fun, it maybe what your friends are doing, but they don’t feed your imagination, they don’t teach you new words, and they don’t take you away to exciting new lands.
8. Your favourite quote…
If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it.
A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams, and you will always look lovely.
― Roald Dahl, The Twits
9. Finally, what has motherhood been teaching you so far and your favourite motherhoody perks are…
Motherhood has taught that it’s ok to make mistakes, we’re all just doing the best that we can. It’s taught me to be patient and to savour every lie in and full nights sleep I get.
The perk of being a mother is that you get to relive all of your childhood magic, all over again. The things that disappeared once you reached your teens – Santa, fairies, magic and Easter Bunnies – all come back again. You get to recreate them in whatever way you like and experiencing it with your children, is incredible. Also, the endless flow of sweets that pour into the house isn’t too bad either.