Hands up if you've heard the one about the slummy mummy? You know, the mum who drags herself out of bed, puts on a hoodie, and does the school run in slippers.
The truth is that you can be a fashionista and a parent – as our latest Blog of the Week, The Fashion Detective amply demonstrates. The Fashion Detective is the creation of Jo Payton, a mum of one from South London.
Jo started blogging shortly before her son Eliott's birth in 2004 but soon hit a roadblock. "I started by blogging about my experience of being a new mum but I wasn't loving sharing details like Eliott pooing in Balham pool (the shame!)," says Jo.
Thinking about her interests, Jo realised that becoming a mum had given her more confidence, especially once she had regained her figure. "I would go mad in Topshop with loud colours and daring designs," she says. "Then on a break at Butlins in 2009 I was chatting with a friend about a top, when my partner said I was like a fashion detective, and the idea stuck."
The Fashion Detective is funny and down to earth. Lots of fashion bloggers claim to be ordinary women, but are actually rather serious and intimidating. Jo's blog stands out because it talks about fashion in a 'real' context, sometimes with tongue firmly in cheek!
Jo and Eliott on beach at Bognor Regis
At first, the Fashion Detective was entirely fashion-focused but gradually Eliott has become a bigger part of the site. "I realised it would only be better if I shared more about my life, so I regularly post about the things we get up to as a family, whether it's practical clothes for mums or a trip to the seaside," Jo explains.
Fashion is still important to many mums, Jo argues. "Being a mother is part of who you are – a very important part – but it doesn't define you. I feel the same way about age; it doesn't matter where you shop, so long as things suit you."
Most of the photos on the Fashion Detective are taken by Matt, Jo's partner, who is very supportive of the blog, even if he occasionally worries the house will collapse under the weight of all Jo's clothes!
Meanwhile being a mini blogging fashionista means Eliott loves modeling for the blog, and has even been inspired to start his own blog called The Lego Brothers, which features video reviews and photos. "No prizes for guessing what the blog is about," says Jo.
Blogging provides writers with limitless freedom, and blogging about something she's really passionate about means Jo is never stuck for something to write about. "On our holiday to Turkey in April I blogged every day about the clothes we were wearing, the food we ate, and things we did, and it was just so much fun to record the experience day by day," Jo says.
Being a fashion bloggers means Jo is occasionally sent clothes to keep or borrow, but the shared family experiences are the most special – including a family trip to Las Vegas which included a flight over the Grand Canyon, a jeep trip in the desert and an impromptu opportunity for Jo and Matt to renew their wedding vows in the Graceland Wedding Chapel – with Eliott dressed as superman, for best man duties.
Jo also recorded a very fashionable trip to Liverpool with Eliott on her blog, following in the footsteps of The Beatles.
Best shopping site for fashion: www.stylecompare.co.uk lets you search 50 different retailers, including Topshop, NET-A-PORTER and ASOS, all in one place.
Best kids' fashion site: I love H&M and look for quirky extras at stores like www.fabricflavours.com - great for superhero T-shirts!
Buying things for the home: I spend most of my money on clothes and travel so it's www.ikea.co.uk all the way for the home!
When we want to do something as a family, I turn to www.timeout.com/london/kids.
If I need a laugh, I'll read absolutely anything Charlie Brooker has written online: www.guardian.co.uk/profile/charliebrooker.
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