The Beauty (And Life) Lessons My Mum Taught Me

Mother’s Day feels especially significant for me this year as I’ve just had my second baby – Luella (9 Weeks) - a sibling to Max (4). My mum, Maxine, and I have always been incredibly close. We lived together, just the two of us, through most of my formative years, and, while we fought spectacularly at times, we were also thick as thieves. She was – and still is - a friend, a mentor and a confidante. She’s the first person I call in a crisis and, even if I catch her mid-meeting at work, she always finds time to listen and dish out well-considered advice.

 
 

I recently went through some high school diaries (I was an avid log-keeper way before blogs!) and unearthed a few scrappy A4 pages: a letter, which was more like a Guide to Life, that Mum wrote for me when I went away to boarding school. It’s well-written and full of extremely useful little nuggets (she’s also a journalist!) that I just had to share. Here’s an edited peek at some of her greatest tips. These are just some of the sage suggestions I’ll be passing on to Lulu (and Max, if he’s interested!). I love you Mum.


“Dear Sigourney,
My darling girl – I feel honoured that you’ve asked me to write down some things to help you make your way through life. I learnt a lot of what I know from my own mother but I was so busy being a rebel I didn’t always recognise its value. The rest comes from reading countless magazines, observation and the best teacher of all – experience.
All my love,
Mama.
 

Care for your skin above all else…

because it’s the only one you have and it’s the first thing to show your age. Wear sunscreen and a hat as often as you can and use a sunscreen on the backs of your hands year round. Don’t let your neck get sunburnt because it ages even faster than your face.

Sigourney wears: Lover pink silk top and Project skirt. Max wears: Bonds  tee. Luella wear: own clothes

Sigourney wears: Lover pink silk top and Project skirt. Max wears: Bonds  tee. Luella wear: own clothes

 
Sigourney wears: Marimekko dress

Sigourney wears: Marimekko dress

Try not to frown too much…

because you’ll develop permanent frown lines. But don’t limit your smiles – smile lines are good. When you get to your late thirties you should exercise your face as well. Toned facial muscles help plump up your features and keep you looking young.

 
Sigourney wears: Rebecca Minkoff top and Project  skirt. 

Sigourney wears: Rebecca Minkoff top and Project  skirt. 

Use a moisturiser that…

than doesn’t leave your skin feeling oily or tight during the day. If you wake up with pimples your moisturiser is probably too rich. Steam your face and exfoliate once a week. 

 
Sigourney wears: Lover  top and American Vintage shorts. Maxine wears: Boden cover up & own clothes. Max wears: Atelier Child jumper and own clothes. Luella wears: Boden cardigan & own clothes. 

Sigourney wears: Lover  top and American Vintage shorts. Maxine wears: Boden cover up & own clothes. Max wears: Atelier Child jumper and own clothes. Luella wears: Boden cardigan & own clothes. 

Don’t pluck your eyebrows too much…

they may not re-grow and really thin brows look contrived and lack sophistication. Brooke Shields’ brows are just right.

 

Exfoliate your whole body every day with a hard brush…

It may seem harsh but it boosts your circulation and helps stop cellulite developing… if you can finish off with a cold shower – sixty seconds front and back is enough. It takes courage but it works wonders for your immune system.

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Portrait _MG_9274.jpg

Waxing’s expensive and it hurts…

but it’s still the best way to get rid of leg, bikini and underarm hair. We can only hope someone comes up with something better someday. (Ed’s note: that’d be laser, mum!)

 

If you ever hear a man say he likes grey hair…

don’t believe him. He’s thinking about the one or two handsome women he’s met who have wonderful olive skin, great cheekbones and uniformly grey hair. The rest of us look better without the grey, but remember that grey is nature’s way of softening our colouring to complement our wrinkles, so use highlights to get the same effect. 

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Sigourney wears: Zara  top (Sig's own) and American Vintage  shorts. Max wears: Boden tee and Cotton On pants.

Sigourney wears: Zara  top (Sig's own) and American Vintage  shorts. Max wears: Boden tee and Cotton On pants.

Accept exercise as an essential part of your routine…

as essential as sleep or brushing your teeth. Don’t think you haven’t got time, make it. It makes you feel better, look better and live longer. But be moderate. Over exercising is bad for you. Aim for 20 minutes of strong aerobic exercise three times a week. 

 

Change means pain but it also means growth...

Accept the change and embrace the pain because ultimately you’ll be a better, stronger person. People who have suffered have depth and compassion.

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Sigourney wears: Tigerlily dress. Maxine wears: Atmos and Here sleeveless & own clothes. 

Sigourney wears: Tigerlily dress. Maxine wears: Atmos and Here sleeveless & own clothes. 

Trust your intuition…

and try not to be swayed by other people’s opinions. Don’t regret anything you do – it’s only a mistake if you don’t learn from it. Anything else is a learning experience. 

 
Photography by Jenna Maslechko; Hair and Makeup by Lianne Claire for Lux It; Styling by Elana Hocking