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,


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Comment (8)

  1. May 4, 2016

    I love this so much!

  2. May 4, 2016
    Emma Smythe

    So Beautiful

  3. May 4, 2016
    Stephanie Bailey

    I love the last one the most! Xxx

  4. May 5, 2016

    Just beautiful, thank you for sharing xx

  5. May 5, 2016
    Elle xx


  6. May 5, 2016

    That is so gorgeous Vicki

  7. May 9, 2016

    Great article Sig, Maxine is amazing (still looks amazing too), I remember the warmth of that little house in battery point and promite and honey muffins with Earl Grey (also with honey) and the face masks and potions we used to make, boarding school though… Ughh there’s a time in my life I will gladly forget…love to you all! Courtney

  8. May 10, 2016

    This is so lovely, I never recieved any advise from my mum as I was growing up, now being a mother I so wish that she had imparted something onto me like this, I could so have used this guiding tool as I was growing up, I had know idea about so many things, no standards were set. I don’t think she knew the value of her voice! thank you for sharing. Regards Lisa.