We're back! After a little break we are so excited to bring you another instalment of our popular MAMA SERIES and this month we welcome Emma Paton, the style superstar and mama behind fashion, lifestyle and interiors blog, Finlay Fox.
Emma founded her blog in July 2015 to document the cool and independent children's brands she was finding since welcoming her first child into the world. Fours years on and it is evolving into a go to destination for fashion advice, interiors inspiration and a guide to living consciously.
We travelled to Emma's home in North London, to spend the morning with her and her beautiful daughter, Violet, chatting all things style and motherhood, as well as getting a sneaky glimpse at their gorgeous home (including those bathroom tiles...swoon!).
You can also shop Finlay Fox's Top Picks by clicking the button below once you've read the full interview. Enjoy.
Hi Emma, welcome to the MAMA SERIES, we are so thrilled to have you! Tell us a little about yourself and why you started your blog, Finlay Fox?
I’m a mum to 2 kids - Finn (6) and Violet (3) and wife to Liam (a music composer) we live in lovely ‘Stokey’ - Stoke Newington, London. I started my blog nearly 4 years ago as a side project to document and share all the cool unisex, indie kids clothes and gifting brands I discovered, that I had started spending all my money on! My blog was named after my son but has more recently evolved into grown-up fashion, lifestyle and interiors. I left my buying job a couple of years after setting it up and now run it as a business (albeit only having 2 child free days a week to do it in!).
You were a Fashion Buyer for Boden, and obviously someone who knows fashion, how has your style changed since becoming a mum?
I think at first my style was primarily about comfort after becoming a mum - breastfeeding and running around after my son, I just wanted to wear anything that was easy. However, after having my daughter I realised that by actually making a bit more effort in what I was wearing I actually felt a bit better about myself. Lipstick also became my go to for instantly feeling less tired and more ‘done up’.
I also discovered dungarees and jumpsuits in the last couple of years - the perfect combination of comfort and style that really suited me and made me feel good.
What are your go-to clothing brands?
On the high street I love M&S, H&M and Topshop but I also love smaller indie brands such as Clary & Peg and Sideline. I have an occasional splurge at Ganni, Madewell and Whistles as a treat. I’m also trying to be super conscious this year to buy less, wear my wardrobe more and also shop second hand and vintage.
You are also a great supporter of independent brands and mum-rum businesses, what are your go-to children’s brands?
Oh that’s so hard! There are so many good ones! For clothes Mini Rodini, Bobo Choses, Tootsa, Main Story and Apolina are my faves and Olive Loves Alfie in Stoke Newington always has a lovely selection of brands.
Otherwise I love Honey & Toast, Mutha Hood, Disko Kids, A Folk Tale, Sparkle Child London, Tiba & Marl, The Mamahood... and of course Mama + Max!
You have two children, Finlay and Violet, how do you cope with the juggle of being a working mum with two children?
It’s a challenge every day juggling working, childcare, school runs and making sure there is food on the table and some kind of relationship with my husband! There is no magic formula but for me what works is planning and using my support network (family) as much as I can. I have a very supportive husband but he also has his own business (which is like a 3rd child!) but he can be flexible too if he needs to be.
I also cope by having a bath in the evenings and making sure I don’t go bed too late! I have a lovely network of friends and plenty of events to let off steam at too. Taking the odd day off social media helps as well.
What’s been the best and hardest thing about motherhood?
Best - definitely seeing the kids develop and grow into their own little characters, cuddles, laughter and fun and having a crew to hang out with. Finding a new level of love that you never knew existed!
Hardest - lack of control in some situations and also feeling like you are a slave to your kids sometimes! In the baby days the hardest thing was the sleep deprivation definitely, it sent me over the edge!
What’s your best tip for a new mum?
Not to compare yourself to others (everyone finds their own way of working things out) and that it may take a while to find your ‘tribe’ of mum friends you want to hang out with, it doesn’t always happen straight away. Sorry more than one but also, do what ever makes life easier and makes you get more rest - be it using a dummy, getting a sleep trainer or using bottles, it doesn’t matter! Also exercise such as pilates is an absolute must for mental and physical wellbeing.
How have you found raising a girl compared to raising a boy?
Very different! But actually it’s not about being a boy or a girl, it’s more their personalities are so different. Violet is very strong willed and quite demanding whereas Finn is very relaxed and laid back. It’s learning how to manage their ups and downs.
One of the best things about having a girl is that the clothes are so much better than the boy options!
Would you have changed anything if you could go back and speak to your pre- pregnant self?
No I don’t think so, I was really ready to have a baby but I think I would probably have said not to put myself under so much pressure and know that motherhood is massively challenging.
We love your Instagram account and your gorgeous house, what’s your favourite room in the house and why?
Ah thanks! I love Violet's room! Its such a fun place to hang out in and she loves playing in there. The light is so lovely and I would’ve killed for a room like that at her age!
What’s next for Finlay Fox?
I would love to do more fashion and shopping features and ramp up my #finlayfoxshops series on Instagram. I really want to explore brands who are trying to be more ethical and sustainable too. I’m also planning some product collaborations and maybe even a move out of London soon! I love interiors so a new project could be fun.
Also my daughter will hopefully be in more childcare later this year so I can dedicate more time to growing my following and blog.
Since becoming a mum, what 5 things can’t you live without?
3. Colouring pens and pads
Finally, Is there anything else you want to tell any new mums reading this, anything that could’ve helped you or prepared you for motherhood?
I honestly think nothing can prepare you motherhood! Just to make sure you have a good support network around you and that it’s ok not to feel ok! Ask for help. It may look like that other person has got their shit together but honestly we all find it hard (and rewarding of course!) and that everything, especially in those early days is a phase and things constantly change.