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A Guide to Self-Love...



(Words above by Syreeta Challinger, photograph taken at her home.)

Happy Valentine's Day wonderful readers! When I chatted to people about a Valentine's post here on the blog, it struck me that we all have such different views on this Day. It polarises people.

The Traditional View of Valentine's Day: A day to celebrate the feast of Saint Valentine?

The Cynical View of Valentine's Day: A day to spend a stack of money on whatever current commercial trend is thrown in our faces most proficiently?

I remember when I was at secondary school, Valentine's was actually quite exciting, perhaps more akin to how it was originally celebrated in the 14th Century courts of Chaucer's time. Lovers revealing their previously close-kept emotions. Bold confessions of secret intentions. A red envelope on your desk placed there by someone who snuck in before the bell rang. The teenage guessing game behind every biro-scribbled "?"

These days I have to admit it's much more "oh shit, forgot it was Valentine's Day, ah well we never bother anyway!"

And so, with all the above reflections thrown into the balance, I present to you-

The Stalf view of Valentine's Day: A day to celebrate love in all it's forms, but particularly self-love! Use today as an excuse to have a word with yourself, remember those things you get just right, the things you love about yourself and adore them unashamedly!

If, like me, you feel that a little inspiration is required at this point, here are three wonderful women. First of all, I want to tell you exactly why I love them and then they'll tell you exactly why they love themselves, how they make time for themselves and hopefully inspire you to do the same.

A Mother's Guide to Self-Love...

Charlotte Jacklin

32

Blogger and Podcaster.


It was a gorgeous January morning. A wintery Thursday with a crisp chill and my breath clouding up the windscreen of the car. The sun was shining already as my car sped up the A15 towards Lincoln to shoot Charlotte at her home.

I LOVE Charlotte. There, I've said it. I wanted to open with that statement, but felt the need to add in the above sentences to appear less full-on. I'm 100% sure you all follow her over on instagram already and read her wonderful blog, but if you don't (WHAAT?) I give you the gift of "Betty Magazine."

Here's what I love about Charlotte (in no particular order)...

She's a pastel queen with a side of floral and a huge dollop of kitsch and it really is sooo pleasing to browse through her photography.

She's from Lincolnshire and has just moved back to Lincoln (big up the 'shire, oy! oy! oy!)

She's just as wonderful in person- smiley, happy and that fringe!! (it's a 10!)

She writes beautifully. As the owner of a brand who collaborates with people like Charlotte all the time, I find her content genuine, funny, useful and also perfectly eloquent.

I couldn't write a conclusive pros list without mentioning Charlotte's daughter June- she is the most adorable bundle of toddler-shaped gorgeousness. (She also rocks the cutest outfits, humoured me when I tried to find common ground with a hundred photos of Jude on my phone and LOVES a satsuma- what a gal!)

Charlotte, her fiance Jack, June and I stood for a little while propping up the kitchen units, chatting about how nice it is to meet your insta-colleagues in real life. About ten minutes later, June's Grandma and Grandad whisked her away, arms filled with O-R-A-N-G-E-S and a packet of C-R-I-S-P-S, (I too, as a mother of a toddler, am forever spelling out the names of all the temptations instead of living on the edge and saying the words out loud.)

Charlotte makes you feel at ease the instant the conversation begins. Within half an hour of me arriving, she'd given me a full tour of the house and had insisted that I take away two bookends that I'd happened to mention were exactly what I was looking for for my kitchen shelves (true story! Jack informs me that she's forever giving things away!) It's a little quirk that I hadn't expected, but is totally symptomatic of Charlotte's character. She's beyond thoughtful, so understanding, always seeing the positives and keen to share all the good things about every person who comes into conversation. Don't get me wrong though, she tempers this gorgeous thoughtfulness with a quick sense of humour and happily mocks the situations she finds herself in (her insta-stories are always uplifting with a side of witty sarcasm.)

We chatted changing body shapes, becoming a mum for the first time, all the huge transitions that this phase of life brings, making new friends, connecting with like-minded creatives and when I shut her gate behind me a couple of hours later (corny alert!) I really felt like I was taking a new friend away with me along with two reaaaally nice Oliver Bonas bookends!

Making time for yourself.

In Charlotte's Words...

A Meal for Two with our Best.

It's so easy to sit down on the sofa and eat dinner in front of the TV after June has gone to bed. I love the sense of occasion and ritual of getting my best plates, glasses and candles out to make it feel special. I have lots of different things in the garage (sorry Jack) and I try to not save them for best, and use them weekly for a lovely dinner at home.





Quiet Time with a Book.

I've really let reading take a side seat since having my daughter, it's something I really am trying to encourage myself to make time for as I was such a book worm before.

Giving myself permission to sit down and not worry about any of my to do list, it'll never get done, so might as well enjoy a few pages of a good book.




Self-Care, a bathroom Ritual.

As I spend a lot more time at home now, I really love the ritual of skincare and looking after my skin. I've always been one for taking my make up off, but after I learnt some good advice that your skincare regime should be a bit like a wardrobe and reflect what your skin needs at the time. In the dark winter you don't need the same products as you would in the middle of August, at the moment I love quick face masks to hydrate my skin in the colder weather.





Quick Q+A...

Self love, my definition...

It's been a long road and one I am learning more about everyday. It's not something we are taught about in school, and learning to listen to myself and what I need are what I'm making time for everyday.

One thing I've achieved today...

I got showered, dressed and put my make up on. When self employed and working from home it can be too easy to stay in your PJs and not make an effort, but this is a promise I made to myself last year to do and it puts me a in a much better mood and ready for work.

Two things in my life I'm grateful for...

Family and friends, a cliche but it's so true. They make this life.

Three things I do regularly that are just for me...

Light candles, buy flowers and

Four things I love about myself...

My hair, my lips, sense of no f*cks when it comes to wearing what I want and I think I'm quite kind...

Tell the person reading this something they should love about themselves...

All of you, even the bad bits. No-one is perfect, we all have negative traits but they make you unique and you're so worthwhile.

Every time you hear that little voice in your head telling you otherwise, tell it to go the hell away, or counter balance it by saying something nice.

A simple reflection...

Life's not a dress rehearsal, wear whatever you want and live to please yourself not others!

What Charlotte Wore in these Photos...




A Single Girl's Guide to Self-Love...

Jade Thompson

25

Workshop Coordinator, STALF.


You all know my top Stalf gal, Jade.

She's at the centre of everything we do here at the Pink Studio. She's the one with the pink hair who answers all your emails and is at the heart of every single studio process.

She knows me almost better than I know myself, pre-empts what I'm about to say or do, never reminds me when I do things wrong or forget things and when she rolls her eyes at a hair-brained suggestion I put to her, I know I'm onto a good thing (and secretly, she knows it too!)

She's the first person who forced me to delegate, to let go of areas of our wonderful business and to trust that another person "gets it" and cares just as much as I do.

Don't get me wrong, she's responsible for almost every smashed pot, unwatered plant, coffee spill and swears like no one else I have ever met. Ever. But she also instigates the many, many giggles, dance-offs and crying-with-laughter moments we have on the daily here at Stalf HQ. (Get yourself on Insta Stories to follow along.)

I really mean it when I say I'd trust this one with my whole world and every single thing in it. There are very few people who occupy that kind of space for me. Quite frankly, when she's away, it's just not the same- there's a Jade-shaped void in our day-to-day.

I asked Jade to take on the "Single Girl's Guide".

For me, she represents the kind of woman who has really grown to love herself over time. I get a real sense she's been on a journey with accepting herself, mind body and soul and at 25, she's come to the realisation so young that she loves every single part. I really didn't start accepting myself in a similar way until I fell pregnant and had my baby (what a journey that takes you on!)

This girl knows her mind, and knows how to tell you exactly what's on it. She knows how she feels and what she needs. She knows she can eat what she wants and dress how she wants and look how she wants exactly when she wants. Sometimes she turns up to work looking like Einstein had a run in with a Cocoon Jumpsuit and a box of pink hair dye. Sometimes she channels a more groomed look! Either way, she always turns up with her gorgeous smile, wild laugh, wicked personality and a huge dollop of empowered WOMAN!

Making time for yourself.

In Jade's Words...

A Walk with your Love.

Walking Mabel is up there with my favourite things to do. Her tootling along beside me with the tail that never stops waggling and views of the Lincolnshire wolds. She has got a penchant for going to the toilet in the middle of busy zebra crossings though, so you can’t have it all.



Letting your Hair Down.

The best part of a night out is getting ready. I love it. Getting out all of your fancy makeup that never usually sees the light of day, the ultimate get ready playlist (I’ve got loads, would recommend my Spotify) a large gin and 2 hours to play about with false eyelashes and highlighter.




The Morning after the Night Before.

Wake up, feel fine, think ‘hmm I didn’t even do anything bad last night’ and then it hits you… Welcome, a whole day of deleting messages, pictures and insta stories. The only saving grace being my Stalf sweatpants, sweatshirt and a cuddle from my dog who doesn’t care about my terrible insta stories but does seem to be judging me from the sidelines (the bathroom floor).




Quick Q+A...

Self love, my definition...

Self love is accepting that your hair will always be a little bit frizzy, it’s eating that second sandwich, allowing yourself to think ‘I like the way I look today’ and realising that you do not have to be friends with people you don’t like. It’s also sharing your bed with your dog, obviously.

One thing I've achieved today...

I put a brush through my mane.

Two things in my life I'm grateful for...

  • My dog, Mabel. She’s part of me (whether she likes it or not!).

  • My job. It came just as my life was steering in a new direction and it’s possibly the best thing to have ever happened to me.

Three things I do regularly that are just for me...

  • I like to buy myself a nice book once a month. Usually poetry.

  • Go for a run. Even If it’s just for the smug feeling afterwards.

  • I like listening to podcasts on my way to work. My fav is The High Low.

Four things I love about myself...

  • My boobs.

  • My name, just think it’s nice! Thanks Dad.

  • My smile.

  • I’m really good at making béchamel sauce.

Tell the person reading this something they should love about themselves...

We have to put up with ourselves forever so why not embrace who we are? You should love everything about yourself, even the things you’re not so keen on. You should start by loving those things first. Also, you’ve definitely got a really great bum!

A simple reflection...

Simple reflections remind me of my Nana, who is always full of reflective wisdom and one liners. She once said to me out the blue, sat on the floor of her living room by her open fire with a cigarette in hand ‘as long as I’ve got my fags and my fire I’ll be happy’. Which made me think, it really is the simple things in life which make us the most content and we should be more content with the things that we have instead of always trying to achieve the next thing. Live in the moment, be more Nana Pat. (Less the smoking, I don’t condone that).

What Jade Wore in these Photos...


A Romantic's Guide to Self Love...

Syreeta Challinger

37

Owner of MOSS (Moments of Sense and Style.)