Thursday, August 16, 2012

The right fit.

This blog is a little sporadic - it veers from statements about fashion, to childhood recollections, my journey through motherhood and through a variety of random topics and thoughts.  But recently I've had writers block and have not been entirely sure what to write about or where to find inspiration.  As it turns out my inspiration was right in front of me.  


(Sometimes a that word needs a line dedicated all to itself.)

You see about a month ago I finally accepted that I needed help finding a good bra that fits well and it has been a revelation.

Boobs in many way are the epitome of femininity and so carry a lot of weight in our journey through womanhood.  Unless you are fortunate enough to be a 34C you will most likely spend your life wishing you were more or less physically endowed.  During my teenage years I tried to squeeze myself into that magical size, even though it was abundantly clear that the bra barely covered enough ground.  Having big boobs gave me the kind of attention I thought I wanted but as it turned out I really didn't.

So begrudgingly I went to Marks & Spencer to be fitted.  I'm sure many British women will remember vividly stepping behind that curtain a little red faced and anxious.  As I stood there, half naked being prodded and having a tape measure wrapped around me, I was mortified to learn that I was a 34DD.  With a heavy heart I was forced to accept that thin strapped, delicate, pretty bras were not in my future.  I needed support and that support wasn't very pretty.

20 years later that time came upon me again and I made the journey to see Iris the Bra Fitter.  She's pretty famous in Brooklyn and I now understand why.  I was a little more comfortable standing there half naked and being eyed up and down by her scrupulous eye but is still wasn't exactly my idea of a fun date.

Naively I had hoped that miraculously I had become a 34C and that my future would hold abundant lace pleasantries and sweet gingham plaids.  It didn't.  Little had changed size wise but what had changed were some really beautiful bras that fit me like a glove and made me feel fantastic, so fantastic in fact that I felt the need to flash my rather surprised colleague to show her just how well my new bra fit.

So just like with everything in life, when something fits, it really fits and it's worth getting it just right.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Owning It

When I was in high school I played the cello - sadly not very well.  It didn't take me long to realized that I was never going to have a career as a musician, but I stuck with it.  

I learned many valuable lessons from the experience, but no more so than one particular time during an orchestra rehearsal when we were playing a piece that began with the cello section, which was pretty rare.  As soon as I began to pull my bow across the strings it became abundantly clear that I was horribly and terribly off key.  I stopped quickly and started to blush as the rest of the orchestra stumbled ahead.

After the rehearsal my music teacher pulled me aside to talk to me. I was terrified - he was an intimidating man, with a slight Napoleonic complex, who never minced words.

"Hannah," he started.  "If you're going to make a mistake, own it."

He might have smiled, I can't remember, but he said it with unexpected kindness.  

He was right of course.  If I was going to start a performance off key, I should have done it with confidence and owned the moment and the mistake.

Over the past twenty years I have reflected on that moment a lot.  We owe it to ourselves to own our lives, every aspect of it.  We need to own the good the bad, our mistakes and triumphs, the lessons learned and how we learned them, our bodies, our voices, our opinions, and always our feelings.  

It's hard to feel ownership when you're pregnant because everything is so different, so new, and so constantly evolving.   But what better time to own yourself and your body than when you are nurturing another life.  Yes my boobs are huge, yes my belly button is popping out, yes my ankles are swollen and yes I can rest a bowl on my tummy, but I have a life inside me and I'm about to become a mother, and what could be better than that.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Everyday Mothers Day

Mothers Day is always filled with many mixed emotions for me.  Until 2006 it was a day I felt sadly disconnected to because having lost my mother when I was ten the reality is I can't really remember celebrating a Mothers Day with my mum.  I don't remember if I made her a card, picked her flowers or brought her breakfast in bed.  I hope I did.

When I became a mother it shifted a little, but if I'm honest the absence of my mum always tainted the day and left me feeling empty and alone.

Then about year ago I had a revelation.  Until that point my sadness over the loss of my mother had been in many ways a selfish one - that I had grown up without her.  But as I marveled casually at my children it hit me that her loss was in some ways so much greater - she didn't get to watch her 4 children grow up as I was watching mine.  

It wasn't even about the firsts - first tooth, first step, first day of school, first day of college, first job, first true love and first grandchild - it was all the little things in between.  It was the unexpected kiss on the knee for no reason at all, it was the handwritten note with a love heart that now lives in my wallet, it was the tooth knocked out before it's time and placed under a pillow for an unprepared tooth fairy, it was the little warm hand that still reaches to be held when walking down the street and the dozy smile early in the morning.

I know it's sad not to expect a lifetime with my children, but by not taking that for granted, I have become hedonistic with the time I have with them, and I have started to enjoy the simple pleasures of motherhood so much more.  There are many landmarks in life, but it is the days leading up to them can be so much more meaningful.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Making It Work

When you live in New York, in order to truly belong you have to develop a good poker face when you see a celebrity.  Woody Allen? Yeah, whatever. Jake Gyllenhaal?  Again?  But when I walked passed Tim Gunn recently I think I might have blushed.  Really.  I just love him.  Lets be honest, at this point he's the only reason to watch Project Runway. 

Tim Gunn channeling 007
If anyone else said to me, "Make it work Hannah," I'd be pissed.  But when Tim Gunn says it, it is said with confidence that you actually can make it work. 

Clover Canyon Bar Code Maxi Dress 
I like the challenge of getting dressed and making something work, although in recent months getting my three year old daughter dressed has become a challenge I haven't relished and I have a feeling even Tim Gunn might lose his cool over the 20 minutes and numerous tears shed over picking out underwear.  

Matta Chahna Dress
It is probably my enjoyment of fashion challenges that attracted me to maternity wear in the first place, after all there are many challenges inherent with your body expanding in all sorts of unexpected ways and in various directions.  But it is not a lost cause. Not at all.

Olian Safari Dress
You might have to say goodbye temporarily to your natural waist and to some favorites in your wardrobe but it's not forever and there are many ways to stretch your wardrobe.  You will probably have to accept defeat a few times before you find what works, but 9+ months is a long time and your style is important, so have faith and don't believe the naysayers - there is great maternity fashion out there.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


Everyone who knows me, knows how much I dislike winter.  Other than my children's birthday's and Christmas I find it hard to find the season's redeeming qualities.  I know, I know, bah humbug, but it's just the way I am.

That's why the other day when I saw a daffodil bursting through the cold and color stripped earth, I felt happy.

And it is why I've been so excited to open each new box that arrives at Bump bursting full of spring styles and bright vibrant colors.  It makes me feel optimistic, uplifted and excited about new beginnings.  

(It makes me feel like I can brave the cold just a little bit longer.)

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I took my six year old son to MoMA yesterday.  He is growing up in New York and I often forget the amazing cultural resources that are on my door step.  He was initially skeptical but soon he found himself lured in by the dream like jungles of Henri Rousseau, Jasper John's American Flag and Dali's melting clocks.

Lady Rosa of Luxembourg by Sanja Ivekovic 

While we were there, I happened to look down onto one of the most breathtakingly beautiful sculptures I have ever seen.  It is hard to tell if it was the setting, the lighting, or the sheer majesty of golden vision towering up through the atrium in front of me, but I was transfixed.  Then I looked at the sculpture by Sanja Ivekovic more carefully and I realized that it was of a pregnant woman. 

It's not that I needed to be reminded of how beautiful a woman is when she's pregnant, I see it every day, but I think I have started to take it for granted a little.  A life within a life is nothing short of miraculous.  I have experienced it twice before and for every reason under the sun my life will never be the same again because of it.

When I was pregnant, I noticed that people swore less around me, strangers would smile at me (even if they didn't give me their seat on the subway) and strangest of all, my friends would stop discussing their sex lives with me.  It was like I had become almost virginal, even when my pregnancy clearly suggested quite the opposite!

It reminded me when I first moved to New York and I went to see a production of Shakespeare's Cymbeline at the Delacorte theatre in Central Park.  What made the production so memorable to me was that the actress who played Imogene was pregnant, even though the character wasn't. It made everything seem ethereal and I was absolutely transported by her maternal beauty.  

Cymbeline, Public Theater
Even as a bright eyed and bushy tailed twenty three year old who was very far removed from pregnancy, I was captured by it's beauty, just as I was yesterday.

So if you are pregnant and even if you don't feel particularly beautiful or ethereal, trust me - you are.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


It should never be underestimated how much we can learn from our children.  Today I was reminded how wonderful optimism is.  

I was about to leave the house with my 3 year old daughter and we were putting on rain boots, warm coats and hats.  It was cold, wet and very gloomy.  She then went to get her sunglasses.

"Marigold, it's raining."  I said politely.

"But Mumma, the sun might come out."  She replied.

I loved her optimism.  

"Yes Marigold, you're right.  It just might come out."

So we both left the house with our sunglasses, just in case.  And you know, I swear I saw the tiniest bit of blue sky.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Day 1

After my son was born I was in a hurry for him to get older and bigger.  I was under the misapprehension that when he got older things would get easier.  Maybe I'm reading too much into it but there is a good chance that I wanted to put as much distance as possible between me, his birth and what I perceived as my birthing and breast feeding failures.

With my daughter I knew that her infancy would be fleeting and that older certainly wouldn't mean easier.  Every stage and every day has it's own challenges and it's own joys.  Marigold and I didn't have the opportunity to lie in each others arms all day or welcome visitors anxious to meet the new arrival.  There were school trips to make, dinners to cook, no generous maternity leave salary and there was a deep financial recession to contend with that managed to cast a shadow over everything. 

But Marigold's happiness for life and unfailing optimism is what on many days kept us going.  Her spirit is so effervescent, her smiles so infectious and her hugs so frequent that it's impossible to feel sad around her.  

One day recently when I was feeling that my role within our family had become overly domesticated, my husband asked Marigold and Auden what they thought mum was good at.  I was praying it wasn't going to be 'putting our clothes away' or 'making macaroni & cheese.' So when Marigold answered quite matter-of-factly, "snuggling" I could hardly stop smiling.

So on the eve of my Daughters 3rd birthday and feeling very nostalgic I am learning not to fast forward or rewind just enjoy each moment for what it is - precious.

Happy 3rd birthday Marigold.  I will love you forever xo


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Snow Angels

This is my obsession at Bump at the moment:

Lukka Cape

And I'm torn over it.  As a business owner I really want to sell it but as I woman obsessed I want to keep one for myself.  The reason I'm obsessed with it is because of one of my favorite movies of all time, "Help".  There is a scene in "Help" when they ski down a mountain and make snow angels while singing "Ticket to Ride."  I love that scene and I love that movie.    I will never have more love and affection for any other band ever than the Beatles.  They remind me of my mum and lets face it, they will always be the best band in the world EVER.  

So if you have to buy a winter coat from Bump this season, please just don't buy the last one.  Thanks!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fashion - a dirty word?

Personally I love fashion.  I've always been drawn to it.  It makes me feel good, especially when I'm feeling bad.  

When I first moved to New York in 1998, I was having a particularly bad day.  The company I had moved to America to work for was closing it's doors after I'd only been there for eight months, my room mates were pretty unpleasant people and my boyfriend dumped me.  I wanted to cry and curl up into a little ball and return to Scotland with my tail between my legs but I decided to put on my favorite dress, spend a little extra time on my hair and make-up and walked out my front door with my head held high.  

Clothes, with  help from some lip gloss, enabled me to take back control when so much else was spiraling out of control.  The effect might have been temporary, but it helped me put a spring back in my step. 

I'm still in New York, the ex-boyfriend was just one of life's necessary diversions, I'm happily married with two sensation children, and funnily enough I've found personal and professional contentedness in the fashion industry.  Do I owe it all to fashion?  Absolutely not, but my wardrobe has helped me get through times when I felt like happiness was out of my reach.

Unfortunately the 'who' and 'what' you're wearing so often becomes more important than they 'why'.  I don't know anyone who hasn't at some point felt unwelcome in a clothing store.  Fashion is not necessarily inviting, which is why it often has so many bad connotations. Who doesn't love that scene in Pretty Woman when she walks back into the Rodeo Drive salon and gives her "big mistake" speech. If that ever happens about Bump we're doing our job wrong - very wrong.  But fashion isn't a bad thing, it can be an expression of who you are, what you are feeling and it can make you feel good.

We all have those items in our wardrobes that make us feel great when we put them on.  It might be a perfectly worn in pair of jeans, a dress that simply never goes out of style, a classic white shirt that fits just right, an almost thread bare t-shirt that hangs just beautifully or a jacket that was worn by your grandmother AND mother.  It doesn't matter where you got it but rather than what you get out of it. 

So pregnant or not forget the fashion hierarchy snobs, never spend money in a clothing store that doesn't make you feel welcome and enjoy the clothes that make you feel good.