How To Make People Believe You’ve Got Your Shit Together

Yesterday, while I was waiting with Elfie for a routine hospital appointment, I caught another mum looking me up and down.

Worried I was about to get shouted at or beaten up, or worse, had smeared lipstick in places lipstick shouldn’t be, I smiled back at her. She took a step towards me and – thank God – smiled.

“You look SO glamorous and put-together”, she said. “I want to be you when I grow up!”

“I haven’t grown up yet”, I replied, “but thank-you”.

She laughed: “Don’t grow up! It’s a trap”. I took this to mean she obviously spent as much time as me looking at quotes on Pinterest – I liked her, even without the compliments.

She asked me if I worked in fashion, telling me she’d never think to pair black Nikes with a smart outfit, and I laughed and told her that I didn’t work in fashion but did like comfy shoes and often got dressed half asleep. I was thrilled, absolutely thrilled that she’d told me I look glamorous and put-together, when I usually find it hard to even spell ‘glamorous’ (thanks, SpellCheck).

On the ‘having it together’ scale I am way more Waynetta Slob than Nigella Lawson.

Being considered a person who has their shit together is literally one of the highest compliments for me to receive because I spend most of my life literally feeling that I’m flying by the seat of my pants. For example, this Monday morning I had a disapproving phone call from Elfie’s teacher telling me that I’d forgotten to pay the next five days of her lunch money, and asking what they were supposed to feed her. Elfie was thrilled – she loves packed lunches – but I, the one who has to get up at 6.30am for the next week to make them, was not.

Then, this Tuesday, I accidentally piled mouldy cheese on top of my dinner – an aubergine pasta bake which I proceeded to ravenously eat – only realising on Wednesday when I went to get the mozzarella packet out of the fridge again in the daylight and noticed the mould and its its month-old expiry date (it tasted fine, in my defence). Yep, on the ‘having it together’ scale I am way more Waynetta Slob than Nigella Lawson.

lips and nails

However, there are two tools I employ each and every time that I leave the house, tools that immediately make me feel put together whether I’ve had only two hours sleep, ate a dinner of mouldy mozzarella or forgot to feed my kids.

I wear nail varnish and lipstick. 

I don’t know what it is about women who have polished nails and slick lips, but something about the combination – I match if I’m feeling super fancy – just works. And means that strangers who don’t know you will compliment you on being a superwoman (I’m paraphrasing, but I inflate my compliments where I can).

In an ideal world I’d have constant gel manicured nails but, you know, TIME gets in the way of that. So as a compromise I use Essie, who produce the longest-lasting polishes I’ve found, topped with Seche Vite (a finger-painting saviour). This way my at-home nails will last between 5 days and a week. My favourite colours are Luxedo, Bordeaux and Fifth Avenue (worn above).  On the lips I like Clinique’s Chubby Sticks – Grandest Grape is a nice colour to go with dark lips – and Rosie for Autograph lip glosses.

Job done – I might feel like Waynetta on the inside, but externally it’s pure Nigella.

12 Comments
  1. Thank you for this Alice as you made me realise I had (yet again) forgotten my daughters lunch order. Cue yet another grovelling phone call to the office who clearly know me as ‘that mum’…?

  2. Omg I didn’t know you could use chubby sticks on lips!!!! I use it as blush. Now I’m wondering if I’ve got that wrong but I totally agree with you. Lips and nails all the way. Even when I’m covered in sheep poo;)

    1. I think they have one for the cheeks, too!! Chubby sticks are just brilliant. Like lipstick but not lipstick (the perfect accompaniment to sheep poo…. and children, too ;)

  3. I feel the same about mascara! I feel with mascara and a nice lippy I’m all set for the day even if I’m totally no where near set for the day!!

  4. I have just purchased Essie, Seche Vite and the chubby sticks. I may not have my shit together but this time next week I will certainly look like I do.

  5. Looking gorgeous as always!!
    Have you tried the Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks? They stay on like nothing else. Not even a contouring pencil needed! I got one from my sister in law for Christmas. Best present ever. Dxx

    1. Thanks, Deb! I will grab one of these the next time I’m shopping – I’m in the market for a new red (I’m ALWAYS in the market for a new red ;) x

  6. Thanks for the great tips. You’re right, a bit of lippy does wonders. I always get asked if I’m feeling alright when I rush out the door without any lipstick.

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