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Helen Steele's life mantra for keeping creative at home

By Sarah Finnan

April 6, 2020 at 9:21am

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Lovin has teamed up with Mum Talks to bring you 'Mum Talks From Home' this Wednesday April 8th at 8.30pm. It's a completely free online parenting event with speakers including Helen Steele, 'Fabulous Pharmacist' Laura Mulvany and parenting expert Aoife Lee. Register for your place here

An award-winning designer and artist, Helen Steele is a household name, not only throughout Ireland but across Europe and the wider world as well.

Having established the Helen Steele label with her ex-husband Stuart, Helen has been making ripples internationally. Showing at both Paris and London fashion weeks every year since 2012, the company continues to double sales season after season - counting many famous faces amongst the brand's fans; including Cara Delevigne, Rita Ora, Jessie J, Fearne Cotton and even members of the Emirati royal family.

A hugely successful businesswoman, Helen Steele is also a mother of three - stepping into motherhood in her early 20s.

Helen will join the Mum Talks From Home online event which is taking place this Wednesday at 8.30pm, when she will discuss how she maintains her creativity while at home and how her life changed when children entered her life.

Speaking ahead of the event, Helen explained: "When I became a mother for the first time, I was self-employed and 23. So a massive learning curve in that first year. My life changed completely. I think in the best way possible.

"I definitely think that having my children made me more inspired and competitive. It made me more productive with every second of my time. With each stage of my kids' childhood, they have inspired me with their fearless imagination and how they see and navigate the world.

"I don’t think there is any mother on earth that doesn’t feel some level of guilt around parenting - be it a working mum or stay at home (which is the most unrewarded but one of the most important roles). As a self-employed mum, I know there are more supports out there now - a lot more than when I started out."

Now that her children are older and more independent, Helen is back to more 'normal' working hours. "Initially I would care for the kids during the day and work at night.  It was a bit easier to work when they were in school. And now my two youngest are in secondary school and my eldest is in University in London so I spend all day working ( and usually up until 10 at night) and I work at the weekend too."

What about keeping that all-important work-life balance?

"I think when you're self-employed you never really switch off. I do however keep Sundays as sacred for the kids and I. And I talk with my eldest, Chloe, in London daily. We sometimes do FaceTime walks too."

Irish designer Helen Steele

Of course, working from home has taken a bit of adjusting to - as it has for all of us, but once you find your rhythm, things aren't so bad.

"I think we have settled into a good routine now," she reveals. "My daughter Halle is studying for the Leaving Cert which is extremely stressful and difficult for her under the current circumstances. She was also in hospital for a week which has added to the stress. Our rural WiFi service is appalling and it makes Zoom classes for Halle and her brother Ronnie (who is doing the Junior Cert) difficult.

"But other than that we are enjoying being together - cooking together, sometimes painting together. I’m getting through quite a bit of work as I am not spending four hours a day commuting."

Silver linings to every cloud as they say.

The authority on art and design, Helen is no slouch when it comes to staying creative at home - especially now that times have changed and home is our only creative outlet at the minute. Turns out there's not a whole lot to it, in fact, it all comes down to routine.

"Keep it simple. Routine is key. Fresh air and exercise are so important. So is colouring in and painting - that could be something that can be done together... I think if the basics like good food, fresh air, school work and sleep get done each day, well that’s a good day.

"Don’t be looking at all the online workouts, etc and stressing that you're not doing enough, don’t be putting yourself under unnecessary stress."

On the topic of social media, she's more positive than some. With it acting as a saving grace for many parents, Helen credits it as "a really positive place for creativity", encouraging people to use it as a source of inspiration to foster creative interests and maybe even find some common ground with older kids.

"I try to live by one simple saying and that is 'what you put into it is what you get out of it'. You can apply this to anything - parenting, business, creativity, career, health;  everything."

With a career that many would only love to emulate, Helen Steele's formula for success puts authenticity and consistency high on the list, along with passion, honesty and kindness. All necessary traits in both business and motherhood.

This Wednesday, Helen will join the likes of parenting expert Aoife Lee and ‘Fabulous Pharmacist’ Laura Mulvaney, as well as Mum Talks founders Kara Heriot and Lucy O’ Driscoll Edge.

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