Gemma Sheppard, 46, stylist on Channel 5’s 10 Years Younger in 10 Days, shares her best confidence-building tips and how she stays well, mentally and physically, as a hard-working mum of three…
By Gemma Calvert (Lead image: @milenaguell)
‘Everybody can find 10 minutes for self-care. It might be you don’t watch the news at 9pm and don’t load the dishwasher until the morning, but take 10 minutes each day to focus on what you want. Those things might be small wins: leaving your phone downstairs at night, reading 10 pages of a book each night, making a daily effort to do your hair and make-up.
‘I truly believe the minute you feel you are grooming yourself or looking after yourself in some way, you feel more together. Every morning, I wake at 5.30am and, while my husband and three teenagers are sleeping, sip a coffee or smoothie in silence or write my to-do list. By 6am, I feel ready to attack the day!
Gemma Sheppard: ‘The minute you feel you are grooming yourself or looking after yourself in some way, you feel more together.’
‘It’s important to reprogramme negative self-talk. I get messages regularly from people who speak to themselves in a way they would never speak to a friend. One lady wrote recently to say, “I long for the day that I look in the mirror and don’t look fat, ugly and frumpy.” Before you put on a single item of clothing, you must be your own best friend. Just 20 seconds of quiet reflection can help reset the emotional balance button.
‘I also believe in writing down your emotions. It gets out negative feelings. Another tip is to jot down a little reminder of self-love on a sticky note and pop it somewhere prominent, such as inside your wardrobe or on the fridge door. These can help override negative thoughts and create a more positive mindset.
‘My dad had severe bipolar. He spent time in a mental hospital before he died last year. Dad adored me, but growing up in a home where a parent has mental illness was very tough. There were lots of violent outbursts and I think my ability to be relaxed in the most stressful of situations is because, as a child, I learned to be calm. It was my way of off-setting the chaos around me.
‘After what happened to Dad, I became very understanding of the psychology of humans and, as a stylist, I believe in kindness and good communication. I genuinely think my childhood experiences have helped me to truly connect and understand the people I work with.
‘My best friend now is sleep. If I get eight hours, I feel I can conquer the world. I entered perimenopause two years ago, which really affected the quality of my sleep so I’m a slave to my bedtime routine, because it helps calm me after a busy day. I don’t always get it right. Life can sometimes take over, but I try to stick to simple rituals such as turning off my phone after dinner to disconnect.
Gemma Sheppard: ‘I entered perimenopause two years ago, which really affected the quality of my sleep so I’m a slave to my bedtime routine.’
‘I love an Epsom salts bath, too, and I’m massively into using essential oils. I often play some relaxing vibration type music and light a candle to create an ambiance, and then I spend 20 minutes doing my facial routine using my favourite products including Nu Skin, Caudalie and PRAI Beauty.
‘I’m heavier than I was a decade ago, which is down to eating late at night after working long hours. Plus, my metabolism has slowed down with age. I don’t need to lose weight to feel happier, but I want to be the healthiest mum I can be for my three kids.
‘I encourage our family to eat healthily. We no longer have cereal in the house because it’s packed with hidden sugars, and I don’t cook or eat processed foods. I’m also very mindful to read food labels. My friend, actor Davinia Taylor, has opened my eyes to processed oils, particularly rapeseed oil and sunflower oil, which can create awful inflammation in the body and cause bloating and other problems.
‘I’m also an advocate of drinking an abundance of water, and I create my own infused waters using wild rosemary, mint, lemon or cucumber. Whenever I’m busy and forget to drink, I notice a depletion in my mood and energy.
‘I love helping women look and feel their best. On the show, before I pick out any clothes, I spend a time talking to participants, often midlife women and often about their insecurities. Usually, I am the first person to offer them reassurance and that builds trust. Once you let out what you’re feeling, you’re on the first day of achieving a transition, because you’ve acknowledged the change you want to make.
Gemma Sheppard: ‘I love helping women look and feel their best. Usually, I am the first person to offer them reassurance and that builds trust.’
‘I am also a fresh set of eyes. Everybody has a sense of their own personal style, but I take people out of their comfort zones. There’s something magical about creating your own style – your signature look. Pinterest is a great tool for figuring out what fashion feels right for you.
‘If you admire somebody who has a similar body shape and style to you, create mood boards of their best looks and clothes and draw on that when you’re next shopping. When you’re trying on clothes, to know whether the garments are a true reflection of you, look in the mirror and ask yourself out loud, ‘Do I like it?’ Your gut response is the answer. I also recommend doing your hair and make-up and wearing a great pair of shoes when trying on clothes, even when it’s a home delivery!
Break your own rules. Clients often tell me they dislike a specific colour, which is usually the colour of their old school uniform. Remember, you wore your school uniform 30-40 years ago, you might like that colour now! I also hear a lot of “I’ve been told I can’t wear this colour.” Nonsense! It’s about balance.
‘An all-black outfit can drain the colour from your complexion, but that shouldn’t stop you from wearing black bottoms with a brightly coloured top. If you’re intimidated by colour, inject a little bit into your wardrobe with an accessory like a scarf or a statement necklace or by wearing a brightly coloured lip gloss. The pop of colour will instantly make you feel brighter.
‘When you look in the mirror and feel together, you psychologically feel like you’re winning. You become the best version of yourself by making small changes and maintaining them. Rather than putting a pile of clothes at the end of the bed when you get undressed, then shoving the same clothes back on the next day, take the time to organise your week’s clothing, I call this playing dress-up in your own wardrobe.
Gemma Sheppard: ‘When you look in the mirror and feel together, you psychologically feel like you’re winning. You become the best version of yourself by making small changes and maintaining them.’
‘On a Sunday, get out seven hangers and create complete outfits. Even if Monday is a stay-at home day, just having that outfit ready will make you feel more together. It can be an athleisure look, but elevate it a little with a shoulder bag or trench coat.
‘The minute you apply yourself to anything – exercise, meal planning, writing a diary, fashion – you instantly feel in control, less stressed and more productive.
Follow Gemma Sheppard at instagram.com/sheppardstyle.