From a career as a primary school teacher to sought after event stylist, Claire Donaldson believes, "If something is worth celebrating, it's worth styling." Trudi Brewer talks to this busy mother of two.
From weddings to birthdays, and special events, nobody, knows how to dress a blank space like stylist Claire Donaldson from One Lovely Day. After helping friends and family style numerous events, One Lovely Day was born five years ago and Donaldson has never looked back. Now with One Little Hire and One Little Wagon all part of Donaldson's styling company, there's also a book in the making. Bateman Publishing has documented Donaldson's styling journey with a book called One Lovely Day, Creating Moments. Filled with recipes for summer cocktails and entertaining, along with brilliant styling advice it's due in stores this November. Here is a glimpse into Donaldson's beautiful world.
How did One Lovely Day start?
Quite by accident really, I have always loved playing with spaces and would offer to help friends decorate their homes, dress their events or even create their window displays, just for the love of it. Soon I was being referred; I never looked back.
What’s a typical working day for you?
It depends on the time of year, right now it consists of lots of venue site visits, putting together briefs for each wedding and event, and then spending hours booking, sourcing and making sure the look all comes together and that it's all delivered on time.
What do you love most about your career?
Seeing my clients faces when their finished look comes together, its what makes it all worthwhile.
What has been your career high to date?
Last year I was approached to write a book on “One Lovely Day” and our journey so far. It's been a great project, time-consuming, but one that has given me a chance to reflect on what has been achieved in the last few years and create almost a personal keepsake.
How would your describe your home?
Our little journey. We moved in here 15 years ago pre-kids when all the walls and carpet were navy blue, and the place needed some TLC. It's been a lovely journey slowly working our way from room to room as needed. From the bedrooms and kitchen to the outdoor area that we created as our little family grew. Now as the kids are growing up, there are plans to go up and create more much-needed space.
Where do you look for inspiration when starting a home project?
I tend to scroll back through my image files; I have folders everywhere full of photographs. Every time I see something I like, I capture it, and then file it, then draw upon it when new briefs come in. I always find images I forgot I had. I’m a visual magpie.
What makes a great interior?
Continuity, a home needs to flow.
What is your favourite room?
The lounge. It's where we spend the most amount of time together, sitting next to the open fire in winter, or letting the cool breeze through in summer.
Where would you send women for home inspiration?
Online and social media is where you will find a wealth of inspiration, but there is sometimes nothing better than wandering through beautiful stores, restaurants and the neighbourhood for tangible inspiration.
What would you never compromise on for your home?
A large dining table, everyone’s got to fit.
What are your most treasured possessions?
What’s the best interior advice you’ve picked up?
Start with a good base and build on that.
What does beauty mean to you?
It's about being comfortable and happy in your skin. If you're confident, everything else will follow.
What is your one beauty indulgence?
A spa visit and a lunch catch up with the girls a couple of times a year. It's the perfect way to keep connected with friends and rejuvenate at the same time.
What do you always keep on your bedside table?
Water and to keep my brain clear, a notebook to jot my ideas down on when my brain doesn't want to relax.
What would we always find in your beauty bag?
Loving the new Tender Love + Carry metallic toilet bags, these are always full of my Carmex lip balm, hand cream, a good moisturiser and my Via mini hairbrush.
What is your go-to nail shade?
OPI Berlin There Done That.
Do you have a signature scent?
Jo Malone English Pear and Freesia for every day, and then layered with Jo Malone Mimosa and Cardamom for special occasions.
What is your ultimate skincare essential?
I love treating myself to a bottle of Lancôme Advanced Genifique.
What are your make-up basics?
A good moisturiser - Lancôme Hydra Zen, MAC Blush in Posey and a swish of black mascara
And what hair products do you rely on?
Argania Moisture Repair Shampoo and Conditioner followed by Liquid Gold Oil.
What is your wellness philosophy?
Downtime with friends and family, having time to stop, chat and enjoy good company, makes me feel a million dollars.
How to you stay balanced and happy?
It's quite hard juggling a career with two children. I make sure I slip out daily for a brisk walk or run, to give me a fresh perspective.
What advice would you give other busy working mothers?
Get a cleaner, it' really nice to know that's one job you can tick off your to-do list.
Makeup MAC Cosmetics artist Sarah Zlatarevic
Photography Milana Radojcic