I’m on a roll! This is the fourth interview in the series and that gorgeous lady up there is Marie-Claire aka Nariva Boutique. She holds in her hands one of her babies – the beautiful Carla backpack *swoon*
I’ve been following Nariva Boutique for a long while now. I was initially intrigued because the pictures on Marie-Claire’s Instagram account got me all nostalgic. Her posts reminded me of the old photos of my mum in those massive faux leather photo albums from back in the day when people used to actually print photos and everyone seemed way cooler than they seem now. They also reminded me of the various bags and items of clothing from the 70s that my mum handed down to me and that I wore during my teens.
Then she gradually started revealing more about herself and her family, and she started posting longer captions about parenting and self care, demonstrating a genuine interest in her followers and a desire to create a sense of community in this here virtual world we are living in, and I found out that she lived in North London, just down the road really, and then the restraining order came…
THAT WAS CLEARLY A JOKE *insert straight mouth emoji here*
Marie-Claire has such a beautiful spirit and, even though I have never met her, although we keep telling each other that we HAVE to meet and it WILL happen, I feel like I know her and I totally get her.
Add to this the fact that her backpacks are fabulously gorgeous, and equally acceptable strapped onto the back of a mum escorting her brood on a trip to the adventure playground as they are on the back of a mum running for the 7:55am train into London Liverpool Street, and you have yet another reason to fangirl over her. She is chic and classy and, dare I say, a lil bit bad-assy. Time for a peek into a day in her life? I think so!
Hey! Tell us a bit about your good self
Ok, so I’m Marie-Claire. I have an active toddler boy who’s THREE going on THIRTY. My partner is a bio medical engineer who does stuff with electronics, biophysics and numbers to make the lives of many more bearable or liveable. We live in Islington, North London.
I do many things, but, currently, I head up a commercial delivery team for a publishing agency in Central London.
My side hustle and passion, though, is handbag design. Under my design label, Nariva Boutique, I have a range of handmade, highly crafted, colourful, leather backpacks and I offer these as part of my hands free community. My mission is to start a hands free hub where new and old mums are encouraged to live life light, hands free, totally being themselves, whatever and whoever they are, and whatever stage in life they are at.
Oooh! I’m feeling lighter already! But, that’s a lot of stuff for you to be doing. I’m guessing you need a lot of time. What time do you get up on a typical weekday morning?
Before I had my boy, I was an early bird. I used to get up at 6am. Now, my little one wakes me up from 5:45am onwards.
Eurgh! *shudders* So, it’s 5:45am. What’s the first thing you do?
I go get myself a lemon shot. Pure lemon with hot water. I’ve been doing this for forever, according to my mother. I used to check my mobile phone… but I’ve kicked that habit (occasionally it creeps in, though, depending on what’s happening around the world). Then, I tend to the little person hanging around my neck or leg.
My partner and I split the morning drill during the week. On the days that I am responsible for getting my toddler boy ready for nursery, there is usually lots of “no, you can’t watch Paw Patrol” or “no, it’s not swimming today” or “sorry, no chocolate or sweeties until next year…”
Ha ha! Ok, so once you’ve managed to convince him to wait a year for his next chocolate fix, what time do you leave the house?
So, I drop toddler boy off to nursery on Wednesday and Thursday mornings, and how early we leave the house depends entirely on the mode of travel. On scooter, we need an hour. On the bike, we need 15 minutes – but it’s a hilly ride, so I allow 30 minutes. So, any time between 8 and 8:30am by push bike. On the other days, I head to work on my Dutch bike at 8:55am.
Ooooh! Yaaaas to Amsterdam chic in London! I love it! Do you get much opportunity to work from home?
When I’m working on Nariva Boutique, I head to Net.Works in Highbury and Islington, which is a 5-minute cycle from my house. I have a desk space there and it means that I don’t stay at home cleaning the house and listening or dancing around to 80’s dance tracks, which I’m used to doing.
And who the hell could blame you (the 80’s dance tracks part, not the cleaning part, although I do love a good clean tbf)? Certainly not I. So, once you get to Net.Works, what are you doing?
So, for Nariva Boutique, I’m usually working up the latest designs with my production house, or I’m at my leather suppliers keeping abreast of the latest in leather. I’m a visual person, so tend to have swatches of leather in front of me, which can sometimes look or feel weird. I also tend to put together mood boards and ideas in sketch form. I’m pretty lame at drawing or sketching so most of my designs tend to be straight, boxed, symmetrical lines. The reason I try to concentrate on my product design in the mornings is because this tends to be the time when I’m more solution-orientated. Also, to be honest, I love doing this and could do this all day long.
Do you stop for lunch?
I usually have brunch at lunch time, so 1pm-ish, and its smashed or scrambled eggs and avocado. With lots of pepper.
Are you aware of my feelings on avocado? No? OK, let’s park that there for now, and hop on our Dutch bikes into the afternoon. What happens after lunch/brunch?
I aim to collect my little one at around 3pm as I like to spy on him and see what he is up to at nursery. We head to the park and spend about an hour playing in the playground. Then we head home for about 5pm and I start to get his dinner ready. The aim is that he is in bed at 7:30pm. His dad gets home and we put our little one to bed.
Aw, cute! So, baby boy is down and adult time commences. Do you guys get a chance to eat together? I’m hoping there’s no avocado involved this time…
Dinner time for myself and my partner is from 7:30pm onwards and we usually cook together. Recently, we’ve been having food box deliveries which we prepare together (or I prepare and my partner talks). We use Gousto and choose meals that take under 30 mins to prep.
That sounds like a fab idea! Food boxes are definitely the way forward. I’m adding that to my list of time-savers to try out, cos Lord knows I need to claw some time back! Do you get to enjoy the time that you save?
Well, my partner goes back to work – he works for a US company and usually has calls from 9pm. I will usually take this time to catch up with my family who live abroad or connect with my grandma’s live in carer to ensure that there are no issues of concerns.
Oh wow! I love that you check-in on grandma. Family is so important, and when they are overseas, even more so… But, self care is important too. Do you get a chance to relax in the evening?
We have a wine and champers collection. I did a champagne tasting holiday in Reims and brought back a ton of champers, so…we usually put together a cheese and wine board as we are making dinner.
Now, this is more like it! I am all about that cheese and wine life! So, I’m guessing cheese doesn’t give you nightmares, or if it does, the wine helps you forget, right? Anyway, I digress. When is bedtime?
Usually 10pm. But if I had my way it would be 9pm. I love to SLEEP.
You and me both, sister! I just don’t do it enough 🙁
Be honest now, how heavily does social media feature in your day?
It used to be CONSTANT, until I got myself a VA (virtual assistant). It’s balanced now – so once a day I check in… I tend to keep off Facebook, but Instagram you can get lost in for hours. My VA is fab. Really helps me get on with other stuff. As a result I’ve got more time to do other things, such as sleep!
You can follow Marie-Claire on Instagram here: @narivaboutique
But, you really need to join the hands free revolution by visiting her online shop and blog here: www.narivaboutique.com