Woman in Progress: Sara Delaney from Notes from a Stylist

We're so excited for this week's Woman in Progress, Sara Delaney.  Sara is a fashion stylist and blogger who first came onto our radar when we did an Instagram course together (not that Sara needed it!).  Since then her blog has become a bit of an addiction for us - not always feeling the most fashionable ourselves, style is something that we can at least aspire to.  Sara's blog is gorgeously written, accessible and full of style tips and advice, as well as food, travel and tips for those with kids and teens.  Thank you Sara for answering our questions!  

Woman in progress Sara Delaney

I’m stylist turned lifestyle blogger, although I’ve been a lot of things in between too. I write the Notes From a Stylist Blog which is a lifestyle blog for 40+ women looking to get their style mojo back on track. The blog started way back in 2009 when I was living in New York (where we had moved with the fam for my husband’s work) and it was a place to document my fashion adventures. As the kids grew up and life moved along with it, the blog changed into a lifestyle one until its current incarnation. It’s an ever-evolving thing and a place I tinker around in for all sorts of pleasures, from the creative aspect of the styling, photography and writing right through to learning new teccie stuff along the way and staying ahead of the trends. For me I get the most enjoyment out of taking the photographs and conjuring up a story about them. It doesn’t pay the mortgage but it keeps me sane as our busy family life evolves.

What’s the one thing in your life that makes things easier?

The one thing in my life that makes things easier is living in the country. Waking up every day in the gorgeous Surrey Hills means I start off every day with a smile on my face whatever the weather. 

What’s the one thing you couldn’t live without?

One thing I couldn’t live without is probably my phone. I would love to say something smart like a good book or a swiss army knife, but for me my phone keeps me in touch with the kids (gotta love a family WhatsApp group when no.1 is at Uni in New York, no.2 is on gap year in South America and no. 3 is in boarding school!!) It’s also now fab for blogging on the go. Apart from being in a current love/hate relationship with Instagram – is that just me or is anyone else finding it’s not so spontaneous anymore? I can now also edit and even write a blog post from my phone. Back in the day when I was living in NYC I remember going into the Apple store with my brand-new iPad saying I didn’t want to take my whole computer on vacation and couldn’t I just blog from this new-fangled thing… the answer the geek gave me was that I was ahead of the curve and they hadn’t figured that bit out yet, but they were working on it! Fast forward to today and It seems they’ve solved my problem.

What one piece of advice would you give yourself 5 years ago?

That becoming an empty nester is totally OK. It’s part of life’s rich tapestry and you will ‘find yourself’ again on the other side of the first bit of the great motherhood journey

What one piece of advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Whatever life throws at you face it with a positive mental attitude. This time 10 years ago we were given the chance to move to NYC and whilst there was a lot of worry about moving the kids and disrupting their routine etc, it was the best thing we could have done.

What are you most proud of? 

My kids turning into actual sensible adult human beings. What with all that making it up as you go along parenting, it turns out all that instinctive stuff you do just because you remember your parents doing it that way kind of works in the end.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned at work? 

Treat everyone as you would like to be treated no matter what their status – that annoying PR assistant did turn out to be that PR maven who now pulls the strings, so it was worth being nice along the way.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned at home? 

Patience! I’m always on the go keeping things organized and ship shape, when the rest of the fam are in a different mindset i.e. teens who struggle to surface before midday – a little patience goes a long way

Did you expect to be doing what you’re doing right now?

No definitely not, I trained in Sports Studies and constantly pushed the creative side of things to the bottom of the pile. Years later an old school friend who I reconnected with told me she couldn’t believe I was doing sport when I was clearly so creative – funny how the thing you were meant to do comes out in the end.

How did you end up doing what you’re doing? 

I retrained as a stylist when the kids were little. Then years later when we moved to NYC, I found it was a little like Stepford with all the women wanting to be styled exactly the same way. I took some fashion journalism classes and the first homework was to start a blog. That was way back in July 2009 when blogging was just beginning to get some notice. I remember my tutor telling me I was now officially published and could apply to New York Fashion Week as part of the press corp. I did and that first year I went to 18 NYFW shows and was completely hooked.

What top tip would you pass on to other women in progress reading this?

I would say if what you are doing right now doesn’t feel like exactly your thing, then maybe it isn’t. It’s fine to develop and switch up your path, try new things and revisit old things that you remember loving to do. You will find your niche in the end.

Are you done yet?  What’s next? 

I’m still totally smitten with photography and would love to learn how to do that properly rather than just instinctively point and shoot. I’m planning a hike around the Himalayas with friends this Autumn so would love to get adept enough to be confident at shooting some great images whilst there… keep your eye on the blog for more…


Thanks so much to Sara for being our Woman in Progress this week, do check out her blog, and her wonderful Instagram feed too.