Emilie is one of our Sassiest Mamas 2016…
A relative newbie to Dubai, French mama Emilie is already taking the interiors world by storm. Winner of the ‘Best International Blog in the Amara Interior Blog Awards 2016’, her blog and interior styling business ‘Stella & The Stars‘ aims to inject fun and fabulousness to your homes, offering tips and ideas that don’t rely on a hefty spend – perfect! Mama to gorgeous little Stella, aged 3, Emilie is the ‘Queen of Tapas’, is pretty nifty on a Stand-Up Paddleboard and has a Netflix addiction that we can totally relate to.
Tell us about your business and why you started it.
I worked in media and PR for almost 10 years and like too many mamas out there couldn’t return to my full-time job after maternity leave due to the lack of flexibility offered by my then employer… But being job-less gave me the kick in the butt I needed to think about what on earth I wanted to do with the rest of my (new) life and I re-trained and re-invented myself as an interior stylist and launched my ‘second baby’ Stella + the Stars in April 2015… The blog started as a platform where I could ramble about affordable interiors and give my top tips on how to source fabulous piece of furniture and home décor that don’t cost the earth. Small budget, big impact interior styling is my motto. From there, I started to work with clients to help them revamp their pad on a budget.
What kind of cake would you order for your birthday?
I am more of a savoury person than a sweet tooth, I am also French so it would have to be one of those tiered cheese wheeled cakes. I saw one at a wedding once and have been wanting to get my own ever since.
If we handed you a concert ticket, who would you wish it was for? Does it have to be living person? I always dreamed of seeing David Bowie and sadly never got the chance.
What colour do you wear the most?
When did you last cry?
I can’t remember exactly but it can’t be more than a few days ago. I well up easily since having my daughter.
What’s the best thing you can cook?
I am a hopeless cook. I am on the other hand the queen of tapas and can prepare a full meal (or a picnic as hubby calls it) out of bits and bobs from the fridge…
Where do you get your hair done?
Slam in Al Quoz (read our Sassy Mama review here…)
What do you feel have been your biggest achievements both in your personal life and career so far?
Personal life: Find the jackpot husband and father to my daughter one can only dream of. Career: finding the courage to quit my corporate job and go out on my own doing something I love.
As a child what did you dream of being when you ‘grew up’?!
I changed every few months – vet, flight attendant, dancer, hairdresser, Barbie dollhouse keeper… I am a Gemini so I change my mind quite often. I started my career as a medical journalist writing about pharmaceuticals and I now shop rugs and lamps for a living. Go figure…
If you had 3 wishes what would they be?
Aside from world peace… Being involved in designing Tom Dixon’s new collection. He’s one of my design heroes. A 24hr ‘lock-in’ at an empty IKEA store to get anything I wanted, with a full team of staff t my beck and call … A toddler snooze button so I would never have to wake up before 7am EVER.
What does being a Sassy Mama mean to you?
Apart from getting through the day in one piece without loosing your cool… How about this:
Netflix. I can binge until 2 in the morning, it’s a condition
Tell us about a typical day?
My daughter has just started school which is a revelation! Back in London I was juggling everything with only two and half days of nursery which meant lots of evenings glued to the screen. Here, my days really vary but the constant is dropping Stella off at 7.30am, eating my breakfast with both hands… As a Dubai newbie, I am in full networking mode at the moment so my mornings are taken up by meetings, as well as interiors-related events or store launches, it really depends on what goes on that week. I usually try to have lunch back at my desk while doing emails and I keep some time for a blogging session before I pick up my daughter at 3pm. If I can I’ll organize an activity with her like going to the aquarium or soft play. We go for a dip in the pool or at our local beach every evening before dinner. This was one of the dreams of moving here and we’re enjoying the luxury, trust me… After Stella is in bed, I usually do a little bit of work if I still have any energy left. Obviously instagram posting activities happen throughout the day. I am told I may have an addiction…
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given in your personal life and career?
Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle. It was really hard at first mainly because of social media but keeping that in mind saved my sanity when I started.
What do you most enjoy doing as a family in Dubai?
We’re newbies so pretty much everything there is to do! We’ve started having little routine activities at the weekend like paddle boarding on Kite Beach followed by brunch with friends…
What is the ‘best-kept’ secret in Dubai, or something fellow mamas should know about?
Morning road trips! We didn’t realise how much there is to do on our doorstep, even within an hour’s drive. So far we’ve done camel spotting in the desert, watching flamingos by the lakes, and driving up Jebel Ais. We have this book called Off Road with about 30 different itineraries and every weekend we just pick one at random and just go for it… It should keep us going for a few months!
If you were on an island and could bring only 3 things (family not included) what would they be?
A wifi-connected iPhone, one of the cute parasols from the One & Only’s beach club, and scuba diving equipment (I am a PADI trained diver).
Describe your style? Versatile, bold and eclectic. And that applies to my personal style as well as my interiors.
Tell us something funny that your little girl has said or done?
Maman, you need to let it go… which means, put Frozen on, now while being a very good life lesson…
How do you juggle work and family?
You know what, I don’t really! I have come to the conclusion that the concept is a utopia. I really don’t think we can have it both… And I am not talking about women only. I know it’s controversial to say that but I think when you have kids and a career, something’s got to give. I think the main challenge is to accept that you can’t have it all and focus on what makes you happy rather what you feel you ‘should’ be doing, that being spend more time with your kids or work full time. Juggling work and family, is exactly that – there can only two things you have in your hands while one is up the air… But that’s absolutely fine… the key is to remember that no one actually cares which one it is apart from you!
A huge thank you to Monica Chindalia for the beautiful pictures of Emilie and Stella.
To book a photoshoot visit facebook/monicachindaliaphotography