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I Don’t Know How She Does It – Shelley Armistead

2013 July 16


 Shelley Armistead was the very best kind of client: one who became a friend. We met when I was working on the opening of Soho House West Hollywood and instantly got along. But we really bonded a few months later when I strolled into a meeting with a protruding baby belly (carrying Kai) and we started to talk about everything from vaccines and preschools to post-natal workouts and who cuts the best bangs in town. She has a natural, happy, settled glow about her that is coupled with an effortless, British-inspired (though she is South African) flair for chic, simple, comfortable style. And when she is not holding the keys to one of the most sought-after spaces in Los Angeles, she is holding down the fort in a very healthy, happy home with her husband Matt, a renowned chef, and their two young boys Joseph (8) and Isaac (5). Here is how she does it:

What time does your day start and how?

My day starts any time around 4.45am and 5.15am – I find that if I want a little me time, this is when I get it. I walk to the beach with my neighbor and watch the sun rise. Then home in time to wake sleepy children and make their breakfast. That hour in the morning walking is very grounding and really allows me the time to set my intentions for the day ahead.

What time does your day end and how?

As I work in hospitality my hours during the week vary. My day can end at 7.30pm reading to my boys and inevitably we all fall asleep together. We have one giant family bed. Or some days I get home around 11pm and have a large salt bath before going to sleep.

Do you work from home or in an office? What is the set up like?

I work from both Soho House West Hollywood and Cecconi’s West Hollywood (also owned by the Soho House group). The hours are varied between being on the floor during service or one-on-one with my management team. I also dedicate half a day a week to scouting for new Soho House locations and working on those development plans.

Do you see/speak to your kids throughout your work day? If yes, how/when?

I drop my children at school in the mornings and we have a set time in the afternoon that I call or Facetime them for a catch up. Both my boys know my number and can call me anytime.

What is the best thing about being a working mom? Hardest thing?

The best thing is being able to follow a career path with so many learning opportunities that facilitate my business and creative growth. My children are my greatest teachers, so my growth opportunities as a result of having a family are enormous. It can be interesting watching your colleagues have different opportunities as a result of their flexibility through not having a family.  It doesn’t necessarily make it hard; just having to accept different opportunities.

Be honest, what is one thing you envy about stay at home moms?

Three main things:

1. To be there to pick them up from school

2. To have a family meal in the evening every night – we have changed our family meal of the day to breakfast time

3. To put their children to bed every night

Answer the question “I don’t know how you do it?” in ten words or less.

Loving husband, kids that keep me striving to be more.

And here are some of Shelley’s favorite things:


Clockwise from top left:

My boys are obsessed with building forts and our home is turned upside down daily while they create their secret worlds. My long term dream is to build them a tree house– in the interim a Teepee platform bed solves some of that. And it’s something Matt and I can swing in when they have gone to bed.

Having grown up on the beach in Cape Town I am obsessed with swim wear – I wanted to be a swim wear designer in my early 20’s. The bikinis from Golden State (more below) are so pretty for every day – however what I rely on is a locally made Calavera bikini that stays on when in the waves or swimming laps. Sourcing further a field the Rip Curl Mirage Revo cross back bikini (pictured) works well too.

I am obsessed with Beautycounter; beautiful philosophy & beautiful products.  The face oil can be used alone for a nice dewey look or mixed with your night cream for extra moisture. Beautycounter offers safer & healthier choices to your beauty routine.

I live in my Becca Moon Heller boots; a local girl who makes great shoes. Mine are completely worn through.

For pure indulgence I love The Golden State on Rose Avenue in Venice – their jewelry, bikinis & t-shirts are amazing. I love that all their products are very local or at the very least  Southern Californian – it shows the true depth and wealth of talent out here.

A pair of Schwinn banana seat bikes – I would wrap battery operated fairy lights around the handle bars for night time rides along the beach.

2 Responses
  1. July 18, 2013

    Loved reading about Shelley – not sure if she will read the comments but hello from a fellow Saffer living abroad! Nice to see our country folk doing well in other corners of the world

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