Morning Routine: How Sam and Nicola Chapman of Pixiwoo Start Their Day

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Photo: Courtesy of @MattHolyoak

Successful people around the world have their morning routines down to a fine art. So just how do makeup artist sisters Nicola and Samantha Chapman – founders of Real Techniques and beauty bloggers behind Pixiwoo – start their day? Savoir Flair gets a peek into their morning rituals, from their go-to beauty products to how they manage it all as working moms.

Sam: I wake up five minutes before my alarm every morning, which is 6:55 a.m. – my body just wakes me up automatically. The first thing I do, which is the worst thing you can do, is pick up my phone to turn my alarm off and flick through my phone. I think, right, I have five minutes before I wake my girls up for school, so that’s when I can do it! I check to see if my partner WhatsApped me overnight before going on Instagram. I rarely check Twitter, but Instagram is my favorite. I follow a lot of makeup artists, like Terry Barber – I love his feed, and I’ll always look at Val’s [Garland]. I don’t follow tons of people. I just don’t think it’s very good for your mental health, so it’s really just makeup artists and my friends.

Nic: Yes, mine’s the same. Americans are still up when it’s morning in the UK, so I like to see what everyone else is doing!

Sam: It’s usually 7:05 a.m. by the time I’m done with a quick social media check. I then go into my girls’ room – they’re 14 and 10 – and wake them up. I put their lights on and pull their covers off because I’m horrible like that!

Nic: That’s what mom used to do to us!

Sam: I know, and I’ve inherited it. I’m all, “Come on, girls. Up you go, let’s get ready for school.” I think I’m quite a morning person.

Nic: No, you’re not! That’s the biggest lie I have ever heard.

Sam: I’m a morning person when I wake up with my kids, but not when I’m near you!

Nic: You’re not allowed to speak to her until she has had coffee….

sam nic chapman dubai
Photo: Courtesy of @Pixiwoo

Sam: Once the kids are up and ready, I take them to school. We have to leave the house by 7:55 a.m. The second I’ve dropped them off, I stop at Greggs the baker, and get myself a large cappuccino – I’m so glamorous! That’s my routine. And after I’ve got my coffee, that’s it – it’s time to work.

That’s how my day is broken up: before coffee, kids’ time, after coffee, work. I wake up once I’ve had my coffee – everything else is just me going through the motions. That coffee is my breakfast, which is terrible! But it really fills me up. So I’ll have brunch after, normally eggs. Scrambled eggs with salmon is probably my favorite breakfast.

Nic: I’m a happy person in the morning, it’s my favorite time of day. I wake up at 6:30 a.m., but don’t actually get up until 6:45 as I have a little cuddle with my husband. We then each get a kid ready and, while he drops them off at school, I get my gym stuff on and we train together when he’s back. We have a gym in our house because we train so much, and I just don’t like being in a gym. I don’t like being looked at, and I get distracted by other people. I just want to train and not be seen! We normally do interval training, and I like to do it with my husband because we get competitive and it pushes me. We’ll do 100 burpees, 100 snatches, stuff like that.

Then we’ll have some scrambled eggs with finely diced red onion, spinach, and lots of greens. I don’t actually like eggs, but because I train, I always eat them as they’re a good source of protein. My husband is a chef, so I’ll have whatever he’s cooking! I put in lots of fillings to try and disguise the taste of egg, but without having to eat bread. Bread just makes me want to go back to bed.

nic chapman pixiwoo workout
Photo: Courtesy of @Pixiwoo

Sam: I have a big fat cat who sleeps right next to my bed in his own little bed. If I don’t get up for some reason, he climbs onto my bed and scratches me until I wake up. He then jumps down and does this thing where he stretches his legs, every morning. As I’m walking behind him, I’ll say the words “stretchy legs” and he’ll stretch them. That’s what a loser I am, I haven’t told anyone that! That happens every morning. “Stretchy legs!”

Nic: I have two dogs, and one is a bit silly. She walks on two legs and just yelps the whole way around! I think she’s challenged.

sam chapman cat
Photo: Courtesy of @Cattojojo

Sam: I don’t do this in the morning specifically, but I’ll sometimes use the Calm app. It’s amazing. I love the rain sounds, and it’s great for meditating. You can put it on if your kids are frantic, it just chills them out. I’ve never seen anything like it! It’s like monk music and stuff, but it’s so calming. I use it more on the weekend because it’s just so manic during the week. I actually ended up paying for the full version because you get more music. I know it sounds lame, but I also really love driving my kids to school. I put podcasts on in the car – I’m really into them. A lot of them aren’t suitable for kids, like the crime ones, so I listen to those on the way back.

Nic: I love driving, too, as it’s when I make all my phone calls, and catch up with my mom and friends without the distraction of things at home!

sam nic chapman pixiwoo
Photo: Courtesy of @Pixiwoo

Nic: I shower after I train, and I always use the Sarah Chapman cleansing balm – it’s so nice. I also use an Intraceuticals exfoliator, but only once a week. I’ll then put on the Augustinus Bader ‘The Cream Rich’ because my skin is super dry. It’s amazing, it’s basically an all-in-one that does everything! I work on e-mails while it absorbs, after which I might film a video.

I wear hardly any makeup in the day. I’ll use a little touch of a light foundation, concealer, mascara, and a bit of cream highlighter. My favorite foundation is the Josie Maran ‘Vibrancy Foundation’, which is beautiful and not too heavy. It looks just like skin, and I don’t want to look like I’m wearing anything – it’s not necessary during the day. And if I’m working from home, I won’t wear any makeup. I’ll just let my skin breathe.

Sam: I’m incredibly low-maintenance, and I stick to the things that I stick to. I use the Oribe ‘Côte D’Azur Shower Gel’ in the shower because it smells incredible, and use the Oribe ‘Shampoo for Beautiful Color’ when I wash my hair. It’s meant for blondes, but it helps as my hair tends to go quite orange at the ends.

If I’m home, I won’t put on any makeup until I use Instagram Live. I’ll set myself up, put on a playlist, go live, and do my makeup on the air while talking to people. So it will be different every day – it depends on what new products come in, and I love that. It’s like filming a video in real time, with real interactions.

If I’m heading out, I tend to go for the IT Cosmetics ‘CC+ Illumination’, MAC’s ‘Shape and Shade’ through my brows because I have none, the Kevyn Aucoin ‘The Expert Mascara’, Oribe’s ‘Balmessence Lip Balm’, and a little bit of the Charlotte Tilbury bronzer. That’s my look.

Nic: Inspiration can come from anywhere. I could see three photos on Instagram, all of which can merge together into something nice. Or, it could be seeing moms on the run to school and thinking that it could make for a really nice video.

Sam: I’m most inspired when the post arrives. I look through and see what’s going on, what’s coming out, what’s new. I’m often like, “That color is disgusting – but I’m going to try and make it work!” So I always do the horrible stuff to try and see why they brought it out, as there’s always a way to try and make it work. I enjoy that side of it, the odd stuff!


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Wow how did that happen! 10 years today @pixiwoos did our very first @YouTube video. Who would have thought it would have changed our lives quite so much. Thank you @pixiwoos for inviting me to do videos with you and for no longer being my arch enemy but becoming my best friend. It’s been an amazing adventure. So much has happened in these 10 years, I got together with @hasteskitchen married him and had 2 fantastic little sprogs Harry and Edie, launched @realtechniques brushes, numerous Collaborations with celebrity’s and brands, wrote a best selling book #face, filmed a documentary with the @bbc #hollywoodicons travelled all around the world and met so many amazing people, but it’s not all been ups, found out I had MS, lost my fantastic step Dad Brian, suffered from 2 miscarriage the list goes on,both for good thing and not so good. What I really want to say is thank you to everyone that has followed us on the crazy life online journey, hopefully you have laughed, cried, learnt, mastered along with us. We appreciate every time you like, share, watch and join us. Also a massive thanks so @teamgleam especially @domsmales who is now one of my best friends, he also started this journey with us and @francescascambler who has to tolerate @pixiwoos and myself picking on her like big sisters do (we love you really😘) and @lilymodlin who hasn’t been working with us long but is already a massive part of the pixiwoo family. Thank you to @dundascomms for keeping us relevant and thanks to @staceymouse for smashing it with our blog for the past 8 years with our you we would be nothing best friends forever and @amyjhowes for helping us answer so many comments on our videos. #10years #youtube #thankyou #lifejourney #timeflies

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Nic: I’m quite organized, so I know what’s happening every day in our calendar. I normally ring Sam and tell her what has to be done. I stay on top of everything by making sure everything’s done before the actual deadline – otherwise, I’d have a massive meltdown. I can’t bear to owe something to someone.

Sam: I’m pretty good at not taking on extra stuff now, so I try not to have days like that. We’ve done ten years of working solidly, solidly, solidly – and I nearly lost my mind last year, like full burn out. Now, if I have one meeting, I take the time to think about it. I was struggling with not being able to give 100 percent as a mum and 100 percent at work and, at some point, you have to accept that you can’t. So I don’t.

Nic: I think that’s the hard thing, splitting yourself between so many different things and feeling like you’re not properly achieving any of them. That’s why I got a nanny, and it’s the best thing I could’ve done because my kids are getting what they need. I’m still there to put them into bed, and I’m not constantly stressed. I have my work time, and my kids still have someone there and get their homework done, so I don’t feel guilty about it. I think that was a real movement, like a really good point where I realized I just can’t do it all. But I shouldn’t feel guilty because I need to work, and they need to know that.

Sam: I had to step back, I didn’t have an option. And then, when I finally got used to not taking on so much stuff, I realized that it actually didn’t make much difference. I now do stuff I want to do, stuff that pays me really well and that’s it – not doing everything because I feel like I should.

Nic: You get to the point where you have to put yourself first instead of feeling obligated to go to something you don’t want to. As long as you message and say you’re not going, that’s fair enough. We’ve spent so long feeling like we have to, so it’s really nice to finally get to the point where you don’t.

Sam: My therapist said something amazing to me the other day. I had promised someone that I’d go to their art exhibition in London, and I really didn’t want to go. I told her that I had to go and she asked me why. I replied, “I said I would, so I have to.” She turned to me and said, “Darling, you’re not that important.” And she’s right! She asked, “What makes you think it’s the end of the world if you don’t turn up?” And I was like, “Do you know what? Fair play, it doesn’t matter!

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