DO YOU MY # STYLE?
Tara Maynard has moved house nine times in seven years, and is thrilled at last to call her Audlem home her final stop Cheshire Life: March 2019 Cheshire Life: March 2019
Tara Maynard met her future husband, Nicky, at the age of 19, and his peripatetic life is the reason Tara has become a dab hand at homemaking, often several times a year.
‘Nicky is a professional footballer,’ she explains. ‘When we met he was playing for Crewe, but he quite soon after moved to play for Bristol. I completed my A Levels and was offered a place at Bristol University, where I trained to be a primary school teacher.’
In her final year, Tara fell pregnant, which hadn’t been top of her list of things to do, but as I soon learned, nothing slows this vibrant and beautiful young woman down.
‘I just kept going,’ she laughs. ‘I graduated when my son, Camden, was nine days old. I look back now and wonder how on earth I managed it. I just got on with it, I suppose. I didn’t know it was supposed to be impossible!’
Not accepting limits seems to be rather a theme in Tara’s life.
‘From Bristol Nicky transferred to West Ham and we moved to live in Essex. Very soon after my son, Trey, came along and very soon after this I was told we were moving to Cardiff! Nicky just has to go straight away when he transfers, which means all the logistics – finding a new home, organising removals, investigating nurseries – have always been down to me.’
From Cardiff Nicky went to Wigan and then back again to Wales, to Milton Keynes, Aberdeen and now he plays for Bury, where he is quite likely to stay until his retirement, giving Tara the opportunity to find a home close to both their families - and where she plans to stay.
‘My family are in Stoke and Nicky’s are in Winsford, so I wanted to find somewhere in or near Nantwich. I was desperate for a period family property and this place came up.’
Built in 1876, the house offers some of the very best of classic Victorian styling, and unlike many properties from this time is absolutely filled with light. It was in fact two semi-detached houses when it came up for sale.
‘I knew the moment I saw it that this was the one and we bought them both. The style is just what I wanted and the privacy is perfect, but really it was the location that sold it to me, in a village where we can get out and walk or take our bikes to the shops.
Audlem is amazing, there’s always something going on, lots of local events and a really lovely community feel.’
It’s also quite handy for the motorway, a necessity for Nicky and for Tara too, as both her boys, now seven and five, have been selected for training at the Manchester United Academy at Carrington, as well as playing for Crewe at the weekends.
Tara’s home is beautiful, and I ask if she has employed the services of an interior designer.
‘Oh no, I have done it all myself. We moved in two years ago, and I am not quite finished yet, but we’re getting there. I am easily bored with room designs,’ she says, ‘so I have to take my time to make sure I get each one right before I start. There have been a lot of structural changes too, of course, taking it from two houses to one. Downstairs is all finished, but upstairs we still have two landings.’
Her style is a lovely mix of high street and designer, with a few standout pieces in each room that ensure you utter the wow-word every time you walk through a new door, from the glorious goosefeather EOS lightshade in the dining room to the red cushions in the sitting room and the fabulous bed in the guest room. Everywhere you look there are photos of Tara and her family, a visual record of their lives as a single unit, uninterrupted by their nationwide comings and goings.
Tara’s interior style and her love of photography are two huge clues to her own career – as an Instagram influencer. It’s a job title that has only recently come into existence and not one you can apply for. It’s one that you work hard to build for yourself – and for Tara it came quite by surprise.
‘I set up a personal Instagram account in 2016,’ she tells me, ‘and it was private, just for sharing pictures with family and friends. I would post pictures of me in my various outfits but never thought anything of it. Then my friends started telling me that I should set it to public. In 2018 I did just that, and within a short space of time I had lots of followers; it grew really quickly, going up eight to ten thousand a month; within five months I had more than 50,000 followers. I would ask Nicky or the kids to take photos of me when we were out and about. I started to tag in the brands I was wearing and soon they started messaging me to ask me to wear their clothes.’
This is what an Instagram influencer does, present clothes and accessories provided by fashion brands to a very wide audience, an audience that has chosen to follow said influencer because they feel a connection with him or her. There’s a degree of authority granted to these new media stars by their followers, which brings with it a degree of responsibility too.
‘I would never wear something in a photo that doesn’t suit my style. It’s all about having an eye for nice things and not just following fashion; you don’t have to have money to be stylish. Every day I wear high street clothes; I might carry a designer bag, or I might not. It’s not about the label or how much it costs.
‘Money cannot buy style, that’s for sure. I sometimes get sent things I would never, ever wear. I contact the brand, saying thank you but I need to arrange to send it back. Yes, I get paid to post pictures of me in certain clothes, but there’s a lot that I am not paid for, just photos of the way I live my life. I occasionally show photos of my trips with the children, but very rarely as it’s their life and should be their choice.’
I ask Tara how she thinks this will progress, into the future.
‘I have no idea how this will evolve,’ she says. ‘Social media isn’t going to go away. I am just enjoying it while it lasts. I sometimes feel like I’m going to get caught, that I don’t deserve any of this. I had always wanted to study fashion, in some way, but just didn’t have the courage to figure it out, so I went for teaching instead. Now, it’s happened anyway. It’s the perfect job, really. I get to do the school run, come home and do the cleaning, get the tea on… I get invited to lots of events, to restaurants, afternoon tea, beauty salons, but I am very choosy. I am a wife and a mum and it’s family first, every time.’ Find Tara on Instagram at @Taramaynard
“Audlem is amazing, there’s always something going on”