APPLYING primer, contour and base to her cheeks, Abby Roberts finished off with a smokey eye and false lashes.
It had taken her 40 minutes and you’d be forgiven for thinking she was going to a nightclub or out with the girls.
Instead Abby, 26, from Wolverhampton, West Mids, who had also curled her hair, was heading to soft play.
Wearing designer jeans and boots she said she “looked great”.
“I love looking and feeling good,” she said. “I bring the glam and the ‘sexy’ to soft play. It makes me feel confident.
“I know people will judge me for spending 40 minutes doing my hair and makeup for a soft play session. I don’t care because it works for me. Mums who think I am mad are simply jealous and judgemental.”
But sadly things didn’t go to plan with Abby claiming she looked SO good mums turned their backs on her, leaving her feeling shunned.
“Basically I was too sexy for soft play,” she told Fabulous. “I was ousted from it.”
It’s not just makeup that Abby uses to create her go to ‘mum look’.
The 26-year-old has invested £3.2k to create a sexy soft play wardrobe of designer jeans, blouses and tops rather than a wardrobe of tracksuits, leggings and baggy jumpers.
“I love creating an overall image,” she said. “My soft play wardrobe included a designer leather jacket, coats with faux fur collars, blouse and tops from River Island, a selection of branded jeans, skirts and mid heel boots and trainers.
“I like to look polished and to challenge people’s expectations of what a young single mum should look like.”
Abby started wearing makeup at 14, smuggling in lipstick and blush to school and by 18 was competing in pageants.
“Pageants help me learn all the tricks of looking and feeling good,” she said.
“I also did a professional makeup course and have amassed a cosmetics collection valued at more than £2k.
“I love the way I feel when I am pageant ready and after having Noah, now 6, I wanted to show other mums you didn’t have to let yourself go and could have the best of both worlds.”
For Abby that also included how she looked when she gave birth.
“When I discovered I was pregnant with Noah in January 2016 I was determined to give birth and look good doing it,” she said. “I wanted to welcome my son in full make-up with styled hair.
“It was also my way of becoming a mum but keeping part of my former self alive and not letting myself go.”
A week before Noah was due in August 2016 Abby had her hair cut, styled, coloured and blowdried.
“When my contractions started I broke out my makeup kit and did a full face complete with false eyelashes and styled brows,” she said.
“I had my bag ready for the hospital and it had a makeup kit with my favourite brands including Mac and Charlotte Tilbury products which I knew would be long lasting and keep my face looking good during my sons’ birth.”
However, Abby’s birthing plan didn’t go as smoothly as she had hoped.
“I was sent home after just two hours of hospital labour and was only a few centimetres dilated and told to return the next day.
“I was freshening up my lipstick and having a cup of tea when I felt an extra strong contraction, more severe than any I’d experienced two hours earlier at the hospital.
“Within an hour I was on the bathroom floor and my nan was delivering my son, she was amazing, and my hair and makeup stayed perfect despite the super speedy shock birth.”
“I guess that’s the ultimate test of a long wearing make-up product.”
Abby was taken back to hospital with her newborn son where she stayed for two nights.
“I took time each morning to put my face on and look good,” she said.
“I got shot with evil looks and raised eyebrows when new mums saw I was in full makeup while in my hospital bed.
“Nurses told me I looked amazing but also asked me how I found the time.”
A year after Noah was born Abby decided to join a soft play group.
“I was feeling isolated and wanted to make new mum friends,” she said. “Like any new parent I was feeling vulnerable and thought I’d be welcomed with open arms.
“I was nervous about the first session. I spent an hour on my hair and makeup, I chose a coordinated outfit and ensured my hair was curled and glossy. Noah looked great and I was determined to find new pals.
“But when I got to soft play, I was the only one with full makeup and every other mum was in a baggy jumper, jogging bottoms and sporting mum buns.
“I walked in and said hello to everyone and immediately knew I wasn’t welcome.
“The mums were aged in their 30s, all in their little cliques and immediately gave me looks or laughed in my direction, I knew I was the odd one out. I was younger, I was dressed differently, and I wasn’t their version of what a single young mum should look like.
“It was like a battleground.
“I was effectively turfed out for looking too good. It was a terrible experience and one no woman should have to go through. I am kind to everyone but the mums I encountered were determined to force me out.”
Since then Abby has found another, kinder softplay outlet but refused to change her wardrobe. And she spends £1k yearly on clothes and makeup to feel great.
“I don’t want any new mum to feel judged,” she said. “I was picked on in soft play for looking good. Now I wear what I want when I want and realise if I had dressed down or changed the judgey mums would have won. I’d rather be nice to everyone and look good doing it.”