Saturday 6th of April 2024

Meet the maker: A day in the life of Odette Insoll

In our new series, Meet the Maker, we meet the people behind some of our wonderful new discoveries as they share a day of their life with us.

First up is Odette Insoll, founder of Nouvelle Habit, the beautiful hand-tailored waxed cotton riding skirt that is a modern twist on the old classic and is bringing the elegance back to horseriding. Odette launched her bespoke business during lockdown one and is soon to celebrate her first anniversary.

“I have been lucky enough to own and work with horses for most of my life. From being an event groom to then becoming a freelance coach teaching both classical and natural horsemanship. I love to try most things with my horses from dressage, eventing, liberty work, horseback archery, bridle-less riding and I hope to add more to that list in the coming years such as side saddle and falconry from horse back.

After battling with the elements and suffering with chilblains for many years, I decided I wanted to create a product that would keep me warm and dry while riding and still allow the freedom to move. In 2017 I made my first riding skirt prototype, which has grown and evolved into ‘The Moorland’ riding skirt. These skirts are made from waxed cotton and will protect you and your saddle from the cold and rain. Every skirt is handmade to order by myself and designed to be worn as an over garment: ‘a raincoat for your legs’

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My day starts around 7am and I always start with a large mug of mint tea sat in bed thinking about my plan for the day. Every day is slightly different and needs planning to make the most of it. I love the outdoors and try to start the day with some fresh air and visiting my horse Maddie. Horses are food for my soul and a perfect way to set me up for a day in the work shop. Visiting the yard is also my opportunity to test any new projects that I may be working on.

The rest of my morning is spent in my little workshop in my home in South Bristol. I come from a very creative family; both my parents are artists and have always encouraged me to explore ideas and create since I was little, so I have them to thank for my creative drive.

The rest of the morning involves lots more tea drinking plus activities that can range from cutting out patterns, pinning pieces together, sewing, over locking and some more sewing. I love to listen to audio books while I work and listen to a mixture of cheesy country rom-coms, murder mysteries and entrepreneur/business books or podcasts.

I’m a serious foodie and meal times are another opportunity to get creative. So I try to take time at lunch to cook and tend to have preplanned what I am making the day before or even earlier. I was a pastry chef for a short time when I was younger and as I’m originally from Cornwall, it won’t come as a surprise that I do love to make homemade pasties and these are a great on the go lunch.

The afternoon has much the same mixture of making but tends to involve more of the finishing touches on the skirts. I love these final bits as it is always great to see the skirts take on there final form. Each skirt has its own character and I get a great feeling knowing that some one will be wearing and enjoying there skirt in a few days from me adding those final touches.

To finish off my working day I sit down and do some admin. My first job is to check emails, instagram and facebook and send replies. I then tend to write marketing material for social media content, newsletters and journal entries for my website. I’m not a natural writer so I find this part of the business tricky but try and do it little and often so not to get to overwhelmed by it.

My evenings involve a second opportunity to indulge in my passion of food as I love to try new dishes regularly. I have always enjoyed reading cook books and have a small collection that I use, however I do often create my own recipes and use the books more for inspiration. I also love to cook food that I have had when travelling, Indian food being my favourite.  A bottle of French red wine is occasionally opened to wind down of an evening or I may have a cheeky G&T with cucumber slices.

To finish off the day I spend it relaxing either watching a film or reading a book. My current book being one of the ‘Witcher series’ that my brother bought me for Christmas or playing a board game with my partner.  I’m currently learning to play chess but my favourite game is a chance dice game called dice mill, before heading off to bed around 11.30.”

Look out for more from Odette over the coming weeks as she joins the team as our new Foodie Columnist. We can’t wait to try her recipes. And keep up to date with Odette over on Instagram here

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