Expecting: Lauren van Uden

Lauren van Uden has more than a few strings to her bow. During the day, she works as an industrial designer in the Research and Design team for Transport for London, trialling and developing new products and technologies for the transport network. In the evening, you’re likely to find Lauren sat at a pottery wheel in Peckham, where she creates beautiful ceramics at the South London based studio The Kiln Rooms. However, Lauren is about to get even busier in a different way. At 35 weeks pregnant, she’s preparing for her and her partner Tim’s first foray into parenthood. We spent some time in her home with photographer Jessica Maccormick as part of our Expecting series, where we chat to mothers-to-be during pregnancy as they are about to enter the next, new chapter of their lives.

Lauren and Tim are both long-term Glasshouse friends who have been with us from the very beginning. In fact, the pair were the aesthetic visionaries behind the Glasshouse interior, designing the salon and taking it from abandoned storage space into a fully-functioning, sustainably-made salon. Everything from the lighting to the bespoke in-built furniture were masterminded by the duo, and they still contribute to the design of the salon today.

“The salon was an amazing challenge which Tim and I throughly loved working on” Lauren explains, “A salon is a very functional, hard working space so we spent a lot of time making sure we could get the best out of a fairly small footprint using durable materials. When we initially saw the site it was 2 separate storage rooms in a mezzanine space, accessed by a hatch ladder. The windows were boarded up and the ceiling a mess of cables and metal trunking. We could easily see the potential and were lucky enough to have the support from Olivia and Netil House to transform it into the space now.”

"We could easily see the potential and were lucky enough to have the support from Olivia and Netil House to transform it into the space now.”
“We could easily see the potential and were lucky enough to have the support from Olivia and Netil House to transform it into the space now.”

Originally from New Zealand and now calling Leytonstone home, Lauren is venturing into a challenge of a different kind. “Our biggest collaboration now is our little one which we are super excited about” Lauren told us over cups of tea in her East London home, “Tim has been very supportive throughout my pregnancy which has made the whole journey exciting and relaxed.”

Relaxing isn’t always the easiest feat during a first-time pregnancy, but Lauren has adapted her own ways of slowing down and zoning out from trimester to trimester. Exercise has been key - swimming in particular and some local pilates sessions at The Space East in Forest Gate (“It’s taught me a lot about the function of the pelvic floor muscles and the changes that our bodies go through during pregnancy”). However there are some forms of exercise Lauren has had to ease up on, “Before pregnancy I was cycling a lot which I gave up in my second trimester as I work in central London and the roads can be a little hectic” she says.

In fact, her morning routine has changed further, despite “still jamming myself on the Central Line at Leyton during rush hour”, Lauren now gets up half an hour earlier to fit in some morning stretching exercises, pilates and a bit of Swiss ball before tackling the commute head-on. Evenings involve a long bath, more pilates and some hypnobirthing exercises which she and her husband have been practising together.

Gentle exercise aside, Lauren has another method of unwinding that stems much further back than her pregnancy. Starting life as an escape from days spent in front of a computer at work, creating beautiful ceramics has been Lauren’s passion project since she signed up to a Tuesday night class in 2014 with Stuart Carey at his Hoxton Studio. Four years on and the side hustle has evolved into a fully fledged enterprise, with a collection of cups, jugs and plates under the Studio LVU umbrella, all moulded from natural clay and taking inspiration from texture, shape and sculpture.

“Our biggest collaboration now is our little one which we are super excited about”
“Our biggest collaboration now is our little one which we are super excited about”
“Our biggest collaboration now is our little one which we are super excited about”

During pregnancy, ceramics has become even more of a release: “Throwing on the wheel is very relaxing - you have to be focused so it’s a great way to zone out” Lauren explains, “Sitting at the wheel is a good position for baby too; upright, forward and open.” It’s also been a great way of meeting likeminded people as well, as a member of Bellenden Road’s The Kiln Rooms. Lauren’s most recent commission has been a collection of stoneware ceramics for Burgess & Hall, a wine shop and bar in Forest Gate that focus on natural, organic and biodynamic wines.

There’s something endearing about Lauren’s love of being hands-on and her connection with nature - whether that’s through working with clay or getting outdoors and active. A New Zealand-native, pregnancy has given her time to reflect on the kind of upbringing London offers for a child. Far from the sweeping landscape of her Kiwi childhood, Lauren has made East London her home and is looking forward to motherhood in the city.

“I had a very free childhood, walking to school unaccompanied and meeting with friends on my way home” she says, “It’s funny when I talk to some friends in New Zealand as they can’t understand why we want to raise a child in such a busy city as London. I think London is one of the best cities for mums and babies. I’m really looking forward to taking our little one to the London art galleries and museums and for him or her to grow up in a very diverse multicultural environment.”

The view of her Kiwi friends about parenthood in London isn’t a rare one and it’s certainly a justifiable one: the open coastline and beautiful scenery of her home country doesn’t quite compare to Hackney’s gritty urban streets. However, culturally and socially, London is unrivalled when it comes to mum and baby offerings. Besides, as Lauren says “Margate is only just over an hour away on the train if we need some ocean air.”

“It’s funny when I talk to some friends in New Zealand as they can’t understand why we want to raise a child in such a busy city as London. I think London is one of the best cities for mums and babies."
“It’s funny when I talk to some friends in New Zealand as they can’t understand why we want to raise a child in such a busy city as London. I think London is one of the best cities for mums and babies.”

Since being pregnant, Lauren’s biggest challenge has been slowing down and listening to her body: “Up until the second trimester I would be at the ceramics studio several nights a week until late but I quickly realised I needed more rest” she explains, “It’s quite hard when you’re used to doing certain things and then your body just says no - you need to go home and sleep.”

As Industrial Designers, home is something that’s integral to both Lauren and Tim. With only a couple of weeks to go before baby is due, the pair are still making some final renovations on their Leytonstone home - which they bought as project and have been working on ever since.

“We didn’t quite realise how much of a project we had bought until we started peeling off the wallpaper to reveal the original lathe and plaster and removing the moth-eaten carpet to find newspapers from the 1940s” says Lauren, “The house has been in the same family for 90 years so it was full of history but very run-down.”

A self-confessed minimalist, Lauren’s home is an extension of her’s (and Tim’s) personal aesthetic and their work in the industrial realm too. The airy Victorian house features stripped wooden floors and tones and textures drawing from nature, with plenty of subtle nods to the duo’s curated design taste too - think orb-shaped lighting and framed artwork. The 1940s newspapers may have vanished, but the space is still packed with character.

It’s time to peel ourselves away from Lauren’s squishy, denim-blue sofa and leave her in peace for the final few weeks of pregnancy. Calm-headed and composed with a healthy approach to life, home and wellbeing, Lauren is as well-equipped as she can be for her imminent foray into family life. As we wave her Leytonstone abode goodbye, we feel hopeful to see what motherhood will bring for Lauren and privileged to get a glimpse into these last days of her Expecting journey.

Lauren’s pregnancy recommendations

Book:

Olivia (Glasshouse Salon director) recommended the Ina May Gaskin book Guide to Childbirth which I read early on in my pregnancy. It was a great confirmation that the female body is capable of amazing things and is designed to enable a natural birth, even if your baby is 10 pounds plus. The book is full of inspiring and positive birth stories and advice, I would recommend to any expecting mum.

Clothing:

I have tried not to change my wardrobe and continue to wear a lot of my favourites still at 35 weeks. Being pregnant over winter means I have been able to layer up slouchy knits and floaty dresses. I love leggings and trousers with stretchy wastebands and have some pieces by Alexander Wang and Rick Owens that I mix with staples from Cos and Folk. I have bought some maternity leggings and sleepwear and of course some comfortable bras and singlets to stretch right over bump and keep bubs nice and warm.

Beauty:

My bump started showing quite early on, people thought we might be having twins! I have been using the Dani Kenny Beautiful Belly balm and, with only 5 weeks to go, there are miraculously still no signs of stretch marks.

Classes:

Happy Parents Happy Baby antenatal class in Waltham Forest
Pilates at The Space East in Forest Gate

Thank you Lauren for letting us in your beautiful home.

Words: Lucy Vincent
All images: Jessica Maccormick for Glasshouse Journal

Share this:

More From The Journal

  1. Illustrated Form

    ​An exclusive new editorial in collaboration with illustrator Alexa Coe and photographer Thea Lovstad, shining a spotlight on the female figure from a woman’s perspective and the new nude.

    More +
  2. Work with us at Glasshouse Salon

    Fancy being a part of our close-knit Glasshouse team? We are looking for a talented Hair Stylist to come onboard.

    More +
  3. Hair Musing: Taja Feistner

    ​Our latest Hair Muse is shaking up the summer months with a haircut that’s fresh, directional and neatly cropped. Taja Feistner is the model-slash-eco-warrior with a conscience that’s as cool as her short back and sides. We learn more.

    More +
  4. Q&A: Olivia Crighton

    Having hit the five year mark since Glasshouse Salon launched in 2013, we sat down with our founder, Olivia Crighton, to help you get to know her a little more, covering everything from her personal journey into natural and organic beauty, to balancing business and motherhood.

    More +
  5. Kickstarter Campaign: Glasshouse Hair, Hand & Body Wash

    ​We’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign for the launch of our first ever Glasshouse product. Designed to minimise consumption and waste, Glasshouse Hair, Hand & Body Wash is a luxury, multi-use cleanser made with organic ingredients - and we want you to be involved in making it a reality.

    More +
  6. Q&A: Henri London

    Simultaneously comfortable and chic, Henri London’s collection of ​sustainably made women’s shirts is our latest local find in Hackney. We spoke to founder Henrietta about the inspiration behind the brand and the importance of ethical fashion.

    More +
  7. Zero-Waste Beauty

    We’re delving into the world of zero-waste beauty and the simple ways in which we can reduce the environmental output of our beauty cupboard. From plastic alternatives to bulk buy markets, here are some eco-friendly solutions that don’t compromise on quality or design.

    More +
  8. Photography: Latoya van der Meeren

    ​Amsterdam-based photographer Latoya van der Meeren has got us transfixed with her honest pictures of pregnancy, motherhood and life on the road. We sat down with her to find out more.

    More +
  9. Beauty Buzz: Lilac Lids

    From lilac to mauve, violet to plum, purple eyeshadow is the surprising new trend that’s caught our attention this season. Here are some of our favourite ways to add a little of the regal colour to your look.

    More +
  10. Reads: Sisters by Sophie Harris-Taylor

    Photographer Sophie Harris-Taylor is known for her raw, intimate approach to taking pictures, and her latest release is no exception. Sisters visually tells the stories of over 70 sets of sisters, who Sophie has spent time interviewing and capturing in front of the lens, putting together a picture of sisterhood at it’s most honest.

    More +
  11. Bathroom Detox: Natural Deodorant

    Have you ever considered what makes your deodorant work? We take an in-depth look at the daily staple and the naturally based alternatives that effectively neutralise body odour without the use of potentially harmful chemicals.

    More +
  12. Makeup Bag Overhaul

    Considering switching up your go-to makeup products in favour of natural and organic brands? We have salon service that might be just the ticket - a one-on-one consultation with a trained makeup expert for products recommendations personalised to you!

    More +
  13. Minimalism in Beauty

    Minimalism isn’t just for your homes and wardrobes - your bathroom cabinet can benefit from focusing on quality over quantity as well. We explore the move towards double-duty beauty; an ecological, practical and no-compromise solution to get your makeup bag working harder.

    More +
  14. Masterclass: Heatless Styling

    ​As summer rolls in, we’re embracing the warmer weather and abandoning our heated styling tools. With the help of Senior Stylist Ashleigh, we’ve put together our top tips on heatless styling for each hair type. Whether you have tight curls or poker straight hair, these are the products and techniques to use to get your best air-dried look.

    More +
  15. Happenings: rubbish_1 at Soft Opening

    With the topic of plastic waste high on the global agenda, we’re turning to art to join in on the conversation. Photographer Harley Weir has partnered with poet Wilson Oryema to create a powerful body of work that addresses human plastic consumption.

    More +
  16. Glasshouse x Alexa Coe

    ​We launch a collaboration with London based illustrator Alexa Coe. Inspired by her favourite products from Glasshouse Shop, the collection includes six original artworks in Alexa’s signature style, available to purchase exclusively on the Shop.

    More +
Load more posts