Love the alliteration!
Katie Cadden lives in the pretty village of Turlough just outside Castlebar in County Mayo. A former practicing solicitor with many strings to her bow, she is mum to Reuben (6) and Willow (3) and her husband Mark is behind award-winning Bar One Public House and Eatery in Castlebar.
Katie, we met at a fun dinner that Orlagh O’Reilly aka(@theminipost) organised in Dublin last year- I like to tell anyone that will listen that I worked with Oralgh’s uncle Frank in New York for over 10 years- then- accidentally became great friends with his other niece, Aoife (@aoifechamberlayne) while we were both working in BT’s, then accidentally again, met Oralgh. No one is ever as amused by this story of chance and destiny as I am but I keep telling it.
Let’s start with the hard-hitting questions- best red lipstick?
Depending on the outfit and audience, either Kanga Rouge by Mac or Stay Scarlet Double Wear by Estee Lauder.
Best answer. Ever. Everything in life depends on the audience ,doesnt it?
You had a big bow in your hair that night and I remember thinking this girl could not be more chic. How do you describe your style?
(Laughs) I am going to take that as the BEST compliment, thank you! To stand out in that room of incredibly stylish women makes me blush. By the way, I remember clocking your insanely cool look (especially the Chloe blouse) and resolving that we would be pals.
I get a little shifty when asked to describe my personal style. It’s tricky, right? I suppose I have always had a sense of style and suspect this was inherited from my beautiful and wickedly stylish mother. By the time I was 1, I had a wardrobe filled with the most beautiful dresses, cardigans and coats, all of which were handmade by her. I spent the majority of my 20s and 30s on buying trips to Paris, Düsseldorf and beyond with Mum for her boutique, Yasmine G. I merchandised the boutique each season and I would be confident in quickly pulling stories and looks together.
My personal style has probably evolved as the chapters of my life have unfolded. In my former lives as a legal professional with Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) in Paris and later a solicitor in Dublin and Mayo, whilst I took my look seriously, I often struggled to strike the right balance between professionalism, practicality and glamour. I recall that whilst I wore a lot of black, I played around with shoulders and hemlines and built my personality into my wardrobe with accessories and injections of colour where possible. I was rarely out of a pair of heels.
Two years ago, I took a career hiatus to care for Reuben and Willow. I found myself in a funk as I tried to re-evaluate not only my personal style, but my life as a whole. Following some extraordinary soul searching and online quizzes, I would describe my current style as classic chic with a twist. I’m consciously auditing and re-building my wardrobe with enduring classics, which I try and update with the seasons. I have key staples in terms of jeans, blazers, well-tailored trousers, knits, cotton shirts and Breton t-shirts, which I try to mx with more fun and on trend pieces. For example, if I wear a little black dress I will add statement earrings with a bright red lipstick or a bow!
I have come to the conclusion to that in order to nail that elusive personal style, takes a degree of work. It can be daunting for any one to create and continuously curate a wardrobe that reflects who they truly are and their lifestyle at any given time.
Yes! And as you change jobs/lifestyles your style evolves also doesnt it.
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take one supplement and bring one makeup item (not to be skincare) what podcast would you be listening to? Only joking! What supplement! What make-up item!
Assuming that I am stranded alone and don’t need to impress, the supplement would be welldoublell cbd oil! I like that its organic , lab tested and contains no THC. It helps me with sleep. I’m going to say lipstick as my makeup item. Even on our worst days, there is always lipstick.
Yes! And also I would add that even on a worse day buying a lipstick seems to help. Most MUA’s seem to appreciate when you’re looking for the lipstick purchase to be life changing also , I think.
What podcasts are you listening to? what book are you reading?
I’m listening to Pardon my French by Garance Doré. I’m quite the GD fan. I am currently reading two books. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid and Growing up Happy – ten proven ways to increase your child’s happiness and well being by Alexia Barrable and Jenny Barnett
What are you listening to on Spotify?
I’m enjoying some playlists that I compiled for my husband’s business to accompany the weekend Tapas Menu! Whilst they were intended for Bar One, we have been playing them on a loop in the car and at home.
What is your area of law?
I am a qualified solicitor with particular expertise in litigation (specifically multi-party litigation), Public Law and Charity Law. I studied Law at NUI Galway and Université de Poitiers, France. I hold 2 law degrees and a first class honours Masters Degree in Public Law. No, I am not currently practicing and I’m ok with that.
Not unlike a certain First Lady whom we all wish might have been our best friend/sister/aunt, I initially found it distressing to admit that legal practice might no longer be for me. What is possibly more distressing is that I missed (or rather ignored) the signs along the way that I was not truly happy. It is remarkable how many “recovering solicitors” are engrained to think that there is nothing else they can do outside of legal practice. It’s simply a false belief.
Whilst on hiatus, it was important for my confidence to remain engaged insofar as it worked for my family and to develop my technical knowledge and skills. I am a Government appointed board member of Ireland’s first regulator of charities – the Charities Regulator and this entails chairing a sub-committee and attending monthly meetings in Dublin. I was recently appointed to the Council of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) – the charity that saves lives at sea – in Ireland and the UK, which entails travel to Dublin, London and Poole. I also guest lecture in Charity Law at the Law Society of Ireland and I have given seminars on corporate governance and regulation at NUI Galway.
Following an outrageous amount of personal work to the extent that it probably merits a dedicated blog and podcast, I am currently at a point where I feel ready to resume a career. Emma Gannon penned a brilliant book called the Multi-Hyphen Method where she talks about working less, creating more and designing your own career. I am excited to be at the point of embracing this method and finally feeling bold enough to pivot into something fulfilling. Check back with me in 6 months time and let’s talk about my ‘Next Play’ Lisa!
WOW. That is all.
You went to NUIG- favourite Galway memories?
I have such fond memories of my heady undergraduate and postgraduate days at NUI Galway. Suffice to say that the Warwick, GPO, the Hole in the Wall and Taaffes featured heavily.
The (cleanest) standout memory for me was in my final year. I had been earmarked with a number of other students to meet with the In-house Counsel for LVMH the night before she delivered a seminar on the role of the In-house Counsel on campus. Her name was Madeleine Vendeuille-Denise and she was an extraordinary woman. Typically Parisienne, but could have passed for a Bouvier sister. Madeleine was in Galway to select the first Irish intern to come to Paris to work for LVMH.
Fast-forward to the following morning and the lecture hall was packed to capacity. Everyone was there to soak up all she had to say and to dream of sashaying through the streets of Paris. Once she delivered her seminar, I was summoned to meet with her. I accepted her offer, moved to Paris with one of my dearest friends and the rest is history.
Do you have a morning ritual?
I wake up to the pitter-patter of tiny feet most mornings as a little Cadden person runs to the bathroom upon awakening. I can tell by the sequence of steps which little Cadden it is.
If it is a school morning, we will get the kids up and dressed and head downstairs together. Most mornings Mark and I will try and start the day with a mug of hot water with a slice of lemon or a Revive Active sachet. I believe that my children are extraordinarily fortunate to enjoy breakfast as a family pretty much most mornings. The soundtrack to school mornings tends to be Marty in the Morning on Lyric FM (don’t ask).
What’s your approach to conflict? Dive right in or run a mile?
Dive. Right. In.
Where did you meet your husband?
Mark hails from Westport and his family owned the immensely successful Asgard Bar and Restaurant at the Quay for many years. Our families knew each other as my parents were great customers and my Dad was also in the hospitality business.
Mark’s brother Alan had opened Zest Restaurant and Deli in Castlebar and Mark returned from Boca Raton in Florida to work with him. We started dating the summer Mark and Alan opened Bar One (2002). Our first date was to the Wednesday meet of the Galway Races. I still remember every detail of the outfit I wore!
Who is the disciplinarian in the family ? I’m assuming Willow?
Yes, we march to the beat of her drum. Because I have been home with them for the past two years, I’m going to say that I am the disciplinarian. However, Mark and I make a good team and he assumes the role when required.
I have two favourites. The first is outside my front door wandering along the Greenway and through the grounds of the National Museum of Country Life at Turlough House. It is a beautiful place and has featured heavily in my Instagram posts and stories. The second is along Old Head beach in Louisburgh. Mark is from Westport and we are very fortunate to be in a position to stay at his family home and access all of the amazing beaches for rambles and swimming.
How do you wind down in the evenings?
The only thing that truly works for me is to disconnect from the Internet and get to bed with a book and a mug of Pukka Night Time tea.
Best advice anyone has ever given you?
Most of us have two lives. The life we live and the unlived life with us. Between the two stands resistance.
A very dear friend shared this with me when I leaned out of full time legal practice. What I did not appreciate 2 years ago was that that leaning away and carving space would be the smartest thing I ever did.
Best advice you trot out where needed?
What other people think of you is none of your business. I heard it years ago and can’t quite believe how many times I have had to trot this chestnut out.
What’s your go-to work out?
I don’t currently have one and have fallen off the wagon in a BIG way. I previously went to the most incredible personal trainer and I looked and felt my best when working out with her. I stopped working out last December after I developed tendonitis and I am paying the price. I recently started Reformer Pilates with the Movement at the Leisure Complex at Lough Lannagh and really enjoy it. However, I need to now supplement this with sessions of weighted squats and lunges. That’s just the way it is. I’m starting tomorrow. I promise. Really.
You can keep up with Katie Cadden over on insta @katiehcadden