Travel Beautifully · Perform Confidently
Travel Beautifully · Perform Confidently

Need to know: Pea Protein extract

  • Why Pea Protein is a skin preparing, protecting and repairing powerhouse
  • Extracted from one of the most radiant resistant organisms there is
  • The ultimate multitasker – pea protein reduces and prevents dark spots, and minimises wrinkles and lines
What is it? 

Think of Pea Protein extract like an invisible suit of armour for your skin. A key active in 35 Thousand’s scientifically formulated OTG-7 complex, it is clinically proven to counteract and reduce damage caused to skin by harmful UV rays, infrared rays and blue light from our screens.

So how does it work? Research has shown that a group of proteins called ‘opsins’ play an important role in our perception of light. When activated, opsins can trigger adaptive responses, therefore protecting our skin from the harmful effects of solar and artificially produced blue light. Pea Protein activates these opsins, stimulating our skin’s defence against light-induced damage.

It has been proven that Pea Protein is no pushover when it comes guarding our skin. Obtained from one of the most radiation-resistant microorganisms using state-of-the-art biotechnology. These powerhouse organisms are so resistant in fact, they’ve been proven to successfully withstand extreme doses of radiation, like those found in outer space. 

Not just highly effective , pea protein also has enviable eco creds.  The process used to isolate and extract these microorganisms has been thoughtfully devised to reduce negative environmental impact and ensure natural materials aren’t unnecessarily harvested. This commitment to protecting the planet was recognised by the beauty industry in 2019, with Pea Protein extract being awarded Silver in the Green Ingredients category by the prestigious Paris-based In-Cosmetics Global Awards

Why your skin will thank you for it

With its powerful radiation-resisting qualities, Pea Protein extract is a key ingredient in the fight against premature ageing – a process intensified by our daily exposure to the sun and to digital light from tech devices. Essentially, Pea Protein has been shown to be hugely effective in guarding skin against the major signs of ageing, by preparing, protecting and repairing. Her Majesty of multitaskers it visibly decreases pre-existing brown spots caused by UV exposure, while simultaneously protecting against the appearance of future spots. Pea protein can also reduce the appearance of wrinkles and roughness, leading to a rejuvenated, healthy and all-round more even and luminous complexion.

Where you can find Pea Protein extract…

Pea Protein extract is one of seven active ingredients in our OTG-7 complex – a potent blend created by world-leading skincare experts to boost stressed-out skin on the go. You’ll find the OTG-7 complex in all of the 35 Thousand products. So, home or away, sky high or feet firmly on the ground, you can be assured that this wonder ingredient is working hard to shield your skin from the hazards of indoor and outdoor light. The result? A radiant, younger-looking complexion without the need for a complicated skincare regime.

If you enjoyed learning about this ingredient then you will enjoy reading about red Algae Extract (also in the 35 Thousand OTG 7Complex which acts a little like a personal trainer for your skin. Read all about it here

Need to know: Red Algae Extract

Red Algae Extract is one of the super hard-working seven actives in the 35 Thousand OTG-7 Complex that will revitalise, revive and firm less than perky skin.

What is it?

Using patented cutting-edge technology, Red Algae Extract works by increasing collagen production and improving cellular vitality. A potent source of Taurine, an amino acid that has energising properties, as well as Oligofurcellaran, a type of marine sugar that’s well known for its protective and restructuring qualities, our Red Algae Extract creates what we like to call “fibroblast bodybuilders.” Found in the dermis (the inner layer of our skin) these fibroblasts produce proteins such as collagen, which give our skin a network of strength and elasticity, maintaining its tautness. 

Not only that but this wonder ingredient can also act a bit like your skin’s personal trainer , intensifying activity within our cells and giving it a good workout by helping to raise energy levels. This helps skin to look fitter and firmer and it can potentially help to slow the ageing process.

Last but certainly not least, Red Algae Extract can also combat the effects of oxidative stress, which can be caused by many lifestyle factors from diet to environmental damage and pollution, which in turn can cause ageing. Studies have shown that Red Algae regulates antioxidant function, helping to protect and restore stability. 

Why your skin will thank you for it

The perfect ingredient for frazzled complexions, Red Algae Extract has a myriad of glow-guarding benefits from fighting the signs of fatigue and giving you that well rested glow, to helping, over time, to plump the skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

Where you can find Red Algae Extract

You can reap the benefits of this skin bolstering ingredient within every product in the  35 Thousand product range. Along with six other scientifically proven ingredients that make up the OTG 7 complex, the Red Algae Extract promises a fresher, brighter and more radiant complexion as part of your daily skincare routine.

Need to know more? Read more about the 35 Thousand skincare range here

The Journey Starts here…

As an executive coach, board member and former Fortune 500 global HR executive I can confidently say that I know a thing or two about ‘the juggle.’ Over the course of my 23 year career I have clocked more than 2 million air miles, had my passport stamped in 57 countries and commuted by car, train, plane and foot. I know all too well the joys and challenges of managing travel, work and family life on the go and I fully sympathise with trying to decant my entire ‘best skin day’ products into those mini bottles or compromising with drug store minis that would wreck my skin.

Misty Reich, founder of 35 Thousand
The Why

Having suffered from cystic acne most of my adult life, the 35 Thousand product range has been born out of my never ending mission to keep my skin healthy and happy on the go. It’s taken 4 years of research, thousands of product samples, and pulling through a global pandemic, but we have finally arrived with a beautiful, highly effective set of products to boost even the most stressed out or busy skin.

We are launching with five luxury skincare products for use at home and away
The science

In case you missed it in my bio, I’m no cosmetic scientist, but I worked with the best of the best to formulate a highly effective complex  – the OTG-7 –  which is made up of 7 powerhouse ingredients and is central to every product in our range. From boosting skin’s energy to calming irritation, protecting from blue light, reducing the effects of cortisol and restoring circadian rhythms, think of the OTG-7 as your skin’s invisible force field.

Misty Reich (right) with Content Director Susannah Taylor (left) and Product Development Director Claire Bristow (centre)

The products 

With multitasking at their core, all five of our products have been carefully developed to give you instant impact as well as long term results and are thoughtfully packaged to be your go-to good skin day saviours whether you are chilling at home, commuting on a Tuesday or jetting off on a big adventure.

The products will hit our digital shelves right here on 35thousand.com later this summer. For the latest launch updates, access to special offers, and a regular dose of on-the-go inspo be sure to sign up for our ‘Brief and Brilliant’ newsletter here.

We cannot wait to share it all with you.

Happy juggling!”

Founder

How She Carries On: Dr. Marie Drago, pharmacist and founder of Gallinée

Dr Marie Drago is a French doctor and a member of the French Society fo Cosmetic Science. She also knows a thing or two about our microbiome. Having discovered how a prebiotic and probiotic fuelled diet drastically improved her symptoms of gluten intolerance, it struck her that the same principles could apply to skin. Having written her thesis on the enormous benefits of good bacteria, she then went on to create Gallinée skincare, which harnesses the powers of the microbiome.

Here she talks to 35 Thousand about the difficulties of being an introvert as the face of a business, why she is enjoying a new found working flexibility, and why Gallinée is now thriving despite the pandemic.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“French, nerdy and curious”

Tell us about your work…

“I am the founder of the Franco-English brand Gallinée, all based on my Pharmacy Thesis. We are the first brand to take care of your skin, your microbiome and the balance between the two.”

Gallinée
Dr Marie Drago
Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other?

“I usually work on my kitchen table or in a co-working space in Highbury with the rest of the team. I cannot wait to go back to the office!”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“Learning, solving problems and seeing people on the team grow.”

What parts of your work drain you?

“As a scientist I am quite introvert, so being the face of a brand is quite draining for me. I love to meet people and talk, but after that I just need to sit down alone for a while.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“Leaving my job and starting Gallinée. It was in June 2015 and I should have done it sooner.”

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“You need a killer line on your CV, or you’ll never need a CV again. I’d like to thank my friend Guillaume for this, and it’s true. The worst case scenario for me is having to work for someone again.”

Gallinée
Gallinées Face Vinegar
What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“I usually live in London with a very cool flatmate. For the last 4 months I’ve been staying in Lisbon and enjoying a lot of sun.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“Waking up, drinking a lot of Japanese green tea, making waffles and then walking to the office around 9am. I usually leave the office around 6.30pm and either catch up with friends, or just go back home relax. I usually cook my dinner from scratch, it really relaxes me.”

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

“It’s been interesting. 2020 was just all about trying to survive as a company, and luckily Gallinée did quite well. 2021 taught the team and me that we could work from anywhere and still be a close team, so our lifestyle has become a lot more flexible.”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“I guess Covid impacted everyone. It taught me to slow down a bit, consume less and how much I loved my friends and family. Professionally it was really a roller coaster, but we all came out better at the other end (I really hope we can start talking about it in the past tense now). Gallinée is thriving, the team is closer and even better than before.”

Gallinée
Gallinée Youthful Serum
What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

“Weirdly I sleep a lot better since I have my own company. I used to be quite anxious, I always had a feeling life was way too short and I was not living it to the fullest. It all disappeared as soon as I started Gallinée.”

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? 

“I walk a lot (like, a lot). It allows me not to look at my phone, to process things and to listen to podcasts. I’m not really a gym bunny, and I don’t think alcohol brings solutions. Walking it is!”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“Like everyone I guess, I bought a lot of house plants, got a sudden passion for fermentation and stopped looking at the news.”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

“I think so, I taught me things that seem like a mountain to you are probably just a molehill the month after.”

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

” I’m writing from Lisbon, so for me the aim is to manage to get back to London and stay there for a while. I used to travel a lot before Covid and I can’t wait to do it again, but there’s no rush.”

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….” 

“Antibac gel, a Burts Bee lip balm, Gallinée hand cream and a few spare masks.”

Dr Drago is a big fan of Burts Bees Lip Balm
 before “What are your work from home saviours? 

I am very easily distracted, so my saviour is ASMR videos  on YouTube. It’s white noise, it helps me concentrate and calms me down a lot. This is my favourite one here.  It’s a library with a crackling fire and a storm outside. I also use the Pomodoro method, it’s the best at keeping me working for long hours: www.tomato-timer.com” (This is a time management method where you set time to work and then break before starting again.)

I also drink massive amounts of tea every day, and I’ve been living with this Bodum teapot by my side.”

Describe your style?

“Normcore to the max, and very minimalist.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“Vivobarefoot trainers Geocourt, who keep me walking for miles while looking stylish. A Maje dress when I want to dress up,bBig fluffy jumpers from Comptoir and some white T-shirt usually from Arket. I usually buy French brands on Vinted.”

How do you see your business or career in two years from now?

“Hopefully Gallinée will keep on growing but we’ll manage to keep it a nice friendly company, where people are happy to come to work on Mondays.”

This Bodum teapot has been by Dr Drago’s side throughout the pandemic for tea on tap
What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?

“Getting rid of my French accent. It is extremely strong and gets in the way sometimes.”

What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most?

“Stop being afraid all the time, especially of what people think. People just don’t care that much.”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?

“I’m a big believer in Karma, so do as much good as you can if you want a good life.”

If you loved reading about Dr Marie Dr`ago as much as we did then you will love the rest of our How She Carries On Series that takes a peak into the lives of professional women and how they manage the juggle .

How She Carries on with Laura Berens founder of Love and Fit

Laura Berens is a wellness coach and founder of Love and Fit a genius range of activewear for women pre, mid and post pregnancy. Laura first came up with the idea when she had her first child. As an active mother wishing to get back in shape post pregnancy, she couldn’t find a sports bra that was suitable for nursing too.

After a year of intense research she came up with the Fit Mamma Nursing Sports Bra which offers ultimate support, comfort and drop down panels so women can nurse easily whilst on the go. Laura then went on the design a range of leggings forwear pre, during and post pregnancy that won’t ride down or dig in. Today the range has expanded to include other mom friendly sports bras (including a Hands Free Pumping Sports Sports Bra) as well as accessories and loungewear.

35 Thousand spoke exclusively to Laura to discover what makes this entrepreneur and her business tick.

Founder of Love and Fit Laura Berens
Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Driven, funny and passionate”

Tell us about your work…

 “I own an activewear clothing line that is built for woman in all stages of life. We sell online as well as wholesale into other small stores around the USA.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other?

“I work out of my home office.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

” New items launching and hearing from our customers”

What parts of your work drain you?

“Operational things like counting inventory, shipping assistance and accounting.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“Chrissy Teigen shouting out our leggings on social media and being featured on The View And GMA.”

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“Just keep doing the work. If you have a dream or goal, you just need to continue to do the work.”

What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments?

 “I have to young daughters age 6 months and 5 years old. So I keep pretty busy with them and running my business.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“Going to an indoor GYM! Heading back to work at home and work with my team, then head out for dinner with the family or friends at times. “

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

“Home workouts, kids both at home and trying to work while taking care of them both.”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally?

“Oh yes of course. Personally I feel things have gotten better as we have a new baby and me and my significant other have had way more time to communicate and be together.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?”

“Issues with work (product didn’t come in right or issues with any customers not loving our items) I’m a perfectionist!.”

What have been your 2020 coping strategies? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?

“Keeping up with my workouts has been a big thing for me, even just walking around the neighbourhood when I was pregnant helped a lot.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“Going outdoors, making sure to still connect with family and friends via Facetime or Zoom.”

How has 2020 changed your outlook on life?

 “Yes, it has made really think about what is important in life and what we REALLY need.”

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“YES!! I love to travel and just starting to get out more and more now. Planning another trip to see my family in the Midwest soon hopefully.”

Finish this sentence “Currently stashed in my handbag is…

“Well it’s a diaper bag right now! But lipgloss usually and sunglasses aside from stuff for the baby.”

What are your WFH saviours?

“Routine! I always workout first THEN start my day. I usually actually respond to urgent emails on the stairclimber now that gyms are open. Then when I get back home to my computer I don’t have so much to do.”

Describe your style?

“Athletic and casual for sure these days but sometimes I can get dressed up.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“Leggings, sports bras, tennis shoes, casual shorts and casual tops.”

How do you see your business in two years from now?

“At least tripled growth. Hopefully selling more wholesale as well as building out the items in our line.”

What’s your go to mantra or life motto?

“It’s never too late to be who you want to be.”

If you enjoyed reading this then you will love the rest of our How She Carries On series with inspiring entrepreneurs such as Whitney Bromberg of FLOWERBX and fashion and lifestyle brand owner Rae Feather.

How She Carries On with Holly McKinlay from the World Wildlife Fund

Holly Mckinlay is Senior Director of Communications at the World Wildlife Fund. Pre pandemic she was based in Washington DC but moved back to the UK during lockdown. Working from her she-shed, she talks to 35Thousand about her mission to create big scale solutions to save our planet, how roses and rosé have got her through COVID-19 and why ‘It’s ok not to be ok” is something we can all learn from.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Loyal, kind, and a bit sassy”

Tell us about your work…

“I’m responsible for guiding the strategy and communications for WWF-US Freshwater and Food conservation. Our team is seeking to find solutions to tackle two of the biggest threats to our planet – agriculture (for food production) and infrastructure (for human development). These two things when done badly are contributing to the wild places we love being destroyed and to the climate change crisis, but when done sustainably can be positive forces for nature. So, my work is focused on using communications to co-create and promote solutions for our planet with the businesses and governments that can make impact at scale, with the consumers who drive the demand and the change needed and, most importantly, with the people and communities at the heart of the critical landscapes we work in.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or others

“I’m currently working from my ‘she-shed’ on my patio. It’s small, but perfectly formed.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“Working across sectors, teams around the world at WWF, and with some of the world’s biggest organizations to achieve positive impact. We are always looking for innovative ways to solve our planet’s most critical environmental challenges and we’re at the cutting edge of science – that’s exciting, if not a little daunting at times.”

The WWF reusable facemarks raise money for global conservation work
What parts of your work drain you?

“Working on complex issues…across time zones…in Zoom meetings…as amazing and impactful as the results can be, the process is sometimes exhausting.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“In 2019 I was invited to create some briefs for WWF as part of the Cannes Young Lions competition – a global event were the next generation of creatives come together to solve problems through design. Briefing young creatives and seeing how they came up with smart, and sometimes game changing solutions, to our ‘how to save the world’ brief, was the most inspiring time of my career, and the moment I knew I that art, creativity, and the next generation, had the power to save our planet.”

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“‘It’s ok not to be ok’. There was a point in my life recently when I was grieving and still trying to carry on being a strong leader at work. I was pushing down all my personal emotions and feelings and acting like everything was fine, not wanting to show any vulnerability out of fear of being perceived as ‘weak’. My boss at the time, founder of a new conservation organization called Stampede International and now very good friend of mine, who had been through the same thing, told me it was ‘ok not to be ok’ and not to be scared to show my human side. I’ve seen this happen a lot in the pandemic actually, people showing their human side and admitting that they aren’t doing ok and need a break, and I hope it continues long after. We aren’t robots, you can be a powerhouse leader and still cry or show vulnerability on a Zoom call, it’s ok.”

What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“I live alone but try to spend as much time talking to or seeing my family & friends – within the limits of lockdown of course. My main dependent is my new rescue pup, Pluto. I love walking and have a new appreciation for the need to protect the nature and wildlife around us, even though it’s my day job. I try to do yoga when I can to focus my mind, and when that doesn’t work…wine.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“Wake up and video call my family in the UK with a coffee, walk to my office in downtown Washington DC, full workday of meetings and calls, happy hour with colleagues or yoga, home to relax. I’d not been living in DC that long, so weekends were spent exploring the landmarks and brunch with new friends.”

Holly always carries Espa No Rinse Hand Cleanser in her bag
How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

“I’ve got more time in the morning to work out, enjoy breakfast and go out for a walk. My hours are definitely longer, there’s been no avoiding that, but I have more flexibility in the day so I can work, exercise, talk to friends & family and meditate on my own schedule.”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“Yes, on both fronts. I was living in Washington DC when the pandemic hit in March. I made the hard but necessary decision to move home to the UK before the lockdown, to be nearer to my family. So, I’ve been working remotely on US time from the UK for almost a year now. It’s difficult at times but for me personally it was the best decision- I had good friends in DC through WWF, our ‘panda family’, but I knew I needed support, and my best friends and family to get through the pandemic. I’m very lucky that WWF has been supportive throughout, allowing me the flexibility to not only move countries but ensuring my working hours aren’t too crazy.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

“The state of the planet…. occupational hazard….and the wellbeing and mental health of my friends and family during this time.”

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?

“Rosé and roses…. seriously. I’ve started to buy fresh flowers for my house and office* (*read ‘shed’), every week (another piece of advice from a good friend, buy your own darn flowers), I get out in the fresh air every single day, no matter what the weather and I like a glass of rosé in the evening to mark the end of the workday.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“Walking and talking…. oh, and a constant supply of memes and banter.”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

“Before 2020 I was constantly travelling and or moving countries for work. This year made me realize the value of having a really strong network of friends and family nearby – I hands down wouldn’t have coped with this pandemic and the lockdowns without them. 

I’ve also changed my outlook on the UK, our health system and the beautiful nature on our doorstep that I always took for granted before, I won’t again.   

Having said this, I miss travel, I miss immersing myself in different cultures – the only way we can really evolve is by listening to and learning from people with different cultures and social backgrounds to our own. I hope with this new remote generation that lines between travel and managing work will merge.”

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“I’m ready to feel the sun on my face and the sand between my toes again, that’s for sure. I’d love to explore the Amalfi Coast, Italy with my family, and Ibiza, Spain with friends, but I’d be equally happy with exploring the coast of Dorset or Cornwall.”

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….” 

“MAC lipstick – of various shades, but I always have a red handy. ESPA hand sanitizer – it took me ages to find one I actually liked the smell of. WWF reusable facemasks – they’re available in the UK and US, have wildlife prints, are sustainable and raise money for global conservation work.”

What are your work from home saviours? (routines/ products/ coffee/ music?)

Creating my own office space in my shed has been a saviour – I’ve decked it out with art that inspires me like a design print of a flamingo from BuyBarry, books, house plants, my Alexa for music and Nespresso machine for regular coffee hits. I’ve also just invested in some AirPod Pro headphones, and they’ve changed the game for conference calls.”

Describe your style?

“Classic (all black everything), and ethical and sustainable where possible.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“A good black jumper dress – I’m currently wearing an organic cotton one from And Other Stories

A classic pair of sliders or pumps – I recently discovered ethical brand Hexa shoes

Classic handmade silver hoops – I’m trying to support local and independent businesses more and Hattie Monroe jewellery is simply beautiful. 

A well-fitting pair of jeans – I like Levi’s, Ralph Lauren Denim and F&F Denim (Tesco), WWF is working with them all on their sustainability strategies. 

A statement jumper/sweater or t-shirt – I love the ones for good causes like Fund Jumpers.”

Holly is a fan of the slogan Fund sweaters
How do you see your business or career in two years from now?

“I’d like to keep growing in my career and working in conservation and environment. Ideally, I’d be doing something that combines working with big brands on sustainability strategy, my love of the arts & creativity and saving the planet.”

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?

“Kilimanjaro and self-confidence – both mountains to climb.”

What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most?

“Don’t focus all your energy and time into your career, leave time for fun, and make the most of the simple times spent hanging out with your friends before life gets more complicated.”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?

“In a world where you can be anything, be kind”. 

If you loved this article then you will love the reading about so many other inspiring women and how they navigate the ups and downs of life in our How She Carries On section

How she carries on with life coach Vicki Wright-Hamilton

Vicki Wright-Hamilton is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, television personality, and the CEO of VWH Consulting. On a mission to help women to thrive in life and to help them navigate the slippery slope of home and work life, she has recently launched two TV Shows. She talks to 35 Thousand about unexpectedly becoming an entrepreneur, how her life has changed due to COVID-19 and why she truly believes there should be no limits to what we can achieve in life.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Faithful, Strategic, Reliable”

Tell us about your work… 

“I have worked as a corporate strategist and change management advisor for nearly 30 years. In the last few years, I have set my sights on sharing my personal and professional experience with a broader audience through my coaching, speaking, and television initiatives. I recently launched two shows, “Hidden Stories, Healed Now” and “Strategic Minds: Making Money Moves” to help women navigate the slippery slope of balancing home and work life.  Both shows are featured in Atlanta, the District of Columbia, California, and on YouTube and multiple streaming services.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other? 

“I work from home, mostly in my home office and at my kitchen table. I like staying close to the heart of my house during the day.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“I get energy from making a difference, whether seeing technology efforts come to fruition or the changes that individuals are making as they learn and grow from coaching.  I love to see positive change and advancements in both individuals and organizations. “

What parts of your work drain you?  

“My least favorite task is creating proposals and RFP’s (Requests for Proposals). It drains me and takes so much energy. I also do not particularly enjoy the seemingly constant hunt for new consulting opportunities. Having to sell myself, again and again, is daunting. Even after thirty years of corporate experience and ten years of being an entrepreneur, still, I wouldn’t say I like it. 

The whole process is draining and takes a lot of work. Furthermore, sometimes all of this effort feels wasted if the said proposal’s answer is still ‘no’ since nothing is guaranteed.  You spend so much energy and time for it not to work out.  It is part of the process, but it is not fun.” 

Most pivotal point of your career so far? 

“The most pivotal moment in my career was entering entrepreneurship.  I never saw myself in this position. At times I did not know if I would be successful as an entrepreneur.  Entrepreneurship has profoundly changed my mindset and allowed me the opportunity to pivot and see things from a different perspective.   I could not have done this without taking the time for self-reflection and being willing to do some profound personal and professional growth.  I am beyond thankful for all of the trials and tribulations that I have conquered. This reflection reminds me that I can face any challenge both now and in the future.”

Vicki Wright-Hamilton helps entrepreneurs to thrive
Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“Never let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do or let them create your narrative.  You can do whatever you envision and want to do.  I believe that God has given us all talents and gifts, and you have the right to use as many of them as you desire.  There is no limit on what we can achieve. We do not have to fit into someone else’s standard or be forced into their predetermined box.”

What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments? 

“I am a wife, mother of two adult sons and a grandmother to two – a granddaughter, and a grandson.  My daughter-in-law is just like the daughter that I never had.  I love my family, but more importantly, I like them.  I want to be around them and explore things together.  We spend a lot of time laughing together, going to sports, restaurants, and even dancing pre-COVID.  

In the last year, we have spent a lot more time at home together. I also love my new standard poodle Max. He enjoys all of the attention – he thinks he is the life of the party. 

I am passionate about being an active member of the community, from mentoring to board membership.  I live by the mantra “to whom much is given, much is expected.” I always pray to be a blessing to at least one person each day.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“My day was always busy.  I continued to work for my clients while still hunting and developing strategies for business growth.  Although I was dedicated to my one night out each week with my husband and I saw my grown kids, it was very casual and not planned.  I just let it happen organically.  I did work out, but I would sometimes let work interrupt that time and did not keep it sacred.”

How has your daily life changed? What is your new normal? 

“One positive change from my new normal of working from home continually is that I have learned to work out every day, without fail.  I have made working out a primary focus of daily my routine. I find that exercising daily helps me to have a clear and focused mind. I believe it allows me to create a mindset that is ready to prosper and succeed both professionally and personally.  

I am very intentional and committed to my six days per week workout plan.  After my morning prayer, meditation, and workouts, I come to my home office and start my day. I typically pre-plan the night before so that I can jump right into my day.  Of course, there are always meetings.  Sometimes, I choose to walk around with the phone to my ear. I call those my walking meetings as I walk around my kitchen island and family room which is a way to get some exercise.  I also have one-on-one coaching sessions with clients. In between, I am sure to schedule time to “Think and develop my own personal and professional strategies.””

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How? 

“For me, COVID has been a blessing and a curse. The devastation and loss of life are beyond devasting. On the flip side, it has helped me to slow down and focus on what is essential in my life. I believe COVID has allowed us to put our families first, care about our neighbors, and slow down.  During COVID, I have done just that.  When everything was closed, it made me reprioritize every single minute to move forward.  

Professionally, it was up and down — some significant periods of increased revenue and gaining business opportunities, as well as some very low ones.   Corona impacted me personally like many others; I miss my family out of town, the girl’s nights out, date nights, and traveling.  I use technology to help, but there is something to be said about connecting with your loved ones in person.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?  

“I am a woman of great faith, and I believe in the power of prayer. I am at peace and leave my worries to God when I pray, so I am not up at night.”

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines, or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?  

“Praying, meditating, and working out have been the tools that I use to cope.  I also have allowed myself to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine and relax.  I think I understand relaxation better now than I ever have before.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane? 

“We have had more planned family time together.  I love having my children and grandchildren come over for impromptu visits so we can enjoy each other. It truly helps.  

Sometimes, it just is not often enough as work continues for us all.  I value every moment that I get to spend with my family. I also spent more time with my husband watching movies and checking out new shows.  It has given us time to find other areas of enjoyment and different kinds of content to absorb.”

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way? 

“No, it just reinforced what I already knew and believed. I am thankful for the new awareness amongst challenges that have existed for a long time.  The Black Lives Matter movement has brought many of the injustices that Black people have experienced in this country for hundreds of years to the forefront.”

Are you travel-ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“I can not wait to pack a bag and head abroad. I have been creating a list of all of the places that I would like to go.  I plan to visit family, go on trips with my husband, and perhaps even a family trip.  I want to bring fun and experience other places and cultures again.

I look forward to checking places off my bucket list, which is quite extensive. Dubai is at the top of my list.”

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….”

“Hand sanitizer. During these times, it is a must!”

What are your work from home saviors? (routines/ products/ coffee/ music?)

“Coffee and tea for sure!”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing:

“Workout pants, t-shirts, dress pants, wrap blouses, and long dress jacket.”

How do you see your business or career in two years from now? 

“In the next two years, I see my business flourishing and becoming a multi-million dollar organization.  I will also be expanding my current offerings to reach more client needs as things grow and change.  I don’t see anything but exponential growth!”

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?  

“I have always wanted to go sky diving.  It is on my bucket list!”

What could you say to your 20-year-old self that would help her the most?

“Incorporate more fun into your work and moving forward in your life.  You can still be successful and grow.  It is not a matter of either-or; it is a matter of balance. 

I was totally out of balance regarding fun and laughter.  I enjoyed my work, so I did it all of the time.  But, I did not take moments to celebrate, laugh and enjoy the moments of life.  I recognized the good times and experiences but did not allow myself the opportunities to relax and have fun.”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you? 

“When you feel like you’re drowning in life, don’t worry – your lifeguard walks on water.”

Take a look at Vicki’s website here and find her YouTube channel here

If you loved reading this then you will love peeking into the life of Bridgette McAdoo, Leader of Global Sustainability at the customer service corporation Genesys

Wardrobes that work: Clare Hornby

  • The founder of fashion brand Me+Em on practical but stylish clothing
  • Clare’s travel-friendly essentials
  • Why a tailored trouser suit worn with trainers is her signature style

Clare Hornby, founder and CEO of fashion label Me+Em creates ‘intelligent clothes for intelligent women’. She founded the company because she strongly believes that practicality, comfort and style should not be mutually exclusive to each other. The clothes she designs are what Clare calls ‘Intelligent style’ – functional, flattering, and that have wear-forever appeal – something she has coined as ‘The Three F’s’. Obsessed with quality, Clare’s team create all of their garments in-house which means she is also very proud that they don’t add in costly mark-ups, meaning you won’t have to choose between quality and cost.

A busy woman with two children to juggle too, here she reveals the inside details of her wardrobe from maxi dresses with a blazer in pre-pandemic times to her go-to Zoom attire.

Clare Hornby Me + Em Founder and CEO
In 3 words how would you describe your style?

“High/low dressing.”

What are the foundations of your wardrobe (in usual times)

“A maxi dress, a blazer and a slogan tee for wearing with suits to make them less structured and formal. Then there would be a blouse with some feminine detailing that I can wear alone or layered. I wouldn’t be without a pair of jeans, some perfectly tailored wide-leg trousers, skinny trousers, some white trainers and at this time of year, hiking boots.”

The Me+Em Gingham Check Shirt Dress
Do you have a current ‘uniform?’ If so, what is it?

“Some relaxed trousers in a smart fabric so that I feel comfortable but pulled together. I’ll wear them with a shirt during the week and a cosy knit for off duty.”

How has your wardrobe changed since COVID-19?

“Like most people, my wardrobe has probably become more casual since we’ve been working from home. However I still like to feel pulled together and polished at home to help me get and stay focused.”

What piece/s of clothing do find yourself buying again and again?

“Any of my wardrobe foundation pieces as I know I’ll wear them again and again”

*Note – check out the Me + Em Essentials edit on their site here which shows daily must-haves from simple t-shirts to flattering, chic trousers, dresses that transition from morning to night and how Clare layers clothes.

Would you rather go to a shop or buy online?

“Shopping online is our only option now, but it often would be my preference pre-COVID as well. My schedule is pretty packed so making it into stores can be hard – there’s no beating the convenience of online shopping.”

What’s your go-to outfit if you want to feel empowered?

“A smart, tailored trouser suit. It’s a look that’s cool and comfortable, but also crucially very much my personal style, so it’s always guaranteed to make me feel confident and focused.”

What do you relax in?

“A pair of our joggers or palazzo pants, a tee and a cosy knit.”

The Tapered Sweatshirting Jogger
What do you like to travel in?

“If I’m going on holiday, then I will opt for one of our loungewear co-ords for a sports-luxe look that is comfortable and effortless but still looks elevated. If I’m travelling for work, a layered shirt is essential as it looks smart but actually feels like you’re wearing a t-shirt.

I always travel with one of our Cashmere Throws too – it’s so big I can use it as a blanket on the plane and as a chunky scarf later.”

If you had to go from office to cocktails but couldn’t change what would you wear?

“A wide-leg trouser with a trainer. Smart tailoring is always timeless and makes you feel pulled-together, but styling it with a cool pair of trainers adds a modern edge. It’s a chic look that I can rely on to take me effortlessly from business meeting to supper with friends.”

The Me + Em Spring Tailoring Tapered Leg trouser and Pouf Sleeve Jacket

What’s your go-to Zoom look?

“I always keep a blazer on the back of my chair to throw on for video calls. I also like a smart blouse with detailing at the cuffs or collar to add interest.”

www.meandem.com

If you loved reading about Clare’s personal rules on style then you will love our interview with fashion stylist Deborah Brett

How She Carries On with publisher Liz Gough

Liz Gough is the Executive Publisher of Yellow Kite books & Lifestyle at Hachette publishing in the UK. Specialising in wellbeing and self help, she seeks out new and exciting books, and some of their bestselling authors include Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now), relationship therapist Esther Perel (Mating in Captivity and The State of Affairs), and chef Gordon Ramsay amongst many others.

Here Liz talks to 35Thousand about her love of finding new authors and bringing book ideas to life, how walking has kept her sane during the pandemic, and why coffee deliveries and scented candles have become her WFH saviours.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Optimistic, driven, kind”

Tell us about your work…

“I head up a team of editors and we publish cutting-edge books with a focus on food, lifestyle, health, self-help and mental health and wellbeing. Yellow Kite is the name of the imprint I run and is part of Hachette. Some of our bestselling authors include Deliciously Ella, Gelong Thubten, The Food Medic, The Two Chubby Cubs, Eckhart Tolle, Esther Perel and Gordon Ramsay. My role is to lead the team, manage the budget, acquire books in this space, keep abreast of trends and keep Yellow Kite’s profile high among literary agents and authors so we can acquire the very best books. I’ve always worked in publishing and I absolutely love it. It’s a wonderful industry to work in – full of passionate, creative, interesting and fun people.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other?

“My company has gorgeous riverside offices on the Thames, but I have barely been there since March 2020. I miss the office buzz, the chats, and the rooftop café. My husband and I are in competition for the study at the moment, while we both work from home. It is a lovely room with stylish wallpaper, plants, bookshelves and a nice desk. If I am not in there, I am at the kitchen table trying to avoid the biscuit tin, or in my daughter’s bedroom. Occasionally I will take calls while I am out walking, for a change of pace.”

Yellow Kite Books
Liz has swapped a handbag for the Lululemon Belt Bag which she loves
What parts of your work give you energy?

“Strategic planning for the future growth of the business, talking to authors and agents about book ideas and – best of all – acquiring new books for Yellow Kite. Finding interesting people with potential book ideas and reaching out to them can be really energising and exciting. I love forming and cultivating ideas. 

Publishing books that can help readers change their lives in a positive way is incredibly rewarding and I find it very energising when we receive positive feedback on our books.

I also love collaborating and sharing ideas with colleagues – I love it when we have a challenge around a book, and through a really good conversation we can create plans, opportunities and ideas about how to make books really soar and become hit publications. It’s addictive.”

What parts of your work drain you?

“Endless emails. I have thousands in my inbox as I am hopeless at filing them. I also find Teams/Zoom calls can be draining if there are too many in one day.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“Launching Yellow Kite in 2014 was pivotal for me – coming up with the name and starting and heading up this new list of books was such an exciting time. Publishing Deliciously Ella’s bestselling cookbook in 2015 put Yellow Kite firmly on the publishing radar and she and I have now worked together for 7 years and published 6 books. It was really only at the end of last year, which was very successful for the list, that I was able to reflect on what we’d achieved and how far we’ve come as a business.”

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“I have three:

1. As a working mother you have to learn to compartmentalise your life, and this will help you cope with all the demands on your time (this has obviously been much harder in lockdown).

2. Sleep on it. Things will look/seem different in the morning.

3. Try to move on from disappointment quickly, don’t get mired in it. Reframe it as a learning opportunity. Move on.”

What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments?

 “I have two children – a son, 14, and a daughter, 10 – plus a hard-working husband. Our two cats complete the family unit. 

I am interested in lots of things – I am a naturally curious person. I read a lot, and formed a book group a few years ago, which has widened my reading choices. I love planning holidays and trips with friends, in normal times. I always have some project or other on the go. I also run my own personal Instagram which is called @micropleasures and is all about finding the tiny joys in daily life and living in the moment. 

I am passionate about increasing young people’s awareness of publishing so we can attract people from all backgrounds to our industry and have done some voluntary work talking to young people about publishing with The Stephen Lawrence Trust.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“I can’t really remember it to be honest. I just know it used to involve a lot of looking at the clock and rushing around feeling stressed. Life has definitely calmed down, but there are different stressors, such as the constant backdrop of anxiety about life, health, the children, parents, and when life will resemble normal again.”

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

“At the start of lockdown I was determined to keep active and embarked on a Joe Wicks and running routine, which lasted several months, but – sorry, Joe – I got bored! I now walk every single day – usually early – which really helps me cope with whatever the rest of the day throws at me. It’s been a life-saver. I listen to audiobooks and podcasts or walk with a friend. I have loved watching the seasons change on a daily basis and I feel more connected to nature than I ever did when I was commuting into town every day. I think this, plus the fresh air and the routine, have really helped my mental health during these anxious and stressful times.

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“Thankfully the crisis has not affected my or my family’s health directly. Professionally it has made life quite intense and it has been very difficult at times managing the pressure of working from home with family life. The boundaries are blurred and I miss the ‘switching off’ that naturally happens when you physically leave the home or the office. 

I am co-founder of the Working Families Group at Hachette, where I work, and our aim is to help support and provide a voice for employees who are responsible for children or other family. Having a supportive group during this time has been really good and I have made some new friends across the business, which is great – nice to see new faces on Zoom! 

My team have energised me during the whole pandemic and period of working from home. Like everyone, at times during Lockdown, I have found it hard. I think, weirdly, the pandemic has brought us closer together as we’ve had glimpses of each other’s lives, and more of a chance to bond, to share the ups and downs and keep each other going. We have learnt how to communicate differently and I am really proud of how strong we are as a team.

I feel really fortunate that the book industry has proved to be extremely resilient during the crisis, as people have continued to turn to books for entertainment, comfort and solace. My purpose continues to be to find and publish the very best books that speak to the current times and people’s needs – and help my team do the same.”  

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

“Interestingly, my sleep has vastly improved since I stopped drinking in January. I have a tendency to go to bed too late as I get distracted a lot by books, telly, Instagram etc – the usual. If I do wake up in the early hours – usually 4am – it will usually be work worries or concerns about the kids that prevent me from getting back to sleep. These periods of insomnia tend to come when I am feeling stressed or have too much on my plate. “

What have been your 2020 coping strategies? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?

“Walking has kept me sane, and – strangely – stopping drinking. I haven’t had a drink for nearly two months and I really don’t miss it. I sleep better and feel less anxious. I’m not saying I won’t go back, but it suits me for now. Getting the children outside every day also helps me cope, because otherwise I worry about them being cooped up indoors on a screen all day. This pandemic has been so hard on them mentally and physically and they miss their friends and school.

One rather lovely new routine is a Saturday morning walk with my husband – although we are together all week we are busy working/dealing with children/on domestic duty – and this time is just for us, to chat, catch up and have a laugh. We always get a coffee and a croissant and I really enjoy the routine. Previously, Saturday mornings were all about getting the children to activities – this is much more chill! 

In September 2020 I ran 100 miles over the month to raise money for The British Red Cross ‘Miles for Refugees’ campaign. This was a lot more running than I’d done for years, so it was a good challenge and I raised over £400. I enjoyed the focus it gave me and felt proud of the achievement.

Writing my @micropleasures 28-day daily challenge in February has been enjoyable and fun and a nice way to connect with people in a positive way. Writing the posts has become a new little routine.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“Cake! My daughter has become a veritable baker and will bake about three things a week. It’s inspiring watching her get really into it, with no adult help whatsoever. Annie Bell’s Baking Bible is her go-to book these days. We all love her homemade offerings. 

Otherwise, walking, exercise, connecting with friends – including old friends, which has been lovely – in real life and on Zoom for quizzes and chats. My husband has been amazing planning and cooking lots of meals, which he enjoys – without him in the kitchen I think I would have gone bananas. 

My lovely neighbours and the community where we live in southeast London has been amazing – it’s made me really value the support and friendships I have on my doorstep and appreciate all the green space and parks.

Lastly, our two cats, Peanut and Lebron, are my constant working-from-home companions and bring the whole family so much pleasure.”

How has 2020 changed your outlook on life?

“I learned to relax more at home (when I wasn’t working) and not always be ‘doing’ stuff. I also learned to appreciate the little things more. I have had time to practise mindfulness and meditation and live more in the moment rather than constantly planning ahead or living in the future.

The covid pandemic has made us all more aware of the importance of our health and the value of the NHS and the nurses and doctors who are there to protect and care for us, and I feel a responsibility to stay fit and healthy, which I never felt before. 

It’s made me even more passionate about my belief in books and literature as a way to discover stories and philosophies to help you escape and find freedom in your mind.”

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“I would love to get away somewhere warm and sunny, like the Cote d’Azur or Italy, where I can walk, swim, switch off and not have to worry about work or home-schooling or anything domestic! I wouldn’t mind a couple of days on my own, and then the rest of the family could join me afterwards.”

Finish this sentence “Currently stashed in my handbag is…’

“My handbag has been replaced by a Lululemon belt bag which has become my favourite bag and is used every day. It contains my Nuxe lip balm, tissues, key, face mask, phone, Revolut card and coffee shop loyalty card – the essentials.”

The Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip balm is a handbag essential

What are your WFH saviours? (routines/ products/ coffee/ music?)

Coffee from a local roastery, which is delivered to the door by bike, and which we grind at home – it’s become part of our lockdown routine as something to keep us going. This was particularly important when all the coffee shops were closed! I have also developed a penchant for scented candles and I love having one burning on the desk while I work – this wouldn’t be an option in the office, so I am taking it as a WFH win.

Otherwise, my daily walk, Radio 6 Music, endless mugs of tea, and frequent hugs from my daughter who loves interrupting my work calls.”

Describe your style?

“Relaxed with a sprinkling of smart. I love a cashmere jumper, and I am currently very fond of my Boden trackpants. I love a pop of colour and a dab of leopard print. Erica Davies taught me everything I know!”

Liz loves her Boden track pants for WFH

Name your 5 essential items of clothing
  • Cashmere jumper
  • Sweaty Betty leggings
  • Leopard print top/scarf/jumper
  • Whistles leather jacket
  • Lululemon sports bra for the daily plod!
How do you see your business in two years from now?

“Bigger, better, brighter, bolder. I want us to expand and grow so we can reach more readers and inspire, motivate and help more people.”

What’s your go to mantra or life motto?

“You only regret what you don’t do – so don’t say no, say yes.”

Follow Liz on Twitter @lizzgough and @yellowkitebooks and on Instagram at @micropleasures @yellowkitebooks

If you loved reading about Liz then you will love our other How She Carries On articles which delve into the daily lives of other inspirational women here

How to boss your work appraisal

  • How to maximise the potential of your performance review
  • Learn to take constructive criticism
  • What to consider when asking for a pay rise

Appraisals leave you cold? You’re not the only one. Global companies from Accenture to Adobe to Deloitte have ditched the annual performance review model in favour of more frequent one-to-ones and conversational feedback sessions, with increasing numbers of businesses and bosses following suit. (If you are an employer read our ‘Guide to Giving a Great Performance review’ here)

Whether your company has transitioned to a more flexible performance review schedule or is sticking to the yearly thing, an appraisal can be a golden opportunity to steer your career in the direction that most lights your fire while also receiving valuable intel on how to excel in your role (or nab another one). With these perks in mind, performance reviews are something that you can learn to love, actually. Just take the following steps to turn the review process into a meeting of minds rather than a combat exercise. 

Avoid ‘recency bias’

Normally scrabble together your year of professional highlights reel at the last minute? A bitesize approach to performance review prep will not only prove far less stressful but it’ll also evaluate your hard graft in the very best (and most accurate) light. 35 Thousand founder, CEO and executive coach Misty Reich explains why timing is everything:

“Recency bias is the phenomenon of overweighting the work that you’ve done not long ago while neglecting to consider earlier work, for better or for worse. This tends to be more of an issue when we leave it to the end of the year to reflect on and assess our performance.”

Nip recency bias in the bud by adopting a more on-the-go approach to career progression, setbacks and learnings. Misty breaks it down (quite literally):

“Start making notes in your phone at the beginning of the year, bullet pointing your goals and objectives. Drop in at regular intervals (every fortnight or monthly) to add notes about significant achievements or struggles. Be sure to capture any quantitative data as you go so that you can easily cite key numbers when your review does come around.”

A chronological account of your performance since your last review will help to get both you and your boss on the same page from the get go and ensure that you don’t forget any of your stellar accomplishments. It’s tortoise over hare, every time. 

Seek critique

Market research is powerful, especially when you apply it to yourself. Gathering feedback from your peers will help you to see the wood from the trees when reflecting on your performance. Here’s how to go about it according to Misty (sidling up at the office party is not the one):

“It’s a natural human tendency to believe that our truth is THE truth. This is never riskier than when we’re looking inwards and evaluating ourselves. 

“Commit to regularly seeking real-time feedback from colleagues around you throughout the year to make your self-reflection as objective as possible. It’ll make you much more comfortable when it comes to unpicking and analysing anything that went wrong in your actual performance review as you’ll be more likely to approach tricky issues with an open and constructive mindset. It also gives you time to course correct and solve problems that you might not have been aware of before your review even comes around.”

Foraging for feedback needn’t be a painful ordeal either – keep emails, messages and notes of praise from colleagues and clients together in a folder for both easy performance review prep and a daily boost. 

Ask the right questions

A Q&A session could very well unlock the key to a coveted promotion or pay rise, but as ever, strategising and drilling down on the specifics will go further than vague endorsement. Misty has a few starters for ten up her sleeve to help you on your fact-finding mission:

“Identify a few peers who have a good line of sight of both you and your work throughout the year who you would trust to give you honest feedback. Then ask them a few questions, perhaps every quarter, to get a scope of how things are going.

“Questions to pose could include:

  • What am I doing that’s working well and that I should continue with?
  • What is something that I could stop doing in order to be even more effective in my role?
  • What is an area that I haven’t yet mastered but that would be possible if I worked on it?
  • How would you describe the impact that I have on both the team and the business?”

This kind of intelligence gathering is especially important if your company doesn’t implement a 360º feedback review process in Misty’s view – there’s nothing stopping you proactively exploring where you stand, how you’ve progressed and how you could tweak your performance to the benefit of the business, your wider team and crucially you as an individual. Put the same questions to your boss and you’ll be even more enlightened – just don’t go in on the defensive…

Let your guard down

Whether you sense that a touchy topic could come up, or if you’re looking to raise a potentially awkward issue yourself, go in with grace and keep things neutral. Even if you feel that your boss’ criticism is unjust or unfounded, Misty advocates gleaning the nugget of truth within what’s being said, disregarding the delivery or framing of the situation if it’s exaggerated:

“Bear in mind that managers could be just as nervous about having these discussions as you are – as a result they may choose their words poorly, or they simply may not have had adequate training in how to deliver constructive feedback.”

Relate what you think that your boss is trying to communicate back to them in more objective terms to clarify their meaning and try to focus on the call to action, letting any spiky comments roll off you if you can. That said, Misty emphasises that there’s a line when it comes to poor line management:

“If the situation becomes inflammatory or gets out of hand, look to a trusted HR specialist for support and counsel. If you don’t have these resources available to you within the company and/or the scenario doesn’t improve, work towards finding another role within or outside of the company. Don’t stick around until it becomes an intense stressor if you can navigate yourself into a far more fulfilling position.”

If it’s you that’s broaching a sensitive subject, Misty advises first examining your own motives to make sure that you’re bringing an issue up for the right reasons. “If you’re essentially trying to take a colleague down a peg or two, it’s probably best to get to the root of the problem in a different setting”. If you do put it out there, be sure to seek out the broader context of any conflict first and actively welcome your boss’ point of view. Don’t expect an immediate response or solution either – it’s likely that your manager will need to reflect on the information that you’ve shared to best handle the matter at hand. Misty recommends not carrying the burden beyond this point. Passing on the baton allows you to let it go, at least until the next follow-up. 

Know your worth

Doing your homework prior to any conversation about pay is essential, not just in terms of your personal position but also that of the company. Presenting a forward-looking ‘business case’ for a promotion or pay rise is as vital as selling your strengths and achievements thus far – Misty highlights that your boss wants to know how you plan to troubleshoot and continue to improve in order to co-create a path towards your ultimate career goals. 

Consider also where the business is at:

“If your company is struggling for cash it could be the case that a pay rise isn’t possible right now, so consider motivating factors aside from financial rewards too. Be prepared to offer ideas – chances are that there’s a real desire to retain your talent so they might be only too delighted to hear your suggestions.” 

Still not getting your dues? Ask your manager for a roadmap:

“Rather than demanding an answer or outcome on the spot, ask your boss about any specific gaps or opportunities that stand between where you are now and where you want to go. Request to work collaboratively to craft a plan to get you there.”

If you loved reading this, then ‘How to rock your LinkedIn profile’ may also be one for you. Read it here

How She Carries on with Bridgette McAdoo

Bridgette McAdoo is the recently appointed Leader of Global Sustainability at the customer service corporation Genesys. Speaking to 35Thousand from her bedroom in Maryland, US, where she’s implementing her future strategy for the business, she talks exclusively to 35Thousand about her new role, how a career break gave her new direction, the hidden blessings of the Corona crisis, and how she’s dreaming of spa breaks with her girlfriends once it’s all over.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Passionate, driven, determined, loyal.”

Tell us about your work…

“I lead the Global Sustainability practice at Genesys. I am responsible for sustainability as a management approach that holistically optimizes our economic, social, and environmental impact. I also drive our stakeholder engagement, education, and the evolution of the sustainable strategy and programs across Genesys.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other?

“Right now, I am working in our bedroom while we redesign a spare room to be my new office. My husband got the nice big home office when we moved to Maryland.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“We are in the foundational strategy building phase of sustainability.  Sustainability is new to our company and I am thoroughly enjoying the process of setting the strategy while educating our workforce and engaging our stakeholders.”

What parts of your work drain you?

“I don’t have my team built yet so there are some fatiguing parts of the job right now.  I am having to respond and handle all things versus being able to delegate. “

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“Honestly, it was taking a break in November 2018, when I left my previous job..  It gave me time to focus on my family and faith.  And it renewed my confidence in myself and my purpose.”

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“At the beginning of my career, I had a leader tell me that I was going to be judged for three things and I needed to find out how to use them to my benefit and not carry them as a burden.  Those 3 things were:  I am Black,  I am a woman and I have brains. It took me a while to stop apologizing for being who I am and to stop cowering for others comfort.  At the end of the day, I will wake up every day the same smart Black woman.”

Bridgette at work
What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“I am married to my husband; Shannon and we have an English bulldog named Captain.  I love travelling (when it was a thing).  I am a foodie.  I love spas.  I also love red wine, champagne and bourbon.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“Pre-pandemic, I was going into DC to work.  I would come home, cook dinner and get ready for the next day.  Weekends were brunches or dinner with friends, or traveling to see friends and family.”

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

“I now actually have time to workout and meditate.  Well, let’s be clear…I now have no excuse not to workout and mediate.”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“I actually started at Genesys in December.  Between the pandemic and the rise of social justice issues, I was receiving a lot of interviews. This unprecedented time has turned into a blessing professionally.  It has also created more space for my husband and me.  In the normal routine of life, you can just exist around one another.  We actually have found a way to enjoy one another.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

“Lately, my mind is racing of all of the things I want to do with Genesys.  I am so lucky to have a leadership that is supportive and motivates me to be as impactful as possible.”

What have been your best coping strategies over the past year? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?

“Gin and Gym.  Just kidding.  I am not a cyclist, but we luckily bought a Peloton right before the pandemic and now I am a huge fan.  As for gin…replace it with rosé and bourbon.”

What has kept you sane? 

“I have started to limit the amount of news I take in.  I was starting to be in a constant stage of anger and disbelief, especially in 2020. “

Did 2020 change your outlook on life in any way?

“I was never naïve about the state of America – my parents grew up during the civil rights era and my father was on the front lines – however, I was somewhat amazed how others were surprised.  But it goes to show that you can only prepare for what you have exposure to.  And my experiences shed a different light on me than others.”

Bridgette with her husband
Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“My God, Yes!! I would love to go to any beach on any ocean.  The water is my safe space.  I would say I want to go with my hubby and I…but I have so missed my girlfriends, and would love to have a girlfriends wellness retreat.”

Finish this sentence “If you look in my handbag at any time you will ALWAYS find….” 

“As of today, sanitizer!”

What are your work from home saviours? 

“My WFH routine is now:  wake-up, meditate, check email, make coffee, workout, work, eat lunch, work, cook dinner, check email…bedtime.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“A pair of jeans, a blazer, a jazzy sneaker, a timeless pump and tank top.”

How do you see your business or career in two years from now?

“In 2 years, I hope to still be at Genesys.  But I hope to also be on a board or two and to be more public facing.  I would love to do more public speaking and mentoring.”

What’s something you haven’t conquered yet but really want to?

“I hate to admit this…I technically cannot swim, but love water. 

What could you say to your 20 year old self that would help her the most?

“Your circle of friend’s matter.  Make sure that you can sow into them and that they can sow into you.  Also, I would teach fiscal responsibility.  Early education on finance is something that is lacking in the Black community – how to truly have generational wealth.”

Do you have a life motto or mantra that really resonates with you?

“Adversity introduces one (man) into themselves (himself).”

If you loved reading about Bridgette, then you will also really enjoy peaking into the lives of other inspiring women in our How She Carries On series here

How She Carries On with Ara Katz

Ara Katz, Co-Founder + Co-CEO of Seed Health is a woman on a probiotic mission, having created the brand to disrupt the global probiotic market with scientifically studied, state of the art probiotics. Quarantined in LA, she spoke to 35 Thousand about her passion for her work, her bitter-sweet experiences of the Corona crisis and her WFH lifesavers.

Ara Katz co-CEO and co-founder of Seed
Describe yourself in 3 words

Dot-connecting, creative and persistent

Tell us about your work…

“At Seed, our mission is to realize the potential of microbes to impact human and environmental health.

We develop scientifically-studied, next-generation probiotics with a mission to bring much-needed precision, efficacy, and education to the global probiotics market. Our environmental R+D division, SeedLabs, develops novel applications for bacteria to solve some of our most pressing ecological challenges. We’re disrupting the BS in the $50B global probiotics market and stewarding the future of how we will use bacteria to restore and sustain human (think: gut, skin, oral, vaginal, and more) and planetary (think: honey bees, soil, water, food supply, plastics crisis, and space) health with serious science.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other?

“While we’re quarantined, my guest house in Venice, LA.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“Creating with our internal team and ecosystem of collaborators.”

What parts of your work drain you?

“Compressed periods of meetings and email that compromise deep work.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“Co-founding Seed with my co-founder, Raja Dhir.”

 Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“She didn’t always follow the recipe”

The Seed products
What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“A precocious 5 year old, a fellow start-up founder husband, hiking, and the entire team, community and ecosystem at Seed.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“Up at 5:30am. A Venice neighbourhood walk to a coffee shop for a matcha with my son around 6:45am. A walk to the office a few blocks away around 7:45am. Meetings (many walking ones), calls and work until 6pm. Home or out for dinner date with my son and husband in Venice. Work 8pm – 11pm (likely later if I’m telling the full truth). Yoga and working out sprinkled in between. Rinse. Repeat.”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been impacted in some way. It has been a spotlight on the disparities in our society, the failure of our systems (at the scale of government and in our own lives) and true test of our resilience. 

It has been bittersweet; there’s been more time than I ever would have had with my son, a true test of my partnership at home and at Seed, the inception of a nature-based school program and a greater than ever conviction for our mission.” 

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

“I am not kept up at night, but I do wake up thinking about the problems that need solving – a design challenge, a role that needs to be filled, a strategy shift that needs to be devised.”

What have been your 2020 coping strategies? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? 

“The combination of increased work time and being alone and with my son has felt deeply fulfilling (despite the logistical challenges). While Zoom fatigue is real, I am endlessly energized by the work we do and the way we navigate challenges. 

Spending time in nature and exercise are longstanding routines that have become even more meaningful this past year.”

Ara in LA
What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“Nature, FaceTime and StarWars.”

How has 2020 changed your outlook on life?

“I would say it made me want to live in more alignment with my outlook on life. It was a great reminder of what I value, care about and want to change about the world in whatever small way I can.”

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“When it’s safe to do so, travel is always the choice. It’s one of my favourite things to do.”

Finish this sentence “Currently stashed in my handbag is…’

“’Currently stashed in my handbag’ is something I would never say because I only wear backpacks. 🙂 

ALT 1:

“Currently stashed in my handbag is my Seed DS-01 Travel Vial :)” 

ALT 2: 

“Currently stashed in my handbag is the latest book I’m reading.”

ALT 3: 

 “Currently stashed in my handbag are the rocks my son finds on his nature school hikes.”

What are your WFH saviours? (routines/ products/ coffee/ music?)

“A yoga mat, wood-burning fireplace, meditation, books, Lego for days, Matcha, Spotify, time with my son, and the AllTrails app.”

Describe your style?

“Essentialist.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“Lauren Manoogian long cardigan coat.

High compression socks.”

How do you see your business in two years from now?

“Living up to our vision to pioneer microbial applications to impact human and environmental health.”

What’s your go to mantra or life motto?

“She didn’t always follow the recipe.” 

This quote was printed on a small wooden pin my mom gave me just before she passed away when I was 16 and I have had mounted to a small piece of wood and hung in my bedroom.”

If you loved reading about Ara then grab a cup of tea, kick back and read the rest of our How She Carries On series here

The Public Speaking Workshop Part 4: How To Deliver a Dazzling Speech

You’ve agreed to deliver a speech or talk, put in the hours preparing and writing said speech and the day has come to knock it out of the park/ Zoom meeting. Except that you’re feeling…pretty petrified, actually. No matter how long you spend trying to craft a seamless slideshow or getting your head in the game, this public speaking business is prone to push your self doubt and freak out buttons, even if you’ve nailed pitches and presentations in the past. Here are our top tips for public speaking perfection.

Firstly, heed the considerable speech giving wisdom of author and lecturer Mark Twain:

“There are only two types of speakers in the world. 1. The nervous and 2. Liars.” 

Secondly, know that those jangling nerves combined with your run-throughs in front of the dog will most certainly pay off – you’ve done the hard graft and now’s the time to let your peers in on your considerable wit and insights. Just bookmark the following expert tips and give them a once over next time you’re feeling daunted by the prospect of stepping up to speak. This lot will give you the edge and put your pre-speech heebie jeebies to bed.

Use fear as fuel

It turns out that there’s power in those public speaking jitters. Trust Phil Waknell, Chief Inspiration Officer (what a title) and Podcaster at global presentations specialist Ideas On StageTEDx speaker and author of the upcoming Business Presentation Revolution:

“That nervous energy can make your talk really fantastic, it’s just a question of controlling it. It’s the simple things that can make all of the difference.

Top tips for public speaking
Phil Waknell of The Business Presentation Revolution

“Most vital of all is that prep time – give yourself space to thoroughly get to know your talk and consider whether it achieves your objectives and will resonate. Rehearse it several times (five is the sweet spot) so that the words come not from your head but your heart. Even if each version is different, you can guarantee that the fifth will be much better than the first.

“From there, visualise success rather than failure: imagine that the audience has absorbed your call to action and is giving you a big round of applause. If possible try to make a connection with members of your audience before your talk if you haven’t already – it helps so much to know that you’re presenting to a friendly, receptive crowd rather than a potentially hostile audience.

“My final piece of anxiety-busting advice is to avoid coffee before a big presentation if you can. In my experience it not only ramps up your stress response and makes you speak faster than you ordinarily would but it also tends to dry out your mouth and throat, weakening the impact of your voice.”

In essence, hold the latte – your nerves will give you all of the pep you need.

Think like a rock star

Less smashing up a hotel room, more spontaneity and setlists. We’ll let Phil explain:

“Instead of reading your speech aloud, or worse, reciting a PowerPoint presentation word for word, imagine that you are a rock star writing out a playlist before a concert. You’d just decide on the song titles and order in which you’re going to play them to the best effect; you wouldn’t write out all of the lyrics. 

“Take the same approach to notes and cue cards for your speech. Write key words rather than full sentences and keep your notecards to hand. Chances are you’ll remember the structure and flow of your presentation and won’t need them but knowing they’re available if required can make you calmer and able to deliver the most compelling speech possible.”

Feel as though you’ve lost the plot? Chances are that your audience will be none the wiser according to Phil:

“If you forget what you’re supposed to be saying, remember that no one else has seen the ‘set list’ and that you’re probably the only person in the room who knows! Pause, breathe and begin where you left off. 

“If you say something that’s clearly wrong or very off-piste, by all means have a laugh about it, correct yourself, smile and keep going. Nobody expects you to be perfect – they would far rather you were human than robotic and unrelatable.”

Speaking of which…

Personality over props and PowerPoints 

Especially in a digital setting, Phil highlights that it’s important to prioritise passion, positivity and authenticity over static slides or polished PowerPoints:

“In online contexts in particular speeches need to be shorter and punchier as retaining people’s attention spans is tricky. Your audience may not be able to pick up on your body language as they would in person so focus on being as passionate and charismatic as possible in order to convey your points. 

“Sometimes this might mean choosing to avoid slides completely so that your audience can see you in a larger window; people tire quicker if they’re being presented with a reel of slides and a tiny speaker next to it, so big up your natural presence.”

Top tips for public speaking
A few of Phil Waknell’s tips for speech day
Just keep the emphasis on the au naturel element:

“Don’t think of yourself as an actor performing a monologue as someone else: you need to be yourself. Present a speech as a conversation with an audience (even better if it’s interactive) and you’ll be convincing without having to put on a show. Everyone wants to see the real, imperfect you rather than a fake imitation of what you think they want to see.”

That extends to your environment too – set up your space exactly as you want it if you’re presenting from home. Experiment with lighting beforehand, attach a post-it near your camera to prompt you to look your audience in the ‘eye’ and stand up as you would if you were giving a speech IRL to amplify both your voice and physical poise. 

Sail through scrutiny

Don’t quiver in terror when question time comes. As always, going in with a game plan will steady the public speaking ship if unexpected subjects come up. Take Phil’s word for it:

“Prepare two lists of potential questions in advance – those that are most likely to come up and difficult queries or debates that could arise. Even if you do get a question that’s not on either list, chances are that one or more of your ready-made answers will help you to respond.”

Still stumped? Phil’s all about owning it:

“Be honest, apologise and offer to look into it and respond offline afterwards once you have all the facts to hand.”

Don’t be harassed by hecklers

Finally, if you’re facing hecklers, don’t let them throw you off course:

“If someone is being hostile or disruptive bear in mind that it’s not just awkward or unpleasant for you but also for your audience. You’re not alone here. 

“Don’t get angry or be tempted to raise your voice in response to a heckler. Remain calm, smile, let them speak for long enough but definitely not too long and then thank them for their contribution. State politely but firmly that you’ll be happy to discuss their concerns later but for the benefit of the rest of the audience you need to move on. It’s rare that a single disruptor will continue to cause problems when it appears that the rest of the crowd is on a different page.”

Don’t feed the trolls and kill it with kindness – that’s wisdom for life, not just the podium. 

If you found this article really useful we have many more tips in our public speaking series. Part One is ‘Getting your Mindset Right,’ Part 2 is ‘Pro Tips for a Knockout Speech‘ and Part 3 is ‘How to write a whip-smart speech.”

Your Timeless, Travel-ready wardrobe – sorted

Remember when we went to work in heels? Right now, it’s hard to imagine anything other than working at the kitchen table in our sweatpants and a t-shirt. However, ‘normal’ life (whatever that is) will resume someday soon and in years to come we will (hopefully) look back and remember the year that we wore nothing but leggings.

As soon as we are able to, we here at 35 Thousand will swapping our sneakers and sweats for sassy skirts and dresses, so it’s important that we invest our money wisely on items that will work when we are on-the-go again (and stop adding to the pile of loungewear that we’ve built up over the last 12 months.)

We have therefore teamed up with luxury clothing brand Goatfashion.com, a brand much loved by the likes of Gillian Anderson and the Duchess of Cambridge. Goat’s designer and founder Jane Lewis creates beautifully-made, versatile, timeless pieces that will stand the test of time, being squashed in your suitcase and will take you from Zoom calls to car journeys, to boardroom meetings and evening cocktails (we can’t wait for those.)

Goat are offering our readers an exclusive 30% off their new season (full priced) items.  Enter the code 35THOUSAND30OFF  in the discount code box at the checkout and 30% will be deducted from your order value.  This does not include the price of shipping. The code cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. Expires 28th February 2020.

Here are some of our favourite timeless and travel-friendly buys from their new collection for your new world wardrobe:

For crumple-free chic

Goat’s Jersey edit is a range of super flattering, super stylish wardrobe staples that won’t look like a paper bag by the time you reach your destination. Using soft but structured jersey fabrics that will always look ready-pressed, some of our favourites are the Lula Jersey Shirt Dress and the ever classic Loretta Jersey Pencil dress which hugs and flatters in all the right places without being exposing.

The Kirby Dress
Going with the flow

If sharp lines and pencil skirts are not your thing and you are after something more floaty that will travel with you through the seasons, then you may want to look at Goat’s very beautiful flowing Liberty Meadow Maxi Dress which is made from crease-free, sustainably sourced viscose with a beautiful blue and white meadow print on a navy background. Or there’s the Lila Godet Midi skirt which has a flattering high waistband and hugs the hips but flares out flatteringly mid-calf.

The Liberty Meadow Maxi Dress
Tops that rock

Everyone should own one of Goat’s Kara Tie Neck Blouses crafted from lustrous silk and available in black, caramel and cream, which would look equally as great with the Laine Wide Leg Jersey Trousers for a meeting or a favourite pair of jeans for coffee with friends.

The Kara Tie-neck Blouse

If you love this article you would also love reading about Goat’s founder Jane Lewis and how she curates her capsule wardrobe here

How to rock your LinkedIn profile

Whether you are in the market for a new job, are thinking about moving, are promoting your business, or are happily employed, nearly everyone has a LinkedIn profile these days. In fact we would go as far as saying it’s as important as your CV or Resumé. Like a digital shop window for you or your business it’s there for all to see 24/7 and is incredibly important to get it right to maximise its’ far-reaching potential. How you write your profile and what you write can increase the number of potential new bosses/ connections it reaches. 

Here at 35Thousand we’ve been on a mission to find out how to create the ultimate LinkedIn profile, and because we don’t mess around, we went straight to LinkedIn themselves (no one knows better than them right?). Here, Lauren Jolda, Senior Manager at the ‘Rock your Profile Program’ at LinkedIn spills their secrets.

Craft a standout headline

First things first, LinkedIn gives you the option to add a ‘headline.’ This, says Lauren, is important “Because it’s the first thing your audience will see when they search you on LinkedIn, before they click into your profile.” And if you don’t update it then it will just default to the latest position in your work history. It’s your chance to promote your brand, write something really compelling that represents you and your unique talents.

You can learn how to customize your headline  here. But the key elements to include are as follows:

  • Make sure you have used 3 industry keywords that describe your job ie coffee barista; programmer; designer
  • Explain what you do eg if you’re doctor it could be ‘transforming patient care’ 
  • Add in any special skills (eg experienced computer coder) or side hustles that set you apart from the rest.
Think of your ‘About’ section or ‘Summary’ like an elevator pitch

“It’s a personal way to introduce yourself to people who visit your profile,” says Lauren. “It’s a great place to summarize your professional story and also share what you’re looking for.”

However it’s important not to ramble or write an essay of your life. Attention spans are short so make sure your story is to the point. If you can Keep your summary to about 4-5 sentences,” says Lauren. “Consider including relevant skills and keywords featured in descriptions of jobs that seem interesting to you – this can boost your visibility in searches. Make sure you focus on your career aspirations and accomplishments.”

Bear Lauren’s following points in mind when you are putting your summary together:

  • “Provide an introduction to who you are and what you do”
  • “Explain why what you do matters and the value you add or contribution you want to make.”
  • “Don’t be afraid to build several drafts of your summary and review them with people in your community who know you well.”
Do not leave your profile picture blank

You may be in introvert or shy away from social media but LinkedIn research shows that adding an image of yourself will help you receive up to nine times the amount of connections than those that don’t one. “Your profile photo represents you, and is a simple way for your colleagues, friends or former classmates to recognize and discover you on LinkedIn,” says Lauren. 

Whilst it’s probably not a good idea to add a holiday snap of you in a bikini (unless your business is bikinis) you also don’t want your image to be lifeless. Lauren has the following advice “Make sure your profile photo embodies who you are as a professional, but also makes you approachable and shows a bit of your personality.”

These are her three top photo tips:

  • Make sure you snap a high-resolution photo on a neutral background with great lighting that just features you.”
  • “The picture should be recent and look like you and your face should take up around 60% of the frame.”
  • “You can also use LinkedIn’s photo filters to help polish up your photo.”
Breathe visual life into your profile with a background image

Your background photo is another visual element that runs across the top of your profile. It’s a great way to showcase your product if you have one, or the brands you work with, or you could add your logo.  Lauren says “It’s a great way to customize your page and show a little bit about your interests and passions.” If you are feeling artistic, you could create a layout here that fits with the colours and images of your brand.

Always be authentic

Obviously you can ‘enhance’ the truth on LinkedIn as you can on a resumé, but authenticity is obvious, especially if you have the experience to back it up. Lauren says that,  “A great way to add authenticity to your profile is to use the first-person narrative when highlighting your career, accomplishments and skills. This helps you to own your professional story and build credibility,” she says. She also flags that the language you use will reflects who you are as a person,” Make sure that you use language that tells your professional story accurately, authentically and represents your personal brand.”

Don’t fall into the buzzword trap 

Depending what industry you work in there are particular in-the-know buzzwords and lingo that your tribe use. Lauren’s advice is not to use buzzwords for the sake of it but to use the language that you genuinely use on a daily basis. “There are a lot of buzzwords out there, but my recommendation is to always describe yourself, your experience and your goals authentically. In your ‘experience’ section, talk about your strengths, accomplishments and the value that you added to your team and company.”

How do I grow my network? 

LinkedIn is all about the network – about connecting with others, showcasing your work to your following, posting about company news etc. If you are new to LinkedIn or you don’t have much of a following, Lauren has the following pointers:

  • “First, start by connecting with people you know and trust, like friends, family and colleagues who can speak to your strengths.”
  •  The  “People You May Know” feature on the “My Network” tab on LinkedIn is a great way to find and connect with others.”
  • “If you want to send an invitation to connect with someone outside of your immediate network, customize your connection request and be specific about why you want to connect with that person.”
Focus on quality connections, not quantity

Whilst great to have a community of followers on LinkedIn, it’s important you don’t get carried away with befriending everyone that tries to follow you. “You get to determine how you build and leverage your community on LinkedIn” says Lauren.“We recommend building a network of quality versus quantity so that you have a professional community you can tap into when you need help and give back to when you can.”

Hone your skills…

Lauren says “Members with five or more skills listed on their LinkedIn profile are discovered up to 27X more in searches by recruiters. That’s why, it’s important to list your skills — both hard and soft — on your profile. You can showcase your proficiency for hard skills with Skill Assessments and earn a badge which gets added to your LinkedIn profile. Our data shows that members with a Skill Assessment badge on their profile are 20% more likely to get hired.” 

…but keep them relevant 

The problem however with having too many badges (especially if you are looking for a job) is that you may be spreading your talents too thinly. “The key here is relevancy,” says Lauren, “I would make sure you set aside time to review your skills on a regular basis and list the ones that are relevant to your experience. 87 percent of recruiters consider skills to be a critical factor when it comes to vetting candidates. So, list skills that you’ve picked up in past roles or currently have and are aligned with jobs that you are seeking. In addition to your primary job, it’s also good to think about skills you’ve acquired through projects at school, internships or volunteer work that could be applicable for a particular role – like communication or adaptability – and list them on your profile.”

Be SEO savvy

There are particular insider tricks and tips you can do on LinkedIn to make sure that you are ‘discoverable’ in searches. Here are Lauren’s top tips

  • “By turning on the ‘open-to’ feature on your LinkedIn profile, you can either quietly signal to recruiters you’re open to work or you can engage your entire professional community in your search. Turning on this feature on your profile increases your likelihood of getting a recruiter message by 2X.”
  • “To let the broader LinkedIn community of 722 million professionals know you are looking, just add an #OpenToWork photo frame on your profile photo. When your profile comes up in a search or shows up in their feed because you comment on or “like” a post, professionals beyond your LinkedIn connections will see your #OpenToWork photo frame and can connect you to job openings they’re aware of or facilitate an introduction to a hiring manager. Members who choose to use the #OpenToWork photo frame receive on average 40% more recruiter in-mails.”
  • “If you’re a job seeker, listing keywords featured in descriptions of jobs that seem interesting to you can help attract attention from recruiters and hiring managers.”
Endorsements count

“Once you’ve added a skill to your profile, your skills can be validated by 1st-degree connections in your LinkedIn network to reinforce their weighting. These are called skill endorsements, which are different from recommendations. When a connection endorses your skills, it contributes to the strength of your profile, and increases the likelihood that you’ll be discovered for opportunities related to the skills you have.”

Fill in the featured section

If you click on the top of your profile you can choose to add a ‘Featured’ and ‘Publications section’. ‘“The ‘Featured’ section is a new area on your LinkedIn profile where you can showcase examples of your work that you’re most proud of,” says Laure. “The Featured section enables you to showcase posts that you’ve authored or re-shared, articles you’ve published on LinkedIn, and even external media like images, documents and links. All this helps bring your work to life,” says Lauren.”

It’s important however not to confuse this with the activity section, “Which highlights all your activity for the past 45 days, ordered by recency. This includes your articles, posts, comments and likes on other LinkedIn posts. If you choose to enable it, you’ll find your Activity section located just below the Featured section on your profile or under your Dashboard.”

Promote your Publications 

Another way to showcase your skills is to utilise the ‘Publications’ area. “This is part of the ‘Accomplishments’ section of your Profile and allows you to add any articles, books, news or other media you have published. It’s a great way to highlight your key professional achievements,” says Lauren.

Be a multimedia maverick

Don’t just fill your profile with text, the more you vary it with multimedia, the more interesting it will be explains Lauren. “Rich media helps bring your story to life and connect your audience into what you do. You can add photos, videos, articles, website links or even presentations that help tell your career story. Pin work samples you’re most proud of at the top of your profile in the ‘featured’ section or simply add it to your work experience.”

And finally…

“Use your profile as an opportunity to tell your story, showcase your accomplishments and highlight your skills. Remember, it’s different than your resumé and should be more like a digital portfolio that constantly changes as you evolve and grow in your career. Make sure you set aside time to update your profile on a regular basis to bring your career story to life.”

LinkedIn is also offering more than 600 LinkedIn Learning courses for free to help members build skills for in-demand jobs and hone fundamental soft skills needed to navigate the challenging work environments many are currently facing.

If you enjoyed this article then you will love reading about “6 of the best podcasts for entrepreneurs” here

What’s the fuss with Apple Fitness +?

With the acceleration of online fitness classes and now that our gyms have entered our homes, it was only a matter of time before Apple – the royalty of things hi-tech and hip – launched their own fitness platform. Apple Fitness + launched towards the end of 2020 and is designed to be used in conjunction with the Apple Watch. it

So how does it compare to other fitness platforms such as the Nike Training app, and is it something we think we could actually stick to long-term? Susannah Taylor put it to the test.

What’s the lowdown?

The nuts and bolts of Apple Fitness + are this: Apple Fitness + is powered by the Apple Watch. Once you sync your watch up to your iPhone you will have the Fitness+ app on your phone. It is essentially an interactive series of videos led by amazing fitness and yoga teachers from around the world (more on them below) that interacts with your watch as you workout.

What exercise can I do on the app?

Basically whatever floats your boat – you can choose from HIIT, Yoga, Core workouts, Strength sessions, Treadmill classes, indoor Cycling, Rowing, Dance (really fun), and ‘Mindful cooldown’ sessions. Within each category, you can choose to work out with various incredible trainers who all have various styles. For example you can do a HIIT session with Kim which is HIIT dancing or you can train with Jamie-Ray who does an intense boxing-style workout.

How does the Apple Watch come in?

You can’t get Apple Fitness+ on your phone unless you have an Apple Watch. The Apple Watch syncs with your workouts and provides you with data throughout so that you don’t have to be peering at your phone/ iPad screen when you’re mid burpee. The watch face counts you down into the workouts and gives live feedback on your personal fitness data such as calories burned, heart rate, time left etc which can spur you on when you feel you’re flagging. If you are familiar with the fitness rings on your Apple watch (which monitor your daily energy expenditure), it gives you the chance to close the rings (and some!).

Who are the instructors?

The fitness trainers are mega – top of their game, they come from all over the world and are a variety of ages (the oldest being in her 60s) which is really refreshing as is seeing trainers of every nationality and body shape. Not every body is a size 6 thankfully, and each is incredibly inspiring (they definitely have what it takes for those days when motivations lacking). You can meet all the trainers on Instagram here.

Is the app easy to navigate?

Yes, very. The different categories of fitness run across the top as icons and if you hit on one then you are taken to a page of different workouts with an image of the video next to it.

Scroll down on the homepage and you can find popular classes, information on all the trainers, and if you’ve only got 10 minutes spare, there’s a section at the bottom for quick sessions from 10 minutes of Core with Sam to 10 minutes of strength with Kyle.

What if I’m a fitness newbie?

Then you will love Apple Fitness +. Apple have really taken beginners under their wing, which is great to see (and actually great for people like my teenage daughter who has an Apple watch and who has started doing workouts in Lockdown.) On the home page there is even a whole section devoted to ‘Beginners’ where you can find gentle, low impact exercise (also great for anyone after pregnancy or after a prolonged break from exercise).

Do the trainers use music in their sessions?

Hell yes! Of course Apple are making use of their Apple Music archives. Each trainer has curated their own playlist from Apple music and for sessions like Treadmill, Cycling, Rowing and HIIT, the music is perfectly mapped around the workout to motivate you just when you need it. The music is key – one of my favourite sessions so far is grooving with dance teacher LaShawn to throwback hits like ‘It’s Raining Men’ and Whitney Houston. What’s more, the tunes are played at just the right volume so you can hear the teacher but groove along at the same time.

Note: you don’t actually have to have an Apple music subscription to use Fitness+

Do I need equipment?

Yes and no. If you want to do the rowing session, obviously you need access to a rowing machine, and ditto for the treadmill sessions. The strength classes often require dumbbells, and of course you will need a great grippy yoga mat for most, but the majority of sessions just require yourself and a bit of solid determination.

Any other Apple-esque information I may need to know?

Obviously this wouldn’t be Apple if there wasn’t some seriously clever stuff thrown in too. One being that Apple use an intelligent recommendation engine that learns which workouts you like and starts to present you with more of it on your home page.

Another key point is that you aren’t restricted to watching the app on your phone – you can watch it on your iPad and on Apple TV which is an amazing experience. I found that the bigger the trainer is in front of you, the more inspiring the workout is and the more absorbed you are.

How much does it cost?

Once you have the watch and the phone, Fitness+ is pretty affordable. It’s $9.99 a month, or $79.99 per year with one month free. Currently there is a three-month subscription to Fitness+ included free with purchase of a new Apple Watch through to March 31, 2021.

What’s a bonus is that up to six people can access your subscription, which means your family members or housemates with an Apple Watch can use Fitness+ and stay active too.

Overall verdict…

Apple Fitness + definitely has my thumbs up. The next best things to having a personal trainer on our wrist, the instructors are engaging and motivating and they even manage to make a HIIT class fun. I love the fact that it’s appealing to people of all ages and all fitness abilities and that new classes are added all the time so you will never get bored of the same routine. I’m also a big fan of having a variety of length of workouts (there are many 10 minute, 20 minute and 30 minute workouts) as I’m forever looking for something I can cram in to time I don’t have. Importantly, it will be very valuable to us when we are allowed to travel again – it’s something we can all do in our hotel rooms, on a lunch break in the office or (please!) when we are pool-side on holiday.

One element that people might not be able to get their head around however is the fact that you have to buy an Apple Watch to use the app. I feel that some people will just want to do the exercises without the watch and if this is the case then maybe Apple should think about just making the app available separately.

If you loved reading this then check out Olympic Athlete and mother Jess Ennis-Hill’s guide to ‘Exercise for Busy women’ here

8 pick-me-up self care favourites

It’s the small things that count at the moment (and a little bit of self-gifting). From hemp infused  skin patches to Ice Globe facial massaging tools and the latest lipstick, here are our latest feel-good beauty and wellbeing finds that will help you glow inside and out.

The Natural Boost  – The Good Patch

Described as ‘plant based wellness patches for when the struggle is real’, the Good Patch was created in 2017 offering mood-boosting patches you stick on your skin infused with plant based ingredients and organically farmed industrial Hemp. Working steadily over an 8-12 hour period, you just remove the backs of the sticker and attach it inside your wrist. Whether you are frazzled, wired, need a pick-me-up, or a ‘put-to-bed’ there’s a patch for you.

www.thegoodpatch.com and www.cultbeauty.com

The Good Patch
The Zoom Refresh – Chanel’s Rouge Allure Laque

If you’re as fed up as we are of looking at your own face on Zoom/ Teams/ Facetime, then may we suggest spicing things up with a new lip colour? We can’t wear lipstick under our masks right now so we might as well wear them at home. Chanel’s new Rouge Allure Laque is a lip product that imprints lips with shine and colour and lasts all day so you won’t need to reapply between video calls. Non-drying and in a huge variety of shades from luminous beige to raspberry pink, cherry red and brown, there’s one for everyone. Who said it’s all about the eyes right now?

Chanel’s Rouge Allure Laque lipstick
Nail it – Kure Bazaar nails 

One of our favourite nail varnish brands at 35 Thousand is Kure Bazaar (worldwide delivery at lovelula.com). Why ? We love the win-win combination of their eco formula combined with an incredibly chic and fashion forward colour palette. If you’re feeling a little low right now, I can definitely recommend painting your nails to add a bit of joy into all that work on the laptop. Our favourite positivity shades? Cherise (shown here – a cherry red) which instills us with confidence, Lily Rose (a dusty pink) when you need to be kind to yourself, and Bacio, (a soft red/ orange) which is bringing all the happy vibes right now.

Kure Bazaar Nail Varnish in Cherise

The Atmosphere Changer –  Heloise o’ Hagan candles

There are candles, and then there are Heloise o’ Hagan candles. This British interior designer turned candle maker has created a product called The Perpetual Candle which is a beautiful hexagonal, bone china vessel which you can buy refills for. Not only do they look incredibly sophisticated, they smell it too. Our favourites are No.4 Frankincense for some indulgent relaxation after a long day Zooming, and No.1 Neroli, Lavender and Rosemary which is fresh, vibrant and uplifting for daytime.

(Delivery worldwide heloiseohagan.com)

The Heloise O’ Hagan Candle

The body booster – Hermosa protein powder

There’s no point in all those at-home workouts if you aren’t fuelling your body correctly. Enter Hermosa, a new protein powder that is shaking off (excuse the pun) images of muscle competitions in favour of a protein powder that supports an active and modern lifestyle.  Hermosa’s creators have been on a mission to create the best tasting and smoothest protein powder there is, using non GMO and responsibly sourced ingredients. In chocolate and vanilla flavours. Most importantly they taste amazing without any of the nose-holding graininess of other powders.

Worldwide delivery at www.livehermosa.com

Hermosa Protein Powder

The skin saviour  – Frâicheur Paris 

Fraicheur Paris Ice Globes look set to be the next big thing in facial massage. A glass stem with a liquid-filled ball on the end that you store in the freezer, the idea is that you massage your face with them to help invigorate tired Zoom’d out eyes, boost dull skin and help serums and creams absorb faster. Deliciously cold and soothing on skin and eyeballs, the way they work is that they constrict blood vessels so blood is taken away from the skin’s surface. After a while blood floods back to the skin with extra nutrients providing an amazing glow that over time helps the skin appear more youthful too. 

Shipping worldwide from www.faceiceglobes.com and www.cultbeauty.com

Fraicheur Paris Ice Globe facial massagers

Glow from the Inside Out – The Beauty Chef

Carla Oates, the Australian founder of The Beauty Chef first discovered the life changing powers of probiotics when she used them to fix her family’s skin problems. Using probiotic and lacto-fermented food, many of her friends would also ask her what made her own skin that glowy. Realising the gut-skin connection, Carla created the Inner Beauty Powder which has developed into a range of bio-fermented, probiotic-rich, wholefood supplements created by microbiologists, nutritionists and naturopaths. Our favourite is the Glow Powder, containing 18 certified organic wholefoods which you add to water daily.

Available worldwide www.thebeautychef.com

The Beauty Chef Inner Beauty Powder

The Cult of Collagen Powder – Bamford

There’s a big beauty buzz about collagen powders at the moment, with many new brands launching onto the market. There is also a lot of debate as to whether all of them actually work. The one collagen that has been proven by dermatologists to make a difference to our skin is high grade marine collagen. The latest we’ve been trying out is from Bamford whose new supplement range is exceptional. The Beauty Blend contains purified hydrolysed collagen extracted from sustainably sourced wild fish off the coast of France. It also contains Camu Camu powder, hyaluronic acid for skin hydration and Acai powder. Since using it our skin looks like it’s had a spa break (in our dreams).

Shipping worldwide from  www.bamford.com

Bamford Beauty Blend capsules

If you loved reading this, then you will love our other beauty features from Tools of the Trade  about the latest beauty gadgets to 5 of the best eyelash serums

13 ways to remain positive (despite everything)

As much as we here at 35 Thousand try to see the glass as half full, even we have been struggling lately.  The enormity of the fallout of COVID-19, political unrest, lockdown 3.0 in many countries, home schooling battles, financial worries, WFH burnout, and being separated from loved ones , is enough to bring even the most upbeat human being down. To top it all off, in the UK, the 8th January is known as Blue Monday because it’s thought to be the coldest, darkest and most depressing day of the year. 

If your normal pep talk isn’t enough to turn your mood around, then it’s time to call on the experts instead. Here’s how to hack negativity and find the blue skies behind the grey clouds, even if you can’t quite see it yet.

The Business Psychologist: Jan de JongE, Founder of People Business Psychology

(Jan has created the following positivity tips in association with online glasses and eyesore store Feel Good Contacts)

Jan de Jong

Have a healthy relationship with the news

Let’s be honest, the majority of the news doesn’t make for pleasant reading/ viewing right now. However many of us feel it’s essential we watch it in order to stay informed.  According to Jan de Jonge it’s important to find a balance between being informed and being overwhelmed.  “Try to limit stressors.” He explains “Whether you’re doom-scrolling or glued to the anxiety-inducing 24-hour news channels, it is important that you consume news in a healthy way. Limit news consumption to set times during the day and preferably not when you should be relaxing, e.g. during meal times or at bed time.”

Recalibrate your priorities

When talking to our friends and colleagues, ‘Overwhelmed’ seems to be the word of the moment. But maybe we are adding to the overwhelm without realising. It’s easy, in crisis mode, to head full steam all areas of our lives in a bid to attack it or charge through it. However De Jonge says it’s actually better to take a step back and ask ourselves if we are prioritising the wrong things.  “Are you working too many hours? Have you said “Yes” too often and too easily? Have you booked up all your available time? Is everything important? Chances are you feel stressed and alienated from those close to you,” he says. In order to address this he suggests  recalibrating your priorities and reviewing how much time you spend on each habitual activity and scaling back the ones that aren’t so important. “You and those around you will be happier for it” he says.

Limit screen time

Our screens are as present in our work lives at the moment as they are in our home lives. As a result our work and home life are becoming increasingly blurred says De Jonge.  “Try to limit your screen time when you’re not working,” he says. “We all know how bad it can be for your health. Also, stress and sleep don’t mix, so it’s important to use the time before you go to bed to de-stress. Reduce your exposure to screens in the hours leading to bedtime. The blue light emitted from screens disrupts your sleep-wake cycle and can lead to wakefulness and lower quality sleep.”

Get off to a good start

When we hit the snooze button in the mornings, we tend to be late, and end up stressed, shouty with clothes on we don’t like..  De Jonge suggests we “Get up a little earlier, drink water and do some exercise. Prepare your breakfast without relying too much on processed food. Get some fresh air and try to absorb some natural daylight – it will help you sleep better. Decide which eight to ten tasks you would like to do today and make sure you accomplish the four or five most important tasks on that list. After all, tomorrow is another day.”

Stretch like an animal 

Whilst so many of us focus on being fit,  De Jonge says that stretching is just as important. “The multi-million-pound yoga industry is built around it,” he says “and animals understand this better than humans do. To wake yourself up after (hopefully!) having had a good sleep or sitting down for a long time, we get ready for movement and work by automatically stretching our body. It’s what’s called “natural pandiculation:” yawning, stretching your arms, arching your back, making yourself as stretched out as possible after first tensing your muscles. Try to become more aware of your own body by contracting your muscles, stretching out slowly and then releasing… it’s relaxing.”

www.peoplebusinesspsychology.com

The life coach and mentor: Susie Pearl, life coach, podcaster, author and cancer survivor

Susie Pearl
Life coach, author and mentor Susie Pearl
Make time for good nutrition

In times of stress it becomes all too easy to forget about eating well and going for convenience and processed foods. However, this isn’t doing us any favours whatsoever. In circumstances like the one we currently find ourselves in we should put making good, nutritious food at the top of our priority lists.  Susie Pearl says, “Drop the sugar, eat light and healthy, prepare nice meals for yourself and family. Make this the time you learn a couple of new recipes.” If you think making your own food takes too long, then follow Susie’s advice, “I have a rule that recipes have to be less than 20 mins or I am not doing it,” she says.  “Plan meals, eat balanced foods, avoid toxic intakes, try to avoid overdoing the alcohol, fizzy drinks, and sugar which will give you a false high and bring you back to earth with a bump.”

Get some routine

If you’re anything like us, since the start of COVID-19, it feels like the lines between work and home life have become somewhat blurred. Susie says, “Being at home means there is no structure to the day.” Her solution? To work out a plan and rhythm for your day and map it out.

“Get ready for the day time,” she says “With a meditation or a walk outside in nature if you can. Plan the structure of mealtimes, rest time, work time, children time, social online time, so that you get some variety and balance through the days.” 

Next, Susie recommends planning in some fun things. “It could be partying and dancing with some friends online –  whatever it is, keep the energy up and do what you like doing, even if that’s on your own.”

Don’t take on too much

Sometimes we have days when all we achieved was unloading the dishwasher and sending a few emails, and you know what? That’s ok. “Set small goals and feel you have made good strides – don’t try to overachieve right now. It is not the time,” says Susie.

Have strong boundaries 

Difficult times call for being decisive – if you can’t have that hour long conversation with your best friend, it’s fine to tell her you’ll chat another time. If your boss asks for that presentation by tomorrow, tell them it’s not possible.  “Whether it’s with work, family or friends, be clear on what is possible and what is not,” says Susie. “Dont feel bad about saying no to things. More than ever think carefully about what you say yes and no to.”

www.susiepearl.com

The neuropsychologist: Mara Klemich, founder of Heartsyles.com

Mara Klemich
Neuropsychologist Mara Klemich

Know that mindfulness is magic

“Mindfulness approaches are really helpful now” says Mara who has been helping front line medical workers lately to get through these unprecedented, tough times, “Practicing stopping and just noting one thing to be grateful for, no matter how small, is helpful to kick-start our thinking back into the positive” she says. Her examples are as follows “I love my sofa – sitting on it is so comfortable,” “I’m grateful for my neighbour who says hello through the fence/sends me a WhatsApp message to see how I’m doing,” or “I’m grateful for my plant/the trees in my garden or the bunch of flowers I bought at the supermarket”.” Treasure the small things.

Ask ’What is my true North?’

“When you have those times of feeling overwhelmed or you’re experiencing negative feelings – stop, take a couple of breaths and think “What’s my True North?”” says Mara. By this she means what is it that is the essence of you, that truly matters to you. “What I usually find is that it’s a main value I have, or Love. Whatever it is, stop – think about it, see it/feel it and take two breaths to anchor it in your mind and heart. This can help shift us back into positivity, or if not fully, then certainly it can conjure up some energy to keep you going.”

www.heartstyles.com

The clinical psychologist: Dr Seth J. Gillihan, PhD, LLC – Head of Therapy for self therapy app Bloom

Dr Seth Gillihan
Find mental moments of stillness

It’s important to check in with yourself throughout the day and remembering who you are rather than charging through everything mindlessly. Dr Seth Gillihan says “Let dark or anxious thoughts recede into the background as you find a closer connection with what’s real around you. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel in your body? Choose an activity throughout the day as a cue to remind you to come into the moment. Examples include waiting in line at the grocery, being stopped at a red light, washing your hands, mealtime, and bedtime.”

Practise the bedtime recap

One way of putting the positives at the forefront of your mind and building that positivity muscle is to write them down. Dr. Gilliham says “Put a pen and paper next to your bed so they’ll be waiting for you when you go to bed tonight. Before you turn off the light, write down three things that went well today. Make sure to include the role you played in why they went well. Allow these good things to fill your mind as you drift off to sleep.”

The Bloom app

Bloom is a self the self-therapy app that uses personalised video sessions to help users cope with stress, anxiety and depression. Had to www.enjoy bloom.com £13.99 a month

Don’t let the world get you down. If you enjoyed reading this, then why not max out on the good mood stuff with our other articles How to be Happy and Going through the emotions

How She Carries On: Claire Burrows

Claire Burrows is the founder of the shoe company Air & Grace, which include boots, trainers and a vegan collection. Having worked within the shoe industry for twenty years she set up on her own to create shoes that were as comfy as they are stylish (our very own editorial director Susannah Taylor is a big fan of the vegan Cru Signature trainers which she has described as ‘Genuinely the comfiest pair of trainers I’ve ever worn’).

Here Claire talks to 35 Thousand about what it’s been like running the business throughout COVID-19, why she’s not a fan of doing her accounts, how the Worth Retail Award kickstarted her business, why she is really missing travel and why she now makes time for the gym as well as gin in her life.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Determined, caring, tired!”

Tell us about your work…

“I started Air & Grace 6 years ago following a 20-year career working for international footwear brands. I was over fast fashion, I wanted quality and design that would stand the test of time and wasn’t defined by seasons. But most importantly I wanted to combine that with comfort, but not the ugly kind. I wanted shoes that looked as good as they felt. So I created our patented “Tender Loving Air” footbed which Trinny Woodall says is “Like walking on butter” and launched Air & Grace.”

Air & Grace
Cru Signature White, Red and Blue Trainers, £159
Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other?

“Definitely other. Air & Grace is based at a design studio on Bermondsey Street near London Bridge, it’s a lovely place to be but we’ve all been working from home since the first lockdown. That’s come with some extra complications for me as we were mid-way through renovating our home. The kitchen got ripped out the night before the lockdown announcement, (there’s been a lot of BBQ’ing) and we had a huge hole in the back of the house so we had to chase foxes out most nights! It’s still not finished, but thankfully we’re warm, watertight and fox free now. I’ve started working at the studio again a few days each week, it’s nice to be back.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“Without a doubt reading customer reviews and comments. This is everything to us. When customers say “The perfect trainer, and the perfect fit! It really is like walking on clouds” we can’t help feeling energised and uplifted.”

What parts of your work drain you?

“Accounts – ironic really being as I was nearly an accountant. I ran away to work at a bar in Tenerife for a couple of years instead and the rest is history. I’m of the opinion that some tasks are better to outsource, so I have an amazing accountant and bookkeeper. Both are thankful I ended up designing shoes.”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“Winning the Worth Retail Award for the ‘Brands of Tomorrow’. This was the moment that made Air & Grace a reality. I had spent every penny I had and more creating a sample collection, but I didn’t have the funds to go into production. I saw the competition in the Metro newspaper and applied. I went through a series of stages culminating in a “dragon’s den” style pitch and won first prize – an investment of £150K. This meant I could finally produce my shoes and create my website.”

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“It sounds simple, but don’t run out of money. Get to grips with cash flow – it really is the ‘be all and end all’. So many great ideas fail due to poor cash flow. I used to spend every Sunday morning updating a mammoth cashflow spreadsheet. It wasn’t my idea of fun, but it got me through the difficult times. I could see in advance if I was facing credit crunches and would shift outgoings accordingly to keep us afloat. Now we use an app called Float which integrates and automatically syncs with our website and accounts platforms. It’s been a revelation; I’ve got my Sundays back.”

Air & Grace
Alto Indigo leopard print high tops, £179
What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“I’m pretty simple. I work hard, play hard. I really value my downtime as I don’t get much of it. I adore cooking and Sundays are sacred – no work! Instead, I love cooking up a feast, it relaxes me, and having people round to enjoy it is the best. I live with my long-term boyfriend Jason in a house we are renovating in Hither Green. In normal circumstances we see my mum and brother often and visit Jason’s parents in France several times a year. I also love a party night out with my girls. I can’t wait to get back to normal.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“Busy! But it’s still busy. So there’s not much change. It’s never the same each day, I designate time for design, but a lot of my day to day is reacting to what’s going on. This can be anything from a surprise post of our shoes by Fearne Cotton to dealing with customs delays. It keeps me on my toes.”

How has your daily life changed, what’s your new normal?

“Like everyone my life changed overnight. I went from working in the studio with my lovely team each day to shouting “Can you hear me?” on Zoom. I haven’t visited our manufacturing partners in Europe since January 2020 and I’d usually be there most months working closely together creating our shoes.  But we’ve figured it out and got on with it. As a small business we’re pretty nimble, so we’re able to adapt.”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“Immeasurably. I did not realise that I was running at a pace that was not sustainable until this happened. I’ve been running on empty to keep everything going for the past few years. I’ve now woken up and taken steps to rectify that. It’s a cliche but I really do now make time for me, carving out gym time, no excuses! As a business 2020 has been incredibly challenging, our manufacturers closed for 3 months and we’re still playing catch up, but we’ll get there. For me personally, lockdown afforded me the time to take a step back and think about what I should be doing and what I| wanted to do… It’s led to closing our wholesale channel and going back to our roots of being an online only brand. We’re feeling the positive effects from that decision already.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

“My to do list!”

What have been your 2020 coping strategies? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?

“One of the moments I look back to with fondness is our charity collaboration with Gaby Roslin for The Prince’s Trust. This project had been in progress for over a year and all launch plans had to be cancelled due to lockdown. We switched to a virtual launch and sold out in less than 4 hours raising nearly £10K for The Prince’s Trust Charity. It was a moment of positivity in a year of challenges. 

As for gym or gin? A bit of both. I have 100% found fitness during lockdown. I’ve been gym shy my entire life and now I don’t even recognise myself – I’m working out every day. I’ve finally made some time for me. But there’s always Gin time.”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“Walking has been my big thing. I’ve always loved walking, but it’s taken on a new meaning now that it’s a safe way of meeting with friends and family. Meeting for a walk and a chat is a pleasure I have enjoyed and will continue to.”

When we are allowed to travel again will you be travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“Absolutely travel ready! I can’t wait. I usually make approx 10 trips a year to visit our manufacturing partners in Portugal and Spain and I am missing it so much. I love being hands on in the sample room, working with our amazing craftspeople and sourcing materials. These trips are where the magic happens. It’s not been easy for me doing that process remotely, but I’m lucky to have brilliant partners in location who have been able to step in and bring my visions to life.”

Bardot Tan Suede Ankle Boots, £99.50 (in sale)
Finish this sentence: “In my handbag you will ALWAYS find…”

“Leather swatches and most probably a few shoe components.”

What are your WFH saviours? (routines/ products/ coffee/ music?)

“I’ve found getting into a routine has really helped. In the beginning I really missed the mental transition of travelling home from work and found it difficult to switch off. To combat this, I started taking a walk after I called it a day working on the sofa. Now Winter has drawn in I’m lighting scented candles and changing into loungewear to signify the end of my working day.”

Describe your style?

“I’m either fuss-free or high octane, there’s not much in between. 2020 has definitely been a year in gym gear, but it doesn’t take much of an excuse for me to glam it up. I love design that transcends time so I invest in well cut, beautifully made pieces that will transcend seasons. My designer go to’s are Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood. I have pieces that are 25 years old that I still love and wear. I’m a pounds per wear girl. It’s the same ethos I apply at Air & Grace – longevity in design.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“White silk shirt, well cut blazer, biker jacket, leather leggings, leopard maxi dress.”

How do you see your business in two years from now?

“Unusually for me, I’m not forecasting so far ahead. We are building on our successes, but not being over ambitious. With so much uncertainty I feel it’s best to take a cautious approach and anything else is a welcome bonus. I’ll always be happy if we continue to make our customers happy.”

What’s your go to mantra or life motto?

“Work hard and be nice to people.”

If you loved this article, then you will love our interviews with many other inspiring women such as Whitney Bromberg-Hawkings of FLOWERBX and journalist Sarah Vine

2021’s Mighty Mantras from Magnificent women

It goes without saying that 2020 has been one of the toughest years most of us will (hopefully) ever experience and we wouldn’t have got through it without the support, inspiration and positivity of our 35 Thousand sisterhood. We asked 14 of them to tell us which wise words they will choose to live by in 2021. Here’s what they said…. 

Whitney Bromberg-Hawkings, CEO and founder of flower delivery business FLOWERBX

Whitney’s why

“2020 has been a huge lesson in operating out of my comfort zone; and it is, simultaneously, the year in which I’ve grown the most, both personally and professionally.   So, while I hope that 2021 won’t present all the challenges that 2020 has thrown at us, I do hope I will continue to push my comfort zone and do things that terrify me.”

Visit FLOWERBX here

Susannah Taylor, Content Director of 35 Thousand.com

Susannah’s why

“A friend once wrote this down on a post-it note and left it in my house about 20 years ago and it has been my mantra ever since. It resonated so strongly with me and still does in that I feel that you create your own life and that it really is possible to do anything if you walk/ edge/ hustle your way towards it. It also says to me ‘Be who you want to be’ and ‘Live that dream,’ whatever that is because we may as well live this life best we possibly can. I felt this strongly even before the Pandemic hit.”

Read Susannah’s article on ’15 ways to find more balance in your day’ here

Andrea McDowell, founder of dahlia business Dahlia Beach

Andrea’s why

“When you consider that success is 20% skill and 80% mindset, why do we even entertain the idea of imposter syndrome? The notion that we are inadequate or that someone is better than us has got nothing to do with it and isn’t actually true. Carry on and we’re likely to reap the rewards. 2020 has taught me that NOTHING in life is certain except change and if there’s ever a good time to say ‘F*ck it, what have I got to lose’ it’s now. Fortune favours the bold and so I’m going for it. 2020 was a plot twist so there a lot of making up to do.”

Go to Dahlia Beach here

Sophie Theakston, jewellery designer 

Sophie’s why

“I think the one thing I have learned from this time of COVID, is that whilst there are some rules we cannot break, there are many self-imposed ones we should question .  I think habits form sometimes in one’s life without our really questioning them or challenging them.  Ask yourself if there might be a better, fresher and more positive outcome from changing things up a bit.  I have done it with my handling of business matters and in my handling of my kids when challenges have presented themselves during this period.  And it felt great to try a different way and face things with an alternative energy.  In both cases it also reaped huge rewards. Wishing everyone a refreshed outlook and a productive 2021!”

Visit Sophie’s website here

Misty Reich, founder of 35 Thousand

Misty’s why:

“I’ve got big dreams (life and business) but I can hold myself back from fully throwing myself at them head on because I feel like it might swallow me up or take me over.  In 2021 I am making the biggest bet I have ever made on myself and my future, launching amazing products that I have spent 4 years and all of my savings to create. Now’s the moment and I’m going all in to make it great.”

Read Misty’s advice on ‘How to give a great performance review here

Millie Kendall MBE, founder of Brandstand commuNications and CEO of the British Beauty Council

Millie’s why:

“My mantra is really based on this amazing quote I read. I can be feminine, hard working and powerful, and just because I like to have my hair and nails done, or wear a splash of make-up or have a revitalising/relaxing facial doesn’t mean I am frivolous or flippant, it means underestimate me at your peril. 2020 has taught us things, we need to adapt and put to good use the learnings of this past year. My mantra is to know more, learn more and fight more.”

Visit Brandstand here and the British Beauty Council here

Debbie Wosskow, OBE, co-founder of The Allbright Collective

Debbie’s why:

“I know this one off by heart after the year that has been 2020. It’s written on a Post-it on my desk – a positive mindset has been essential to come out of this year fighting.”

Visit The Allbright Collective here

Julietta Dexter, Founder and Chief Growth and Purpose Officer of ScienceMagic.inc

Julietta’s why:

“These are our company values.  The pandemic, the black lives matter movement together with the real issues of climate change are things we can learn from to build a better world for everyone.”

Visit ScienceMagic here

Sacha Newall, CEO and co-founder of My Wardrobe HQ

Sacha’s why:

“With small niggles such as being grumpy that there are no parking spaces, I will reposition to ‘I’m lucky that I’m in a car and it’s warm’. When a big unexpected bill comes, I’ll say ‘I have work and I’m improving/fixing something that I need to live my life’. When it comes to the bigger things, like when someone really lets you down or treats you badly, I’ll say ‘It’s good that I know this now so that I can adjust my life’.  2020 has been a strange year of challenges and disappointments, and also a rare and precious time with the kids. Family time with none of the pressures of work, routine and sports fixtures have been a huge positive that feels like a strong foundation for the rest of the decade, whatever it brings.”

Visit My Wardrobe HQ here

Sarah Vine, newspaper journalist

Sarah’s why:

“I think my mantra for 2021 – and beyond – has to be the oldest in the book  – ‘Seize the day’.

It’s been a tumultuous year, and it’s not over yet. People have had to face the prospect of mortality, either their own or that of loved ones, in a way that hasn’t happened for several generations. Life suddenly seems so much more tenuous, and more precious for it. So live it well, and live it your way. And do it now, before it’s too late.”

Read Sarah Vine’s How She Carries On interview here

Ruby Hammer, makeup artist and brand owner of rubyhammer.com

Ruby’s why:

“I feel like there is no better person to work on than myself. I want to be known and remembered for being kind, compassionate, humorous and awake – living every day to the fullest. In 2021 I am going to focus on enhancing all the good qualities I believe I have, and steer away from my flaws to try and live a more positive life.”

Visit Ruby’s website here

Karen Cummings-Palmer, integrative health and beauty expert and brand owner of 79Lux

Karen’s why:

“I think we have all learned that tomorrow (at least as we know it) is promised to no one.  It can be a cause of anxiety, it can also inspire a fearlessness and sense of purpose to propel us forward – from the simple act of practising Pilates right here and now, to developing a business or calling a loved one.”

Visit 79Lux here

Anh Nguyen, medical physician at Houston Methodist Hospital

Anh’s why:

“I’ve spent many hours lamenting the lost opportunities in 2020, but in 2021 I want to focus on solid steps I can take to realize my goals. I will try to not focus on the lost time that COVID caused us in 2020.”

Read Anh’s How She Carries On interview about being a physician during COVID 19 here

Sara Quiriconi, actress and wellness warrior

Sara’s why:

“If 2020 has taught us anything, is that anything is possible. Our job as humans is to be flexible, fluid, learn from our experiences, and grow from them. This mantra comes from my own personal statement, the Live Free Manifesto, ways that I choose to live my life. From my own personal journey in 2020, so much has transformed, or (I prefer) has transcended. When we’re living in a state of “in the moment” where we’re learning from what whatever is present, there’s only one way to go, and that is up.”

Follow Sara here

Our top mood-shifting movies of all-time

In a year of lockdowns and social distancing, we’ve probably all had a marathon movie night or two. And while we love watching our favourite big screen stories in the comfort of our homes, we’re just as ready to enjoy them when we’re on-the-go. After all, what better way to fend off the boredom of dreaded delays or long-haul flights (remember those?) than re-watching a much-loved masterpiece? With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite movies of all-time. So, whether you’re getting cosy in front of the fireplace over the festive period, are hoping to take that much-anticipated bucket-list trip in 2021, or are back on the road for work, we hope this selection will inspire, move and entertain you as much as it has team 35 Thousand. 

Romantic Comedies

Sabrina

A comedic chronicle of an ugly duckling turned beautiful swan who pines for her childhood crush – a very wealthy, very engaged playboy. Misty Reich, founder of 35 Thousand loves the remake with Julia Ormond and Greg Kinnear. “It’s probably in my top 3 movies of all time. Romance, rags-to-riches, Kinnear and Harrison Ford are fab but Ormond is one of my faves! Also, if you have time watch the original with Audrey Hepburn,” she says.

The Proposal

High-flying Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) attempts to avoid deportation to Canada by pretending to be engaged to her assistant Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds). Cue mishaps and hijinks, which make us laugh every time. Bullock and Reynolds are magic together. Plus, Misty adds, “It involves shenanigans with immigration and visas which hits close to home for me”.

The Proposal
When Harry Met Sally

Can men and women ever truly be platonic friends? It’s the old age question the movie’s title characters, Harry Burns (Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (Meg Ryan) grapple with as their paths cross and re-cross. 35 Thousand’s Product Development Director Claire Bristow says, “The romantic in me can’t help believing that somewhere out there are always two souls destined to find each other, somehow, somewhere, in the end” Misty loves it too, “Probably the MOST classic Meg Ryan movie and early Billy Crystal is so great!” she says.

Baby Boom 

Businesswomen J.C. Wiatt (Diane Keaton) finds her life turned upside when she’s left to look after the baby daughter of a suddenly deceased relative. 80’s shoulder pads, corporate woman working hard to have it all, the laughter and tears of early motherhood and, of course, Diane Keaton – what’s not to love?

You’ve Got Mail 

Competing bookstore owners Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) and Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) start an online romance, unaware of each other’s true identity. Misty says she “Could make a whole list of Meg Ryan movies, but this is so good. New York business rvalry turns to romance.” 

You’ve Got Mail
Amélie

Parisienne ingénue Amélie (Audrey Tatou) surreptitiously choreographs the love lives of people around her. This is a favourite of 35 Thousand contributing writer, Anna Loa-Kaim. She tells us, I kid myself that I’m just keeping my French alive by watching this over and over again but it’s really the whimsical, magical joy of it, from Amélie’s micro-fringe to the mystery of her dad’s AWOL garden gnome touring the world with Amélie’s flight attendant friend because he can’t do so himself. There are so many moving touches, quirky asides and glorious, almost cartoon-like shots of Paris – it’s just delicious to watch.” 

The Holiday

Unlucky in love Iris (Kate Winslet) and Amanda (Cameron Diaz) swap homes and soon find themselves wrapped up in transatlantic romances. Such a feel-good movie and always great to watch over the winter holiday season.

27 Dresses

Perennial bridesmaid Jane Nichols (Katherine Heigl) has eyes only for her boss, George (Edward Burns); will Jane finally get the happily-ever-after she dreams of or will the arrival of her younger sister Tess (Malin Åckerman) throw a spanner in the works? For contributing 35 Thousand writer Aasiyah Dana, “There’s something endearing about awkward Jane. Her quirky charm makes me smile every time and, although predictable, 27 Dresses is still a whole lot of fun.”  

Drama

Good Will Hunting

The movie that won Matt Damon an Oscar. This is the story of janitor Will Hunting (Damon), whose genius-level IQ is accidentally discovered by Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard). Claire loves how this movie is “About the power to choose your path and change your life, the option of choosing optimism, love and possibility no matter what comes before”.

Steel Magnolias

Southern girl Shelby (Julia Roberts) prepares to get married while dealing with health scares. An oldie but a goody,” for Managing Director of Brandstand Communications Andrew Perera, “This has an amazing cast that’s not only funny but shows how friends can really support each other in difficult times.” 

American Honey 

One of those movies that doesn’t have a plot in the typical sense; American Honey invites us into the world of Star (Sasha Lane), as she joins Jake (Shia LaBeouf) and his friends selling door-to-door magazine subscriptions. The slow meandering of the narrative deftly mirrors the protagonist’s life on the road and offers a soulful glimpse into America’s poverty-stricken, marginalised teens. “Director Andrea Arnold masterfully blends a sense of youthful yearning with bleak reality,” says Aasiyah.

Great Expectations

A screen adaption of Charles Dickens acclaimed novel, Great Expectations charts the life of orphan Pip (John Mills) and his childhood benefactor, the tragic Miss Havisham (Martita Hunt). Anna-Marie Solowij co-founder of Brandstand Communications always goes back to the original David Lean directed version. “It’s a great coming-of-age tale of wealth and poverty, love and rejection but it all comes good in the end.” 

Running on Empty

Fugitive husband and wife team Arthur (Judd Hirsch) and Annie (Christine Lahti) and their boys are always on the run from authorities, making teenage son Danny (River Phoenix) long for independence and stability. His dreams though, might mean leaving his family behind forever. Another of Claire’s favourites, she loves this for its “Slightly low-key, low budget charm. Beautifully shot and a heart wrenching exploration of what it really means to be a parent.” 

Lost in Translation

Newlywed Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) and ageing movie star Bob (Bill Murray) strike up a surprising but touching friendship, as they navigate the bright lights of Tokyo. For Anna-Marie, “This is one of those movies where you wish you could re-write the ending. I’m constantly drawn back to it for that – the idea that it could be different, but perhaps it’s for the best that it isn’t. After all, they’re both married, CLEARLY to the WRONG people. I also find myself returning to it for the truly foreign nature (to westerners) of Japanese culture. The first time you go to Japan it feels EXACTLY as disorienting as it does in the movie.”

Lost in Translation
Beaches 

Charting the journey of friendship from childhood, Beaches follows the lives of New Yorker CC (Bette Midler) and Californian Hillary (Barbara Hershey). This one never fails to make Andrew cry!

Comedy 

What about Bob?

Self-absorbed psychiatrist Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss) has his holiday spoilt by patient Bob Wiley (Bill Murray). Misty admits “This tries too hard,” but she still keeps coming back to it. “Watching Murray get under Dreyfuss’ skin is just funny to me.”

The Money Pit

Anna (Shelley Long) and Walter (Tom Hanks) are a young couple whose relationship is put to the test when they buy a country estate outside New York City for a too-good-to-be-true price. I have lived this,” Misty reveals, “And Hanks and Long make a great team.”

Oceans 11

Suave thief Danny Ocean (George Clooney) masterminds the ultimate casino raid in Sin City. Super slick and stylish, with such an amazing cast. It’s that movie we agree we can watch over and over again and love it even more each time. Mollie Payne, Senior Digital and Content Executive at Brandstand is “Always partial to a good heist movie, but this one’s definitely top of the list.”

Oceans 11
Wedding crashers

Confirmed bachelors and divorce mediators Jeremy (Vince Vaughn) and John (Owen Wilson) gate-crash a high-profile wedding where John falls for bridesmaid Claire (Rachel McAdams). This is a guilty go-to for big laughs. The banter between Vaughn and Wilson is legendary.

The Boat that Rocked

Pirate DJ Quentin (Bill Nighy) and his friends are on a mission to help Quentin’s godson Carl (Tom Sturridge) lose his virginity. Senior Digital Marketing Executive at Brandstand Communications Tilly Doody-Henshaw loves the movie’s styling, aesthetic and music. “I find music really dictates how I’m feeling and the soundtrack to this always puts me in an amazing mood. It’s also very British in its sense of humour which makes me feel more at home!”

True Stories

Pride

In 1984, London-based LGBTQ campaigners and striking Welsh miners join forces against a common enemy: Margaret Thatcher, the police and the press. Chosen by Tilly, she reveals: “I first watched this with my family over Christmas, so it reminds me of them. The music and aesthetic of this movie is brilliant. The storyline is also true and totally heart-warming; the final scene never fails to make me cry – in a happy way! Most of the movie is also set in South Wales, where my family are from, so their sense of humour reminds me of home.”

Boys Don’t Cry

Not an easy watch but this gut-wrenching true story is one Aasiyah returns to time and again. Hillary Swank won an Oscar for her role as trans-man Brandon Teena, whose search for acceptance in small town Nebraska ends in tragedy. “Swank’s performance will forever live in my memory, as will the poignant soundtrack,” she says.

Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry

Musicals

The Sound of Music

Transporting us to 1930s Austria, The Sound of Music is classic film based on the real life of governess Maria (Julie Andrew) widower Captain von Trapp and his seven children. Uplifted by the pure joy of song, this is an absolute must-watch. 

Mary Poppins

Nanny Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) delights the young children in her care with enchanting adventures. A sing-along classic which Misty watched all the time as a child and still loves today.

Fantasy/ Romance  

The Princess Bride 

The story of young lovers who must overcome separation and the evils of Florin, a mythical land, in order to be together. Cult classic, funny and SO quotable.

About Time 

Love Actually vibes, with time travel but minus the festive setting. Domhnall Gleeson plays Tim Lake, a man who can travel through time but soon discovers that his unique gift can’t help him escape everyday problems. A favourite of Anna Lao-Kaim, she says “About Time presents love, grief, living in the moment and so-called success in a beautiful, poignant and funny way. Although it’s full-on Richard Curtis fuzziness, my husband and I love it and chose a Bill Nighy quote from the movie as a reading during our wedding ceremony: “I’d only give one piece of advice to anyone marrying. We’re all quite similar in the end. We all get old and tell the same tales too many times but try to marry someone kind.”

Meet Joe Black

Nearing his 65th birthday, Bill Parish (Anthony Hopkins) is paid a visit by Death, in the human form of Joe Black (Brad Pitt). Bill and Joe come to an agreement, but complications arise when Joe falls for Bill’s daughter. Mollie loves this film for its “Unique plot; it’s the perfect combination of romance, drama and comedy. The coffee shop scene at the beginning is definitely one of my favourite movie scenes ever. It’s a long one, and quite emotional, so definitely set aside for a long-haul flight and have a pack of tissues handy!” 

Coming-of-age

Juno

Pregnant teen Juno MacGuff (Elliot Paige) finds herself getting a little too involved with her baby’s adoptive parents. “The characters are so good” says Misty and she especially loves Jason Bateman, “Who has a bit of a twisted role” as dad-to-be Mark Loring.

Call Me by Your Name

Another coming-of-age, novel-based movie with all the excitement and heartbreak of a first love lost.” Set in Italy, the movie follows the budding relationship of Elio (Timothee Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer) over the course of a sun-drenched summer. With an excellent cast and soundtrack – Love my Way by The Psychedelic Furs, Erik Satie and Ryuichi Sakamoto – Anna-Marie asks, “What’s not to love”?  

Call me By Your Name
16 Candles

As she approaches her 16th birthday, Samantha (Molly Ringwald) longs for popular older boy Jake (Michael Schoeffling), while spurning the affections of school nerd Ted (Anthony Michael Hall). Cringe-worthy flashback of the highs and lows of those awkward teen years. Jake leaning on the Porsche at the end is one of Misty’s most swoon worthy moments on screen (forget you read that if you haven’t seen movie yet!).

Adventure

The Beach 

Backpackers Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio), Etienne (Guillaume Canet) and Francois (Virginie Ledoyen) head to Thailand in search of adventure and paradise – but not all is as it seems. “This movie makes me want to go travelling and never come back,” shares Mollie. “Such a great soundtrack, All Saint’s Pure Shores is one of my all-time favourite songs and the backdrop for the scene where this song is played is just so beautiful. If you’re looking for an adventure movie with beautiful scenery and a bit of a dark twist, all topped with a little romance, then you’ll love it.”

The Beach (2000) Directed by Danny Boyle Shown: Leonardo DiCaprio (as Richard)

Animation 

The Incredibles

Bob and Helen Parr hide a secret – they’re actually married superheroes Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Hunter) and Elastigirl (Holly Hunter). When a crazy robot threatens trouble, Mr. Incredible must come to his family’s rescue. Misty’s favourite animated movie; “I love the notes of adult humour but it’s still kid-friendly” she says.

Monsters University

If you ever wondered how factory workers Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) and James P. Sullivan (James Goodman) met, then this is the movie for you. Witty and, according to Aasiyah, “One of the few prequels which is as good as (or maybe even better!) than the original”. 

If you loved this story you will also love our story on Pocket Aromatherapy for on-the-go comfort here

HOW SHE CARRIES ON – Marion Rebate

Marion Rebate is the founder and CEO of Parisian athleisure brand Ernest Leoty. Marion is a designer whose love for ballet, led her to her passion for costumes then to the archives where she discovered the heritage corsetry of Leoty.

Her collections are modern with a subtle reference to french tailoring, with clean lines including activewear, cotton tracksuits, merino wool leggings and jumpers – perfect for life in 2020. Here Marion talks to 35 Thousand about taking her life in to her own hands, the things that keep her up at night and the ways in which 2020 has changed her outlook on life.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

“Passionate, driven, dreamy…”

Tell us about your work…

“I am the founder of Ernest Leoty, an activewear brand. We bring chic into activewear. We work with best in class patternmakers and factories to create beautiful clothing. We sell mainly online on our website ernestleoty.com. I am the founder and CEO. That means I oversee creative, as well as the day to day running of the business. My days are very varied, and never a minute to be bored! I work with a team of 5 and some external partners also. We are a small start-up, actively growing.”

Do you work in the spare room, a skyscraper or other?

“A mix between kitchen table, my work office that is an old studio, and a spare room. I am a nomad.”

What parts of your work give you energy?

“I just love seeing the brand grow, and seeing other people input their passion and vision into it, and the brand taking on a life of its own. Whether it is a photographer, our amazing designer, our team and partners. I love the creative side of it, even though I have a business background.”

What parts of your work drain you?

“All the admin, and dealing with problems: the warehouse, carriers, tax, accounting, all of the paperwork basically!”

Most pivotal point of your career so far?

“When I quit my 10 year career in banking to launch Ernest Leoty, an athleisure brand. It was always my dream to be an entrepreneur, and to do something creative. I wanted to go to art school but studied maths. Taking your life into your own hands is very empowering. I have also massively grown as a person since.”

Best piece of advice you received that you now pass on to others…

“Someone once told me, it’s fine to do mistakes, just give it your best. I think that is very true. You will never regret trying something, you will regret having being passive.”

What’s your context outside of work – do you have family, other people counting on you, pets, hobbies, external commitments?

“Yes, I have a family, and a lot of close friends. I am the type of person people call when they need advice. We are also getting a dog which I am super excited about. My hobbies were yoga and travelling, but I haven’t had a lot of that recently.”

Describe your pre-pandemic day-to-day…

“Pre pandemic, I used to travel a lot. I live in London but would go every week to Paris. I would go for dinners, meet new people all the time, go to the gym. I love travelling so would do as much of that as possible.”

Has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? How?

“Professionally, the Corona crisis was an accelerator of our digital transition. We went from a mainly wholesale brand to mainly digital, selling through our own website.
Personally, other than the short term changes, it perhaps made me more grounded and brought me closer to my family.”

What, if anything, keeps you up at night?

Our Instagram account was just hacked – that kept me up at night. Otherwise, the financial viability of the business to be honest. And keeping my team happy.

What have been your 2020 coping strategies? Do you have any objects, routines or tools that you found particularly uplifting? Gin or Gym?

“I would say mostly walks in the parks, talking on the phone, Netflix, a glass of wine, long baths…
I have also “cocooned” my house by buying some items I always wanted to buy but never got round to doing: lamps, cushions, a new table etc”

What has kept you sane? And kept your family sane?

“I think it is just accepting the way things are. There is nothing we can do about it. Going to the park for walks, speaking to friends I had lost touch with on the phone. Because I was more at home, I had more time to reconnect. With regards to family,spending more time at home with them has made us closer actually, I really enjoyed that part.”

How has 2020 changed your outlook on life?

“Yes, it has shown me not to take anything for granted, and to really appreciate freedom, and ability to travel. Also has shown me how quickly things can change. Finally, it has made me appreciate more my home and family, and how to enjoy the small things.”

Are you travel ready? Where do you want to go, with who or would you rather stay home?

“Truth is, I can’t wait But I will only do it when I feel it is safe. We are going to Switzerland for Xmas, but wont be going out of the house really.
But I am dreaming of summer holidays, yoga retreats, going to see my family in NY, Sri Lanka and many other projects that I can’t wait to do again.”

Finish this sentence “Currently stashed in my handbag is…’

My Malin + Goetz lipbalm
My lancome hand cream
My phone & keys
At the moment – some Aesop hand gel

Ernest Leoty
Marion is a fan of Malin and Goetz Lip balm
What are your WFH saviours?

“My Amazon Alexa for music, Clippers coffee, Dyptique candles, fresh flowers and walking in Hyde Park in London.”

Describe your style?

“I would like to say classic, sexy, and comfortable, like Ernest Leoty.”

Name your 5 essential items of clothing

“I live in our black corset leggings – they are my daily go-to piece. I also love my white J-Crew “Essential” T-Shirt and our Bertille trousers which are made in the Hermes knitwear factory. I would also say a navy Stella McCartney blazer and black Roger Vivier pumps.”

How do you see your business in two years from now?

“I see it much bigger, more established, with lots of new product lines including swim, homewear, accessories. I see a bigger team and US expansion also. I am so excited about what is to come!”

What’s your go to mantra or life motto?

““Everything will be ok” I guess, or “Let go”. They are both about the fact that you need to accept that you have a destiny and things are meant to happen the way they unfold, for the best.”

If you have enjoyed reading this then you will love our archive of other How She Carries On articles from inspiring women such as Sarah Vine, Rae Feather and Bobbi Brown

How to give a top notch performance review

They inspire dread in managers and employees alike but performance reviews can in fact be a gift for all involved – here’s why, and how to make reviews rewarding (really)

As annual treats go, a performance review (either giving or receiving) wouldn’t exactly be at the top of anyone’s list. Despite this, career coach Elizabeth Houghton is of the opinion that “feedback is a gift” – it just needs to be packaged and delivered correctly by both parties. Whether you’re due to give a performance review yourself or are nervously awaiting one, the following expert insights will make you see the often feared process in a whole new light. Follow these golden rules for giving great reviews and there will be no cowering by the kettle ever again. 

1. Abandon annual reviews

This seems like a very counterintuitive starting point, we know, but the stats bear us out. A study by employee experience platform Kazoo reveals that workers whose managers engage in regular, “real-time coaching conversations” are 67% more likely to feel that performance reviews lead to better professional outcomes compared to those that only received annual reviews. Employees aren’t machines and a yearly MOT won’t cut it according to Elizabeth:

“It doesn’t make sense to wait months to give feedback – it’s most effective when it’s timely. Performance concerns or positive feedback should be given in the moment; this will ensure that feedback is more impactful. Why delay supporting the growth of a colleague? Why not support their improvement, now?”

Quite. Checking in regularly also removes a great deal of anxiety, build-up burden in terms of admin and assessment on both sides and the possibility of any unexpected topics coming up. 35 Thousand founder, CEO and executive coach Misty Reich stresses that, if there are any surprises at the end of a performance review, you’re probably doing it wrong. Keeping it regular is the key to reviews that garner results according to Misty:

“I would say the ideal timetable would be to schedule quarterly performance calibrations. If your company still utilises an annual review model, that ‘final’ meeting should be a culmination and tally of what the year added up to in terms of goals achieved and expectations.”

Company leaders assess finances by quarter, at the bare minimum, so it only makes sense to check in with the employees making up your balance sheets at least as often. Jo Clare, senior consultant at business and career development organisation The Oakridge Centre, affirms that a shift away from annual performance reviews reflects the nature of modern working culture too:

“Companies are moving away from annual or bi-annual performance review meetings as there’s a need for all of us to be more agile and flexible. We’re working in an increasingly ever-changing, fast-paced world, so on-going dialogue is essential.” 

2. Prep like a boss

Because, you are one, and it’ll make appraisals far smoother from start to finish. Planning ahead has the potential to turn a scenario akin to pulling teeth into a literal meeting of minds if you adhere to a few key preparation precepts. 

As well as regularly and honestly noting employee achievements, targets and areas of growth, Misty advises giving your direct report the time and space to reflect on their own performance prior to any formal appraisal.

“Ask your employee to send over a summary self-review in advance alongside any data or metrics that they feel is relevant to their performance. This will give you a hugely helpful insight into how to frame your discussion most effectively.”

Compiling a self-evaluation form with open-ended questions that encourage your report to give feedback on how they feel that they are performing as an individual and within the team at large will prompt meaningful, productive conversation and help you to tailor your agenda beforehand. Once you’ve gathered all the goods (and growth areas), set about structuring the meeting. Misty’s blueprint keeps things simple:

“Divide your thoughts and comments into two categories: ‘what I appreciate’ and ‘how you could be even more effective’. 

“Begin walking through what you appreciate about your employee and their results – most of the time the positives far outweigh the ‘opportunity to improve’ elements’ and helping them to identify and continue doing the things that they are doing well is as important as course correction in areas that aren’t quite where they need to be yet.”

Whichever category you’re focusing on, Elizabeth recommends “Frequently revisiting how you would like to receive the feedback you’re delivering; ensure that you’re empathetic and supportive throughout.” Speaking of which…

3. Go 360º

Rather than top down assessments where you play judge and jury, senior consultant at The Oakridge Centre Judith Fraser emphasises that it’s vital to establish a “feedback culture” so that all members of your organisation feel heard. Rather than making assumptions about an employee’s performance or behaviour, prioritise asking questions and seeking feedback on your own management style and how you can best support your workforce. Two-way conversations take the guesswork out of expectations and tricky scenarios in particular, plus they foster respect. Misty notes that this is the cornerstone of effective communication, which in turn leads to rewards all round:

“Build an authentic, trusting relationship with anyone you will need to give feedback to in the future – everything is easier when it’s coming from a place of trust.”

Happily, the CIPD Good Work Index 2020 found that, among a sample of 5000 UK workers, 76% reported having a positive relationship with their immediate boss, proving that the majority of office alliances not only survive performance review meetings and the like, but thrive on them. We’re not denying that sticky issues can’t arrive, however. 

4. Don’t drop bombs 

The absolute worst way to deliver less than glowing feedback? Elizabeth calls it:

“Never just drop a bomb like ‘You’re not performing to the required level in x’ and then end the conversation or walk away. Your job as a leader is to support your team member’s development. Be clear and get straight to the point, but always in a constructive, empathetic manner.” 

Misty agrees that “Making sure that your heart and head are in a good place before you go into the meeting” is fundamental:

“Few of us enjoy being evaluated by authority figures so if your team member does get upset or angry, my best advice is to create space for this. 

“Don’t fill silences or rush your employee and, particularly if you anticipate that a subject could cause tension, perhaps adapt your approach and ask in advance how your report likes to receive feedback. This will make them feel more in control of how messages are delivered and how they feel in the meeting and in turn it will give you insight of how they might respond to points raised.” 

We’re not always going to be on the same page personally or professionally, and that’s okay according to Elizabeth:

“Make room for dissent, disagreement and diversity of opinion. Be transparent, always explain your reasoning but above all communicate feedback as a development opportunity and express your ideas with warmth and compassion.” 

5. Money talks

Finally, Misty advocates taking a clear-cut approach to talking cold, hard cash when initially scheduling the review meeting:

“Manage expectations from the off by stating that you will be discussing how the year went in terms of performance and what can be anticipated in regards to pay and reward, or that you will be discussing how the year went in terms of goals and and will arrange a separate, follow up meeting to speak about any salary changes or bonuses.”

Either way, Misty states that “It’s always beneficial to do your homework beforehand so that you know exactly where your team member stands in terms of compensation in comparison to peers”. If or when money comes up, Misty emphasises the importance of listening and, above all, being honest:

“Never play games – be as transparent as you can possibly be. People may not always be happy with the answer that they get but if you hear them out and communicate authentically then they’re highly likely to respect you and trust that you have their best interests at heart.”

In short, be fair, big up strengths over weaknesses (Jo encourages an 80/20 ratio) and do it all again sometime soon. The gains could just be huge for everyone. 

If you enjoyed reading this article then you will definitely enjoy reading ‘How to win at difficult conversations’ here

The 35 Thousand Holiday Gift Guide

They say that giving is sweeter than receiving, so what will some of our favourite women be giving to others this holiday season? Read on for ‘give list’ inspo aplenty…

It’s been…a year. Whether you’re celebrating the holidays with loved ones in person or online, or treating your closest family and friends, given the tough times we have endured in the unarguably seminal 12 months that have been 2020, it is likely to be imbued with even more significance than normal. Looking after ourselves and those we love has become top priority and appreciating the little things is a habit that most of us have cultivated at one point or another as we’ve contended with lockdowns, social distancing and the general ravages of a global pandemic. 

As we approach the holidays with hope on the horizon (*raises a glass to science*), we may be looking to splash out on something special to spark a whole lot of joy or simply be in search of something small and meaningful to tuck into someone’s stocking to let them know you’re thinking of them. From tried and tested wellbeing wonders to 24/7 flowers and stationery that’ll convince you to step away from the Whatsapp chat, here’s your gift list starter for ten according to women we love….

Misty Reich, Founder of 35 Thousand

Well Behave Women Seldom Make History: Herstory Museum A5 Journal, £12.99

“This beautiful Journal has my favourite quote “Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History” on it. I bought this Herstory Museum version for some girlfriends and I love that it is elegant but has a wink of rebellion and reminder to make some good trouble;)”

Buy here

Oura Personal Health Tracking Advice, 419 Euros/ $515

 “This is a splurge-worthy fitness tracker.  I have worn all the fitness tracking devices and watches, and if they are attractive they aren’t terribly accurate and vice versa.  This ring is tiny (it weighs less than 6 grams), comes in different metals, is well researched and highly accurate.  It measures Heart Rate, Heart Rate Variability, Sleep, Activity and Temperature.”

Buy here 

Read Misty’s article ‘The Books that changed my head, heart, leadership and life’ here

Susannah Taylor, Editorial Director, 35 Thousand

Neom’s Perfect Peace Pod Starter Pack, £100/ $134

“My Neom Wellbeing Pod has kept me calm throughout the whole of 2020. It’s a beautiful-looking aromatherapy diffuser that you add essential oils to, filling your house with mood-lifting scent. Since we are spending so much time at home, it would make the perfect gift for anyone no matter their age  – I know some people who use it in their children’s bedrooms to get them to sleep.”

Buy here

The Kaweco Classic Sport Fountain Pen, £20/ $27

“We are so enveloped in our digital world that I want to celebrate the joys of hand written notes. There is nothing like a proper fountain pen to write with, (and to remember how to write instead of using a keyboard!). I bought one of these Kaweco pens at the small independently owned shop Choosing Keeping in London and it is incredibly smooth and makes writing a joy. Perfect if you are journaling too.”

Buy here

Read Susannah’s guide ‘How to hack your own motivation’ here

Rae Feather, entrepreneur and founder of clothing brand Rae Feather

Alighieri The Solitary Tear Pearl and 24kt Gold-Plated Necklace, £185/$229

“2020 has been a year of great loss for so many of us in so many different ways. This necklace is not only incredibly beautiful in itself but it conveys a very poignant meaning.”

Buy here

Comfort & Joy Hamper by Rae Feather, POA

“A personally curated gift hamper is thoughtful and let’s face it, we all deserve some comfort and joy! Mine would feature my organic harem pant sweatshirt, monogrammed slippers and 100% lambswool throw and one of our new soya candles.”

Buy here 

Read Rae’s How She Carries on interview in the midst of lockdown here

Ruby Hammer MBE, global makeup artist and brand founder

Aromatherapy Associates Moments to Treasure, £225/$292

“I’d love to give someone a complete aromatherapy kit in the form of this super duper Christmas selection. I adore all of this brand’s blends and this brings together everything that you could possibly wish for when it comes to relaxation. It’s perfect for your right-hand woman.” 

Buy here

Ruby Hammer Forever Foot File, £22

“This would make for a useful present to facilitate at-home pedis and it’s not something that someone would necessarily buy themselves. It’s a great little tool to maintain your feet. I really like to look after myself from head-to-toe when time allows and this is an absolute essential for doing so. It also looks chic in the bathroom and will last forever – it’s far from a throwaway stocking filler.” 

Buy here

Ruby tells us how to go from ZZZz’s to a Zoom-ready face super fast here

Trish McEvoy, Makeup artist and founder of Trish McEvoy cosmetics

Dear Annabelle Stationery, sets from $60

“Now more than ever I think that we’re all recognising the importance of staying connected. Sending and receiving handwritten notes is one of my greatest joys, even more so when using beautiful stationary. Dear Annabelle is playful, elegant and so thoughtfully hand-crafted – a true pleasure to send, and receive! 

Buy here 

Trish McEvoy No 9 Blackberry & Vanilla Musk Super Enriched Hand and Body Cream, £39/$60

“This is ultra-hydrating, velvety-soft and deliciously scented. It’s the perfect gift to inspire those special moments of self-care and relaxation.”

Buy here

Read about how Trish managed her business in the midst of the Corona Crisis here

Karen Cummings-Palmer, integrative wellbeing and beauty consultant and founder of 79 Lux

OG Wellbeing Omega 3, from £29.99 

“I’d put this in someone’s stocking because this year has proved that health is the ultimate wealth (for a more substantial gift I’d buy a year’s subscription!). Og Wellbeing Omega 3 is a powerful anti-inflammatory that helps to counterbalance some of the damaging effects of stress on the body as well as support hair skin and nails for a beauty boost from the inside out.”

Buy here 

79 Lux Golden Oil, £68

“This body oil is deeply rejuvenating and rich in frankincense which not only reminds me of Christmas but is known to support immunity, The gold in the formula also imparts a subtle ‘lit from within’ luminosity all-over.”

Buy here

Read Karen Cummings-Palmer’s ‘How She Carries On’ article about managing her skincare brand and how she survived 2020 here

Nicola Elliott, founder of Neom Organics

The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman, £10.99

“I love gifting books and The Daily Stoic is a great choice for anyone who would appreciate a little philosophy each day. I read mine before bed most nights.”

Buy here

Neom Real Luxury Candle, £32/$36.50

“I developed this fragrance way back in 2005 to help with my own anxiety and it’s become a Neom classic – it’s used by anyone who wants to create an oasis of calm in their home or gift a little bit of zen to their friends! It’s chock full of 24 essential oils – I call it the cashmere blanket of our collection.”

Buy here 

Read about how Nicola survived personally and professionally during the Corona Crisis here

WHITNEY BROMBERG-HAWKINGS, FOUNDER OF FLOWERBX

Rae Feather Monogrammed Slippers, from £90/$120

“Wearing a pair of these is like walking on Heaven, yet somehow they also make you feel as though you can get away with wearing them as ‘house shoes’. Rae helps to navigate those kinds of wardrobe boundaries in style. I think that giving a gift that incorporates both comfort and style is especially relevant this year.”

Buy here

Flower Subscription from FLOWERBX, from £40/ $54 per delivery

“Flowers have a unique ability to convey love, evoke emotion and create connection, all of which are sentiments that we’re especially craving at the moment.”

Buy here  

Read about Whitney’s wardrobe, work ethic and wisdom here

Bobbi Brown, former makeup artist and founder of wellbeing brand EVOLUTION_18

Fairholme Candles, from £9.50 for a pair

“I’m excited to give Tony Jack’s new Fairholme hand-dipped candles this year. They’re really luxurious and the perfect addition to an at-home dinner table, especially if you’re looking for ways to make nights-in feel more special during lockdown or while restrictions are still in place.”

Buy here

Evolution_18 Beauty Blend £25/$24

“This is my go-to product for feeling my best. Right now, it’s more important than ever to keep healthy routines going .This powder is packed with over 30 fruits and vegetables plus collagen peptides, not to mention the fact that it’s delicious. I love adding it to my yogurt for a power-packed breakfast.” 

Buy here

Read about how Bobbi managed her wellbeing and business in 2020 here

Cher Webb, fashion, beauty and red carpet makeup artist

A year’s Spotify Premium subscription, from £9.99/$9.99

“I’ve really cherished my Spotify Premium subscription this year – it’s gotten me through more than one lockdown, that’s for sure! My Spotify Unwrapped was quite the journey so the first gift that comes to mind this year would be sharing that with someone who doesn’t already have it.”

Buy here

Maison Margiela Replica Memory Box, £30/$35

“Spritzing on a favourite fragrance has really acted as a daily fix for me during 2020. I love how fragrance can instantly transport you back to a certain time in your life and it’s such an effective mood lifter. Fragrance always makes for a thoughtful gift and I love the idea of discovering a new scent as a fresh start to the new year. 

“A fragrance discovery kit will allow the recipient to find their new signature scent – my favourite sets are by Maison Margiela and Atelier Cologne. Each kit includes the most popular fragrances within their respective incredible portfolios so you can really get to know your scent preferences.”

Buy here

Read Cher Webb’s guide to managing life on the go (plus some top beauty tips) here

Hair Tool School

Since we haven’t been able to visit the hair salon that much lately, we’ve been breaking in some home hair styling tools instead with some pretty professional results. Here, the 35 Thousand team give their verdict on the best at-home hair gadgetry.

The Revlon one-step hairdryer and volumizer Hot Air Brush

Review by Tilly Doody-Henshaw

“This was totally a Tiktok enabled purchase, and this brush has truly changed the game!  I’ve tried and failed to blowdry my hair at home for years and this looked like it was going to solve all my problems. In no time it leaves my hair super sleek, smooth and shiny.  I just rough dry it, split into three sections and dry downwards, tucking the ends in or flicking backwards. It takes me 10-15 minutes from start to dry and I just sleep with my hair clipped in a loose bun to keep the shape. For someone who doesn’t like spending lots of time on their hair (I’m very lazy with it), this has really upgraded my hair game. The barrel is huge so I don’t think it would work for shorter hair, but mine falls just under my shoulders. It is also oval shaped, so it stops any ‘Dolly Parton’-esque bounce.” 

Buy here

Revlon One-step Hair dryer and Volumiser

Self grip rollers

Review by Misty Reich

“Any large Velcro rollers will do but I love these High Tops Self Grip rollers from Dry Bar. In my opinion, the larger the better for smooth, voluminous hair. Smaller ones will give waves and even curl, but for the blow dry hack, large ones are the trick.

I use them to cheat my way to a salon calibre blow out- even if I am working with a crappy hotel hair dryer.  Here’s how I style my hair

1) Rough dry  – I do mine upside down, because, more volume is always better 😂 

2) Roll Hair –  When hair is still hot from drying, section off and brush bundles of hair and roll- I do a row down middle part of my head from forehead to nape of neck and I use 4 large rollers for that.  I then do 3 on each side of that row of rollers so my whole head is rolled.  

For an even smoother effect you can use a roller brush to blow dry each piece that will go around a roller so individual sections are heated and smoothed before being wrapped around roller.”

Buy here

GHD Glide Hot Brush

Review by Susannah Taylor

“This Glide Hot Brush is particularly useful for smoothing frizz, post workout flyaways, and second day hair fluffiness.   A straightening/ smoothing tool in the form of a hairbrush, the brush heats up to 185 degrees and has hard bristles. The multi-level bristles are brilliant for gripping onto hair and  managing even the most unruly of locks (eg mine) and it’s particularly useful for me at the moment because I’m inbetween Brazilian blowouts and therefore have frizzy roots! I use the Glide after blowdrying my hair (note: not to be used on wet hair) and it makes makes light work of my curly wurly bits, smoothing them flat. The only downside is that it‘s not that easy to wave the ends with this tool, so if the super straight look is your thing then it’s definitely worth the splurge.”

Buy here

The GHD Glide Hotbrush

T3 Twirl convertible styling wand 

Review by Susannah Taylor

“In my humble opinion this is the queen of styling wands. On its own, this bigger sized wand creates modern, beachy, naturally soft waves rather than tighter curls. With a tourmaline infused ceramic finish that heats up to 410 degrees almost immediately, it also eliminates static and smooths cuticles so the waves look smooth and luxurious. However what’s also exciting about this gadget is that the barrel is interchangeable so you can then buy others that you lock in to create different finishes. Choose from the Tousled waves Tapered styling wand for more surfy curls to the Polished Curls Barrel which has a clip to keep hair in place whilst you wave it. Genius.”

Buy here

The T3 Twirl Convertible styling wand

Babyliss 9000 cordless Straightener

“Babyliss describe this product as a ‘high performance cordless straightener’ which it is because it heats up to nearly the temperature of their plugin version with temperatures of 160, 180 and 200 degrees. Whilst the straightener is ready to use almost straight away, you need to charge it for 3 hours to last for 30 minutes cordlessly. With ceramic plates that won’t pull or frazzle your hair, it also has a curved body if you want to curl or flick the ends as I do. With an auto-safety function that turns them off automatically if left on, there is also a handy travel pouch that’s heat protected inside so you can throw them in your hand luggage and go. The only downside to these straighteners is that they are quite heavy so you may not want to be carrying them to work everyday. However they are brilliant for keeping in the car, for post gym frizz smoothing or even for a pre touch-down touch-up on a flight.”

Buy here

The Cloud Nine AirShot Pro

Cloud Nine Air Shot Pro

If Apple were to design a hairdryer then this would be it. The Cloud Nine Air shot Pro not only looks super sleek, is lightweight, but its technology is state-of-the-art too. It’s eco precision motor means that velocity of airflow is optimised at a lower wattage meaning hair dries faster and is left super shiney (even no my frizzy locks.). With a cool shot button and even weight distribution, this powerful hairdryer doesn’t feel like the usual kettle bell weight salon hairdryer we’ve had to use in the past.”

Buy here

If you love this article then ‘Tools of the Trade’ – our favourite, results-driven skincare gadgets – is also a must-read, here

Time saving beauty hacks for busy women

We don’t know about you, but we are done with slobbing around at home bare-faced with our hair scraped up in a dirty top knot. What was once an au naturel novelty in lockdown 1.0 has morphed into an insatiable desire to ramp up the beauty regime in 2.0 with nails, home blowdries and the desire for a glow that look as if we’ve been chilling out on a Caribbean island for weeks on end (we wish, right?).

But now we’re at home more, unable to have beauty treatments as regularly as we once did, and watching our finances, we feel that we need beauty hacks that give us big bang for our buck.  Here are the tricks, treatments and tips that save us time, money and last longer than two days. Because as 2020 has shown, we can never be sure that the next salon visit is guaranteed.

Here’s our pick of our favourite beauty treatment trickery:

The Light Salon’s Boost LED face mask for on-the-go glow
The blowdry saviour: The Brazilian Blowdry

If you have thick, frizzy or hard to manage hair, then a hair smoothing treatment could well change your life. Editorial Director Susannah Taylor has badly behaved, frizzy hair that she says can “Take up to 45 minutes to blow dry sometimes into a presentable state.” Having tried many types of smoothing treatments over the years, Susannah finds that the Brazilian Blowout is the best she has found. “It smooths my hair without making it super straight or lank. Some treatments have left my hair really damaged and broken, but this genuinely leaves hair in better condition than before, plus it seems to last in my hair for many months. The best part is that you don’t have to leave it in for a few days either – you can wash and style your hair the same day. Every time I have it done I can’t believe the results.”

Susannah goes to taylortaylorlondon.com based in Libertys in London . In the US go to Brazilianblowout.com to find your nearest salon

The perma-glow: Profhilo

Profhilo has caused quite a stir in the past few years and won a few awards along the way too. If you haven’t heard of this revolutionary treatment, here’s the low-down: Profhilo is an award-winning treatment made up of 100% hyaluronic acid. It is administered through a few (potentially 5 on each side of the face) injections into the dermis, where it spreads and provides hydration for ‘crepey skin.’  The hyaluronic acid is also said to interact with your skin tissue and encourage it to create more collagen. The results? Many people experience visible, often dramatic improvement in skin tone after just two sessions (a month apart) and see firmer, smoother more hydrated looking skin rather than the volume associated with fillers. With minimal downtime, the results are very natural and you can be back at your desk straight after treatment. The downside? It’s expensive – around £850/ $1100 for two treatments. However when we say it lasts for 6 months you may reconsider.

For bare-faced chic: eyelash dye and lash lift

If you’re after a  non-invasive trick that will enhance your face even with no makeup on then we suggest a lash dye and lash lift together.  Yes, it’s totally possible to dye your lashes at home  – Editorial Director Susannah does it all the time – but she says “It’s never quite as good as when you have it done in the salon as I can’t quite get to the roots.” Susannah says that lash dye means she “Never feels totally bald. For example, when you bump into your boss in the gym with no makeup on and still feel you can look them in the eye!” It also means you don’t have to apply quite so much mascara since it gives your lashes a coloured base.

As for lash lifts – this is one of our favourite instant beauty hacks. Not like the lash perming processes of old where your lashes ended up curling in on themselves, the lash lift makes you look like you’ve had a squeeze with the lash curlers, permanently – even when you wake at 4am with jetlag. The process involves lying down with the solution on your eyes for an hour, and the results last about 3 months. 

Note: most beauty salons now offer a lash lift as well as eyelash tinting.

The face framer: brows

If you want to look 50% better, all the time, and if you don’t already, then you might want to think about getting your brows groomed professionally. Vanita Parti, founder of Blink Brow Bars across the UK says, “Keeping brows shaped is vital. By lifting the brow, creating an arch and highlighting the cheekbones, we create space around our eyes. It’s a small difference for a big impact.” Here at 35Thousand we can confirm that a brow shape at Blink, as well as a brow tint (if neeeded), is the equivalent of a small face lift, and makes us looked groomed and ‘put together’ even when the rest of the beauty regime is out of whack .  You can of course maintain your brows at home but we find the best results come when you are in the hands of an expert, especially if you have dark, unruly or very bushy brows.

Bbb-london.com

Long lasting nail polish – The Red Carpet Manicure

Love wearing nail polish but hate the way it chips so easily? Now there are plenty of gel nail formulations you can use at home rather than having to go to a salon. One of the best, available worldwide, is the Red Carpet Manicure. If you buy the Starter Kit, it contains everything you need for a professional manicure at home that will last up to three weeks. Included is everything from a professional LED light, to nail cleaning wipes, to gel nail polish remover and remover wraps (you can buy gel nail colours separately). 

Go to redcarpetbeauty.co.uk or redcarpetmanicure.com

The long lasting DIY Red Carpet Manicure that stays chip-free for at least two weeks
The at-home facial: The home LED mask

Facialists have been using LED therapy in their treatments for years to help with acne, skin glow, an increased ski barrier function, not to mention its good mood benefits. Mostly used as an expensive add-on at the end of a facial, LED science has now entered our homes. Take for example The Light Salon which now has salons across the US and UK –  founders Hannah Measures and Laura Ferguson decided to start their LED salon business in 2015 where people could book to reap the benefits of light therapy treatments .  However their clients soon wanted access to LED treatments between appointments so they then decided to create the BOOST collection, a range of at-home portable LED devices. Personally we love the BOOST LED face mask (there’ss one for the decolletage too), because it delivers clinically proven red and infrared wavelengths, leaving our skin looking radiant and plumped whilst also resetting and calming our mind at the same time. It’s the perfect boost when you can’t get to a facialist – just be careful not to frighten any children when you’re wearing it.

www.thelight-salon.com (deliveryworldwide)

How she carries on: Andrea McDowell of Dahlia Beach

When Andrea McDowell’s wedding video business ground to a halt in lockdown, she was inspired by her own garden to start a dahlia business. Having just launched her website www.dahliabeach.co.uk, she talks to us about her very clear vision for the brand, her coping strategies (a cup of tea watching the sun come up), and how she sees herself in six month’s time – on Dahlia Beach farm, in a pink shipping container surrounded by a riot of colourful blooms.

Andrea was inspired to start up Dahlia Beach by her own garden
Tell us about your work

“I’m a former TV Director from London who escaped to the Cotswold borders with my family in 2013 in search of a better life. I’ve always had a huge passion for gardening and my stone courtyard in Brixton wasn’t cutting it.

I then ran a successful wedding video company which I absolutely loved. Our awesome team of 6 produced nearly 300 weddings a year and I was able to work part time to fit around the family. Life was pretty sweet. Then Covid19 struck.

​2020 was going to be our busiest year yet, but when the couples began postponing (understandably) and cancelling, we could no longer afford to pay the bills. We were forced to make the heartbreaking decision to close.

​Overnight I went from running a busy, thriving business to having no purpose, no income and worst of all, no idea what the future held. I needed something that would nourish my mental wellbeing and give me something positive to focus on and it became dahlias.

I scoured the internet searching for the right combinations of dahlia colour and varieties and watched countless videos on YouTube on how to grow them.  I found that the nurturing and caring for the dahlias gave me a renewed sense of purpose and a reason to be hopeful and excited about the future. 

 I watched in ancipation as they grew bigger and stronger and when they eventually flowered I was overwhelmed with joy; my garden and my home was overflowing with the most beautiful flowers I had ever seen.

Within 4 months I had created a border that was way more impressive than the one I’d spent 4 years growing in my back garden. It has also cost a fraction of the price, which got me thinking….

2020 had seen a huge surge in new gardeners; picking up a trowel for the first time to give gardening a go.  

What if I could inspire and educate these newbies and give them everything they needed to grow a thriving cut flower for themselves? What if I could create a brand that was accessible and relatable, reducing the overwhelming choice to make gardening accessible, mindful and fun?

And so Dahlia Beach was born!”

Andrea surrounded by an explosion of dahlias
Where do you physically work currently?

“Currently from my 11 year old daughter’s bedroom but next spring, I’ll be in a pink shipping container on an acre of land plotting my Dahlia Beach Farm; a destination where people can pick flowers, attend workshops, drink lots of tea/coffee and be surrounded by colour and joy. Maybe even a festival one day?”

What is the best thing about your work?

“It’s a new industry, a new challenge and an opportunity to channel all of the transferrable skills I’ve learnt in growing my wedding video business into a huge passion of mine; gardening.”

What is the worst?

“Nothing yet but ask me again when I’m sat in a freezing cold shipping container, in a barren muddy field with no heating.”

What has been the most pivotal point of your career so far?

“COVID-19. It has changed the path of my future forever and following the collapse of my wedding video business, it’s allowed me the time, the head space and the opportunity to create a new direction for me. I believe that this has been my calling.”

What is the best advice you’ve ever had?

“Success is 20% skill and 80% psychology. You don’t have to be the smartest, the most knowledgeable or the person with the most experience – you just have to be the one who 110% believes in what you’re trying to create and who doesn’t give up. That’s me!”

‘What’s your context outside of work?

“I have three kids, a dog, 2 rabbits, a cat and a husband who works away Monday to Friday.

Before Covid struck I was training for a half ironman and had a coach and an 8 hour a week programme. I injured my knee whilst skiing in February which meant I had to take time out of training and so I threw myself into gardening. Obsessively. I have an addictive personality. 

I have always loved horses and with my first big dividend from my wedding business I went out and bought a horse without telling my husband. I just rode it home and put it in the garden one day.”

What was your ‘normal ‘day to day life like pre COVID?

“Pre-COVID I worked in an office and employed 5 people full time and managed a team of 6 sales agents who attended wedding shows on our behalf. It was a busy office and we produced nearly 300 weddings a year.

I always finished at 3pm and had Fridays off to make time for the family. It’s one of my core values and flexible working hours for mums is something I feel passionate about.”

The dahliabeach.co.uk website where you can shop 9 different collections of flowers
What is your day-to day life like now?

“Well now I don’t have an office or a wedding video business. I work from home on my website and my social media and I’m now on a mission to find a farm that’ll lease me an acre to grow and sell my dahlias. Things couldn’t be more different.”

How has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally?

“Professionally I have pivoted and I’m really enjoying the change. I love change and I thrive in new challenges and opportunities. 

Personally I was heart broken at the time but I have done a fair bit of soul searching and trying to find the meaning in things and actually I am happier now than before. I have a much greater sense of gratitude and appreciation for the small things, I’m more confident because I have proven that I can be resilient and resourceful and I’m enjoying the gardening community I have found on Instagram.”

What are you now finding challenging right now?

“I don’t indulge negative thoughts very much, its not even so much a conscious thing, they just subconsciously don’t register. I miss my family and friends and having people round to the house but we’re living through a global pandemic which will be talked about for the rest of our lives and long after we’re gone. I’m determined to make it a positive memory and not a negative one for me and my family.”

What has got you through? What have been your coping strategies?

“Gosh. How long have you got? I’m lucky that I have a loving family and a husband who I find both fit and funny (two of the key ingredients I think for a successful marriage!) Finding new ways of killing time together has been fun (home schooling was a BIT challenging) but we didn’t put too much pressure on ourselves and chose to focus on the things they don’t teach at school – how to navigate a dingy through the rapids in the river at the end of our road, mountain biking up a big hill (VERY challenging for mummy with a fear of heights but a competitive streak which meant I did it eventually but cried in the process.)

Gardening has brought so much happiness to me personally this year – the mindfulness of sowing seeds, potting them on and planting them out and watching them bloom is pure joy. Literally its like drugs. Picking them and arranging them and filling your house with them – even more joyous. Also addictive.

Coping strategies – I have a few. Don’t listen to the news; it’s opinion and they rely on it being bad otherwise they are out of a job. Watch funny movies. Drink tea in the garden as the sun comes up (this is a daily ritual) Watch the bees and butterflies – a LOT! Swim in the lake, walk the dog, phone a friend, eat a brownie, go to bed early and savour the small things.

Daily gratitude is a big one for me.”

Do you feel that Lockdown has changed your outlook and if so how?

“DEFINITELY! It think it’s proven that we’re made of strong stuff. That we can make the best of any situation and perhaps we don’t need to fill our lives with as much outside influence as we first thought. Jonny and I gave up alcohol at the end of June – Jonny was a big drinker and it was getting worse and I stopped to support him. We’re BIG socialisers and our house was a great party house but giving up the booze has improved our relationship and whilst I still find it hard sometimes, I’m proud that I am dealing with the good and the bad emotions myself and not by supressing it. I’m untamed!”

Personally how have you managed your mind and wellbeing throughout Lockdown? And of your family?

“I’m actually doing a Positive LIVE on Instagram every weekday during this lockdown and it’s been so interesting. I have always been aware of my mental health and the things I need to do to manage it (a bit like managing your weight or your fitness) I’m not happy all the time but when I feel myself spiral down, I know what to do to bring myself up and it’s different for everyone.

I’ve realised that I get a lot of joy from making other people smile and maybe inspiring them to try some ‘positive’ wellbeing exercises. Did you know that gratitude is one of the biggest contributors to happiness (I didn’t know that until I read The How of Happiness) and I find it all so interesting.

I’ve thought that maybe I’d like to do some coaching training because I like getting the best from people and seeing others thrive. “

Andrea has also created a range of funny gardening t-shirts
What are your thoughts on travel right now?

“Just booked flights to Portugal for Easter!”

What are your current handbag essentials?

“A pair of secateurs – I carry them around in a bright red Mulberry bag and a trip to Waitrose will inevitably result in a bag full of berried holly, eucalyptus and pine cones! I have this thing for wreaths what can I say?”

What gets you through Working from Home?

“A morning cuppa in the garden. We also bought the kids a couple of rabbits that look like baby koala bears so when I’m feeling a bit moochy, I’ll go and sit with them in the garden and they make me laugh.”

What is your work wardrobe like now from what it used to be? 

“I must admit that I am definitely not as ‘on point’ as I was before COVID. I generally wear mum jeans, tucked in jumper and Converse every day but I DO have to make an effort for the daily week day Live videos so I generally slap on some pink or red lipstick and that makes me feel better!”

What are your current 5 essential items of clothing?

“Mum jeans, knitted jumper, Converse, wooly hat (for the garden) and a parka”

What is your vision for the future of your business?

“Oooh this is easy. I could see my vision as clear as day, from the moment I came up with the idea and that same week I found a photographer and drove 2 hours to my nearest dahlia farm and asked her to take a load of photos of me there.

This was now what I had to work towards. I printed them out and stuck them on the fridge, saved them as my screen saver and started to tell people that’s what I was doing. No idea how yet but I’ll work it out.

I launched the site 7 days ago and I’ve taken 49 orders already so I must be doing something right! Some days I take bigger steps than others but each day was a step closer and the small wins eventually add up.

Next summer I’ll have a dahlia farm where I’ll host workshops in gardening, flower picking and arranging and also sell my dahlia collections as plants (not just tubers) I’m going to create lots of ‘dahlia beaches’ where people can hang out, drink coffee, meet friends and pick flowers. 

I’ll also have sold 500 boxes of my dahlia collections as tubers and taught my customers how to grow them all. Their feeds will be overflowing with gorgeous photos of the flowers they have grown and everyone will want a Dahlia Beach of their own!

Then In three years time I’ll have my own specialist dahlia nursery and I’ll also supply all my local florists, farm shops, cafes and wedding venues with my flowers.

I want it to be sustainable. I want to promote mental wellbeing and encourage community involvement through local colleges and charities. I want to make gardening and flowers accessible, relatable and fun. I’m convinced that you can grow yourself happy and I’m confident that I can show you how.”

www.dahliabeach.co.uk and follow Andrea on Instagram here

If you loved this inspiring article then you will love hearing about another incredible flower business, FLOWERBX and it’s founder Whitney Bromberg here

The public speaking workshop part 3: How to write a whip-smart speech

In the third part of our public speaking workshop (Part 1 was ‘Getting your mindset right‘ and Part 2 was Pro Tips for Knockout Speech) we’ve asked the experts for all of the tips, tricks and teachings you need for a writing a speech or presentation.

You’re due to give a speech, whether at a wedding, work meeting or Zoom conference, and as if your pre-public speaking nerves weren’t enough you’re sat in front of a blank doc with writer’s block. Sound familiar? 

It may be reassuring to know that the world’s most articulate wordsmiths can struggle with this exact same keyboard paralysis when it comes to putting a speech down on paper. Speaking aloud has a different rhythm to reading words on a page and it can be all too easy to lose your audience by way of meandering anecdotes, knotty language or complicated graphs and tables that distract from the point that you’re trying to put across (making no mention of recent PowerPoint fails at UK government press briefings). 

Delivering an Obama (or Kamala) level speech may indeed be an art and there’s a reason why public speakers often hire a crack team of speechwriters to spin their initial ideas and concepts into public speaking gold. Luckily you don’t need to enlist a scribe to craft a speech that’s memorable for all of the right reasons – learn the surprisingly simple speech writing secrets of those in the know and you’ll have your audience eating out of the palm of your hand. Or at the very least, listening, which really isn’t something to be taken for granted according to the experts. 

Knowledge is power

Phil Waknell, co-founder of communication and presentation agency Ideas On Stage, suggests getting out of your own head as the starting point for writing a speech:

“Tailor your speech to your audience: it’s theirs, not yours. Speak to them specifically and personally, using relevant examples and stories where possible. 

“If you make it clear that this isn’t the same speech you would give – or have given many times – to other audiences, they will listen more attentively and appreciate the effort that you’ve made to adapt to them.”

In essence, everyone likes to feel special, even in a virtual room of avatars. Understanding your audience, where they’re coming from and what makes them tick will play to your advantage before you’ve even begun typing.

What’s the story?

This may seem like an extremely basic starting point, but establishing the story that you’re trying to tell (or sell) from the outset is key to the eventual success of a speech. Phil explains why consistent, engaging narratives are so important:

“People forget facts and general statements, but our minds light up when we hear real, concrete stories, meaning that we listen intently and remember so much more of the detail in the stories, and therefore the speech.” 

We’re not suggesting that you go in with a ‘book at bedtime’ approach, but painting a vivid picture to illustrate your point will capture your audience’s attention and imagination while improving their retention of your speech in the long term. Phil advises focusing on the “emotional journey” of a speech rather than reeling off information or stringing together logical arguments. While the latter approach works well for a written essay, even the most formal of speeches needs to centre on emotional and attention-grabbing ‘hooks. That said, ensure that your register is appropriate for the occasion…

Set the tone 

Before you fall into TED Talk induced overwhelm, retired paediatrician, university lecturer and now wildlife photographer Dr Mark Hunter underlines that there are fewer ‘types’ of speech than you might imagine: 

“There are three main goals when giving a speech – to entertain, to teach/inform or to persuade. There’s limited crossover between these types and even ceremonial speeches adhere to this categorisation, for example the aim of a wedding speech is to entertain while a eulogy is an education about the life of the deceased.”

With this in mind, Mark emphasises that it’s vital to establish why you’re making a speech and briefly explain your credentials for doing so to the audience too:

“Introduce yourself (it’s rude not to), explain where you’re taking the audience and justify your talk before delivering the main substance. Then end with a summary, conclusion or punchline that’ll resonate long after you’ve left the stage or pressed ‘Leave Meeting’.” 

As for that punchline, Mark has a pointer on comedy:

“Tread carefully when it comes to humour. If you’re going there, make sure that any jokes are genuinely funny (road test them on a close, captive audience beforehand) and that you know your audience well. Don’t let humour distract from a serious talk.” 

That’s not to say that a phenomenal finale is off the cards…

‘Sandwich’ your speech

Creating a striking entrance and exit is the distinguishing feature of a rousing speech. Just as an audience’s attention is held rapt by a suspenseful, intriguing or heartfelt story, so a powerful catchphrase or statement will live on in your audience’s memory. Malala Yousafzai’s 2013 address to the UN highlighting every child’s right to education is one such compelling close (“one child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world”) while Greta Thunberg’s searing opener at the 2019 UN Climate Change Summit (“this is all wrong; I shouldn’t be up here”) had the world and its leaders hanging onto her every word from the off. 

Phil affirms that how you bookend your speech makes all the difference between an attentive audience and an AWOL one:

“Aim to provoke an emotional reaction within the first 30 seconds. Grab their attention and make the audience realise that they will actively enjoy your speech as well as gain or learn something from it. Make them smile, make them laugh (if that’s appropriate), make them raise their eyebrows – just don’t make them bored.”

Go analogue

From there, Phil advocates taking a step back from Microsoft Office:

“When you’re writing a speech, don’t just reel it off verbatim in Word or PowerPoint. Begin with sticky notes or notecards and write down one salient idea per card. Assemble your ideas into a storyline that will reset the audience’s attention every few minutes.”

Mark adds that the average audience’s attention span peaks at between 15-20 minutes, so don’t try to stuff in too much – stick to three main points, max. He advises keeping props minimal (if you’re using them) and if you’re presenting slides opt for clear fonts written large and in monochrome, ideally with headings that ‘fly’ in to prevent your audience from reading ahead. Mark also urges you to construct your speech in a way that will work if tech or add-ons fail you. You don’t want to be held hostage by dodgy wifi. 

Finally, if you’re still up a speech-writing creek without a paddle, heed the ultimate public speaking wisdom of former US president Franklin D. Roosevelt:

“Be sincere; be brief; be seated.” 

If you like this article then you will LOVE the rest of our Personal Growth section where you can find articles on everything from ‘How to Feng Shui your Office’ to ‘How to keep relationships in tact despite despite differing political views.’

Tools of the trade

Once upon a time, all we had in our bathroom beauty arsenal was a face mask and (if we were lucky) an exfoliator. How times have changed. Thanks to huge advancements in the world of skincare and technology we are now able to mimic professional beauty treatments at home with a huge array of hi-tech at-home facial gadgets and tools. And with current COVID-19 restrictions on spa-based beauty treatments, they have never been more in demand . But which do we use and rate? Here’s how the 35 Thousand team get their glow on….

The at home facial

Foreo UFO II, $159.20

This palm-sized gadget is a bit like the Swiss Army knife of the beauty world. If you haven’t seen it before, it’s a round silicon covered disc-shaped gadget with one side that has a ring round it that lights up (hence the name). On this (flat) side you attach one of the Foreo masks (you scan the barcode on the back of the mask so your device knows which one you are using) and a synced app on your phone will talk you through the next steps.

“Placing the UFO II against your skin it will either then vibrate (sonic massaging), use full spectrum light therapy, warm up to deliver ingredients into your skin and cool down to close pores. Editorial Director Susannah Taylor uses one and says “It’s a very clever piece of kit that makes skincare work harder. It’s perfect for these times when we can’t make it to a spa and my skin looks radiant since I’ve started using it. However the one downside is that you have to use the Foreo masks with it when you may prefer to use your favourite brand.”

Buy here

The Microcurrent device

ZIIP GX $495

The ZIIP is a handbag sized electrical facial tool that promises healthier more glowy skin. It uses nanocurrents and microcurrents to communicate with your skin cells, increasing their effectiveness and encouraging the production of elastin and collagen. Misty Reich founder of 35 Thousand says “It’s super portable and I love that there are different treatment programs you activate via an app on your phone that then load onto the device via Bluetooth. Each one also comes with a video which you mirror at home. Programs span 1-12 minutes and can be super focused – for example you can choose depuffing and brightening the eyes or treat your whole face and neck.”

The downside, Misty says, “Is that the shape of the device can make it tough to get into some parts of the face (such as round the eyes) and it has two larger contact metal pads that both have to be touching your face for the device to work. However the glow factor is great.”

The ZIIP electrical facial tool

Buy here ziipbeauty.com and here for Nuface Trinity

 

NUFACE Trinity $325

The Nuface is an advanced microcurrent device which helps to improve facial contours, tone skin, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles – all in just 5 minutes a day. With two models – Trinity and Mini – they both have similar power levels, but the Trinity is bigger and you can change the treatment heads to sizes and shapes to address specific areas (ie eyes or body).  Meanwhile, the mini version is very portable, and great for on the go.

“The device beeps at regular intervals to tell you to move to another area and you can find and print out treatment programs to follow,” says Misty Reich, however she says the one downside is that there is no app to follow. “Microcurrent in general can give great results if used regularly for lifting and tightening – it has a subtle but real impact,” she says, “They all require use of a conducting gel of some sort- they will try to sell you their gel but Aloe Vera gel works great for me too.”

Buy here

The Contouring bar 

The Gold Bar, Jillian Dempsey $195

Jillian Dempsey’s Gold bar is a high-tech 24 carat gold vibrating bar that promises to lift, contour, tone and revive skin. “I’m a big fan of this product,” says PR director and journalist Anna-Marie Solowij “It delivers a deep massage, making my skin glow, while helping to prop up sagging jowls and iron out ‘tech neck’ lines. I was lucky enough to have a masterclass with Jillian, in her studio in LA, and the way she used it wasn’t what I expected – with really firm pressure, working upwards to counteract gravity. Pre COVID, it was a key prep tool in my arsenal before a night out; ironically, now I’m not going out but have more time, I find I’m using it more.” 

Buy here

The Gold Bar from Jillian Dempsey

The Dermaplaning tool

The Hollywood Smoother

Over the last few years, dermaplaning – the removal of the peach fuzz (known as ‘vellus’ to the beauty world) from your skin – has risen in popularity. According to CurrentBody who stock a huge selection of electrical beauty products, there has been a 58% lift of sales in home dermaplaning products since the beginning of lockdown. Here at 35 Thousand we feel it’s best to have a consultation with a dermaplaning expert before you attempt it yourself at home (removing the wrong type of hair can cause it to grow back thicker), however once you’ve learnt the ropes the Hollywood Smoother – which uses sonic technology to remove hair – can be useful for many reasons. Susannah Taylor says “Whilst I don’t use this to remove vellus, I actually use it for tidying up under my eyebrows and it works very well on removing random nasal hairs. I also use it on my husband’s ears which are becoming a bit furry around the edges! It’s much less traumatic than plucking.” 

Buy here

The derma roller

Glo PRO Microneedling Regeneration Tool 0.3mm needles, $199

If you are not familiar with a dermaroller then it is a hand-held rolling device covered in tiny spikes . The thought process behind it is that it will create micro tears in your skin which will allow product to penetrate more deeply but it will also cause the skin to heal in that area and rebuild with more collagen. Formerly just used in facials or by dermatologists, they have now made it into our bathrooms.

There are two lengths recommended for home use  – 0.3mm and 0.5mm. Misty Reich says “The longer the needle the deeper the ‘channel’ in the skin and the deeper the skincare actives you apply afterwards will go. If used properly, where the device is kept sanitised, and you use it with good skincare and don’t overuse it you can get a great glow.” Misty says she also knows people who swear by using it on brows in conjunction with a growth serum for rebuilding over plucked or thinning brows.”
Buy here

The GLOPro microneedling tool

The Gua Sha tool  

Hayo’u Beauty Restorer, £38

For those that like a more natural approach, then the Hayo’u Beauty Restorer is definitely worth a try. Made from one piece of polished rose quartz and inspired by the ancient Chinese tradition of Gua Sha (which means ‘pressed skin flush’) it is ergonomically designed to fit the contours of your face to improve circulation, lymphatic drainage, plump and sculpt skin and help reduce lines and wrinkles. Susannah Taylor says, “I use the Hayo’u Beauty Restorer regularly and love the glow that it gives my skin. I have tried many other brands but think this is the best for its thickness and design. In the mornings I often use it in sweeping movements from the centre of my face outwards with a few drops of facial oil and find it leaves my skin glowing and plumped for the day ahead.”

Buy here

The Ice Roller

001 Cryopress £148

Much has been written lately about Cryotherapy for the body – cold showers and wild swimming in chilly waters are said to increase blood circulation and immunity experts even believe a shock of cold can be beneficial for our immune systems. The ‘cold’ trend has now transferred to skincare – for many years facialists have spoken about splashing our faces with cold water after washing it to close the pores, but now we can take that one step further with a Cryotherapy roller. To be kept in the freezer, this one from 001 Cryopress is said to biologically trigger blood circulation which in turn increases oxygen supply to the skin as well as nutrients and an increase in cell renewal. Susannah Taylor says, “I personally love this tool for the way it feels on my skin – you take it out of the freezer and it’s ice cold but feels very soothing on the skin. My skin looks like it does after a freezing cold walk (smooth, pores closed), but then transforms into an amazing glow. Perfect before a special event.”

Buy here

If you enjoyed reading this feature then you might like reading about skincare for maskne and wearing behind a mask here

How she carries on: Ashley Burghardt of Stitch Fix

Ashley Burghardt is the UK Styling Manager at Stitch Fix the personal style service for men and women in the US and UK. After an online style consultation, Stitch Fix use a stylist to hand pick you a curated wardrobe edit taken from many stylish brands including Boss, Whistles, and Rag &Bone. This is then delivered to you at home where you can try everything on and pay for what you keep. Ashley talks to 35Thousand about how she’s juggled her team with her job throughout lockdown.

Tell us about your work

“I’m the UK Styling Manager at Stitch Fix, based in London. I lead an amazing team of people leaders and stylists (145 in total), whose main focus is making our customers look and feel their best and making sure our teams feel the same. I sit on the local UK leadership team, working alongside a group of highly motivated and talented leaders who support various functions of the business. I’ve been with Stitch Fix for over 6 years now, in both the US and the UK, and hands down, the company culture and unique individuals I’ve had the opportunity to work with have made my experience.”

Where do you physically work currently?

“Given this new world we’re operating in, I’m working remotely from my home in West London. Prior, I was based in Holborn.”

What is the best thing about your work?

“There is a lot of responsibility in leading teams: individuals growth, development, and employee experiences rely heavily on you as a manager. It isn’t always easy, but it’s incredibly rewarding. Being a part of someone’s journey and helping them achieve their goals is one of the best things about my job.”

Stitch Fix use stylists to hand pick you a wardrobe edit which you will then receive by post
What has been the most pivotal point of your career so far?

“Making the decision to uproot my family and move us from Texas to London to launch Stitch Fix in a new country. At the time my daughter was 2 and my son was 5. It was no small feat! But the last 2+ years have included the greatest learnings and growth I’ve experienced in my career to date.”

What’s your context outside of work

“I live with my two children and husband in West London. Our son is 7 and daughter is 4. They definitely keep us on our toes. I love working out and I really enjoy cooking…which I don’t get to do to the level I like often enough. A good yoga session energizes me like nothing else. In my life before Stitch Fix, I was in fashion design and I have a creative/artistic side I like to fulfill in my free time. That side can come out in many different ways, from colouring in a colouring book with my little ones, to decorating my husband’s restaurant that he opened this May. The restaurant has been a project that has taken a lot of my focus outside of work this year.”

What was your ‘normal ‘day to day life like pre COVID?

“During the week, I was waking up early and jumping on the Tube to get a workout in at the Virgin Active in Covent Garden, quickly showering and getting myself to the office to kick off the day. As we work globally with US partners, I have meetings with CA counterparts that go a bit later, so I generally left the office around 2 or 3 p.m. to commute home and finish my meetings from my home office. This allowed me to jump out of a meeting that ended at 6 or 7pm and be able to sit down for dinner with the family, instead of commuting and getting in just before or after bed time.

My husband and I have always prioritised continuing to date, so pre-COVID there were many more dinners out exploring all that London has to offer. We are big foodies and live (and travel) to experience great food, libations, and cultures. 

Weekends held a lot more time out in London exploring. At the time COVID hit, we had only been living here for about a year and a half so there is still so much to see. We’d also play with the kids and getting in good family time.”

What is your day-to day life like now after Lockdown?

“I worked remotely for years before moving to London and have actually always found great balance with a remote set up. It takes away wasted time commuting and allows me to focus that time in work or personal areas of life. You can also take those little breaks between meetings to throw a load of laundry in or water the houseplants (because yes my house has become a jungle since lockdown, I’m all about the houseplants!). I really feel I thrive personally and professionally remote. Don’t get me wrong, I love connecting with my team and coworkers in person, but I find day-to-day, I’m more productive when I’m remote and like to use in-person time to really foster connection and build relationships.

Stitch Fix work with many top brands to build clients’ wardrobes

Generally, I kick off my mornings with some snuggles with my kids, cartoons and a coffee. I usually get the kids sitting down for breakfast as I head upstairs for a quick workout. I get ready for the day, which varies greatly depending on the meetings I have in the calendar for the day. I wear anything from yoga pants and tinted moisturizer to a full face of makeup and smart look if the day calls for it.

My husband and I have inconsistent schedules and we are fortunate to have an amazing nanny that helps with school runs. I’m usually sitting down by 8:30am to jump into my work day. On the nights my husband isn’t working at his restaurant, I make sure to close work by 5:30pm and get good family time in. Other nights, I’ll do meetings a little later to capture more time with US partners and sign off closer to bedtime so I can get the kids down. I’m reading the Harry Potter series to my son and it’s our special time together in the evening. 

Date nights and weekends definitely look a bit different. During warmer months, we spent a lot more time in our garden and at local parks. Since it’s been a little cooler and darker we’ve found ourselves playing more board games and cooking together.”

What are you now finding challenging right now?

“The seasonal changes are definitely feeling challenging. Being a native Texan the chilly, damp, and extremely short winter days take their toll. It was the biggest adjustment when we moved. As we reach the time of year where you still have hours of your work day left when it looks like the middle of the night, I have to make sure I take care of myself and find ways to keep energy up without drinking my weight in caffeine. Being back in lockdown in November feels like it’s going to be much harder than those long warm spring and summer days we had. 

It’s also much harder with young children who need to get their energy out. When you can’t get to the playground or just run around outside after school, the evenings get long as they just aren’t as tired and feel a bit more restless.”

After an online consultation Stitch Fix work with many stylish brands to deliver a curated edit to your door
What has got you through? What have been your coping strategies?

‘Self care. Making sure I continue to work out and eat well has always been important to me to keep stress down and ensure I’m feeling my best. It’s been even more important during these times. Also, just allowing time to decompress. So what if that load of laundry doesn’t get done or the dishes sit for a little bit longer. If a break is needed, I try to just take it.’

What are your current handbag essentials?

“Tinted lip balm, hand sanitizer (of course) and a great hand balm to counteract the dry skin. Sun glasses and a compact umbrella, because you just never know what this UK weather will be like.”

What gets you through working from home?

“We’ve always invested in a good coffee machine. I’m a flat white kind of girl, so a good machine and milk frother is a must. This definitely saved us in the lockdown transition as 1-3 cups of coffee are a daily must. I’ve also been drinking mushroom coffee recently and love the way it makes me feel.

I also love my standing desk – since we aren’t out and about as much, remembering to stand up and move around is important. I’m in a good deal of meetings and being able to take them standing at times is great.”

What is your work wardrobe like now from what it used to be?

“On work from home days with no meetings, I’ve always been the type to stay in my workout clothes to keep it comfy. Generally I’m in comfy yoga pants or joggers and a put together top.”

What are your current 5 essential items of clothing?

“I’d be lying if I said yoga pants weren’t a staple a good deal of the time. I recently got this oversized cardi by Find (Amazon’s brand). It fits so well and looks great with jeans, dresses, skirts, you name it. I went back and got it in 3 colours and wear them all the time. Then my Dr. Marten boots also get their wear in – I love tossing them on with a wrap skirt and top or with warm socks and leggings, depending on the day. I would also have a simple black, high neck bodysuit (you can do so much with it) as well as stylish trainers and my jersey midi dress.”

If you loved reading this article then you will love the rest of our How She Carries On series with many inspirational women from Sarah Vine to Whitney Bromberg Hawkins founder of FlowerBX. Read more here

How She Carries On: Faith Russell of Mags Creative

Faith Russell is one of the founders of leading podcast production and promotion agency Mags Creative which brings a number of UK voices to the podcast space including Laura Whitmore, Deliciously Ella, Alice Liveing, Amy Lane and Clemmie Telford. In a world of mindless scrolling, Mags Creative believes that the power of the spoken word brings us all a little closer together.  Their shows have been downloaded over 12.4 million times to date.

Here Faith tells us about being an introvert and being pushed out of her comfort zone, letting go of the urge to plan right now, and why listening to podcasts and talks of vulnerability has got her through this year.

Tell us about your work

“I started a podcast production and promotion agency called Mags Creative with my sister Hannah 18 months ago and we’ve grown to a creative team of producers, sound engineers, brand experts and researchers. We actually named the company Mags Creative after our unsurpassable grandma, Margaret –  known to the many that loved her as Mags or Maggie. I think of her every day and I love that her name lives on in this company.”

Where do you physically work currently?

“I work at my home in Camberwell and I somehow manage to work in every room in the house during the working day. I tend to change my background for every call to keep things fresh in my own mind..!”

What is the best thing about your work?

“It’s such an incredible feeling to be creating content that has a meaningful impact in showcasing stories that wouldn’t have previously been heard or progressing important conversations. This month, for example, we’ve had the pleasure of working with Lily Cole on the release of her podcast Who Cares Wins: an ancillary audio supplement to her Penguin released book earlier in the year.

The podcast series holds a series of divergent opinions that ‘solve for climate change’ with insights from the likes of Elon Musk, Patti Smith, Sir Paul McCartney and Sir David Attenborough to name a few. It’s such a buzz to work on a podcast that is rooted in a sense of mission and purpose.”

Faith has found podcasts particularly therapeutic throughout COVID 19
What is the worst?

“Hopefully a lot of business owners can relate to this one, but when you really love what you do and have real ambitions for growth, I think it can be a challenge to give yourself permission to switch off without guilt. Guilt is such a useless emotion, isn’t it? I’m working on this one because I know that my most creative moments have come from the unexpected – when I’ve given myself space and freedom to think inventively rather than being bogged down in the minutiae and consistently staring at a laptop 12 hours a day.”

What has been the most pivotal point of your career so far?

“When we first launched Mags Creative, we were a marketing agency that supported brands across podcasts, events, social media and influencer campaigns. Twelve months in, we saw the growth of podcasts and made the (daunting) decision to relaunch solely as a podcast agency. We had to turn down other work along the way but we’ve stayed true to our belief in the podcasts we were producing – and thankfully we haven’t looked back.”

What is the best advice you’ve ever had?

“My mum is great at advice and my sounding board when I can’t quite get perspective on something. As we’re hitting growth goals, I naturally have an ‘onto the next’ approach but my mum always encourages me to appreciate the wins in real time. It’s so easy to be waiting for the end destination and end up missing the journey of getting there. 

Another thing I learnt really early on is that mistakes are inevitable – I’ve made many mistakes in my career and no doubt I’ll continue to get things wrong in the future. I love any insight around reframing failures as opportunities for growth and try to instil this in my team. 

Ultimately, my biggest challenges have taught me so much more than any successes and I’m now the first person to hold my hands up and say ‘this is really hard, isn’t it?’ It feels like this takes more courage than ‘faking it till I make it’.”

What’s your context outside of work?

“Hannah gave birth to the most beautiful little girl called Alba in the middle of lockdown and I fell in love with her instantly. When work is overwhelming, I’ll message Hannah ask her for some ‘Alba-therapy’. Babies are great at keeping us present as Alba will never let me look at my phone and get distracted with work emails!”

What was your ‘normal ‘day to day life like pre COVID?

“I’ve always been a morning person – it’s the only time of day I feel free to be slow — whether that’s taking my time to enjoy (rather than inhale) a cup of tea, an online yoga class or a long walk before the rest of the world has woken up. When the pandemic hit, my mornings became more sacred than ever – it’s the time I feel most centred and set up for the day ahead.”

Who Cares Wins is one of Mags Creatives podcasts by Lily Cole following the launch of her book of the same name this year

How has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally?

“Personally, I feel that the crisis has made my relationships more meaningful and helped me find happiness in the simplest of things. 

Professionally, lockdown happened at the same point as Hannah went on maternity leave, which means that there was a whole new set of business challenges during this time. Hannah would usually oversee new business pitches whilst I manage our existing clients but this year, I’ve had to step into her (very large) shoes and take on the role of being more outward facing for the brand. I have to admit that, as a natural introvert, there have been moments of imposter syndrome and doubting my pitching abilities, but ultimately it’s built my confidence and made me feel empowered to grow the business.”

What are you now finding challenging right now?

“An ongoing challenge is releasing the urge to plan. When the world has no idea of where we’ll be in 1 month, I have to sit with the discomfort of holding off on planning the next 12 months of Mags Creative, but trusting that with my team (who are awesome) we will continue to be reactive and adapt to the situation in real time.”

What has got you through?

“A predictable answer from me, but podcasts! Listening to honest conversations of vulnerability make me feel so much less alone. Some of the podcasts that saw me through lockdown include Mo Gawdat’s podcast Slo Mo for perspective on happiness, The Squiggly Careers podcast for career advice during a very uncertain time for so many people and Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place (the episodes with Glennon Doyle and Russell Brand were particularly incredible).”

Do you feel that Lockdown has changed your outlook and if so how?

“I am embracing the knowledge that there is so much that happens that is outside of our control.  Sometimes we just have to sit in the not knowing. (I know, it’s uncomfortable just typing it…!) No hypotheticals or no future plans to hide behind. Also, realising that we actually pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things which can either be a scary thought or a liberating one – and I choose to take the latter approach.”

Personally how have you managed your mind and wellbeing throughout Lockdown?

“From the start of lockdown, I’ve tried to keep checking in with myself, my friends and family and my team to encourage a dialogue about how we are all coping through such an uncertain time. We have a team check-in everyday to not only touch base on what we’re working on but to share how we’re feeling and to voice if we’re struggling. There will undoubtedly be low moments but having a support system is so important and something I don’t ever want to take for granted.

I realised this when I started volunteering with Independent Age where I call the elderly once a week who don’t have any relatives to support them through this time – it can be heart-breaking but also incredibly rewarding to be doing something to help. Practically, I try to bring some consistency to my wellness routine with yoga videos or walks in nature, cooking healthy and delicious food and enjoying boxset Sundays with my boyfriend.”

What are your thoughts on travel right now?

“I had no idea how much I value travel until we were told we couldn’t go anywhere. For me, the act of physically removing myself from my day-to-day routine and setting gives me so much perspective. I usually do one big trip a year and often I go alone (solo travel is the best kind in my opinion). Last year I went to India on a solo yoga retreat, and I had plans to go to Bali this December to do the same.

This isn’t happening in the current climate, so it’s definitely encouraged me to appreciate the escapes closer to home. Instead, I’ll be going to St Mawes this December for cold, wet walks, warming soups and box set days. Dreamy.”

What are your current handbag essentials?

“I’ve never really been into lots of ‘stuff’ apart from the usual keys, wallet, phone but one thing I’ve always done since I was little was carry around a snack stash wherever I go. (It used to be Wagon Wheels and as an adult, I’ve upgraded to Deliciously Ella bars).”

What gets you through Working from Home?

“I’m a creature of habit and my lunchtime scrambled eggs made my boyfriend is always a highlight. I also love the ritual of making a matcha latte in the morning and drinking it really mindfully.”

What is your work wardrobe like now from what it used to be? 

“I’ve always been into the less is more approach when it comes to my wardrobe – I’d rather buy quality pieces that I wear again and again. One benefit of lockdown was that it prompted me to reorganise my wardrobe and re-wear items that haven’t been worn for years. 

When we started Mags Creative from our kitchen table, I would get fully dressed in my work outfit to help get me into the mindset of productivity. When lockdown happened, I started dressing for work as if I was leaving the house – but as it’s getting colder and darker outside, I’ve gone for comfort instead (think comfortable leggings and warming jumpers).”

Faith has a collection of Anthropologie headbands for quickly adding glamour to her look
What are your current 5 essential items of clothing?

Denim dungarees 

Not really an item of clothing but I love an Anthropologie headband 

A colourful print shirt to brighten up winter days  

A cosy cashmere jumper 

Sweaty Betty leggings  

What is your vision for the future of your business?

“We want to keep creating content that brings important conversations to light and reaches audiences in a meaningful way. The big vision that we’d like to become the largest independent podcast company in the UK – and the exciting thing is that I truly believe that we can do that.”

If you loved this article then you will love our other How She Carries On articles. See journalist Sarah Vine’s here

Domestic Affairs

From the US election to Brexit and COVID-19, current affairs have arguably never been more divisive. The Twitter threads are feverish, there’s scrapping in the WhatsApp groups and frankly let’s not go there with Facebook, but how do you handle significant differences in opinion and home politics when the conversational fires are raging in your living room? 

It’s an issue that many of us are increasingly contending with given the fractious state of global affairs and no one is immune to 2020 familial turbulence. In the US, former advisor to President Trump, Kellyanne Conway was subject to takedowns on TikTok by her daughter Claudia Conway owing to their contrasting political views, with left-leaning Claudia even tweeting that she was at one point “officially pushing for emancipation”. 

To add further tension at the family dinner table, Kellyanne’s husband and Claudia’s father is attorney and vocal anti-Trump critic George Conway, who was a founder member of The Lincoln Project, a conservative group whose mission statement is to “Defeat President Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box”. Both Kellyanne and George have recently left their roles at The White House and The Lincoln Project respectively, to “Devote more time to family matters” according to George. 

Things are no less strained for political families over the pond either. In a recent interview with 35 Thousand, journalist and wife of Rt Hon Minister of the Cabinet Michael Gove Sarah Vine described “Not always seeing eye to eye with government policy” as one of the most significant professional challenges she’s faced during the coronavirus pandemic, not to mention the fact that “It occasionally makes things awkward at home”. 

While most of us aren’t quite so directly embedded in the cut and thrust of day to day politics, heated disputes on the subject of everything from who to vote for to how to interpret COVID-19 restrictions can threaten to split up friendships and cause fault lines in family dynamics. A clash of views needn’t be insurmountable, however, and experts insist that exchanging and explaining opposing perspectives can in fact make relationships stronger and healthier. Just bear the following ‘minimal fallout’ advice in mind to keep things civil. 

Start with the three ‘C’s

That’s compassion, common ground and curiosity. Dr Mara Klemich, Consulting Psychologist and Neuropsychologist, explains how to take on hot topics with extra TLC:

“The very best way to start any discussion is by looking for the good in the other person’s views. Even if there are only a few small things that you can agree on, begin the conversation from a position of agreement and emphasise the warmth, trust, and openness that your relationship is built on.” 

Psychotherapist Dr Nicole Gehl agrees that exercising compassion will naturally lead to a more constructive conversation:

“Be respectful in your approach and gentle with your words. People generally respond far more positively to controversy when it’s presented in a gentle manner rather than with aggression. Speaking specifically, this means delivering your message without threats, attacks, judgment or disrespect.”

In short, don’t resort to trolling your friend or family member – greater mutual understanding and fulfilling dialogue is the aim, which is where curiosity comes in. Dr Mara highlights why asking questions is as important as getting your point across:

“Becoming more inquisitive is a brilliant way to live your life in general but it especially comes into its own when applied to relationships.

“When engaging in a tricky conversation, instead of first reeling off your viewpoints and evidence, simply ask considered questions such as ‘what’s your perspective about x?’ or ‘I’ve never thought about x like that – could you explain a little more?’. This can turn a potential argument into a much more reasonable discussion.”

Once you’ve demonstrated your curiosity, be sure to adhere to the next rule of peaceful conversation…

Be all ears 

How often have you left a gap in conversation not simply to let another person speak but to plot your next whip smart retort? We’re all guilty of approaching an impassioned discussion as if it’s a verbal war to be won, but really listening to what is being said and expressed by the other party distinguishes a meaningful exchange from a ‘tit-for-tat’ tantrum. Just listen (intently) to Dr Mara on this one:

“Be willing to give the other person your undivided attention and they will be more willing to give theirs to you. Respect the other person and their perspective – after all, all we all have is a perspective, even though we tend to think that ours is the ‘right’ one. Listening actively and thoughtfully is vital.”

No matter how much you might disagree with what is being said, avoid interrupting the other person’s points – Dr Mara stresses that “All that this indicates is that you don’t care about them, only your own views”. 

See opportunity, not catastrophe

Psychologist and certified therapist Dr Kalanit Ben-Ari underlines that your relationship isn’t doomed simply because you hold different beliefs on a particular issue – it could actually serve to spice things up:

“You likely wouldn’t spend much time with your partner, friend or family member if they weren’t a wonderful human being – the fact that you see a certain situation differently doesn’t take away from this. 

“Try not to view a difference of opinion as a disaster and instead appreciate that it presents the opportunity for a really interesting discussion that will help you both to grow. Remember that you’re both equals, just with different perspectives and experiences of the world. Yourself and your friend or partner have a distinct history, upbringing and belief system that all contribute to influence your own unique opinions so see disagreements as reflective of your individual experiences rather than a personal attack.”

Retaining a sense of humour also takes the sting out of potentially inflammatory exchanges, but Dr Mara confirms that, in this delicate scenario especially, sarcasm really is the lowest form of wit:

“Steer clear of sarcasm – it mocks someone’s personal beliefs and it’s a not so subtle form of attack hiding behind a thin veneer of humour. It’s very damaging to relationships.”

Speaking of getting personal…

Read the room

Keep a check on rising tensions and tempers, both your partners’ and your own. Dr Mara explains that it’s no bad thing to be passionate about the topic at hand (“you have a right to be!”), but don’t let passion descend into powerplay, point scoring or button-pushing. 

If emotional intensity steps up by way of insults or raised voices, keep your wits about you and cool off. It’s easier said than done but Dr Mara has some de-escalation tips to put into action should things get tumultuous:

“Take a deep breath, pause, slow down the pace of your speech and adopt a less emotional tone of voice. Bring the discussion back to the facts and if it’s you who has flown off the handle or picked a fight, be sure to apologise. A simple, ‘I can get really invested in this, I don’t mean to get angry’ is a good way to express your own humility and offer an olive branch.”

Still seeing red?

If you’re stuck in conversational deadlock, Dr Mara advises prioritising your relationship over persuading your pal or partner:

“Be the bigger person and recognise that you aren’t going to change their mind, and that’s okay. Close the conversation by affirming that your partner’s perspective has given you a lot to think about and thank them for sharing their views, even if you didn’t reach an agreement or achieve the ‘desired’ outcome.”

Take some time to decompress and then heed Dr Nicole’s suggestion to “Reconnect with your similarities and pay attention to what’s good about the other person and your relationship.” It could be convening over a funny cat meme or making a meal you love – whatever makes you both tick, do that. It’s how you move forward that matters (and we hear that emancipation is quite the process). 

If you enjoyed this article then you will LOVE to read Dr Mara Klemich on dealing with difficult emotions here

How she carries on: Karen Cummings-Palmer

Karen Cummings-Palmer is a beauty brand owner and an integrative wellbeing and beauty consultant specialising in age and weight management as well as beauty from the inside out.

No matter how many products she tried, Karen could never find a product to treat her dry eczema-prone skin, and so she set about creating her own. In the award winning 79 Lux Balm Karen has used the highest quality, carefully chosen, organic ingredients that leave skin deeply hydrated without greasiness. With her nutrition background (Karen is a well known nutritional therapist), she wanted to create a product that was more than just a cream and actually fed skin with anti oxidants and deep nourishment. The result is a product that contains a skin saving cocktail of high quality essential oils, shea butter, and rose quartz as well as being rich in hyaluronic acid, amongst other anti inflammatory ingredients .

Next in the capsule range came the 79 Lux Golden Oil, a therapeutic and gold infused top-to-toe super oil containing Marula, Frankincense and Rose. Most recently Karen has added the 79 Lux hand Cream to the range which is intensely restorative and contains Rose geranium, Squalane and Vitamin C. It is the perfect antidote for our Covid-wrought, moisture-stripped hands.

Here Karen tells us about her personal experience of lockdown, running her business and the importance of staying healthy in these troublesome times.

Tell us about your work

“At the core of what I do is integrative health and nutrition specialising in age management, I have both private and corporate clients.  I also work for health and beauty brands that are aligned with my values, helping them develop or tell their story.  In January 2019 I launched my own skincare brand 79 Lux which delivers solution specific, serious skincare for the body in luxurious formulations.”

Where do you physically work currently? 

“Like so many – in my home office, or in my kitchen whipping up fast food ‘delicious nutrition’ and giving cooking classes to local clients.”

Karen applies her 79 Lux Golden Oil cheekbones, limbs, and feet
What is the best thing about your work?  

“I have the privilege of helping people.  Seeing transformations, both emotional and physical is such a joy.  Developing 79 Lux is a challenging and wonderfully creative process -seeing the product on shelves and receiving feedback is always a thrill.”

What is the worst? 

“About once a month I think “Why didn’t I climb a corporate ladder with the stability and security (real or imagined) that it brings?”  About ten minutes later I realise it just wasn’t my path and I am so grateful for my own magical, sometimes rocky, ever winding path that has led to such beauty.”

What has been the most pivotal point of your career so far?  

“Creating 79 Lux, launched first at Cult Beauty then soon after at Libertylondon.com.”

Karen with her body and handcare range which uses organic and wild crafted ingredients
What is the best advice you’ve ever had? 

“Just do it.”

What’s your context outside of work?

“Work and personal life are integrated rather than separated, family and friends are all very supportive and I take full advantage, so lines are blurred. But I am very strict about switching off small screens by 9 pm, proper meals at the dining table and Sundays are still sacred.  I am lucky enough to live close to both woodland and water in South West London so being in nature is both easy and more important now than ever.”

What was your ‘normal ‘day to day life like pre COVID?  

“,Every day starts with a few minutes of meditation a stretch, some water and between ten and twenty minutes of movement which includes Pilates, yoga and free weights.  I often follow with some oil pulling.  I don’t pick up my phone for at least an hour after waking, I’ll then check on overnight emails and Instagram activity.  

Next comes a green juice sometimes followed an hour or two later by some sort of cooked breakfast, otherwise a bullet proof coffee comes twenty minutes later.  Then I will fire up the computer and do an hour or two of admin or brainstorming.  A client might come to me or I may head out to see them and I will often have a meeting about 79 Lux or with a corporate client.  

I’m a bit of an early bird when it comes to supper, I like eating light and early in the evening except when I’m out to dinner in which case I relax and tend to eat pretty much whatever takes my fancy with the exception of dessert – excess refined sugar is reserved for big celebrations only.”

The 79 Lux hand cream is one of the finest we have tried, leaving hands nourished but not greasy
What is your day-to day life like now?

“My morning routine remains the same. Most clients are now on Zoom and of course I miss the big raucous gatherings, dancing, and theatre that would punctuate the pre Covid months.”  

How has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally?  

“Like so many I have an ever great appreciation for simplicity – the beauty of nature, the importance of spending time with family and dear friends. In many ways I am very lucky because wellness is at the core of my professional life – I have the tools to help me get through the crisis both emotionally and physically.  My need to ‘walk the talk’ is real motivation to stay well which doesn’t mean denial – balance is key, I drink red wine often but I try to stick to one glass (preferably organic) and have three alcohol free days a week.”

What are you now finding challenging right now? 

“Hanging on to the truth that this too will pass.”

What has got you through? What have been your coping strategies?

“My morning movement routine, loungewear that makes me feel and look good. Burning candles, walking in nature, 79 Lux Golden Oil that I rub on my temples to help relieve stress, on my face for nourishment and luminosity, and on the soles of my feet to help support immunity. Then there are real phone calls with or without videos (text messaging doesn’t cut it).”

Do you feel that Lockdown has changed your outlook and if so how?  

“Everything feels more urgent – if not now when?”

Personally how have you managed your mind and wellbeing throughout Lockdown?

“Wellbeing continues to be front and centre, which for me means a set of tools not a set of rules.  Mental health is at the top of my priorities – I have even greater respect for the need to constantly fine tune and create balance.”

What are your thoughts on travel right now?

“I have always been the strange woman that wipes down the plane seat, sprays air purifying essential oils on my travel blanket and hand sanitizes on a regular basis so my personal habits remain the same but of course this is a collective challenge and responsibility so my approach is that the greater the circle of contact the greater the chance of the spread and whilst I am not high risk, people around me may well be so I try and limit unnecessary travel. “

What are your current handbag essentials?  

“79 Lux’s new Restorative, Protective hand Cream that is both incredibly nurturing and antimicrobial.  Altrient C’s Vitamin C sachets, Zinc and Colloidal Silver nasal spray and the Organic Pharmacy’s hand sanitizer.”

What gets you through working from home?  

“Stretching on the hour, supplements – I take a few, but two non-negotiables that seem to help everything feel and look a bit better are Og Wellbeing Omega 3’s and Lumity’s amino acids. I’ll have two cups of espresso pre-lunch, two cups of Matcha green tea post lunch, I’ll listen to classical music, and make sure I have one purely social call.  I also love flowers, some dark chocolate or one of my oatmeal and chia cookies and take some time outside.”

What is your work wardrobe like now from what it used to be? 

“Most days I’ll apply 79 Lux Balm, spritz Frederick Malle’s Superstitious, wear pretty knickers, an old cashmere jumper, some version of a sweat pant and thick socks.  On the one or two days a week I have face to face meetings or dinners I’ll wear a dress probably by Maria Grachvogel, Sika Designs or Max Mara.   Otherwise its jeans, a Lisou London silk shirt and a tailored jacket.  My favourite shoe designer is Roger Vivier they do a walkable, wearable heel that works with everything, in the old days it was the other way around, so that the days of loungewear felt like a ‘treat’.”

Karen is a big fan of Sweaty Betty’s Gary yoga pants which are part of her WFH uniform
What are your current 5 essential items of clothing? 

Sweaty Betty Gary yoga pants, a Uniglo Sweater, White Company socks, Frame Jeans and a fifteen-year-old Max Mara Cable Knit Cardigan.”

What is your vision for the future of your business?  

“Rolling out more solution specific luxury skincare and continuing to support women first, embrace then manage, and celebrate the privilege of ageing.

Loved reading this? Then you will also love our How She Carries On series here

10 ways to survive a second lockdown

We all know that lockdown didn’t have the same effect on all of us. Some people thrived, others felt utterly overwhelmed, for good reason. However Mara Klemich who is a top psychologist, neuro psychologist and co-founder of Heartstyles.com an indicator tool that can help us make the absolute best of our selves at work and at home , says that the one common denominator between us all is that we all know what this means for us a second time around. “We all learned that it’s really important to focus and prioritise our mental health,” she says. Her advice is to really focus on self-care, which includes proper sleep, routine daily exercise, harnessing positive social connections and staying mentally stimulated. “The most important thing to bear in mind is that we know how to do this!” she says.

Whether you are already in lockdown or are in Limbo like the rest of us, we asked Mara and other top experts for their advice on staying sane over the coming months. 

Learn from the first time 

“Use your experience during the initial lockdown to your advantage this time around,” says Mara. “Back in March, we learned a lot about ourselves. We learned what we did well to get through the stress of lockdown and we learned what we didn’t do so well. This is a massive positive advantage, so let’s see it that way. Think back to that time and now be proactive, take those steps that you know you needed to do to help sustain you, whether that’s social connection or self-care or coping skills.” Mara suggests making a list of what you know works and what doesn’t, and be intentional about how you will take control of your life during this time ahead.

Choose nutrition over toilet roll

In March the lockdown took us by (relative) surprise and with hindsight we realise that our priorities were a bit warped. With hindsight, we know that we were never short of toilet paper, but that eating well had the ability to vastly improve our mood, our wellbeing and ward off any illness.

We all know about the importance of eating fresh food and eating the rainbow (as many different coloured fruits and vegetables as possible), but nutritional therapist Karen Cummings-Palmer says there is also a lot of nutritional value in many packet and tinned food.  “When it comes to feeding ourselves and our families in these challenging times let’s focus on good and forget about perfection.  Whilst highly processed food is unhealthy, minimally processed food – think tinned, jarred and frozen – can the source of fast healthy nutrient dense meals.  

Nutritional therapist Karen Cummings-Palmer says there are a lot of tinned foods with amazing nutritional value

Her advice is to look for organic tinned food – it is not just about the contents (unlikely to have added sugar, preservatives and colours) but the context – some tins still contain low levels of toxic chemicals in the lining. 

“Having a store cupboard filled with foods that last months or even years means we can whip up delicious nutrition in minutes and we are far less likely to make unhealthy decisions” she says. Her advice is to stock up on good quality beans, albacore tuna in olive oil, frozen peas and herbs, tinned tomatoes and pulses that you don’t have to soak overnight.

Keep moving 

Research has shown that movement can seriously boost our immune system . According to immunologist Dr Jenna Macciochi, our lymphatic system (which carries the white blood cells around our body) only moves when we do. It is therefore vital that we get up from our desks to keep the lymph pumping throughout the day. It doesn’t have to be a full blown HIIT class – Jenna says that a walk will do – but it’s vital that we factor in movement into our day. 

Note: it is also important to remember that moving too much and exhausting yourself can also deplete your immune system so use your common sense about how much is too much.

Be mindful of mornings

We don’t need to be told this (hello The Social Dilemma), but too much tech will fry our brains. Yet with Zoom now the norm, and with limited people interaction right now , it is hard to avoid spending more time on our devices than ever. If we exercised consistently day in and day out we would burn out and the same goes for our brains – it needs downtime in order to function at its best.

One way of limiting technology is to keep the mornings free of it for the first few hours of the day. Maeve O’Sullivan Chinese Medicine practitioner and co-founder of escapadahealth.com in Ireland says this is also something that follows Ayurvedic principles. “Traditionally, those following an Ayurvedic lifestyle would dedicate the first hour or so of the day, before sunrise, attending to their own personal wellbeing, making sure they awoke early enough and refreshed enough to slowly greet each new day. The way we spend the first few moments of the morning undoubtedly has a huge impact on how we feel the rest of the day, which is why so many cultures and healing traditions see this as a sacred time of day. This time could include journaling, meditating or simply taking a few deep breaths and thoughts of gratitude for the new day.”

Self care is not self indulgent

Life was hard enough even before COVID-19 enveloped our lives. Maeve O’Sullivan says, “We can mistake the feeling of being under stress for having energy and this feeling can become addictive, so you run from early morning until late at night, turning yourself into an energiser bunny. Between holding down a job, maintaining relationships, and caring for a family, we can often negate the energy we earn from sleep, good food and good company. When we constantly put our bodies into overdraft, our mental health and physical health suffer resulting in anxiety, depression and physical ailments like skin breakouts, low immunity, digestive issues and much more. Our bodies, especially at time of such uncertainty, crave nourishment, stability and routine.”

So how often should be take time for ourselves? “The simple answer is everyday,” says Maeve, “It can be so beneficial to attach selfcare to some of your favourite beauty rituals like meditation, body brushing, and jade rolling. Not only do these beauty rituals have a fantastic effect on our skin health, they also have a wonderful impact on our inner health. These rituals also allow us the time to pause in our day, check in with how we are feeling and give back to our body so we start to pay back the overdraft from times when our bodies have been under more stress than normal.”

Stretch for success 

It’s all too easy at home to sink into our new working environment (both physically and metaphorically speaking), however according to stretch specialist and TED talker Robert Frampton, sitting for long periods  can put unnecessary pressure on the spine, which is our essential piece of machinery that interacts with the brain. He explains that the spine can also squash our butt muscles and close the front of our hips leading to wrecked posture. So what can we do? Robert suggests dedicating 10 minutes a day to stretching the tightest parts of the body. He recommends the following: 

The HIP Opener – Kneel on the floor with a wall behind you. Next, take one of your legs backwards so your shin is on the wall and you are kneeling on one knee. Then bring your other foot forward into a lunge position and there you have it, a strong feeling of stretch in the front of your back thigh. Spend 2 mins here each side. To make it easier bring the back knee slightly away from the wall. 

Shoulder opener – Sit on the floor, legs outstretched and place your hands behind you, shoulder width apart, elbows bent with your thumbs facing forwards. Next walk your body away from your hands and push the rib cage open. When doing this you should feel a strong stretch in front of your shoulders. Back off if you feel any pain and remain here for 3 minutes. Aim to keep the elbow above the hands. 

Ted Talker and stretch specialist Roger Frampton gives his advice on the importance of stretching
Stop the work traffic

For many of us, working from home is a blessing but it can also be a curse. With no ‘end of day’ finishing times, work and home life can become a blur, especially if you work for yourself. One way that we can draw a line is to instill a traffic light approach that many life coaches use. 

It works like this: When you’re working you’re on green and are full-steam ahead. As it gets into the early-evening you stay on orange meaning you’re relatively alert and can pick up work if needed. But set yourself a deadline, for example beyond 8pm, you’re onto red meaning you ignore emails and calls. This will allow you to wind down for the evening and get work off of your mind right before bed.

Identify your coping skills

We have all had our moments in the last year –  whether due to work, family life or the juggle of it all  – when we’ve been overwhelmed and feel unable to cope. Psychologist Mara says it’s important that we identify three specific things we can do to cope with high-stress situations, and most importantly, to actively use them. “These are things that you do when you know the stress levels are going up and self-care isn’t enough,” she says “It could be things like breathing techniques, practicing gratitude by speaking it aloud or writing it down, a walk outside, listening to a specific playlist. Find three and use them intentionally and regularly.”

Plan ahead

Whilst many of us feel like planning ahead is not something we are capable of right now, Mara stresses that it’s important to have a routine.  “We learned that in the first lockdown,” she says

“So be intentional about scheduling your work time, and your socialising time, your exercise time, and your “just being” time.

Identify your trouble spots

We all had our individual stresses and triggers in lockdown. For some it was home schooling, for others it was 24/7 Zoom fatigue. It is key to identify your problem area (the one that triggers stress) and plan ways that might make it easier a second time round. For example for us we felt overwhelmed by relentless cooking and coming up with new ideas for the family. We’ll be investing in a meal delivery service from now on such as www.gousto.co.uk who deliver fresh ingredients for tasty meals straight to your door.

How she carries on: mental health advocate Maryam Meddin

Maryam Meddin is the founder of a new, innovative behavioural health clinic in London, The Soke (the name is taken from its location – South Kensington), a first-of-its kind clinic bringing together mental health and wellbeing services with professional development support, all under one roof. 

Maryam attributes her interest in mental health to a personal history that includes an interrupted education, growing up in a war zone in Iran and Iraq, an attempt to resettle as a refugee in the UK aged 16, destitution (she came to the UK with nowhere to go and would sleep at Heathrow airport) as well as experiencing the horror of suicide among members of her immediate family.

But it was Maryam’s life experiences that then led her to embark on a Masters in psychotherapy & counselling which led her to work part time in an NHS clinic for a couple of years, offering psychotherapy to severely traumatised refugees. Her idea for The Soke stemmed from there, as she felt the industry needed to change.

Here Maryam tells us about setting up The Soke during the Corona crisis, and how humour, iced coffee and dogs help get her through.

The Soke which is set to change the way we manage behavioural and mental wellbeing
Tell us about your work…

“I’m the founder of a new behavioural health centre called The Soke. We’re making psychotherapy, psychiatry and other non-acute mental health services more accessible and more comfortable – literally & metaphorically –for everyone. 

There are about ten of us (including a clinical board of five) turning the wheels backstage, and then of course numerous other practitioners offering different specialties to make sure we pretty much cover every type of expertise that could be helpful to our clients. 

What I love about what I’m doing is that it’s universally relevant. There isn’t anyone whose mental health doesn’t factor into their life, it’s just a question of where they sit on the spectrum of wellness, and we can make a difference to them all.”

Where do you physically work currently? 

“I work in an iconic building – which used to be the Queen’s Elm pub – in South Kensington. Directly outside sits The Flower Stand which is also a bit of a Chelsea landmark. In this otherwise completely urban corner, I’m greeted every morning, and bid farewell every night, with the view and fragrance of nature’s finest.”

What is the best thing about your work?

“Without question it’s my colleagues. I’m part of an organisation where people are required to bring their brains, their compassion and their ethics to work in equal measure and it makes for a really unique culture. Also, our COO, George Broke, is one of the funniest human beings I’ve ever met, so there’s never a working day when I’m not doubled over in hysterics at least once.”

What is the worst?

“Well, I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I can change things if they’re not working, so I have no complaints.”

What has been the most pivotal point of your career so far?

“There have been more than one, but in each instance I’m going to point to friends and the moment that they said “Of course you can do it” which spurred me to take leaps of faith, knowing that they’d catch me if I didn’t find a soft landing.”

What is the best advice you’ve ever had?

“My dad always said it would serve me better to know a little bit about lots of things than a lot about a single thing – his view was that this would make me equally conversant with a prince or a pauper, which he interpreted as a sign of both intelligence and humanity. There have been times when I’ve watched or read things that have been deathly dull, just because I have his words ringing in my ears.”

The interior of The Soke make a welcome departure from the usual stark setting of mental wellbeing clinics
What’s your context outside of work?

“I’m single and live in London. Since I lost my boxer, Casper, a couple of years ago, I’ve become a very popular dog sitter for all my friends who, rather dubiously, are now militantly opposed to me getting another dog of my own.”

What was your ‘normal’ day to day life like pre COVID-19?

“When you’re trying to get a new business off the ground there isn’t really a ‘normal’ day or routine. The only thing that was consistant was that there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing from one meeting to the next. I confess, moving the meetings online was absolutely fine with me.”

What is your day-to day life like now after Lockdown?

“The renovation of the Soke building was completed during the lockdown so now that we’re able to work from work (mental health is an essential service so we’re fully operational), my daily life is very different than it had been for months during which I’d been working from home. That said, I think that like everyone else, we’ve now incorporated Zoom into our standard practice for meetings, and on that side of things I don’t imagine that things will ever return to the way they were.”

How has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally?

“On a personal front: my mother and my brother are abroad and I haven’t seen them for 12 and 10 months, respectively. On the professional front: I’m definitely one of the lucky ones – I have a job and my sector isn’t under threat. The benchmark for good fortune doesn’t need to be very high these days.”

What are you finding challenging right now?

“The weight gain that comes with menopause. Covid had nothing to do with it.”

What has got you through? What have been your coping strategies?

“Humour has generally been a useful tool throughout my life, which has had its fair share of twists and turns. I’m a survivor of revolution, destitution and significant bereavements – but I still haven’t come across that thing that isn’t [darkly] funny.”

Do you feel that Lockdown has changed your outlook and if so how?

“I suspect that, like many others who were lucky enough not to have had everything upended by the pandemic, I used enforced isolation as an opportunity to purge my life of activities and people that weren’t bringing me joy.”

Personally how have you managed your mind and wellbeing throughout Lockdown?

“My inner peace is fuelled by time spent in the company of dogs. This isn’t a flippant comment – I’m genuinely at my most content when I can spend a few idle hours in a park with a dog, I find their natural euphoria to be contagious.”

What are your thoughts on travel right now?

“I’m not travelling and have no plans to travel. The threat of quarantining and the uncertainty around the rules don’t make it very appealing.”

What are your current handbag essentials?

“My glasses. I’m becoming increasingly helpless without them.”

What gets you through Working from Home?

“Ice cubes. I’ve developed a habit for iced coffee & tea.”

What is your work wardrobe like now from what it used to be? 

“I now wear a jacket with my jeans.”

What are your current 5 essential items of clothing?

“Jeans. A scarf. And three layers of anything.”

What is your vision for the future of your business?

“I hope that a time will come when everyone takes a proactive interest in their psychological and emotional wellbeing and that when they do, they view The Soke to be a trusted champion for good behavioural health.

Enjoyed this article? Then you will find this article about how yogi Sara Quiriconi manages anxiety attacks

Happy Meals

COVID-19 has hugely taken its toll on our mental wellbeing this year. From health worries to the stress of home schooling, worry for family and friends to financial difficulties, most people have run the gamut of emotions over the last 6 months. And for many, it is more serious than that –  according to the World Health Organisation, who have conducted a study of the mental health of 130 countries, the pandemic has highlighted the devastating effect that COVID-19 has had on our mental health and also underscored the urgent need for medical funding.

And just when we got excited at the thought of throwing off our face masks and returning to life as ‘normal’ most of us are now in a state of limbo, wondering if we will go back into lockdown, or ever return to our old lives at all.

Here at 35thousand, in order to help raise your happiness levels, we have decided to do a series of articles that will delve into the various different areas of ‘mood-boosting’. Starting here with the benefits of eating nutritious food, we will also look into psychological, physical and therapeutic ways of lifting our spirits in articles to come.

Food for thought

In recent years , we have become far more aware of the link between the state of our gut and our minds. Scientists have now proven that our gut is responsible for producing a large proportion of our neurotransmitters, the chemicals that transmit information throughout the body and brain. In fact, it has been shown that as much as 90 per cent of serotonin (our so-called ‘happy’ hormone) is made in our gut, so it goes without saying that if the state of our stomach is out of whack, then our brains could well be too.

Not only that but scientists have shown that it’s not just our bodies that require fuel –  brains get hungry too. Doctors believe that they use up about a quarter of our daily energy supply, consuming roughly 300 calories in the day and the same again at night. It is therefore vitally important says dietician Rachel Clarkson that we support the link between the gut and the brain (the gut/brain axis) by fuelling ourselves with optimum foods which may well help keep anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders at bay.

But it’s no good throwing a packet of probiotics into your supermarket trolley and hoping for the best. According to Rachel when it comes to the gut/brain axis there should be a multi-pronged approach. She suggests the following…

Eat seratonin boosting foods

We want to make sure that we have adequate levels of serotonin in our bodies explains Rachel, “This chemical messenger contributes to happiness and wellbeing, but in order for it to be produced it required the amino acid tryptophan to be present, which you can get through your diet by eating tryptophan-high food.”

Rachel therefore suggests eating tofu, egg yoke, salmon, turkey, and plenty of nuts and seeds. She adds, however, that it is important to know that tryptophan is enhanced when eaten with a carbohydrate (which is why, perhaps, she thinks we have sugar cravings). She therefore suggests pairing the above with, say, brown rice, quinoa, lentils or fruit. “You could have eggs on toast for example or a tofu stir-fry or maybe a turkey and cheese brown bread sandwich,” she says.

Focus on your gut health

Our gut microbiome has been the health buzzwords of the last few years, but for good reason – this flora of different bacteria lining our intestines has been proven to be hugely beneficial for our health if looked after correctly.   “We want to support a vast microbiome as poor microbiome variety has been linked to stress, depression and anxiety,” says Rachel. “The gut brain axis is the interaction between the microbiome in your gut and the cognitive and emotional centres in the brain.”

What is key, she explains is that we all have a diverse range of good bacteria in our stomachs which will involve eating a diverse range of plant foods. In particular, she also suggests eating fermented foods or live cultures which will add beneficial bacteria and enzymes into your overall intestinal flora. She therefore suggests adding Miso, Kimchee, Kombucha, Sauerkraut, and yoghurt into your diet where you can. When it comes to yoghurt, however, look out for the words ‘active’ or  ‘live’ on the label or mentions specific good bacteria. 

You also, she explains, want to feed the Microbiome with prebiotics (this is the food that the bacteria feed on) ,and this involves eating a lot of fibrous foods where you can. Some suggestions would be beans, leeks, onions, artichokes and whole wheat bread or pasta.

As for probiotics, Rachel suggests that unless you have a diagnosed digestive/health issue, then it’s best to opt for naturally occurring probiotics in fermented foods.

Balance blood sugar levels

We all know what it’s like to feel ‘hangry’ when we are haven’t eaten, and how this can make us feel low or jittery, and anxious. What we don’t want, explains Rachel, is for our body to go into hypoglycemic mode, where our blood sugar is too low. She therefore suggests eating a healthy portion of whole grain carbs at most meals in order to maintain a steady flow of glucose. This she says, “Can be in the form of fruit, or quinoa, buckwheat, chickpeas, sweet potatoes and it’s important to eat wholegrain bread and pasta where you can.”

If you are suffering from low mood, Rachel suggests potentially steering clear of low carbohydrate  diets which have been  particularly popular I recent years. “Low mood can be associated with nutrient deficiencies such as B vitamins and selenium which are found in foods such as bread, lentils, cereal, milk and bananas, so a low carb diet may exacerbate these further,” she says.

Ensure nutrient deficiency isn’t present

It may sound boring and you are probably sick to death of hearing the word ‘balance’ from health professionals, but if you don’t have a diet that contains carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats, then you may be lacking in nutrients that are associated with mood. For example, if you are either low in iron or lacking in B vitamins you may feel low and irritable. 

It’s incredibly hard to prescribe one eating plan for everybody as our bodies and goals are all so different but as a general rule, (and especially is you are susceptible to low mood), Rachel suggests including a wholegrain carbohydrate at breakfast, at lunch and a as snack, but keeping it optional for dinner. She also suggests eating protein at every meal and incuding a healthy fat too.

Other tips for supporting the gut brain pathway
Take Omega 3’s

There is evidence around the benefit of Omega3 supplementation for people with diagnosed clinical depression says Rachel. 

Note: these should not to replace any medication.

Hydrate hydrate hydrate for a happy brain

Your brain can’t function unless you are well hydrated so you may feel fatigued if you don’t hydrate throughout the day. Aim to drink 6 glasses of water a day.

Tackle emotional eating

Rachel also highlights the importance of managing our emotions around eating, “It’s important to try to take away any feelings of guilt,” says Rachel, “So we feel happy and healthy in our minds instead of feeling shameful. If you do eat something indulgent then take a breath and acknowledge that you have enjoyed that food and then put it behind you move onto the next healthy meal.”

Buy this feel-good cookbook

Rachel Kelly is the author of The Happy Kitchen and The Happiness Diet. Having suffered from anxiety and depression for many years, it wasn’t until she researched and improved her diet that she realised how good much better she felt. Created with nutritional therapist Alice Mackintosh, they consist of gut and brain-boosting recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

As an anxiety and depression sufferer, Rachel discovered the amazing benefits of changing her diet

Here’s a sample recipe from The Happy Kitchen

The Tropical C Smoothie 

Alice says ‘I have this for breakfast if I wake feeling whacked. Alice designed it so that I could get lots of energy-boosting goodness in one go. These fruits are rich in vitamin C and fibre, while the walnuts an avocado deliver protein and healthy fats to balance everything out. The oats and nuts add substance and slow down the absorption of sugar from the fruit and the cinnamon may also reduce sugar cravings.”

Serves 2

Ingredients:

½ papaya and 1 whole mango

¼ avocado

1 tbs oats

6 walnuts

250 ml almond, coconut or oat milk

Cinnamon to taste

Method:

Peel the papaya or mango and remove its seed or stone

Chop it into medium-sized shunks and pop it into a blender with all the other ingredients. Blend until smooth

If you enjoyed this article then you will LOVE reading about what happens to your microbiome when you travel here

Notes on mental health

Please note that these tips are not meant to be a replacement for speaking with a licensed therapist and/or a psychiatrist. Please do not be afraid to seek help if you feel that you or someone else is struggling and could benefit from it. Contact your local GP, family doctor or insurance company and/or your local government/ council to seek other government funded resources for mental health.

Mental Health helplines

US – SAMHSA (Substances Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

UK – MIND – Call 0300 123 3393 or text SHOUT to 85258 which is a crisis textile for support in a crisis www.giveusashout.org/get-help/

How She Carries on: newspaper journalist Sarah Vine

Sarah Vine is a writer and journalist for the British newspaper The Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday, where she has two columns a week. She is also married to a prominent member of the Conservative party, the Rt Hon Minister of the Cabinet Michael Gove (who was in the race to become Prime Minister before Boris Johnson took the role.)

In an exclusive interview she tells 35Thousand how she’s juggled increased deadlines thoughout the Corona crisis whilst home schooling her two children both at critical points in their education with GCSE’s and A-Level. She talks here about the ‘ghastly’ Zoom, her worry for the younger generation at this difficult time, and how bike rides, dog walks, gallons of Earl Grey tea, magnesium baths and taking a break from the news have got her through.

Tell us about your work…

“I am a writer for the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday. I have a regular column on a Wednesday and a Sunday, and in-between I write features and opinion pieces. I mostly work from home, just because I’m one of those people who needs to concentrate quite hard and the office is full of distractions; but I also go in at least a couple of days a week to contribute to editorial meetings, catch up with colleagues and also gather vitally important gossip. I love it because every day is different and the challenges are endless, and I’m surrounded by the best in the business. I also do bits of broadcasting and write books.”

Where do you physically work currently?

“I have a desk at work, but I tend to write at home. Right now I’m sitting on the sofa next to the dogs.”

What is the best thing about your work?

“The constant challenge and the fact that it keeps me on my toes. I feel I’m only ever as good as my last piece.”

What is the worst?

“Being shouted at by people who have never read a word I’ve written, but who judge me on the basis that I write for the Mail and I’m married to a prominent Conservative politician.” 

What has been the most pivotal point of your career so far?

“Moving from The Times to the Daily Mail to take up the Wednesday column seven years ago. I was absolutely terrified, both that I wouldn’t be up to the job (I had some seriously big shoes to step into, including Allison Pearson and the legendary Lynda Lee Potter,) but also because I had heard so many horror stories about the then Editor, Paul Dacre. In the event I encountered the most incredibly supportive and professional set of colleagues who made my job so much easier, and Mr Dacre himself was – and is – a complete inspiration, a true professional who really understands his metier and not nearly as much of an ogre as he is painted.”

Sarah Vine, for Mail On Sunday, Photography Natasha Pszenicki, Hair and Makeup Virna Midgley

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever had?

“Don’t read the online comments: that way madness lies.”

What’s your context outside of work?

“Husband, two teenagers, two dogs, one cat. I live in Hammersmith and I like to cycle, walk a lot (dogs) and, whenever possible, spend time in the countryside away from London. I read voraciously, and I like a bit of gardening and gardens in general. I’ve got various books on the boil, writing-wise, but it’s a painfully slow process because my day-to-day journalism takes up most of my time and energy. Maybe one day I’ll finish one of them.”

What was your ‘normal ‘day to day life like pre COVID?

“I’m always up around 6.30/ 7 am, then I drop my son at school, walk the dogs, head back home, walk or cycle to the office, and attend various meetings. Sometimes I’d have a work breakfast, but never lunch because I like to get everything done ASAP so I can get home to supervise the teenage terrors and, of course, attend to my main function in life which is to walk the dogs.

If writing on edition, I file my copy anytime between 5pm and 7pm (depending on the timeframe: sometimes I don’t get asked to write until quite late in the day), then make supper for the kids or whoever’s around. Then I read final proofs, have a glass of wine and make something to eat for myself (my husband is invariably in the House of Commons or at some work-related dinner), maybe watch a bit of telly or call a friend. I then walk dogs again, have a bath and go to bed around 9:30pm/10pm, read, think about the following day’s ideas, do some random worrying, Sleep.”

What is your day-to day life like now after Lockdown?

“The main issue for me with lockdown was suddenly having a house full of people, all of whom seemed to need feeding all of the time. At the same time my writing workload shot up, as did the amount of time I was spending on the ghastly Zoom. So I was working even harder while at the same time having nowhere to myself to concentrate. Plus there was the challenge of home-schooling at GCSE and A-level – I won’t even go there. Suffice to say I am not one of those people who has enjoyed lockdown. “

How has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally?

“Personally I’ve been very lucky: my mother, who lives in Italy, had Corona but seems to have recovered remarkably well; professionally it’s been a huge challenge, not least because I don’t always see eye to eye with government policy, which can occasionally be awkward at home. But my husband is firm believer in freedom of self-expression and, I think, sees any difference of opinion in the spirit of healthy debate. Otherwise it’s just meant a generally heavier workload.”

What are you finding challenging right now?

“Helping the children – both of whom are at vitally important stages of their education – navigate the problems and setbacks caused by Covid. In both cases their learning has been severely restricted, and while Teams and Zoom are all very well, it’s just not the same. Also, both have found the social restrictions hard to deal with. Kids this age really rely a lot on their friends for support, and are not good at being on their own. Inevitably it is having an impact.”

What has got you through? What have been your coping strategies?

“Magnesium baths at night, which I find help me relax and sleep, going on long bike rides, regular Sunday nights at our local pizzeria (when we were allowed) with the family to catch up on the week’s events and prepare for the next. Then there’s been gardening and organising my stuff, and staying on top of admin. Basically, controlling what I can when all else is in chaos.”

Do you feel that Lockdown has changed your outlook and if so how?

“I dislike it on principle as a curtailment of people’s freedoms, and I don’t like the surveillance element of it. To me it should be the absolute last resort, and very definitely not ‘the new normal’. If anything it’s made me more attached to my freedoms – and even more convinced of the importance of privacy and free speech.”

Sarah is a a big fan of Desmond and Dempsey pyjamas
Personally how have you managed your mind and wellbeing throughout Lockdown? And of your family?

“I found taking a break from the relentless torrent of bad news really helped – so if I wasn’t not working I tried to avoid listening to the radio or endlessly refreshing my news feed on Twitter. I encouraged the teenagers to keep a sensible routine and to resist the temptation to just sleep all day. It wasn’t easy, and it was pretty relentless keeping on top of them (I hate having to nag all the time) but it was worth it I think.

A lot of their friends went really stir crazy during lockdown – a number were admitted to hospital for mental health issues, including self-harm and easting disorders. I really think people underestimate how hard it has been on this age group: they are of course very resilient, but they are also highly social creatures and being cooped up with their parents is not easy for either parties.”  

What are your thoughts on travel right now?

“I haven’t made many travel plans, but then I tend to be quite a last minute traveller anyway. I’m going to try to get to Italy to see my parents, as I haven’t been since last year. But as for holidays, there aren’t really any on the cards at the moment: too much work to do.”

What are your current handbag essentials?

“Airpods, facemask (obviously), hairbrush, Carmex. Valium (only joking).”

Sarah is never without her AirPods, her face mask and her Carmex lip balm
What gets you through working from home?

“Gallons and gallons of Earl Grey tea. I always have an egg on toast for breakfast which keeps me going for ages. I walk the dogs at least three times a day, which helps clear the mind and stops my body from seizing up. “

What is your work wardrobe like now from what it used to be?

“The only real difference is that I’ve completely lost the ability to wear heels. Everything else is the same old stuff. “

What are your current 5 essential items of clothing?

“My Zara pleather culottes, my Clarke’s walking boots, my Arket parka, my oversized grey cashmere jumper from H&M and my Desmond & Dempsey pyjamas.”

Liked this article? Then you will also LOVE hearing how Whitney Bromberg, CEO and Founder of FLOWERBX has run her business throughout the Corona crisis here

How She Carries on: Stephanie Capuano founder of skincare line 31st State

When Stephanie Capuano’s boys reached their teens and started having skincare problems, she couldn’t find a brand that was natural, effective, or that they would actually want to use. So she did what all good entrepreneurs would do and set out on a journey to create a teen and men’s skincare line herself. As a result, 31st State was born, a brand that reflects Stephanie’s Californian upbringing, consisting of everything from the breakout-busting Foaming Face Wash to the cult Overnight Clearing Pads which help keep pores clear, a Spot Control Gel, and for street cred worthy hair, the Style and Shape Hair Putty.

Here she reveals what life has been like in lockdown and how, despite the immeasurable nightmares of the Corona crisis, working from home has, for her, been a work blessing.

Tell us about yourself…

“I am the founder of 31st State, a natural skin and body care range for teen boys and young men. Its named after California, my home state. California is a place and a state of mind, a way of doing things that’s a little more natural, where we all ‘untry’ harder. I tried to bottle that ethos and way of life for young guys everywhere. I’m also a founding partner in &Three, a boutique African safari specialist. It’s fun!

The two pursuits are a great compliment to each other – the skill set needed for each are a bit different, although both allow for a huge expression of creativity. I think it’s important to not have a single focus in life, but rather a variety of pursuits to challenge your thinking and way of doing things. I am certainly never bored.”

What’s your context outside of work?

“I am married with three teens. While originally from CA, I have been in London for 20 years. We used to travel a lot as a pastime, spending as much time as possible in Africa. I am so inspired by the landscape, the light and the people. Now we are obviously travelling less and fill our free time with lots of tennis, yoga and art tours of London with my friend’s organisation called “Art with Mary P”, when time and safety allows.”

31st state
Stephanie with her boys who inspired her brand
What was your ‘normal ‘day to day life like pre COVID? 

“Pre-COVID a normal day involved being up by 06.30, checking emails, checking sales from last night, checking in on orders going out that day, make coffee and getting my daughter off to school by 8 am. I was usually out the door by 9 am to meetings around London with agencies or networking on behalf of the brand.

I always tried to make time for some yoga, a run or tennis, but it was hectic squeezing in my own self-care with work, running the family and making sure there was food on the table every evening. So much of being a founder involves constant networking, which can take away time from sitting down and getting all the work done. I love that part, but it’s a huge challenge to get the balance right.”

31st State Style and Shape Hair Putty for holding hair without the 80’s varnish
What is your day-to day life like now after Lockdown?

“My days are still the same but with far less pressure to take meetings around town. I get to spend so much more time working from home, which has made me massively more productive. I feel far less stressed in my day-to-day life, am sleeping better and generally feel healthier with more time to exercise and rest when needed. While I can’t meet people as I used to, I am doing a lot over Zoom or a phone call. While not as personal, it allows so much more time for actual work, family and my own wellbeing. I fully recognise that being able to run my businesses from home is a blessing and the many positive outcomes I feel from it, I think were already in the making, only accelerated by the pandemic.”

How has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally? 

“Pre-pandemic, professional and personal had really become one for so many people, especially for working mothers like me. Pre-COVID we were already trying to change the way we work and live because of general burn out, especially for women also raising families and running households. The pandemic just sped that up.

The old way of working was fuelled by stress and burnout and being always “on” and “perfect.” When work was moved into the home for so many of us, it became vital to create boundaries between our work and our home lives. A big part of our “new normal” is a more human-focused way of working. For us, we are trying to build this around what actually makes us productive, creative and healthy. It is not without challenges, but I think it’s the way forward.”

The Overnight Clearing Pads to help unblock pores and reduce acne
What are you now finding challenging right now?

“I think I speak for many women when I say that even before the pandemic, we bore a disproportionate share of the mental load of running a household – beyond just housework, scheduling, dealing with school issues and problem solving. That undue burden of mental load takes a toll on our wellbeing. And that’s only increased since the pandemic. While I am blessed with an incredibly supportive and involved spouse, it’s very challenging to balance all of this with my professional life. It’s been vital for me to make time for my own well-being during this time.”

What do you miss about life before COVID-19 that you never thought you never would?

“I have discovered that there is very little that I miss about life before Covid. Genuinely, I only miss dinners, parties and gatherings with friends. Oh, and travel!”

What has got you through? What have been your coping strategies?

“The news cycle has never been more negative and well, beyond imagination. I try to set a news cut-off time at the end of the day. Of course, we want to be informed during this time of Covid, Brexit and the US elections, but setting limits to our media and screen time has helped us have a more restful night’s sleep and put the stressful news into perspective.”

Personally how have you managed your mind and wellbeing throughout Lockdown?

“In our house we have decided that it’s important to pick a time to declare an end to the day – even if work feels unfinished. This was easier when stopping work meant leaving an office and hopping on the tube or the bus home. To prioritise family life meant getting comfortable with incompletions! By declaring an end to the day with some exercise or a glass of wine, we’ve been more present, have had more time to connect with ourselves and each other, and are sleeping better.”

31st State Foaming Face Wash proven to prevent breakouts
What are your thoughts on travel right now?

“I am DYING to hit the road again! I love all kinds of travel, be it business or pleasure and am missing every aspect of it. At the moment we are really not going anywhere and in fact, trips keep getting cancelled. So we are sitting tight, dreaming and planning future trips. With my safari company, we have lots of travellers planning for late 2021 and 2022. Fingers crossed!”

What are your current handbag essentials?

“I am a huge Amly fan, especially now when there’s a huge focus on more natural ingredients, and of course, female-led brands.”

My key products are the Amly Digital Detox face mist, the Amly Purifying Hand Mist, MZ Skin Tint and Protect Zamani SPF 30 tinted moisturiser, Axiology Balmies for lips, cheeks and eyes – zero waste and no harm to humans or the planet. Also no forgetting Caddis reading glasses, masks and mentos!”

How do you think COVID-19 will affect your future?

My hope is that this new way of working and living will allow people to operate from a place of strength, calm and empathy, which will boost their resilience and make the world feel a little bit saner.

31st-state.com

Enjoyed reading this? Then you will love our other How She Carries On interviews with other brilliant business women here

How She Carries on: Sacha Newall Founder of My Wardrobe HQ

Sacha Newall started My Wardrobe HQ, a fashion rental and retail company in December 2019, four months before the world was plummeted into lockdown. Here she describes how she’s survived, both personally and professionally and how ‘being the only one in the office’ has got her through.

Tell us about your work…

“I’m the founder of My Wardrobe HQ, it’s a new fashion platform that allows customers to rent and buy luxury fashion from individuals and brands. Everything is set with a ‘buy’ and ‘rent’ price, so you can try that Vampire’s Wife dress before committing to buy it and if you do buy it, the rental comes off the price. Then you just leave it on the platform to rent and buy so that if you wear it a few times and fancy a change you can do so guilt-free. It’s a completely circular economy designed to prevent fashion waste and support fashion designers who put their hearts and souls into beautifully made clothes.”

The My Wardrobe HQ website where you have the option to rent or buy quality items (new and second hand)
Where do you work?

“Our office is in Kensington, next to a 24 hour supermarket where we have free three hour parking which is a joy in central London and has meant that most of our team has been able to come into work, albeit for a few hours, just enough to keep ourselves sane.”

What’s the best bit about your job?

“The best bit about the job is the team. That moment of calm when we all grab a coffee outside and plan the day ahead. We really are in unchartered territory, both with the nature of the business and of course these COVID times. We’ve overcome so many seemingly insurmountable obstacles and it’s the resilience and fortitude of every member to the team that gets us there.”

What’s your context outside of work?

“We launched in December last year, so there isn’t really an ‘outside of work’ at the moment. We have two children and two dogs and everything is quite chaotic as I’m out 14 hours most days.

We launched two weeks ago in Harvey Nichols so that’s weekends too for the short term. We spent lockdown in a flat in London so that we could look after my husband’s mum. It was hard with the boys, but they ended up playing sport in the road as all the cars disappeared. It seems a bit surreal that they had table tennis set up on one of the main through roads in the area!”

The My Wardrobe HQ pop-up in Harvey Nichols, London
What was your ‘normal ‘day to day life like pre COVID?

“Pre COVID-19 the business was really starting to flourish, we launched in December and by February we had hit our budgets for the first 6 months. And then COVID, no going out and fear of infection. A pretty tough combination for a fashion rental business. Luckily we always had resale as part of the business, so we focused on that and spent lockdown securing stock from brands who had had cancellations from retailers and also from individuals, many of whom spent lockdown refining their wardrobes.”

What is your day-to day life like now after Lockdown?

“Since the ‘going out’ rules are still pretty restrictive, we are still working on the resale side of the business, with a few rentals starting to happen. We are cautiously optimistic the emergence of a new ‘dinner party’ culture.

We work with a table top rental business called Maison Margaux (they literally rent out super stylish tableware), and they are starting to see a lot of bookings, and it’s exciting for us. We have some INCREDIBLE gowns coming in, and the idea of very flamboyant at home parties that are a real alternative to going out, could be great fun.”

How has the Corona crisis impacted you professionally?

“The biggest challenge is keeping everyone motivated, the team are amazing, but of course when people are remote, it can be hard to feel motivated all the time. We have a little Friday night ritual where we open a bottle of fizz and stand outside on the terrace chatting. We’ve been so lucky with the weather, it makes all of this possible and quite special.”

What are you now finding challenging right now?

“Everything is challenging as there is no certainty. We are all on minimal wages and not spending any money. Personally, I’d like to feel more financially secure, but I’m not missing ‘spending’. Since we don’t really go out now and I can’t imagine queuing to shop, I just thank God that everyone is healthy and I’ve had work and the responsibility of looking after the team to focus on.

On the bright side, the dogs have LOVED every minute, everyone at home and unlimited walks. Dog heaven!”

What has got you through? What have been your coping strategies? 

“With the boys home, I did lots of exercise with them to keep them active and fit in lockdown. They now look like body builders, I, managed to gain 10 pounds. I’ve always been a gym goer, but I’m not rushing to go back. I quite like the freedom of going for a run in the park whenever I fancy it or using the Pilates machine.”

What are your thoughts on travel right now? 

“We were lucky in that we managed to get a trip to France prior to quarantine measures being imposed. They came in later, and it would really make me think twice now, there is no point in travelling if it requires two weeks at home after. I’d rather just stay in the UK, but that’s easy to say after the beautiful Summer we have had!”

What are your current handbag essentials?

“I rarely carry a handbag. I have a phone holder with my debit cards and ID and pockets for my mask! On the flip side, I have a MASSIVE 50 cm Chanel bag that fits literally everything. So if I need a mobile office, I’m fully equipped!”

What gets you through Working from Home? 

“I wasn’t good at working from home, I found it quite depressing and was desperate to get back into the office. It’s about 500m from where we were locked down, so thank goodness could get back quickly.  I was the only one there, but being in a work environment definitely made me feel more confident that real life was coming back. 

Coffee pods kickstart the morning and in the afternoons, Duchy afternoon tea, English breakfast with a hint of Jasmine, it is delicious. Oh and 85% dark chocolate has been essential.”

What is your work wardrobe like now from what it used to be? 

“The work wardrobe is back to normal – we work in fashion and you can literally register people’s disappointment when you look too casual, even on Zoom. We have some gorgeous earrings from Pink Piglet that are a winner to spruce up any outfit.”

What are your current 5 essential items of clothing?

This elegant black Victoria Beckham coat which is up for rental for £32 a day but would retail at £2000

Classic quilted Giant Chanel XXL bag which you can rent for £118 a day and it would retail for £6000

Ripped jeans from Zoe Karssen

Adidas Gazelles

This Monse dress with asymmetric hem which you can rent for £30 a day but would retail at £1870

What is your vision for the future of your business?

“I’d love to see a future where every one gets to enjoy the best of fashion stress free, it shouldn’t hurt their wallets and it shouldn’t hurt the planet.

Imagine if we could refine our wardrobes down to the core essentials and then just rent and return the rest. We have just launched kidswear and the aim is to offer rental packages by age, that are returned once outgrown. It’s all about being sustainable but keeping  the fun and the thrill of dressing up in fashion.”

mywardrobehq.com

If you enjoyed reading this article you may also like to read about how other fascinating women have managed their lives in lockdown with the rest of our ‘How She Carries On’ series here

The public speaking workshop Part 2: pro tips for a knockout speech

We all know someone, whether real or famous, who can rise to any occasion, delivering killer quips and holding a rapt audience’s attention seemingly on a whim. Sensational speakers may appear to be imbued with some kind of magic magnetism or innate charisma, but there are no smoke and mirrors where public speaking is concerned; experts say that confident presenters are made, not born. We looked into the public speaking tips and tricks that can turn a reasonably good speech into a brilliant one.

It’s true that some of us are more prone to public speaking anxiety than others, but perfecting the art of public speaking is akin to flexing a muscle – the more practice, training and challenges you take on, the better you’ll become. Just bear in mind that you don’t need to deliver a ‘perfect’ performance. Public speaking PBs are achieved by putting in the hours offstage, just as medals are really won in the gym.

Ready to learn the secrets of Oprah et al? Here’s how to skill-up and step-up, one Zoom meeting at a time.

Eyes on the prize

Whether you’re aiming to inform, persuade or just generally charm your prospective audience, establishing a connection without eye contact is nigh-on impossible. Holding eye contact can, however, feel just as daunting as speaking itself, particularly if you’re on the shy side. Once you’ve gotten comfortable with being uncomfortable in the eye contact department, at least initially, you’ll soon reap the rewards in a public speaking setting.

Begin by rehearsing your talk in front of the mirror, holding eye contact with yourself and noticing your mannerisms and body language. It doesn’t matter if your speech isn’t complete – experts estimate that around 80% of our communication is non-verbal, and seeing as eyes are the windows to our soul, it makes sense to let our audience in. The sooner that you can get to work on the physicality of your public speaking, the better. 

That said, a fleeting glance doesn’t cut it, as only briefly catching someone’s eye can make us appear more anxious and less sure of what we’re saying. Aim to hold eye contact for between 2-3 seconds, first practising in the mirror and then focusing on maintaining eye contact with family, friends and colleagues in less formal settings. Even holding eye contact with your laptop camera counts according to communication consultant and author of How to be a DIVA at Public Speaking Shola Kaye:

“We needn’t physically be in people’s company to establish engaging eye contact – having cameras turned on you can be an even more intense experience than maintaining dynamic eye contact in person. In this way I think that video can provide an excellent means by which to practice and develop your presentation skills, both verbally and otherwise.” 

Alongside establishing a rapport with your audience with a well-timed ‘smies’ (smiling with eyes), practicing breathwork can help to both alleviate nerves and improve the rhythm, clarity and energy of your speeches.

Catch your breath 

You’ve been inhaling/exhaling since day dot, but have you been harnessing the power of your breath to get your point across? It turns out that breathing is as much a skill as it is a vital life function. 

Breathing deeply and fully into our belly (as you might during a yoga class) not only calms the ‘fight or flight’ response that so many of us feel when faced with a captive audience but it also lends power to our voice, as presenter, actor and author of Improvise!: Use the Secrets of Improv to Achieve Extraordinary Results at Work Max Dickens explains:

“To gain an audience’s trust, how we present our voice and body must match the message that we’re trying to get across. It’s pointless trying to deliver interesting content without expressive body language and vocal power. 

“Breathwork plays a big part in this. Practice ‘punching’ out the first and last words of your sentences with muscularity. This will deliver an extra layer of impact and it’s a technique used by some of the world’s best speakers and performers (Youtube is your friend here).

“Secondly, use silences between breaths to your advantage. Pause where you want to add emphasis. Silences show huge confidence, as long as you own them.” 

Letting silences linger can feel awkward at first so rehearse using emphatic silences conversationally, allowing communication to be ‘digested’ and resisting the urge to fill the void. As for practising breathwork, everything from yogic breathing classes, known as pranayama, to joining a choir can help you to master the kind of diaphragmatic breathing that improves both poise and delivery. Speaking of which…

Join the club

There’s likely only so much talking to yourself in the shower that you (and your family/ roommates) can bear – joining a public speaking network such as Toastmasters will take your skills to a whole new level. The global organisation of 16,200 public speaking clubs may primarily be operating online for now but the support, learning pathways and opportunities to exercise your public speaking muscles in a friendly and constructive environment are as valuable as ever. You needn’t dive in at the deep-end to chair a meeting or deliver a speech during your first session – projects and presentations can be completed at your own pace, all with personalised feedback to help you to gradually up your game. 

If you’re feeling even more brave, Max recommends bringing a bit of drama into your weekly routine:

“Taking improv classes is a gamechanger – they’re not just for actors. Improv classes will help you to shed your fear of failure, give you lots of practice talking in front of others in a safe and encouraging environment, and you’ll learn not to be afraid of the unexpected.”

Londoners can join Max at a socially-distanced improv session at Hoopla, but if the likes of impromptu stand-up has you quaking in your boots, hosting a book club or even encouraging daily dinner table debates using tools such as Table Topics conversation starters are fun ways to polish up your public speaking act. Just make sure that you keep it regular – as with a workout routine, little and often trumps the occasional marathon. 

Lastly, when both warming-up in front of friends and giving a speech itself, don’t forget to listen as well as talk. Asking questions, presenting a group with an activity or remembering audience members’ names (a classic magicians’ trick) will take engagement and energy levels to fresh heights. Max reveals that professional comedians listen more than they speak – it might seem counterintuitive but it prevents them from getting stuck in their own heads and improves both material and audience response. Go ahead and break a leg.    

It’s important to get your mindset right before a speech. We asked the experts for their tips in Part 1 of our Public Speaking Workshop

How to Feng Shui your home office

As the debate around returning to work continues, this much is clear: working from home as ‘the new norm’ is undoubtedly one of the most significant lifestyle changes to come out of this year’s global pandemic. In some form at least, it appears this shift is here to stay. So, how do we ensure our home office encourages the same productivity as our former work environment? And how do we combat low motivation levels without the camaraderie of colleagues? With negative vibes and poor energy flow believed to have a significant impact on performance and subsequently, success, the answer might just be Feng Shui for your office.

A key pillar of ancient Chinese philosophy dating back some 6000 years, Feng Shui is the practice of cultivating equilibrium and positivity in everyday life through the specific arranging of spaces. Priya Sher is a London-based Feng Shui consultant with an impressive corporate and private client list (she counts the Cloud 12 Spa in Notting Hill and the Macquarie Bank in London’s historic Moorhouse building amongst her many career accomplishments). Explaining Feng Shui, which literally translates as “wind water”, she says, “All living beings need water and air to survive. The key of Feng Shui is that we live in harmony with our environment”. Its aim, notes Priya, “Is to achieve balance in your living and working space, maximising your potential for success in all areas of life.”

Priya Sher, Feng Shui Master

Awarded the prestigious title of a Master, Priya has nearly 20 years of experience and is well-versed in the benefits of Feng Shui. On a universal level, “If the Feng Shui of your home is good, it enhances your life, supporting both health and prosperity”. It’s natural, she explains, that you’ll absorb the energy of any space you spend time in, “Therefore it’s vital to optimise the energy of these spaces so that they support you”. Priya observes that “Feng shui is a very intricate practice that takes years to learn and includes having a thorough grasp of the Lopan Feng Shui compass” (this is a Feng Shui compass – above – that determines the exact direction of a place or structure.). However, by following a few thoughtful steps, she believes we can all improve the energy in our home office, whether we’re working in a cramped area under the stairs or an airy room with large windows. “These tips may seem simple,” says Priya, “But they’re incredibly effective”. 

Easy steps to Feng Shui for your Home Office
Go Green

To begin, Priya recommends having light green present within your work set-up. “The colour green relates to the element of wood, which is associated with learning and growth, and is energy that rises upwards. This makes green a particularly good colour for business growth”.

Light right

Priya also stresses the importance of good light, suggesting“Lighting that is gentle on the eyes and always avoiding tube lighting as that is too aggressive” she says.

Layouts for leaders

Next, consider the layout of your home office. Where possible, “The desk needs to be positioned so that the back of your chair has a solid wall behind it. Priya advises against “Sitting with your back to the home office door or having a window directly behind you,” you should, she says, “Have a good view of the full room”.

In Feng Shui, this is known as the “command position” which enables you to take ownership of the energy of the space and retain a heightened awareness of what’s happening in it. In turn, this boosts performance and allows you to achieve your very best. If your home office is small, try positioning the desk diagonally from the door, whilst in large rooms, aim to place the desk more centrally, always keeping a wall behind it as a strong backing and for protective power.

Light a woody candle for personal growth

To further enhance the energy of the room, Priya advocates lighting a gently fragranced woody candle at the start of each working day. “Wood is springtime energy and directly correlates with new beginnings and freshness. It is about new ideas and projects”. What’s more, wood links back to trees which Priya says “Grow upwards but have roots firmly in the earth”. She states that we want to mirror this in our home office and work life, where strong foundations are important for good growth.

Add plants for workplace wellbeing

Plants are important too; a Peace Lily placed directly on the desk is “Great for soaking in electromagnetic stress” says Priya. As the name suggests, a Money Plant (Pilea Peperomioides) will support your finances if located diagonally opposite the door. This specific position is a pulse point for wealth, so avoid putting clutter or a wastepaper bin here. For indoor plants check out www.patchplants.www.patchplants.com.

A Peace Lily o your desk will absorb electromagnetic stress. This one is from patchplants.com
Declutter for an uncluttered mind

To maintain balance and calm, Priya proposes clean desks with minimal objects and papers. “As soon as you finish a project, file it away, make sure there’s no clutter and archive all old files”. This promotes greater focus and clarity of thought. In your haste to tidy away however, “Don’t place paperwork or books on the floors as it will reflect a deterioration in business or one’s career”. 

If your space permits, you can add a small table-top water fountain in the southeast corner of your home office. This will boost wealth and create a calming vibe.

Add work structure

Finally, “Stick to set hours, take regular breaks, keep work within your designated office, and avoid bringing it into other areas of your home,” says Priya. A clear separation will help you to rest and fully relax.

Following these principles will empower you to successfully Feng Shui your home office, encourage a continual flow of good energy and sustain high output levels.

You can book a consultation with Master Priya Sher via her website, priyasher.com; for visual examples of Priya’s work, follow her on Instagram@priyasher.

If you are working from home and enjoyed this article you will also like 15 ways to add more balance in your day

How She Carries On: FLOWERBX CEO and founder Whitney Bromberg Hawkings

Back in 2015 Dallas born Whitney Bromberg-Hawkings quit her jog as head of global communications for Tom Ford where she had been for 19 years and started the online floristry company FLOWERBX which sources flowers direct from the growers and delivers their incredibly stylish arrangements straight to your door. She tells us what life’s been like as an entrepreneur throughout this year’s pandemic and how she, and the company have coped.

Whitney Bromberg Hawkins CEO and Founder of FLOWERBX
Tell us about your work…

“I am the founder and CEO of FLOWERBX, a global online delivery floral service.   I love building something that didn’t exist before with a highly motivated, passionate, smart team of overachievers that are helping me deliver the impossible, daily.  The UK team is based in a very unglamorous warehouse in Park Royal, but any environment is beautiful when it’s filled with flowers.”

What’s your context outside of work?

“I live in South Kensington in London with my amazing, superhero husband, Peter, who is the Senior Vice President of Menswear for TOM FORD.  We have three wonderful children, Barron (12), Snowdon (10),  and Wallis  (4) and an elegant blue whippet, Ursula.”

Dahlias for days from FLOWERBX
What was your ‘normal ‘day to day life like pre COVID?

“My normal day pre-Covid was in a constant state of motion.  I literally was always running and – between work,  my family and a tireless social life that I found important for building our business – I literally never stopped.”

What is your day-to day life like now after Lockdown?

“While I am running less, I am working ALL. THE. TIME.  The acceleration to digital has provided a huge opportunity for our business as an e-commerce platform that sells flowers, and I feel that there aren’t enough hours in the day to seize the opportunity and make the most of an unfortunate situation.  That said, the one silver lining is spending more time with my family, and this will be a gift that I will treasure forever.”

Beautifully simple Hydrangeas from FLOWERBX
How has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally?  

“Like almost everyone, the Corona crisis has dramatically impacted every single aspect of my life.  As a naturally optimistic and positive person, I am constantly trying to find the silver linings,  but even with a very positive outlook, it is hard to ignore the sadness and destruction this is reaping on so many.”

What are you now finding challenging right now?

“Focus has been a challenge for me since the onset of the virus.   I am a very structured and organized person, and the lack of certainty makes it hard for me to focus and plan for the future.  

I am also very preoccupied with the general, pervasive global sadness right now, what with the political and civil unrest in the US (as a native American), the global climate crisis and the Covid pandemic –  it is a very unsettling time.”

What has got you through? What have been your coping strategies?
FLOWERBX has brought the old fashioned bouquet of flowers firmly up-to-date

“Exercise has been key for me as has wine!   I think it is also key to take one day at a time, as thinking about the future right now sends me into a tailspin.”  

Do you feel that Lockdown has changed your outlook and if so how?

“I think lockdown has taught all of us how little we really need. It has also taught us true gratitude for all of the gifts we had previously taken for granted.  I am so grateful for life’s simple pleasures, a delicious peach, a beautiful bunch of fresh flowers (from FLOWERBX, obvs), and time with my family  – none of which I appreciated as wholeheartedly  as I do now.

The YSL Pinstripe Blazer – one of Whitney’s daily wardrobe staples for visiting their offices
Personally how have you managed your mind and wellbeing throughout Lockdown as well as that of your family?

“I am so preoccupied with keeping the kids’ spirits up at home and being a cheerleader for my team (of almost 40 people at FLOWERBX) at work and trying to keep everyone motivated and feeling positive about the future that I don’t have much time to think about my own wellbeing. I am also lucky that I have a wonderful husband and partner who shares all of my burdens, so nothing gets too heavy.  Being with my family at our cottage in the Cotswolds on the weekend is the greatest therapy and the best way to reset for another week.”

What are your thoughts on travel right now?

“We had an amazing, last minute 3 week trip to Puglia over the summer and it was magical.  As Italy was so hard hit, restaurants and outdoor spaces seemed very cautious and considered, and it did a WORLD of good to change scenery, air, food and everything after 6 months indoors.”

What are your current handbag essentials?

“A mask,  sanitiser, floral scissors, a notebook and my phone.” 

What gets you through Working From Home?

 “I think it’s vital to exercise in the morning, and this enables me to start the day with a positive mindset.  I also think it’s important to have the camera on whilst on endless Zoom calls – it helps me and the team stay engaged and connected.    I have been going to the warehouse often since lockdown has eased as connecting with my team makes me SO happy.   I am so lucky to love my team and love what I do.

What are your 5 essential items of clothing?

“`As I am in and out of a warehouse every day, I’m constantly in my REDONE jeans, a white ATM t-shirt, Gucci loafers and a Saint Laurent navy, pinstripe blazer.    This uniform can take me seamlessly from warehouse to school gates to a zoom meeting.”

Whitney Bromberg Hawkins
Gucci loafers – one of Whitney’s instant style updates
What is your vision for the future of your business?

Covid has accelerated the shift to online consumption, and we have seen our D2C sales quadruple during the crisis, a shift which we see as permanent.  We hope to continue our expansion across the USA (we have launched the East and West Coast during the pandemic)  and replace the traditional florist as THE way to consume flowers.

FLOWERBX.com

If you have enjoyed this article you may also like to read an interview with style entrepreneur Rae Feather here

How she carries on in 2020: Amanda Thomson CEO of Thomson & Scott

Amanda Thomson is the founder and CEO of Thomson & Scott Ltd. Having always had an interest in healthy living, her Organic Vegan Prosecco and Noughty, Alcohol-Free Chardonnay are revolutionising the wine industry. Certified organic and a Certified B Corporation, her products are made with the greatest of care for the environment and sustainability whilst never compromising on the quality and taste of her products.

Amanda says, “My obsession with the perfect 100% Chardonnay champagne is the reason Noughty is so damn good.  We created it to come as close to that special feeling as possible that you have with the alcoholic corks popping. We want people who aren’t drinking to stay at the heart of every party instead of feeling excluded. We also want a drink that tasted like it was made for adults and not just a one glass only sugar bomb.” 

Tell us about your work?

“I am the CEO and founder of Thomson & Scott the original creators of Skinny Champagne and Prosecco and now the leaders of the alcohol-free wine world with our gorgeous new bottle Noughty – organic, vegan, alcohol-free sparkling Chardonnay.”

What’s your context outside of work?

“I have two fabulous children – 18 and 12 and a husband (does he count as a pet too?) I live in Hampshire.”

What was your ‘normal ‘day to day life like pre COVID?

“Insanely busy.  Running a start-up is a 24/7 experience.  You’re never off duty and every day is either a huge high or a massive low.  It never just rumbles along.  So juggling that, travel to international markets, school runs and everything else that a 2020 woman copes with, was a daily challenge.”

What is your day-to day life like now after Lockdown? How have things changed?

“Both my children have now fled: one to university and the other to weekly boarding.  Lockdown forced me to drastically rethink the business as most of our customers were hotels, bars and restaurants before the curtain came down with Covid (or ‘Rona’ as my kids call it).  So, I had to pivot pretty quickly to focus solely on the online world and direct-to-consumer sales, which was a monumental mountain to climb.”

Amanda’s Noughty Organic Sparkling Champagne
How has the Corona crisis impacted you personally and professionally?

“Professionally, it’s been a rollercoaster.  We initially feared the worst but then an incredible review by a top wine expert starting the phone ringing off the hook from across the globe.  In a way, after the initial idea that people could sit in their gardens and drink all day wore off, the idea of an alcohol-free alternative for the BBQ started to make sense to a lot of people and our sales grew and grew thankfully. 

Personally though, like for many of us, it’s been claustrophobic to remain in the house, which is by no means big, for weeks on end trying to cope with heightened emotions all round and a sense of frustration that we have been given endlessly changing instructions on how to live our lives. That said, I am luckier than most with countryside around me so I’ve bee constantly check myself there when I feel ratty.”

What are you now finding challenging right now?

“The uncertainty as to when this will all be over, and life will return to reality.  At the moment it feels like we’re slow walking through a disaster movie. I love people, travel, parties… Zoom just doesn’t cut it for me.” 

What has got you through?

“Fitness, food and friends. I’ve kept up my exercise regime as much as possible, which has kept my mind sane.  We’ve tried to eat as well as we can to keep energy levels up and not fall into the easy trap of sofa suppers.  A quick run and mutual moan with a great friend around the corner is a huge mood-boost, especially as she’s a fellow entrepreneur. (And the occasional sneaky online purchase – the odd pair of earrings or new fitness kit to make me smile).”

Do you feel that Lockdown has changed your outlook and if so how?

“It’s made me appreciate the freedoms that we had before this all happened and how much I want them back!”

Personally, how have you managed your mind and wellbeing throughout Lockdown? And of your family?

“Routine has been absolutely vital for us as a family.  We’ve made sure that everyone has stuck to the usual sleeping times and we’ve also remained vigilant about mealtimes.  I know if I don’t eat at regular mealtimes my brain doesn’t function.

Technology has been an issue that we’ve had to manage throughout the lockdown like most.  It was too easy for everyone to dive onto their phones or spend the afternoon gaming when the sun was blazing outside, so we made sure that we walked regularly and tried to maintain a healthy approach to social media. Easier said than done sometimes.” 

What are your thoughts on travel right now?

“I’m about to travel to Italy for a few days with a friend so it’ll be interesting to experience the protocols to see how stringent they really are.  We have discovered new parts of the British countryside that might not have happened without this pandemic.  We’re now deeply in love with Devon and are off to Cumbria this Christmas.  

My husband is currently recovering from a critical illness so we’re very cautious about taking precautions, wearing face masks and washing hands wherever we go.  The children’s grandparents are also a concern so we’ve all learnt to be careful and follow the ever-changing rules.”

What are your current handbag essentials?

“iPhone, lip balm, hand cream, floral mask, bank cards for tapping everything! And of course my Chloe perfume to remind me to enjoy certain luxuries.”

What gets you through Working From Home?

“We went nuts a couple of years ago and bought the most swanky coffee machine.  It’s been grinding all day every day since March and hasn’t failed us yet.  Finding a spot in the house to work is the biggest challenge.  My husband also works from home and when it was a full house, it was a challenge to find a background for my Zoom calls that wasn’t populated with either a child, a grumpy spouse or a school homework work plan stuck up behind me with blue tack.”

CEO and Founder Amanda Thomson
What is your vision for the future of your business?

“The alcohol-free market is growing very quickly.  The beer and spirits industries have already recognised and reacted to this trend but the wine industry has been incredibly slow to see any value in it.  

Thomson & Scott is already considerably far ahead in what we’re doing – creating a delicious non-alcoholic sparkling that is difficult to distinguish from an alcoholic version.  We’ve very much taken what they call “first mover advantage” with Noughty and are watching it launch in a number of exciting territories around the world including New York, California and Australia. So the future, put simply, is shifting the global drinks industry and making a really big impact across the globe!”

Thomsonandscott.com

Thomson & Scott is available at the following retailers around the world, but if you can’t find the wine, contact them on hello@thomsonandscott.com.

Ireland – €12–15
Pembroke Wines, all Avoca Handweavers shops; Whelehan’s Wines; Gibney’s Off-Licence; The Grape & Grain; DSix Liquor; Wicklow Wines

Hong Kong – HK$95
Sipfree (launching August 2020)

Spain – €10.73
The Blue Dolphin Store (to be launched in the next couple of months)

Netherlands – €11.95
de Bijenkorf

New Zealand – NZ$19.99
Red & White Cellar

Australia – AU$19.99
Craftzero

USA (Texas) – $14.99
Central Market (launching shortly in all outlets across Texas)

Jersey – £8.99
Lovewine

Portugal – €18 (free countrywide shipping for 12 bottles upwards)
Six Senses Douro Valley Bottle Shop

Italy – €22
Locanda Al Colle

Dubai
Spinney’s

7 Ways to be more creative (for those that think they aren’t)

Susie Pearl is a coach, mentor, author, podcaster and expert in positivity. Her recent book The Art of Creativity , was written after her cancer recovery and if about how to be more creative in your life. Having been diagnosed with a brain tumour a few years ago, Susie was told she had six weeks to live, yet has defied all the odds and is now living cancer free in Ibiza.

Incredibly inspired by the book The Artists’ Way, Susie wanted to put her own spin on the subject of creativity and spoke to Russell Brand, David Lynch, and Paul McCartney amongst many others to discover what makes them tick. Susie says that often,  “The idea of being creative can strike fear into people (probably stemming back to art and craft lessons at school with a less than supportive teacher giving feedback on our work).”

Author Susie Pearl

Creativity doesn’t have to be about having the piano playing skills of Elton John or the artistic talent of Michelangelo Susie says, “Is about seeing the world in different ways and being flexible in your thinking.  Its combining ideas in new ways and finding routes through blocks so that you can head out the other side. Creativity is not only about painting and drawing. It is many things including how we think and talk to others and how we choose to spend our time.”

“Creativity is about dancing with yourself, exploring your spirit and see what comes through the senses, without judging yourself,” she says “It’s not a bad way to approach life as a philosophy of living in this new world ahead of us. One thing this lockdown has created is a spring of new creativity flowing out of us while we spend time quietly at home wondering what to do.  Inevitably, if we do nothing, something happens and our mind gets busy on new ideas.  Just start somewhere with little steps, then keep going.”

Susie’s latest book

Here Susie has put together some key points to remember to help boost your creative muscles:

We are all creative

“Sometimes we feel blocked but we can get past these blocks by going within ourselves – go inside. I have never met anyone who isn’t creative in some way.  As humans, we all have the ability to pull in some creative flow to our life. The secret is about finding what you love and doing that.”

Discover your passion

“Decide what you like doing and turn up to your favourite craft regularly. It doesn’t matter if it’s sewing, drawing, doodling, painting, making matchstick men, writing, playing or writing music, designing, putting images things together, doing a Pinterest board, making a vision board, acting, dancing, or playing a game with friends. Whatever you enjoy doing that involves losing yourself in a task that gets you putting ideas together in a new way, do that and get immersed. That is creativity.  Forget about the time and lose yourself in your activity.”

Meet up with creative people 

“Surround yourself with other creative people and talk about ideas rather than talking about other people or gossiping. Talking to others helps you to build on ideas and create something new that you wouldn’t have thought of perhaps by yourself.  Expand your horizons, meet new people to get new ideas from, do things differently and to do different things. Get inspired and excited by new thoughts and plans.”

Think about projects that inspire and excite you

“Discover projects you feel like getting involved with locally – join a singing group, learn to write poetry, sing, learn a new language or take a drawing class. The way to know if it’s right creatively for you is to feel if it gives you joy and makes you feel good. When you get creatively immersed, time flies and the hours pass by without even noticing. “

Play music 

“Play music while you daydream. You don’t have to be doing things all the time. Take some time, relax, chill, listen to some soothing music and let the music take you off into feeling good. You may feel like taking a rest and relaxing, or some music may get you energised so you want to dance. Let your body do what it wants to do. Resist responding to the strong voice inside your head and instead follow your flow, follow your intuition and go towards what makes your heart sing and what brings you joy.”

See new people and places

“Chat with people you don’t know well in your area of interest and you will learn and be inspired by them. If you like art and drawing, join a local group and see who you meet.  Go to places where you don’t know anyone yet and make some friends and strike up conversations. The best adventures happen when you don’t have a plan. “

Have a beginners mindset

“Remember, that no one really knows what they are doing. Everyone is winging it and trying and experimenting. It’s good to make mistakes, fail at things and fall on your face trying something new.  No one is really watching.  The more you make mistakes, the more you explore and became inquisitive. The more you fail, the more informed you become about what doesn’t work, which helps you get onto the track of what does work.”

A final note…

Susie says that one of the main things to remember about creativity is that it’s meant to be fun and enjoyable, “Be light with yourself and your creative endeavours. None of it really matters – the only thing that’s important is that you enjoy yourself.  Try out some puzzles and games, meditate and connect with your spirit and let ideas flow without judging them.” Amen to that.

Susie’s Book – The Art of Creativity – 7 powerful habits to unleash your full potential is out now

If you liked this article you may also like our story on ’15 ways to find more balance in your day.’ Read here

How to hack your own motivation

The other day I found myself staring at the walls of my office, head a little foggy (I know what you’re thinking – no I wasn’t hungover), yet I was unable to physically and mentally crack my own whip. I knew there was a lot of work to do, and a pile of admin to tackle but, I was struck with a mental paralysis that wouldn’t allow me to move forward.

It appears I’m not alone. Speaking to my friends and colleagues recently, motivation is hard to muster right now. Mindset coach Alister Grey couldn’t agree more and says that the current uncertainty in the air is causing us to flounder, “When there’s uncertainty, we tend to feel there’s nothing to look forward to and we can wander aimlessly through our work and our days.” 

So how can we put the motor back in our Mojo? We spoke to 35 Thousand founder and executive coach Misty Reich as well as Alister about how to rediscover our enthusiasm.

INVESTIGATION DEMOTIVATION

Misty explains that there is no singular solution to reigniting motivation as it depends on the root cause . She suggests asking taking some time to really ask yourself where this lack of motivation is coming from. For example, is it because you are disillusioned with your job? Are you overwhelmed with the sheer volume of work on your plate or is your mood generally just low?

Below are some reasons that may affect your motivation levels and some potential solutions from our experts.

YOU MAY BE MENTALLY SPENT

Let’s face it, right now you probably have a lot going on. Whether you’ve been juggling the return to school shenanigans with a full-blown back-to-work schedule, or you’re starting a business, a new job, or looking for work, we all have a lot on our brains right now. The impact of COVID-19 has been enormous and your brain dip may be due to sheer mental overload, and as a result, exhaustion. 

Solution 1: Find what makes your heart sing

Alistair says it’s hugely important to rediscover what makes your heart sing. “Finding motivation is about finding purpose,” he says, “It’s about finding the ‘why’ that drives you.” This he says doesn’t mean you have to try and find a ‘life purpose’ but to put your focus on a project or topic that inspires you.  He is a big believer in the saying, ‘Where your focus goes your energy grows,’ “If we are focussing on the negatives then we aren’t going to feel motivated but more disempowered. But if we put our attention on the things that matter to us then the energy will come back.”

Solution 2: Walk it out

Misty has a practical tip for when she feels emotionally and mentally drained and that is to go for a walk which she says will “Consciously get oxygen to my brain.” If Misty is really tired then she finds that a short power nap will reboot her mentally and physically. 

YOU MAY BE OVERWHELMED

Your child may be struggling at school, at the same time you may be having to cover three people’s jobs after a post COVID reshuffle, meanwhile you are working from home and the house chores and your work life are all blurring into one. Sound familiar?  We can feel like a rabbit in the headlights when we have so many things to do and don’t know where to start . 

Solution 1: Clear the Clutter

For Misty, simply clearing her desk or organising her office can give her a sense of organisation that will also unlock her brain and help her to think more clearly. 

Misty’s other solution is to clear your mental space of clutter. When your brain feels like a washing machine, she suggests doing a mind map. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, it’s a diagram used to visually organise information. It is often created around a single concept which is normally placed in the centre of the drawing. Major ideas then branch off the centre piece and smaller ideas branch off those, “This” she says, “Can especially help creative people who don’t think in a linear way. I find I come up with ideas from a mindmap that I just wouldn’t with a list.”

An example of a mind map
Solution 2: Focus on one thing 

For Alistair, his greatest hack is to be present and to focus on one task at a time.”Focus and get immersed in it,” he says “Multitasking is actually a myth as we are really ‘switch tasking’ and in the process we lose up to 40% productivity and get overwhelmed. If you focus on one task at a time and go through your day like that, then things flow more easily. It is the fear of how much you have to do that is stopping you moving forward not the actual task itself.”

YOU MAY HAVE A FEAR OF FAILURE

Many of us feel we don’t really want to start a project or a big task unless we can do it perfectly or guarantee it’s going to go exactly as planned. 

Solution 1: Eat the Frog

For Misty, when she gets like that she decides to pick something she doesn’t want to do and she does it first. She recommends Brian Tracy’s book, Eat That Frog (above) which is about doing the hard things first. If you force yourself to do this then there is a sense of achievement and breakthrough that will then lead you onto the next task.

How to hack your motivation
Misty recommends this book which is about tackling the hardest task first
Solution 2: Just take the first step

Fear of judgement or failure stops people making the next step explains Alistair. “ Just take the first step and trust it, when you take action and get in the game it’s not as daunting as you first think.” After the first step, he explains, the second step will then become  clearer.

It may be psychological

Times are hard right now and it’s only natural that many of us feel down or low occasionally. The result is that you just can’t face doing anything. 

Solution 1: Talk it out

Misty says that sometimes feeling low can stop her feeling motivated at work. She finds two solutions effective  – the first is talking to someone, “Unless you think it’s necessary to go to therapy, it can also be very effective talking to a friend or a close colleague,” she says, “Find people you can create a network with.” Another remedy she has is to write down what she is feeling, “ There’s something about sitting down with a pen that separates you from it and allows you to see an issue from a different perspective.”

(Note: If you feel you or a friend are in need or professional help, please see information at the bottom of this article)

You may just need to kick your own butt

Occasionally you don’t need to dig around for a reason behind your lack of motivation, it may be that you are just being a bit lazy and need to admit it.  

Solution 1: Tackle one tiny thing

Misty says she knows this is the case when she realises that it’s not that she lacks energy, “I’m just not doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” she says. If that’s the case then her top tip is to do her mind map and make a list of the things she has to do. 

She also picks the smallest thing on the list that would make an impact on what she’s trying to accomplish, “I say to myself, what’s the easiest thing I can do? So I pick something really teeny tiny and it makes me feel satisfied that I have at least accomplished something.”

Solution 2: Set an intention

Alistair recommends setting your mind up  for the day ahead at the beginning of the day. He uses affirmations to help him visualise himself having a successful day. “‘You have a choice,” he says  “Tell yourself that you will choose for it to be great, that you will smash it and immerse yourself in it.’” Alistair says he also sets an intention for how he will feel the following morning such as ”Tomorrow I will wake up with full vitality and energy – it’ s amazing the impact this has” he says.

and finally…

Be kind to yourself

It’s important if you don’t feel motivated that you don’t beat yourself up about it. “Don’t forget the importance of how you are going to define success in your day” says Misty. “Pre COVID-19  we may have squeezed every last drop of productivity out of our days, however life is really not normal right now and even if you are going back to an office, life will not be normal there either.  If you actually only achieve one small thing in your day then anything else will be a bonus.”

Notes on mental health

Confidential mental health helplines

Please note that these tips are not meant to be a replacement for speaking with a licensed therapist and/or a psychiatrist. Please do not be afraid to seek help if you feel that you or someone else is struggling and could benefit from it. Contact your local GP, family doctor or insurance company and/or your local government/ council to seek other government funded resources for mental health

US – SAMHSA (Substances Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

UK – MIND – Call 0300 123 3393 or text SHOUT to 85258 which is a crisis textile for support in a crisis www.giveusashout.org/get-help/

If you enjoyed reading this, you might enjoy hearing what TED talker Mo Gawdat has to say on happiness here

Effective exercise for busy women, by Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill

If anyone knows how to fit exercise into a hectic schedule then it’s British Olympic Gold Medallist and World Champion Heptathlete Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill . Between juggling her two young children, managing her fitness app Jennis as well as many other work related commitments, Jess is a master at fitting the most effective exercise into small timeframes. The Jennis app was created by Jess and the team that have worked with her throughout her career and who took her from birth to World Champion in just 10 months. With hundreds of videos of Jess completing each exercise, there is a Fitness section where you can focus on different body parts or the whole body, or follow a month-by-moth guide. There is also a Pregnancy section created by Jess and the physio that saw her through her pregnancies which demonstrates effective but safe exercise. Finally there is a Postnatal exercise section which Jess very strongly feels needs to be done slowly and carefully.

Jessica , image from Instagram

Granted, fitness-wise Jess is built differently to you and I, but those Olympic medals means she has the inside track (excuse the pun) on which exercises will reap maximum results. And those abs don’t just happen by themselves…

We spoke exclusively to Jess about her techniques for tackling fitness as a women in today’s busy world.

Organisation is Key

If there’s one thing we can learn from Jess, then it’s that exercise doesn’t just happen by itself , and if you don’t structure it into your life, it will fall by the wayside. She admits to personally being a super organised person when it comes to working out, “Something that I learned from being an athlete was to have a structure in my days and weeks, so I plan my exercise at the start of a week and lock it in my diary.” 

When she was competing, Jess followed a rigid training programme nearly every day of the week, but now she maintains her fabulous body with just three workouts, proving that you don’t need to kill yourself in the gym to make a difference. “A normal week would include a minimum of one run and two circuit sessions, generally slotted in around school and nursery and any work commitments,” she says. 

The Jennis App
Be honest with yourself 

Despite her clear superpowers on the athletics pitch, Jess is well known in the world of wellbeing for being incredibly relatable. This translates to her attitude to fitness, where she says it’s important not to overcommit, “I have to make sure I can physically, realistically and clearly see what I am aiming to achieve that week in order to stick with it.” She also insists that downtime is as important as ‘on’ time.

“Make sure you allow yourself rest days and build any exercise routine up so you get stronger and fitter gradually so you can maintain it and also keep motivation levels high,” she says. “To help my community out, I’ve created plans and challenges that help them structure their weeks – and my 30-day bum and ab challenge are proving really popular.”

Get Intense

In order to get body and fitness results fast within a short timeframe, Jess suggests quick but tough workouts, “I am a big fan of quick intense workouts that leave you feeling like you’ve worked hard and that give a great endorphin kick,” she says.  The workout devised in Jess’ exercise app Jennis do just that – they are quick, body and brain blasting workouts that give you the maximum benefit in a relatively short time. What’s more she has set challenges to keep you on track and help when motivation is lacking, “ I have created 30-day plans and challenges that mean you don’t have to think – you simply have to sign in and follow that day’s session or have a prescribed rest day. There is something really motivating about following a programme and in the case of the Jennis challenges, no workout is more than 30 mins.”

Twenty minutes is enough

It is often thought that we have to work out every day for hours on end to get the results we crave, but Jess says that’s a myth, “I think so many of us have that feeling that we must work out for hours to feel we’ve worked ourselves hard enough or we feel that if we don’t have a full hour to do our workout then we might as well not bother. When actually you can achieve so much in 20 mins. In a 20 min HIIT circuit you can push your rep strength and aerobic strength and come away feeling as if you’ve worked extremely hard. It’s all about level of intensity,” she says. 

No gym required

It’s also a myth that you need an at-home gym in order to get fit. Instead you can use the weight of your own body as resistance, “I think there are so many body weight exercises you can do at home and plenty of ways to adapt them to make them more challenging,” says Jess, Most of the circuits in my Jennis app are bodyweight focused and use minimal kit.”

Be kind to yourself 

Jess knows all too well how tough it can be juggling motherhood with work, let alone trying to fit in exercise too, “Being a busy working mum is really demanding. If there is a week when things are so crazy that you cannot find time to train or simply just don’t feel like it, just make sure that it is a priority the next week, don’t beat yourself up” she says. 

She also stresses the importance of finding an exercise you love else you won’t stick to it, “Trying lots of different types of workout is a good idea,” she says “Variety may suit you as a person too. As my son is getting a little older, I am able to go on bike rides with him and even short runs – I love it and it combines time with him with exercise. “

Examples of Jess’ workouts for the busy woman

Warming up

It is essential you warm up pre any exercise to avoid injury. One  of Jess’ warm up sessions involves 4 x warm-up exercises  such as low level high knees, reactive bounces, hip flex into hamstring flexes, and arm circles. See her app for visual examples of warm up as well as cool down sessions. 

When you have 5 minutes…

Jess says: “In my app I have a number of body blasts that are just 5 minutes. I get my community to do these 1, 2, or 3 times a day, depending on how they are feeling. Just a few minutes might feel like it’s not enough, but just getting a few minutes of movement in is really positive – and once you start you always end up doing more than you planned.” Here is an example of an Ab Blast that Jess says she does all the time (please check the app to follow Jess’ demonstration)

You will need: An exercise mat

How it works: 10 exercises and 10 reps of each

Jess demonstrating the 5 minute Ab Blast
The exercises
  • Crunches x 10
  • Flutters x 10
  • Cross over scissors x 10
  • Sit up and twist x 10
  • Sit up and reach x 10
  • Touch toes crunches x 10
  • Classic sit ups x 10
  • Double leg lowers x 10
  • Side to sides x 10
  • Russian twists x 10

When you have 15 mins…

Jess says: “There are 19 minutes HIIT circuits on my app that are really quick and effective and I have a 15 minute session that requires no kit and targets the whole body.” Here is an example of the 15 Minute Full body session but we recommend you check out the app to watch Jess in action.

How it works: There are 3 sets of 7 exercises. Set 1 is 25 seconds per exercise, then 10 seconds off. Set 2 is 30 seconds per exercise and 10 seconds off. Set 3 is 25 seconds on per exercise.

Jess demonstrating the 15 Minute Body Blast
The Exercises:

1.Jumping Lunges

2.shoulder taps

3. Squat jumps

4. Feet together crunches

5. Bum lifts

6. Plank crunches

7. Sumo squats

When you have 30 mins…

Jess says: “There are a range of 29 minute pyramid sessions in my app – all bodyweight and minimal kit.’ She explains Pyramid sessions like this “For your first set of seven exercises, I keep it slightly easier by keeping the amount of time we perform each exercise slightly shorter (20, 25 or 30 seconds, depending on the difficulty level). This first set is designed to warm you up and get the blood flowing to your muscles.”

“For the second set, it gets harder as we’ll do each exercise for longer (25, 30 or 35 seconds, depending on the difficulty level). Then, on the third, it gets easier again (we drop down in seconds) and so on. If you were to draw out the time periods for each set, you would see it creates little pyramids.”

Here is an example of a Full Body Intermediate session but we advise watching Jess on the app as you go.

What you will need: An exercise mat and a low table

How it works: There are 4 sets of 7 exercises each with a 10 second break inbetween. In the first set do 25 second bursts, the second do 30 second bursts, the third do 25 second bursts and the fourth do 30 second bursts again. Inbetween each set have a longer rest.

Jess demonstrating her perfect form in the Full Body Blast
The exercises:
  • 1 x set of full body exercises such as press ups (25 second bursts) each broken up by a 10 second rest
  • 1 x longer rest
  • 1 x set of full body exercises such as jumping lunges (30 second bursts) each broken up by a 10 second rest
  • 1 x longer rest
  • 1 x set of full body exercises such as situps with  reach (25second bursts) each broken up by a 10 second rest
  • 1 x longer rest
  • 1 x set of full body exercises such as tricep dips (30 second bursts) each broken up by a 10 second rest
  • 4 x cool down exercises

Jessica Ennis-Hill’s fitness app jennis fitness is available to download on iOS and Android for £9.99/ $12.99 per month.

If you enjoyed this article you might enjoy reading about how to create a portable gym here

How to be Happy

Mo Gawdat is a Ted talker and a best-selling author on the subject of happiness. He has partnered with bath, body and self care brand Rituals to help them reinforce their mission which is to help people slow down and take a breath, especially in these difficult times, but essentially help them how to be happy.

Mo Gawdat wasn’t always a happiness speaker or a happiness author. He started out his career at IBM before moving to Microsoft and Google where he became Chief Business Officer of Google X which he said was ‘Probably the most innovative place on the planet.” With a beautiful wife and two children he felt he should have everything, but yet he says now he still felt depressed.

But then tragically he experienced the loss of his 21 year old son when a routine operation went horribly wrong. As unbelievably difficult as this was, Mo says ‘When you suffer this kind of loss, for many, it’s a defining moment which can lead us to avoid the world and into decay. But for others, like me, I found an opportunity.”

Rituals’ Ritual of of the Happy Buddha Happy Foaming ShowerGel

Mo’s daughter shared with him a conversation she and his son Ali had had a few weeks before his death. “Ali told his sister that he dreamt he was everywhere and part of everyone” he says. Mo saw this not just as a sign to create something good out of something horrific, but he also saw it as a goal. He ended up writing his international bestselling book Solve for Happy and gave himself a target for its’ message to reach 10 million people. But when Channel 4 did an interview with him that went viral, it reached 87 million viewers in just 4 days. Mo and his team then upped the target to make 1 billion people happy which led to Mo travelling the world to spread the word.

As part of his collaboration with Rituals (for which he is unpaid), Mo explains here the fundamentals of his beliefs in happiness.

Don’t mistake happiness for fun

“We have mistakenly understood happiness as fun,” says Mo. “Happiness is peacefulness, a calm inside you when you are ok with life as it is. When you have that feeling in you, you are able to perform better.” Mo goes on to explain that a study at Stanford university shows that people who are happy are in general 12% more happy in whatever they do.

Why is happiness important?

“People care so much about being healthy, and the reason for that is because healthy is the optimum mode we can perform in life,” Mo explains. “We don’t want to be unhealthy as it’s not an optimum way of performing or surviving . Similarly happiness is an optimum way of performing in life. People who are happy are proven to be more productive, they are more loved by their colleagues and clients and more engaged in what they do and report less absence.”

We need a happiness intervention

“People who aren’t happy are losing their lives  – depression is at an all-time high, as are suicide rates” says Mo. ” Until 20 to 30 years ago it was very rare for a woman to take her own life. Today it is 10-15 times higher than that.”

Mo himself understands what it feels like to suffer depression through his own battles, “When I was in my late 20’s I really struggled ” he says. As an engineer and a mathematician and a self-confessed control freak, Mo admits he was probably overly critical with himself ” I think all the time, and I criticised myself all the time which made me constantly unhappy. I attempted to find a predictable path to happy.”

On the outside it would appear that Mo had it all – a beautiful wife, great wealth, two beautiful children – and therefore he figured there must be something wrong with the code of his brain. After his so died and feeling he needed to ‘debug the code in his head’ he set out on a mission to try to understand what causes unhappiness, to discover “What bugs where in my code” he says.

Rituals Sweet Orange and Cedar wood Perfume D’Interieur
Happiness cannot be attained

The first eye-opening statement Mo discovered was very simple, that happiness is never going to be bought. “All the money, vacations, clothes, fancy gadgets and cars – none of it would make me happy because happiness cannot be attained,” he says. He goes on to explain that if you look at babies who are content (when they are fed, warm, loved, clean) you realise that we are born happy. “Happiness doesn’t come to us, it is within us, it is our default setting,” he says, “Babies don’t ask for X Box’s to be happy, or someone to like their butt shot on Instagram. Looking for reasons to be happy is not the answer, but looking for reasons that make us unhappy and removing them is.”

The happy list

Mo describes a very simple exercise that makes people really think about what makes them happy, something he says we don’t do enough of. It involves taking a piece of paper and finishing the sentence ‘I feel happy when…..’ five times. This he explains, could be as simple as having a good cup of coffee, a hug, or listening to music.

What Mo saw (and you will see if you do it at home) was that when you look at your list, you realise that most of the items are very simple. He goes on to suggest that it is a great practise to invite these things into your life on a daily or weekly basis. 

The other observation he found was that “You won’t find all the things that society lied to you about on that list.” By this, he means that you won’t find “I feel happy when I’ve bought a Ferrari” on the list. “As a matter of fact,” he says “Very few people feel happy when they’ve bought a Ferrari for more than 3 minutes – most people who buy a Ferrari get inside and say ‘When am I going to get my Lambhorgini.'”

Mo also says that no one ever writes ‘I will feel happy when I win the Nobel Prize.’ ” In fact when you ask those that won the Nobel Prize they say they felt happier when they achieved the breakthrough that lead to the Nobel prize,” he says. The prize itself wasn’t what made them happy.

Comparison is the thief of joy

Mo also discovered that every moment in your lives we have ever felt unhappywasn’t because of what was happening in our lives but because of a comparison between your life and how you want your life to be. He gives an example about his experience of rain in the UK. “Rain doesn’t make us happy or unhappy,” he says “The reason we feel unhappy about rain is because it misses our expectations of how life should behave.”

The happiness equation

Mo realised that if he could find the reasons behind unhappiness he could list them down, or even better, as an engineer he could find an equation to solve it. He went about his mission as he would an engineering test. “When you get a system that gets results that seem unpredictable, you plot the results on the chart and attempt to find a trend line.” Which is exactly what he did. This is the equation he came up with:

Your happiness = to or is > the difference between the events of your life and your expectation of how life should behave

(Your happiness equals or is greater than the difference between the events of your life and your expectation of how life should behave) Translated: If the event surpasses expectations you will be happy, if it misses expectations then you won’t.

Fun is a painkiller

“Happiness is this peaceful feeling,” says Mo, “And yet we confuse it with going to the pub, dancing at a party or jumping out of a plane. We mix it up with a target – something we aspire to achieve. Fun is not happiness, pleasure is not happiness they are weapons of mass distraction” he warns. “They are things we have replaced happiness with. These are things that numb our brains long enough that we don’t solve the happiness equation. Fun never lasts but we use it as a painkiller, and whilst it’s a dose of numbness it doesn’t fix the problem.”

Side note: Mo also explains that there is nothing wrong with fun if you are already happy – it’s like a supplement or vitamin he says that can boost our wellbeing.

So how do we solve the happiness problem? 

We have to first understand what unhappiness is. “it’s important to understand that unhappiness is a survival mechanism,” he explains, “Your brain is responsible for analysing the world around it and warning you if there is something that threatens your survival.” Our brains can create all sort of stories that will make us unhappy, “These cause pain emotionally or physically,” he says ,”They tell us things aren’t perfect and that you may want to take action. I’m not saying we shouldn’t feel the pain as life can be difficult, but when we play it over and over like the ‘Netflix of Unhappiness’ then that’s when it’s really damaging,” he says.

“Unhappiness in that case is a choice. It is a choice for me to play over the over the loss of my son which makes me suffer, but in reality I can choose to play over and over the birth of my son and the 21 beautiful years I was blessed with.”

Remember that the good in life naturally outweighs the bad

If you are struggling with negativity right now (and let’s face it who isn’t?) then Mo explains that, when you look at life, moments when everything is ok are many many more than when things are aren’t.  “If you were born in 1900” for example “Then by 1914, 22 million people would have died in WW1. By 1922 50 million people would have died of the Spanish flu. By the end of WWII, 75 million people would have died, and by 1950 300 million people would have died by Smallpox. The truth is when you think about it we have been blessed in life.”

Mo has collaborated with www.rituals.com to set up a two week happiness challenge with tips and exercises to grow your happiness muscle. Until 19th September.

If you like this article you may like to read about How to Hack your own Motivation here

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The Public Speaking Workshop: Getting your mindset right

In the first of our series of public speaking workshops, Anna Lao-Kaim discusses the pre-presentation principles: ‘Getting your mindset right.’

The red face, shaky legs, dry rice cake mouth and stress sweats – most of us are familiar with the symptoms of a bout of pre-presentation nerves. For some, a fear of public speaking is akin to a kind of paralysis, with The British Council reporting that 75% of us experience severe performance anxiety while 10% suffer from a debilitating public speaking phobia (known as glossophobia). 

The stats are equally revealing in the US, where The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 73% of the population experiences anxiety around public speaking. The knowledge that even Mark Zuckerberg blow dries his armpits to eliminate “anxiety sweat” before delivering speeches is testament to the fact that public speaking can strike terror into the hearts, minds and voices of even the world’s most successful CEOs. 

I got a particularly acute case of the public speaking scaries last summer at the prospect of giving a speech at my wedding. In addition to pitching the tone and length just so, I knew that I would be delivering my speech to a large audience, with the inclusion of excerpts in Thai and Polish as a nod to my new husband’s heritage, after having had most likely not a lot of sleep and with the whole performance being filmed. 

I was a rabbit in the headlights of my Word doc but understanding that almost everyone feels the fear, that few people are natural born speakers and that confidence comes in many forms helped me to step up to the mic. As did stand-up comedian and author Viv Groskop’s How To Own The Room, a book that examines and dissects the power of women using their voice and cheers readers on to do the same. Groskop emphasises that effective, exciting (yes, really) public speaking is really just a state of mind – here’s how to get yours in a great place before you grace the stage or start the Zoom call. 

Flip the negatives 

Even the most seemingly serene of speakers is likely paddling an adrenalin wave. Award-winning speaker and communication consultant Shola Kaye explains that a fear of public speaking is primal:

“We crave the protection and approval of the group. Back in the caveman days, if we were ostracised from society for doing something wrong we would die either from being attacked by wild animals or due to exposure to harsh elements. 

“The primitive part of our mind still maintains these fears and that’s why, even though being laughed at, criticised or rejected won’t kill us, we hold onto that basic fear and overemphasise the impact of screwing up a talk.” 

Negative self-talk may have protective prehistoric precedence but that doesn’t mean that you can’t challenge it. Shola has some ‘be your own cheerleader’ advice up her sleeve:

“It can be hard to shut off negative experiences but a great way to overcome them is to list all of the negative chatter and ‘flip it’. If your internal monologue is ‘I’m rubbish at speaking’, turn that statement on its head by switching it to ‘I’m a decent speaker and getting better all the time’. 

“When you’ve flipped your list of negatives, throw away the original doubts and read the positives like a mantra. This will train your brain to expect success.”

Picture victory

Mantras not quite hitting spot yet? Shola advises workshopping your speech beforehand:

“Write a vivid script visualising everything going brilliantly. Perhaps you’re getting high-fives from the crowd, laughs and maybe even a standing ovation at the end. Record it and then listen back to it at night, during quiet moments or whenever imposter syndrome creeps in.”

Embrace the fear

Shola also advocates harnessing your natural ‘fight or flight’ response to a public speaking opportunity for good:

“It’s important to feel excited about what’s to come and to anticipate a great accomplishment rather than a failure.”

If nothing else, bear in mind that your crowd will have confidence in you to begin with, not to mention the fact that a fear of public speaking is so universal that they’ll have sympathy in spades if you do experience a bout of brain freeze.

Stand your ground 

Hypnotherapist Malminder Gill emphasises that, if you’re giving a talk, you can glean self-esteem by focussing on the fact that you already possess something valuable that’s worth sharing:

“There will be a reason why you are choosing or have been asked to present. It is likely that you are giving a speech on account of your wisdom and/or life experience that you can communicate to others. 

“Instead of putting the spotlight on your own anxiety, reframe your outlook to concentrate on what you’d love to share with your audience. Concentrating on the benefits of what you are doing and keeping this positive objective at the forefront of your mind will make your fear much less significant. Be the expert that people already know you are and you’ll exude confidence.” 

Screen out the stress

Given that remote working is likely to continue well into the future, adding digital glitches and inevitable WFH interruptions into the mix could stand to make presenting even more daunting. Gill attests that the Zoom ‘room’ can actually play to your speech-giving advantage:

“Hosting a talk on video actually has some perks. You can keep notes just out of sight, open another window on your screen so that you don’t have to look at everyone’s faces as you’re speaking and tailor lighting and the angle of your screen exactly as you’d like it. Light a calming candle, set the scene and take your time getting ready rather than worrying about a frantic commute.”

If the dog bounds in it’ll only add to the energy of your speech, after all, authenticity is key to delivering a memorable performance. No one expects perfection and it’s the speaking and showing up that counts. Who knows, Fido’s entrance could even go viral? 

For more advice, check out our Personal Development section. Learn how to win at difficult conversations here

How she carries on: Jewellery designer Sophie Theakston

Sophie Theakston is a jewellery designer based in West London. She talks exclusively to 35 Thousand about her love of India, being creative in lockdown whilst juggling family life, her love of nature, meditation and her 5.15 am starts when husband, (presenter Jamie Theakston) leaves for work.

Tell us about your work…

“I am a jewellery designer, designing fine jewellery using 18ct gold and precious and semi-precious stones.  I work from my home in London which is where I have a studio and showroom, but I have my collections made in Jaipur, India.  I have a wonderful team of people who work for me over there and I have a great assistant based here in London too.  

The thing I most love about what I do is travelling to India.  I am obsessed with that country basically!  Everything about it speaks to me; the people, the food, the design, the elegance and beauty, the richness and opulence amid the craziness and chaos.  It is an over-used expression, but it really is an assault on the senses. I have travelled extensively, but nowhere is like India.  It inspires my soul…  Alongside the travel, I am lucky enough in my work to see the vision of what is in my head come to life in gold.  I will never tire of that creative process.” 

Jewellery designer Sophie Theakston
What was your normal day-to-day life like pre COVID-19?

“My day consists of a very early start at 5:15 when my husband goes to work.  I immediately check in with India on everything they’re working on for current designs.  Whatsapp in my pyjamas!  I then feed and walk the dogs and have breakfast before taking my two boys to school.  It’s then straight back home to more coffee and work, in India, but also keeping on top of sales, orders and general admin back here in the UK.  If my assistant is working with me we have lots of planning discussions and will stop for a bit of healthy lunch and a non-work catch up, although quite a lot of tea and chocolate is also eaten throughout the day! If she isn’t with me, I just grab something at my desk. I also have days when I might visit stores and regularly have private clients come to have a look at the collection and buy.  Its a busy and varied day with nose to the grindstone right through ’til the boys come home from school.”

What is your day-to-day life like now?

“The boys have been at home which has really changed things a lot, so my time has been very stretched between looking after their needs and running the business.  My husband has continued to work (Jamie is the co-presenter of the Heart breakfast show on Heart FM) but he has been home earlier to help.  Apart from that, India was hit really hard by COVID.  It has been terrible to hear about conditions out there and how it has affected people’s livelihoods.  My team in Jaipur were pretty much unable to work so the manufacturing stopped for a few months.  It did mean that I went into over-drive with design though!  A slower pace and fewer deadlines and time-pressures has actually made that part of the process really breathe and flow.  It has felt like a very creative time for me…

Running your own small business also means there is CONSTANT flow of administrative stuff to deal with.  Not my favourite thing at all. My assistant has been pregnant during COVID (quite anxiety inducing for her!), but we have managed everything remotely.  And customers have been buying well remotely too.  I think Instagram was an absolute Godsend for lots of small businesses like mine, basically.”

What’s your context outside of work?

“I have two boys Kit and Sidney, (10 and 12), two dogs and two cats.  Oh and a husband!  We live in Chiswick, West London.  Apart from the weirdness of home-schooling, we have all been outside on lots of walks together which has been really lovely, and, again, inspiring from a design point of view.  Nature really is my go to for re-connecting and checking in with myself, so the part of lockdown that has seen us take a daily woodland stomp, has been incredibly restorative.  We are a stones throw from Richmond Park and have the fabulous hidden gem of Chiswick House & Garden right on our doorstep.  I like to pretend it’s my garden if I’m honest!

My hobby really is my work.  But I do try to separate myself from it otherwise I become obsessive. So apart from that grand passion, I devour books (especially biographies), classic movies (anything with Bette Davis in it) and  I regularly visit galleries here in London: Tate Britain, V&A, RA are my favourites.  I try to do at least one every fortnight if I can.  Obviously eating and drinking out in London is always a treat too.  As far as wellness goes, I do meditation and yoga at home too.”

Jewellery Designer Sophie Theakston
From left to right; Emerald Lotus ring, Diamond Om ring and the Ruby Om ring all by Sophie Theakston
What are you finding challenging right now?

“I think just the lack of a new perspective when I look outside.  In spite of the beautiful outdoor spaces here in London, we are largely in an urban environment, so I miss being able to breathe in a new location and see something other than houses and roads!  But we are very lucky that we have a garden and space so I mustn’t grumble.  I do miss direct contact with my co-workers too and, of course, the face-to-face with my team in India and seeing the work in process.  I am itching to get back to the heat and beautiful craziness of Jaipur!  But obviously you cannot rush these things.”

Do you feel that Lockdown has changed your outlook and if so how?

I have definitely found – like most working people – that we are able to do most things remotely pretty efficiently and whilst face-to face is lovely, it really isn’t absolutely necessary.  And that can only be a good thing for the environment.  I will definitely re-think the amount I travel after this. 

I have definitely slowed down, and taken time to be with my family and not to get too sucked into my work life.  I am a bit of a workaholic if truth be told, so this has been a great time to re-set and re-connect with life outside of that.  Nothing is more important than my boys and my husband.  And we are so privileged to have had no family members or friends fall seriously ill, so I have learned to really live in gratitude for that and all that we have in our lives.  Some people have suffered terribly during this period and I cannot imagine what working in frontline NHS or having lost a loved one… so Lockdown has taught me to say my prayers and count my blessings.”

What raises your stress levels and how do you manage that?

“I don’t tend to get too stressed out… since I started yoga and meditation several years ago, it has really helped me manage anxiety and accept that there are things you can fix and things you just can’t.  So a sense of perspective is vital in that.  

My assistant, Tori, is also brilliantly calm, competent and efficient, so I speak to her whenever things might be feeling stressful.  I think working life is always going to throw you challenges, missing deadlines on something, people or situations not quite matching your expectations, or you not matching theirs, but that is just the nature of business and LIFE, quite frankly.

 You have to work to solve the problem and if the moment has passed for you to fix something, you need to work together on an alternative plan.  I think its so important to have positive, calm people around you who give good advice and have got your back.  I am super lucky in that respect.  My husband is also always there with sound advice and a bear hug if things get really bad!”

Who/what has been the biggest inspirations to you in life or in your career?

“I was very inspired by my parents who were both successful in the jewellery business.  They had their own retail outlets but they were also very creative themselves in design…so I think my lifelong obsession with jewels was started from being around them – it was in my DNA.   

As far as business is concerned, my career before jewellery was working as Global Membership Director for  Nick Jones at Soho House, so I was fortunate enough to to travel the world and meet and work with lots of fascinating and creative people .  Nick is like no one else I have ever met.  He is driven, passionate, takes no BS and sticks to his vision on a project.  Not only is he a visionary, he is also hilariously funny and extraordinarily kind.  He has been a huge part of my life and I will be forever grateful to him for giving me the self-belief to follow my true passions that has allowed me to go for it and do what I do today.”

Jewellery Designer Sophie Theakston
Top: the Moon and Star cuff. Below the Moon and Back cuff by Sophie Theakston
Are you travelling currently?

“I have put all my plans for travel to India on hold for this year.  I think they all need time to heal over there as the virus is just at the point of peaking.  If and when I do get on a plane ( I haven’t yet) I think I will be pretty relaxed though.  I will take all the necessary precautions obviously, but I do think we have to, at some point, get the world moving again and the economy growing.  I will take all the advice on what to do, when and how, but I will definitely be first in line to try and get back to some form of normality in our lives.”

What do you wear to work?

I am pretty obsessed with clothes. Not buying new ones necessarily, but styling and putting looks together. They make me feel better and I love how my mood can change depending on what I have reached for that day. I wear the same style of clothes whatever day of the week it is and whatever I am doing.  My husband loves to point this out on our country walks!!  🙄So I don’t really have weekday wear or weekend wear.

 I like flowing things, beautiful fabrics, things that are well-made and definitely not “in fashion” necessarily.  It is really a mishmash of favourite designers, vintage market finds and some very old favourite pieces… I literally always have a cashmere wrap within reach too, all year round.  I have them in all different colours and have them hand embroidered in Delhi.  I don’t want to admit how many in print…”

If you had to edit your wardrobe to 10 items what would you keep?

“A Vintage Missoni Coat, Dosa Silk Trousers, Dosa Camisole Dress The Row Cashmere Rollneck, Metier Suede Hold-all, wrecked GAP boyfriend jeans, Dries Van Noten Long cardigan, Forte Forte Leather Boots, Isabel Marant Slides…. and as many cashmere wraps I can smuggle onto the list without you noticing.  I would look like a (luxe) bag lady, but I think that tends to be my look anyway 😆 so bring it on!”

Sophie uses Liberty notepads for all her work and design notes
What are your handbag essentials?

“Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, my purse, business cards, Smythson diary and pen, Liberty Notebook and pencil for design and work notes, house keys, Lindt chocolate balls, Charlotte Tilbury’s Beach Stick to add much needed colour if I am starting to fade…. obviously now I add a protective mask to that list.”

What are your home-working essentials?

“Lindt chocolate balls, bowls of nuts and dried apricots, sparkling water on tap, my iPad, tons of Liberty notebooks all over the place, each for a  different thing .  I love to write and draw, I am not at all good with virtual organising of my thoughts and ideas.  I am terribly old school…”

Sun, Moon and Stars necklace by Sophie Theakston
What or who do you rely on for managing life’s juggle?

“I have a very considerate and generally lovely husband who is usually home by lunchtime after a VERY early start, and he is brilliant at helping with school runs and sports matches if I have something that means I can’t do it.  I also have two brilliant women I work with both here and in India who pick up when I have to drop.  And of course some truly wonderful friends who will always be there for me if they can, when I ask.”

How do you manage your mind and well-being on a daily basis?

“I walk my dogs in the woods and think… but actually try to not to think, which is much better.  I also practice Yoga and do daily mediation and am a total Eckhart Tolle nut.  Podcasts for mindfulness are really big news for me.  I am also am a HUGE believer in gratitude lists.  I have been making my boys do them since they were about five and I love looking back on what has changed in their worlds and mine.”

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream
Sophie is never without Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream
How do you stay healthy?

“I gave up eating meat and drinking alcohol about 2 years ago, and I can honestly say I feel superhuman in comparison to how I felt before.  I also try to be with people who are kind, laugh a lot and have my best interests at heart.  Good people are the key to a good life I believe.”

How do you relax?

“Reading, films, music, art, cuddling my boys and of course my ever-present pets.  I always have some fluffy animal at my feet.  Usually a few of them….”

If you could speak to yourself when you were just starting out…?

“I would say stick to your dream and don’t listen to naysayers.  You only have one life and if you have a burning passion to do something creative, go for it.  You may stumble sometimes on the journey, but pick yourself back up and stay focussed on the vision.  If you try to just enjoy the journey, the destination will take care of itself.  Creative fulfilment is out there for everyone… you just have to reach for it with all the energy and passion you have.”

To see Sophie’s designs head to www.sophietheakston.com

Read more How She Carries On interviews here

Back on track

With more of us than ever before working in makeshift home-office set-ups (kitchen tables, worktops, on our laps) there’s never been a better time to consider the importance of good posture and its benefits to maintaining short and long-term back health.

Award-winning osteopath Anisha Joshi (who counts the likes of Professor Green and Rita Ora as clients) says, “Prevention is always better than cure: taking care of your body reduces the likelihood of suffering from debilitating pain and allows you to keep doing what you love for longer”. Osteopaths focus on musculoskeletal pain; using a combination of hands-on techniques like massage and exercise, they ease muscle and joint pains, stimulate better blood flow and enhance movement and flexibility, all of which contribute to the body’s physical wellbeing. 

Anisha is passionate about back health, noting that “We live in a society where we’re all sat down”. She calls it “A seated culture,” with more and more clients (particularly young people) coming to her with back pain as a result. “Our bodies were created to run around – think about cavemen and women, hunting and gathering – and not to sit for so long”. With this in mind, it’s vital that when we are sitting, our positioning is correct. “Posture is important because it can predispose you to early onset of degenerative changes in the body or to injury”. Ultimately, a poor stance can have a knock-on effect, resulting in a bad back and other health problems. 

“People underestimate the body; if you look at the spine, you’ll see it’s all connected, with thousands of muscles attached on to it. So, if you’ve been at your desk for hours, you might end up with a sore neck, which can cause tightness in the muscles and ricochet down to the lower back. It’s really about looking at the body as a whole,” says Anisha, acknowledging that the way in which muscles interlink can make it “A bit of a nightmare. Essentially though, the human body is a beautiful thing and it isn’t complicated; if you look after it, it will look after you”. 

How to improve your work posture

Finding the right sitting position (be it at your desk or on a train) can be especially effective in ensuring excellent back health. Anisha’s tips for achieving this include “Not crossing your legs, which will make you sit up straighter”, improving your posture and preventing pain in the lower back caused by your pelvis rotating and tilting. You should also “Always try to sit with your bottom right up against the back of the chair” she says which helps to keep the spine properly aligned and reduces stress on ligaments. Anisha also recommends glute bridge workouts to strengthen the glute muscles, which in turn can reinforce the lower back, as well as gentle neck stretches which she says are great for when you’re on a plane. She also advocates taking supplements such as Omega-3. 

Products that can help

A well-chosen pillow and mattress are a great place to start when it comes to maintaining a healthy back but there are also other products you can incorporate into your daily routine that can make a difference. With Anisha’s expert guidance, we’ve picked out the pieces you should be investing in, whether you’re working from home, back at the office or find yourself constantly on the move.   

Height Adjustable Sit-to-Stand Desk, $179.95

“Whether you’re on a plane or at your desk, keep moving; it’s important to get up and keep moving a little bit,” says Anisha. A height adjustable desk like this one is perfect for encouraging desk workers to stay active, switching between sitting and standing to relieve muscle tension and, over time, decreasing back troubles. 

The Monitor Stand, $27.99

Equally great for assisting with posture is a monitor stand, which will allow you to raise the screen up to be level with your vision. This way you won’t be bending your neck for prolonged periods – something that can negatively impact back health. Anisha also suggests keeping monitors close when working. She explains that the further away it is, the more you’re likely to slump into it trying to concentrate.

Ergonomic Desk Chair, $115.73

Although we’re all different and will benefit from varied techniques and products, as Anisha mentions, switching to a more ergonomic desk chair – one that suits the specific needs of your body – can have a positive effect on back wellbeing. Look for one that offers lumbar support, has an adjustable height, seat depth and tilt mechanism and flip-up arms for increased range and ease of movement. These functions promote good posture and consequently, better spinal health.    

Memory Foam Seat Cushion, $23.99

Perfectly portable, a seat cushion (sometimes called a seat wedge), will help to lift the bottom up explains Anisha, thanks to its subtle forward slope, which brings the back into an upright position by tilting the pelvis forward. It’s ideal for when you’re busy at your desk and for maintaining proper posture whilst driving.

Daily desk stretches

Anisha’s Top 3 Daily Stretches

Stretches are excellent for both improving your posture and decreasing back pain; Anisha’s top 3 stretches are quick and easy, enabling you to keep on top of your spinal health on even the busiest of days.  

Childs Pose

Lower your bottom onto your heels and stretch out in front of you, reaching your arms forwards. A beginner yoga pose, it is effective in combating back pain, this is good for stretching the muscles in the lower back, aligning the spine and relieving tension.  

Anisha in Child’s Pose
The Neck Stretch

Sitting on a chair, place one hand on the opposite side of the head from above, and gently pull your head down towards that arm’s shoulder to stretch the muscles in the side of your neck. Great for reducing stiffness and soreness in the neck which can sometimes becaused by poor posture and is a potential trigger for back pain. This is a simple stretch with big benefits.   

Anisha displaying the neck stretch
The Pec Stretch

Interlace your fingers behind your back and stretch out your chest. Squeeze your shoulder blades behind you. A straightforward everyday stretch, this increases flexibility in your pectoral muscles, and can also aid you in achieving and maintaining the correct posture. 

Anisha demonstrating the Pec Stretch

To make an appointment with Anisha Joshi go to www.osteoanisha.com

To create a at-home gym on a budget read our article here

Anxiety Attacks Part 2: How to keep emotional turbulence at bay

In part 1, yogi, author, actress, model and cancer survivor Sara Quiriconi (AKA @Livefreewarrior) told us how she finds her way out of a panic spiral, here she tells us how, on a daily basis she works to prevent an anxiety attack getting to that point.

“Feeling stressed out? You’re not alone. Whether you’re working from home, self-quarantined, you’ve been made redundant or you’re just feeling the effects of the information the news is pouring at us, with matters taken out of our control, anxiety is at an all-time high. 

Even in times that you feel emotionally well, it’s important to use emotional maintenance tools to prevent anxiety from setting in. While therapy can be a useful option, it may not be at the moment for many reasons. However, the following tools are what I use daily to manage anxiety and emotions, and which can be useful in these unsettling times for staying as balanced as is humanly possible.

EAT OPTIMALLY

While we may not be able to control the world around us, we do have 100% control over what we put into our bodies. Every day I make it a point to eat a broad range of healthy, high-fiber and nutrient-dense foods. These particular foods help my moods and keep my immune system feeling strong and resilient. 

It’s never a good time to get sick, but especially right now, keeping my immune system sharp is at the top of my priority list. I’ve been loading up on nature’s Vitamin C foods, such as berries, oranges, tomatoes, and other summer fruits, including watermelon, melon and cherries. Not only are they hydrating, they’re also packed with nourishing vitamins and powerful antioxidants.

In Ayurvedic medicine, when one feels an imbalance in their Dosha energies (there are three: Pitta, Vata and Kapha), it’s believed you can heal those imbalances with the right foods. Typically, in the United States, you’d eat these foods in the fall time, to help us ground with the change in seasons. I believe they have the ability to ground us now too. Which is why I’ve been eating more cooked root vegetables and cooked squashes, such as sweet potatoes, butternut and spaghetti squash, zucchini and beets. All of these foods are grown close to the earth and provide an inner sense of warmth and comfort.

MEDITATION

Without a still mind, we are nothing more than a machine. A mind with constant chatter can be a very unsettling and loud, chaotic place, which is why I meditate.

I’m far from being the perfect meditator – often in fact I allow my mind just to wander off and see where it goes. Successful meditation isn’t about emptying the mind to be completely blank. Successful meditation is putting in that effort to be alone with yourself, with no additional external influences. It’s to have that space to SEE what comes to mind, to become aware of when your mind wanders off to other subjects, and to practice bringing your focus back to one point or target (typically your breath but it can be a candle light, or even a spot on the floor). 

Every morning, I take 10 minutes in the morning to sit, breathe, think, wander, and practice, before checking my phone, and even pouring myself water or coffee. I practice bringing my thoughts back to my breathing, my body moving subtly with my breath, and focusing on my own personal mantra and power phrase that reminds me of my personal goals and purpose in life. 

ALLOWING MYSELF TO BE 

I’ve recognized at this point in my life, that being positive and happy all the time is just not sustainable. It’s human to feel sad, disappointed, hurt, upset and angry. To feel and have emotion IS to be human.

What do I do in those emotional times? I give myself to permission to be. I give myself permission to cry when I need to (however, I put a time limit on it) instead of holding back tears to be tough. I give myself permission to take it easy some mornings instead of ploughing through the to-do list on my calendar. I give myself permission to blow off the afternoon and watch something on Netflix for an hour if I’m inspired to, instead of working on the next client project. I give myself permission to self-preserve, and let go of the pressure that I need to achieve something incredible during this time period. 

Give yourself to permission to BE too.

YOGA & MOVEMENT

Movement is a a non-negotiable for me in my day. In fact, I schedule in an hour in my calendar and day specifically for yoga, running, or some form of exercise. It doesn’t have to be the full hour, or it can even be split up in the day. For example, running in the morning, practicing yoga and abs later in the afternoon. Either the time or movement is a daily part of my lifestyle, no matter what.

I have a few mindset habits that help me stick to it: I leave my yoga mat out next to my desk to stretch whenever throughout the day. My running sneakers, headphones, and hat for running are by the door, ready to go for some outdoor air. And, I have a set run route and yoga practice that I complete, making this habit excuse-proof. 

That consistency of doing something good for my body that leaves it energized, awakened, and renewed is empowering, leaving me feeling resilient for whatever stress the day brings my way. 

You can do it to. With a bit of planning, it’s easy to make movement (and any of these healthy activities) a part of your daily routine as well. 

How to prevent anxiety
MAKING A “REVERSE BUCKET LIST”

You cancelled your summer trip. Spring break just didn’t happen. Visiting the family last month is impossible with air travel bans. What the…argh!?

You’re not alone in this #FML feeling. We’ve all had to cancel our travel in some way or another, myself included. As a wellness travel content creator and actor, I missed out on a lot plans that were in the calendar and flight plans that now are just impossible. 

Instead of dwelling on what I am not doing on my future bucket list, I’m looking back and creating a reverse bucket list. Where did I go in the past four or five years? Looking back through old hard drives and video files, what memories did I maybe forget or pass by? What locations did I surprisingly love when I visited? Who were some of the amazing individuals I was fortunate to connect with on my adventures? 

Reversing this list shows me all that my bucket is already full. Suddenly, anything that can happen in the future now feels like extra cherries on top.

GETTING GOOD SLEEP

Quality sleep is related to our personal well-being in just about every aspect. There’s not one element of our well-being that isn’t correlated, so why not put more of a priority towards the activity we spend 1/3 of our lives doing?

In times of uncertainty, it’s easier said than done however – anxious thoughts are rob those precious REM cycles and Zzz’s in the night. Habits that help me get better quality sleep in difficult times  are:

• going to bed and waking up the same time each day — weekends included

• no eating or snacking 2-3 hours prior to bedtime

• leaving my phone and other connected devices (email and social media, in particular) in another room after 9:30m

•   creating the optimal sleep environment, including a cool temperature, light and noise blocking

•   watching a relaxing series, reading a book before bed, and journaling in my gratitude journal (see below)

DISCONNECT FROM SOCIAL MEDIA

It’s human to feel, and it’s human to compare. Social media gives us both of those elements. Except, looking and scrolling on social media endlessly won’t get you any closer to actually achieving your life goals unless you get off the platform and start doing them in your real life. 

When I find myself getting sucked into the rabbit hole scroll, I take a pause, recognize what I’m doing, what I’m feeling and if I can, acknowledge why I’m doing it. Often I’m avoiding doing something else that I really need to get done and am procrastinating; or, feel the pressure to keep up with the comments, DMs, and what others are doing to stay “connected.” 

To be honest, the only connection and ‘like’ that truly matters the most is the one I have with myself. When I give myself that pause to break away from posting, sharing or commenting, I have so much more creative energy to actually accomplish some of the other creative endeavors I’m truly passionate about. For examples, acting, learning new monologues or accents, developing the script for a short film, writing fresh wellness blogs, or editing a new travel “reverse bucket list” video. These are equally, if not more, important for my creativity and connection than social media. Then, the only person I need to compare myself to is to my own self that I was yesterday  Remember that, and apply it to yourself as well. 

DEVELOP PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE

“Always learning” is a phrase in my life that I take seriously. I need to be learning and taking in new information to feel alive, creative and involved in my artistic crafts to continuously be inspired. Plan ahead, so that you don’t feel stuck in the moments you need them the most. What I do is, instead of having to search for them, I keep a log, or playlist, that’s ready to just hit play. These vary, depending on the inner emotion or motivation I’m in need of in that moment, but here’s a quick list of examples I keep on hand:

On YOUTUBE:

For motivation, search “Simon Sinek” for an honest dose of motivation.

For creativity, I’m personally getting back into acting and have been  listening to Backstage (in particular, Ricky Gervais & Giancarlo Esposito) for insights on the film and TV industry.

Other APPS:

For learning, I’m a huge fan of both 12 Min (listen to best-sellers in 12 minutes, give or take) and MasterClass (learning a variety of crafts from masters in their art forms).

For more education and self-inspiration, I purchased both eBooks “Girl, Stop Apologizing” and my own “Living Cancer Free” eBook. And, in eMagazine version, I purchased an annual subscription of “Conde Naste Traveller” and “Travel + Leisure.”

These particular topics may not relate directly to your interests. But, I encourage you to look in various mediums and forms for tools that inspire you to keep your head high, informed and always learning too. 

ACKNOWLEDGE GRATITUDE

It’s no secret, expressing gratitude is the attitude of true wealth. Being grateful for what you already do have increases your feel-good emotions, and puts you into the present moment. Instead of wishing you had more into the future, or what you had in the past, gratitude shows you all that you already do own in this current moment. 

What more would one need to fill our own cups full of thanks? Well, we’re tricky humans and always need or want more. And, that’s OK to want better for ourselves! However, when we only focus on more, or what was, that’s where the negativity and unsettling thoughts can creep in. 

This is a newer practice for me, but every night before bed, I jot down in a beautiful journal I was gifted on a recent trip to Indonesia three things I’m grateful for from my day that has passed. That not only reminds me to keep a mental tally during the day to jot down at night, it’s also gives me something beautiful and positive to dream on.”

@livefreewarrior

Read about how Sara manages emotions with different yoga poses here

Notes on mental health:
Please note that these tips are not meant to be a replacement for speaking with a licensed therapist and/or a psychiatrist. Please do not be afraid to seek help if you feel that you or someone else is struggling and could benefit from it. Contact your local GP, family doctor or insurance company and/or your local government/ council to seek other government funded resources for mental health.
Confidential mental health helplines:
US – SAMHSA (Substances Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
UK – MIND – Call 0300 123 3393 or text SHOUT to 85258 which is a crisis textile for support in a crisis www.giveusashout.org/get-help/

Anxiety Attacks Part 1: How to get yourself out of an emotional rut

Yogi, model, author, actress and cancer survivor Sara Quiriconi AKA @livefreewarrior has suffered from anxiety since her teens. She describes, in her own words, how she pulls herself out of a spiral of panic

“There’s no doubt, we’re all under a lot of stress at the moment. Challenging times can trigger even the most trained leaders and wellness experts, and anxiety inevitably stirs up a load of conflicting emotions in all of us. I’m no exception. The other day, I had an anxiety attack – in a ball, on my bed, huddled in a pile of pillows, drowning in my own tears. Instantly, the self critic chimed in, “And you’re the wellness leader, huh?” My immediate reply was to shut that inner critic up, which went along the lines of, “Yes! This is happening to me, and that’s OK. After all, I’m human too.

The truth is, I’ve struggled for years with anxiety. Since I was a teenager, I was prone to deal with stresses worse than most. In moments of great stress, or when I take on too many tasks, the familiarity of that panic comes on strong. I was anxious as a kid, and as teenage years crept in, it seemed to get worse in the peer environment. 

Other empaths will agree that perhaps the world’s emotions always sit heavier on us than most. However, I have never accepted the idea that a mental disorder or issue has to be a life-long sentence. I believe that with awareness, education and will, anything is possible.

Fortunately, over the years, and through a lot of self-education, I now have better tools to cope and deal with those moments when anxiety builds to overflowing. Below is my toolkit for managing panic and next week (in Part 2) I’ll write about the daily maintenance I use to stay emotionally buoyant. These include Yoga, good nutrition, exercise and sleep, all of which I feel are  required to prevent an attack coming back or having to live with underlying low level anxiety. Ever had the jitters having too much coffee? Then you know what I’m talking about.

Photographs taken from Sara’s Instagram @LiveFreeWarrior
HOW I MANAGE AN ANXIETY ATTACK

Time and experience have helped me to manage the symptoms of an anxiety attack. I am able to recognize what’s happening in the moment they occur. The feeling of my chest getting tighter, the lack of ability to breathe freely, and the flood of overwhelming thoughts all coming at once — they now feel quite familiar to me. I hope this can help those of you unfamiliar to the feelings.

The great news is that I am able to recognize these feelings and give them a name, such as ‘There’s panic.’ Once I can name it, I can slightly detach myself from it, then use the tools below that I’ve developed with time to help calm the panic. 

Take the focus out of the fear

There’s a saying that goes, “Where your focus goes, your energy flows.” Wherever you focus your mind, your body will follow, which can be the upside and downside of the power of the mind. 

Just Breathe

If you focus on the fear of the attack, it will only increase it. Instead, it’s important to focus on something else such as your breathing –  inhale and exhale slowly, and continuously and focus on the breathe coming in and going out. Say ‘breathe in’ and ‘breathe out’ slowly in your mind as you do so, or even say it out loud if you need to. Focusing on the breath, you’re able to see instantly what you can control, rather than what you can’t. 

Focus around you

The mind is where the attack is happening, and the body’s reaction is the by-product of the thoughts. Look for inanimate objects around you, and say them out loud. For example, if you’re in the living room, see your sofa and literally say out loud or in your mind, “sofa.” Then, move on to the next object you find. And so on. This is taking you out of your head into the real world.

You’re now putting the mind to work on things it can focus on in reality that truly do exist. Giving the objects a name helps to create an image and connection in your mind of past knowledge and present situations, rather than focusing internally to what’s happening to you. This in turn gives your body and mind time to calm too.

Journaling

Journaling helps me to see my fears out on paper and recognize the emotion, rather than stifle it. A common fear I experience is that I won’t be able to get out of the situation I am, or I feel stuck. That feeling of ‘no-way-out’ could be due to an overwhelming workload, emotional anger from a disagreement, or not being able to visualize or foresee an opportunity working out in the future. 

All of these fears, when they build up to an anxiety attack, can leave me with a feeling of a giant rock or weight that’s compressing on my chest. It can result in a feeling that I cannot breathe, that I’m gasping for air, or that the thoughts keep pouring into to mind with no end in sight.

Journaling helps me to take those thoughts out of my mind, so that I can see an end, and begin to carve out a foreseeable path. Then, the fear doesn’t seem so scary after all. 

Watch what you eat after your attack

Lowering the amount of caffeine I drink and eating plenty of greens helps to calm my body and my mind. In addition to what I’m consuming, certain Yoga poses help to soothe the anxiety as well. 

My go-to poses are forward folds, reclining bound angle pose with my hands on my chest and breathing, and child’s pose. These all help to compress the heart, like a gentle massage while I breathe through the anxiety until it passes or subsides.

Don’t feel guilty about indulging in rest

Rest, and good sleep, is the basis and foundation for all of our personal wellbeing. When overload hits, sometimes the best thing I can do in the afternoon is close the laptop, and grab a book, or watch a funny show on Netflix.

When you’ve rested enough, move

Yoga and movement help to lower my stress levels and prove an inner, personal strength that empowers me. I always joke, when I’m feeling down, I always do abs at the gym to build a stronger core — physically, but more so, spiritually. 

Dont try to control it

Remember that feeling unsettled may seem out of your control, however, that’s an emotion and a feeling.Situations don’t control us, our reactions and emotions attached to them do. So, let them go, focus on what you can and be free from what you cannot. Admit that thought to yourself and you’re one step closer to feel settled in the here and now. 

On a personal note, thank you to 35 Thousand for offering the space to share this personal, intimate experience and touch on these deeper emotions. If you, personally, struggle with anxiety, you’re not alone and there are tools that can really help. If you know of someone who is struggling, perhaps this article was insightful to you to understand what s/he is going through. Please do share with someone who could benefit from reading this. Together, we’re stronger, and empathy is a strength, never a weakness.

Look out for Part 2 next week – How Sara maintains daily emotional wellbeing and prevents anxiety  

Read about how Sara manages emotions with different yoga poses here

Notes on mental health
Please note that these tips are not meant to be a replacement for speaking with a licensed therapist and/or a psychiatrist. Please do not be afraid to seek help if you feel that you or someone else is struggling and could benefit from it. Contact your local GP, family doctor or insurance company and/or your local government/ council to seek other government funded resources for mental health.
Confidential mental health helplines
US – SAMHSA (Substances Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
UK – MIND – Call 0300 123 3393 or text SHOUT to 85258 which is a crisis textile for support in a crisis www.giveusashout.org/get-help/

 

 

——

How she carries on: Alice Cracknell of not-for-profit fashion brand Origin

Alice Cracknell is the founder of the UK’s first not-for-profit fashion brand Origin, based in Devon, UK . She and her husband create ethical garments and use the products to fund important projects in Africa. She talks to 35 Thousand about the kitchen table office in Lockdown, their fair trade suppliers and the life-changing projects they help to support in Africa.

Alice with her husband and one of their suppliers
Tell us about your work

“I am the founder of the UK’s first not-for-profit fashion brand, Origin. We create ethical garments and use the products to fund projects in Africa. I founded the company with my husband 3 years ago and we are based in North Devon but run pop ups across the UK and support projects in Mali, Gambia, Togo and Ethiopia. 

We support a variety of projects run by local communities, they span from healthcare initiatives (for example we support an HIV clinic in Gambia) to remote sanitisation in the Simien Mountains, Ethiopia. 

The key thing is that these projects are all locally championed, sustainable and have a positive impact on the community. In addition to this, during the past few months we have also funded sending PPE to Gambia, Togo, Mali and Ethiopia to protect the healthcare providers and enable them to continue providing life saving treatments to their communities.

I love my job because we’re doing something with purpose and I’m really connected to the projects that we run so it’s a very fulfilling career.”

An Origin T shirt
 What was your ‘normal ‘day-to-day life like pre COVID-19?

“A normal day for us normally starts with cycling to the Studio, where we check in with our projects in Africa over WhatsApp or video calls in the morning and often spend the afternoon updating the website adding new garments or blogs. 

We are very lucky that production was not affected by Covid-19 and we made a commitment to continue to order from our suppliers and support the artisans we work with in Africa. Though lead times took a little longer than normal, we managed to avoid any big gaps in stock by placing orders throughout lockdown.”

Tell us more about the fair trade element of your business..

“We currently use two brilliant wholesale suppliers for the creation of our base garments (before printing them in the UK using Vegan and non-toxic dyes). Our first supplier, Rapanui, has a renewable energy and fair trade factory in India, which is Organic and Soil Association certified. Stanley and Stella, who create our base tees have a factory in Bangladesh which is FairWear Foundation certified and is committed to ethical and sustainable production. 

Our ambition is to move all production to Africa within the next two years to create jobs and empower local production, however we have to ensure that standards for workers, fair pay, and all sustainable certifications are met before we make this move, which takes time working with local suppliers. The key thing for Origin is to be transparent about the entire supply chain which is why we use block-chain technology powered by Provenance (https://www.provenance.org/) so our consumers can track the production of every garment and their certifications from factory to store.”

What’s your context outside of work?

“I’m married and we don’t have any kids yet but we have a beautiful dog (a cocker spaniel called Jeffry). We live in North Devon by the sea, so a lot of our hobbies are outdoorsy (I pretend to surf but I can’t really).”

 What is your day-to day life like now?  

“Unfortunately the Covid-19 situation did mean we had to shut down the studio for some time. We normally open it as a shop so that was a bit of a hit for us. However we were very lucky we received a lot of support and some amazing online sales during lockdown. Plus we we’re used to running the business from the kitchen table (as we had done for 2 years) so we switched back to that quite easily!”

Presenter Fearne Cotton is a fan of Origin
 Do you feel that Lockdown has changed your outlook and if so how?

 “We have been really fortunate as it hasn’t had to change our outlook a lot because we’re a small and growing organisation which means by nature we are dynamic and always adapting. We are constantly dealing with all sorts of hurdles and challenges in the developing countries where our projects are based so we are very aware of the need to remain vigilant and aware of our communities’ needs. We have to stay responsive to issues that arise… and arise they always do.”

 What raises your stress levels and how to you manage that?

“We have a great following on Instagram however from time to time I do find the world of social media difficult to deal with and a little bit stressful, especially as I’m on it for so much of my day. I’m happy to say we have an amazing team around us and they help support me. 

I think it’s fair to say that when you put your life and soul into something you feel everything very personally, so we are grateful to have such an amazing and loyal following on Instagram who have been a big part of our journey of growing as a business.”

Who/ what has been the biggest inspiration to you in life/ in your career? Why?

 “There are a number of things which have been an inspiration to me during my life and have definitely been a catalyst to starting Origin. I was always inspired by my parents growing up, which is an obvious thing to say, but they were a huge part of the person I have become. 

Secondly, there were a number of authors whose books I found inspirational during the time of founding Origin including Muhammad Yunus’ book Building Social Business and Leila Janah’s “Give Work.” Their innovative thinking and perspective completely reframed my thinking. Finally meeting my wonderful husband who has always really challenged me and inspired our ideas on aid and how to help alleviate poverty, these concepts are of the soul of the business we have built together.”

 Are you travelling currently? 

“Unfortunately as a result of Covid-19 and the travel restrictions in place, we have had to cancel a number of trips to Africa including one to Ethiopia this year and a more recent trip we were supposed to take to Gambia last month. At present we cannot travel to the countries in which we work as it wouldn’t be safe to do so for us or our projects to do so. Therefore we will be putting travel on hold for the time being. However, we have close relationships with the founders and leaders of our projects in various countries across Africa and we fully support them in managing their incredible initiatives through these uncertain times. We chat to them all the time about how they’re getting on and how/if we need to support them.”

An Origin supplier
 What do you wear for work?

 “As a founder of an ethical fashion brand I live in our garments. I’m always wearing an Origin tee or sweatshirt to work. They are so easy to style, dress up or dress down.”

If you had to edit your wardrobe to 10 items what would you keep?

 “Ooooh tough question. I would keep my favourite pair of jeans (they are several years old but so comfy I live in them), and a casual white shirt. I’d have a pair of classic flip flops as I live by the beach and wear them a lot. There would definitely be a pair of Lucy and Yak dungarees, a few easy-to-chuck-on dresses… and obviously my favourite Origin tees ❤️.”

 What are your handbag essentials?

 “My handbag is a MESS! I always have dog treats for Jeffry (this is key to an easy life!), a good face moisturiser, a pack of tissues (#hayfever) and a random selection of Origin tags, leaflets and labels so I have it all on-hand whenever I’m chatting to anyone about what we do.”

 What are your home working essentials?

 “Numerous cups of tea! And it definitely helps me to have a good routine (a proper lunch break and a walk with the dog). I think a bright sunny spot to sit in really helps too – surrounding yourself with plants and being in a calming environment is key.”

Who or what do you rely on for managing life’s juggle? 

“I’m a big fan of an old fashioned list. I would be nowhere without the millions of lists I make. I’m hopelessly disorganised but somehow a simple pen and paper makes all the difference.”

A mobile clinic during Covid-19 is just one of the projects their business supports
 How do you manage your mind and wellbeing on a daily basis?

“It’s hard, on some days managing your own business can be totally overwhelming. However, we have an amazing purpose behind the business and that definitely keeps me going on the tough days. I also try to maintain a good work life balance, having regular breaks and finishing work at a reasonable time then turning my emails OFF. This doesn’t always happen… But I’m working on it.” 

 How do you stay healthy?

“We are so lucky to have a very outdoorsy lifestyle here which is why we moved to live by the sea. Long walks on the beach, a swim or surf and cycling to and from our studio keep me happy and healthy.”

How do you relax?

“I really adore cooking and for me it’s a signal that the working day is done and the relaxing can begin. Trying new dishes and being creative in the kitchen totally chills me out and winds me down after a long day.”

 If you could speak to yourself when you were just starting out your career, what advice would you give yourself that would have made the most difference to you?

 Lastly, trust yourself. Don’t worry about what other people think, just trust your gut, and that way you’ll have no regrets.”

For further information go to Originfafrica.co.uk

Help End Human Trafficking

Today marks the annual United Nations World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. Whilst it may seem incomprehensible to many of us, every year, all around us, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers both in their own countries and abroad. Whether used for sexual exploitation, forced labour, forced begging, forced marriage, selling children, child labour or even for organ removal, people trafficking is now the third most profitable business for organised crime, following drugs and arms. It is also the fastest growing form of international crime.

As a global business with a passion for supporting the progression of women, and as a community of business people who have frequent exposure to venues where traffickers and victims might be more easily spotted (airports, hotels, public transport) we feel called to bring awareness and education to this issue and to identify ways that we can do our part in ending these horrible crimes being perpetrated against so many vulnerable people.

MODERN DAY SLAVERY – the facts

It can be hard to believe the scale of international human trafficking, but we believe that knowledge is power so here are some important statistics.  

  • According to ourrescue.org, the International Labour Organization estimates that there are 40.3 million modern day slaves in the world. One in four of those victims are children and 71% are women or girls. 
  • According to the UN, sexual exploitation is the most common form of exploitation (59%) followed by forced labour (34%)
  • Two million children  – the majority of them girls – are sexually exploited in the multi billion dollar commercial sex industry every year
  • Sexual exploitation is the most common form of exploitation (58%) followed by forced labour (34%)
  • Most victims are trafficked within their countries’ borders, and those trafficked abroad are often moved to the richest countries

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?

There are many things we can do to assist in the fight against human trafficking  – the greatest is having awareness of the enormity of this crime, acknowledging that it may be happening all around us, and being alert to the signs of traffickers and those being trafficked. Here are some important guidelines: 

WHAT DOES A TRAFFICKER LOOK LIKE?

They look like you and me. Traffickers are not who you think they are. According to www.ourrescue.org they are not as elusive as you may think. “From blue collar to white collar and everything inbetween, they are boyfriends, doctors, lawyers, teachers, parents, neighbours and family members.’ Terrifyingly, 36% of trafficked children are trafficked by a family member and they say ‘If you expand to include intimate partners and friends, that number jumps to 56%. According to the global data set, more children are trafficked by family members for sexual exploitation than for forced labour.’

And whilst the majority of people think that traffickers are men, in fact 38% of convicted traffickers are women.

HOW TO SPOT THE SIGNS OF TRAFFICKING

According to Katie Amodei, Communications manager at BEST (Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking) says, “The story of human trafficking is not about how he or she is rescued. It is the end result of many years of vulnerabilities that have gone unnoticed and unaddressed.”

Amodei continues, “People who are susceptible to human trafficking have experienced vulnerabilities, including neglect, poverty, homelessness, family breakdown, disability, addiction, or a history of physical or sexual abuse. Traffickers look for these vulnerabilities and then groom their victims to convince, coerce, or force them into situations that victims do not want and can quickly become trapped in.” 

It is important, she explains, to understand some of the tactics that traffickers use in order to understand why their victims don’t ask for help. “Traffickers will often threaten or use violence towards the victim or the victim’s family, threaten deportation, restrict contact with others, make false promises, or deprive the victim of basic needs if they do not do as instructed, she says.

INDICATORS OF TRAFFICKING

Earlier this month (July 2020), the United Nations took an important step forward with the launch of some online training guidance in association with the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) to help cabin crew identify and respond to the signs of trafficking . There is much that we can all learn from it and below are some questions that we can apply to all communities, schools and workplaces that may indicate signs that a person is in trouble:

Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations or houses of worship? 

Has the person had a sudden or dramatic change in behaviour? 

Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts? 

Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of psychological abuse? 

Does the person have bruises in various stages of healing? 

Is the person fearful, anxious, depressed, timid, submissive or nervous/paranoid? 

Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep or medical care?

Does the person show signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement or torture? 

Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers, or someone who seems to be in control of the situation (e.g. where they go or to whom they speak)? 

Does the person appear to be coached on what to say or adhering to a scripted or rehearsed response? 

Is the person working excessively long and/or unusual hours? 

Does the person lack personal possessions and appear not to have a stable living situation? 

Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures? 

Are there persons with identical tattoos in similar locations which may indicate “branding” by a trafficker? 

TRAFFICKING SIGNS TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN TRAVELLING

The below are warning signs that the ICAO has shared with cabin members. It is helpful that we all know them when we are travelling to increase public awareness of trafficking  

Does the person… 

Avoid eye contact and social interaction?

Avoid and distrust authority figures/law enforcement?

Seem not in control of his/her documentation and/or have false identity or travel documents?

Do they have language barrier with the person he/she is traveling with?

Do they have no money, personal items or carry-on baggage?

Are they not wearing appropriate clothing or his/her appearance may not fit the route of travel or weather?

Do they come from a location or state known as a source or destination for trafficking in persons?

Are they unaware of his/her final destination and travel plans in general?

Are they unusually submissive to the person he/she is traveling with?

Are they not allowed to speak for his/herself and if directly addressed, someone else insists on answering/translating for him/her?

Do they provide inconsistent responses from person(s) traveling with him/her when asked questions?

Do they not have the freedom on the aircraft/ carrier to separate him/herself from others (e.g. to use the lavatory unaccompanied)?

Do they speak of a modelling, dancing, singing, hospitality job or something similar in a foreign country (without knowing who will be meeting him/her upon arrival, and with few details about the job?)

Do they exhibit unusual behaviour that just does not seem right to the crew member?

EMPLOY THE CONCEPT OF ‘DO NO HARM’

If you fear that someone may be being trafficked, it is highly important that you employ the concept of ‘Do no harm’ to ensure that the potential victim is not further jeopardized and to ensure your own safety. The ICAO have worked with the UN to come up with the following advice on acting on your suspicions:

·  Be discreet with the discussion and relaying of information so as not to raise suspicion. 

·  Do not confront the trafficker. 

·  Do not attempt to rescue the victim. 

·  Act normally. Do not display unusual concern or alarm. 

The advice from BEST is that if you witness what you think is a trafficking situation in the US, you can report it to the National Human Trafficking Hotline and they can direct the situation to local law enforcement or social service agencies

Call 1-888-373-7888
Text BeFree (233733)
Email: help@humantraffickinghotline.org
Anytime a child is involved in a commercial sex act or if a child is in danger, call 911 (or local emergency services) immediately. 

To join the movement and support the nonprofit work to help prevent human trafficking, you can donate to Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking.

CHILD TRAFFICKING AT HOME 

Whilst the general perception is that trafficking happens at airports and at borders, it could potentially be occurring at home or in peoples’ homes close to you.  In fact according to a survivor survey in 2018 14% of survivors met their trafficker online. According to the ourrescue.org article What is online child exploitation?’ ‘Child traffickers have learned to harness the full powers of the internet.’

With so many children these days having such easy access to the internet, it is very easy for predators to engage with children online, often when posing as people of the child’s age. Our Rescue also states that in addition to being groomed online, thousands of children are actually sold online with predators taking advantage of child exploitation material that they send far and wide. One man in South East Asia, they report, was recently found to be selling child exploitation material from his own children to 14,000 subscribers. 

This is not a problem that’s restricted to improverished countries. The Internet Watch Foundation reports that Europe is in fact the top host of child exploitation imagery, with North America in second place. A sad fact is that the IWF assess web pages every two minutes and they find a webpage every five minutes where a child is being sexually abused.

The greatest advice is to talk to your children about the dangers of online, report suspicious activity and educate yourself.

Some important resources to look up are:

www.protectyoungeyyes.com

www.stopsextortion.com

WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO?

Please share this article in any way you can because the more people that are aware and that know the signs, the more we can end these horrific crimes. 

Also head over to our Instagram account www.instagram.com/35thousand on social media, share our human trafficking story and use the hashtags #endhumantrafficking and #humantrafficking.

For more information on human trafficking, head to UN.org, BESTalliance.org and www.ourrescue.org

We at 35Thousand also stand firmly against racism. See our support for Black Lives Matter here

How She Carried On Through COVID-19: PR Becky Stevens

PR Becky Stevens runs Stevens PR with her sister-in-law. Here she reveals how she’s managed to juggle 10 clients with her 5 children (number 6 is on its way!) during Lockdown and the life lessons she’s learnt as a result.

Tell us about your work

Stevens PR is my own PR business that I set up 15 years ago which I now share with my sister-in-law. We look after health, beauty, fitness brands and aesthetic doctors. We have 10 clients in total.  I work mostly from home and I’m a member of a gym where I can work from the cafe but I also pop over to my business partners flat ten minutes away and do what we call ‘hours of power’ together.

I love that it’s an expanding and ever changing industry. I’m a people person so meeting new clients and journalists boosts me mentally. I also love linking people together, be it a client to another client or a journalist with another journalist or PR.”

What was your ‘normal ‘day-to-day life like pre COVID-19?

“I would wake up at 6.30 am to stir four out of the five kids who are all at school. I have Lettice and Edith who are 11 (twins), Ottilie 9, Tattie 5 and Foy, 2 (and I am pregnant with another girl). In normal times, my twins get the bus to the French Lycee, so it’s just a case of making sure they are fed and on the right bus. I then do the school run with my younger two which is a 10 minute car journey or 30 minutes depending on London’s glorious traffic.

I would then squeeze in a workout in the gym for around an hour on the way home (that’s my me-time and puts me in a better fighting mood). Then it was home for my coffee and I would work through till 5.30pm.

My little boy, who is 2, is at home with me but I have a live-in helper who takes care of him during most of the day, and I tend to have a cuddle and lunch with him. I try and mark out a day for meetings so I don’t spread myself too thin – I normally organise about 5 press meetings a week and about 2 client meetings. 

Pre COVID the twins would come home at different times on the bus, so I wouldn’t need to worry too much about them (although I’m on ‘Find my friends’ a LOT until they walk through the door).  I have a French Teaching Assistant who normally brings my other two back from their school to help with their homework.

Supper for kids pre COVID was around 6.30/7pm. I do supper if I can and always do the witching hour which Ed and I take a deep breath and share together. Then it’s bath time (not every night), and the slow haul to bed that could be between 8.30 to 9.30pm. Ed and I don’t have much time together most week nights. Supper is always homemade with a large glass of wine and then bed by 10.30pm to rub essential oils everywhere, drink Pukka Relax Tea, put some meditation on and zonk out. Our Corona Kitten joins us and mostly sleeps above my head!”

Pr-Becky-Stevens-Covid-19
Pr Becky Stevens in Majorca
What is your day-to day life like now? 

“We have got used to blissful lie-ins until around 8.30am – even the toddler sleeps til 9am. Then I squeeze in a Zoom workout online. I have just taken on a PT as a client, so I switch between her classes and my American client, P.volve (read about this unique online body sculpting training programme here.) After the Zoom class I have been used to school Zooms that would start at 10am, and I would get to sit down and do work, although it’s very fractured.

My husband managed to sneak off to the office throughout most of Lockdown (his excuse was ‘Too many children at home to concentrate’). I needed to make sure the tweens were up for 8.30am as their Zoom calls started then (between all 4 they’d have about 6 to 8 calls a day). This has been interspersed with ‘Mummy I’m hungry! Mummy I’m bored!’

I have tried to feed them at 12pm before they snack on yellow food all day but I have on many occasion been so knee deep in work I have forgotten their lunch. I have therefore stockpiled Charlie Binghams Lasagne, Fish Pie and Cottage Pie.

In late afternoons I have met mothers in parks so my kids can still get to play with their friends. I feel this has been essential to keeping me and my children sane! Bedtime has been getting later and later for everyone. We nearly all go to bed at the same time now which is 10.30pm/11pm even for the toddler!”

What’s your context outside of work?

“I’ve just bought a Corona kitten and I take Friday’s off to hang out with my two year old boy. My hobbies are fitness and commitments are my children and husband!  I love to see my bro who has constantly popped round during Lockdown as he lives by himself and gets lonely. Also my business partner Holly has a little boy.”

What are you finding challenging right now?

“The juggle, and patience. To spend time with each child whilst putting the same effort into work. At the moment work is slipping as I have been homeschooling four kids with a toddler nipping at my ankles. Then there’s the guilt: the guilt that my children aren’t doing enough work; that they aren’t outside playing in fresh air; that my tweens are constantly staring at their screens.”


Do you feel that Lockdown has changed your outlook and if so how?

“Yes totally. It’s changed my outlook on schooling and how much I respect the teachers who spent time and love on the Zoom calls and homework. It was a challenge for parents and teachers and kids and we all had to work together to make it work. It’s also shown me how much my kids need a routine and highlighted the most important things in life. It’s now less about work, work, work, if I manage 3/4 hours of work a day that’s actually enough screen time for me.

Lockdown has proved that I don’t need to be at my screen all day or attend pointless meetings for meetings’ sake. I have the confidence post Corona to say ‘no’ more. Previously I used to run myself ragged saying ‘yes’ to everything.

I’ve also realised my children need me more – for playdates, or taking them out to stretch their legs in the park. It’s important I’m more present rather than fretting about meetings and work.”

What raises your stress levels and how to you manage that?

“The witching hours between 6pm – 9pm. Toothbrushing and laziness also stress me out and the words ‘Mummy I’m BORED!’

Other people’s reaction to Lockdown have been stressful too. I had to really bite my tongue on a few occasions with close friends – it seems we all lived out Lockdown in our own way and we all needed to respect each others’ way of coping.”

Who/ what has been the biggest inspiration to you in life?

“I think clients have inspired me as they have believed in me. Even with 5 kids, every time I was pregnant I won new clients. I’m lucky as the industry I work in is more female so there is a sense of community of women supporting other women. 

Holly, my sister-in-law who joined me 5 years ago has been a total boost. She joined me when I was pregnant with number 4. I realised I needed support but its very hard to let go/ share something you have built up yourself. I trust her and she brings a youthful edge and outlook to StevensPR, especially when it comes to social media and tech.”

Are you travelling currently?

“Yes we made it out to Mallorca, our second home, on 5th July. I did the antibody test which came back positive. I did feel very ill at the beginning of lockdown and I was 16 weeks pregnant so it was worrying and a very confusing time for me. I now feel more positive and less worried. I did start wearing masks when we travelled in the airport and now in Mallorca the rules are very strict. There are masks everywhere – wearing one is slightly claustrophobic when you are heavily pregnant in the heat!”

What do you wear for work?

“Mostly fitness gear! I’m always rushing from the gym to meetings,  but I do style it up a bit and splash on some foundation. Most press and clients know me so well they know the busy life I lead, plus I did look after a very stylish fitness wear brand so I wore my client to meetings – great excuse. If I’m not in athletic apparel I wear easy breezy clothes, sometimes I dress like a teenager in dungarees. I have never needed to wear a suit for work.”

If you had to edit your wardrobe to 10 items what would you keep?

“Floral floaty dresses, flat sandals, pretty puffy shirts, my mom jeans, white trainers, (Reebok or Veja!), leggings, sports bra and fitness vests. “

What are your handbag essentials?

“SPF 50, Vitamin C Serum (mostly La Roche Posay), Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation, Hourglass Arch Brow `Microsculpting Pencil, Hourglass Caution Extreme Lash Mascara, Deodorant, my toddlers Wet Wipes (SO handy) and a diaper. I always have one in the bottom of the bag and sometimes by mistake I haul it out at meetings! Maybe there’s also a toy truck or a Shopkins from my 5 year old girl. Oh and a mobile phone cable as I never have any battery.”

Becky is a fan of Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless Foundation
What are your home working essentials?

“My mobile phone, coffee, and Pukka Tea throughout the rest of the day. Ashwagandha and magnesium supplements, DoTerra Oils to keep me alert and/or calm, and green apples. I’m also addicted to Tabasco and I put on everything – my poor gut!”

Who or what do you rely on for managing life’s juggle?

“My live-in cleaner/nanny who we adore and is part of the family – she helps with my toddler as he isn’t at nursery yet. She clocks in at 7am – 10am then 5pm-8pm. I’ve always had to pay for extra help as we don’t have parents nearby who can help – my lovely French helper is so supportive if I’m running late for school pick-up which is always the case .”

How do you manage your mind and wellbeing on a daily basis?

“I have finally have got into meditation. I took a 4 day crash course with Jillian Lavender who I love who runs the London Meditation Centre (there is also a New York Meditation Centre). I use the Calm App at night and do breathing techniques I’ve learnt via healers and the DeRoseMethod. I find Instagram has been a huge support during Lockdown and I’ve found new healers and ways to Zen from gong baths to sound healing sessions. I also use essential oils in my Neom diffuser. An episode of Friends helps OR any cooking program I find very relaxing as I adore my food! 

Now I’m in Mallorca, I’ve just a day retreat with 10 girlfriends and done crystal healing, Yoga and meditation topped of with dancing where we just leapt around at 8pm.”

How do you stay healthy?

“I live for fitness. I adore Heartcore and Paolas Body Barrre online. I love my supplements but I’m so keen to learn and try the next or newest fitness craze or find the newest healing craze.”

How do you relax? 

“By seeing friends, walking or bicycling around London or having sushi and a bottle of Cremant and seeing my brother who lives down the road from me. Ongoing projects I do in Mallorca help me. I love interiors too and I put my heart and soul into doing up our finca over the past 5 years. Im awaiting to do up a ramshackle building on our land – my mind is boggling with interior ideas.”

If you could speak to yourself when you were just starting out your career, what advice would you give yourself that would have made the most difference to you?

“Don’t compare yourself to other PR agencies or PR’s – there’s enough room for all the PR’s out there. Saying ‘no’ is just as powerful as saying ‘yes’. I sometimes underestimate how much we nurture our clients. We go above and beyond for all the brands that we look after and even clients have told me I shouldn’t undervalue my services. Sometimes’ I need to remind myself that I’m ‘worth it’!

Finally, if a journalist never replies its not because she doesn’t like you it’s because she get thousands of emails a day. Be patient and persist.”

We tried and tested 7 face masks (so you don’t have to)

To mask or not to mask? That has seemingly been one of many pandemic related questions debated by leaders in both the UK and the US over the past few months. And if we are to wear one, which are the best protective face masks to buy?

The World Health Organisation issued new guidelines on 5 June recommending that governments ask citizens to wear face coverings in public areas, while areas of the world affected by the 2003 SARS outbreak in particular were quick to adopt face mask wearing as standard. Just ten countries officially advocated wearing a face mask in public at the outset of global coronavirus lockdowns in March – now over 130 countries and 20 US states and counting require face coverings to be worn in situations when social distancing is difficult. Young children and those with certain medical conditions that make wearing a mask challenging are exempt. 

If you’re wondering where it’s necessary to mask up, pharmacist Parvinder Sagoo has quite the checklist:

“Wearing a mask is most important in areas that are inside, closed off or where you will be in close proximity to others. This is hospitals, pharmacies, shops, cafés, public transport, taxis, cinemas, salons, nail bars, skin clinics, spas and other confined spaces where you could put yourself and others at risk.”

Add to this the fact that masks are now mandatory in many areas of the UK in shops, supermarkets and on public transport, with fines of up to £100 issued to those who fail to comply, and you’re going to need to be grabbing a mask alongside your wallet and keys on the regular. Mandates on face masks differ in the US from state to state but you’re looking at a fine of up to $5000 or a year in prison if you skip the face covering in Hawaii, for one. Better safe than sorry on every count.  

While no mask can make you invincible, fabric, fit and function can vastly impact on how effective a face mask really is. Surgical masks and respirators (the tightly sealed ‘filtration’ masks that need to be fit tested to the wearer) are in short supply and should be reserved for healthcare staff and key workers – if you find a mask described as ‘medical’, don’t buy it. So, what should we buy instead? 

At the bottom of the pile are paper masks according to Sagoo:

“The flimsy blue paper masks you see do act to protect immediate respiratory droplets but when you look closely you can see that they are not ideal for ensuring complete protection as they are rectangular in size and have gaps and gaping holes at the side and by the nose.

“These types of masks are cheap and while they do offer some protection they’re not really suitable for stopping the transmission of virus particles.”

What’s more, these disposable masks contribute significantly to landfill waste, so unless you’re required to wear them for work it’s better to opt for a reusable face mask. If you’re questioning whether a swathe of Liberty or leopard print fabric stands up to pathogenic invaders as well as sartorial scrutiny, Dr Aragona Giuseppe, GP and medical advisor at Prescription Doctor, affirms that basic cloth masks are indeed effective, but she has some pointers before you bulk buy. 

Like an onion or well-developed personality, your mask needs layers – ideally three in line with many government guidelines. Dr Giuseppe also advises opting for a mask “with a filter in order to filtrate bacteria and dust that can become trapped in the mask”. Many are sold with filters but you can buy them separately and slip them between the layers of your mask for cleaner airflow. 

As for fabric, cotton is Dr Giuseppe’s day to day choice as it is breathable and soft against the skin. (If they aren’t, they can cause skin irritation and potential acne as shown in our article Behind the Mask and can withstand being washed at high temperatures – you’ll need to wash your mask at a temperature of “at least 60ºC/ 140ºF in order destroy coronavirus particles that could potentially cause infection.” 

Synthetic materials are generally less effective than natural fabrics in terms of providing a barrier for virus particles, plus they tend to shrink or become misshapen when washed at high temperatures.    

Speaking of shape, Dr Giuseppe stresses that your mask should be snug to keep out the bugs:

“To ensure full protection your mask needs to be large enough to cover both your mouth and nose comfortably. It needs to be tight enough around your face that there are no gaps where potential particles could enter or leave but not so tight that it is sore on the skin.”

It seems that finding the right mask is quite the Goldilocks endeavour, which is why we’ve road tested a variety of styles, materials and fits to see what sticks. 

The ‘won’t fog up your glasses’ one

ISKO Vital+ masks, £16.11 for five, have a bendable nose clip that helps to seal the mask to your face more effectively, minimising ‘leaks’ and helping to prevent glasses from steaming up. Made from organic cotton interweaved with an antimicrobial polymer to keep bacteria and odour at bay, the four-layered mask is available in three sizes (in hindsight I should have gone for a ‘small’) and lasts for up to 30 washes. The comfy ear elastics are coated in soft cotton, so there’s no behind the ear chafing. 

Writer Anna Lao-Kaim in her Isko mask
Writer Anna Lao-Kaim in her Isko mask
The hot weather one 

Wearing face masks while it’s muggy is especially unpleasant: enter the light but mighty Ally mask, £15. The mask is KN95 accredited, meaning that it has been proven to block up to 95% of airborne particles, yet its ‘high-density’ four layered fabric feels like one of the lightest of the bunch. It has a ‘wipe clean’ outer layer that’s easy to sluice with alcohol spray or hand sanitizer on the go and it can be washed at temperatures up to 80ºC/180ºF. The ergonomic fit is ideal for ‘ski jump’ noses such as mine too. 

Even better, buy the HEROES x Ally mask and all profits will be donated to the HEROES charity, a support lifeline founded by NHS workers, for NHS workers. Each regular mask purchased also includes a £2 donation to HEROES. 

The linen one 

On the subject of accommodating your schnoz, Swedish brand Plümo quite literally excels in this area – the concertinaed shape is less claustrophobic than ‘flat’ face masks. The four layered hardy organic linen mask, £10, is naturally antibacterial and this one was the most breathable of them all. Most likely for this reason I also found it to be the most comfortable to wear for long periods of time. If you choose to add one to your bulging face mask wardrobe, the brand will donate to NHS Charities Together to support NHS staff and volunteers. 

The silk one 

Silk on the outside, cotton on the inside, The Fold’s Florence face mask is on the minimalist side in terms of bells and whistles but you can easily add a filter to the pocket at the front to improve efficiency. Each pack, £30, contains a printed mask and a plain mask so you can adapt your face covering to your vibe on any given day, with £15 of each sale donated to Smart Works charity. 

best protective face masks the fold's florence face mask
The Fold’s Florence mask
The ‘underwear’ one 

A cursory Google search reveals that underwear manufacturers are leading the pack when it comes to face mask production. Given that so many of us have abandoned our bras during lockdown, it’s probably a shrewd move. 

High-end hosiery brand Falke’s fleece-lined face mask, £15 for two, has a nose clip for a secure fit and a moisture-repellent outer layer to keep your mask clean and dry (masks need to be replaced and washed as soon as they become damp to prevent bacteria multiplying). While there’s no pocket for a filter, the polypropylene material helps to repel external droplets while containing your own respiratory droplets. Just a heads up that the ear hooks are also pretty tight, which is a plus for securing the mask in place but you may need to give the old lugs a break if you’re wearing the mask for a long time. 

The picnic one 

Gingham may have been a key SS20 trend, but given that we’ve all been in our joggers since March it’s most likely getting the most significant exposure in the guise of facial coverings rather than couture. Bridesmaids dress brand Rewritten began making masks for friends and family at the beginning of the pandemic before pivoting their business to make non-medical grade masks for customers with all profits donated to NHS charities. 

A set of five cotton masks is £44 and should last you for months – they’re sturdy and wash well. Ties can be looped around your ears or secured to the back of your head to allow you to fit the mask more easily to your face shape, although I’d advise doing this before you leave the house for a faff-free experience. There’s no pocket for a filter but the material is tightly woven to minimise particle leakage. 

The sporty one

Californian cycling company Eliel has produced a line of “fun facade” masks – each design is unique and quirky. Made with breathable, moisture-wicking material that’s ideal for cycling or running, these masks will last you for as long as the pandemic does — and maybe for long after. The brand manufactures its face masks in a San Diego factory, donating masks to local healthcare providers too. 

With an excellently snug fit around the mouth and nose, you’ll feel comfortable yet still able to breathe as you climb those hills, whether you’re on your bike or on your feet. Even better, users can insert a dust filter between the layers of fabric for extra protection. Masks come in a pack of five or six too so you’ll never be caught short between washes, with a five pack starting at $60.

The Eliel face mask

And finally….

If you find wearing a mask very uncomfortable or claustrophobic then we can highly recommend adding a few drops of peppermint oil onto the filter to help you breathe easier or make the whole process a little more pleasant. Peppermint oil is energising but others we recommend are Vetiver for its calming properties, Rose for when you need to balance your emotions and Bergamot for a fresh, zesty scent that is often used in aromatherapy for helping with anxiety.

Behind the Mask

In years to come we will find probably find an old face mask in our pocket and think how glad we were that this strange time in history has now passed. However it looks like the facemark is here to stay for now and we predict that even when mask-wearing is no longer compulsory, they may remain the norm for many.

Unfortunately one of the downsides of mask wearing is that dermatologists have seen a sharp rise in skin problems and ‘maskne’. We ask the experts for their tips on sub mask skincare.

You will notice that when you remove a mask, that the skin underneath is quite damp, warm and pink, which, according to skincare expert and facialist Sarah Chapman makes for ideal conditions for bacteria which can contribute to blemishes. Not only that, but “Your mask might also rub against your face and irritate the skin, which can lead to soreness and breakouts”  she says.

We spoke to Sarah as well as leading global facialist Anastastia Achilleos, both of whom tend to the skin of many a celebrity on a regular basis. Anastasia has in fact worn a mask as a therapist for the past 25 years. Why? “Firstly you never know what lurgy people come in with. Secondly, “When you are so close to someone’s face as a facialist you tend to turn your head to one side or hold your breathe to avoid taking in others’ breath,” she says.” This in turn makes us become shallow breathers, which can affect our wellbeing.”

Here are their insider tricks to keeping your skin spotless sub face mask…

Look for lightweight skincare

To avoid your skin becoming greasier under your mask, both Sarah and Anastasia suggest swapping out rich moisturising creams for lighter formulations that won’t clog the pores. Sarah’s Intense Hydrating Booster, $105 is great for this as, she says, as it’s ultra-lightweight and oil free. “Hyaluronic acid and moisture magnets will deeply hydrate without feeling heavy, while soothing rose water will help the skin to feel calm and comfortable. The formula also contains Bioecolia® and beta glucan, two advanced ingredients that will help to defend against any bacteria that has become trapped beneath your mask,” she says.

Sarah Chapman’s Intense Hydrating Booster
Treat your skin under your mask

Anastasia brilliantly suggests that we should use the time we are wearing a mask to treat our skin beneath it.  For those with more oily or acne prone skin, she suggests trying a more cosmeceutical type product as they won’t contain fragrance or other irritants. One product she highly recommends is Environ’s Retinol Serum, $74.87, which contains Retinol Palmitrate, which she says reaches the lower matrix of our skin and balances and stabilises the cells there, so when those cells reach the surface they are extremely well formed. This product she says, has been part of her beauty arsenal for 15 years and she applies it once a day (note: this can be applied to the cheeks and forehead too.)

Another product type that Anastasia recommends for use under masks, are balms. These, she explains, can both nourish and protect the skin simultaneously.  “We’re looking at products that are slightly different to what you normally use,” she says.  Anastasia is a fan of lightweight balms which she says men have actually used forever to protect their skin from the aggressors they face daily such as razors and hair growth. Ren’s Evercalm Overnight Recovery Balm $48 can be used in the day and is light and anti-inflammatory. “Even if your skin gets a bit congested, a balm helps to break down the congestion,” she says. Others she recommends are Decleor’s Aromessence Rose D’Orient Soothing Night Balm $29.70 and Darphin’s Essential Oil Elixir Aromatic  Purifying Balm which targets skin prone to imperfections whilst also acting as a barrier.

Decleor’s Baume de Nuit Rose D’Orient
Cleanse thoroughly (but not aggressively)

The message from both facialists is to cleanse without stripping your skin of its natural oils – lightly in the morning, then thoroughly at night. “At the end of the day, cleansing the skin well is key for avoiding the build-up of debris,” says Sarah, “A balm formula like my Ultimate Cleanse $99.98 will help to dislodge impurities and prevent the blockages that can cause congestion and breakouts. Oil-based cleansers have a natural affinity with your skin’s sebum, which means they can cleanse effectively whilst respecting the skin’s delicate acid mantle.”

Anastasia is a big fan of facial massage which she suggests doing for at least 60 seconds at night with your cleanser before wiping away with a warm flannel. This, she says, is a way of gently cleaning and lightly exfoliating the skin at the end of the day without leaving it feeling stripped. She says to make sure you use one per use (just throw them in the washing machine daily) to avoid bacteria growing on them.

Sarah Chapman’s Ultimate Cleanse
Should we be using different products on the top and the bottom half of the face?

This depends on your skintype, but Sarah would recommend focusing a lightweight formula for the lower part of the face, and continuing your usual routine above.

If your mask is causing congestion around the lower half of your face she suggests investing in her Pro Pore Refiner for here $205. “This clever, cutting-edge device mimics the extraction techniques we use in the Clinic such as thermo-therapy, ionic cleansing and ultrasonic vibrations deeply purge congested pores, giving you professional-standard extraction at home.”

Spot check

On the plus side, you can hide a multitude of skin problems under a mask and if you want to put toothpaste on your spots (an Old Wive’s Tale for drying out pimples), at least nobody will see it . However Sarah Chapman has a much better alternative. Her SOS stickers are ultra-hygienic patches infused with pimple-purging scientific actives that are released over time to help calm redness, soothe, decongest and accelerate blemish healing. I designed the patches to be almost invisible, but wearing a mask will provide total camouflage!”

Click here to discover our favourite quick fix face masks

15 ways to find more balance in your day

We don’t know about you, but most people we speak to are finding this time post lockdown particularly tough. The idea of things going back to ‘normal’ is at odds with the general anxiety we feel about the Coronavirus and the mess it has left behind it. Many lives have been tipped upside down over the last four months and currently it feels like trying to scramble out of the rubble blindfolded. Many of us are juggling more than normal – for example, many have work as normal but with limited childcare, whilst others are trying to run businesses with fewer staff or minimal suppliers. The juggle of work/ family/ health and life is overwhelming at the best of times but add to that all the ‘unknowns’ rolling around in our heads and we’re heading for overwhelm.

‘Finding balance’ seems to be a pretty elusive quest but experts suggest that the answer isn’t in taking hour-long baths infused with lavender oil or embarking on a whole new fitness journey. Many experts say that the key to being more Zen lies in small bite-sized hacks that help us find a little more breathing space throughout our day.

“Right now, after all we’ve been through, it’s the small wins that makes you take back the balance,” says life coach and author Susie Pearl. “Step by step in the right direction is what is needed,  and being kind to yourself. This is about the best way to find your balance in your new routines.”

We spoke to Susie and other top experts to discover their tips below…

MARA KLEMICH

Mara is a neuroscientist, psychologist and co-author of Above the Line: Living and leading with the heart. She works with many businesses about unlocking our true potential, creating our best selves and changing behavioural patterns that might be holding us back. Read her advice on managing our emotions through difficult times here.
1. De-clutter: trick your brain into some certainty

“Can tidying up really change your mood? It appears so, yes. According to the Mayo Clinic, clutter can lead to more stress and anxiety, and when people describe their spaces as “disorganized,” they’re more likely to have higher levels of cortisol, the hormone related to the stress response. It can make you feel more distracted,  and may even affect your sleep.” 

The solution: “Little things that you can control to increase certainty, even in small ways, actually have quite a non-obvious positive impact, both physiologically and psychologically.  

Taking 5 (up to 15) minutes to tackle the messiest part of your work space, or your home, even if it’s just a “junk drawer” that’s always full, will create a feeling of certainty, achievement and control over chaos.”

2. Take a few minutes for yourself

“In our busy lives, we can find ourselves feeling overwhelmed. A solution is to create some boundaries for “alone time” for everyone in the family including parents, young kids and teenagers. Don’t feel bad about taking a moment for yourself, even if it’s just to step away for 15 minutes. Go for a walk around your block, lock the bathroom door, or sit by a window and feel the fresh air on your face. Alone time doesn’t have to be about candle-lit long baths, it’s about spending some time to gather your thoughts and relax. Even five to ten minutes a day can help you avoid burnout.”

3. Schedule task-time in batches

“Think about your tasks for the day and break them into “batches” of time. That way you can manage your focus time “on” and time “off”. This not only gives you a little more balance to your day, but you can decide on a quick or longer break each time you reach the end of a “batch” of time. Allowing yourself intentional choices helps us to feel in control and intentional with our time and balance of a day, rather than reaching the end of the day feeling controlled by circumstances.”

DAME JESSICA ENNIS-HILL

Jessica is an Olympic Gold Medallist and World Champion Heptathlete. Her brilliantly thorough pocket PT fitness app,  jennis fitness , was created with her personal fitness team that have trained her throughout her career. 
4. Fitting in Exercise

“It’s always too easy to say you’re too busy or too tired to fit in exercise, but it’s vital, not just for your physical health, but your mental health too, to look at exercise as time for you – almost like a date with yourself. Scheduling specific time just for you, to move your body – from simple stretches to long runs, to lifting a few weights –  has a dramatic impact on your mental wellbeing.”

Some tips include:

“Plan your sessions in advance and put them in as dates for yourself. I always used to do my plan on a Sunday night, even when I was pregnant. You should see it as ‘me time’.

The Jennis sessions are only 20 – 30 mins, so they are easy to squeeze in – I designed them deliberately to be short, so they could just be slotted in, as well as needing minimal equipment so they can be done anywhere, anytime. 

If you can’t do 20 minutes, doing 10 mins is better than nothing, so just get going. It’s amazing how good you feel after even a small amount of activity.”

Jennis is available to download on iOS and Android for £9.99 per month.

ALISTER GREY
Alister Gray is an Executive Leadership Consultant, Mindset Coach, Founder of Mindful Talent and co-founder of the Mindful Talent Coaching Academy.
5. Go on a ‘no news’ diet 

“Don’t watch or listen to the news. We have, on average, 70,000 thoughts or more running through our minds each day, 80% of these thoughts are negative in their nature and 95% of them are repeated each day. We don’t need to compound these thoughts with any more negativity and fear, so switch off the news and feel a greater sense of peace.”

6. Try the ‘bathroom breath’

“Every time you have a break (popping to the bathroom, getting a drink) use the opportunity to take 6 deep breaths into your belly and exhale slowly through the mouth. The average person takes 6-7 bathroom breaks per day, offering some mini moments of ‘me-time’, and enabling you to take between 35-45 conscious breaths each day which can reduce your cortisol levels.”

7. Slow down to speed up 

“Pause throughout your day to reflect, plan, think and/or meditate. We are far more effective, productive and balanced when we take some time to slow down. This sounds impossible, however, the benefits are incredible.”

SUSIE PEARL

Susie Pearl is a life coach and author. Her book the Art of Creativity – 7 Powerful habits to unlock your full potential is out in August. It provides a practical programme to help you harness your full creative potential both personally and professionally.
Susie Pearl
8. Ask yourself if you are spending your time in the best way

“Is there an equal focus on work, rest / sleep and play / social life in your week?  Try to get equal measures of these 3 throughout. Journal about how you spend your time and what is really important and urgent, and what is not.  Make good decisions on how time is spent.”

9. Try to exercise / meditate each day 

“Schedule this in the diary like it’s a meeting and show up for it.  You wouldn’t break a meeting with someone else, so don’t break a meeting for something that helps you.  Put self care high up in your priority list.”

10. You are in charge of your time, take control of it

“Cancel things from your diary if there is too much on and take back control of your time and remember that you don’t have to do everything that comes your way. Choose and curate the shape of your day. Cut out the unnecessary journeys, tasks and phone calls. The more down-time we have, the more in control of life we feel.   Learn to curate your time like a master.”

11. Do emails once a day

“Do them for an hour – read them,  batch them, deal with them and delete.  Don’t spend all day looking at emails, set up a time to handle them at a specific time of day.”

12. Say no

“Say ‘no’ to most things, and only do the things you really want to do or that you feel are essential. Build in space into the diary and don’t overfill the days.”

13. Cancel things in your diary

“If there is too much on, take back control of your time.  Notice you don’t have to do everything that comes your way – you can choose and curate the shape of your day.”

MISTY REICH

Misty Reich
Misty is the founder of 35 Thousand as well as an executive coach, her career in wireless telecoms and the global food retail industry spans over 20 years.
14. Do something hard first thing

“Something that you need to accomplish to “win the day.” This could be a work out, tackling a presentation you need to write or even just making the bed.  Decide that accomplishing this = winning the day which has a knock on effect on the rest of the day for mindset and productivity and reduces the chances of you beating yourself up for “not doing enough” in the day which can sabotage our sense of balance.”

15. Make some part of your morning routine feel indulgent

“Maybe its that you take the time to froth the milk for your coffee or you have a shower gel that you splurge on because the fragrance just makes you feel great.  I keep a small vase of flowers by my Nespresso machine and the whole aesthetic of the coffee machine and flower just makes me feel great and the flower often looks different in the morning.  Stopping to appreciate that is a little mindfulness moment that just makes me happy.”

5 of the best eyelash serums

We will never tire of our quest for longer, thicker doe-eyed lashes. However our desire for that perfect flutter may, in fact, be putting our lashes under undue stress. Mascara application for example can leave them dry and brittle, as can harsher eye makeup removers or overzealous scrubbing with washcloths to remover stubborn makeup. Meanwhile eyelash curlers can weaken the lashes by bending them at the base. The same goes for extensions which can cause stress at the base – particularly if you have a penchant for pulling them all out once they get a bit sparse.

A few eyelash facts

You may not have put too much thought into your lashes’ life cycle before but here are a few facts from a study carried out by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information in the US:

  • On average our lashes grow 0.12-0.14mm every day
  • The lower lid contains 75-80 lashes, whereas the upper lid has 90-160
  • Even though you can’t see this exactly, lashes are arranged in 3-4 rows on the bottom lid and 4-6 on the top
  • The complete life cycle of a lash ranges from 4-11 months. “Lash length” they say, “Rarely exceeds 12mm, and the lash growth rate is influenced by several factors, including the topical prostaglandin analogs used to reduce the intraocular pressure in glaucoma patients.”
  • Whilst some people are born with naturally shorter lashes than others, unfortunately research shows that there can also be a reduction in lash length, thickness and pigmentation as we get older.
  • Lashes are not attached to what are called arrector pili muscles unlike the hairs on our body. We therefore don’t get ‘goosebumps’ on our eyelids!
About lash serums

Eyelash growth serums have become hugely popular in the last few years. Designed for daily use, they contain ingredients that actively promote growth. Then there are lash conditioners which help prevent brittleness and breakage which can lead the the illusion of thickness.

The former (lash growth serums) aren’t without controversy – some (not all) started out life for use as medical treatments (some for treating glaucoma patients), where a side effect was increased eyelash growth. Other occasional side effects include eyelid pigmentation and irritation or redness. Since this is the very sensitive eye area we advise you to choose carefully.

We asked the 35thousand team for their tried and tested recommendations…

Latisse

About the product

Latisse is an ophthalmic solution (eyedrops) created by Allergen who also create Botox and fillers. In 2001 Allergan created some medicated eyedrops that were to treat intraocular pressure. Containing Bimatoprost, the side effects were longer, fuller and darker lashes. This led them to create Latisse which, after clinical trials was approved by the FDA in 2008. The products is only currently available in the US.

Review

“What I look for is the double effect of lengthening and thickness. Latisse is the most consistently effective in terms of proving the robustness and length of my lashes and works beautifully on my brows. It’s a little dropper (like an eyedropper bottle) and I put it on the roots of my lashes – initially every day and now once or twice a week. There’s a week or two that your lashes are amazing because what it does is extend the life of your lashes – you are basically keeping your lashes from falling out. I would say it’s two weeks before you see any results. You notice it subtley when you put mascara on.” Misty Reich

Buy here

Plantifique Eyelash GrowtH serum, $32.90

About the product

Plantifique prides itself on creating ‘superfood’ based skincare that is free from ingredients such as mineral oil, phthalates, and silicone sulphate. Containing non irritating ingredients, it is rich in vitamins, minerals and fatty acids and contains no gluten, colours or artificial fragrances. Clinically proven to improve the length of lashes, for optimum results they recommend using the serum twice a day for at least 3 months.

Plantifique Superfood Serum
Review

“I have super sensitive eyes, so finding an eyelash serum that didn’t cause irritation but didn’t compromise on results was key for me. The Plantifique Eyelash Growth Serum is hypoallergenic, so is super gentle on the eyes but still adds some major drama to the lashes. For the first month, the serum is applied twice a day and can be worn easily under makeup and then to maintain my luscious lashes, I apply every night. The eyeliner shaped wand makes the serum easy to apply and minimises wastage.

The serum is applied in a thin line along the lash line as opposed to brushed on like a mascara. What is fab about this product, is the paper measuring tool that comes with it which allows you to track the growth. Within a week, my lashes were already tickling my browbone and my colleagues had noticed a difference on Zoom! The price point, ingredients and results all mean that this serum has quickly become a staple in my makeup bag – a quick swipe of mascara in the morning and I’m ready to go.” Tilly Henshaw

Buy here

RevitalasH Advanced eyelash conditioner serum, $55

About the product

Revitalash is probably the original and best known eyelash enhancer of them all. Created by Dr. Brinkenhoff, a physician and opthalmologist. The original formula was created for his wife when she was battling cancer to help her grow her lashes. The Advanced Serum uses scientifically advanced technology and a Biopeptin complex to help grow healthier-looking, more luscious lashes (and brows). You only have to read the reviews on their website www.revitalash.com to know that it has dedicated fan base.

Revitalash has a cult following
Review

“I’m a Revitalash fan – but I don’t use it on my lashes. I’m trying to replace the brows I had in the 90s before Kate Moss inspired us all with those thin arches that looked so good back then. An over-enthusiastic makeup artist, keen to move me out of the 70s and into the 90s (I had really big Brooke Shields brows) pinned me down and tweezed away. I loved the way the brows looked, but with age, and changing styles, I missed my bushier brows. And if you pluck them consistently, they just don’t grow back. Unless you use a lash or brow serum, to help things along.

I like Revitalash because it is easy – just brush it over clean skin where you want to encourage growth, best done at night time, and wait for the results. I have to say, the best results are evident on existing brows – they grow long which is great for lashes but less so for brows, so you have to make sure you are painting with the little brush in the right area. What I have noticed over many years of use though, is a gradual increase in brow hair coverage so that my brow bones look less naked than they did. This is one of those beauty treatments that you have to really stick at and it’s not a one-off solution – consistent use pays off.” Anna-Marie Solowij

Buy here

Naissance Cold Pressed Castor oil, $11.99

About the product

This ethically sourced castor oil is packed with essential fatty acids. With a thick, honey-like consistency, it has long been used by its fans for conditioning lashes and helping give them a healthy, lustrous appearance. Extracted in India using a cold pressed method, this means that there’s been no heat processing involved which may alter its effectiveness.

Naissance Castor oil- many believe in its lustre giving benefits
The review

“As someone with a sensitive eye area, I’m always on the hunt for natural skincare and beauty products which are less likely to cause irritation. For eyelashes, I’ve been using the Naissance cold pressed castor oil. High in Ricinoleic acid, castor oil is known for being super conditioning and giving hair (and lashes) a hydrated, lustrous sheen. Although there’s no current scientific evidence to suggest the oil actively promotes hair growth, studies show it may help prevent breakage, leaving lashes nourished and looking fuller. 

I apply castor oil to my lashes as part of my nightly skincare routine. Since even cold pressed varieties can be fairly viscous, I usually combine it with a couple of drops of coconut oil (another natural moisturiser). Then, taking a clean eyeshadow brush I sweep the mix across my top and lower lash lines. Although naturally sticky, the oil feels lightweight once applied and can be easily washed away in the morning. To notice any significant change, you’ll need to consistently use the product for 3-6 months – with regular application, I’ve found that my lashes appear healthier and thicker.” Aasiyah Dana

Buy here

Rapidlash EyeLash Enhancing Serum,$31.95

About the product

Created by International Research Laboratories, this award-winning serum has sold over 3 million units world-wide. Opthalmologist-tested and clinically proven to be safe, it contains a scientific cocktail of ingredients from biotin to polypeptides and panthenon. Recommended for use just once a day, users report brilliant results.

Rapidlash is very effective for many people
The review

“If you’re looking for the results of Revitalash without the Revitalash pricetag, Rapidlash is a great alternative and widely available. Results take a little longer to become visible but after about 4 weeks my lashes really started to pack a punch and were earning me many a compliment in the office. They also felt a lot longer and softer. I had to stop using the serum in the end as my eyes became quite sensitive and the bags under my eyes were darkening in colour but if you don’t have sensitive eyes, this is a great mid-range option that definitely helps your eyelashes look more luscious.” Tilly Henshaw

Buy here

How to win at difficult conversations

For many of people, (especially those who are non-confrontational and introverted), the idea of having a difficult conversation with a boss, employee or a colleague is positively terrifying. Yet the tsunami of the Corona-crisis will undoubtedly leave many companies in chaos over the coming year and there are going to be many difficult conversations to be had.

You may be an employee and wish to change the way you work for example, you may feel you aren’t getting paid enough (are you doing the work of two people whilst they are furloughed?), or you may have a new desire to work partly from home having done so successfully for the past three months. On the other hand you might be a boss and have to make the very stressful decision of restructuring your team.

Whichever situation you find yourself in, at some point over the coming months you may have sleepless nights about a necessary but awkward discussion that you can’t avoid. We spoke to the founder of 35 Thousand and top executive business coach Misty Reich to find out how to tackle these conversations with confidence.

SHIFT YOUR MINDSET – How to move your mind from a state of fear to a state of calm confidence

Know that everyone finds these conversations difficult

When we have something stressful to discuss, we can often berate ourselves over the fact that we are finding it difficult and can even question how capable we are. But according to Misty, nobody finds these situations easy. “Unless you are one of the miniscule percentage of people who don’t have any empathy, you should know that these conversations are difficult for almost everyone. They just show that you have a heart and you have empathy which is a good thing because it means you connect with people.”

Once you recognise that you are not alone in this, you may stop layering fear on top of the important conversation you need to have.

Preparation is key

It’s probably true to say that most of us spend more time getting ready for a Zoom party than we do preparing for an important work conversation. However, it’s just as important to prepare for these chats as it is an important interview. “It’s a real skill and it takes proper preparation,” says Misty. (See  the below ‘toolkit’ for ways to prepare)

Question that tape playing in your head

Misty explains that we can all have ingrained tapes in our head that replay over and over because of past experiences. “Some people for example, may have grown up believing that it’s not right to highlight issues,” she says, “Whilst others fear that the person they are speaking to won’t like them, or perhaps they are scared at the thought of upsetting others.” Many people she coaches feel they are not qualified to be having the conversation they need to have for example.

Misty explains that it’s a good idea to question these negative beliefs, and to ask if they are in fact valid. She suggests pausing also to ask yourself why this conversation is important to you and what is triggering your beliefs over it. Through this process you can then reframe your thinking to something much more positive.

Shift your mind from a place of negativity

If you have to deliver bad news to a colleague then it’s important that you shift your thinking away from the negative. “You have to instead speak from a place of love and positive intention,” says Misty. She suggests that instead of telling yourself that you are doing this ‘to them’, to remind yourself that you are doing it for a bigger purpose/ for your integrity/ to improve a working relationship.

This also works if you have requested a conversation with your boss – ask yourself the reasons why you want this conversation and let that good reason drive your attitude in your meeting.

YOUR TOOLKIT – Practical tips for conversation confidence

Get a coach or counsellor

Firstly Misty says if the conversation is really important, then not to think twice about asking a coach or a counsellor for advice. Often two heads are better than one and a fresh perspective can really help to shape your own.

If in doubt, write it out

Many of us assume that most people are good at having difficult conversations. That’s not the case, but the people who are best at it have often prepared in advance. Misty suggests journaling out the conversation and writing down what you want to say. ‘If you are really worried about how it’s going to unfold,” she says, “Play through the conversation. If the conversation took one direction, how would you respond, and if it took another, how you might respond to that?” This can help you to feel prepared for anything that is thrown at you, plus “The act of doing this takes some of the hot air out of the balloon in your head” says Misty.

Roleplay the conversation

If it helps, then find someone that you can trust and go through the conversation with them.

CONVERSATION CURATION

Misty’s tips on diplomatic phrases to use
For when you will be having a two-way dialogue…

If Misty is going into a difficult discussion and it’s going to be a two-way dialogue, she will start with “I want to share something with you that’s happening for me. I want to then hear what’s happening for you and discuss a good way to move forward.”  By saying this, you are implying that somehow you can move forward together, and that you want to hear their side of the story. This will also prevent the other party from feeling immediately defensive.

If you have to make someone redundant…

‘There are some discussions,” says Misty, “That are not a two-way conversation, such as a job elimination.” If this is the case, then Misty starts off as follows: “I want to share something with you that’s happening and a decision I’ve had to make as a result. I then want to talk through what that means for you.”

By saying ‘I want to share something that’s happening’ you are taking the conversation away from being their fault, but by saying that it’s a ‘decision’ , this implies that there will be no back and forth.  

For diplomatic negotiation…

If you are in a situation where you think that your colleague or your team can improve on something then Misty uses the following equation: Appreciate/ More effective

This means that you can frame up your wording so that you tell your team that you appreciate what they are doing but then go on to say how we could be more effective.

This also works if you are negotiating something with someone more senior. For example:

“I just want to say that I hugely appreciate how supportive you’ve been to me, but I feel like going forward, my roll could be even more very effective if…”

Specific conversation advice

When you are negotiating money…

It’s not the best idea to bulldoze into a meeting telling your boss that you deserve more money with no justification of why. Misty says the best way of looking at this conversation is to put yourself in the company’s shoes and ask yourself how they might see you. Ask yourself how valuable are you to them? Then you will be in a position to say “Here’s why I think this makes sense for the company, you and me…”

Misty also thinks it’s a great idea to think creatively about whether there’s anything else you can take on and can you offer as part of the discussion. For example, “I’m seeing that my pay isn’t what I want it to be and I have brainstormed some options and thought of some things I can do in exchange for that.”

If you fear not being able to get your point across

If you are terrified of an important conversation because you are worried about getting tongue-tied or not getting your point across properly, then you may be an introverted thinker. Misty says that for these people, the preparation is absolutely non-negotiable. “Give yourself the chance to practise,” she says. This means making notes, going through the conversations as above and really mapping out the key points you want to say.

If you are scared of your boss

We’ve all been there with an intimidating boss who makes you feel you don’t know what you’re talking about. Here Misty suggests doing some journaling about that boss and what makes them feel comfortable and confident. It’s important to remember that despite their important role, they are only human – just like you –  and in that respect you are perfectly equal.

5 of the best non-drying Hand sanitisers (that work)

If there’s one thing we’ve been frequently reminded about these last few months, it’s the importance of clean hands in minimising the spread of germs and keeping ourselves and those around us safe. But when there’s no running water and soap to be found – can hand sanitisers really step in and do the job without leaving our hands red and raw?

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (an American public health institute based in Atlanta), while soap and water remain the best way in which to guarantee germs have been properly eliminated from the surface of your skin, hand sanitisers can work too. In order to be a suitable substitute though, they need to contain ingredients with recognised pathogen killing capabilities and be used correctly. Unlike soaps – which are classified as detergents and will foam to help wash away microbes that could lead to infections – sanitisers are disinfectants. This means that although sanitisers can kill germs, they won’t actually remove them from your hands – which is why the right ingredients are so important in increasing your chances of destroying any disease carrying germs.

The most effective hand sanitisers should contain…

For most sanitisers on the market, the key agent is alcohol, although there are other options. As Nic Taylor, founder of skincare brand 47Skin, states, “Alcohol can dry out hands, leading to irritation or dermatitis”. Working for two years, his team developed Silver Spray, an alcohol-free sanitiser that can kill germs in the same way alcohol-based equivalents can. Launched just as Covid-19 became a global pandemic, the sanitiser was put through a series of verified lab tests, returning clinically proven results that it can wipe out microbes in just 60 seconds.

A “truly amazing” find, Nic credits the formula’s success to the brand’s patented blend of silver and Chitoderm, which work together to break down and destroy germs – without causing the skin to lose hydration. In fact, “Chitoderm has the added benefit of creating a lattice-like structure, supporting cells to naturally regenerate and protect the skin,” says Nic. This means Silver Spray “Sanitises whilst being kind to hands”, making it particularly great for those with sensitive or dry skin.

If going down the alcohol-based sanitiser route, there are some crucial ingredients to consider, so that your chosen product will safeguard against germs without stripping hands of moisture. To start with, formulas need to contain either ethanol or isopropyl (sometimes referred to as propanol or isopropanol, and commonly known as rubbing alcohol). Both types are regularly found in disinfectants because they are highly water soluble (improving penetration) and can successfully demolish the cell walls of microbes to protect against the spread of infection.

Of course, the percentage of alcohol found in sanitisers is equally important. Based on findings from various studies, the general consensus amongst healthcare professionals is that for sanitisers to succeed in killing germs, they need to contain between 60-90% alcohol. Concentrations which exceed 60% alcohol have been found to work quicker as well as eradicate a wider range of bacteria and viruses. Interestingly, the efficiency of alcohol appears to plateau at around 90%, which may in part be due to the reduced amount of water in the solution; this means finding the perfect balance is vital in maximising efficiency.

Although alcohol isn’t toxic, as noted by Nic and increasingly acknowledged within the skincare realm, it can be drying and may cause redness and inflammation, especially with repeated use. To combat this, always look out for sanitisers that contain soothing ingredients such as aloe vera or conditioning essential oils, which will help to both protect and nourish hands.

How to use hand sanitisers correctly

As with soap and water, it’s recommended that sanitisers are thoroughly worked into hands for around 20 seconds. Fingers and both palms need to be covered with the solution or gel and the product rubbed in until it’s been fully absorbed. Wiping off any residual sanitiser after application may reduce its effectiveness.

We have picked the following for their blend of bacteria-killing properties and hydrating formulas:

Subtle Energies Active Hand Sanitiser, £30/ 50ml

Subtle Energies was established on Ayurvedic principles and its Active hand sanitiser stays true to the brand’s holistic approach to wellbeing. Designed with 65% plant-based ethanol, which is kinder to skin than its chemical counterparts, the sanitiser is also enriched with essential oils like Kunzea, Tulasi, clove and black pepper. Known for their natural antibacterial and purifying benefits, they help make this a germ-killing sanitiser that won’t deprive hands of moisture.

The Subtle Energies Hand Sanitiser
Kloris No Rinse Hand Sanitiser, £30/ 200ml

A solid 60% alcohol content means the Kloris No Rinse hand sanitiser ticks the box for solutions that work, but thanks to added ingredients of aloe vera and 1000mg of CBD, using it won’t result in rough hands. Studies have confirmed that CBD strengthens the skin’s natural barriers while working with its receptors to reduce inflammation caused by harsh chemicals. Suffused with fresh bergamot for a calming scent, this will keep hands clean and soothed.

The Kloris No-Rinse Hand Sanitiser
47Skin Silver Spray Hand Sanitiser Spray, £10.95/ 100ml

The alcohol-free Silver Spray from 47Skin defends against microbes without damaging skin. The brand’s unique combination of silver and Chitoderm is acclaimed for its conditioning properties and, even better, the sanitiser formulation has been found to generate an anti-bacterial, anti-viral film which can continue killing germs for hours. “Gentle on the skin and offering long-lasting protection,” Nic calls it a “double whammy of benefits”.

47Skin Anti-Bacterial Hand Spray
Margaret Dabbs Hand Cleansing Gel, £15/ 50ml

Fragranced with zesty mandarin and floral notes of geranium, the Margaret Dabbs’ Hand Cleansing Gel not only smells great, it also contains 65% alcohol, ensuring its success in destroying microbes. Other key ingredients in the antibacterial gel include hempseed oil – an anti-inflammatory that’s ideal for locking in hydration – and white water lily, which conditions and moisturises for softly cleansed hands.

The Margaret Dabbs Hand Sanitiser
Aesop Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash, £7/ 50ml

With a 58-62% alcohol-based formula, the Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash from Aesop is a good alternative for when you’re on-the-go and have no access to running water. The sanitiser is enhanced with rosemary and cedar atlas which help to calm irritated skin and mandarin (a natural antiseptic) that supports moisture retention. The result is a non-drying sanitiser with a pleasingly refreshing aroma.

Aesop’s Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Sanitiser