I start each morning with…
My Lumi light (lumi.com)which gets me up by 6.15am – just enough time for me to meditate in bed for 20 minutes, then get up and start readying things before my two children wake up, around 7am. If I’ve had a really late one and just need to carry on sleeping, I set the alarm for 7. At the weekend, all bets are off. We sleep as long as we need to – or as long as the children allow us to – and my husband and I make time for the other to take 20 and fit in our meditations in the day.
We both studied Vedic Meditation with Will Williams (willwilliamsmdeitation.co.uk), and the positive effect it’s had on the household has been discernible.
Before eating anything I always always have a glass of hot water. Sometimes with a squeeze of lime if my digestion feels sluggish.
My husband bakes our bread and makes some fab sourdough loaves – so it’ll be eggs with greens or mushrooms, or spicy omelettes, or buckwheat-and-cinnamon pancakes or French toast, or waffles. Always hearty and wholesome, and it’s important to fuel the kids up well for their day ahead too.
The green products I cannot live without in in my make up bag are…
I’ve recently discovered the Kjaer Weis Foundation, it’s fantastic (kjaerweiss.com). A velvet cream texture, it blends in so seamlessly – and doesn’t leave an overly dewy (which on me always just looks shiny) finish, which I love. It delivers decent coverage too – fab at evening out redness or marks from old blemishes.
The always-raved-about RMS UnCoverUp in 22 is my failsafe, if I have 30 seconds to look decent, I pat around my eyes, nose, chin, and then add a pat of blush, and it makes a big difference (rmsbeauty.com).
The Juice Beauty Phyto Pigments Concealer is great too – highly pigmented, you warm it up with the finger before patting around the eyes, and it brightens very well, while flattering skin too, it doesn’t look dry or heavy (juicebeauty.com).
I like a dusting of Inika Organics Bronzer, it’s the most subtle I’ve found for my pale olive skin (inikaorganic.com).
If I’m going that extra mile, I’ll run a swish of kohl along the upper lash line – and Ilia’s Pure Eye Liners are fantastic, they really last too (iliabeauty.com)
The make-up item I wear every single day is blusher… but I’m still on the hunt for my PERFECT peachy-coral blusher – but I rotate between RMS Lip2Cheek in Modest (a great run-around poppy colour) Ilia Multi-Stick in All of Me (a very natural, warm watermelon shade) or Kjaer Weis Happy (when I want a very bright pink pop and my skin is particularly pale)… I hardly ever wear mascara, but of a ‘special’ evening, I’ll reach for Ilia or W3LL People’s one (w3llpeople.com).
My secret green beauty trick is…
I’ve got tons! When I was pregnant with my first child, my skin became extra sensitive, and any scented (even naturally scented) skincare, made it sore and red so, raw honey and live natural yoghurt became two of my most commonly used masks – honey is a great humectant – so draws moisture into the skin, while of course aiding repair. And yoghurt contains the naturally gentle exfoliant, lactic acid, which also soothes – so it’s a great face mask to rebalance combination skin – to exfoliate and hydrate at the same time.
I often use spirulina or chlorella powder, mixed with water, as a purifying mask if I’m a bit blemish-y, or I mix a tablespoon in with a tablespoon of the beautiful MV Organic Skincare Signature Mineral Mask, and add 4 drops of MV’s Rose Plus Booster in to keep it creamy – skin looks beautifully calm and clear afterward (mvskincare.com)
Loving yourself as unconditionally as you love your children. You’ll make mistakes, you’ll say stupid things, you’ll regret and fear and doubt, until you realise, you really were just doing what you believed to be right. You’re doing your best. You’re unique, and you should love yourself the way that only your nearest and dearest love you – no conditions.
The ways I love myself are…
Mostly linked to rest, letting go, slowing down and topping up that inner reservoir. Every couple of nights I make a point of heading up to bed really early (8pm early!), I line up a Yoga Nidra or meditation session with my favourite online yoga company Movement for Modern Life (movementformodernlife.com), get my room ready – light a Neom candle, wrap myself in a blanket, support my body with a bolster and pillows, and just disappear into it (neomorganics.com). Breathing, blissed out, in a silent house as the children slumber restores me so hearteningly, and I don’t need to head back home afterward, I’m already there.
We can be more self-loving by…
I think that my love of Ayurveda has helped guide my hand a lot, it’s such a gentle science, strenuous exercise is seen as a bizarre concept in Ayurveda it asks: why push your body so hard, make yourself lose your breath, sweat buckets, and then ‘refuel’ at the end? We’re not machines, we’re soft tissue and tensile bone, fluid cell and moist membrane. Go easy, go slow, go soft, which I know isn’t very fashionable, but it just feels right to me. I like that softly softly approach, I sometimes wonder if the reason so many of us are addicted to things such as sugar, alcohol, nicotine is because we’re partially depleted in spirit so we never stop hungering after something to fill the hole.
When I am completely depleted, and have been working too hard and sleeping poorly and not decompressing for days on end, the simplest mantras I use are ’Nothing is required of me right now,’ and ‘I give myself permission to rest.’ When lying in bed, mind racing, trying to sleep – saying that over and over – makes me realise that I cannot do anything else in that moment. Just accepting peace. Stillness. Nothingness.
Knowing that “Inaction is an Action”, we can choose to be still, thoughtful, restful, meditative, quiet. It’s not lazy – it’s wholly restorative, and oh so bloody necessary.
Books on my reading list which inspire me are…
I shall continue to be fascinated and guided by Ayurveda forever, and the Art of Self Healing by Dr Vasant Lad is brilliantly insightful (amazon.com).
Ironically, however, given that I work at Psychologies, I have never really read a self-help/improvement book. If I have time to read, I reach for a novel. I read literature at Durham and grew up longing to live in a library. Reading has always been my deepest, purest pleasure. So, I’ll reach for my favourite books – Atonement by Ian McEwan, Beloved by Toni Morrison, Arcadia by Lauren Groff, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte, A Passage to India by E.M. Forster, Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Hardy. We so often learn about the experience of others empathically, and novels take us out of our own over-busy minds, so, so needed.
My favourite healthy snacks are…
If I am hungry I need something substantial: a few nuts and seeds won’t do it, and nor will a piece of fruit. So, it’s normally something like a pot of Coyo with my homemade granola, or a large Dr Karg Spelt cracker, covered in almond butter and seeds and raw honey, or some leftovers from an earlier meal (dr-karg.de)
Everyone at Psychologies thinks that my need for a second breakfast is hilarious – but if I eat at 7.30am with my kids, by 11.30am I am seriously hungry again (I can eat anything for breakfast, I’ll still be hungry 4 hours later). At which point I normally have a small bowl of porridge, or granola and nut milk, or leftover pancakes or waffles with cashew butter from that morning, if I’m stuck somewhere, hungry, with no food about my person, I’ll head for a Crussh or Pret or Eat or Leon as you can usually find one of those in a station or airport – and their wholesome veggie soups are a great snack if you’re stuck between lunch and dinnertime.
My weekly exercise routine consists of…
Hmmmmm…I have no routine! If I am able, I love getting myself to a Friday afternoon yoga class at Triyoga Camden, I usually go to Yoga Gently Open or Kundalini (triyoga.co.uk)
More often than not, it’s simply blissful to get down to my mat, in my own bedroom, with Movement for Modern Life a few times a week – and do whatever I am in the mood for that day. It’s very rarely dynamic, as I practice at night when I am hoping to wind down, but stretching is always so welcome and so wonderfully soothing.
Aside from that, simply walking and lifting (kids! kids bags! kids and bags, and shopping!) and being on my feet a lot. I am a bit of a fidget, but also get up every 30 mins at least if at my desk, for a nice stretch and short stroll around.
On non-desk days, I walk everywhere – all around London – and at weekends, I can go from 7am to 7pm (when kids are tucked up) with hardly an hour’s rest, so, I figure, that’s my exercise! Incidental – which I actually believe is the best sort of movement.
I can’t travel without…
I adore de Mamiel Altitude Oil. I dab it on the kids’ nostrils and my own, and we always fly with it to help ward off bacteria (demamiel.com)
I also love The Organic Pharmacy Rose Balm which I use inside the nostrils to catch any inhaled airborne bacteria (instead of Vaseline), and all over dry patches, lips, hands – the smell is incredible too – so a wonderful mood-booster on the move.
At the moment I am focusing on…
Getting the right balance between my beloved role at Psychologies, where I am Wellness Director, and running my own conscious consultancy, LEAF – and just ensuring that I am passionate about everything I do. Always asking myself, ‘Does it feel right? Good? Positive? Joyful?’ – and then saying a big fat YES if it does!
Partnering with people and brands who live and breathe a holistic health message – and do so ethically and kindly – lights up every cell of my being. I’m excited to have launched a series of wellness events with COMO Metropolitan, and am plotting several more collaborations, getting to be creative, in a way that benefits others, wow, that’s the dream.
In the mix, of course, there’s the crucial time with my family, who are everything in this world to me and who will always come first. So, I am working towards a 4 day working week with 3 full days unplugged, connected and present, and unapologetically so, which takes practice, but which is at the core of the LEAF ethos – I want everyone I work with, and everyone I ultimately employ to switch off and be wholly unavailable on a regular, pre-agreed basis. Anything else is plainly unhealthy – and we have to stop pretending otherwise.
A green lifestyle is important to be because…
It just feels right. Our purpose is at the heart of our wellbeing. And defining that purpose, and working to achieve it, delivers fulfilment. I don’t have any great lofty notions – I just want to feel as though I go through life kindly, thoughtfully – naturals in skincare felt right, ethical clothing felt right, reusing and repurposing rather than discarding or buying lots of new stuff felt right, growing our own veg and baking our own bread and eating seasonally felt right, and for so many, these things do bring joy and go on to improve our health as a result. So, for me, it was working out what simple things just made me feel happier.
The way I choose to live is not a diktat, it’s just been a slow, organic evolution. I think for a lot of people, you may start eating organic meat and eggs (or choose not to eat them at all), and then you may think about the ingredients in your skincare or make-up, then you might question who makes your clothes and how, there’s an ideological impetus behind things, that begins with a question: “If I purchase this, what values am I endorsing and supporting?”
And when it comes to my health, honestly, it’s the simplest answer of all: our health is everything! But being painfully strict and careful and cautious and controlling is not health. Being dogmatic about how many times you’ll move, for how long, and how hard, in order to expend how many calories, is not health. Eating every green leaf and rainbow-coloured superfood under the sun, entirely out of season, and when you don’t really fancy it anyway, is not health.
Begin within: begin with how you feel, and what you want to feel. Once the spirit and mind are nourished, the body follows suit, and trust yourself more.