Self Preservation Society – A Journey in Self-Care.

This isn’t an article about the song ‘Self Preservation Society’ from the film The Italian Job or a kind of weird jam, but I think the title is apt and the subject something that I’ve been working on a lot recently.

I’ve been on a self-care journey for the past fifteen months. I got to a point where I was caring more for the people around me and taking no time to care for myself. You know that feeling of becoming so overwhelmed that in fact, you actually become completely unproductive? When you find that you can only do the bare minimum to get through the day, and you are existing ‘just because’? For me, mine was because I have a daughter, and because I have a job.

And then the tipping point came and it all came crashing down in June of last year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad for the crash in an odd way because if something hadn’t caved in I wouldn’t have known that the foundations had crumbled and I wouldn’t have known that I needed to rebuild.

The past fifteen months have been about that: rebuilding, rethinking, self-care, self preservation, and re-evaluating what I need to do in order to function and to make me an all-round better human being. Every day I feel as though I’m making positive changes, sometimes really small, hardly noticeable ones, but if I don’t manage to change something one day I won’t punish myself for it. Akin to going on a diet where you have one bad day so you throw the whole thing out of the window. I’m not doing that anymore, I’m not punishing myself for things that really don’t affect anyone else apart from me. If I don’t exercise one morning after I’d made a deal in my mind the night before it’ll be okay. The world won’t go all Chicken Licken’ and the sky definitely won’t fall in. I’ll exercise the following day instead.

My world is busy and I find it very easy to become consumed by everyone else’s needs and demands and make it all the more easy to forget my own, so little by little I’m putting systems in place. Systems work for me. It’s just me and the minx (and a tortoise) at home and a little forward thinking helps me enormously to keep ahead of myself which then allows time for me to find moments to breathe. Exercise works, even just a 20 minute walk, eating well – I make meal plans so I know exactly what to shop for and what I’m cooking. I used to be an avid reader but since becoming a mum I’ve found less time to lose myself in a book – now I’m forcing myself to sit down and read by scheduling it into my day. That might sound ludicrous but it works for me, and I really enjoy the switch off.

If we don’t stop to breathe, and take it all in then what’s the point? It’ll pass us by in a flash and I for one want to be present and enjoy it all.

Posted in Beauty & Wellbeing, Health, Life Lessons | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Women’s Networking is Transforming in London

Networking is important in every industry, but it is ESPECIALLY important in the world of PAs and freelancers. This great piece (originally from Standard.co.uk) talks about how networking for professional women is changing in London. 

Forget forced encounters in soulless venues — a wave of women-centric groups is putting the fun back into making connects, writes Alix O’Neill

Monday night at Jamavar, Mayfair’s hottest new Indian eatery. On the menu: small plates and small talk. Downstairs, women of varied ages and professions are milling around, champagne and gin cocktails in hand, while trays of malai stone bass tikka circle the candlelit room.

The vibe is chilled and welcoming. I arrive alone, but within minutes am happily chatting pregnancy and paneer (the veggie canapé is delicious) with a group of strangers.

It’s the restaurant’s inaugural Women’s Club — an evening of good food and scintillating conversation, featuring a different guest speaker each week. Tonight, journalist and former Polpetto head chef, Florence Knight, takes to the floor, dishing up the secrets to her success alongside the trials of working in a male-dominated field — the event was an instant sell-out. ‘Women want a relaxed environment where they can learn from one another,’ says Jamavar’s co-founder Samyukta Nair, 32.

‘Growing up surrounded by talented, powerful women, I learnt about the importance of self-belief. I started the Women’s Club not only as an antidote to Mayfair’s long-standing boys’ clubs, but also to share what my elders taught me.’ Although men are welcome, Nair believes women thrive in less conventional meet-and-greet set-ups. ‘It’s necessary to talk about our failures as well as our successes, and women are more comfortable than men in admitting their faults.’

Women’s networking is transforming. The days of having a business card shoved in your face as you nurse a glass of warm wine and a soggy vol-au-vent are over. A new wave of pop-ups and groups is providing a third space between work and play for London’s female professionals. The spirit is one of sharing, not selling. And there’s not a beige foodstuff in sight.

Continue reading

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Boost Your Immune System

It feels like proper Autumn here in London and with chilly weather (and back to school/work) comes illness. Here are some good tips to try and boost your immune system naturally. Originally posted on GoodtoKnow.co.uk. 

By Vicky Woollaston

If you think your immune system is weak or colder weather makes it weaker, just making 3 of these 10 changes can improve it dramatically.

1. Get plenty of sleep and rest. Your body rejuvenates and strengthens when it’s at rest so try and get between eight and ten hours a night.

2. Eat a balanced diet. Eating foods with high antioxidant levels (also known as superfoods) are great for your immune system. Fruit and vegetables, dairy products, melons, berries, dark greens, whole grains, and meat are all superfoods. Antioxidants are vitamins in your diet that can reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases and can give your immune system a boost.

3. Get moving! Exercise makes our body stronger, increases circulation of blood and nutrients, and helps flush the body of toxins. 

4. Drink plenty of water. This also helps flush the body of toxins and keeps you well hydrated.

5. Music cleanses the soul. Listening to your favorite music is a great way of reducing tension. You’ll know what kind of music gives you goosebumps or cheers you up so focus on those to lift your mood.

6. Turn down the volume though! Excessive noise can have an impact on your immune system and can leave you stressed or with a thumping headache so avoid having the TV turned right up, music blaring or the kids within 5 metres of you!

7. Laughter is the best medicine. It may be a cliche but it’s actually true. Laughing reduces stress hormones like adrenaline and increases your immune system cells that attack viruses.

8. Try not to take too many antibiotics or tablets. If you reach for a paracetamol every time you feel a headache coming on or regularly take antibiotics you could be damaging your immune system – your body will start to rely on the tablets rather than itself to get better.

9. Have more sex! When you’re ill it’s not exactly the first thing on your mind but increasing how much sex you have acts in the same way that exercise does. It releases ‘feel good’ hormones and gives you loads more energy. Energy your body needs to carry on fighting the diseases.

10. Give up smoking, or at least try cutting down. You don’t really need an excuse to give up the fags with all the warnings that are out there but it’s worth thinking long term about you and the people around you

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restaurant Review – MOMMI, Clapham, London

To champion the ‘effortlessly healthy’ Nikkei tag for which they are renowned, MOMMI has strived towards an entirely gluten free food menu since their launch two years ago. The small plate, market style ethos with taste profiles hailing from Latin America and Japan has always encouraged a deliciously different dining experience – epic flavours and a striking execution. ‘Official’ gluten free accreditation from Coeliac UK is the ultimate stamp of approval.

I hadn’t been to MOMMI before last Friday, and figured the best test would be to take my friend who is coeliac with me. What a pair we are to go out to eat; she with her gluten allergy, me being vegetarian, and both of us with an intolerance for garlic and raw onion, a culinary nightmare we are well aware of…

As soon as we walked through the door of MOMMI on Clapham High Street last Friday evening we felt as though we’d found our Motherland. With a great friendly welcome, we were shown to a booth area overlooking the entire space. A decent size restaurant area on the left, plus a good size bar on the right, plus a stage area for live music – what?! Seriously, this is the ultimate combination isn’t it? Literally something for everyone.

Continue reading

Posted in Restaurant and hotel reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

15 Things Only Working Moms Would Understand

It’s back-to-school and now comes time for balancing work, being mum, AND making sure the kids are at school on time! Feeling overwhelmed? – this article helps remind us that we are not alone! This post originally appeared on LifeHack.com

1. You are not on stimulants.

Yes, you are the one who holds down the job, gets the kids ready, do a morning drop off, prepare dinner at the end of the day and then deal with mothering! Some people think you are on some stimulant medication but it’s not true. You just have incredible energy and everyone around you should be thankful.

2. You are not the perfect mom.

Working moms face exhaustion and they have to make compromises if they are to survive. You constantly worry about getting the balance right and whether your kids will be neglected, although you have promised not to make compromises as regards the actual time you have carved out for them. But you have decided that you cannot attend all the business dinners or all your kids’ school trips. You are getting better at making the right judgement call and you know that the perfectly clean and tidy home is no longer a top priority.

3. You value your time with the kids enormously.

Maybe you have heard all those criticisms about working moms not giving enough attention to their kids. But as they have to go to school anyway, why should you give up your career? Your time with your kids is precious and you really give it all you have got. There are no distractions during prime time and they are getting you 100%. You know how to make every moment count.

4. You did not really have a choice.

You have heard them criticizing you about abandoning kids and family. But many people just do not realize what the statistics show. Look at the difference. If you stay at home, you are likely to be one of those 33% of moms who live in poverty. The number goes down to 12% for working moms. Which would you choose, if you actually got the chance?

Continue reading

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

6 Back-to-School Habits Successful Women Still Practice

This post originally appeared on TheEveryGirl.com

If you’re like us, you never quite lose the nostalgia for that back to school feeling. A fresh start, crisply sharpened pencils, and the fun of tackling something new still get us excited in the early fall. Even after moving on to that post-student phase of our lives, there are ways we can capitalize on all of those feelings and translate them to best practices in our careers. This is a great time of year to practice these holdover habits from our school days!

1. Expand Your Network

A new school year used to be the perfect opportunity to make friends and grow your inner circle. After we graduate, it can be not only harder to hang on to our school friends, but we can also find it difficult to make new friends outside of that historic context.

Fall is a great time to revisit being diligent and purposeful about expanding your network. Most of your professional contacts are just getting back in the swing of things after Labor Day. It can be great timing to schedule a coffee meeting or lunch and have the baked-in talking points of what everyone did over their summer.

For extra credit, challenge yourself to push beyond the professional context, and think about those few gals in your work circle who you’d like to be better friends with. Sometimes all it takes is suggesting a shared yoga class or jointly attending a networking event to get past that awkward “let’s be friends” phase.

 

2. Check In on Career Goals

Without set deadlines and semesters to keep us on track, it can be tricky to find other ways to measure our progress on career goals. Again, fall is a great time to take a step back and set some tangible benchmarks on your goals.

What are you looking to achieve in your career before the end of this year? Before next year? Set aside an evening with your personal planner and actually book yourself some goal check-ins. The best goals are “SMART” — specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time bound.  Hold yourself accountable by literally booking appointments with yourself over the next few months to check in on whatever next career move you’re working toward!

Continue reading

Posted in Articles | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How I Became a 37-Year Old Fashion Intern

By Gena Dorris 

Fashion has a notorious reputation for being a nearly impossible industry to penetrate. Even more so if you’re older than twenty-five and don’t have a load of connections in the industry. An unpaid internship in the fashion industry is a rite of passage for young men and women looking to get a foot in the door. The market is extremely competitive and an internship at one of the major fashion brands, magazines or PR companies is worth its weight in gold. Many fashion industry hopefuls often complete several internships before landing their first paid full-time gig.

So what are the odds that a thirty-seven-year-old American coming to London to study would land one of the most coveted internships in the business? Seemingly impossible, but somehow I managed to do it. Ok so first, why would someone at my age come to London to study and pursue an internship? Call it a mini-mid-life crisis if you want, or just a wake-up call that life was passing me by and I wasn’t living up to my full potential. On the outside, I had what most women my age would consider a great life; an adoring husband, a beautiful home, loving family and friends. I had worked in PR previously for an NBA basketball team as well as local charities in my area. Life was good. Except…it really wasn’t. I longed to do something more and I knew that I could. I always felt like my life was much bigger than the small southern city I lived in. I was much more creative than corporate; and although the previous jobs I’d held paid well and positively impacted my community, they weren’t ever really ME.

Fashion had always been a passion of mine. I know thousands of people say that, but there aren’t really other words to describe it. I was the girl friends called for help planning an outfit or to find out the designer of a pair of shoes they saw in a magazine and couldn’t find. I can’t tell you how many hours I wasted at work looking at something fashion-related online. When I turned thirty-five it hit me that I hadn’t really done anything that I’d dreamed of doing. I’d never lived abroad. I’d never had the chance to pursue a career in fashion. I wasn’t utilizing my God given talents. And I wasn’t happy. Was it too late for me? Was this all I would be?

Continue reading

Posted in Articles, Career Development, Fashion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment