Social Commentary, Spotlight On...

Mindfulness on Mother’s Day!

Leslie Saglio

Leslie Saglio. Image copyright Leslie Saglio. NHYM 2017. 

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, a time to reflect on our lives as mothers. Here, Leslie Saglio, an international coach, yoga teacher, author and speaker, ‘dedicated to guide others to move through this world with more grace, finding peace and infusing balance in a life they love,’ tells us how to be more mindful as mothers:

Whether full or part-time at home or at the office, all mothers are working mothers – full stop. Hands down, being a stay-at-home mum (SAHM) is hard-core and hard work – I know. Having been an entertainment executive to a real estate entrepreneur in Los Angeles to a SAHM to a mumpreneur in London and now Barcelona, being a parent never runs out of ways to stress you out.

Everyday is a constant juggle of checking off your to-do lists – everything from the school runs, after-school activities, homework, play dates, birthday parties, doctor/dentist appointments, to “what do I cook for dinner?” the list goes on and on – and that’s just for the kids.

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The Chettinad, Ibiza. Copyright The Chettinad. NHYM 2017. 

As a result, we can often find it difficult to be in the present moment. I admit sometimes I’m guilty of checking my messages while playing with my children. While I’d love to always be Zen by nature, that’s just not humanly possible, at least if you’re a parent caring for another small human being. I don’t know about you, but if there’s something that can help decrease my stress and help me be a better mum then I’m all up for trying.

Through a practice of mindfulness you can start to balance and experience more joy and peace throughout your day. Mindfulness can help you switch from a state of constantly ‘doing’ to being present and enjoying this wild ride of motherhood (or fatherhood). Because in truth, the moments of our undivided attention and being fully present are some of the greatest gifts we can give our loved ones and ourselves.

Mindfulness is purposefully being engaged and being deeply connected in the flow of moment-to-moment as it’s happening. It has the power to make you less reactive, and instead behave from increased awareness and conscious action. This includes practices such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, or just deep conscious breathing.

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The Chettinad, Ibiza. Copyright the Chettinad. NHYM 2017.

For nearly a decade, through my commitment to personal growth and mindfulness practices, I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my relationship with my children, my husband, and everyone I’ve come in contact with. More recently, having moved to Barcelona after ten beautiful years in London I’m definitely more aware of the benefits of s-l-o-w-i-n-g down. In slowing down you invite space; in your mind, body and spirit, to see that there is more to life than rushing from one thing to another.

As a mother, life coach and yoga teacher, I know first-hand through personal experience while witnessing with my students and clients, it’s just as important to live more mindfully as it is to nurture and mother yourself just as you would your own children. We cannot pour from an empty cup. We can only fully give from a nourished place.

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The Chettinad, Ibiza. Copyright The Chettinad. NHYM 2017.

Here are my top three tips on how you can start living more mindfully and enjoy this wild ride of motherhood:

  • Go Offline. So often our week is spent consuming content and communicating with others from afar. Concentrate on your family and friends near you by being fully present, in-person and full contact. Start your day in peace without looking at your emails and messages for at least one hour upon waking up. This sacred silence and calm has the power to overflow into the rest of your day. During your day, even if it’s just for a 30-minute activity, try putting your phone away on silent mode while you’re with your kids. As cliché as it sounds, they do grow up fast and there’ll come a time when they’d rather be with their friends instead of mummy/daddy.
  • Remember to breathe. If you feel yourself becoming stressed or anxious I invite you to try this simple acronym, these four ways, to help you become more present: Slow down. Take a deep breath. Observe what’s happening before you Proceed. Allow yourself to S-T-O-P, to shift, to go outside, to look at the sky, to be in nature and connect back to you. I encourage you to try it for one week and see if you feel any difference in your experience of life. Just as we exercise our body for better performance, the mind can be trained to better handle those sometimes chaotic, childhood moments.
  • Time out. Mums can burnout easily feeling exhausted, stressed and over-worked. We need to put as much energy in as we put energy out. So without any mum-guilt I highly encourage you to do something that will nourish your body, mind and soul. Without a doubt, the highest return on investment your can ever make is investing in yourself. Have a massage or mani/pedi, take a yoga class, have a girls night out or my all-time favourite, go on retreat. Give yourself full permission to take care of you first. Every time you return home you’ll have way more to give to your family, you work and your community.’

 

Thank you Leslie for those inspirational words! For those who are interested in learning more about mindfulness or who need a break from London’s fast pace living, Leslie is hosting a retreat in Ibiza this June at this amazing villa, The Chettinad, seen in the above pictures.

www.lesliesaglio.com/ibiza-summer-retreat

I hope you have a wonderful, restful, and mindful Mother’s Day!

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Leslie Saglio Copyright 2017. 

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Top 10, Travel

Top 10 Luxury Ski Hotels in Europe

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Courchevel. NHYM 2017. All photos courtesy of the internet. 

Like (literally) everyone in London, I decamped to the Alps for February half term for some family skiing. Austria, Switzerland, and France became London outposts, which made for busy and fun holidays, but not exactly relaxing holidays. In our hotel, I bumped into a girl who goes to the same school as my eldest and my youngest found one of her London classmates in her ski class. This was not a holiday ‘escape;’ this was a full on London-on-Snow-Fest.

For those who didn’t make it to the Alps this year or who want ideas of where to go, here is my round up of the top luxury ski hotels in Europe:

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Le Portetta, Courchevel. NHYM 2017.

1…Best for Families: Le Portetta, Courchevel 1650. To start off the list, we need a family-friendly hotel that is accessible to NBI (Non-Billionaire-Individuals). It’s got a Scott Dunn kids club and nannies on demand, who will take your kids to their ski school so you can avoid all that ski-equipment-carrying palaver. Bliss.

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L’Alpaga, Megeve. NHYM 2017

2….Best for Foodies and Families: L’Alpaga, Megeve. People who go to Megeve don’t come here to actually go skiing; it’s so low that it often doesn’t have any snow at Christmas. But what it does have is plenty of delicious restaurants including the 3 Michelin star Flocons de Sel. Bon Appetit!

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Hotel Kulm, St. Moritz. NHYM 2017.

3…Best for Old School Luxury: Hotel Kulm, St. Moritz. With a recent spa facelift, Hotel Kulm still stands as one of the oldest and luxurious hotels in the Alps and was founded in 1856. It feels like going into your grandma’s parlour with chintz, wallpaper and gold chandeliers, so it may not be your style, but it does takes you back in time to old school glamour.

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The Alpina, Gstaad. NHYM 2017. 

4… Best for super luxury: The Alpina, Gstaad: A recently opened hotel, The Alpina is vying for ‘best luxury hotel’ in the Alps, with a number of accolades under it’s belt since it’s opening. I’ve been told by friends who recently stopped by that it is truly amazing.

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L’Apogee, Courchevel. NHYM 2017. 

5…Best for Billionaires: L’Apogee, Courchevel 1850. Courchevel has made it twice on this list, mostly because I have nostalgic memories of learning to ski on these slopes (pre-Ruskis), but it has changed a lot since these days. For the OTT/Bling Crowd, Courchevel hits the spot with its fashion designer designed gondolas and Chanel stores. But it remains a wonderful, beautiful resort with excellent skiing. L’Apogee has the biggest kids club in Courchevel and is really for the too-cool-for-school crowd.

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Stanglwirt, Austria. NHYM 2017.

6…Best for uniqueness: Stanglwirt, Going, Austria. Is it a hotel? Is it a resort? Is it a farm? Stanglwirt is a strange but beautiful place that has everything packed in one place: 4 pools, a giant, twisting slide in the children’s pool, a farm, pony rides, a big spa, and a cow restaurant (as in there’s-a-cow-eating-with-me-in-this-restaurant). It is kind of in the middle of nowhere so it’s for those who won’t mind staying in their resort for the whole trip.

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Aurelio, Lech. NHYM 2017.

7…Best for Ski-in, ski-out: Aurelio, Lech. Someone just told me that the snow in Lech is special; it falls right on Lech so it always has great snow. I don’t know if that’s true, but what is true is that Aurelio is a sexy, luxurious hotel for the fashionable. This one is definitely not for the NBIs like me, but if you are a BI, enjoy!

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La Vallee Blanche, Chamonix. NHYM 2017.

8….Best for hard core skiers: Hotel Mont Blanc, Chamonix. For the hard core skiers, Chamonix is the place to go. A friend was lamenting how easy skiing has become with easy pistes and parabolic skis. Well, she hasn’t been to Chamonix. If you want real skiing, this is where you go. Forget your Chanel moonboots and your Prada helmet, here it is about real skiing and the Hotel Mont Blanc is newly revamped. The Vallee Blanche is a must-do, a 20km, glacier, off piste ski run. One of my best skiing experiences. Ever.

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La Cordee des Alpes restaurant, Verbier. NHYM 2017. 

9….Best Boutique Hotel: La Cordee des Alpes, Verbier. Everyone gushes about the W Hotel in Verbier which is right across from the ski lifts, but apart from it’s location, it is not one of my faves. It is brand spanking new, modern and leaves me quite cold. I still like Alpine chalet luxury and La Cordee des Alpes provides just that. It has a great restaurant, spa and a great feel to it. It isn’t a ski-in/ski-out kind of place, but the concierge can arrange transport to the ski slopes.

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Hotel Christiania, Val D’Isere. NHYM 2017.

10…Best for Location (and families): Hotel Christiania, Val D’Isere. Location, location, location. Hotel Christiana is on the slopes and right in town as well. It is family run and offers child care and a swimming pool to entertain the kids. Val D’Isere has excellent skiing and a happening nightlife for those who want a good mix of both. And with prices that are more reasonable than most of these hotels, here’s finally a place for NBIs.

 

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Quote of the day, Reviews, Social Commentary

My Book Is Coming Out This Summer!

thebetamumimagenhym

A few days ago, I submitted my final manuscript to my publisher and she sent me back a timeline of the publishing schedule. It has been a long, hard road full of sweat and lots of tears, but I have now finished a novel that I started two years ago, The Beta Mum, Adventures in Alpha-Land. It hasn’t been easy, but this summer, I will finally be able to hold the paperback copy of my book in my hands.

10 Things You Need to Know About My Book: 

  1. It is fiction. No, I am not the main character. And the evil, mean mum does not exist. This is purely a product of my imagination. Of course, experiences and stories overheard may have influenced my book, but it is a work of fiction. Everything else is coincidence.
  2. It is about fulfilling a dream. I’ve always wanted to write a book and for those who know that feeling, it remains a dream until you sit on that chair and write those 70,000+ words. It may not become a bestseller, but it is finished and it has a beginning, a middle and an end, and it makes sense. To me, that is a great achievement.
  3. It is a silent achievement. As a writer, no one is around when you get to the finish line. No one cheers you on or tells you how great you are. It is purely a personal achievement that I always hoped I would fulfil and I am so proud to have finished it.
  4. It is so bloody hard to write a novel. I can’t tell you the times I’ve wanted to give up, when I wanted to throw it all away and never look at it again, and the times I wanted to quit. The plot holes, the unrelatable characters, the writing, the negative criticism etc… Even my pen name, Isabella Davidson, took hours of discussion and debate in my head. With writing, it is 99% about perseverance and determination. All writers will tell you, it’s about sitting on that chair and starting to write.
  5. It is not perfect. And the moral of the story is that none of us are perfect and that we should try to be understanding and tolerant and kind to each other. Ultimately, it is about kindness, although you may not see it that way when you read the book!! This is my first novel and I have learned so much through this process. I wish I knew all of what I know now before I started.
  6. It is not Dickens, Dostoevsky, or Dumas. It is a light, summer read which is more like a gossip-session with a friend than a life-altering book. So this summer, put it on your ‘Summer Read’ list! It is not meant to be taken seriously but does deal with issues of modern motherhood.
  7. They say to write about what you know. So, I’ve written about what I know best right now: the struggles of motherhood in London. It is about loneliness, relationships, losing your identity after becoming a mother, competitive mothering, trying to be the perfect mother, and trying to find the balance between being a parent and being an individual.
  8. All West London mums are not horrible. Although, reading this book you may be led to believe so. Most London mums are absolutely lovely and wonderful (I am one and most of my friends are!), but no one wants to read a book about mothers all being lovely and nice to each other! There would be no story to tell and that would just be very boring and no one would read it. So, I’ve piled on the bitchiness and horridness on a few of my characters (And we’ve all come across one or two ‘Mean-Mums’ or super-competitive mums…) Hopefully my next book will be more positive!
  9. I have mixed emotions about it. I am full of excitement but am also full of self-doubt (Will anyone buy it? Will anyone read it? Will they hate it? Will they hate me?)
  10. Please be kind. An author’s ego is so fragile and vulnerable, so please tread gently.

 

It won’t be ready until this summer, but I will post the book blurb soon so you get a better idea of the book. I hope you read it and laugh with it! A few quotes from my readers so far:

Thanks for a cracking read!’ 

I didn’t want to stop reading!’

I really enjoyed it and it did make me laugh. Great characters and setting.’

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Reviews

Happy New Year & Nama!

namanhym

nama restaurant. Copyright NHYM 2017. All photos by NHYM

I hope everyone has had a joyous New Year and start into 2017! Apologies for not writing in a while, but 2016 didn’t provide me with the right inspiration with all its tragedies, unexpected surprises and tumultuous times. I am hoping that 2017 will be a much better year all around and that you will  be hearing a lot more from me!

Like every new year, I make a note of my resolutions and what I want to improve in the new year. As always, ‘being healthy’ makes the top of list, but quickly slides down to the bottom of the list as soon as birthday cakes and cocktails pass my way. So when nama invited me to try their new winter menu, I thought this would be the perfect way to start the year.

namashelvesnhymFor those who don’t know nama, it is a ‘Raw Food’ restaurant based in Notting Hill and is vegan/organic/gluten free/processed sugar free etc… For those of you who don’t know me, I am a little more ‘steak with fries’ than ‘supergreen and nuts’ when I order in a restaurant (My friend this past weekend told me she loved me because I ordered a rack of ribs the size of a small lamb), so it takes a lot to impress me when it comes to ‘Raw Food.’

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But when the waiter showed me the menu and raved about the truffle pizza and truffle pasta, I have to say that I was impressed. This was not your usual supergreen offering and these actually both sounded delicious. I love my truffles maybe even more than I love steak. It was an easy choice to make.

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Not only did the Truffle pizza look great, it was actually really delicious. I was expecting another version of quinoa/sweetpotato/kale/pomegranate salad from this restaurant but this was completely different. The truffle spread sent my tastebuds to paradise…. And even if the walnut pizza didn’t really taste like pizza, I didn’t care as it tasted so good.

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Next came the truffle pasta made with thick courgette spaghetti. OK, it didn’t taste like pasta, but again, it really tasted quite wonderful. And I wasn’t going to leave this place feeling like I had eaten birdseeds or rabbit food. This is proper, filling, hearty winter food. And I actually really loved it as did my friend who even asked if they delivered.

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For dessert, we had the salted chocolate caramel cake, which was rich, thick and satiates any sweet craving you could have. I have to say that I didn’t expect to like my meal as much as I did. This is a little hidden jewel and I could have that truffle pizza any day. Try it, it may really surprise you.

Thank you nama for inviting me to this wonderful lunch!! 

nama

110 Talbot Road

London W11 1JR

http://www.namafood.com

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy

@NHyummymummy

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Social Commentary

Thankfulness…

thanksgiving

NHYM 2016. 

Last night, I was invited to a Thanksgiving dinner thrown by American/British friends, which was a reminder to be thankful each and every day. Thanksgiving is my favourite American tradition and it is (generally) stress-free, and instead is about family, friends, food, and thanks.

It is a reminder that despite very strange times we are living in, we are thankful for the same basic human needs: love, food, family, friendship and roofs over our heads. It is always useful to get perspective that we all need and want the same things and that we have more in common than not.

2016 was a difficult and divisive year for many, and it has surprised and shocked us in so many ways (Brexit, Nice attacks, Trump-win). As it comes to an end, I hope we can teach our children to be thankful every day and to embrace all the things we have and everyone surrounding us.

I hope that everyone had a wonderful thanksgiving and that 2017 bring lots of hope, joy, love and happiness to all of us.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Social Commentary

Welcome to Instagram World!

 

Hand with smartphone taking food photo of fresh breakfast with coffee and croissants

Photo Courtesy of the Internet. NHYM 2016.

This week, I opened up an Instagram account. Not because I want to put a million pictures of ‘look-at-me-I’m-so-hot-cool-fit-fun’ but because I was told I needed a social media ‘presence’ for my upcoming project. So, I decided to go and do what 400 million people are doing and opened up an Instagram account. Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms of the moment. It has overtaken Twitter and I decided that I needed to tag along for the ride.

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The Power of Social Media

Last week, when Donald Trump won the American election, he attributed his victory to social media: http://fox43.com/2016/11/13/donald-trump-credits-social-media-with-helping-win-the-presidential-election/ This has demonstrated the power of social media and how it has infiltrated our lives. I have some friends who won’t touch social media but no one can deny that it has become incredibly powerful. Trump has claimed that instead of spending millions on his campaign, he put his efforts into social media, and it paid off.

My Instagram 

When I started posting photos and getting ‘likes’ and looking into other people’s accounts, I realised that Instagram is a legally, socially accepted form of voyeurism and stalking. Just like the photos, you can filter your life to make it look amazing/cool/fun all the time even though it really isn’t (I wasn’t going to take a picture of myself scrubbing my toddler’s poo-stained-carpet was I?). I also decided not to put any pictures of myself or my family for our personal privacy, and to only put photos of beautiful places and beautiful things.

It is also incredibly addictive. After 4 days of being obsessed with Instagram and being bombarded with 59 likes on one of my photos, I was exhausted. Social media sucks you in and I can see how you could spend hours on it. Now that I get what everyone is talking about, I can go back to being a back-seat-social-media-user.

Happiness vs. Success & Power? 

What has emerged though is that social media is making our children more stressed and anxious, especially girls: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/16/social-media-mental-health-teenagers-government-pshe-lessons There is a much higher incidence of mental health problems in young girls today since the advent of social media, with too much emphasis on how you look, what you’re doing, and the pressure of keeping an image of perfection. It only emphasises how important it is to control our children’s social media activity. For power and success, social media may have its role, but for your children’s happiness, it may be wise to restrict their social media as much as possible.

http://childmind.org/article/how-using-social-media-affects-teenagers/

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

Instagram: @nottinghillyummymummy

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Social Commentary

Democracy Gone Wrong

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Image courtesy of the internet. NHYM 2016. 

Yesterday was a sad day not only for America but for history as well. For the second time this year, we have seen the limits of Democracy: first with the Brexit vote and now with Americans electing Trump as the 45th President of the United States. Democracy is showing its cracks and how it can- in certain circumstances- be harmful.

America has voted for a Reality TV star that knows nothing about politics, or policy. But more than that, the white, uneducated male American has spoken: he has endorsed a racist, misogynist, sexual-harasser to be the leader of arguably the most powerful nation in the world. America is showing that it is a place where it is OK to grope women, to call Mexicans ‘rapists,’ to call women ‘pigs,’ to ‘ban muslims from the USA,’ and where his Vice President was allowed to pioneer laws ‘allowing businesses to refuse service to gays on religious grounds.’

I understand that people want change, but America is not going to be great again with this rhetoric. What America has effectively done is to go backwards in time: before 1920 when women were allowed to vote, before the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King, and before legalised abortion. Instead of tolerance and cohesion, his supporters voted for isolationism, anti-immigration and division.

Trump’s acceptance speech – to his credit – was tempered and for once, rational, with plans to unite a country, even though throughout his campaign he was consistently divisive. Perhaps his shocking statements during the campaign were just a way to get elected, but at what expense? Encouraging a nation to close its doors to others? To open its arms to rudeness, arrogance and bigotry? What he represents undoes everything America has done in recent history, including electing the first African American President.

With the tenacity of a rabid dog, Trump has done the impossible-possible: he has turned America into a Reality TV show where being a TV personality is enough to get you elected.

I still don’t know what that means for the US, and neither do the people who have voted for him. I hope that his on-screen presence is just that; an onscreen presence. But we have to be hopeful that the consequences are nearly not as bad as we imagine them to be. Otherwise, soon enough, as an educated, female, minority, I may be banned from going to the US.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy

@NHYM

https://www.ft.com/content/1fafbcf4-a5e2-11e6-8898-79a99e2a4de6

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