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.

Ibiza retreat

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 May 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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Quote of the day, Reviews, Social Commentary

My Book Is Coming Out This Summer!

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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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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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Social Commentary

Hello & Welcome Back!

Hello and welcome back!

Sorry I haven’t posted in a long time, but summer took over and then as soon as I returned to London, within 24 hours, a series of misadventures occurred: I lost my phone (gasp!), my cleaner didn’t show up on Monday when I had a mountain of sandy clothes and suitcases (double gasp!!) and my nanny quit (triple gasp!!!). It has been a stressful return back to London, to say the least. But I am positive that it can all be seen in a positive light. Firstly, a lost phone is a forced digital detox. We all know that we spend way too much time on our phones: texting, phoning, instagramming, photo-taking. So this is an enforced tech abstention, which really should be an annual ritual like going to Mayr’s clinics.

Then, the nanny issue happened. That dreaded moment when your life literally starts to fall apart: your nanny leaves you. Even though for reasonable and valid issues (looking after relatives etc…), it is still dreadful. Yes, I know, upper-middle class problems all the way, I really shouldn’t be complaining, but it is heartbreaking. It leaves you bereft and crestfallen, like a break up. It feels like your perfectly controlled and stable life is being hit by a tornado and that respectful relationship you’ve spent so much time creating and crystallising is breaking up.

You want to ask them ‘why?’ ‘Don’t go!’ ‘let’s try to make it work,’ even though you know the reasons are valid and understandable and there is no way to fit the needs of both parties. And then there are the children, who believe that your nanny is part of the family and you know that tears and tantrums are around the corner when the nanny leaves. Not to mention the process of hiring the new nanny: finding her, interviewing her, training her, and then finding out that she had other plans/has been hired/wants more money (one friend just told me yesterday that she had hired a nanny for September and 2 weeks before she was meant to start, cancelled on her. We were nanny-commiserating at Nannies Anonymous).

Anyway, nanny searching is stressful, tiring and emotional. But on the positive side, I probably needed a change anyway because my children have different needs, but it is still difficult to let go. She nudged me in the right direction, so here we are, on the edge of the abyss looking down on nanny agencies, gumtree, word-of-mouth, Facebook nanny pages and aupair world.

On a completely different note, I am probably not going to write much on the blog in the near future sadly because I have been working on an exciting project (well, for me anyway), and as soon as it is ready to be public, you will be the first to know. Of course, I may fall flat on my face with it, prove an embarrassment to my family and friends (and maybe lose all my family and friends), but it is something I have been wanting to do for a long time. But most bold and exciting projects are risky and have a large chance of failing (am thinking of all the entrepreneurs whose success rate is less than 10%).

So here we are at the beginning of a new school year, full of frazzled mums and dads doing the school run (myself included), but also feeling really positive, despite my misadventures. Good luck with it all and have a happy new school year!

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

 

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Reviews, Social Commentary

Serpentine Summer Party 2016 & Gomez – Gracia

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Serpentine Summer Pavilion 2016. NHYM 

The Serpentine Summer Party is the one summer event not to miss – in my opinion. It’s the one time of year when I can pretend that I am still young/cool/fun and get a chance to dance under and with the stars. This year’s Pavilion was designed by Bjarke Ingels, a Danish architect, who has won numerous awards and designed the Pavilion to be a ‘solid wall that has been unzipped.’

Gomez-GraciaStarsNHYM

As you know, the Serpentine is closely linked to fashion, with fashion models and designers all in attendance, and this year, designer-to-the-stars, Patricia Gomez – Gracia is ‘dressing me.’ Her dresses have been spotted on the likes of Carrie Underwood, Katie Holmes, Kristin Stewart, the Kardashians,  et al… So, when she contacted me for a collaboration, the Serpentine Summer Party was the ideal event.

Gomez-GraciaShowroomNHYM

I went to her studio and showroom in Notting Hill for a fitting and to choose a dress. I immediately fell in love with her ‘Fairytale’ dress. My choice wasn’t rock ‘n’ roll/hip/cool, it was purely instinctual; I chose it because it was the most beautiful dresses I saw.

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At her studio, I saw the whole creative process and her work in progress, from sketches to mood boards and textures.

Gomez-GraciaTexturesandMoodboardsNHYM

It was great seeing what happens behind closed doors of her design studio, to see the beginning to the end of a finished product. I had a lot of fun choosing and trying various dresses, leading up to the big night.

FairyTaleDressGomezGraciaNHYM

I was thrilled to wear my ‘Fairytale’ dress on the big night, it was fun, romantic, glamorous, beautiful and sexy all at the same time. As soon as I walked into the Pavilion, I was accosted by people complimenting the dress. ‘Stunning,’ ‘You are the best-dressed, hands down’ ‘Everyone else should just go home’ ‘We’ve been staring at you all evening, we love your dress’ and finally I even got a ‘Will you marry me?’ Literally, everyone was staring at me as I walked by, which was quite fun. Even the celebrities were coming up to me to tell me how much they loved my dress, from Cressida Bonas to Anna Friel  and Heather Kerzner. It was a show-stopper and it literally made me shine.

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This year’s Pavilion is an amazing geometrical, square themed, structure that you can walk through and had lighting that literally and figuratively ‘lit up’ the space.

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Square shaped structures. Fearne Cotton bottom right. 

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Inside the Pavilion with Heather Kerzner

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Sienna Miller and Jade Jagger NHYM 2016.

Of course, there were celebs galore as usual with the usual English celebs & models: Kate Moss, Sienna Miller, Naomi Campbell, the Jaggers (Jade and Georgia May), Prince Harry’s exes (Cressida Bonas and Chelsy Davy, who is much taller than I expected), Tommy Hilfiger (hosting the party), etc. etc. etc. but the most exciting star spotting was Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones!

attends The Serpentine Summer Party Co-Hosted By Tommy Hilfiger at The Serpentine Gallery on July 6, 2016 in London, England.

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Beautiful Gabriella Wilde checking me out while I was checking her out. Her friend came to tell me how much she loved my Gomez-Gracia dress. NHYM 2016

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Sophie Dahl NHYM 2016

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As the sun set and the night descended, the colours on the Pavilion became brighter and more colourful, turning into a surreal, fantasy.

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Although this year the music was somewhat of a let down (there were no big performances, which is a shame after great ones in the past by Dizzie Rascal, Pharrell Williams and last year’s Mark Ronson), the Pavilion was stunning and one of our favourites so far. We still had a fun night of dancing, mingling, drinking, laughing and making new friends through the dress.

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I may not have been the most famous person there last night, but my dress was certainly voted the most popular dress of the night. Photographs do not do it justice, you can ask anyone that was there, everyone loved it. For one night, I really was in a ‘fairytale’ thanks to Patricia Gomez Gracia!

http://www.gomez-gracia.com

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@Nhyummymummy

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