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 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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Reviews, Spotlight On...

Spotlight On: Julia Von Werz Furniture & Fashion Pop Up Shop

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Julia Von Werz Furniture & Fashion Pop up Store Notting Hill. Photos courtesy of NHYM unless otherwise indicated. NHYM 2016.

I was recently invited to the launch party of Julia Von Werz’s Furniture & Fashion Pop up store in Notting Hill this past Wednesday. It runs from November 2nd to the 14th and is the collaboration of two friends, architect Julia Von Werz and fashion designer Min Min Peng.

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Launch Party 2/11/2016. NHYM 2016

Julia Von Werz, who invited me, is an architect and furniture designer who has been running her own practice for over 10 years. She studied architecture in Vienna and Berlin and began creating her own individual, bespoke furniture pieces for her own architectural projects.

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Julia Von Werz. Photos courtesy of Alexandra PR. NHYM 2016. 

Julia also happens to be a mother of two who lives in the area (Holland Park) and is inspirational for her creativity, humbleness and openess.

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Edgewood sofa. NHYM 2016. 

She designs sofas, tables and coffee tables, lamps, and beds. Her style runs from luxurious, velvety sofas, to angular, wooden, Danish-inspired tables.

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Millbrook lamp. NHYM 2016. 

Her Millbrook lamp is one of my favourite pieces there and showcases her taste of the geometrical and the textured.

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MinMin fashion. NHYM 2016. 

Her friend and collaborator Min Min also has beautiful clothes on display with poncho-style jackets, lots of sequins and sparkles.

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Feathers and Sequins. NHYM 2016. 

Her creations are meant to make a statement, whether with unique designs, sparkly sequins or feathery coats. They are definitely worth seeing if you are looking for a unique piece this winter.

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Napier Table. NHYM 2016. 

I really enjoyed both the furniture and the fashion at Julia’s Pop Up shop. Here, you can find unique pieces that you won’t find in the mass produced fashion and furniture industry. This is what they are attempting to do: create original pieces that you will fall in love with. So if you’re looking for a special new dress for the party season or for a new sofa for your house, I would highly recommend stopping by to check it out.

Julia Von Werz Pop Up Shop

2nd Nov to 14th November

1 Lonsdale Road

London W11 2BY

http://www.juliavonwerz.com/pop-up-store/

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Spotlight On...

Spotlight On: Annabel Karmel, MBE, Mumpreneur extraordinaire

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Annabel Karmel may not live in Notting Hill, but her books are probably sitting on every NHYMs kitchen’s counter top next to their Yotam Ottolenghi recipe books. She is one of the original ‘Mumpreneurs’ who literally started her business at her kitchen table and now has had over 40 books published and sold worldwide. Pretty impressive for a ‘mumpreneur.’ I recently email-interviewed Annabel Karmel, MBE, who has just come out with her latest book on being an entrepreneur, entitled ‘Mumpreneur.’ Here she tells me how she became a success and gives advice and tips for budding entrepreneurs:

  1. What’s your story? How did you become such a prolific entrepreneur?

It was the tragedy of losing my first child Natasha, who was born healthy but who died at 13 weeks old from a viral infection that led me to change direction into the field of nutrition – I was actually a talented harpist before.

It wasn’t a diet related illness but I was understandably cautious when it came to ensuring that my second child, Nicholas, was provided with foods that optimised his health. Feeling vulnerable when he became fussy I struggled to find enticing recipes to encourage him and so set about devising my own. I shared my recipes with other mums and, fuelled by the discovery that they were proving popular with others, set about compiling a book – The Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner – which was rejected by over fifteen publishing houses.

Each rejection letter could have been enough for me to doubt the viability and worth of my idea but I continued to believe in my pitch. New to the publishing world, I wasn’t afraid to break the rules, so I kept approaching people and broadcasting my vision. Fortunately a friend mine introduced me to a small dynamic book packager, who created book ideas and sold them on to mainstream publishers. They understood what I was trying to achieve and worked with me to shape a mock-up which they took to the Frankfurt Book Fair, where it was sold to US publisher Simon & Schuster who ordered 25,000 copies.

This deal unlocked doors that had previously remained shut, and I’ve since gone on to write 40 books, selling more than four million copies worldwide. I’ve also turned my hand to pre-prepared meals, weaning equipment and recipe apps. I’ve also grown a vast online following of mums in need of advice and inspiration.

  1. Tell me about your new book ‘Mumpreneur: The Complete Guide to Starting and Running a Successful Business.’ What made you write it and how did you go about writing it? 

As childcare costs continue to rise, building a business with a family in tow has never been more attractive. In fact, research from our book partner Direct Line for Business sound that two thirds of mums would love to run a business from home.

Having children doesn’t mean a full stop at the end of your CV, and I’m regularly quizzed by mums as to how I set up and built my business. There are so many mums out there wanting to reach for their career dreams and become their own boss, so I decided to write a practical book to help them take the next step.

I set about interview some of Britain’s top business leaders and working mothers, including Chrissie Rucker MBE, founder of The White Company, Wahaca’s Thomasina Miers, and Nails Inc founder Thea Green to bring together a book filled with practical advice and inspiring stories to help you get started.

  1. What is the one piece of advice you would give to budding mumpreneurs/entrepreneurs?  

It takes real confidence to return to start-up a business after having children – and self-belief is absolutely vital in order to succeed. Confidence is just as important as competence – if not more so.

The more you believe in yourself and in your chances of succeeding, the more likely you are to do just that. Of course, we all have doubts from time to time – the danger is if those doubts spiral out of control, creating unnecessary anxiety and negative self-limiting beliefs which prevent us from doing something that we really want to do (and, deep down, know that we can do).

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  1. What was your biggest failure in business and how did you cope? What did it teach you? 

 I learnt a great deal from a range of fresh baby food which I developed because I was troubled that babies were consuming food that was older than they were, after all most baby food has a shelf life of one year.

I launched a range of fresh chilled baby food for Sainsbury’s but as there is no chiller in the baby aisle the food was situated in an area of the store that mums were not visiting.

The range was eventually scrapped because although sales were good wastage was high. I remained committed to the view that baby food should taste like real food and while some of the purees on the market weren’t too bad anything with vegetables, chicken, fish or meat tasted awful. I decided to see what would happen if I took my chilled baby food recipes and put them through a retort process to extend their life.

They tasted great but I would not have arrived at this point had the chilled range succeeded, this failure led to my range of baby food pouches being re-sold in Sainsbury’s, as well as Tesco, Waitrose, Lidl and the Co-operative Food.

The opposite of success isn’t failure, it is not trying. If you seldom fail there is a good chance you’re playing it too safe. Failure rarely feels fun at the time but the lessons it teaches may not take long to become apparent, and are likely to lead you on to greater successes in the end.

Persistence and focus, rather than regret, got me to a good place. If you want life to be magnificent, you can’t expect it to be easy.

  1. How do you balance it all: family & work?

The great thing about running your own business whilst raising a family is that you have the freedom to work to your own schedule.  Juggling the dual demands of work with family life is no mean feat by any stretch of the imagination; I remember completing my first recipe book in between the children’s naps, managing a busy toddler group and running a house. It’s difficult keeping all the balls in the air without dropping one occasionally!

But I loved being a self-employed mum. I did, and still do, feel empowered by being able to make my own decisions and follow a truly worthwhile passion.

My top tips would be to find your guilt threshold.  Of course everyone feels guilty about leaving their children to go to work but some mums wouldn’t be good mums unless they had a career as they would be miserable and frustrated so don’t be too hard on yourself.

It takes real confidence to return to the working world after having children – whether that’s as an employee or becoming your own boss.

  1. What is the best parenting advice you have?

Most children adore cooking and tasks like squeezing fresh orange juice or cracking eggs are well within the capabilities of a young child. It’s amazing how being involved in the planning and preparation of a meal can stimulate a child’s appetite. If your child refuses to eat anything other than junk food, don’t worry. They will soon find there’s not much point making a fuss if you don’t react.

A Woman Who's Scared Of Nobody

  1. What has been your favourite/most memorable holiday?

Family skiing holidays have always been hugely memorable. We once gave my daughter Lara, scoops of snow in a glass bowl instead of lemon sorbet and waited to see how long it took for her to realise.

  1. What are you currently reading? 

I love a good book and on a recent flight back from Dublin, I took the opportunity to read Late Fragments by Kate Gross. It’s our ‘Book of the Month’ for our Book Club which we run on annabelkarmel.com.

  1. What advice would you give to your younger self?

If you seldom fail there is a good chance you’re playing it too safe. Failure rarely feels fun at the time but the lessons it teaches may not take long to become apparent, and are likely to lead you on to greater successes in the end. During fleeting periods of failure remember that you are in good company; Marilyn Monroe’s first contract with Columbia Pictures expired because they told her she wasn’t pretty or talented enough to be an actress. She ended up becoming one of the most iconic actresses and sex symbols of all time.

  1. What was the proudest moment of your life? 

Back in 2006, I was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for my outstanding work in the field of child nutrition. I didn’t believe it until I saw my name in the newspaper. I’m passionate about making a difference to people’s lives, and this award made me realise that there was a lot more that I wanted to do.

One of my biggest business successes has also been turning my popular recipes from my books into quality supermarket food ranges. My aim has been to be there at every age, stage and occasion to support mums – and my Mumpreneur book is an exciting new step towards helping mums in their own lives as well as their child’s.

Mumpreneur (published by Vermillion and sponsored by Direct Line for Business) is out now.  Check out Annabel’s Mumpreneur resource hub at www.annabelkarmel.com, or connect on Twitter and Facebook.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Spotlight On...

Spotlight On: Leslie Saglio, Yoga guru, Reiki practitioner & Wellness coach

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All photos in this post courtesy of Leslie Saglio. NHYM 2015. 

Lately, I have been hearing all about the stress and anxiety of parents getting their kids into the ‘right school,’ passing the 7+ or the 11+. Normally calm and relaxed parents have become screaming messes and super-powered CEO mums and Magazine Editor mums have been put on anti-depressants, diazepam and other anxiolytics due to the stress of their children’s exams.

Isn’t it time for us to realise that this is really not the way to go? Shouldn’t we be kinder to ourselves? Here, I have interviewed Leslie Saglio, a local Yoga teacher who has started teaching at the brand new, beautiful West London Buddhist Centre on how to become more zen. She is also a Wellness Coach, a Reiki practitioner and a mother of 2 living in Notting Hill. She helped launch Serene Social in the UK last year, is a contributor to the US site MindBodyGreen and is a Brand Ambassador for the eco-friendly lifestyle apparel company Wellicious, based in Notting Hill.

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1. What’s your story? 

I am originally from Calabasas, just next to Malibu beach, in LA. I grew up a child of the sun and sea, enjoyingthe outdoor lifestyle.I have always been fascinated by other cultures and spent a lot of my youth travelling throughout the U.S. and Asia. I graduated from Business School at the University of Southern California and worked in the Entertainment industry, and then took a leap of faith and co-founded a real estate mortgage company. I moved to London with my French fiancé in 2006, we got married in 2007 and have two beautiful kids. I have lived in the Notting Hill area since then. So London is well and truly my home!

2. What made you decide to get involved in Wellness/yoga/serene?

While living In LA, I was feeling the strains of city life and this showed in my unhealthy lifestyle. I managed to break from this cycle when I moved to Europe, but my life changed more dramatically in 2010 when my loved ones became seriously ill. I regrouped to become stronger and it was then that I began my holistic and spiritual journey towards a healthier lifestyle.

I became a yoga teacher in 2013 and while students were coming to me for advice on the healing effects of yoga, it felt like a calling as I knew I wanted to help others. While exploring other disciplines such as Reiki and Feng Shui, I decided to become a certified Wellness Coach. During this time in 2013 while on a trip in New York City, I met Millana Snow, co-founder of SERENE Social, a women’s wellness and conscious networking community, originally based in New York. As I loved everything SERENE stood for, I helped them by becoming their London Lead and launched them last year. I feel blessed to be able to light the path for others to start their own journey towards a more purpose filled life.

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3. What is a Wellness Coach? And what exactly is Serene Social?

A wellness coach is someone who empowers others to lead a lifestyle beyond enhanced health. I’m a certified and dedicated Energy 4 Life© Wellness Coach, which means I take a progressive holistic approach founded by my teacher Caroline Shola Arewa. By taking a three-dimensional approach (body, mind and spirit) and focusing on disciplines such as yoga, complementary medicine and spirituality, I help clients reclaim wholeness and personal energy. It requires tremendous strength. But with time, it can repair the damage caused by poor diet, lack of exercise, negative thoughts and overall stress.

SERENE Social is a community that was set up to inspire a life of passion, power and purpose for women around the globe. SERENE provides a source of conscious content, connections and empowerment via yoga, networking sessions, meditation, online courses and more. For more info on how I helped launch SERENE London read here

4. You are now running Yoga lessons at the West London Buddhist Centre. Can you tell us a bit more about the centre and what you do there? 

The West London Buddhist Centre is a charity linked to a wider movement called Triratna Buddhist Community. It’s just one of the many businesses, retreat centres and other initiatives you’ll find worldwide. WLBC is based in a beautiful new Notting Hill building on Porchester Road and hosts a programme of classes and courses in mindfulness disciplines such as meditation, yoga and other bodywork.

I teach weekly Yin and Vinyasa classes, monthly yoga and coaching workshops as well as private coaching sessions. My ethos is to empower my students and clients to have their own unique experience. I do this by providing them with a space to begin healing themselves and find their full potential.

Although I’m not Buddhist, I fully embrace its philosophy to transform our responses to life experiences and it’s an ethos that crosses over many different cultures and religious beliefs. Mindfulness practices such as meditation and yoga not only help train the body to a more healthy physical state, but also enable students to shift their emotional and mental states towards a more conscious and balanced life.

5. How do you stay positive when you are faced with difficulties and obstacles? 

To stay positive as an expat mum in the city, I do daily mindful practices such as yoga, meditation and gratitude and try following a healthy diet. I definitely feel the difference if I’m not keeping up and doing the work. I’ve learned that if you consistently do the work, it does get easier. As with my clients, I also practice techniques such as repeating daily positive affirmations to manifest my dreams, and have regular Reiki sessions to replenish my energy. But most of all, I remember to breathe!

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6. What advice would you give to all the stressed out mums (and dads) out there?

As parents, to really fully support the ones we love, we must remember to first take care of ourselves. We need to learn how to set boundaries with our own time and our energy. Sometimes it’s ok to say ‘no’ to going out and just be comfortable staying quiet at home. Equally, it helps to remember to take some time for yourself – whether that be a girls’/guys’ night out, a mani/pedi, going to the gym, or getting a babysitter so you can enjoy a date night.

7. Many mums I know would love to find something they can do that helps others while staying flexible around their family time. What advice would you give to anyone who wants to become a yoga instructor or wellness coach like you? 

  1. Do your research – There are so many part-time and online training/teaching options available out there that will compliment a parent’s lifestyle. Just make sure you choose a teacher/coach whose personality and style resonates with you.
  2. Seek support – Make sure you have a reliable and flexible nanny and friends. Schedule play dates and activities so your kids stay busy and connected while you’re out/away
  3. Get organised – Make regular lists and acknowledge what you have accomplished. It’s all about baby steps.
  4. Stay committed – Anything worthwhile will not come easy. Remember, a profession in wellness has the power to make you a better mum and better wife so don’t ever feel guilty for putting in the hours.

 8. You are a Yoga teacher, a Wellness Coach, a Reiki Healer and you led the London launch of Serene Social. How do you manage it all with being a mother (and a wife!)? 

It’s all about how you manage your personal energy and everything I do with my students and clients is simply that – shifting energy so they can become healthier in their entire wellbeing. The mind and body are truly inter-connected and when we start to live with that consciousness, we live from a more authentic and harmonious state. We begin to experience life more beautifully.

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 9. What are your favourite places in Notting Hill?

The Life Centre for their inspirational yoga teachers, Planet Organic for wholesome goods, Neal’s Yard Remedies for a relaxing massage, Granger & Co. for brunch with my girlfriends, and Taqueria for some yummy Mexican food and a taste of my hometown L.A.

10. What advice would you give to your younger self, now that you’ve had all these life experiences? 

Enjoy every moment, count your blessings, know that every experience you have is meant to make you a better person on the other side and lastly, just be yourself.

http://www.lesliesaglio.com

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Spotlight On...

Spotlight On: Rachel Johnson, columnist, novelist and Notting Hill Resident

Quote of the Day: ‘Lunch is for pussies’

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Last month, I interviewed the wonderfully verbose, brutally honest, and (slightly) acerbic Rachel Johnson, prolific writer, who has written for the Financial Times, the Spectator, the Sunday Times, (and more), ex-editor of the Lady magazine, and novelist who wrote ‘Notting Hell,’ on the adulterers of Notting Hill’s private gardens (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Notting-Hell-Rachel-Johnson/dp/0141020830). She is now coming out with the third book in her trilogy, ‘Fresh Hell,’ (after Notting Hell and Shire Hell) where her characters are back in Notting Hill with subterranean basement renovations et al.

Rachel is known for not mincing her words and not being controversy (or publicity) shy, or shall we just call it blunt, brutal honesty. You could equate that to her not really giving a toss about what people think about her. Good on her. She has raised three children, (Ludo, Charlotte and Oliver) is married to Ivo Dawnay and lives in Notting Hill.

(I would have loved to have been sitting at one of her family breakfasts with her 3 brothers, a mix of witty, entertaining banter, attention-seeking hounds, intellectual and political conversations, with a smatter of creativity thrown in with her painter mother, her brother Boris (who happens to be Mayor of London, for the international readers who may not know, and who may be PM one day, he has my vote!), Leo the green-man-environmentalist/PWC partner, and Jo, writer/politician/Chief of Policy for David Cameron. This just shows how much influence parents’ careers and guidance can shape their children’s careers: Her father was an author and politician, and pretty much all of them are one or the other or both).

1. What’s Your Story? How did you get to where you are? 

Not really sure where I am or how I got here! I was the first female graduate trainee at the FT (Financial Times) after I graduated from Oxford University. Later, after I worked for the BBC, I moved to Brussels and Washington DC and eventually worked as a Freelance columnist. I couldn’t continue being a Stay-At-Home-Mum, at one point I had 3 under 4. When I returned to work in an office, it was one of my happiest moments. For a while, I couldn’t stop working. At one point I had 12 columns to write in one month but then the internet happened and then columns were dead, everyone started reading their news on the internet instead. I became the Editor of the Lady magazine, which they did a documentary on, ‘The Lady and the Revamp’ (Where she was famously caught saying about the magazine ‘In the real world this is a piddling little magazine that nobody cares about. Or buys,” before pausing to add: “I don’t mean that.”). I’ve also written a number of books (including ‘Notting Hell’, which was quite successful). The TV rights of my book ‘A Diary of the Lady’ were just bought by the guys who do TOWIE/Hollyoaks, basically the TV shows that people actually watch. It even went to auction. I am now writing a column for the Mail on Sunday.

2. What are you currently working on right now? What are your current projects?

Apart from the Mail on Sunday column, I’ve just finished a new novel which is coming out this June, ‘Fresh Hell’. It has just gone to copy. It’s another novel based in Notting Hill and has some of the same characters, it features some subterranean renovations. Apart from that, I am going to Burma and writing some travel pieces on it. (Lucky woman!)

Fresh Hell Cover Image

3. What advice do you have for aspiring writers? 

Just Do It. It is a lot of hard work. Try to keep your voice fresh and alive. Stay authentic.

4. How do you become a successful writer? 

I don’t know. Just look at Zoella, who sold millions of books in her first week. It’s all about the internet nowadays. (When I say that she has 8 books under her belt, isn’t that success, she gives me a tired smile, saying, ‘it’s difficult, you don’t want to disappoint everyone, your family, your friends, your agent, your publisher etc…’ where for a brief minute she shows her vulnerability, her self deprecation and a sensitive side not often seen in her usual sharp tongued retorts).

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/celebritynews/11268540/Zoella-breaks-record-for-first-week-book-sales.html

5. How do you balance it all, family/work balance? 

It’s all been a blur. My three children are grown up now, so I can finally spend some ‘me time.’ But I work hard. I get up and I work all day. I don’t stop apart to walk my dog. Lunch is for pussies. Get a life!

6. What is the best parenting advice you have? 

None of it really matters. Here’s a list:

1) Everything is a Stage

2) No one asks where you go to school

3) Nothing you can do can change that anyway

4) The less you do, the more you do

5) Over-parenting is a form of under-parenting

6) Never comment on their school reports

7) You can’t do it for them. I could go on…

7. What are your favourite places in Notting Hill? 

Portobello Pizza is one of my favourites. The Grocer on Elgin. Pedlars. Portobello Road for veg & fruit. I was brought to Notting Hill by my mum in 1979. She still lives here. When my husband asked where I wanted to live I said, Clarendon Road, Elgin Crescent or Lansdowne Road, I live on all three! (She is posh after all. And has been called a ‘rich bitch from Notting Hill’ by some).

8. What are you currently reading?

‘The Iceberg’ by Marian Coutts (a memoir on her husband’s death) ‘Churchill’ by Boris Johnson and ‘Burmese Days’ by George Orwell, since I am going to Burma soon.

9. Since you mention Boris, can I ask about him or is he off limits? 

No, not interested.

10. What advice would you give to your younger self? 

Don’t try so hard.

11. What was the proudest moment of your life? 

The birth of my three children. Ludo is 21, Charlotte is 20, and Oliver is 18.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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Spotlight On..., Uncategorized

Spotlight On: Raphaele Canot, Jewellery Designer

In a new series of interviews, I will be asking inspirational women and mothers for their story and what advice they have to give to their younger self. 

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Raphaele Canot knows her jewellery. After spending twenty years working for Cartier and DeBeers as Creative Director, Raphele has launched her own Jewellery Collection last May exclusively at Dover Street Market and is launching a new line, OMG, in time for Christmas. Her pieces are romantic, playful and flirtatious, easy to wear day and night, and perfect for your Christmas wish list. There is something for everyone, with a price range starting at £500 and averaging around £1,000. Alongside her collections, Raphaele does bespoke diamond pieces, so if you’re looking for a creative, bespoke piece, look no further and let your husband meet with her for something sophisticated, timeless, yet young and fun. http://www.raphaelecanot.com. On top of running a jewellery business, she has three children and lives in Notting Hill.

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OMG ring from her latest collection, all pictures in this post taken from http://www.raphaelecanot.com

1. What’s your story? How did you become a jeweller?

I graduated in Intellectual Property law in Paris, didn’t like it but managed to get an internship at Cartier… And stayed for 11 years! My creative flair caught up with me and made wonders for my career combined with my lawyer/ business background. I was lucky enough to grow in the jewellery business at one of the most inspiring global brands, before moving to London for De Beers 10 years ago. I made my way from business backoffice to creative directing to mumpreneur, launching my first solo collection at Dover Street Market last May.

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Bracelet from her Skinny Deco line. 

2. What is your favourite piece of jewellery?

Diamonds! Diamonds are iconic yet playful, timeless yet fashionable. They are the epitome of style. Small diamond jewellery for everyday life, icons revisited with an edge. That’s my motto!

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Bespoke piece from her website http://www.raphaelecanot.com

3. Describe your style 

My style is parisian with a hint of Notting Hill relaxed attitude. I believe in basics spiced up with an iconic piece. Think a red Couture coat or a Courreges trench coat thrown over you favourite slims, a neat designer handbag and heels. I used to run errands in heels in Paris which I would not do in Notting Hill. That’s the big change in my wardrobe in the past years: trainers and low boots for school runs!

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Bespoke piece. 

4. What is your most prized possession?

Artwork… Most of it in storage unfortunately! That’s what can happen when moving countries!

5. What are your favourite places in Notting Hill?

The Grocer on Elgin for morning coffee and last minute lunch or dinner panic on a hectic day. Lutyens Rubinstein for grown ups and kids books!

6. Where would you be living if you weren’t living in Notting Hill?

In Paris in the 6th arrondissement overlooking the Luxembourg gardens…a nice alternative to our lovely communal Garden.

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Gold and diamond earrings from her Set Free Collection. 

7. What is your favourite holiday destination?

Chamonix for adrenaline, Big Sur California for the myth and wilderness.

8. What was the proudest moment in your life?

Launching my business after 20 years of corporate life. Reinventing my daily life with all the compromise that comes with it…it felt really good!

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Gold and diamond bracelet from the Skinny Deco collection. 

9. What advice would you give to your younger self or to young people?

Follow your instincts and work hard on them. Passion brings love and success!

10. What book are you currently reading?

The Power of Now. Brilliant!

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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In the Press, Social Commentary, Spotlight On...

Spotlight On: Mental Health & Top 10 Tips to Beat the Blues

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(All photos courtesy of the internet. Photo above on art therapy).

Last weekend, I had what you could aptly call a ‘Mummy Meltdown,’ brought on by 4 cups of toddler meltdowns & tantrums, 6 tablespoons of teething sleep deprivation, 3 ounces of nanny issues, a double dose of snotty noses, a dash of hormonal cyclical fluctuations, a bowlful of responsibilities, and a large dollop of health problems. Even a David Beckham sighting couldn’t make me feel better and I burst into tears in front of my daughter O, for the first time ever, which I explained as ‘mummies have bad days too.’ Well, this was one way of stopping her meltdown, and at least it worked. I felt infinitely better after my little outburst, which finally showed her that I too can cry and reminded me that crying sometimes just makes everything better. These are not what you would describe as ‘tragic’ problems, yet at the particular moment in time, the culmination of all of these ingredients reminded me that even in the some of the best circumstances possible, motherhood is not easy.

It is normal for all of us to find ourselves vulnerable or fragile every once in a while, when the perfect balance of our lives are shattered by unpredictable events. Each of us will face problems at some point in our lives that tip our balance such as the death of a mother, a father, a husband, a friend or a baby. We are encountering more fertility problems than ever with our increasing age and facing new health problems that we never had before. Even more so, our parents are becoming elderly and fighting one ailment after another. And sometimes, we are just plain overwhelmed. Being overwhelmed as a parent is not something to look down on. It is a common and often under-respected affliction that we carry about on our shoulders.

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Mothers are burdened with portraying happy, perpetually enthusiastic people often while hiding our real feelings, but motherhood is not a Pampers commercial; it is bloody hard, and mothers are reluctant to discuss it openly as it is easy to feel that we have no ‘right’ to complain when others are childless or family-less, or less fortunate than us. In Notting Hill Land, where there is an inordinate amount of pressure on being the ‘perfect’ mother, we most often face our problems in silence, but we all have the capacity to feel overwhelmed in our own ways.

Luckily, there are more and more techniques to combat the blues, so I wanted to spread some shared wisdom to all.

Here are my 10 Tips on Beating the Blues: 

1. An excuse for a Massage: Touch therapy is one easy way to feel instantly better. But you didn’t really need me to tell you that. You can just use this article as an excuse for your massage bills. Space NK around the corner has some of the best massage therapists around: http://www.spacenk.com/SPA_NK.html

2. Put those feet up with Reflexology: It’s amazing how a few pressure points can change the way you feel. Zen at Notting Hill Gate has a wonderful Japanese Reflexologist who is booked weeks in advance, so be sure to book early. http://www.zenspalondon.com/

3. Downward Dog with Yoga: Another standard, proven mood enhancer that you are already probably practicing and loving, blending the spiritual and the physical. The Life Centre is an all encompassing place for inner healing and wellness. http://www.thelifecentre.com/centres/nottinghill//

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4. Qi Gong: A blend of Tai Chi, Yoga, and martial arts, Qi Gong is practiced for wellbeing and health. According to Wikipedia, Qi Gong ‘aligns body, breath, and mind for health and meditation, [which] allows access to higher realms of awareness and helps awaken one’s true nature… to fulfill our full potential.’ The Mei Quan academy offers classes all over London, including private classes. http://www.taichinews.com/

5. Be positive: Just by being positive and convincing yourself that you are positive, your brain will begin to feel and think positive.

6. Reach for some pills: Prozac and Zoloft works wonders, but I am talking about Magnesium supplements. Planet Organic, the one-stop-shop for all supplements in the area, carry a variety of great quality magnesium, a natural relaxer. Another way to absorb Magnesium is transdermally, through a spray or bath salts. Both will relax your muscles after a hard work-out or a hard day. http://www.planetorganic.com/

7. Find Yourself a Guru: Everyone needs a good guru, wellness coach or shaman to guide us through life’s ups and downs. Your guru could just be someone you know who inspires you to be happy. My personal guru, a good friend who is never in a bad mood, explained that once you have reached the bottom, you keep everything else in perspective. Wise words.

8. Listen to some Music: Music is a very powerful mood altering stimulus. If you are feeling stressed, listen to ‘RELAX’ by Mika, if you’re feeling down, listen to ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams. Binaural beats were studied and proven to have a strong mood altering effect on the brain. My personal favourite relaxing music is by a very talented musician, Michael, from Cologne, Germany who creates ‘Relax Daily’ music, which can have a powerful effect on your mood and mind.

9. Mindful Meditation: Mindfulness is all the craze right now, with articles written on it from the FT to Grazia. Mindfulness has been around since the 70s when Jon Kabat Zinn used Mindfulness on patients with chronic illnesses and was proven to be very successful. Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor and researcher of Mindfulness, is THE expert and wrote numerous books on Mindfulness and its benefits which you can find on Amazon. http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=jon+kabat+zinn. Even simpler, there are now Mindfulness apps like Headspace which has garnered a huge following. (Mindfulness deserves a separate post, more to come later).

10. Your own Notting Hill therapist, Dr. Kerry Thomas: If all fails and you really feel like you can’t talk to your partner or your friends about your feelings, Dr. Kerry Thomas, a certified psychologist and psychotherapist will hypnotise, visualise and guide you for hours until you are somewhere better. She can even take you on a ‘mindful’ island vacation without even leaving Notting Hill. Everyone in New York has one, so join the bandwagon and get yourself one, it’s the latest accessory. http://www.kthomaspsychologist.com/

Have a lovely day.

xx

NHYM

http://www.nottinghillyummymummy.com

@NHyummymummy

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