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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Social Commentary, Spotlight On...

September is my favourite month

September used to represent the end of summer, the end of salty skin against the sand, of sunset cocktails by the beach and welcome the nostalgic feeling that we would have to wait another whole year for the next summer. Since becoming a Notting Hill Yummy Mummy, I cross each day off the calendar during the summer waiting for September. September is now my favourite month. Holidays, as all parents of small children know, really aren’t holidays anymore. Summer is an endless two month period of trying to entertain your children any way possible, of breaking sibling fights, managing tantrums from beach/pool/sun exhaustion and trying to figure out how to have five minutes to yourself. There is no end to my children’s demands in the summer and the amount of energy these little bodies produce is really a physiologically mystery (another reason why we should have all stuck to having kids in our 20s! My older, closer-to-40-than-30 body just cannot keep up.) I now spend my summers dreaming of the ‘Back to School’ days when my life will return to normality.

You see, there is ‘my’ self and there is my ‘mummy’ self, and unfortunately my ‘mummy self’ does not bring the best out of me. My ‘mummy self’ is a neurotic, overprotective, anxious, helicopter parent that has led to my children never leaving me out of their 2 meter radius. In the summer when I am mostly ‘mummy’ and less ‘me,’ I am constantly reprimanding my children, since they stop listening to me and my threats of no ice-cream/no TV/no IPad, which they know I will never go through with since it is my only method of keeping sanity in this household. The rest of the time, I snap at my husband for not realising how much work being at home with the kids all day really is, which does not make me a particularly endearing mother or wife. (I want him to try staying at home with two small children for just one week. I rub my hands gleefully at the prospect of this idea). In any case, this equates to a very long and tiring summer, since this year I forgot to organise any kind of organised, social activity for them. Note to self: Must better organise next year’s summer holiday. See what I mean?!! I need ‘myself’ back! I look forward to September when my children return to their beautifully, constructed routine of full day schooling and activities and when I can go back to being ‘my’ normal ‘self’. My children are happily taken over by professionals, behave better, actually listen to me and I return to the cool, trendy, relaxed Notting Hill writer I pretend to be, which makes everyone much happier. Welcome September! xx NHYM

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Photos, Spotlight On..., Travel

T5 Butterflies in Flight

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Designed by Notting Hill Neighbour, Dominic Harris, director of Cinimod Studio

** Please read my post Spotlight on Notting Hill Neighbour Dominic Harris: https://nottinghillmummy.com/2014/03/27/spotlight-on-notting-hill-neighbour-dominic-harris-interactive-light-designer-and-artist-2/ **

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