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


(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.


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:

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.

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.


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.

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.

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. 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.

Have a lovely day.




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

Photos, Spotlight On..., Travel

T5 Butterflies in Flight


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

** Please read my post Spotlight on Notting Hill Neighbour Dominic Harris: **

Spotlight On...

Spotlight on Notting Hill Neighbour, Dominic Harris, interactive light designer and artist

‘ And the winner of this year’s best lighting dimmer switch goes to…’

Dominic Harris has just won the 2014 “Best Luminaire’ Award at the Lighting Design award (the Oscars of the lighting world, for those of you who aren’t in the know), yet he is still not satisfied. He won the 2008 ‘Breakthrough Talent of the Year’ at the FX International Design Awards, the FX ‘Best Bar and Restaurant Design’ award in 2009, the 2012 ‘Small Projects’ and ‘Small Retail’ awards at the Lighting Design Awards, and multitudes of other awards and accolades, yet he is still not satisfied. How much more ego-stroking does this artist need to finally be satisfied?

It is probably this perpetual dissatisfaction and quest for perfection that has made him such a brilliant, innovative and unique artist. The Oxford dictionary’s synonyms for artist are ‘creator, ‘originator,’ ‘designer,’ ‘producer,’ and he fits the bill. His art combines lighting, architecture, electronics, motion graphics and a number of other disciplines to create small-scale pieces of art to large-scale interactive commercial and public events, products, and exhibits. He founded his studio, Cinimod Studios, in 2007 and has already moved offices once because it has grown so quickly and is currently looking for new space to expand his workforce and workspace. When you enter his studio, it looks more like a trading floor than an art studio, with rows of tables and computer screens in a large open space, but it’s not until you enter his workshop and viewing room that you understand the balance of art, design, and technology.

I am sure you still have no idea what Dominic does, but for those who live in London, you will most likely have seen his art in a commercial or public setting. The ITSU butterflies, particularly the T5 Heathrow butterflies, are my personal favorites. For those who like frozen yogurt, his studio is behind the SNOG outlets, winning him ‘Best Bar and Restaurant Design’ award in 2009. In 2012, he created a 50 ft., 3.2 ton ‘Halo’ illuminated by 200KW LED light flown over the Thames by a helicopter, making an illusory effect of a flying UFO, for the launch of the Halo 4 Xbox 360 game. The V & A commissioned an exhibit for their Exhibition Rd tunnel entrance that allowed the visitor to control the light through their movement. In Peru, he illuminated the Peru National Stadium with the crowd’s cheers by creating a mood analysis system that processed sound in real time and translated it into changing lights on the outward façade of the stadium. EDF Energy commissioned an interactive art installation in the London Eye where a viewer could change the lights on the London Eye with their heartbeat. It is with cutting edge motion graphics, electronics, thermal tracking devices, industrial design and architecture fused together that he manages to create groundbreaking art.

His smaller pieces have become a must for wealthy design collectors. Billionaires, pop artists, entrepreneurs, and fashion designers have one in their homes. He exhibits in art fairs all over the world, from Art Basel in Miami to art14 London just last month and it was at a Kinetica show that he met Ron Dennis, CEO and chief executive of McLaren, who has now become his principal investor and mentor. It was with Ron Dennis sitting by his side that Dominic accepted the ‘Best Luminaire’ award this year for his Moon OLED chandelier. The moon OLED chandelier can be commissioned with any number of spheres, each sphere made up of a flat light layer in a polished acrylic sphere rendering the light source invisible when viewed on certain angles or made to look like a moon crescent from other angles. He is currently working on a second, more perfect version of the Moon OLED chandelier, being the consummate perfectionist, and a sculpture at Heathrow T2 for the Caviar House on top of many private commissions for famous people who are too famous to mention here. Ron Dennis, his most famous public collector, saw the potential of the rising star a few years ago, but this star has now clearly already risen.