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.

Ibiza retreat 2

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.

Ibiza retreat 3

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

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

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


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

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




thumbnail_Leslie Saglio IMG_9656edit

Leslie Saglio Copyright 2017. 

Spotlight On...

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


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.


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.


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!


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.


 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.




Social Commentary

Quote of the Day: ‘But mummy, only daddies work!’

…M’s response to my telling her that I am going back to work.

The Challenges of the Career Supermom, the Part-time Mumpreneur and the SAHM (Stay-at-Home-Mum)


I once had the potential to be what most people would call a ‘high flyer.’ I entered one of the finest graduate programmes in the country, acquired multiple letters past by name, got a number of degrees under my belt, wrote articles as an ‘expert’, until, that is, I had children. Then my perception of what was important and where I was going in my career was overtaken by how much my baby had slept/drank/cried/pooped/peed, and I forgot how to spell my own name. I went back to work after a year but was torn between the guilt when I was working, and being brain-dead when I was singing ‘Gymbo the clown goes up and down’ for the 100th time.

Eventually, the guilt, stress and pure exhaustion won out and I stopped working completely to see where things would take me, despite my husband’s fear that this meant a withering bank account (which by the way he now agrees was completely unfounded). The Sunday Times Style Magazine last week quoted that Generation X are ‘those aged 30-49, who are likely to be in the thick of child-rearing or taking care of elderly relative, are the most likely (48%) to say that work eats into family time. This is the most time-squeezed, stressed group of all, and huge numbers of that generation’s high flyers dropped out to raise their children.’ A few years on, I am still trying to figure out the right balance, between my children’s needs (being with them 100% and becoming a neurotic helicopter parent), and my needs (needing actual adult conversation, whose main subject of conversation doesn’t revolve around sleep training or school admissions).

For X number of years, parenthood takes over and no matter how hard you may fight it, this time inevitably has to be dedicated to your children and their needs, until they go away, some earlier than others to boarding school, and then to University. But then, those parents who spent all their time helicoptering are left all alone wondering where did all this time go and feeling the empty nest syndrome. The others, after being overwhelmed, stressed and exhausted trying to manage a full time career and full time parenthood, may end up feeling regret at 60 for not spending enough time with their children when they were young. Currently, all the mothers I know are trying to balance, juggle, and manage being a mother while continuing to develop their own ‘self.’

 What Kind of Mother Are You?! The Career Supermom, the Part-time Mumpreneur, or the SAHM (Stay-At-Home-Mum)


The Career Supermom: 

As it turns out, all the research shows that the career supermom is happier than the full time Stay-At-Home-Mom (of course, this research doesn’t consider the Notting Hill SAHM who have full time nannies). ( Career supermoms are valued in society, which values women like Nathalie Massanet, Sheryl Sandberg and Hillary Clinton who managed to be working mothers who have excelled in their industry. Full time working mums say they enjoy work because they are intellectually satisfied, earn great money and enjoy the social aspect of work. Of course, the career supermom will always have the risk that their children call the nanny ‘mummy’ (which has happened more times than I wish to explain), and they will have to manage their guilt when they miss their child’s first steps and have to explain to their child why they were the only parent who wasn’t at the school christmas play.


But apparently, for the working supermoms, the guilt is not strong enough for them not to work, as it was found that the majority of women do not feel guilty about being at work instead of at home. Many super-high-fliers I know, are much happier being at work than at home, but they are also happy to sacrifice the time with their children, knowing that their children are safe and happy with their nannies/daycare. Sheryl Sandberg discusses her rise to power managing motherhood and career by ‘moulding’ her hours to fit these two roles but she emphasises that she had to make a lot of sacrifices. She admits to not having it all, and to feeling like a lousy mother a lot of the time ( Sue Palmer, an advocate on literacy, says that these educated, career women find it easier to control their work than their kids, therefore feel happier at work than at home, although biologically, women were meant to bear and raise children. (

From a child development point of view, she describes children’s needs:

*In the first couple of years babies and toddlers need ‘constant, consistent, one-on-one, loving care’ from a primary attachment figure. Doesn’t have to be mum. As time goes on, the care can be shared with other loving attachment figures, e.g. dad.
*Between ages two and three is a grey area – it probably depends on the individual child.
*From around three, children benefit from being with other children for a few hours a day, so a half-day at nursery is probably a good thing.
*The older children get, the more they need to move beyond the family so they’re probably ready for a full school day from around 6/7.
*BUT throughout childhood, they still need loving care around the edges of the school day – time with their family, as well as time with a trusted adult ready to hand while they play.

The one thing I can’t get my head around is that not only do these supercareer moms work 70+ hour weeks, but when they come home, they often are still in charge of the household/cooking/childcare etc… even having equal or greater pay than their husbands. This is where women have failed in their fight for women’s lib. These women end up with the work, the house and the children to look after. Most men have not taken their half of the house-work equal to how much women now work. Of course, to the few women who have these perfect husbands who work and take care of the house, consider yourselves very lucky.

The Part-Time ‘Mumpreneur’


Part-time working mums are meant to be the happiest since they manage to spend time with their children, as well as stay in the working community. But unfortunately, this doesn’t always work out, as eventually those mums feel torn in both directions; when at work they think about home, and when at home think about work. Working part-time mums, consider themselves ‘involved moms and talented employees.’ They enjoy the social aspects of work, being challenged and fulfilled on the job, and the increased financial stability (which translates into balancing the power in the relationship between husband and wife). They are although, probably the most stressed out of the three groups because they have the whole domestic responsibility as well as the job responsibility, therefore pressure coming from all angles. The career woman can leave the majority of child-rearing to the nanny, and the SAHM can leave the money-making to their husbands.

As mentioned in my last post, mumpreneurs are the new, hot, trend among NHYMs. I was having a conversation with an above career supermom; fund manager, part-time internationally renowned artist, mother of two, LSE graduate, loving wife, about mumpreneurs, when she condescendingly snubbed the term ‘mumpreneur’ telling me it was really just a hobby for these women. But when I asked her when did a hobby becomes a business, she replied that ‘Anything that makes money is a business,’ so all of the mumpreneurs I know, genuinely do make money, therefore are businesses (even if they are in a privileged position of not having to contribute to the mortgage payments, but we are in Notting Hill after all).


Mumpreneurs set out to make money, whether in designing clothes or jewellery, creating a food business, or becoming yoga gurus. It takes guts to set out any company on your own, with the looming reality that you may fail and that everyone you know will be talking about it. You invest your money, you create a website, you hire a tax account or do your own taxes, you learn to understand marketing and advertising, you manage your inflow and outflow of costs and revenue, and all these things that some of these women may never have done before. They become marketers, advertisers, accountants, graphic designers, web designers, business managers and the cleaner, all rolled into one. If anything, it will give them knowledge for the next business they try to set up. I admire these women for doing it, and yes, most of them will fail. Actually, 82% will fail, since only 18% of any entrepreneur will succeed, in any business.

Many of these women will have worked in a corporate environment before deciding to go at it on their own, and will use their past skills to start their own company. As a strong supporter of small businesses, innovation, and entrepreneurial spirit, I admire and salute all these women, trying to juggle being there for their children, while creating a business or company. Annabel Karmel started like this, Ella’s Kitchen as well. They inject money into the economy, they are useful to society, they learn or hone new skills for the future, they stay interested and current in their industry, and they strive to be a part of working society.

Notting Hill Mumpreneurs


A number of superwomen, beautiful, creative mumpreneurs have approached me since the beginning of the blog, promoting their passion to me, and as a woman/mother/entrepreneur supporter, I wanted to share some ‘mumpreneurs,’ (some who have approached me, some I have heard through the NH grapevine) who have taken the courageous plunge into entrepreneurship doing what they are passionate about, often from a completely different career background.

Food and Beverage: Ex-model and LSE grad, Bodil Blaine is starting a war with Nespresso, making ethical coffee at CRU Kafe teaming up with an established Canadian Entrepreneur ( Chika Russell is importing West African treats the UK, which have already been picked up by 5* hotels, and will soon be found in a number of high end department stores. (, Kara Rosen Diamond uses her marketing expertise by bringing cold pressed, organic juices from the US to the UK with Plenish Cleanse, which has already been featured in many magazines, including the Sunday Times Style Magazine (

Health and Fitness: Ex-Banker turned pilates and facial fitness guru, Carme Farre, gives you a six pack, a Kim Kardashian bum, and a wrinkle free face without any surgery ( Leslie Saglio, an ex-real estate expert brings Serene Social to the UK, ‘an international wellness, philanthropy and conscious networking community for women,’ organising rooftop yoga (, and on top of that she teaches kids and yin yoga in West London (

Design and Style: Ex-De Beers/Cartier artistic director, Raphaele Canot brings her creative expertise to her ‘timeless and beautiful’ art deco jewellery line ( Alex Al Badar, an ex-model, has turned herself into fashion designer and collaborates with her sister who hand paints individual breezy and bright designs at Soler ( Rachel Verghis has started a company called gooeyskins,, which designs cool and iconic cases for iPads, iPhones, and other gadgets.

Children: Two ex-lawyer mums, Caroline and Pinja have brought Scandinavian and Dutch children’s clothes, furniture and toys to the UK with their website Marina Fogle and Dr. Chiara Hunt, Kate Middleton friends and entrepreneurial ex-party planners, recently started an NCT competitor class called the Bump, which doesn’t force breastfeeding for four years or advocate births without intervention, even when necessary ( And finally, watch out for Gudrun Wurm’ s organic baby body products this August at

The SAHM: Stay-At-Home-Mum


The Stay-At-Home-Mum is considered be the unhappiest of the lot, with the most depressive illness and mental health issues as seen in the study mentioned before because of loneliness and feeling that society doesn’t value them as much as a working mother. Of course, this doesn’t apply to most Notting Hill SAHM, as they have the luxury to hire nannies and focus on their needs any time they want (There should be a study on SAHM with help and their life satisfaction).

Being a SAHM makes you financial dependent on your husband (usually, unless you have your own trust fund to rely on), and unfortunately gives him power in the relationship. He works hard, therefore you are responsible for everything else outside the scope of work; keeping the house immaculate and clean, raising the children, having – the right- food prepared on the table at night, arranging school and playdates, grocery shopping, present buying, looking good for his work events and the list goes on. Some women feel guilty about their husbands working hard all week and feel indebted to them, while husbands resent their wives for having a ‘lady of leisure’ lifestyle. My mother was a typical SAHM who told me from a very young and tender age to go out there and have a career, have a job and be financially independent. This was the generation who pushed women’s lib and forced society to accept women as equal workers to men. Unfortunately, this has also brought on increased divorce rates through women’s independence, women marrying later and having more miscarriages and ivf babies than ever before.


Spending all day long with your children, and even meeting other similar like minded women can be fun and somewhat appealing for a certain amount of time, but two problems arise, one is helicopter parenting since these women’s sole focus of their attention are their children, which creates a needy, anxious and dependent child with poor coping skills (, and secondly, what about the longer term. In only a few years, their children will leave their home to go to school full time and then off they go to university and the empty nest syndrome will hit. What will they do then? It will be much harder to get back into the working world if they stopped working early on, and when their children are at university, what will they do to to keep their minds sharp and focussed? Having a ‘hobby’ or business will do that, whether or not actual money is actually exchanged or produced.

The Bottom Line:

In the end, no one has the perfect formula to being a happy mother, woman and worker. These are just a few questions to ask yourselves to determine what will make you the happiest and most satisfied in the long run. There are no right answers, unless you, your husband or your children are not happy. The bottom line for your children though is quite simple, says Sue Palmer. They need five things to have a healthy development:

1. Love

2. Discipline

3. Play

4. Language

5. Education

Let me know your thought on women, working mums, non-working mums, stay at home mums in the comments below! For the NH mumpreneurs out there, feel free to leave your comments about being a mumpreneur, or let us know what great business you have started!



twitter: @NHyummymummy