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Get better sleep

| Fitness gadgets | Charlie Brooks

GOAL SETTING Get ready for a record-breaking 2015


J A N 2 015 I hope you all had a wonderful and well-earned break, whether it was Christmas, Hanukkah or simply a few days to relax with the family. In the spirit of the New Year we’ve got an issue chock-full of ideas and advice to make 2015 a year to remember. If you’re not yet sure what you aim to achieve in the next 12 months, have a gander at our piece on goal setting. So now you know what you want to achieve, but you’ll have no chance of getting there if you’re struggling to keep your eyes open. Peruse our guide to a good night’s sleep to keep yourself in tip top condition. It wouldn’t be a January edition if there wasn’t some mention of fitness and rest assured we’ve got some great gadgets and appealing apparel to kick start your new regime. Ready, set… go!

UPDATE Unpaid loans and comeback cats SAY WHAT?! Dry beginnings and fiddly filing

ON THE JOB JOB NEWS The latest career news of choice SETTING GOALS Get ready for a recordbreaking 2015 BETTER SLEEP Doze like a champion 60 SECONDS WITH Former Eastenders harpy Charlie Brooks

LUNCH BREAK BREAKTIME Catch up with the latest reviews and recipes OFFICE CATWALK Let’s get physical AND ONE MORE THING… Who do you think you are?

Editor George Carey





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YouGov research, commissioned by Equifax, sheds light on consumer attitudes to repaying debts. The survey of 2,010 people found that 16% of Britons have taken out credit with no intention of paying it back, and half of those would consider repeating the behaviour – although checks by lenders will probably mean they won’t get away with it for long. The study also reveals the youngest generation aren’t the greatest culprits. Some 11% of 35-44 year olds have done this and would try to do it again compared to five per cent of 18-25 year olds, the lowest percentage of all the age groups surveyed. The results also showed that 10% of those in employment have taken out credit with no intention of paying any or all of it back, compared to 17% of unemployed people. In total, 19% of people said they would consider taking out (or had taken out) credit with no intention of paying. Of all those who said they’ve taken credit with no intention of paying it back, nine per cent – of which 12% were men and five per cent were women – said they would not care about the consequences of not paying it back. Andrew Webb, head of Equifax Personal Solutions, said: “Information about an individual’s payment history stays on their credit file for six years and a pattern of non-payment is likely to be viewed negatively by organisations in the future. The reality is that checks against credit information are made for even small financial commitments such as a mobile phone agreement. Deliberate defaulting could, therefore, impact someone’s day to day life.

Juniper Research has drawn up a list of predictions of the top trends for the tech industries in 2015. 1: Securing your data: the time for encryption, tokenisation and biometric authentication In the wake of a number of high profile security breaches, cloud service providers need to regain trust (at both the enterprise and consumer level). Thus, we expect to see an increasing array of companies investing in encryption and tokenisation solutions as a means of reducing the risk of data loss or theft during 2015. As with tokenisation, biometrics are increasingly perceived as a key way to enhance end-user identification and transactional authentication, across an array of technologies. In mobile, the combination of Apple Pay with Touch ID is perhaps the most high-profile example, but we envisage that markets where the mobile device is already used for personal authentication (such as Scandinavia and the Baltic states) will rapidly incorporate biometrics as an additional factor. The technology is also entering the card space: biometric technology developer IDEX has recently agreed to provide fingerprint sensor technology to Card Tech for incorporation into a digital card. The Top 10 Tech Trends whitepaper also has more detail on the following topics: 1. Wrist wearables smarten up, and know their limits 2. 2015 – the year of NFC (at last!) 3. All about the data! 4. Leading retailers to facilitate cryptocurrency payment 5. Attack of the drones 6. Consumers take control of their own (digital) health 7. Budget phablets, smartphones go global 8. Location-based services move indoors 9. Deep linking standard across apps


IN BRIEF MULTIPLE BENEFITS OF WORKOUTS We all know you look better when you exercise regularly but there can be a whole range of other benefits when you stick to a regular exercise routine. 1. Fitness and health: Alongside reducing risks of certain diseases and giving increased abilities such as physical work capacity, it will also help one’s stamina. 2. “I wish I could wake up earlier”: Starting your day with exercise is a great way to get you out of bed. 3. It may inspire you to eat healthier: When you exercise, your body requires that you eat sufficiently to avoid lethargy, damage and deficiencies. Having an exercise routine may inspire healthy changes in the kitchen. 4. Time to reflect: Having a routine for exercise helped me set aside time in the day for spiritual growth as well. 5. Goal setting and achieving: When you achieve your fitness goals, it becomes evident that you can use the same practise in other areas. 6. Sharper business-person: Focusing only on my workout and nothing else, the most creative thoughts have come to me, as well as words to write about. 7. Increase your energy: Exercise combined with healthy eating habits increases energy and alertness. This is probably one of the greatest benefits to be gained from adopting an exercise routine.

Web of intrigue A missing cat has returned after 12 years. In 2002, Toby decided Braintree wasn’t for him, so he set off in search of the good life. Unfortunately, after he’d been gone for a while, his owner moved over 70 miles away. Toby got a little help from a vet, who recognised the nomadic moggy after it was brought in for treatment and called his surprised owner.

Air sickness A plane journey was forced to land after a strange odour sparked a chain reaction of vomit. After takeoff from Tel Aviv Airport a weird smell wafted its way through the US Airways cabin and soon after passengers and crew members began spewing up and down the aisle. A total of 14 crew members and two passengers fell seriously ill – prompting an emergency landing in Rome.

We give you our pick of the top comedy viral videos this month. Click on the text below and enjoy. Tweet us your top videos @olemagazine


Even you can’t stop a London bus

Take note Beyonce

Doctor Quinn morphine woman






I’m trying to cut back on drinking this month but my company has a big drinking culture so I feel like I’m not one of the team unless I partake. How can I stick to my regime without everyone thinking I’m pregnant? Diana, Swansea

I’ve been tasked with reorganising our office filing system and scanning it into a digital system. How should I go about this? Ashley, Torquay

Two words: sparkling water…or diet coke or any kind of soft drink that comes in a long glass and could potentially look alcoholic. You shouldn’t feel the need to pretend you’re drinking to impress others but if you don’t want to draw attention to yourself, drinking sodas inconspicuously can be just the ticket. It may, however, mean you have you to buy a lot of rounds, which is the main drawback. The other solution is buy one drink and use self-restraint to sip it all night.

caption competition

It’s a daunting thing to come back to in the New Year but it will pay dividends. In the first instance, you need a good scanner that can work away on a stack of papers while you do other things and a decent shredder to destroy any papers you’re not holding on to. The good news is the average office worker spends 20% of their time looking for documents, which equates to over 50 days’ worth of unproductive time per staff member every year and document management systems can help eliminate the need for paper-based files, improve efficiency and reduce lost productivity.

This month’s picture

Last month’s winner: Sonya Timms

Terry really was a stroppy guy, he could go ape at the slightest provocation ”

Win £50 worth of M&S vouchers! Email your captions to


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on the job

JOB NEWS RKING TRUTH OF WO FROM HOME of working from The pros and cons da hotly debated, an home (WFH) are ith Altodigital is set w study released by and d conference calls slacking off, nake orkers on-place from w napping all comm country. up and down the % ed that despite 40 The study reveal more their productivity of workers claim s at n WFH, that peak than doubles whe ls off, day, before it trai just four hours a ked mit to having wor while one-in-10 ad calls! ing client phone naked while field admitted to A staggering 41% nt off, with six per ce regularly skiving of a ve missed 100% revealing they ha ere top distractions w working day! The es ), household chor watching TV (24% ), with children (26% (27%) and playing sing spondents confes with 1-in-20 of re a nap. and even taking to having a bath

£12M FOR MENTAL HEALTH PROVISION Nearly half (46%) of people claiming Employment and Support Allowance have mental health conditions. Four pilot areas will test whether better coordinatio n of mental health and employment ser vices could help thousands of people find and stay in employment as well as improv e their mental health. The pilots will test a number of differe nt approaches, including: • key workers and individual suppor t packages to help claimants create bespoke action plans and coordinate existing local support services • support for new employees to ma ke sure they can stay in work and cop e with anxiety and other ongoing problems • training employment advisers to ide ntify mental health problems and for GPs to recognise the importance of work in improving mental health. Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said : “It is shocking to think that mental health is now the leading cause of illness in the workplace. It’s even more shocking that many of the people suffering are simply not getting the support they need.”

on the job

EMPLOYERS ‘ALL TALK’ ON HEALTH An international study of working health, conducted by Bupa, has revealed the potential of employee health initiatives to tackle diseases such as cancer. Research by the healthcare group also unveiled a gap between employers’ beliefs and actions when it comes to workplace health. Of the 1,762 employers from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Poland and Spain who took part in the study, three in four (73%) agreed that a healthy workforce is a more productive one. Yet, one in three (30%) of the 17,800 employees spoken to said their employer offers no health or wellbeing benefits. Three in 10 (26%) employees said that when it comes to wellbeing, their company is all talk but no action. Bupa has collaborated with the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to publish the report Cancer: It’s Everyone’s Business, on tackling cancer in the workplace. It outlines the business case for employers to help to combat cancer and recommends that employers encourage healthy behaviours to reduce cancer risk factors, deliver awareness campaigns and screening programmes to detect cancer early, and support employees who have had a cancer diagnosis.

DEMAND F OR TALENT Recruitmen t firms now have 27% more vacan cies than th is time last year accord ing to surve y data from the Associa tion of Profe ssional Staffing Co mpanies (A PSCo). The data re veals that g rowth in staffing con tinues to cli mb across of the trade all association ’s c o groups. Perm re sector anent vaca n c ie finance & a s across ccounting, IT , e n g and media ineering & marketin g are all up year-on-ye ar (17%, 28 %, 50% and 19% respec tively). The figures also reveal that median sala ries across all professiona l sectors w ere up by a robust 3.1% year-on-ye ar, a much healthier fi gure than la st month’s shift of just 0.7%. This o verall growth is c haracterise d by notable fluctuation s in terms o f sector, with engine ering and IT recording increases o f around nin e per cent and 2.9% re spectively.

THEY SAID Nick Clegg “It’s wrong that people needing a hip operation can expect treatment within a clear timeframe but someone with a debilitating mental health condition has no clarity about when they will get help”

on the job

HERE’S TO A YEAR TO REMEMBER Another year brings a new chance for an improved you. GEORGE CAREY looks at setting and achieving your goals

on the job


et’s face it: none of us are feeling particularly perky as we step into January’s cool embrace. The beginning of the year is usually rather a dour affair: the grey skies a seemingly bleak omen of the year ahead. It’s as the festive period comes to an end that we also begin to regret those mince pies and start thinking about trying to shift the newlyacquired Christmas pounds. So there’s a lot stacked against us in January, but ironically this is when we decide to do it all: go on a detox, join the gym and spring clean the house. Add to this your professional goals and you’ve got a list as long as your newly purchased gym mat. Life coach Carole Ann Rice sees January as the worst time for goal-setting. “We’re usually overweight, broke, tired and feeling a little toxic after the Christmas festivities – so not in the best mind-set for setting up these fabulous new things,” she says. REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS Physically we may be bloated and mentally we may be dejected – but this isn’t to say we shouldn’t attempt to make changes in the workplace, which for PAs and office managers is always going to be a busy place. James Butler, professional coach at Painless Practice, says: “The main stress for PAs is that the job is never done. The skill for a good assistant is as much in deciding what not to do as in deciding what to do. There is so much ‘noise’ in the role from everyone around the office that it becomes hard to identify what to focus on.” It might be worth thinking about where you want to be professionally in the next three to five years. You should have a vision in place and objectives for your career and know how you plan to go about making that happen. One of the first things to appreciate is that it’s crucial to be realistic when setting goals. “Better to over-exaggerate the time frame than under-exaggerate and miss your target,” Rice advises. When drawing up your list of goals, try to envision what it is about each aim you actually want. Is it more credibility in the practice? A bigger salary? “You must really want it,” Rice says. “And you need to use ‘want-to’ power rather than will power. Will power comes in short bursts and isn’t sustainable long term.” Set up SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goals and perhaps seek out a buddy or mentor at work (or home) to help support you through the process. According to Rice, 10% of people interviewed about goal setting said that going it alone prevented them from achieving success. “You’re more likely to stick with it if someone’s acting as your cheerleader or challenging you to get on with it,” says Rice. Family and friends can play a really important part in your success (or otherwise). With a good team around you, you’ll be able to let off steam and be reminded that life doesn’t revolve around work. Rice says: “Be sure that you’re not completely focused on the end role – you have to enjoy the journey too. Equally, if the going gets really tough take time out – have a rethink and reassess the situation.”

MONITORING PROGRESS Seeing the glass as half empty comes naturally to many of us, but it’s important to recognise and celebrate every small achievement. Often we only feel like we’ve achieved an objective when we can tick it off the list, but “… planning and researching are really good steps”, according to Rice. Butler advises you write your goals down and read them every day: “As you plan your workload (or that of your team) each day, check that every single thing you are doing is a positive step in taking you to those annual goals, or is helping you to keep your resolutions.” You may need to set yourself up for success by thinking what equipment or training you might need, Rice says. “What might be holding you back right now? Is it outdated computer equipment? Are you not confident using PowerPoint? It might be worth brushing up on skills or investing in some much-needed new equipment.” Psychologically, there may be barriers to overcome, and when you’ve nearly reached the summit, self-doubt is likely to creep in. “You might think ‘what if I become successful? What if I can’t handle it?’” says Rice. “People worry that family and friends may resent them, they worry that they won’t be good enough to step up the career ladder. They fear failure and other people’s reactions if they crash and burn.” Butler points out that resilience is key. “Like a toddler learning to walk, if you fall over just brush yourself down and get back on,” he says. “Don’t waste time and energy on that inner voice that tells you that you’re rubbish. If toddlers had that nagging voice, none of us would have learnt to walk!” JUST DO IT! Many of us are habitual procrastinators and are adept at doodling, Googling or just staring into space when we should really be working. But Rice urges all those with lofty aspirations to stick to their guns. “If you say you’re going to do something, then do it. Talk is cheap so be your word. Set yourself up as a winner by achieving, rather than someone who commits and then loses interest.” PAs more than anyone know that there are only so many hours in a day and finding a free slot in the diary can be tricky. However, it’s by no means impossible. “You have to find that space in the diary that’s for you,” says Rice. “If you really want something, you’ll get it but you have to commit to it.” So this January, try and adjust your thinking. Instead of seeing January as the hangover to Christmas, think of it as a time for a fresh start. The glass is half full, the mountain is surmountable and you can achieve your goals! Embrace such clichés and start ticking off that list.

“You’re more likely to stick with it if someone’s acting as your cheerleader or challenging you to get on with it”

on the job


RESTED As a busy person you may feel that you’re just not getting enough sleep. GEORGE CAREY looks at how this could be affecting your health and gives some simple tips to help you sleep better and be more energetic and productive

on the job


odern living has made us become “supremely arrogant”, according to leading scientists. And no, the group from Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Manchester and Surrey universities aren’t referring to our attitude to work; they’re talking about the way we ignore the importance of sleep. They say that the demands of today’s 24-hour society mean that many people push themselves too far and are “living against” their body clocks, with potentially damaging consequences for health and wellbeing. One of the scientists, Professor Russell Foster from the University of Oxford, says that people are getting between one and two hours less sleep a night than 60 years ago. “We are the supremely arrogant species; we feel we can abandon four billion years of evolution and ignore the fact that we have evolved under a light-dark cycle,” he says. “What we do as a species, perhaps uniquely, is override the clock-and long-term acting against the clock can lead to serious health problems.” The researchers say that governments need to take this problem seriously. “The problems caused by living against the body clock may be less sexy than the countless ‘this or that causes cancer stories’ but it is, nonetheless, a major problem for society,” says Professor Andrew Loudon from the University of Manchester. “You might not notice any short-term changes in your health following circadian disruption but, over a long period of time, the consequences could be quite severe.” MAKE A CHANGE Simple lifestyle changes can make a world of difference to your quality of sleep. The Sleep Council has the following 10 tips to help you have a more restful night: 1. KEEP REGULAR HOURS Going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time every day will programme your body to sleep better. Choose a time when you’re most likely to feel sleepy. 2. CREATE A RESTFUL SLEEPING ENVIRONMENT Your bedroom should be kept for rest and sleep. Keep it as quiet and dark as possible. It should be neither too hot nor too cold. Temperature, lighting and noise should be controlled so that the bedroom environment helps you to fall (and stay) asleep.

“People push themselves too far and are living against their body clocks” 3. MAKE SURE THAT YOUR BED IS COMFORTABLE It’s difficult to get restful sleep on a mattress that’s too soft or too hard, or a bed that’s too small or old. If you have a pet that sleeps in the room with you consider moving it somewhere else if it often makes noise in the night. 4. EXERCISE REGULARLY Moderate exercise on a regular basis, such as swimming or walking, can help to relieve some of the tension built up over the day. But don’t do vigorous exercise too close to bedtime as it may keep you awake. 5. LESS CAFFEINE Cut down on stimulants such as caffeine in tea or coffee, especially in the evening; they interfere with the process of falling asleep and prevent deep sleep. The effects of caffeine can last a long time (up to 24 hours) so the chances of it affecting sleep are significant. Have a warm, milky drink or herbal tea instead. 6. DON’T OVERINDULGE Too much food or alcohol, especially late at night, can interrupt your sleep patterns. Alcohol may help you to fall asleep initially, but it will disrupt your sleep later on in the night. 7. DON’T SMOKE It’s bad for sleep. Smokers take longer to fall asleep, they wake up more frequently and they often experience more disrupted sleep. 8. TRY TO RELAX BEFORE GOING TO BED Have a warm bath, listen to quiet music or do some gentle yoga to relax the mind and body. Your doctor may be able to recommend a helpful relaxation CD. 9. WRITE AWAY YOUR WORRIES If you tend to lie in bed thinking about tomorrow’s tasks, set aside time before bedtime to review the day and make plans for tomorrow – deal with worries or a heavy workload by making lists of things to be tackled the next day. The goal is to avoid doing these things when you’re in bed and trying to sleep. 10. DON’T WORRY IN BED If you can’t sleep, don’t lie there worrying about it. Get up and do something you find relaxing until you feel sleepy again, then return to bed.

on the job


CHARLIE BROOKS The actress famous for playing Eastenders’ murderous vixen Janine Butcher tells us about her new theatre role

What does it mean to you to be starring in Beautiful Thing?


“I was obsessed with the film when I was a kid, I watched it like 100 times, I was one of the cult followers really. I remember seeing Suranne (Jones) in the play last year and going ‘ooh, I want to do that, put me in it! Lo and behold, a year or two later here I am, so it’s like a dream come true. I went to theatre school where I had lots of gay friends – I had a boyfriend that was gay! So it’s always been important, the performances in the film were just amazing and it’s a great character for me, so it’s a really big draw all round really.”

Do you think the play remains relevant all these years later?


“There are still, especially in the regional areas where we are touring, people going through this very same issue and people still terrified of coming out, they don’t know how to do it and they are scared of talking about it. I think that it’s a timeless play, it’s brilliant, it’s funny, it’s sad, and I think that it speaks to a lot of people still.”

Do you see any of yourself in your character Sandra?


“Are you saying I’m a feisty single mum?! What I’m hoping to do is to bring a great deal of warmth to it, know what I mean? She’s feisty, she’s loud, she’s not afraid to speak her mind, she’s had a hard life and fought to be where she is, fought to bring up that little boy, so the relationship that they have is one that’s very special in the end. I’ve got some of the best lines – I just can’t wait to say them.”

How does this compare to working on Eastenders?


“With learning lines in Eastenders, they go in very quickly, it’s in and out because it’s so quick and so fast paced. I haven’t done a great deal of theatre so this is all quite new, so I’m shi**ing it to be honest! I just hope I’m ok. But it’s so exciting.”

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lunch break

BREAKTIME desktop dining WEST END W AT C H


COBB SALAD INGREDIENTS • 2 Baby Gem lettuces, leaves separated • 1 avocado, stoned and sliced • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped • 3 rashers cooked crispy bacon • 140g/5oz cooked turkey breast or chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped into chunks FOR THE DRESSING • 75ml buttermilk • 2 tbsp light mayonnaise • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar • 1 tbsp chopped dill • ½ garlic clove, crushed

The word gritty is often overused but in the case of Nina Raine’s Tiger Country, there are few others that would do it justice. It tackles the motivation of those on the frontline of our health service and the all-consuming role the job can impose on their lives. Based in a busy A&E department the action comes as thick and fast as the injured parties do through the stage door. As all of the best drama tackling such subject matter can be, it’s as hilarious as it is heart-breaking, with its unflinching investigation of these less-than-perfect everyday heroes.

METHOD In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together with some salt. Arrange the salad ingredients separately on 2 plates or a platter, and serve with the dressing on the side.

lunch break




Out now Foxcatcher tells the dark and fascinating story of the unlikely and ultimately tragic relationship between an eccentric multimillionaire and two champion wrestlers. When Olympic gold medalwinning wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) is invited by wealthy John du Pont (Steve Carell) to move on to the du Pont estate to train a team for the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Schultz jumps at the opportunity, hoping to finally step out of the shadow of his revered brother. Fuelled by du Pont’s paranoia and alienation from his brother, the trio heads into an unforeseen tragedy, which makes for gripping viewing.

Rae Morris Out 26 January

Startlingly young, Rae Morris has already had a lengthy musical education. The Blackpool raised songwriter has spent years honing her craft, with the results now beginning to bear sublime musical fruit. Recent EP ‘Closer’ was a hit with fans, prompting the release of the artist’s debut album. Morris said of the record: “I see my album as a coming-of-age tale, from start to finish, from then to now. I guess it’s a series of diary entries documenting these important years of growing up and learning.”

POWER HOUR HOT BARRE Hot barre – classical ballet moves in a room heated to 40 degrees – is 2015’s Bikram yoga. Fans say hot barre gives you a much deeper stretch, helps with detox and releases toxins. The trend has taken off in New York and Los Angeles, with classes such as Figure 4 Farenheit proving popular. Some devotees say while it ruins their hair for the rest of the day, the limb-burning moves in a furnace-like room put them on a natural high.

BOOK THIS THE MODERN PANTRY Chef Anna Hansen has come up with some delightfully discombobulating fusion foods here with everything from Australasian to Asian via British in between. Her signature sugar-cured prawn omelette with chilli, coriander and spring onion is worth opening a restaurant for on its own and the hits just keep coming. It’s reasonably priced and there are plenty of healthy options available, so it’s the perfect choice for January dining. 47-48 St John’s Square London

lunch break

LOVES With exercise on everyone’s mind this month, why not treat yourself to a little gadget to help you reach your fitness goals?


Kenwood KMix blender

Whether you’re mixing up a wheatgrass and spinach super smoothie, cramming yet more vegetables into your favourite homemade soup or making your protein shakes fluffy and lovely, a blender is the answer to all of your nutrition needs. And when it looks this good, it’s a complete no-brainer.

2 Jawbone UP This lightweight, attractive activity monitor offers a fascinating insight into your fitness. Advanced sensors capture how you move, sleep and more and by connecting the UP App to your tracker, you can see the big picture of your health. This fantastic little device will help you make better choices every day that over time can add up to a whole new you.

Kettlebells Developed in Russia in the 1700s for weighing crops, it’s said that farmers using them became stronger and found them useful for showing off their strength during festivals. The Soviet army also used them as part of their training programmes in the 20th century. Nowadays everyone and their dog is using them for total body strength with their limitless applications. This starter kit should be just the thing to boost your workout regime.


4 Garmin Forerunner 15 This ingenious GPS-enabled little training partner will capture essential running stats during your workout such as distance, pace and calories burned. Starting your monitoring is as simple as pressing a single button to start recording. It will alert you when you complete each mile and automatically pauses your run if you stop. It includes Virtual Pacer technology, which compares your current running pace to your target, making it easy to keep track.

lunch break

O F F I C E C AT W A L K Witness the fitness Put a spring in your step on your jog with some natty new threads

1 2









1 Lipsy, Pink tech top, £20

1 Get the Label, Nike Air Huarache, £85

2 Very, Kirsty Gallacher tie dye sports bra, £15

2 Kit Bag, Under Armour EVO ColdGear, £32.99

3 Debenhams, XPG zip thru sweat, £35

3 Kitbag, All Blacks zip hooded top, £54.99

4 Get the Label, Adidas ultimate leggings, £17.99 5 Get the Label, Nike Womens Free 5.0, £64.99

lunch break



Account executive Chris Stowell is doing a spot of New Year soul searching

Chris Stowell Account executive

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Am I the village idiot, Mr social butterfly, the unrivalled successor, the class bully or just a nice bloke who gets on with his job and life? Lots of questions indeed. One of my old bosses once said to me: “Chris, it is highly important to profile yourself and think about how people perceive you in any office.” I just smiled because that’s one thing I tend to be good at in these awkward scenarios. So I rattled my mind and took some time to think about this some more: “Is this dude for real? Do I care what other people think of me?” I am a firm believer in ‘you are who you are’. You come into work; you sit with your morning brew of choice and Ready Brek, compile all the crap you need to do for the day and just get on with it. Since when should you put on an act worthy of an Oscar trying to be someone you’re not? However, as I have matured in my working life, I begin to think about what my old boss said to me. I look around the office and, to my absolute horror, you can see what he was talking about. Fred is a nasty kind of scary like a drooling pit bull. Dorris over there is pukka at her job and puts us all to shame. Stacey exposes a lot of flesh, among other things, to get what she wants, and so on. So, I look at myself and think, I must be the class clown. Or am I? I don’t quit on anything, I get the job done yet I am always first in the pub and last to leave. It’s easy to judge individuals, yet surely we are who we are and work is part of who we are. Everybody goes to work to get a good job done, pay the bills and interact with people. Not to think, ‘should I act differently and be a Fred because I think it will give me more power? Or be a floozy Stacy because I believe it will get me anything I want?’ We all have different qualities and not just one ‘profile’. Office profiling is definitely out the window for me.

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