UNDERSTANDING THE MENTAL LOAD
BE SNAP HAPPY WITH MINI FRAMES!
ALTERNATIVE WAYS WITH TURMERIC
SOOTHING & STYLISH RETREATS TO TRY
ISSUE #4 OCTOBER 2017
FIND YOUR HAPPY in the small moments and in between the main events
A SLOW HOLIDAY THROUGH SPAIN
8-PAGE MINI MAG IKIGAI ART PRINTS FOLDABLE PHOTO FRAMES
Give your work place a personal vibe
WAYS TO BE MORE
Adaptable Creative & Confident
hat a pleasure it is to be writing this column, my first as editor. There are lots of new faces this issue; we have a new editorial team (meet us on page 7); we introduce Natalie Lue, our relationships columnist – who this issue tackles unresolved emotions through the practice of unsent letters; and we launch our new column: ‘How I stay calm’ – something we practice regularly in our busy editorial office! As we settle into our new roles this month, we’ve been thinking a lot about self belief – and why self-doubt affects so many outwardly confident women. Cath Dean writes about the concept of ‘imposter syndrome’ and concludes that it’s high time we “owned our creativity with confidence”. To which we say ‘hear, hear’.
We also discover that podcasts can offer us a fresh perpective, encouraging us to challenge our inner critic, and feel pride in what we achieve. Personally, I find the companionship of podcasts when I’m driving often inspires ideas and also saves me from the monotony of the daily commute! Talking of journeys, we’ve been reflecting on the joy of the journey. Caroline Rowland’s photo diary has taught her to embrace her ‘house-in-progress’, while photographer Rachael Smith has discovered that happiness is often found not in the main events, but in the fleeting in-between moments. You can try Rachael’s photo project for yourself and if you feel like sharing – we’d love to see what makes you happy, too.
KIRSTIE DUHIG Editor
PS: Take A Moment is our extra treat for you. Tap here for Take A Moment. WWW.CALMMOMENT.COM
Photography Rowan Chestnut
Believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR SELF DOUBT. BANISH NEGATIVE THOUGHTS AND LISTEN TO YOUR CONFIDENT VOICE THAT TELLS YOU TO SEEK OUT YOUR DREAMS.
100 RELAX AND ENJOY THE SEASON’S CHANGES (& ESSENTIALS FOR AUTUMN ADVENTURES!)
FOR YOU! 3TREATS
18 AUTUMN Move gracefully into the new season by nourishing your mind and body.
54 THE POWER OF THE PODCAST Listen to a fresh perspective to quieten your inner critic.
22 SHOPPING: AUTUMN COMFORTS Recharge and relax with these pick-me-ups.
60 SHOPPING: MAKING MEMORIES Unique ideas for displaying your special moments.
24 BE MORE CONFIDENT What might be causing self-doubt? Take our quiz to find out.
62 FIND YOUR HAPPY Rachael Smith discovers joy in the moments in-between.
30 FIND YOUR FLOW with our yogi Charlene.
66 FOLDABLE FRAMES Be snap happy with our mini frames to cut out and keep .
36 WELLBEING COLUMN Reconnect with friends to warm your heart and soul. 38 THE MENTAL LOAD It’s time to speak up about taking on more than our fair share. 44 RELATIONSHIPS Heal unresolved emotions using the practice of unsent letters. 4
49 CALM UNDER PRESSURE Learn how to handle stress from a head trauma nurse
68 BOOK CLUB This month we talk about the The H-Spot with author Jill Filipovic. 70 CREATING COLUMN Let’s talk about ‘imposter syndrome’ and why it’s time to let it to go.
Be snap hay!
74 INSPIRING SPACES Give your workspace a personal vibe, says Moorea Seal.
94 DISCOVER YOUR IKIGAI (and just maybe the secret to happiness) on a Japanese island.
79 MY STILL SPACE A velvet sofa provides a refuge in Jess Warner’s rumbustious home.
100 SHOPPING: AUTUMN ADVENTURES Your essential kit for travels near and far.
82 SHOPPING: SOFT SANCTUARY Wraps and throws to comfort you as the season changes.
102 ESCAPING COLUMN One can be company, says solo travel advocate Sian Lewis.
85 A TWIST ON TURMERIC There’s so much more to this wonder-root than curry!
104 WIN A HOLIDAY THROUGH SPAIN!
90 LIVING COLUMN Caroline Rowland finds pleasure in a work in progress.
106 STYLISH STAYCATIONS Soothing and sustainable retreats to try. 114 LIFE LESSONS Finding my Lagom.
ur Exple ypoat h to e ikigai – tehntment cont
SUBSCRIBE NOW! Find our great offers for a limited time only.
letters WRITE TO US
Your thoughts WHETHER YOU’D LIKE TO TELL US WHAT’S RESONATED WITH YOU AND INSPIRED YOU THIS ISSUE OR SIMPLY SEND US YOUR MUSINGS, WE’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU
A mindful moment
The little things Thoroughly enjoying my copy of In The Moment this evening. It’s full to the brim with positivity! It’s perfect for taking a little time out from a busy schedule to remember to look after yourself and appreciate the little things. Thank you @inthemomentmag – I can’t wait for the next issue! @happy_hamlet_home
Had a wonderful afternoon to myself today. Practiced some tap dance, painted my nails and read the first issue of In The Moment – I would highly recommend it! I read “There’s more than one way to become more mindful” in my conservatory where I feel close to nature, with some incense and music in the background. It was a really nice way to find some mindfulness and practice self-care. @ibsanxiety
Illustration by Mateja Kovac
situation caused no end of worry for me. Then my dad bought me a copy of the magazine and I had a lightbulb moment. I started meditating again, spent more time practicing gratitude and looked at what I could do to improve my situation. I’m delighted to report that I have begun retraining as a beauty therapist and have converted my spare room at home into an ‘at home’ beauty room that doubles as a quiet meditation room. Thank you so much, once again – I’m looking forward to the next issue! Charlotte Phillips
I just wanted to write to thank you for producing In The Moment – the magazine couldn’t have come at a better time for me. In May, I left my job of eight years because of a growing disquiet and increased stress. I had no other job to move on to and this new, unexpected
Get in touch www.facebook.com/ InTheMomentMag www.instagram.com/ inthemomentmag
Kirstie Duhig - editor (centre left) Becki Clark - art editor (left) Sarah Orme – digital editor (right) Katharine Bennett production editor (centre right)
inthemoment @immediate.co.uk www.calmmoment.com
Photography: Jesse Wild
Meet this issue’s talented writers It takes a lot to make your monthly guide to a mindful life, and it’s all thanks to these people (as well as everyone else working behind the scenes). We hope you are inspired by their features this issue
NATALIE LUE Natalie is our new relationship columnist. She’s been writing her blog www.baggagereclaim.com for 12 years and published five self-help books. She’s big fan of journalling, Judy Blume, margaritas and vintage buys and lives in Surrey with her family. Follow her on Insta @natlue Turn to page 44 to read Natalie’s column.
The team Editorial Editor-in-chief Jules Taylor Editor Kirstie Duhig Art Editor Becki Clark Production Editor Katharine Bennett Digital Editor Sarah Orme Contributors
Illustration Mateja Kovac, Becki Clark, Amyisla Mccombie, Holly McCulloch, Matilda Smith Photography Jesse Wild Additional design Julian Dace, Benedict Blyth Additional production Vicky Guerrero
Call: 0117 300 8206 Group Advertising Manager Penny Stokes Account Manager Emelie Arnold
Marketing and Circulation Direct Marketing Manager Penny Clapp Direct Marketing Executive Joe Jones Newstrade Marketing Manager Helen Seymour International Account Manager Juliette Winyard Head of Newstrade Marketing Martin Hoskins Subscriptions Director Jacky Perales-Morris
Production Production Director Sarah Powell Production Manager Louisa Molter / Rose Griffiths
PAULINE WESTON Pauline studied naturopathy and iridology in France before moving to England with her husband. She is fascinated by nature, especially herbal medicine, which she uses in her naturopathy practice. Follow her at www.soakupthewild.com Turn to page 18 for Pauline’s piece on embracing the transition into Autumn.
Licensing Licensing and Syndication Tim Hudson email@example.com International Partners Manager Anna Brown
Publishing Publishing Director Catherine Potter Publisher (Digital) Charlotte Morgan
RACHAEL SMITH Rachael is a photographer who blogs about her minimalist family life by the sea over at www.ourbeautifuladventure.co.uk. She can usually be found on a beach in south Wales with wellies on her feet and a camera in her hand. Turn to page 62 for Rachael’s piece on ƂPFKPICPFECRVWTKPI[QWTJCRR[OQOGPVU
Y VETTE STREETER Yvette is a magazine journalist, creative and vegan foodie who blogs at The Lazy Vegan (follow her on Insta @thelazyvegan_uk). She recently discovered the joy of creative podcasts which led her to write her feature for this issue. Turn to page 54 to read how podcasts can DQQUV[QWTETGCVKXGEQPƂFGPEG
For new orders and back issue sales call 03330 162153 Visit www.buysubscriptions.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Immediate Media Company Chief Executive Officer Tom Bureau Managing Director, Bristol Andy Marshall Immediate Media Company Bristol Limited (company number 05715415) is registered in England and Wales. The registered office of Immediate Media Company Bristol Limited is at Vineyard House, 44 Brook Green, London W6 7BT. All information contained in this magazine is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Immediate Media Company Bristol Limited cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. Readers are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this magazine. If you submit unsolicited material to us, you automatically grant Immediate Media Company Bristol Limited a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in all editions of the magazine, including licensed editions worldwide and in any physical or digital format throughout the world. Any material you submit is sent at your risk. Although every care is taken, neither Immediate Media Company Bristol Limited nor its employees agents or subcontractors shall be liable for loss or damage.
Need support? If you’re feeling low and need to talk to someone, contact: Mind at www.mind.org.uk NHS Direct on 111 Samaritans on 116 123 Befrienders Worldwide at www.befrienders.org
Uplifting ideas, stories and inspiration from around the world
The arrival of Autumn makes us even more keen to get home and relax in a nice long bath. As well as the calming benefits we already know that a soak in the tub affords, we’ve heard of a way to make bathing nourishing for your mental wellbeing. How? By adding colour to your tub! Colour therapy has long been used as a way of balancing our brains and our bodies: each colour is thought to have a different effect on us, promoting a host of benefits depending on which shades you select. “A colour aura bath uses all the senses to balance your mind,” says Walaa of blog The Color Recipe. Her tutorial includes the addition of pink rose petals, along with a coloured light app (you can also use your imagination) and essential oils. Adding a colour bath into your pampering routine can raise your positivity and energy through the winter months – and it’s a lovely way to spend some quiet time too.
Find Walaa’s tutorial online at www.thecolorrecipe.com/color-bath-cleanse
Photography Annabel Mehran
Bathe in colour
Females take film Did you know that just 7% of the top-grossing films in the US were directed by women? Lifestyle blog Refinery 29 have teamed up with some of the film world’s most renowned writers and producers to put a female perspective firmly into filmmaking, showcasing shorts from the likes of Chloë Sevigny and Kristen Stewart as part of their Shatterbox Anthology series. Although best-known for their on-screen talents, these women are proving just how much clout they carry behind the camera as well. Their films cover an array of topics, from emotive scenes surrounding abortion to fantastical transfiguration, all promoting realistic depictions of women. With some of the films already receiving acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival, we’re taking our seats.
Follow the series at www.refinery29.com/shatterbox.
can help you live longer. US scientists have found that people who see themselves as being healthy can cut their risk of early death by 71%.
Photography Ben Waardenburg
Photography Joel Filipe
‘Take a moment to marvel in the world around you...’ It’s amazing how beautiful life can be There are some moments in life that just take your breath away. It might be a jaw-dropping view that appears before you on your travels, a mind-boggling fact about the universe or a change in chords in a song on a new album that gives you goosebumps. As tempting as it is to whip out your phone and share your incredible moment with the world, remember to pause and take time to soak up the profound effects of awe; they have more of an impact than you might think. New studies by Dacher Keltner, a key researcher in the field, suggest that awe has the ability to change our perception of the world, of others and of ourselves. This feeling of total amazement eclipses our everyday life, putting things into perspective. Those who experience awe then find it easier to identify as part of a group, as they can see the bigger picture and understand how working together can help them to achieve their goals. Similarly, awe gives us the chance to take a step back from the stresses and strains of our normal lives, allowing us to realise what’s important in life and what’s not worth bothering with. And there’s even evidence to suggest that it can aid our immune systems by reducing inflammation. You don’t have to experience big, breath-taking moments to reap the benefits, either. Awe means different things to different people, so if you can find a bit of wow factor WORK IT OUT in your everyday, it could make you happier and less There’s more chance stressed for weeks to come. Now that’s something of finding awe outside worth pausing for! at a slow pace. Enjoy the
added health bonus of walking – Low Intensity Steady State exercise (LISS) improves cardio endurance and aids muscle recovery.
Things to do to live your life well in October...
OCTOBER Get grinning – it’s World Smile Day! Honouring Harvey Ball, the creator of the smiley face, this cheerful day is dedicated to making as many people as possible turn their frown upside down. This year’s theme is ‘little acts of kindness’ – what can you do to make others happy? *Head to facebook.com/ worldsmileday for some ideas!
Photography Llywelyn Nys
10 Photography Monika Grabkowski
OCTOBER Warm up with World Porridge Day. We love oats – they’re a great source of fibre and are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Whether you like to go traditional or take them with a twist (grapes are our topping of choice), you can enjoy the health benefits any day of the year. Host a Porridge Smiles party in aid of Mary’s Meals for a feel-good finish. *www.marysmeals.org.uk
ALL MONTH Raid your wardrobe and find your brightest pink pieces – The Big Pink is here for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Not only will holding a pink party raise money for the cause, but wearing pink is said to increase happiness and promote a sense of calm, which we can all benefit from! *Find your free fundraising kit at www.breastcancercare.org.uk
ALL MONTH Forget one day, the whole of October is a celebratory time in Taiwan. A series of national holidays, including the country’s birthday, that were traditionally held throughout the month mean that it is now known as ‘The Glorious Month of October’. Festivities happen across the country, including parades, fireworks and festivals.
OCTOBER Even in cooler climes and times, city dwellers are still taking to the roof tops to chill, mingle and party. We’ve got plans to check out the annual winter pop-up at The Moroccan Medina in the Queen of Hoxton’s rooftop wigwam. Think Marrakesh colours, sights and scents, along with enticing food and drinks. *queenofhoxton.com
Photography Queen of Hoxton
OCTOBER It’s International Coffee Day (as if we needed an excuse!) so we’ll be celebrating by taking our new ecoffee cups (reusable, organic bamboo with a stylish deer design – yes please) to our local barista and celebrating with a cinnamon latte (see page 11). Fun fact: the webcam was invented at Cambridge Uni to let people know if their coffee pot was full!
Photography Debi Treloar
Arabic legend tells that opal, October’s birthstone, fell from the sky in lightning bolts. Each stone is unique and they’re said to enhance positivity and confidence.
The beauty of books A good book has the power to inspire us, transport us and fill us with wonder. It’s no surprise then that surrounding ourselves with books is also good for the soul. “Hand-held devices are a boon to the traveller, no question, but traditional books have visual and tactile qualities that are irreplaceable,” says Damian Thompson, author of Books make a home – Elegant ideas for storing and displaying books (Ryland, Peters and Small, £19.99). “We look at other people’s shelves to discover clues about their interests and personalities. For similar reasons, we are sometimes loathed to throw away our books because they feel part of our identity.” We like this idea of making books an integral part of our décor, rather than hiding them away. Whether you stack them, shelve them, colour-code them or coffee table them, you can derive pleasure from your books long after you’ve finished turning the pages.
Ceylon cinnamon is t he bees knees!
Superstar cinnamon The smell of cinnamon instantly invokes autumn to us – think warming teas, baked apples and sticky puddings. This year it’s our go-to ingredient for more than just its stimulating scent, as recent studies suggest that there’s a lot more to the spice than first meets the nose. Cinnamon is used in Aryuvedic medicine to treat respiratory and digestive problems, and new research indicates that there might be a whole host of other illnesses to add to that list, including diabetes and dementia. Sprinkle it on your breakfast, add it to your sauces, stir it into your coffee – it’ll add both flavour and good health.
Photography John Canelis
SMORGING It’s the easy way to host an evening with friends. If you don’t have the time or energy to cook a threecourse meal, simply arrange a smørgåsbord-style selection of breads, chutneys, crudités, meats and cheeses and relax with a glass of wine (or two).
We already know that mindfulness isn’t only for grown-ups – it can be used as a great tool to help little ones explore their emotions and learn how to communicate with others. But how exactly can we encourage children to practice it? Mindful Kin has the answers on a WEAR IT PROUD postcard – quite literally. Each of Words of Wonder make creator Sal’s little cards have an cool kids’ tees emblazoned idea for an activity that with positive words promotes mindful thinking (Love, Strong, Happy) to and self-awareness. encourage them to express From simple breathing their feelings. 10% of sales exercises with a teddy bear to go to kids’ mental health more involved walking charities, too. Visit adventures, there’s a suggestion wow-online.co.uk to suit every age group (even us adults!), and they’re followed up with questions that will get them thinking.
Visit www.mindfulkin.etsy.com and follow Sal’s mindfulness journey on Insta @mindful_kin
Photography Eliot Peper
Acts of kindness (because caring is sharing) There’s nothing better than finishing a truly good book and being so excited to share it with anyone and everyone. Try thinking bigger than your friends and family next time – find your local Little Free Library. A whopping 61% of low-income families don’t have access to books at home and so the Little Free Library, a not-for-profit organisation, is tackling the problem head-on by setting up book swaps in communities across the globe. The premise is simple: take a book to one of their little wooden libraries and leave with a new one. Through this small act, millions of books are exchanged each year, sharing a love of reading, providing resources to those who can’t afford them and bringing communities together. There are over 50,000 libraries in over 70 countries, so find your nearest one (or set up your own!) using the online map and take that latest read along. You never know, you might come away with your next fave fiction.
Photography Sal Gould
For more information go to www.littlefreelibrary.org
That everyone can make a difference while also getting fit. Charity Miles is an app that donates money to one of 40 charities depending on the amount of exercise you do. Whether you’re a walker, a runner or a cyclist, use the app to track your activity and raise money – so far they’ve donated over US$2.5 million. www.charitymiles.org
Photography Travis Yewell
WHAT WE WANT!
Live your holiday every day How many snaps did you take on your summer hols this year? And how many did you download from your phone, print out and display in your house? We’re taking more photos than ever before, yet less and less of them have a place in our physical lives. Psychologists have recently discovered that displaying family photos in the home can increase confidence, happiness and familial harmony, reminding us of a joyful time spent together that was full of fun and laughter. They don’t have to be posed or professional – see Rachael Smith’s feature on page 62 for more on this – they just need to remind you of a happy time. Maximise photo potential by turning your memorable moments into a mural for your home. At Wallsauce.com, you can upload your own image and they will create a madeto-measure wallpaper, perfect for a feature wall that will bring happiness to your home.
Bring joy t o yo ur walls!
What I do... IT’S NOT JUST ABOUT THE FOOD, IT’S ABOUT MAKING SOMEONE FEEL WELCOME. Student, Geertje van Rees volunteers for the Cambridge branch of FoodCycle, which cooks and serves meals to people in need using surplus food from supermarkets. Originally from the Netherlands, Geertje started volunteering in January 2014 and is now a hub leader, coming up with three-course dinners for 40 people. “Cooking is something that is always close to me,” says Geertje. “I’ve grown up with a mother who prides herself on putting home cooked healthy family meals on the table. And I’m a massive Masterchef fan, so this just looked like a combination of a mystery box and serving challenge to me! “FoodCycle means a lot to me: I began by just loving the challenge of getting a 3-course menu prepared for so many people. Then I soon realised this shifted in me wanting to help people. If you’re happy and in a good position in life, you’re also in a place to give something back. “We have a great time in the kitchen, I meet a huge range of people and can be a listening ear for someone in need. I pick up cooking inspiration, learn new skills (time management!) and while it’s sometimes exhausting, I feel so satisfied and enriched knowing I’ve made someone else’s day a bit brighter and made them forget about their worries for a moment. Plus, of course, they’ve had a healthy meal. I think that is the most rewarding aspect of FoodCycle.”
good news TREAT YOUR BOOKSHELF
If you like the idea of Kate’s marriage of food and fiction, you can now preorder her book, The Little Library Cookbook, to treat both body and soul at amazon.com
Tips f rom your mother
Although avoiding an unpleasant task makes us think that we’re prolonging happiness, it can actually have the opposite effect, bringing our mood down with a sense of foreboding. Nip your procrastination habit in the bud with a simple trick – visualise your future self completing the task, and it will become instantly less daunting. Once it’s out of the way, you can move on to happier things!
Photography Lean Timms
“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today”
Cooking the books Ever been absorbed in your favourite piece of literature, only to find yourself distracted by the thought of tucking into the food described within? It’s a feeling that Kate Young of The Little Library Café knows only too well. It’s through food that she first remembers books, associating childhood classics such as Winnie the Pooh and the Famous Five with the flavours and tastes that the characters indulged in on their travels. This passion for the written word of food inspired her to start her blog, creating recipes for her most-cherished reads. From poetry to plays and fiction spanning three centuries, there’s a creation for hundreds of titles, acting as the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon reading by the fire.
Photography Geertje van Rees
It’s a sad fact that one in 10 pregnancies ends in miscarriage, yet it’s something that is rarely openly talked about. Until now, that is. Psychologist Jessica Zucker, PhD, has taken her own experience of miscarriage and turned it into an incredible community of women who have been through the same thing, using her Instagram account @IHadaMiscarriage. Her feed is full of emotional stories, powerful imagery and uplifting posts about rainbow babies (those born after a miscarriage) and most importantly, support without judgement.
FACT OR FICTION?
Talk about it
Find Kate’s recipe for your favourite book online at www.thelittlelibrarycafe.com.
‘Conkers keep the moths away’. We’re happy to report that this is true. Conkers, or horse chestnuts, contain a compound called triterpenoid saponin that acts as a mild insect repellent as they dry out. Pop some in your wardrobe and be rid of those pesky moth holes!
MY EVERYDAY MOMENT
“Enjoying a moment’s peace” BUSY MUM, KATE EVANS, DESCRIBES HOW SHE FINDS TIME TO RECHARGE TO SEE HER THROUGH THE DAY...
amily life is busy, but that’s the way I like it. Being able to grab a moment to myself feels like a treat, but just sitting still for 10 minutes with a cup of tea and enjoying a moment’s peace is a enough. It’s also important for me to get time with my friends who don’t have kids, so we can chat about topics other than school and homework. Much as I love being a mum, it’s easy to lose sight of who I used to be when day-to-day life was more carefree. I’ve been trying to make more time for mindfulness over the past few months – I’ve got an app on my phone with quick meditation sessions, and being more aware has made me realise the importance of taking time to reflect on life. Kids grow and change so fast that if you don’t stop occasionally to focus on the moment it feels like life is passing by too quickly.”
Created by master herbsmith Sebastian Pole to help women balance and bloom. The flowers in you are ready to blossom, a loving cup of nourishment is all it takes to stir them to life: delicious ruby-red cranberry with the tender press of rose, the softness of shatavari and dappled with vanilla’s sweetness. Good news for bringing you back to full bloom.
All Pukka teas contain the highest quality organic herbs. It’s one of the reasons Pukka teas taste so incredible - for more about why this is important, go to pukkaherbs.com
Photography Charlene Lim
THEREâ€™S A LOT TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT THIS SEASON. FIND YOUR FLOW, ADAPT TO AUTUMNAL CHANGES, REKINDLE FRIENDSHIPS AND LEARN TO RELEASE ANGER IN A HEALTHY WAY.
Moving gracefully through autumn Prepare and adapt your lifestyle so you can gently pass from the warmth of summer through this transitional season Words: Pauline Weston / Illustrations Mateja Kovac
ummer is ending, stepping aside for autumn in all its red-gold, cosy glory – with its mists, conkers and woolly scarves. So get yourself ready: it’s pumpkin o’clock! As a period of transition, autumn gives us the space to gently drift towards winter. It’s a good time to re-evaluate, take decisions and start new projects. And it’s the perfect moment to start slowing down, to rest, to breathe and to strengthen your immune system, because unfortunately, autumn also witnesses the return of all sorts of discomforts: coughs and colds, asthma, bronchitis, shortness of breath, fatigue, constipation, bloating, skin problems, negative moods, insomnia, worries, fears and even anxiety.
Temperatures drop. We return from summer holidays, which can cause some stress, our immune system weakens and our bodies may find it difficult to cope. It’s a season that is, therefore, particularly hard on our lungs and intestines. But let us not depair. Naturopathy can help AUTUMN us to pass gracefully through autumn by FEASTING adapting our diets, our sleeping routines The Autumn harvest and our physical activity to suit this new is a rich one, with root season with a few natural tips. veggies, wild mushrooms So let’s enjoy the delight that autumn and pumpkins on the offers us through the magnificent colours menu. For culinary of our trees, hedgerows and woodlands and inspo visit www.the bathe in its beautiful golden light. firstmess.com
wellbeing Eat for the season Choose foods that stimulate the lungs and help the evacuation of mucus. These include: chestnut, leek, mushrooms, celery, spinach, radishes, cucumber, rice, sorghum, millet, tofu, garlic, shallots, olives, honey, apricots, figs, grapes, oranges, pears, apples, lemons, berries, almonds, walnuts and pine nuts. Also put on your shopping list foods that will support your intestines. These include: beetroot, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, fennel, aubergine, lettuce, pumpkin, buckwheat, sesame seeds, black pepper, nutmeg, bananas, grapefruit and lovely, seasonal rhubarb. Add some fresh ginger and onion to your cooking too, as these will boost your immune system and try to avoid heavy dinners, too much alcohol and refined products, which aren’t good for digestion. If you feel like you need a bit of a boost, add these two supplements to your daily diet: Vitamin C to improve your immune system and Magnesium (also found in extra dark chocolate) to help you feel calm, aid digestion, soothe muscle aches and help you sleep.
Rest to rejuvenate Autumn invites us to sip slowly (and mindfully) on hot cups of herbal teas before a good night’s sleep. As the season sets in, we can all benefit from a little extra sleep. Try to go to bed 30 minutes to an hour earlier than usual to help you feel more rested and energetic in the morning. Opt for lavender, chamomile roman, frankincense and sandalwood essential oils to help you relax. Spray them onto your pillow or diffuse them in your bedroom or living space. If you have trouble sleeping you might also find it
useful to invest in an eye mask and earplugs. While this may sound a little over the top, they can be an effective tonic if you are troubled by insomnia or night waking.
Get active (gently) Autumn is the perfect season for long walks, hikes, cycling, running and swimming. But make sure you don’t take on anything too strenuous, as this is not the time to overwork yourself. Remember: it’s a season of rest. Ideally, add some yoga and breathing exercises into the mix and try to get out of the city whenever you can, as your lungs will benefit from pure air away from pollution. If October offers up some mild, sunny days, grab a friend or the family, pack yourself a picnic and spend a day soaking up some welcome Vitamin D surrounded by nature.
“If October offers up some mild, sunny days, pack yourself a picnic and spend a day soaking up some welcome Vitamin D.”
...and now relax TRY THESE FIVE SIMPLE WAYS TO FEEL HEALTHIER AND ENJOY THE SEASON DIFFUSE ESSENTIAL OILS Diffuse some essential oils in your home: ravintsara is a marvellous antiviral one that boosts the immune system and clears the respiratory system (eucalyptus or pine are also very efficient for this too).
BE A BATHING BEAUTY Have a long, hot soak with Epsom salts and a few drops of sweet smelling essential oils such as jasmine or rose. Just add candles and a good book.
TREAT YOURSELF TO A MASSAGE Book yourself in for a massage. As well as being calming and indulging, massages improve the circulation of fluids within the body (blood and lymph), helping to get rid of toxins and thereby improving your immune system.
TRY A ONE-DAY MONO-DIET A one-day mono-diet can support your digestive system by giving it a break and eliminating toxins. The principle is very simple: you only consume one type of food for a day. You can choose between grapes, apples, carrots, rice or bananas. (Donâ€™t be tempted to try this for longer without taking advice and from a professional nutritionist or dietician.)
MAKE YOUR OWN TONICS Indulge in a little white witchery, it is Halloween after all! Take out your teapot and create your own health-boosting infusions to harness the healing powers of plants. Here are a few ideas... just add boiling water:
* Immune system booster Infuse 3cm of fresh, grated ginger with the juice and zest of a lemon, a pinch of Cayenne pepper and honey to taste.
* Sweet dreams Infuse dried lavender, dried rose petals and either hawthorn berries or dried or fresh hawthorn leaves.
* Happy tummy Infuse fresh mint leaves, lemon balm leaves and cardamom. * Healthy lungs Infuse thyme, eucalyptus leaves and plantain leaves. Infuse each tonic for 5-10 minutes. You can use any of these herbs on their own or get creative and experiment with your own blends. If you find any of the infusions a little bitter for your taste, just add a spoonful of honey.
PAULINE WESTON is a registered naturopath who lives and practices in Bristol, UK. She is fascinated by nature, especially herbal medicine, which she uses in her naturopathy practice. Read her blog at www.soakupthewild.com.
AUTUMN COMFORTS Crisp, clear days, vivid colours and earthy aromas in the airâ€¦ autumn is a time of change and transformation. Take a moment to recharge, soothe and relax into the new season, with a few of these pick-me-ups
Relax with Himalayan bath salts from www.botaniqueworkshop.com 22
Sore muscle salve
Wild Achill candle
Karma spa treatment
You don’t have to be adventurous to feel the benefits of this muscle rub – it’s the perfect post-run balm, but also works wonders on sore shoulders. Fat and the Moon’s Sore Muscle Salve employs the medicinal properties of tobacco, which help to relax muscles and nerves, while cayenne and clove bring warmth, and vetiver essential oil gives it a gorgeously grassy scent.
Find cosiness in your everyday routine by starting a mini self-care ritual when you get home after a busy day. Begin by bathing in the warm, comforting glow of this scented soy candle. Breathe in the relaxing blend of vetivert, patchouli, bluebell and heather, inspired by the raw beauty of Ireland’s Achill Island as summer gives way to autumn.
Enter a world of heady spice and soft skin by indulging in a full-body massage inspired by the Ayurvedic practices of India. Using hot oils, two spa therapists work in harmony, with a stomach massage to soothe emotions and warm coconut water to calm the mind. Karma is exclusive to London Oxford Street, with other treatments at eight Lush Spa UK locations.
£18 from www.thefuturekept.com
£225 from uk.lush.com
Himalayan bath salts
Antioxidant eye cream
Meraki body butter
There are those that soak and those that don’t in this world, but a scoop of these fragrant bath salts under a running tap might just convert sceptical folk to spend half an hour in the tub! Infused with fig, lavender, rosemary and eucalyptus, they’ll fill your bathroom with a relaxing aroma as they dissolve – the perfect pre-bedtime indulgence.
If you’ve been burning the (soy) candle at both ends, then the healing properties of arnica and aloe vera can work wonders for tired eyes and dark circles. This antioxidant-rich eye cream contains pomegranate, probiotics and green tea, as well as rosehip seed oil to aid skin repair. Ideal for those with sensitive skin and thoughtful souls, it’s ethical, vegan and animal friendly, too.
Chilly weather can mean chapped hands and neglected knees, so give dry skin some attention with a generous helping of this body butter from Meraki. This moisturiser contains shea butter and organic olive, sunflower and avocado oils, and the Northern Dawn fragrance provides a pick-me-up for mornings when you’d rather hide under the duvet.
£12.50 from www.botaniqueworkshop.com
£32 from www.earthmothersoulsister.co.uk
£19 from uk.merakishop.dk WWW.CALMMOMENT.COM
How confident are you? IF YOU’RE NOT SURE HOW YOU MEASURE UP, TAKE HARRIET GRIFFEY’S QUIZ TO FIND OUT WHERE YOU SIT ON THE CONFIDENCE STAKES – THEN TURN TO PAGE 26 TO FIND OUT HOW TO QUIETEN YOUR INNER CRITIC
onfidence is feeling emotionally sure, secure and strong – it’s the opposite of feeling fearful, anxious or scared. It’s knowing in your heart that you are safe, capable and talented, and can accomplish, or at least try to accomplish, whatever it is
that you want to do. It’s all part of human nature to feel unsure about new situations, but it’s experiencing them that teaches us how to do things and gain confidence from doing them.
WHEN YOU’RE OUT AND ABOUT, DO YOU GENERALLY FIND OTHER PEOPLE:
DO YOU FEEL THAT YOUR OPINION MATTERS?
A B C D
Very friendly. Approachable. OK – I don’t really notice. Generally unhelpful and sometimes difficult.
AT A WORKPLACE SOCIAL EVENT, DO YOU IMMEDIATELY: A
Breeze up to the nearest person and start talking. Take a deep breath and look for someone you know. Take a quick look and if there’s no one you know, leave. Never go to these events unless it’s with a friend.
“If you’re presenting yourself with confidence, you can pull off pretty much anything.”
Yes. Yes, but not everyone will agree with me. No, no one’s interested. Don’t have an opinion.
WHEN YOU’VE COMPLETED A TASK SUCCESSFULLY, DO YOU THINK: A B
IF YOU TRY SOMETHING NEW AND IT DOESN’T WORK, DO YOU THINK: A B
It was fine. I’ll have another go but maybe try differently. That always happens to me, I’m useless. I won’t try that again.
I knew I could do it. I wasn’t sure, but I thought I probably could. That was easier than I thought. That was a fluke, maybe I got it wrong.
GIVEN A COMPLEX PROBLEM TO SOLVE, DO YOU: A
B C D
Tackle it alone, pretty sure you can work it out. Take a look and then ask for help. Take a look and then give up. Don’t bother to try, it’s too difficult.
HOW TO BE CONFIDENT
Score your answers A = 4 points C = 2 points
B = 3 points D = 1 points
Photography Brooke Cagle
Score between 48 and 36 points
IF YOU MAKE A MISTAKE, DO YOU FEEL: A B C D
Fine, it’s just a mistake. OK, but maybe I’ll try again differently. Terrible – such an idiot! Furious with yourself and can’t let it go.
DO YOU FIND IT HARD TO SAY NO? A B C D
Never. Occasionally. Often. Always.
IF YOUR SPOUSE/PARTNER/ LOVER DOES SOMETHING THAT UPSETS YOU, CAN YOU TELL THEM HOW YOU FEEL? A B C
HOW SUCCESSFUL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE COMPARED TO YOUR PEER GROUP? A B
Generally, I’m more successful. I don’t know, I don’t really make comparisons. Everyone is more successful than me. I’m a complete failure by comparison.
HOW MUCH DO YOU CARE WHAT PEOPLE THINK OF YOU? A
I don’t care at all.
Generally, I only care what those I care about think of me. Some days it matters more than others. I judge everything by what others think of me.
Always. Often. Occasionally. Never.
THE NIGHT BEFORE AN IMPORTANT EXAM/TEST/ INTERVIEW, HOW WELL DO YOU SLEEP? A B
Fine. Fine – I've prepared well and I'm not worried. Awake early, worrying. Awake several times in the night, worrying.
You are generally pretty self-confident and willing to learn from experience, which also helps build confidence. Sometimes, though, if your confidence is too extreme, it could be worth toning down how you express it a little, so you don’t intimidate others less confident than yourself – use your confidence to encourage theirs!
Score between 35 and 24 points Some days, if events aren’t too challenging, your confidence is OK. On other days, you probably need to practise your skills or ‘fake it’ a little. You can also learn from the positive experiences you have and remind yourself about past successes to help you become more confident that things will work out well.
Score between 23 and 12 points Confidence can be something of a struggle and you may need to question some of your self-beliefs about what you can’t do, boosting your confidence by reminding yourself what you can do, and building on that. Take regular opportunities to BE YOUR OWN challenge your negative BEST FRIEND ideas and push yourself You are your own best a little to increase resource. Always focus on your confidence and remember what’s more regularly. positive, and on what you
can do as opposed to what you can’t. Extract from I Want To Be Confident by Harriet Griffey (Hardie Grant, £7.99). Find out more at www.hardiegrant.com
How to be more confident TAKE A MOMENT TO CONSIDER WHAT MIGHT BE GETTING IN THE WAY OF YOUR CONFIDENCE. BECOMING MORE CONFIDENT MIGHT BE EASIER THAN YOU THINK, SAYS HARRIET GRIFFEY
“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” George Eliot
INNER CRITIC Often what stops you can be as simple as that internal, self-critical voice, the one in your head that constantly judges and snipes at you, undermining your confidence. This voice is seldom rooted in reality – how do you know, really, what that stranger in the train carriage thinks of you? Challenge it. That critical voice is sapping your confidence. Question it. What actual evidence do you have for what it’s telling you? In reality, you can have no real idea of what another person thinks, and the look on their face probably has nothing to do with you but comes from their own thoughts, anxieties and preoccupations. Why should you care, anyway? Counter your inner critic with more positive affirmations – those that are as accepting, tolerant and loving of yourself as you would like to be of those around you.
This is akin to self-sabotage, but very different from faking it because it stems from a lack of self-belief. You imagine that you will be somehow found out as an imposter, not really capable of what you say you can do – even though you’re doing it! This comes from an insecure place within and sometimes happens when we’ve made a recent step in progress but our confidence in our ability to do so has not kept pace. Instead of thinking what’s been achieved is good, it’s undermined by the suspicion that we’ll somehow get found out. This is also a voice that the inner critic sometimes uses: identify it for what it is, then ignore it.
HOW TO BE CONFIDENT
“There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anaïs Nin OVERTHINKING Photography rawpixel.com
It’s one thing to be prepared but it can be unhelpful to overthink a situation, to focus on worst-case scenarios to the point where the idea of what could (but probably won’t) happen makes you so anxious, you won’t even try. There’s no point undermining your own confidence by persistently focusing on what can go wrong. Better, instead, to ensure you have done what you can, then “No one can let it go. Remember the times when the make you feel worst didn’t happen? That’s a far more inferior without accurate view of life, so focus on that.
your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt
SELF-SABOTAGE This can be a feature of our inner critic. Sometimes, when we are unconfident about something, we unconsciously do things that either stop us trying, or prove ourselves right. We set ourselves up to fail, and then tell ourselves: "There, I was right, I knew it was impossible." Self-sabotage is an unhelpful strategy because, ultimately, it prevents you from doing things that could be successful and might help enhance your confidence about future efforts.
CATASTROPHISING Imagining the worst might feel like making good preparation for an unforeseen event, but there’s a difference between doing a reasonable risk assessment – "it looks like rain, I’ll take an umbrella" – and assuming that something cataclysmic could happen. This just creates unnecessary anxiety, which, in turn, saps confidence. Imagining a catastrophe around every corner can sometimes come from a place of somewhat bizarre logic or magical thinking where, at a subconscious level, we convince ourselves that by imagining the worst, the imagining of it somehow stops the worst from happening. We even have evidence to prove that imagining the worst works: we thought it might happen, it didn’t happen, so therefore our thinking of it must have stopped it happening. None of which, rationally, is true. The worst didn’t happen because it seldom does. Worrying about something that probably won’t happen is just unhelpful and undermines confidence. Learning from past experience and changing your thinking on this will remove a huge amount of anxiety and you will automatically feel more confident.
MY YOGA LIFE
FIND YOUR FLOW You don’t have to be able to do a wheel on top of a hillside to make yoga part of your life, says Charlene Lim (although it's pretty cool if you can). It’s really about finding a flow through which you can connect mind and body
YOGA ESCAPE Fancy joining Charlene in the idyllic Sardinian hills? She’s running a yoga retreat to the serene Cala Gonone in Oct 2018. Visit www.trikayoga. co.uk for info.
SITTING COMFORTABLY? “Stirum sukham asanam,” taken from the Yoga Sutras, means that your seated posture should be steady and comfortable. Not so easy on a paddleboard!
Even simple post ures require more n mental focus od a paddleboar
MY YOGA LIFE
Yoga is not all about your ability to do complex poses or tricky balances. It’s about listening to yourself and experimenting – even if it means you fall!
YOGA MEANS UNION – THE UNION OF BODY WITH CONSCIOUSNESS AND CONSCIOUSNESS WITH THE SOUL. BKS Iyengar
O “Mixing things up with a new type of yoga is a good way to challenge yourself and to have some fun. Adding yoga to paddleboarding was a wonderful new experience!”
ne of the most widely known definitions of yoga practice, a quote from the Yoga Sutras that formed the yoga we know and love today, is this: “Yoga is the cessation of the mental modifications of the mind.” The first step to embodying this? Get rid of any fears you might have about starting a practice. Yoga is not about being flexible, limber or having a meditative demeanour that you can turn on at will as soon as you arrive on your mat. Yoga is simply a method, that may (or may not) suit you, for finding a flow state of moving, breathing and bringing your mind and body together. And when you start feeling this state, those moments where the mind is clearer
and calmer, and your body is moving with the breath, become a wonderful insight into you. Now, this might sound easy in theory, but in practice it can be a little more tricky. However, don’t be discouraged. Remember that your practice is within your control – it can go as far as you want to take it. Yoga isn’t another activity to add to the list of things to achieve in our busy lives, to push forward, or to strive to prove something in. It is a practice that we can utilise to get to know ourselves better; a way to find calm and peace in the moment that we can carry forward with us into our day. And if you’ve only got 10 minutes? You can still give it a go, even if it’s just in your bed in the morning.
wellbeing Your yoga practice adapts to your needs over time. Fancy being more playful? Try taking your yoga away from dry land!
Top: snaps from a surprise trip to Sardinia with my husband for some R&R Bottom: taking the time to include more restorative yoga into my practice.
BE AS INTERESTED IN WHAT GOES ON INSIDE YOU AS WHAT HAPPENS ON THE OUTSIDE. IF YOU GET THE INSIDE RIGHT, THE OUTSIDE WILL FALL INTO PLACE. Eckhart Tolle There are so many various styles of yoga, I truly believe that each approach will have its place over the course of the ebbs and flows of your life. Practice changes to be slower and more mindful in busy times, perhaps becoming more dynamic and charged when we enter a season of growth and change, then evolving into a more restorative practice when we really need to rest more in life. And at other times, get playful with it and change it up! Allow yourself to be open to new experiences and trying new things. A recent addition to my own yoga practice is doing and teaching yoga on SUPs (stand up paddleboards) in Bristol harbour. Iâ€™ve been on some paddleboard jaunts before, in lakes and seas, but adding yoga to
the experience is a wonderful new feeling. The extra challenge of balance and strength needed in the legs requires much more mental focus than on land! Instead of starting your practice full of fear and worries about how you should look, feel or act, tune into you. Listen to how your body and mind are feeling. Listen to what you need and accept it, then adapt your practice to complement those needs. Ultimately, yoga is about you, not anyone else, so make sure that you get everything you want out of it. Experiment to find what you enjoy, change it up sometimes (you may surprise yourself!), nourish yourself well and enjoy being in the flow, whatever form that may come in. Visit www.facebook.com/charlenetrikayoga
MY YOGA LIFE
FACEBOOK FLOW Head to our Facebook (InTheMomentMag) to find a video of Charleneâ€™s bed yoga. A satisfying stretch first thing will set you up for the rest of the day.
Simple sit-upin-bed yoga Use your pillow to raise your seat in bed. Sit * cross legged in any comfortable seated position. Breathe deeply, feeling like your * entire ribcage is filling with air. * Exhale slowly, matching the length of your inhale. * Breathe for 10 breaths. * Reach arms up, take your time to stretch to the tips of your fingers. * Allow one arm to release to your bed, the other arm reaching over to stretch the side of your body. * Repeat on the other side. * Bring your hands behind your back on the bed, puff your chest out and let your head hang loose. * Bring your hands forward, slide them onto your bed as you let the head hang. * Sit up, close your eyes and breathe for another three breaths.
REKINDLE YOUR FRIENDSHIPS
As the season changes and the weather cools, reconnecting will warm your heart and soul Words: Ali Binns / Illustration: Amyisla Mccombie
eptember can be an unsettling time of year. Or am I the only one that thinks that way? It always seems to me a sad season, as the summer is on its way out and the days shorten. Time can seem to have flown by. There’s a risk that we can find ourselves feeling disconnected after a rush of summer activity – a kind of ‘down to earth with a bump’ feeling. Summer linens are already crumpling on the sale racks, heavy winter clothing is replacing carefree cotton. Often autumn brings a ‘back to the old routine’ way of life. It reminds us, whether we have children or not, of the ‘back to school’ feeling. Years ago, as a craft magazine editor, I used to dread the autumn issues, commissioning all those autumn colours I couldn’t appreciate (brown, orange, rust – gah!). Even now, when autumn comes I have an irresistible urge to avoid autumn colour because I want to zing it up with an injection of lively shades. I’ve been thinking about this time of year and how, as we move into those less light-filled days, we can max up our wellbeing by looking at rekindling friendships and feeling more secure and settled as autumn and winter approach. If we’ve been focused on full-on work, juggling family commitments or focusing on nearby contacts over the summer, then autumn can be a quieter time to relight some fires of neglected friendships. It’s too easy for absent friends to become distant friends. The modern world encourages this distance too. Apart from meeting my therapy clients, my work is quite solitary, so perhaps I notice this more than some. Social media brings its benefits of keeping in touch, but the downside is that online contact has nowhere near the same emotional benefits as meeting with friends in real life. My tip to warm up autumn is to overturn any tendency to hibernate and to reverse that trend by reaching out and
setting dates with friends I’ve missed. Whether we meet for chats in pubs or cafes or a long walk, I can’t say it matters, because what I care about most is that we meet and share stories and ideas. I’m thinking of it as gathering kindling to warm the heart and soul over the colder months. Thinking of friendships, I recently came across this mindfulness-based way to nurture existing and new friendships. I thought I’d share it, as it’s a useful reminder of how we can deepen our relationships with others by being aware of our own impact on the world. You can remember this way of being with the simple acronym of THINK. The letters stand for: true, helpful, inspiring, necessary and kind: all of which are qualities which encourage flourishing friendships. Set yourself a mindfulness task from time to time and reflect on whether you are conscious of your interactions with friends. This task can improve your listening skills, and help you to improve your own self awareness. When we are with friends we haven’t seen in a while, we can easily rush into being excited to talk about everything we’ve done. There will be times that trying out THINK or fully listening will be the greatest friendship gift. Try listening to a friend with mindful attention – this means listening to what they are saying, and observing their face and body for clues to how they are feeling, and refraining from commenting with your own views. When a friend is letting off steam, it can be tempting to jump in with your own perspective, when sometimes just listening is enough. I’m setting myself the goal of contacting five friends and getting dates in the diary. I’m not going to wait for them to contact me – for that’s the quickest way to starve a friendship. I’m going to take control of my social life and experience the benefits of togetherness. Autumn… who knows, I may even get to like it.
ALI BINNS is an accredited cognitive behavioural therapist and mindfulness coach with a private therapy practice in Bath, UK. You can read more from Ali on her blog at www.alibinns.co.uk
Evie f tea
packe lunch d
y r nd
u a l
swi as g i kit ng bill b banauy nas
The mental overload
What is it and why don’t we want it? It’s time to speak up about taking on more than our fair share of thinking, planning and arranging Words: Lottie Storey
Photographuy Image Source Shutterstock
s memes go, this is one to raise a wry smile in both genders: ‘If at first you don’t succeed… Try doing it the way your wife told you!’ Just a bit of fun… right? But what are we really saying here? That men are a bit incompetent? That they’re frustratingly overgrown babies who still need us women to channel them into being functioning adults? That women aren’t satisfied until we have someone to nag? That we’ll end up weary and disengaged but at least the job will get done? Let’s face it, neither party comes out of this well. So just why does this scenario resonate so much, despite us living in an era where the majority of couples now split the household chores reasonably evenly? An explanation: when a man expects his partner to ask him to help when she needs it, positioning her as the project manager and him as an assistant, he’s leaving it up to her to know what needs to be done and when – this is called ‘the mental load’. Even though most men claim that they do their equal share of chores, being the brains behind the operation as well as their tasks actually
leaves women responsible for something closer to 75% of the work. So while, yes, he might put the bins out and she might empty the dishwasher, the chances are she also books the kids’ dentist appointments and pays for school trips and applies for a school place. The mental load. Says Stella*, mum of two: “We are both totally aware that for some reason everything falls on me. I’m training at the moment as well as working full time, plus I do some self-employed work. Yet I still organise every aspect of the kids’ lives. My husband couldn’t tell you when a wedding is coming up or a family birthday. He doesn’t have a clue when the mortgage comes out, what we have warranties for, when the cars are due a service or whose passport expires when. I asked him to file away some bank statements the other day and his reply was ‘where do we do that?’.” This practical and organisational work is permanent and exhausting, yet somehow remains invisible, leaving women doing more than double the amount of household chores than men, according to the UK Office for National Statistics. And any narrowing of this gap isn’t because
Photography Brooke Cagle
around us is another. â€˜Heâ€™s ever so good, isnâ€™t he?â€™ â€˜Youâ€™re lucky â€“ youâ€™ve got a good one!â€™ â€“ many women will recognise these kinds of comments from older generations for whom the unfair gender split was a given. Itâ€™s now up to us both to contest these views. But the main change has to come from within our relationships. Thereâ€™s a certain irony in this next suggestion but itâ€™s up to women to speak up about how the mental load is affecting us and deteriorating our relationships. Our other halves are our companions not guests; partners not helpers â€“ and we may need to tell them! Direct communication is key in redressing this balance. Says blogger Rachel Buchanan (thelittlepip.com), mum of two: â€œMy husband and I are deliberately and consciously both involved in sharing the household load. We have both made a lot of effort but itâ€™s also evolved naturallyâ€Ś We were super aware that both working full-time city jobs and having children meant dual input. I guess we are lucky that he loves to cook, so naturally and willingly takes the lead on that, and I did the washing/cleaning then that evolved to 50/50 on most things once the kids came.â€? Sara*, a full-time teacher whose partner is the primary carer of their nine-year-old son agrees: â€œBreaking gender roles is hard and I often think a womanâ€™s natural need to take care of others extends to taking on a mothering role for our partners. Iâ€™m lucky my partner worked in schools as a mentor and is very aware of how hard I work for the family. He respects that with it comes tiredness and at times I have to prioritise work, so he is on hand to manage the home and family. â€œFor us, itâ€™s about understanding each otherâ€™s needs and stepping outside of clearly defined roles. As the main earner, car and home owner, I manage these along with the household bills and booking holidays. In balance, my partner naturally takes on preparing dinner and cleaning the house; he manages our sonsâ€™ school events, clubs, classes, dentist and doctor, and buys all of his clothes. I have to admit, I donâ€™t know my sonâ€™s shoe size.â€? Such a mutual agreement that both partners
Photography Jazmin Quaynor
men are doing more but because wealthier households outsource these tasks to cleaners, most often to poor immigrant workers who are, yes, often female â€“ not a progressive solution. So, how do we even begin to redress the balance of what is clearly a deeply ingrained cultural norm? Says Abigail*, â€œI canâ€™t really work out why or how, as a feminist who refuses to do more than 50% of household duties out of principle, Iâ€™m still landed with the mental load. Is it because as forward thinking as I reckon I am, Iâ€™m still bound by the expectations of society and the generations that have gone before us?â€? Time to hear it from the male perspective. Mike, 49, says: â€œIf you direct me to do something, YOU SHOULDâ€™VE Iâ€™ll happily do it all day long, ASKED... This is the title French however tedious or dull it is. comic artist, Emma, If I take on finite tasks like has given to her feminist â€˜the holidayâ€™ or â€˜the kitchenâ€™, cartoon (visit english. I break it down into the emmaclit.com) which minutae required to do the depicts the mental load job, thinking things through with unsparing as well as just doing them. But accuracy and wit. itâ€™s definitely the more proactive thinking around everyday, ongoing tasks that is my blind spot. Why? Previous relationships, family set-upsâ€Ś Who knows? Itâ€™s certainly not a lack of love nor inability to multitask and plan (which is my day job). All I know is that having a partner who will accept this set-up and acknowledges that this is a cognitive blind spot, rather than me not caring, will help us get the mental load evenly distributed quicker than just waiting for me to â€˜wise upâ€™ on my own.â€? On paper, things should be changing for the better. Increasing numbers of women are smashing the glass ceiling in the workplace, and dads taking extended paternity leave are on the up. However, it appears that to really shift things from the bottom up, women need to lead this change with men. Both genders raising their children to be treated equally and ensuring expectations for help around the house is one way. Challenging the conventions we see all
Photography Kristopher Roller
â€œThe main change has to come from within our relationships.â€?
â€œGood household decision-making often relies on thinking about your household HEGA=NI#IEHU-OPAN
Discuss the tasks together
Photography Felix Prado
Sometimes just going to the park with the kids is more important PD=JPE@UEJCQL
need to put in equal effort is essential. Identify where the natural split occurs in your relationship in terms of which chores each of you is more inclined to do, weigh them up and agree whatâ€™s fair. Discuss what the tasks are together, draw up a master list and agree a split youâ€™re both happy with, making it clear that responsibility for that task doesnâ€™t end once itâ€™s ticked off but that accountability for everything to do with it stays with that itemâ€™s owner. Communicate when you feel things are going positively, as well as overcommunicating when they arenâ€™t. Importantly, come to terms with the fact that you may need to tolerate your partner doing things in a different way to you. Rachel again: â€œThis has been a big one for me â€“ permitting Martin to do things his way and letting him learn from experience. He gets it. Now he seems to understand my attention to detail and has replicated that. For sports day, I bought the last-minute kit but left him to the plans on the day, and he turned up with a picnic in a cool bag with ice packs and a picnic rug!â€? So is the mental load confined to a male-female dynamic? What about in same sex relationships? New Yorker, Katherine, works full time and is mum to two boys: â€œI constantly feel as though between work and the caring of two small humans I am at my capacity! What feels unique, or at least less predictable about how much mental load I carry, is in being married to a woman it all feels up for debate. There are definitely some life tasks and planning that I fall into more naturally â€“ like feeding all of us â€“ and there are moments of frustration where I wish Rae could read my mind!
Challenge convention Step out of gender defined roles
Make a choice between ‘perfect’ and ‘done’
SOME MEN SUFFER TOO
The mental load can affect men too. Stay at home dad to two girls, John Adams, blogs about his experiences with humility and humour at dadbloguk.com
Like when she asked how much antibiotic to give one of our sons the other night when he had been taking it three times a day for a week. (So what you’re saying is that I’m the one who has done this all week!) But if I am honest there are things I just don’t think about because Rae does. I haven’t had to worry whether we have diapers since our youngest was born (they just appear) and the only reason I see my dear friends is because Rae coordinates a lovely social life for us. “I guess the way I see it, is with two working parents there is plenty of mental load to go around and perhaps the advantage we have experienced in our non-heteronormative relationship is that we have been having these conversations since we got together. It is by no means perfect – but we embrace the process!” Talking, then, is key. As is trust. Trusting your partner to do what needs to be done and accepting his/her decisions. If it doesn’t work, go back to the initial discussion. Realise you have to make a choice between ‘perfect’ (or rather, the way you would have done it) and ‘done’ for the sake of your own wellbeing. Josephine Middleton (slummysinglemummy.com) has this advice: “Taking a step back helps us see that some of the things we worry about could just not get done and it wouldn’t be the end of the world. It’s horribly frustrating and the house is a bit messier than usual, but I figure that I am allowed to just NOT do some things. It’s better than asking my partner to do stuff and then watching and complaining he isn’t doing it right. But what actually is right? It isn’t necessarily my way.” And we’re back to our opening meme again. ‘If at first you don’t succeed…’ How should that cliché end now that we’ve shared the mental load? ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try working together’? As Josephine suggests, that may not be perfect but then what is? Let’s find out. Together. * Some names have been changed
TIPS FOR YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER
* PLAN AHEAD Often the issue isn’t the doing of the task; it’s remembering to do it regularly. So, ask your partner to raise their awareness and plan ahead – check the laundry basket and do a load when it’s needed. Going on holiday? Ensure the laundry’s done in time to pack. * MAKE A NOTE Post-its, a blackboard in the kitchen, a pinboard in the study… if your SO struggles to remember what needs to be done then writing it down is a simple way to take ownership of their tasks.
* GET SMART WITH A PHONE
Your partner can’t ‘not notice’ what needs doing if they create calendar events, alarms and alerts as reminders.
* LEARN THE SKILLS
Some household chores end up as one person’s responsibility because they like doing them (such as cooking) or simply because they know how. If your partner (or you) doesn’t know how to do something for your household, it’s time to share your skills then share the load.
me time with
books to advise, enlighten and inspire mindful living • meditation • creativity gratitude • spirituality • healing
Use code INTHEMOMENT at the checkout for
20% off all books Valid until 21/10/17
Unsent letters WHEN DEALING WITH UNRESOLVED EMOTIONS, SOMETIMES A LETTER THAT NEVER MAKES IT TO THE RECIPIENT CAN BE ALL IT TAKES TO LET GO, SAYS NATALIE LUE
hen I was in my early twenties, I boasted about my ‘foolproof ’ method for dealing with pain and anger – stuff them into my mental self-storage unit and forget (not really) by focusing on a new love interest, on partying or on work, only revisiting when I’d stopped caring. Several years later, I visited a kinesiologist (that’s an acupuncturist without needles) due to a mystery illness that was killing me. I was expecting advice on healing foods but instead found myself being asked about trauma from childhood and adulthood. “Fine,” I replied breezily, when asked how I felt about events like the abandonment by my father, then I quickly feigned an excuse to leave (which she didn’t buy). Within minutes, I broke down from the pent-up grief. I left there exhausted, but lighter.
Along with nutritional instructions, I had homework: to write as many letters as needed to each of my parents and, in fact, anyone who I had grievances with. But, most importantly, they were not to be sent. Anger, like all emotions, is helpful. It is our body’s way of letting us know that we’re experiencing an injustice (or believe that we are) and that an active response is needed. This might mean speaking up or taking action with someone, but it also means checking our perspective and ensuring that we’re not doing ourselves an injustice. Suffering comes from ignoring anger, along with pain that communicates that we feel sad, hurt and in need of self-care. We tell ourselves a crappy story in response to what we’ve experienced and our subsequent choices reinforce it. Suddenly, we find ourselves in a situation long
past its sell-by date or putting up with something despite our discomfort, and hating ourselves for it. Many of us have negative associations with anger due to societal messaging – girls must always be good, kind, sweet, accommodating and other such guff that makes us afraid of looking bad, rude, dramatic or even like a ‘psycho’. Each time we feel angry, we then feel ashamed. Maybe we grew up around people who didn’t have healthy responses to conflict and criticism, who either suppressed anger or seemed to go ballistic (my family are silent treatment on one side and Armageddon on the other), leaving no middle ground and consequently creating fear of our feelings. Maybe only ‘good’ feelings were allowed, or someone else’s took priority, and now that we’ve denied our feelings for so long, people-pleasing seems easier. We can be very judgemental, seeing ourselves as the masterful architects of our own demise. Anger is then treated as a sign of being attacked; of weakness, that we’re a ‘fool’, or that, because someone has responded inadequately to something we wanted, we are somehow inadequate. Feelings aren’t a switchboard, so if we avoid a few, or even just one, it affects them all. That joy we pursue is going to feel muted if we’re telling ourselves that we’re above anger. We can’t neglect our needs, expectations, desires, feelings and opinions with the aim of being seen as ‘pleasing’, and not expect it to take a toll. Buried anger and pain always find their way out, hinting first and, if ignored, sending increasingly hard-to-ignore messages – think resentment, anger eruption(s) or finding it hard to get over something small. They’re all being triggered by conflict and criticism that forces you to confront your feelings and create some boundaries, or you risk your emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health falling into crisis. You might think, “Well, what’s the point in letting rip in a letter if I can’t send it to them?” Um, everything. Writing out your feelings stops the past from holding you hostage. It’s a safe space. Journalling takes you from causing havoc in your body and your life due to buried and unprocessed
feelings and thoughts, to healing you with the self-care that comes from perspective. If you then go on to raise the issue with the person in question, you can stay in your own lane and make your points without being hit by an onslaught of unprocessed feelings that may not even be entirely related to them. You are conscious, aware and present. If you’ve been telling the story of those feelings and events in the same way and feeling increasingly hurt and/or numb, it’s time to put pen to paper. Releasing doesn’t mean that you condone whatever it was that went down. It means that you’re ready to grow, by having some self-compassion for your younger self, and to acknowledge the truth, including the ‘humanness’ of those involved, to liberate yourself from suffering. Start by putting aside at least 20-30 minutes where you can write undisturbed. Settle down with a comfortable pen along with some paper (typing just isn’t as emotive). Begin with “Dear [their name]”, then introduce your reason for writing. It’s best to start with outlining the events, behaviour, or whatever it is that has been on your mind for some time, then to delve deeper into the specifics of why you feel as you do and how you’ve been affected. It’s important to acknowledge your feelings without censorship, which is the beauty of the unsent letter – there are no interruptions. Don’t edit and please don’t be polite; us grown-ups have a habit of rationalising away our feelings while our younger self may feel very differently. Just try writing from the perspective of the age you were when the event(s) in question happened and you will see a difference in your writing. Read the letter out loud a couple of times when done, with as much emotion as you can muster, and then say, “I forgive you. I love you. And I’m sorry”. Either tear up the letter and dispose of it or, log burner permitting, burn it (safely) after reading. As confrontational as it might feel, write as many letters as needed. Twelve years and many letters on, I’m happier and healthier, and unsent letters are one of my most powerful self-care tools. Giving a voice to your anger can, and will, change your life for the better. Turn the page for some helpful templates & ideas...
“Buried anger and pain always find their way out, hinting first and, if ignored, sending increasingly hard-to-ignore messages”
NATALIE LUE has been writing her blog www.baggagereclaim.com for 12 years and is the author of five books aimed at helping people pleasers and overachievers to break unhealthy relationship patterns and harmful habits. Follow her on Insta @natlue
I remember back in ............ , I was ............ years old and ............
I’m writing to you because I feel ............ I wish I could tell you ............ but I know that I can’t/shouldn’t because ............
I’ve been angry with you for the longest time because of ............ I never got over ............
E.g. “I wish I could tell you how hurt and angry I am with you. I know that I can’t and shouldn’t because I have already tried many times and you don’t react in the way that I would like you to, which only leaves me feeling more hurt and angry.” It would also be useful to include examples of those reactions so that you can validate what you know and stop expecting this person to make you the exception to their rule of behaviour. I am feeling ............ I am angry because ............ I am disappointed because ............ I wish I could change ..........[the event that happened], but I accept that I can’t and have learned that ............ I’ve always wished that you’d be ............ but I accept that you’re not this/you’re that ............ and as a result I know ............ When I was a kid I wished that you’d ............ The thing that I’m most angry with you for is ............ I need to let this all out because ............ You could write out the specific events/incidences that have led to you feeling this way: Do you remember that time when ............?
I could never understand why ............ happened. Take each and everything that is bothering you with respect to this person and your relationship with them, inspect it, ask yourself how it changed your perception of you, give it some perspective and make peace with you about it. You’ll find that after you’ve done a few you may not even feel the need to do all of them, because setting things to rights has a domino effect on the others, altering your perspective and perception of you and the events. AND/OR Write about an incident that you’re upset/angry about: What happened? What did you believe as a result? Ask yourself if what you believe as a result of what happened is an absolute, indisputable truth (the strong likelihood is that it isn’t). What did having these beliefs cause you to do? What do you know the truth to be? Who are you really? Who are you planning to be when you change your beliefs? On reflection, what do you now know about these beliefs? What would you do differently, if anything? This tells you how to deal with this person next time and gives you an idea of the types of boundary that you need to have, or how to conduct yourself in future. E.g. “I wish that I had said from the outset that I was annoyed instead of letting you think that I was okay, as you took this as your cue to keep doing it. I gave you the wrong message and assumed you would know it was wrong. In future, I will be clear on what I do and don’t expect, plus, if and when you overstep the line, I will make it clear that you have crossed the line.”
I just keep wishing that I ............
Who did you think they were? When you write about them as they are, who are they? Why didn’t the relationship work? Why were you incompatible? Why were you unhappy? List and acknowledge the reasons.
I hate that I ............
Our relationship didn’t work because ............
If ............ happened again, I would ............
I thought that we had ............ in common, but I have to admit that the fact that we didn’t have ............ in common made this unworkable.
The thing I’ve been giving myself the hardest time over is ............
I would never accept ............ ever again. I’ve learned that ............ I realise that I have the need for ............ and that I cannot ignore this. What could they have done differently? E.g. “You could have acknowledged what I’d said to you and taken an interest, instead of putting me down and laughing, but I realise that this just isn’t you and I’m going to stop wishing for you to be different.” I wish that you’d ............ It’s a shame that you didn’t ............ It still upsets me that you didn’t ............ I don’t understand why you didn’t/couldn’t ............ Have you been denying anything? If so, what is it? Make sure you put down everything. E.g. “I’ve been totally ignoring how awful you are to me. The way you patronise me when I try to tell you something new, the way you laugh at my attempts to better myself, and how you tell a lot of ‘little lies’ and keep changing your story. I continue to want to believe that you’re better than you are, but I have to acknowledge that I can no longer ignore how you’ve been treating me because it’s cruel and disrespectful, plus I quite simply cannot trust you.” It pains me to admit this, but ............ I’ve really not wanted to believe that ............ , but the truth is ............ I’ve been pretending that ........... didn’t happen/matter.
I really liked ............ about you, but I couldn’t continue to ignore that you are ............
HANDY PRINTABLE You can also download and print Natalie’s letter template online at www.calmmoment.com to fill in and provide you with inspiration for your letters.
I really hoped and wanted you to be ............ , but the truth is you’re ............ I was so unhappy in our relationship because ............ I miss you because I thought that you were ............ It hurts that you promised ............ , but you didn’t and instead you ............ I loved you, but I have to admit that in the relationship ............ and this just wasn’t sustainable in the long-term.
' F e e l g o o d ab o u t w h at y o u w ea r. ' Organic & sculptural mix and match daywear made from the kindest of eco fabrics.
# ea r thk ind o r ig ina ls
Join 80,000 people going pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October to help Breast Cancer Care be there for families facing breast cancer. Gather your friends and family for a pink night in, host a bake sale for your colleagues or bring the community together to party in pink. Whether your event is big or small, the money you raise will help Breast Cancer Care to transform the lives of people affected by the disease. @^mrhnk_k^^;b`Ibgddbmmh]ZrZg]rhnee have everything you need to get started.
breastcancercare.org.uk/October Registered charity in England and Wales 1017658 Registered charity in Scotland SC038104
wellbeing CALM UNDER PRESSURE
“You have to stay professional” WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM WOMEN WHOSE DAYS ARE ALL ABOUT STRESSFUL SITUATIONS? HEAD TRAUMA NURSE, MICHELLE JENKINS, TALKS US THROUGH HER HELPFUL HABITS Words: Jo Carnegie
Michelle Jenkins, 39, is an Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Neurosurgery at Cardiff University Hospital. Married to Rob, she My Friday night glass of wine is an important weekly ritual. I always have has two children aged six and four. a glass as soon as the kids are in bed and I know Rob is on his way home “I work in a busy 50-bed neurological ward, from work. It’s a bit of a reward to myself, a way of saying “Another week which is one step down from intensive care. successfully completed”. The kids are still alive and happy and I haven’t We look after patients with hemorrhages, been fired – I deserve something to say well done me! brain tumours and major head injuries. All patients who have life-saving brain surgery also come straight to us. You constantly have to make decisions and think “Experience has on your feet. If a patient suddenly taught me that you have becomes poorly you have to drop everything and go.” to stay professional. If I ever
EXERCISE IS IMPORTANT
IT’S NOT ABOUT ME
find myself beginning to lose sight of that, I instantly remove myself from the situation and take a breather!”
I’ve learnt not to take things personally. Patients with major head injuries can get post-traumatic amnesia, which can make them very aggressive and confused. When someone is shouting at you, or when you are dealing with worried and frustrated relatives, you have to keep at the back of your mind that it’s not about you – it’s the injury or situation that they’re in.
I always run on my day off. In the morning I put my running kit on, drop the kids off at school and go straight for a run afterwards. Exercise is really important to me and I also do a circuit class on a Sunday evening.
IT’S OK TO BE HUMAN
Recently, we had a very poorly patient, a young girl who didn’t seem to be getting better despite us trying everything. After weeks of failed treatment, I broke down while talking to her mother. It was unprofessional, but at the same time I think it was ok to express some emotion – to show that we’re human. Her mum could clearly see how fond we all were of her, and at a time of sadness that was comforting for her. I’m happy to say that the girl has since got better.
GIN AND A CHAT!
I talk to my team. My job is fast-paced and can be stressful, so it’s really important not to become isolated. I rarely talk about work at home and I think that it’s because I can offload to my colleagues. We also socialise outside of work and have started a ‘GIN Club’ (Girls In Neurosurgery) where we all go out for drinks or dinner.
Embrace autumn with a spiced pumpkin latte
g A heart-warmfin read and a un quiz inside
PULL- OUT MAGAZINE
Pick a cosy spot and enjoy a quiet moment with us Every month your 8-page mini magazine, Take a Moment, will include these three lovely things: A soothing drink recipe â€“ hot or cold â€“ for you to make fresh and mindfully. A great read. A story that presents an alternative view on life, to open your mind to a different way of thinking. A fun crossword to stimulate your brain cells and keep everyday distractions at bay for a few moments. So, indulge in a comforting latte, choose a favourite blanket and settle down to treat both body and mind. Enjoy!
Click here to read Take a Moment WWW.CALMMOMENT.COM
Follow the shows on Twitter @thecraftshows or on Facebook @StitchingSewing HobbycraftsShows
Crafts for Christmas GET YOUR CRAFT ON THIS AUTUMN WITH STITCHING, SEWING & HOBBYCRAFTS AND CRAFTS FOR CHRISTMAS
e’ve teamed up with the organisers of Crafts for Christmas and Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts to offer you a 2 for 1 ticket deal to these inspiring shows taking place at SEC, Glasgow on 26-29th October 2017. Crafts for Christmas is the shopping destination for artisan, handcrafted gifts – a great opportunity to get your Christmas shopping done early and wow friends and family with exceptional handmade items. Live music adds to the atmosphere and festive food and drink will bring out your indulgent side! Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts returns this autumn with their inspiring show for craft lovers. Whether you’re into stitching, knitting, dressmaking, papercraft, jewellery making or
beading, the show has tools, kits and inspiration aplenty and features more than 100 exhibitors. Think new product launches and a free programme of on-trend workshops and demonstrations from the industry’s top names. There are some fantastic installations to spark the imagination too – you’ll leave feeling inspired and ready to get creative HOW TO CLAIM YOUR SPECIAL OFFER: To claim your 2 FOR 1 DEAL visit ichfevents.co.uk and use code OV18 at the checkout*. Advance tickets cost: Adults £8, Seniors £7. Children under 16 go free when accompanied by an adult. For more information visit ichfevents.co.uk
*Terms and Conditions : This offer is an online only offer and must be booked in advance. Offer closes at 5pm on 18 September 2017 and is valid for Crafts for Christmas and Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts at SEC, Glasgow, 26-29th October 2017; opening times 10am – 5pm (4.30pm Sunday). Travel to and from the venue is not included in the price.
Photography Sara Tasker
SO PROUD... CAPTURE THE MOMENTS THAT MAKE SPECIAL MEMORIES, FIND YOUR CREATIVE CONFIDENCE AND BROADEN YOUR PERSPECTIVE BY LISTENING TO DIFFERENT VIEWS ON PODCASTS.
GETTING CONNECTED Find Sara Tasker at www.meandorla.co.uk, Sas Petherick over at www.saspetherick.com and Tiffany Han at www.tiffanyhan.com.
SAY IT OUT LOUD Podcasts offer us a fresh way of looking at things, encouraging us to challenge negative ways of thinking. Through them, we can find new ways to be creative and consider options that we've never even dreamed of Words: Yvette Streeter
ylvia Plath once wrote: “The worst enemy to creativity is self doubt.” And, over 60 years later, her observation is more relevant than ever. Whether you’re in awe of others’ photography on Instagram, or wowed by the craft projects posted on Facebook, the simple act of scrolling through your phone can leave you unsure of your own abilities. But surprisingly, the way to gain creative confidence isn’t necessarily to step away from your screen. Instead, it can be learning how to use your phone as a portable self-help tool, via the humble podcast. Podcasts are essentially audio shows that you can download straight to your phone, covering anything and everything from comedy and politics to mindfulness and self-improvement. Entertaining and informing in an instantly accessible way, it’s no surprise that they’re such a fast-growing medium,
especially amongst the creative and wellbeing community. With today’s hectic lifestyles, taking time out to work on self-development often isn’t an option. But by plugging in to podcasts while you’re commuting, cooking dinner or at the gym, you can easily tap into a wealth of confidence-boosting, creative inspiration in a way that doesn’t feel time-consuming or overwhelming. It was recognising this that led photographer, writer and creative coach Sara Tasker – also known as Me and Orla – to start her own podcast, Hashtag Authentic. “I'd been listening to a lot of podcasts during car journeys, and loved how they allowed me to enjoy long-form content again. I’ve rarely got time to read an in-depth article these days, but can happily listen to someone explore a subject in a podcast for 30 minutes.”
“Dreams do come true. But only when you demand it.”
Photography Sarah Deragon
“All social media allows us to connect with others and realise how much we have in common, but there’s something powerful in hearing another human speak it aloud,” says Sara.
For Sara, Hashtag Authentic also gives her the opportunity to discuss certain topics on a deeper level than she can in blog posts. Observing that creatives are “often the quiet ones, struggling with self-doubt,” Sara’s podcasts talk to makers, entrepreneurs and small businesses owners who are figuring out the answers. Covering all areas of creative life, they offer practical strategies and solutions via engaging conversations. “My podcast audience will often say it’s like I’m sat next to them having a chat, which is exactly what I want,” explains Sara. And, it’s easy to see how listening to your peers discussing subjects such as ‘Following your creative instincts’ and ‘Avoiding the comparison trap’ in a friendly tone, connects and inspires confidence more readily than a lengthy blog post would. After featuring on Sara’s ‘Managing self doubt’ episode, coach and mentor Sas Petherick experienced first-hand the huge impact podcasts can have on PLUG IN, people’s lives. In fact, Sas was
Photography Sara Tasker
LISTEN UP Looking for more creative inspiration? Then pop along to our blog where you can find five more of our favourite podcasts.
so overwhelmed by the response from listeners that she decided to launch her own podcast, Courage and Spice (which debuted in September), focusing specifically on self-doubt. A self-confessed 'self-doubt nerd', Sas delved further into this subject as part of her master’s degree in coaching and mentoring. “My dissertation was a qualitative study into the experience of self-doubt, and my coaching practice is all about helping women navigate through it and cultivate self-belief.” Combining her level of expertise in this area with a heartfelt approach, each episode of Courage and Spice
Photography Sara Tasker
'IL=OOEKJ=PA=>KQPDAHLEJCKPDAN?NA=PERAOJ@PDAENKJHEJARKE?A >A?=QOA' GJKSNOPD=J@=HHKBPDADQCA=J@>NEHHE=JP?D=JCAOEP?=J>NEJC O=UO1=N=
THE â€˜SECRET SAUCEâ€™ IS WHEN WE APPLY THE IDEAS WE'VE HEARD TO OUR OWN LIVES AND ACCESS NEW CHOICES.
Photography Sara Tasker
feels like a coaching session in itself. Sas is particularly excited for listeners to hear her interview with Professor Tom Schuller, author of The Paula Principle. â€œSelf-doubt is both a personal experience, and, for women particularly, reinforced and perpetuated by our culture. This episode looks at where these two aspects intersect, exploring why women tend to work below their level of competence.â€? Giving an authoritative, informed viewpoint on why we behave the way we do, podcasts such as Sasâ€™s not only make us realise we arenâ€™t alone, but they also help us understand why we think the way we do. For Sas, podcasts offer fresh ways of looking
at something: "The â€˜secret sauceâ€™ is when we apply the ideas that weâ€™ve heard to our own lives, taking new actions that help us to access new possibilities and choices.â€? Once weâ€™ve opened our minds to those choices, we can also use podcasts to fire up our creativity. Tiffany Han, a writer, speaker and coach, launched her podcast, Raise Your Hand Say Yes, in 2014. Motivating listeners by sharing the stories of successful creatives, her podcast arose from a craving for more inspiring conversations. Returning to work after maternity leave, Tiffany noticed that she kept having amazing conversations with creative friends about their businesses. "I increasingly found myself saying, â€˜I wish I could record this talk and share it with my clients and students.â€™ So, I decided to do just that!â€? One of Tiffanyâ€™s most popular shows
Photography Sas Petherick
â€œWe can expel energy dodging the discomfort of self-doubt (my favourites are LNK?N=OPE>=GEJC=J@,AP ET QPPDANAEO=S=UKQP O=UO1=O.APDANE?G
PODCASTS OPEN UP OUR SOCIAL CIRCLE, GIVING US THE CHANCE TO HEAR FROM PEOPLE OF ALL WALKS OF LIFE.
their pockets! Itâ€™s magical,â€? Tiffany enthuses. In the same way that a counselling session can do the world of good (be it with a professional or a good friend over a glass of wine), so can the right podcast. And, if self-doubt really is the worst enemy of creativity, donâ€™t worry â€“ thereâ€™s a podcast for that, too.
.K@?=OPOPD=PDEPPDA spot can give you =?KJ@AJ?A>KKOP reassurance youâ€™re heading in the right direction and a dose KB=NPEOPE?IKPER=PEKJ Photography Sas Petherick
features Lisa Congdon, an artist and illustrator who didnâ€™t start on her creative career path until her thirties. (Read more from Lisa on page 72.) Discussing passion projects, they talk about the vulnerability of sharing less-than-perfect work, how to get into an experimental mindset and what itâ€™s like to get comfortable with discomfort. â€œEveryone is always curious to hear the backstory behind these projects, and how they can get started with their own,â€? explains Tiffany. â€œAnd, by learning that someone you admire faces the same doubts and fears as you do, you realise that you don't have to let them stop you.â€? Taking inspiration from tales of artistic bravery and creativity is nothing new. After all, as Tiffany points out, â€œstorytelling has always been an important part of our lives.â€? But, what podcasts do is open up our social circle, giving us the opportunity to hear from people at all stages of their career, and from all walks of life. â€œAs smartphones have become ubiquitous, people now have access to millions of stories in
*ABP1=OSKNGOL=?A includes inspirational MQKPAO=J@HQODLH=JPO
The best ways to listen As well as iTunes and Google Play, there are lots of apps that not only play podcasts, but subscribe to your favourites, automatically download and sort new episodes, and include a variety of helpful features. Here are our top picks:
in fork g u l P p tal a pe y w hen exactlneed one yo u
Overcast iOS only, free/in-app purchases Users love the simplicity of this app, finding it easy to navigate. Our favourite feature is the Smart Speed facility, which dynamically shortens silences, intelligently speeding through gaps in the episode, while still making conversations sound natural. You can also create custom playlists and download episodes to listen to at any time.
Pocket Casts Android, £2.99 and iOS, £3.99 Lauded for both its aesthetics and functionality, this arranges your podcasts in a tile format so you can browse by artwork. You can set a running queue for uninterrupted listening and change the playback speed to shorten an episode. Most find between 1x and 1.5x sounds natural, but you can increase it in increments of just 0.1x.
SoundCloud Android and iOS, free/in-app purchase SoundCloud is becoming increasingly popular with independent podcasters, meaning you can often access content you wouldn’t find elsewhere. It's simple to use and has a clear layout. Plus, it lets you share playlists with friends so you can chat about your favourite episodes.
BeyondPod Android only, free/in-app purchases Providing access to podcasts such as CNN and ESPN, one of BeyondPod’s other selling points is it allows you to cast episodes to your TV via Chromecast. It also offers Smart Playlists, so you can add new episodes in a specific order, and set up playlists for the gym, driving and so on.
Photography Sarah Deragon
Player FM Android only, free This app is heavily focused on podcast discovery, so encourages you to favourite the genres you’re interested in. This then generates a list of suggested podcasts to subscribe to, based on your interests. You’ll receive new recommendations every day, as well as having access to standard features such as offline playback.
TREASURE THE MOMENT Venture out with your camera this autumn and let the changing colours of nature inspire you. Capture your moments of happiness â€“ big or small â€“ then display them in unique ways for everyone to cherish
Copper & glass
Honey I shrunk the holiday snaps! Zap your photos to a mere fraction of their size and turn them into retro-style slides, then slot them into place in the Slide Light to create wall art that nobody else in the world will own. You can swap your slides in and out whenever you want, and hang your wall light horizontally or vertically.
These beautiful double-sided glass frames are perfect for showing off your best shots, along with keepsakes, pressed flowers and souvenirs. Head out for a woodland stroll and fill a bag with fronds and foliage in rich seasonal hues, then press them between heavy books and position inside the frames along with photos of autumnal scenes.
If rectangles are a little too run of the mill for your liking, then how about a set of these hexagonal frames? Handmade in the New Forest from ethically sourced FSC certified wood, they come with handy adhesive pads and stick easily to your wall – just upload your snaps and Create Gift Love will deliver them to you, honeycomb-ified!
£200 from www.suck.uk.com
From £10.95 from www.allthingsbrightonbeautiful.co.uk
£25 from www.creategiftlove.co.uk
Umbra Prisma Frames
Retro 24-opening frame
Abstract picture frame
Part art, part science project, these minimalist prismatic frames by Umbra are designed to hold your photos between two panes of glass, so they look like they’re floating in mid air. If you’re forever photographing straight lines and angles, then these wire wonders will fit the bill – they’re like tiny architectural masterpieces for your mantelpiece!
If you’re not the only keen photographer in the house, deciding which of your works of art deserve pride of place on the wall can cause a few creative differences. This frame (or frames) should help you settle the squabble – there are 24 spaces for you to fill! Plus, the vintage style and shades are perfect for those who can’t resist a retro filter.
Who needs a set of fancy filters and effects when you’ve got a photo frame that transforms your picture for you? These beautiful graphic frames, made from etched steel or brass, are inspired by the mathematical sketches of Albrecht Dürer, and are designed to change your perspective, bringing your images to life by giving them a whole new set of exciting angles.
From £10 from www.johnlewis.com
£29.99 from www.grattify.com
Capture moments that make memories As well as the main events, happiness may be found in all the in-between moments. Wherever you find it, one thing is sure, says Rachael Smith – happiness is personal Photography: Rachael Smith
or the last few days, I’ve been carrying my camera around with me, taking photos every time I experience happiness. All the while waiting for some big revelation, an “a-ha moment” of clarity. Hoping to find a deeper understanding of what makes people happy. But as I wait for it, I am realising that maybe the obvious answer has been the right one all along. When I think about what makes me happy, it’s easy to think big picture and visualise myself laying on a sunny beach somewhere exotic reading a good book and enjoying the peace and quiet. But since this is something I have done only once before in my entire life, it is probably a good indication that it is only a picture of happiness when, in fact, real happiness is much less shiny looking, much less obvious, but maybe something much more beautiful. If I’m honest with you, I’d spent a lot of time thinking about happiness before undertaking this challenge. A side effect of growing older, I imagine. As time proves ever fickle and fleeting, my desire to fill as much of it with happy moments grows more and more. “Life’s too short,” always felt like a platitude, a cliché, a throwaway comment used to validate foolishness. But with three young children growing up in a flash before my eyes, it has taken on new meaning.
SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY Happiness doesnâ€™t have to be all sunshine and smiles. Look for it in the quiet and cloudy moments to experience
â€œIf truth be told, happiness is really quite small â€“ it can fit in anywhere.â€™â€™ As a result, I make little space in my life for things that donâ€™t make me happy â€“ cleaning, for example. I do the bare minimum a grown-up with three children can get away with. Luckily, being a minimalist has aided me in my pursuit of doing less housework â€“ less stuff equals less to clean. We often think of happiness as this big thing. Something that we only experience on the weekends or on holiday, or something that other people have a greater share of. But if truth be told, happiness is really quite small â€“ it can fit in anywhere. Itâ€™s not a place we are trying to get to, or a moment in time that we are trying to travel back to, but something that we have the power to feel and experience in almost any moment. Given how much value our society places on happiness, we surprisingly manage to miss it more often than not. Slowing down to find it in my everyday life revealed that to me. I always think Iâ€™m happiest when Iâ€™m on the beach, or exploring in the mountains, doing the big, photo-worthy, shout-it-out on social media moments. And while I am definitely happy in those moments, I also find happiness in the small moments. It makes me happy when my children share a moment of unexpected love with each other. I stop to notice the sweet bond they share, often hidden under their sibling squabbles. I am happy when any one of my children still needs
me and reaches for my hand â€“ a simple gesture growing more infrequent with every passing year. Itâ€™s a small moment of happy I try to drag out as long as possible. I could write endless lists of all the moments of happy that I have experienced while working on this article. Walks on the beach, playing in the ocean, the sun on my face, the rain on my face, the breathtaking landscape of Wales and the fact that I get to call this place home â€“ on and on it could go. But that list is my list, so those things might not make you happy at all. In fact, my list is actually completely irrelevant. One of the most important things we need to learn about happiness is that itâ€™s personal and that one size
â€œChildren donâ€™t go out in search of happiness. Watching the purity of joy with which they experience every day was a revelation. We can learn a lot from their approach, doing more of what makes us happy and finding happiness in everything that we have in front of us.â€?
Clockwise from centre: exploring nature with the children â€“ soaking up their curiosity; the simple joy of holding hands; the wonder of bees; a moment of awe as the light catches on the sand and pebbles; the pleasure of walking among SEH@ KSANOKJ=OQJJU@=U
PHOTOGRAPH YOUR HAPPY
SNAP THE STRESS AWAY Photography is a known stress-buster – taking just a few moments to focus on your subject can lower your heart rate and give you a sense of calm.
doesn’t fit all. Chances are, if you are struggling to find happiness then you might be looking for it in all the wrong places. Maybe someone you know found it in their career, and you went looking for it there too, but it has eluded you. It might just be because that’s not where your happy is. Wake yourself up to the life you have right now, right in front of you, and pay attention to the hundreds of moments of happy it gives you every single day. Sometimes happiness is showing off right in front of us, but sometimes we find ourselves in a place where it seems to be hiding itself. We might struggle to find it every single day, but I promise you that it is there. In the midst of the hardest day of parenting, it can be found in the sound of your child’s laughter. When you’re walking down the same streets you always travel along, it can be found in the beauty and wonder of nature that you’ve never stopped to notice before. It’s there in the in-between moments as well as in the main event. It’s in the moments we take for granted, as well as the glaringly obvious – you just need to look for it.
Cut out these colourful little frames and use them to display some of your favourite moments. Pop them on the wall, carry one in your purse to look at when you need a little lift, or make a mini gift Designed by Matilda Smith
PROJECT TO MAKE
PHOTOGRAPH YOUR HAPPY Follow Rachael’s steps to discover everyday happiness, then remember it with our foldable frames For two days, take your smartphone or camera with you and take a picture whenever you feel a moment of happiness. It could be a photo of your home, your work, your food, your friends, your cup of coffee... it doesn’t matter. The only rule is to be honest with yourself. Don’t feel obliged to take a photo because you think you should be happy, but also don’t skip a photo even if it feels silly. This is a project for you, and you don’t have to share it – unless you want to!
Turn your moments into keepsakes with our frames. Take a scalpel or scissors...
At the end of your two days, put all of your photos together and see what they tell you. What do you appreciate most? Are there lots of photos of some areas of your life but few of others? Maybe the things that make you happy are simpler than you thought, or maybe they point you in a direction that you’ve never considered before. Hopefully, your journey will help you to recognise the happy moments you already have, and inspire you to make even more of them.
Carefully cut around the edges of your favourite frame, then cut out the middle.
Pop your photo into the frame and then fold it closed and stick in place.
Print out your photo frames
‘‘You could make a happy photo collage using some of the images you took. Keep them in a journal or on display around your home in little frames.’’ WWW.CALMMOMENT.COM
REVIEW & INTERVIEW
The H-Spot by Jill Filipovic EVERY ISSUE WE’LL PICK A BRILLIANT BOOK WE THINK YOU’D LOVE TO READ AND WE’LL CHAT WITH THE AUTHOR TO FIND OUT MORE Words: Sarah Ditum
ife, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are the three unalienable rights that the United States Declaration of Independence claimed for all humans. But this noble theory has not always been realised in practice, especially for women. Feminism has forced the claims for life and liberty onto the agenda for women, and now Jill Filipovic wants to draw our attention to the third part with her book The H-Spot. What makes us happy? What stops women from being happier? And why does talking about female pleasure make so many people so uncomfortable? When women are expected to be selfless carers, putting our own happiness first can incite a surprising amount of resistance. Often, the things we’re encouraged to find pleasurable are actually painful or selfdenying: it seems unlikely that a society which really believed women have a right to happiness would claim that waxing is “pampering”, or a low-fat yogurt is a sensual treat. In our work and in our families, in our friendships and in our sex lives, women are supposed to defer our own happiness so that other people can live fulfilled and satisfying lives. What if, suggests Filipovic, we decided it was our turn now? Filipovic is from New York (though she now lives in Nairobi), and her focus is understandably American; her conclusions, however, are universal. Her interviews with women at all stages of their lives and from all backgrounds vividly illustrate the extensive research supporting her argument. When female happiness is taboo, making an argument for it as a right can’t help but be radical, yet the things she highlights as sources of happiness are often reassuringly simple: friendship, a sense of purpose, security. “Now,” she writes, “it’s time we decided that female
“What’s the ultimate goal? It has to be happiness... What are we all doing here if not trying to live happy =J@BQHHHA@HERAO
THE ABILITY TO LIVE A FULL LIFE SURROUNDED BY OTHER WOMEN HAS BEEN SUCH A FORMATIVE PART OF MY OWN LIFE. Q Why is happiness political? A I’ve been writing about feminism and the challenges women face for a solid decade now, and it just felt like we are coming up against the same problems over and over and over. Part of the problem is that we’re operating in a society and a culture and with institutions and systems that have been created for men. But if we are creating our own institutions and norms, what’s the ultimate goal? And it sounds a little bit flippant but I think the answer has to be happiness, because what else is there? What are we all doing here if not trying to live happy and fulfilled lives?
Q But as you write, women haven’t been considered entitled to happiness… A The idea that women should pursue things that feel good, that bring us joy, is very unfeminine – we’re supposed to be people who sacrifice and who give to others, and there’s a real scepticism and anger towards any woman who seems like she’s doing things because they feel good.
Q How did you define happiness? A It’s like that famous Supreme Court case about pornography: “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.” That seems to be how a lot of people feel about happiness, which makes it hard to measure. In the book, I was looking at happiness both as a bigger life project – which is about pursuing passions, knowledge and excellence – and growing as a person: that’s known as the eudemonic tradition definition. But it’s also important to think about what researchers call subjective wellbeing, and what philosophers call the hedonic version of happiness. Positive experiences, things which stimulate the five senses, things that we think about more as pleasure. We have to address both.
Q One little-discussed source of happiness is female friendship. How did writing about your relationships change your feelings about them? A One challenge about talking about women
friends is it can take on one of two themes: backstabbing frenemies, or best friends forever. The reality is more complicated than that. We can talk about romantic relationships in a way that allows for those complications. With friendships there isn’t the same discourse around them and there isn’t the same room for them to be considered impactful, which I think impoverishes the ways in which FIRED UP BY we’re able to talk about our lives. THE H-SPOT? SHARE IT! Inspired by our review? Why not suggest it to your own book club? Let us know what you think at www.facebook.com/ InTheMomentMag
Q If happiness is political, should we try to be happier, or spend time thinking about what makes us unhappy? A You have to do both. In order to make ourselves happier, we have to think how happy are we actually? What is driving down our happiness, and how can we change that? We know certain things, like paid time off for new parents drives up happiness, but it is going to be some trial and error. We do trial and error with political policy all the time – we go back and assess, is this working? How expensive is it? And so it makes sense to me that, ‘How does this seem to be impacting people’s wellbeing and their happiness?’ should be one measure to evaluate public policy.
Q What makes you happy? A The big one is having a job that feels both meaningful and tied into my identity. Getting to wake up every day and do something that I really like doing and I care about, and that I also think and hope impacts the world in some sort of positive way. Living a slightly unconventional life and not making choices according to what you’re supposed to be doing is one key to an interesting and happy life, if not always an easy life. And then the third thing is the degree to which our social connections deeply impact our happiness. The intimacy and the intellectual engagement that they foster is crucial to not just day-to-day happiness but leading an interesting and meaningful life.
FIND YOUR CREATIVE CONFIDENCE
Tired of feeling like you’re faking it? Why it’s time to take ownership and embrace your creativity Words Cath Dean / Illustration Amyisla Mccombie
o matter how big a part creativity plays in my life, I always struggle to describe myself as ‘creative’. The word has never sat easily with me, and makes me feel like I’m somehow pretending, or trying to pass myself off as something I’m not. I used to think this was down to the fact that although I work in a creative industry, and love spending my days surrounded by craft, I’m by no means an expert at any one medium. It’s certainly a feeling that’s familiar to anybody who writes for a living, too! However, the more I hear the many talented people I work with on a daily basis talking about feeling like they’re somehow faking it, the more I realise that I’m not the only one questioning my creative confidence. This concept of ‘faking it’, or imposter syndrome, is increasingly spoken about in the creative community. It’s undoubtedly partly linked to how easy it is to discover the work of wonderfully talented people online – be it artwork, blogs or handmade items – that seem so superior to what we’re putting out there. No wonder we get that worry of ‘am I good enough?’ when comparing our own work. Interestingly enough though, it’s a fear that strikes the talented as often as it does those who dabble in creativity as enthusiastic amateurs. It’s a subject critically-acclaimed and commercially successful US artist Lisa Congdon, who only discovered her talent for painting in her forties, has discussed openly, saying how she fears that other creatives might dismiss her as not being a ‘real artist’ because of her late entry into the world of art. Another highly successful creative blogger, Sara Tasker of Me & Orla fame, has recently devoted an entire podcast to discussing the subject with coach and self-doubt specialist Sas Petherick – you can listen at www.meandorla.co.uk. Hearing so many successful, and outwardly confident, women talk about doubting their own abilities and the validity of owning their creativity, I can’t help wondering if
this lack of self-belief is an inherently female fear. I worry that it’s linked to the way that lots of us have an ingrained tendency to play down compliments about everything from our appearance to our abilities, turning to self-deprecation rather than saying thank you. If we’re downplaying our own creative ventures, perhaps we’re somehow protecting ourselves in case others are dismissive of them? So, how do we overcome these feelings of fraudulence and start taking ownership of our creativity? For me, the first step is to move away from the temptation to compare myself to others, instead focusing on doing something to the best of my abilities. Nothing can match the authenticity that comes from producing something that’s unique to you, plus the joy in creating contributes as much to the value of the end result as any other marker of creativity. I’m also trying to renegotiate my relationship with my inner critic, instead positioning them as a supportive friend. If I asked one of my closest mates for their opinion on something I was working on, I know they’d start by accentuating the positives and discussing what they liked about it before offering some constructive criticism – why is it so hard to do this for ourselves? Rather than dismissing what we’re working on as ‘rubbish’, or simply not worth the effort, it’s hard to underestimate the importance of being kind to ourselves. Start by looking at your efforts objectively, as an outsider would, and you’ll instantly find your self-doubt slipping away. The more I realise how strongly the concept of imposter syndrome resonates with people I hugely admire, the easier it is to see how much energy we waste in questioning ourselves. Why hold back our creativity when we should be harnessing that energy to make something incredible? It’s time we all realised that our creative output is as valid as that of anyone else, and as long as we take joy in it, we’re already on the road to owning it with confidence.
CATH DEAN is editor of Mollie Makes (www.molliemakes.com), and you can find her on Instagram @cathdean85. Turn over to read how artist Lisa Congdon nurtures her creative confidence.
FEELING INSPIRED? Lisa has created a series of online classes from drawing to sketching and painting. Sign up at www. creativebug.com/ instructors/ lisa-congdon
Own your creativity LISA CONGDON IS A HUGELY SUCCESSFUL ARTIST, BUT IT TOOK YEARS BEFORE SHE FOUND THE CONFIDENCE TO CALL HERSELF ONE
rtist Lisa Congdon is best known for her colourful paintings and patterns, intricate line drawings and hand lettering. She’s the author of six colouring books and her books of hand-lettered quotations include the inspiring Whatever You Are, Be a Good One and Fortune Favors the Brave, but it took a long time before she felt able to call herself an artist. “I think it’s especially true for those of us who started writing, or painting, or making things at an older age. We feel like somebody else deserves it
but not us. I started thinking about the fact that it was really unhealthy for me to be feeling that way. So I just one day declared, ‘I’m going to own this.’ I really had a breakthrough moment. It wasn’t like immediately I was confident, it took a lot of practice and reminding myself when I did feel insecure that my work was valid. I don’t think that ever really goes away. But our vulnerability as creative people is actually part of what makes us make good work. And if we had no feelings about a vulnerability, we wouldn’t be able to be creative people.
Photography The Turmeric Cookbook
TRY TURMERIC! DISCOVER DIFFERENT WAYS TO USE IT FOR HEALTH AND WELLBEING; HOW TO EMBRACE THE PROCESS OF HOME IMPROVEMENTS AND MAKE YOUR WORK SPACE A CREATIVE ENVIRONMENT.
CHANGING ROOMS You don't have to own a large, airy office in order to make your workspace an inspiring place to be. Even a small corner can be transformed with a few little additions.
If there’s any place that should inspire new ideas and make you feel empowered, it’s your office, says Moorea Seal
At home in your work space Photography: Marissa Maharaj
oorea Seal has the kind of success many of us dream about; her self-named retail brand offers “beautiful accessories and objects from handmade artists”, both online and in-store in Seattle. Not to mention that she’s the author of several books, including the 52 Lists series and the recent Make Yourself At Home. While Moorea herself recognises that she is a ‘privileged, white, middle class woman’, her story of how she persevered with her vision and adapted her identity is an inspirational read. Her early childhood was spent as Ashley Seal in Lincolnshire, England, where her father was a Church of England priest. Aged six, she was diagnosed with ADD. “That’s where all the lists come from. I had to create systems outside of myself that helped me to organise my life. List-making stabilised me both mentally and emotionally; even today I like to get everything out onto paper. I love a binder with lots of different tabs! It might seem old-fashioned, but it gets me off my computer.” Aged eight, Ashley and her family moved back to the States and she felt the need to re-establish her identity. “I was desperately trying to express my authentic self amid so much confusion and chaos and decided that I needed to change my name. My father told me that my youngest sister
was going to have Moorea as a middle name, after the Tahitian island, and I said, ‘That sounds like me! I want to change my name to Moorea.’ He told me that if I could get everyone at school to call me Moorea by the end of the quarter, then I could change it. When my report card came back for Moorea instead of Ashley, my dad stuck to his word and chose a different name for my sister. “My parents say that, along with my name change, my personality also shifted in subtle but powerful ways. My confidence rose, my belief in what I could achieve skyrocketed, and self-respect and understanding returned. With one grand decision at a young age came the realisation that, even when life feels out of control, I always have the opportunity to make a positive choice.” This positivity can be seen in the choices that Moorea makes today, too. She passionately supports different social and environmental causes, with 7% of all proceeds going to charities (non-profits). “There is a lot of fear and bad feeling in the US (and the world) right now and we want to do something positive. We deeply care about bringing good into the world.” Creating a positive environment in which to work is essential, says Moorea, and over the next few pages, she describes how she creates the right office ‘vibe’ for her and her staff…
living NURTURING PROFESSIONAL GROWTH â€œI probably spend more time in my Seattle storeâ€™s headquarters than anywhere else, including my own home! Because I founded my own company, my office there (which I share with my staff ) is a reflection of who I am and what I care about the most. Whether youâ€™re a badass lady boss whose office is in the top of a skyscraper or an equally creative and determined woman who sets up a workspace in a corner of your guest room or dining room, the office is such an important space in identifying what motivates you and inspires you in your professional pursuits. I think the common struggle of any woman is that we all juggle a lot of hats as we grow older and pursue our goals in work, home life, and creative or artistic endeavors. And remembering to invest in the spaces where we work to fulfill those goals can be a challenge, one that I know well. PINTEREST When decorating my offices WISHLIST Ready to decorate your at my store, I wanted a few office Ă la Moorea? Head things to shine through in to her Pinterest (www. this function-focused space: pinterest.com/mooreaseal) namely, the inspiration for why to find her 'Workspace' I founded an online retail site board with hundreds of and a storefront and the reason ideas for rooms of all why I taught myself jewellery shapes and sizes. making and started a blog. To spark visual inspiration based on what my team and I care about most, I created a gallery of art inspired and designed by women that hangs above our desks. I chose artwork that I had spotted across Pinterest, blogs, and on Etsy to adorn the walls of our 90 percent woman-powered company, and the works themselves celebrate women and our uniqueness â€“ like the quirky boob print by Maja Dlugolecki thatâ€™s an homage to ladies of all shapes and sizes. There is so much pressure for women to look a certain way, particularly in the fashion industry, and to me, this piece of art celebrates the beauty of diversity. Over the years, my office has taken many
+=GAUKQNKB?A OL=?A=NA A?PEKJ of who you are =J@SD=PUKQ?=NA =>KQPPDNKQCD ?=NABQHHUOAHA?PA@ =NPSKNG=J@ LANOKJ=HEJPANEKN =??AOOKNEAO
Photography Marissa Alves
different forms. When I was a live-in nanny I shot the photography for my Etsy shop on the dining room table and spent late nights designing, crafting, and packaging my jewelleryin my small bedroom. I’ve had workstations in garages and basements, the worst one being a windowless, freezing garage that had no overhead light, one outlet, and demanded I wear up to five layers of clothes to stay warm! I’ve set up my home office in dining rooms and rented a small artist’s studio. And the ‘office’ where MooreaSeal.com was launched back in 2013 was in an old kids’ playroom in a community centre!
I LIKE TO INSPIRE MY STAFF TO BE PROUD OF WHAT MAKES THEM DIFFERENT.
However, the one constant that I have kept with me in every ‘office’ is a portrait of my grandmother. Because of all that she did in her lifetime during years when women were treated with far less respect than they are even today, I feel motivated to work as hard as I can in her honour. That picture of her is the constant reminder that, through any hardship, there is always opportunity for change and progress! I graduated college in 2009 with a degree in illustration, but because of the economic recession, I didn’t see any traditional career opportunities open to me, so I was determined to create something for myself, nannying and working on a ton of creative businesses. My whole life I had identified as ‘Moorea who did
everything’ and I found a lot of self-worth in what I could do rather than who I was as a person. In late 2012, I noticed that my Pinterest following had grown to 250,000. I was beyond shocked and confused. Pinterest was the one space online that I was not working extremely hard to build out as part of my creative business. I was simply pinning what I loved and enjoying my time within that space – away from my other work. It was the first time that I could truly see my creative vision, my aesthetic, and my authentic personal style. When my Pinterest following grew to almost a million, I finally gave myself the chance to dream bigger about how I could still use my curatorial skills in a different way. I decided it was time to turn that skill into a new business – my online and physical store. In 2013, I quit almost all of my many other career pursuits and artistic outlets and took a huge risk with my cousin, Reed, and my friend, Jenette, to launch MooreaSeal.com. It was beyond terrifying letting go of all these creative paths to focus entirely on my retail site. I was afraid to lose my ‘Moorea who does everything’ identity, and all the passions that came with it. But I learned something very valuable: just because you are good at something, doesn’t mean that you have to do it. Just because you may have spent years investing in one path doesn’t mean that it’s the right one right now, or that it’s a reflection of your truest self.
REVIEW & INTERVIEW
The H-Spot by Jill Filipovic EVERY ISSUE WE’LL PICK A BRILLIANT BOOK WE THINK YOU’D LOVE TO READ AND WE’LL CHAT WITH THE AUTHOR TO FIND OUT MORE Words: Sarah Ditum
ife, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are the three unalienable rights that the United States Declaration of Independence claimed for all humans. But this noble theory has not always been realised in practice, especially for women. Feminism has forced the claims for life and liberty onto the agenda for women, and now Jill Filipovic wants to draw our attention to the third part with her book The H-Spot. What makes us happy? What stops women from being happier? And why does talking about female pleasure make so many people so uncomfortable? When women are expected to be selfless carers, putting our own happiness first can incite a surprising amount of resistance. Often, the things we’re encouraged to find pleasurable are actually painful or selfdenying: it seems unlikely that a society which really believed women have a right to happiness would claim that waxing is “pampering”, or a low-fat yogurt is a sensual treat. In our work and in our families, in our friendships and in our sex lives, women are supposed to defer our own happiness so that other people can live fulfilled and satisfying lives. What if, suggests Filipovic, we decided it was our turn now? Filipovic is from New York (though she now lives in Nairobi), and her focus is understandably American; her conclusions, however, are universal. Her interviews with women at all stages of their lives and from all backgrounds vividly illustrate the extensive research supporting her argument. When female happiness is taboo, making an argument for it as a right can’t help but be radical, yet the things she highlights as sources of happiness are often reassuringly simple: friendship, a sense of purpose, security. “Now,” she writes, “it’s time we decided that female pleasure isn’t an indulgence or a privilege but a social good.”
MY STILL SPACE We catch up with Jess Warner, blogger at The Only Girl in the House, about how a jewel-toned sofa became a sanctuary in her rumbustious household Words: Caroline Rowland
GO ‘GLOBAL MONOCHROME’ This contemporary ethic look adds a dash of colour and lush plants to finds from far-away places – without straying far from a cool black and white palette.
family home of seven certainly doesn’t sound like somewhere that enjoys much peace and quiet, but surprisingly Jess, an interiors PR manager and author of the aptly named blog The Only Girl in the House (theonlygirlinthehouse.com), says it’s being in the middle of it all that actually relaxes her the most. “To regroup my thoughts and grab five minutes to myself, other than retreating to the bathroom and locking the door, I head to my ‘green sofa of dreams’. It’s in the kitchen, which is the thoroughfare between the rest of house and garden, but I find that this helps me relax. Much like a nervous dog, if I can see everything happening – the comings and goings – I feel more at ease!” Jess’s home is mostly monochrome in colour palette, so the green velvet sofa was a bit of a gamble for her, but one she is thrilled that she took. It’s still surrounded by lots of black and white, but her abundance of house plants TEXTURE RULES merges the indoor space with Look out for soft and their view of the garden, while strokable finds to make adding extra colour. your haven a place of total relaxation. Woven “Not many spaces are sacred fabrics, velvets, sheepskin in our house, so I decided to and tufted fibres all go to town in this area and fill hit the (soft) spot. it with things I love – woven cushions, a soft sheepskin rug, scented candles and inspirational reading. It’s my ‘go slow’ space – I put my phone down, enjoy the things around me and recharge.” Prior to renovating their home, Jess says the
MY STILL SPACE
“Sitting in this space gives me time to reflect, even if it is with the din of five boys squabbling over YouTube!”
Above: Jess surrounds her sofa with a few of her favourite things – carefully curated cushions, maximum greenery, scented candles and inspirational books.
house was quite dark and a maze of rooms, often sapping her creativity and motivation. “I didn’t want to write, I found myself lethargic and a ‘home day’ wasn’t fun, especially with an energetic toddler around.” Now the space uplifts her on a daily basis and the layout is much better for accommodating her large family. Jess works three days a week, but it’s on her ‘home days’ with her youngest, that she relishes her surroundings. “Casper usually wakes from his nap around 2pm, and likes to snuggle while still in a dozy, warm haze – so we retreat to the green sofa for a cuddle. He soaks me up before the big boys come home, and I have a moment to look out on the garden, watch the birds and just be still before chaos reigns again.” This corner of Jess’s kitchen is more than just a cosy retreat for her – it represents the personal journey she has been on in the last four years. She explains: “Six months before I met my
other half, I was a single mum of two boys, working as a cleaner and scraping by on benefits. I was happy but certainly not fulfilled. I then landed the job of my dreams, met my partner (who also had two boys), we had our son Casper together and I started blogging. “The fruits of all that labour culminated in us finishing our house extension and being gifted this sofa by a company in recognition of my writing work – something I could only have dreamed of five years ago. So, sitting in this space gives me time to reflect and remember all the things I’m grateful for, even if it is with the din of five boys squabbling over YouTube!” Managing work, a blog and motherhood is of course challenging and exhausting, but creating a space for ‘me time’ has helped Jess to have balance in her hectic life, one that she says she wouldn’t change for the world.
SOFT SANCTUARY A cosy nest made from snuggly, strokeable fabrics and cushions is the grown up version of a blanket fort â€“ the perfect place to escape to when you need to leave the world (and the weather) behind for just a little while
Wrap up on an autumn walk with a nomad eco blanket from www.thefuturekept.com
Nomad eco blanket
Take a tip from the Swedish and embrace the ‘lagom’ ethos of not too much, not too little – this soft eco lambswool blanket provides just the right level of cosiness for a crisp autumn afternoon. Designed and made by a Swedish family business, this Nordic patterned blanket – woven in black and ivory – is perfect for wrapping up in, whether you’re wandering far and wide into the wilds or just to the kitchen for a cuppa.
No two kantha quilts are the same, which is what makes them so special. Made from soft, repurposed sari cotton, these gorgeous blankets are handmade by women from Basha, a social enterprise that helps victims of sex trafficking in Bangladesh to build new lives. Each reversible quilt has its own vintage character (kantha means ‘patched cloth’), and an embroidered name label to remind you of the artist who made it.
Make a statement with this oversized, snugglier-than-your-average blanket, knitted from super chunky unspun merino that goes by the name of Epic Extreme and comes in a huge range of glorious shades. This gigantic throw arrives in kit form, with 7kg of wool if you go for the largest size, so you’ll have to knit it before you cosy up. You won’t have to wait too long to get comfy, though, as Lulu knits up very quickly on giant 40mm needles!
£69 from www.thefuturekept.com
Super soft throws
Drape it over a sofa, throw it over your lap or spread it out on your bed for an extra layer of warmth when the nights draw in – these luxury throws from Tolly McRae will look inviting wherever your cosy corner might be. Made in the British Isles from merino wool, they’re downy as can be and available in plenty of shades, including Earl Grey and Pear Green, so you’re bound to find the right one for you!
Available in 18 traditional Scottish tartans, these recycled wool blankets are cut to a size that’s perfect for your lap, so they’re designed for wrapping over your knees while you’re settled in your favourite spot or off on a journey. Roll one up and take it to the cinema (everyone will be envious) or keep one under your desk at work, ready for unexpected chills or when you need a little home comfort.
Designed by US artist and graphic designer Marleigh Culver, this woven cotton throw will bring you joy whether you choose to hang it on the wall or just wrap it around you when you’re hanging out. Bold shapes, colourful fringing and an on-trend pastel and monochrome palette make it a unique piece to treasure. These blankets are part of a short run, so snap them up while you can.
£129 from www.tollymcrae.co.uk
£20 from www.tartanblanketco.com
£175 from www.slowdownstudio.com
Manufactured at More Works, Bishops Castle, Shropshire
Comfort & Contentment
STOCKISTS THROUGHOUT THE UK Brochure Line: 01588 650 123 www.clearviewstoves.com
A TWIST ON TURMERIC Youâ€™ve probably heard about the awesome healing powers of turmeric, and that we should all try to include more of this ginger-like root in our diets. But beyond curry, how do we do that? Photography: Issy Croker
ibrant ochre in colour and exotic in its origins, turmeric is, of course, best known as an integral spice in the most delicious of Indian and Asian dishes. But there is so much more to this humble-looking root, a green plant in the ginger family, than simply spicing. Its healing powers are well-documented, as it has been used medicinally throughout the tropics – especially in India and Indonesia where it is grown – for over 4,500 years, appearing in some of the earliest known records of plant medicines. Turmeric plays an important part in Ayurveda, the Indian system of herbal medicine, where it is thought to strengthen and warm the body. It is used specifically to improve the digestion system, to regulate menstruation, relieve the inflammation associated with arthritis and balance the metabolism. It can also be used as an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent for coughs and colds, or on the skin for burns, cuts and bruises. Most recently, research has focused on the anti-cancer properties of curcumin, its main active ingredient. This antioxidant has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects with the potential to lower the risks of heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, stroke and cancer.
STIMULATING SHADE The colour yellow is said to lift your spirits and improve your brain function. Use turmeric to cook yourself happy!
Pass the turmeric Eating more turmeric sounds like a good idea to us, and it’s currently thought that consuming about a teaspoon a day – fresh or ground – is helpful for promoting gut health and general wellness. Traditional ‘golden milks’ and tonics have become increasingly popular, along
Bircher muesli with turmeric honey SERVE YOUR OATS WITH A SPOONFUL OF TURMERIC HONEY, OR TURN INTO A BIRCHER MUESLI WITH SOME CHOPPED FRUIT AND NUTS! METHOD First make the turmeric honey. Heat the coconut oil so that it is in liquid form. Add to a bowl with the honey, turmeric and pepper and combine thoroughly. Transfer to a glass jar and store at room temperature until needed. The night before you serve, mix together the oats, seeds, cinnamon, almond milk, water and vanilla extract in a large bowl and chill in the refrigerator overnight to make the Bircher muesli base. In the morning, grate one of the apples and stir into the oats with the lime juice, yogurt, chopped hazelnuts and 2 tablespoons of the turmeric honey. Slice the remaining apple and, if liked, sauté in the coconut oil. Use to top the Bircher muesli base and finish with a sprinkling of spiced and roasted seeds and a few Thai basil leaves (if using).
Ingredients SERVES 2 For the turmeric honey (Makes 200g) * 50g coconut oil * 150g raw clear honey * 2 tsp ground turmeric * ¼ tsp ground black pepper For the muesli * 100g porridge oats * 1 tbsp flaxseed * 1 tbsp chia seeds * ¼ tsp ground cinnamon * 100ml unsweetened almond milk * 200ml water * A few drops of vanilla extract * 2 apples
* Juice of ½ lime * 2 tbsp natural yogurt * 1 tbsp hazelnuts, roughly
chopped * 2 tbsp turmeric honey, to serve * 1 tsp coconut oil (optional) * Spiced and roasted seeds (optional), to serve * Thai basil leaves (optional), to serve Recipe notes: Soaking oats overnight makes breakfast quick and easy in the morning. You can then simply heat them up with a little extra milk or water.
Some simple prep can turn your morning oats into a warming superfood bowl to kickstart your day.
with turmeric tea. Keep a look out for the fresh root alongside ginger in your local greengrocers, too. While turmeric on its own is quite pungent and bitter (making it perfect for GET THE roasting vegetables, GLOW salad dressings and, of Turmeric face masks course, richly spiced have traditionally been curries and soups) it used the night before big combines beautifully events to brighten skin. with honey, so can be Apply your face mask used in desserts, baking, in the evening and breakfasts and even ice prepare to shine! cream. Plus, used carefully (try not to dye yourself yellow!) it is also a wonderful natural beauty ingredient. Think outside the spice jar and try these three health-boosting recipes, along with our top turmeric tips...
Turmeric and milk face mask DUE TO ITS ANTIBACTERIAL, ANTI-INFLAMMATORY AND ANTIOXIDANT PROPERTIES, TURMERIC CAN BE USED AS A BEAUTY INGREDIENT, TOO METHOD Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined. To use: cleanse your face and, while still a little damp, apply the mask, avoiding the eye area. Relax and allow to dry for about 5 minutes, then rinse off thoroughly with lukewarm water.
Add black pepper
MAKES 1 SMALL POT
Black pepper contains the compound piperine that helps increase absorption of curcumin. It isn’t necessary to always consume turmeric with black pepper, but it has been shown to boost the body’s ability to absorb the beneficial properties.
* * *
Eat it fresh The ground turmeric we are familiar with comes from the ‘fingers’ that grow from the root. The root is cleaned, boiled and then dried at a low temperature before being processed into a powder. Turmeric can also
4 tbsp rice flour 2 tsp organic ground turmeric 6 tbsp milk or yogurt
Recipe notes: Turmeric’s antiseptic and antibacterial
properties are beneficial for acne or blemish-prone skin, while its anti-inflammatory nature makes it helpful for rosacea. It is important to use organic non-dyed turmeric for this recipe.
be eaten raw. Fresh turmeric root is now more readily available TAKE A in supermarkets and delis. SHORTCUT It has a slightly sweeter Need a quick turmeric taste than the powder fix for home or work? and it can be used in a Try Wunder Workshop’s similar way to fresh root Golden Mylk latte blend ginger, grated directly (wunderworkshop.com) into recipes or infused in for an instant hot turmeric treat. oils or in hot water for tea.
When turmeric turns everything yellow
Turmeric maple ice cream THIS IS A CHEAT’S RECIPE, AS YOU DON’T NEED AN ICE CREAM MACHINE TO MAKE IT. IT’S SURPRISING BUT THE TURMERIC REALLY WORKS WITH THE CREAM
The only problem with turmeric is that it can easily discolour your pots and pans, your worktops and even your hands. Lemon juice or white vinegar can remove the colouring. For your skin, try mixing sugar and water and gently scrubbing your hands. This will not only remove that lovely yellow hue, but will also work as a natural exfoliator at the same time.
METHOD Gently heat the maple syrup and turmeric together in a small saucepan for a few minutes, just to infuse the flavours. Put to one side to cool. Put the cream and condensed milk into a large bowl and, using a hand-held electric whisk, beat for 5 minutes or so until the mixture forms soft peaks. Whisk the turmeric-infused maple syrup into the cream and condensed milk mixture, then spoon into a rigid freezer safe container. Freeze overnight. Transfer to the refrigerator for 15–20 minutes before scooping. Serve with the biscuit crumbs scattered on top.
Ingredients MAKES 1 LITRE
* * * * *
30g maple syrup 1 tsp ground turmeric 600ml double cream 397g can condensed milk 4 caramelized biscuits (such as Lotus Biscoff biscuits), crushed into fine crumbs
Recipe notes: If you do have an ice cream machine, then you can use your favourite base recipe and add the maple syrup and turmeric to flavour your ice cream.
This is an edited extract from The Turmeric Cookbook, published by Aster, £10 (www.octopusbooks.co.uk)
EMBRACE THE PROCESS
Accepting that our homes will never be ‘finished’ frees us up to just enjoy the changes Words: Caroline Rowland / Illustration: Amyisla Mccombie
eing a relatively new owner of a doer-upper, I’ve often found myself frustrated with the areas of our home that are not yet ‘done’. When friends and family visit they exclaim: ‘You’ve changed so much already!’, but laying eyes on those horrible bathroom tiles and dated kitchen cabinets on a daily basis does put strain on my desire for aesthetic perfection. Lately though, I’ve started to come to terms with it, with the realisation that our homes are never ‘finished’ – they are constantly changing and shifting. It’s learning to acknowledge this evolution of our surroundings, embracing the process of change that real life brings to our living spaces which can make a difference to our wellbeing. Day to day, it might simply be the acceptance that sometimes our homes are in disarray. Other commitments easily result in cleaning being neglected and the kitchen table becoming a dumping ground. Yet, with a morning free to tackle it, the space is back to one of order and cleanliness. Unless you have masses of time to dedicate to keeping your home spick and span, it is almost impossible to keep an impeccably tidy house – so give yourself a break and realise that attempting perfection is futile! When it comes to renovating or redecoration, rather than desperately striving for the end-point, why not try to relish in the development of the project? With each room we’ve transformed, I’ve documented the changes with my camera, which helps when I need to appreciate how far we’ve come. I’ve also approached each room as a mini interior design project – first spending time on Pinterest, gathering ideas, then scouring the internet for the perfect pieces of furniture, wallpaper or art work, and then building a mood board. (I’ve shared some of these on my blog www.patchworkharmony.co.uk/blog if you are interested.) Not only has this been lots of fun, it’s helped me to
visualise the room before committing to buying items, and once I’m ready to purchase, I can easily locate the links to place my order. I used to hate the next stage – the actual manual labour of decorating, or having tradespeople in the house – and well, I still do a bit, but now I tell myself that soon we will have a beautiful new room to enjoy – it’s just all part of the process. Even if you are not in the throes of renovation or big change in your home, making even small alterations to a space can actually unleash a sense of rejuvenation. You don’t necessarily need to spend any money doing this either – it can be as simple as rearranging the furniture, editing your mantelpiece display or swapping around artwork on the walls. There may be things you’ve fallen out of love with, your personal tastes have simply changed, or perhaps there’s been a life event that requires things to be altered. The arrival of a baby or the moving in of a parent demands the reassignment of rooms or simply making space for another human’s needs. Our homes shift with the seasons too, craving warmth, candlelight and cosy fires in winter and doors flung open, cool bed sheets and natural light in summer. I often enjoy looking back at photographs I’ve taken in my home over the course of a year – the different seasonal flowers and foliage I’ve displayed, the change in the light quality or even candles burning at breakfast time. As with documenting a renovation, I find snapping daily scenes in your home is a lovely way to connect with these shifts and the ever-changing passage of time that affects our spaces. Yes, I will continue my quest to remove most, if not all, signs of previous owners’ décor choices from my home, bringing me much satisfaction, but I will no longer feel frustrated with the progress. I will embrace each day as our home ebbs and flows with life and what it brings.
CAROLINE ROWLAND is the founding editor of interiors and lifestyle publication 91 Magazine (www.91magazine.co.uk). Turn the page to discover Caroline’s renovation projects.
There is no real end- point when creating our homes, so succumbing to selfafflicted pressure to ‘complete’ it will never be beneficial. Instead, celebrate each step, however small.
Work in progress TRANSFORMING YOUR HOME? ENJOY THE JOURNEY, SAYS CAROLINE ROWLAND Updating your home doesn’t have to be a big project. Often it’s the small touches that rejuvenate a room: paint a feature wall in a shade you love or treat yourself to luxurious bedlinen or ‘finds’ that make you happy. The act of changing things highlights the natural evolution of our lives and homes. This can be an exciting or emotional time (a new
baby or parent moving in) and it’s best enjoyed with the recognition that life is being lived and a story is unfolding through this adaptation. Take daily snaps of projects as a reminder of just how much you’ve achieved (even the still-to-do bits!) and use them to document the memorable occasions and precious passing of time played out within these walls, too.
Photography The Scarlet Hotel, Cornwall, UK
GORGEOUS ON THE INSIDE AND OUT: SOOTHING AND STYLISH ESCAPES TO TRY THIS SEASON. PLUS, EXPLORE IKIGAI ON A JAPANESE ISLAND AND WIN A SLOW HOLIDAY THROUGH SPAIN.
Photography Héctor García
FIND YOUR IKIGAI
DISCOVER THE SECRET TO HAPPINESS on a Japane land
The people of Okinawa believe that the path to contentment lies in finding your ikigai. We explore their wisdom and ideas Words: Héctor García & Francesc Miralles / Illustration: Holly McCulloch
e all need a passion, a drive, something that gives meaning to our lives. You may have already found yours. You may be at the start of your journey, enjoying the freedom to find and explore your passion. You may be wondering where your path begins. For the Japanese, this raison d’être, this reason to jump out of bed each morning, is your ‘ikigai’. Ikigai (pronounced ik-ee-guy) translates roughly as ‘the happiness of always being busy’ (that’s busy as in occupied, not busy as in downing a coffee while simultaneously writing a presentation, wrestling a toddler into a pair of socks and running for the bus). What better place to ponder and explore your individual ikigai than the beautiful southern Japanese island of Okinawa – home to some of the world’s longest-living people, for whom finding and living by their ikigai is the key to their long and happy lives. The fifth largest island in Japan, Okinawa’s sandy beaches are surrounded by cobalt blue waters and coral reefs, while its subtropical climate supports a dense forest in the north. But Okinawa is more than just a beautiful island – its uniqueness also lies in the lifestyle and outlook of its people. Whether you are drawn to explore Okinawa and your ikigai as a travel destination or as part of a virtual journey, you’ll see that ikigai and mindfulness have a lot in common. And while there is no magic recipe to finding and living according to your ikigai, the 10 ‘rules’ over the page, distilled from the wisdom of the Okinawans, are a good place to start.
Dan Buettner studies communities with long-living residents in his TED talk. Search for ‘How to live to be 100’ at www.ted.com
This is an edited extract from Ikigai – The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Héctor García and Francesc Miralles (Hutchinson, £12.99) – an inspiring and practical guide to help you find your personal ikigai.
escaping Stay active – don’t ‘retire’ If we give up the things we love doing, and do well, we can lose our purpose in life. That’s why it’s so important to keep doing things of value, making progress, bringing beauty or utility to others, helping out and shaping the world around us, even after our ‘official’ professional activity has ended. There is, in fact, no word in Japanese that means ‘retire’, in the sense of ‘leaving the workforce for good’, like in English.
Take it slow Being in a hurry is inversely proportional to quality of life. As the old saying goes: ‘Walk slowly and you’ll go far.’ When we leave urgency behind, life and time take on new meaning.
Want to eat and drink like an Okinawan? Try the local shikuwasa – a lime-like fruit packed with antioxidants, followed by a cup of nutrition-rich Moringa tea.
Don’t fill your stomach The Japanese concept of ‘hara hachi bu’ means to eat until you are only 80 per cent full. Less is more when it comes to eating for long life, too.
Smile Acknowledge the people around you. It’s okay to recognise the things that aren’t so great, but we should never forget what a privilege it is to be in the here and now in a world full of possibilities.
FIND YOUR IKIGAI
Get in shape for your next birthday Water moves; it is at its best when it flows fresh and doesn’t stagnate. The body you move through life needs a bit of daily maintenance too. A daily walk is better than a high impact work out twice a week.
ART IN ALL ITS FORMS, IS AN IKIGAI THAT CAN BRING HAPPINESS AND PURPOSE TO OUR DAYS. ENJOYING OR CREATING BEAUTY IS FREE, AND SOMETHING ALL HUMANS HAVE ACCESS TO.
Surround yourself with good friends Friends are the best medicine, there for confiding worries over a good chat, sharing stories that brighten your day, getting advice, having fun, dreaming… in other words, living.
Reconnect with nature
Though most people live in cities these days, humans are made to be part of the natural world. We should return to it as often as possible to recharge our batteries.
“At 80 years old I am still a child. When I come to see you at 90, send me away to wait until 100. Let us keep going strong as we get older.” Greatest longevity in Japan declaration, Ogimi Federation of Senior Citizen Clubs
The village of Ogimi, in north Okinawa, is celebrated for the high number of centenarians who live there.
To our ancestors, to nature, to our friends and family, to everything that brightens our days and makes us feel lucky to be alive. Spend a moment every day giving thanks, and watch your stockpile of happiness grow.
Live in the moment
Stop regretting the past and fearing the future. Today is all we have. Make the most of it. Make it worth remembering.
Follow your ikigai
There is a passion inside you, a unique talent that gives meaning to your days and drives you to share the best of yourself until the very end. If you don’t know what your ikigai is yet… your mission is to discover it.
Getting to Okinawa There are direct flights to Okinawa island from Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and South Korea. The main island is also linked by road bridges to some of the smaller islands in the Okinawa archipelago. For more information about travelling to Okinawa, with suggested itineraries, visit the official tourist website at www.visitokinawa.jp
Print out your Ikigai frames
NEW SEASON GOODNESS Whatever adventures are on your wishlist, weâ€™ve got it covered from a sumptuous wrap and smart wheelie, to canvas wash bag and camping hammock to hang in a tranquil spot
Sleep under the stars with a Therm-a-Rest travel hammock from www.alpinetrek.co.uk
Cire waxed canvas bags
Solid shampoo bars
Eagle Creek travel bag
Who knew waxed canvas could look quite this pretty? Alison Vard hand makes all her creations in a little London studio and we especially love her wash bags. Available in different sizes and colours (all dyed with natural ingredients, such as black tea and turmeric), they’re water resistant, sturdy and perfect for storing all your beauty potions in when travelling.
These magical, deliciously-scented bars look like soap but work like shampoo. Just rub on your bonce until you create a lather, then let the bar dry after use. No packaging required equals a good move for the planet. Lush also sell little travel tins that are perfect for popping your bar in for airport security, as you’ll have no pesky liquids to worry about.
This bag can switch from backpack to wheelie case in the blink of an eye. The Eagle Creek’s EC Lync classes as carry-on size for most airlines and is as useful on the runway as it is over rough ground, as you can pop straps on and remove the wheels easily if you want to wear it as a rucksack. Whether you travel by plane, train or automobile, it’s perfect for weekends away.
£35 from www.cireonetsy.etsy.com
£5.75 from www.lush.com
£225 from www.wardow.com
Personalised passport cover
Camping abroad has one major drawback – the hassle of taking a heavy tent on a plane. Switch to a camping hammock instead to save heaps of weight. Swinging from the trees is much comfier than sleeping on the ground, too. Therm-a-Rest’s Slacker makes a brilliant travel hammock, as it stuffs into its own pocket and takes up less room than a sweater.
The perfect present for the globetrotter who has everything (or for showing off your own travel cred at the check-in desk), this beautiful leather passport cover is stamped with a map of the world and can be personalised with your initials. And if you want to look like you’re really with the jet set, nab the matching leather luggage tag too.
Seriously soft, 100% cashmere and woven in a centuries-old mill in Scotland, the Travel Wrap is definitely a bit of posh. These cult favourite scarves may not be cheap but they are very versatile, and work as a cosy blanket on Atlantic-hopping flights and as a stylish wrap on chilly evenings. This smart herringbone number is as cuddly as it looks.
£49.26 from www.alpinetrek.co.uk
£20 from www.notonthehighstreet.com/stabo
£216 from www.thetravelwrapcompany.com WWW.CALMMOMENT.COM 101
WHEN ONE’S COMPANY
Travelling on your own gives you the opportunity to do what you want, when you want Words: Sian Lewis / Illustration: Amyisla Mccombie
appiness is best shared? Rubbish. I’m here to tell you that there’s a serious joy to be found by travelling solo. The first time I packed my bags and got ready to hit the road as a one-woman band I asked my best friend, Lucy – who has always voyaged fearlessly around the world, for advice. She had some sage words. “Don’t think of travelling alone as: ‘Who will I talk to? Will I feel pathetic eating on my own?’ Instead, think of it as completely your own time. Whether it’s three days in a fast-paced city or three weeks in a beachy paradise, you don’t have to work around anyone else. Want to get up at 6am and do sunrise paddleboarding on the Hudson? No whiny boyfriend to cajole out of bed. Want to hide under your duvet from a tropical storm, eat Massaman curry in your PJs and watch Thai reality TV? No ‘I should be out and about’ guilt. You can plan, not plan, or scrap plans and just see where the day takes you.” Voyaging solo gives you the chance to see the world at your own pace, to explore a country or a city exactly as you’d like and to set your own agenda. Spend hours in art galleries, sleep on beaches, trek in jungles, meet new mates or just find yourself, maaan – it’s all about you. At work, at play and at home we are all surrounded by people and immersed in the demands of daily life. Stepping away into the peaceful space of our own heads, just for a little while, can be a deeply calming experience. Solo travel also offers the perfect opportunity to hone a skill that I think is one of the keys to finding happiness – learning to get along with yourself. I only worked this out last winter. I’d spent a week immersed in the bustle of Mexico City, staying with a friend and watching the streets be festooned with strings of colourful paper flags and bright orange marigolds in preparation for the Day of the Dead festival. By the time the festival arrived, I’d left
my friend and travelled alone to the gorgeous colonial city of Oaxaca, where I realised with a slight horror that I had absolutely no one to discover the colourful celebrations with. I had two options. I could sit alone in my hotel room. Or I could join the incredible parades of revellers outside my window, where local women wearing beautifully embroidered huipil tunics, their faces painted as sugar skulls, were dancing over the cobbles to the sound of a brass band. I had a tequila shot for courage, plunged into the fray and discovered that I could have a damn good time with just myself (well, and a crowd of dancing floral skulls) for company. I’m not suggesting you embark on an epic, continenthopping journey to enlightenment, Eat, Pray, Love style – a few days on a ticket for one can be just as effective a tonic. You don’t need to travel far, either. I met a guy recently who was itching to explore somewhere, anywhere, new. He decided to book the cheapest flight he could find online, regardless of where it was headed, and Ryanair’s finest deal (a ticket for just £12) deposited him in Edinburgh, just in time for the fringe festival. He told me he’d spent one of the best weeks of his life going to see whatever weird and wonderful shows his whim dictated and making hosts of new friends in the city’s welcoming hostels and pubs. My own last ticket for one was to Tuscany, where I had an extremely zen week walking in the mountains, wild swimming in fresh cool lakes and reading a trashy novel with a dirt-cheap bottle of red wine (both better travel companions than many of my ex-boyfriends). What I’ve learned, is that the key to happy travelling (besides eating Thai food in your pyjamas) is to be kind to yourself. Do what makes you feel safe, do what makes you feel happy and relish the chance to spend a precious moment content in your own very good company.
Sian Lewis is a freelance travel writer and the editor of The Girl Outdoors (www.thegirloutdoors.co.uk), a blog for anyone in search of a little adventure.
WORTH UP TO
£2,250 to enter visit www.calmmoment.com
A six night Inntravel rail holiday through the heart of Spain EXPLORE THE CLASSICAL CITIES OF OLD CASTILE ON AN INNTRAVEL SELF-GUIDED JOURNEY
We've teamed up with Inntravel to offer you the chance to win one of their SlowMotion journeys – a 6-night, self-guided holiday for two through the heart of Spain by rail – on which you can discover treasures from the Golden Age, admire astonishing art and architecture and sample some of the country’s most delicious food and wine. Tune out and switch off as you take an unhurried journey from one charming hotel to the next, becoming absorbed in everything around you – the local life, people, hospitality and food – and feeling revitalised and refreshed as a result. Flights are included from the UK to Madrid, as are two nights’ accommodation in Segovia, Salamanca and Madrid, plus rail journeys between the three cities. Specially created, self-guided walking tours take in the major sights, as well as some delightful, hidden corners.
This page: the view from Segovia’s old town. Opposite, clockwise from top centre: a tiled shop front in Madrid; a lively market in Salamanca; Salamanca's ornate cathedral; tapas and wine in Madrid.
A SLOW MOTION JOURNEY
...and beautiful Madrid
The journey begins with two nights at an historic townhouse hotel in Segovia, once one of the most illustrious cities on the Iberian Peninsula. This UNESCO-listed cultural gem remains delightfully off the tourist radar. Wander the medieval back streets, gaze upwards at soaring spires and the astonishing Roman aqueduct, and visit the ornate Alcázar where the kingdoms of Castile and Aragon came together, giving birth to 'Spain' itself.
Last comes a two-night stay in Madrid, Spain’s capital since the Golden Age. It’s here that many of Spain’s art treasures have come to rest, but there are also parks, extraordinary food and fascinating working neighbourhoods to enjoy. After dark, stumble upon intricately tiled tapas bars, indulge in traditional chocolate con churros, or take time to simply stroll and soak up the atmosphere. The Madrileños, of course, know how to work hard and play hard, but they also know how to slow down.
...to Salamanca Next, take the train westwards to the great university town of Salamanca, coming to rest for two nights at the Hotel Rector, an oasis of calm on the edge of the historic quarter. Salamanca’s ornate secular and religious buildings are testament to the city’s prestige as a centre of learning. Climb the great bell towers to admire the city skyline, rest in one of the many tranquil cloisters, and pause for tapas in the remarkable Baroque central square, a lively gathering place for old and young alike.
TO ENTER, and for full terms and conditions: visit www.calmmoment.com by 31st October 2017. To find out more about Inntravel and their wide selection of Slow Holidays, visit www.inntravel.co.uk or call their expert team on 01653 617 000.
MIXING STYLE WITH SUSTAINABILITY Booking a short staycation for the winter months is the perfect antidote to the shorter, darker days. Recharge, relax and snuggle up in locations that are as beautiful inside as they are out
Photography: Matt Sellers Stylist: Gigi Sutherland
Words: Caroline Rowland
Nearly everything at The Loma Beach House has been reused or recycled into EJPANEKNOPD=PPPDAEN ‘simple but better’ motto.
ime away with family or friends is precious, isn’t it? A few days of pure relaxation when housework, deadlines and school runs can become a distant memory, when you can soak up special moments and stunning surroundings, when you can simply recharge. At this time of year, a little bit of respite away from home can really prepare you for the busy months ahead, or simply planning a trip for the new year can lighten your mood. You don’t need to go far either – staycations are generally less stressful in terms of travel, not to mention better for the environment. Plus, there is a feel-good factor in knowing that you are supporting the local economy, particularly when you opt for independently-run accommodation. As they say, change is a good as a rest – whether you travel 20 miles or 200, just being in a different environment can really benefit your personal wellbeing and relationships, as well as helping you to discover new areas or to feel content in one you know well. Finding just the right guest house, bed and breakfast, hotel or campsite is imperative to ensuring that your quest for complete R&R is realised, not forgetting that during the colder months, you may want to spend more of your trip indoors. Therefore, opting for a holiday pad with lots of style and charm will provide those creature comforts that a bland hotel room just can’t. Extravagant luxury is not required, but a considered approach to design and sustainability is a must. A location that offers a connection with nature and an appreciation for local produce will make your escape that little bit more mindful. We’ve gathered together five top spots to consider when planning a restful break in the UK. These locations guarantee to match your values, while also offering style, comfort and the chance to truly unwind and enjoy some mindful moments.
Photography Martin Kaufmann
Killiehuntly Farmhouse sets the cosy Danish hygge aesthetic against Scotland’s breathtaking landscapes
KILLIEHUNTLY FARMHOUSE Scotland www.killiehuntly.scot
When you think of a traditional Scottish farmhouse, contemporary Scandinavian interior design is probably not quite what you are visualising. Yet Anne and Anders, owners of Killiehuntly Farmhouse, have managed to perfectly merge Danish design with Scottish heritage in the old stone building they began renovating back in 2011. They’ve created an effortlessly stylish space, using quality natural materials and carefully-selected furniture made by Danish designers and Scottish craftspeople. Nestled in the breathtaking landscape of the Cairngorms National Park, the house is understated yet elegant, contrasting dramatically with the ruggedness of the Highlands that surround it. Anne explains that her wish was to create a place with a feminine touch. “Scotland has always been rough and masculine. Whiskey. Hunting. Wild nature. I think there is an unexplored, interesting relationship between a beautiful Scottish estate and well-made Danish interiors, furniture and artwork.” Food served at the farmhouse is either fresh from their own kitchen garden and farm, or sourced locally, ensuring wholesome, in-season meals that will fill you up after a brisk hike in the heather-clad hills. Follow this with time by the fire, or retreat to your linen-covered bed with a good book, for pure relaxation.
Photography Abi Dare
Photography: Matt Sellers Stylist: Gigi Sutherland
LOMA BEACH HOUSE
THE WELSH HOUSE
‘Simple but better’ is the motto of Loma Beach House, which is situated just behind the dunes of Camber Sands beach on the Sussex coast. Former fashion stylist Gigi and her partner, Matt, transformed the fifties property from uninspiring boxy rooms to an open plan, airy space, where light and conversation flow naturally. The house is run on 100% renewable energy, and Gigi tells of how they saved and reused a lot of what was already there. “Nearly everything we have used again. Even the massive carpenter’s bench left in the garage was sanded down, given some love and is now our fabulous kitchen island.” The couple’s goal was to create a space that encouraged spending time together. Matt made a 14-seat table out of scaffold boards, perfect for sociable gatherings, and the doors open out onto a contained, decked garden where children can play safely. When you are ready to put your feet up, you can enjoy a film on the huge projector screen, or simply cosy up indoors by the wood-burning stove. This coastline has lots to explore – the sandy shores of Camber, the unique landscape of Dungeness and the quaint town of Rye, where you can stock up on local produce before returning to the beach house to cook and relax in comfort and style.
If it’s a digital detox you need, retreating to The Welsh House might just be the answer. These self-catering cottages, located in rural Carmarthenshire, are run by Dorian Bowen, a former chartered surveyor, who left his London career behind in pursuit of a slower, simpler life. With no Wi-Fi or TV, the cottages force guests to switch off from work, social media and the digital world. Writer and photographer Abi Dare stayed in Bryncyn cottage after a hectic couple of months had left her frazzled and drained. After three days, she and her partner left feeling relaxed and refreshed. “It was partly because of the enforced digital detox, but it was also due to the soothing and serene atmosphere that Dorian TURN IT OFF has created.” Lots of us spend He has opted for a modern rustic aesthetic, more time on our digital devices than we saying that he “loves to unearth artisans who do asleep. Get away, use time-honoured and traditional methods ditch the mobile and to produce contemporary items that mix catch up on those perfectly with re-invented pieces.” all-important zzzs. A stay here reminds you to embrace the passage of time, relish in fleeting moments that nature provides and treasure time with loved ones.
Photography The Scarlet
THE SCARLET Cornwall www.scarlethotel.co.uk
If a child-free break sounds like what you need, then The Scarlet, a ‘grown-ups only’ hotel on Cornwall’s north coast, is a great option. The eco-hotel boasts a list of 101 different ways in which it is sustainable, from its natural, reed-filtered outdoor pool right down to its pencils – which are made from recycled newspaper. Samantha Beckett, a photographer and retoucher, spent three nights at the hotel after an afternoon spent sipping hot chocolate on their deck compelled her to make a booking. She explains, “The pull for me was the eco ethos of the hotel and its setting. To be able to sit in the wood-fired hot tub, drinking a glass of bubbles whilst watching the sunset was pretty unique.” During her stay, she was impressed by the hotel’s commitment to sustainability. “I loved learning about the lengths they had gone to, not only to build the hotel, but also to set up the day-to-day running of the hotel with the environment in mind. Local suppliers provide everything here, from the soup to the wine!” For the ultimate in relaxation, their spa treatments are inspired by the principles of Ayurveda, an ancient Indian approach to wellbeing, with many holistic treatments and rituals to indulge in during your stay.
Take time for yourself at The Scarlet, knowing that you’re also taking care of the planet.
Photography Laura Pashby
BERRIDON FARM Devon www.berridonfarm.co.uk
If something a little more ‘back to basics’ appeals, then the cabins at Berridon Farm offer this in a stylish and comfortable, yet sustainable way. When creating the North Devon farm, Jenny and David Hill worked with local craftspeople and suppliers. “This included a sailmaker who created the canvas using traditional techniques to enable guests to roll up the front on sunny days. We have always taken a local approach – not only did we source timber from a local company to build the cabins, but we also buy our kindling and wood for the cabin’s wood burners from a tree surgeon who cuts the logs into just the right size for us.” Inside, the cabins are furnished with vintage finds, and as there is no electricity or Wi-Fi, visitors can truly experience simple, outdoor living. Jenny comments, “I have lost count of the parents that tell me the highlight of their trip is seeing their children playing outside. With no gadgets around, they rediscover the joy of tyre swings and making dens in the wood.” Laura Pashby, a writer and photographer, takes her three boys to the farm. “We love collecting fresh eggs from the farm’s chickens and boiling them for breakfast on the wood-burning stove. Waking up on the edge of a misty field in the golden dawn light is the most uplifting way to start the day.”
Lovely things to do while you’re away WILD SWIMMING
There are many rivers and lakes around the UK that are suitable for an invigorating dip. Discover lots of locations on www.wildswimming.co.uk, as well as tips for keeping safe. FOOD FORAGING
Guided foraging walks are popping up all around the country, where you can learn about foraging safely, how to correctly identify and harvest plants and then how to cook with them. Find out more at www.wildfooduk.com, or search online for the area you’re visiting. BUILD A DEN
If you have kids to entertain in a rural environment, then spend an afternoon in the woods building a den. Always use loose branches and twigs, never cut from trees or bushes. Check out www.woodlandtrust.org.uk to discover more woodland activities.
MAKE AND FLY A KITE
At this time of year, Britain’s beaches are the perfect place for flying a kite. A good sea breeze is all you need to get up and away! To add to the fun, why not make your own kite before heading out into the elements? There are lots of DIY tutorials to be found online – make sure to research it before you go if you are staying somewhere without Wi-Fi! COASTEERING
If you fancy a more exhilarating experience during your holiday then try finding a local coasteering session. You’ll get to spend the day jumping off cliffs and exploring caves, all while discovering all kinds of coastal wildlife and experiencing stunning views. There are lots of centres offering this activity around the UK’s coastline, so check what is available where you are staying.
Image credit: Catherine Heygate
“Get the balance ‘just right’ and be fulfilled” LOCKED OUT OF HER HOUSE, ELISABETH CARLSSON REALISED SHE WAS LOCKED INTO A HECTIC LIFESTYLE THAT SHE COULDN’T SUSTAIN
y son was crying on the floor outside our locked front door and my daughter was throwing a tantrum. I was hungry, exhausted and needing the toilet, so it was not a good time to discover that my bag, keys and phone were missing. It had been a manic day at work, I’d had to run for the train, I’d collected the kids at nursery and then taken them swimming. Being unable to get into my house was the last straw. It was right at that moment that it hit me – as I was struggling to fit everything in, life was passing by. Every moment passed was a moment that I couldn’t get back. I had to get off that treadmill. We all know about mindfulness, but who actually has time, right? However, I knew that unless I changed my life and focused on the things that really mattered, I would just carry on regardless.
I also knew I needed more time to understand the direction that my family and I wanted to take. We need unscheduled and quiet moments to find focus in our lives. Swedes like to say that: “First you work Lagom, then you take a break”. Lagom is a great Swedish word meaning ‘just right’ and can be applied to our personal lives, helping us to live in a more fulfilled and happy way. Being pushed to the edge, I decided to leave my job and focus on my studies to become a nutritional therapist. I’ll admit that it hasn’t always been easy and there have been moments when I’ve longed for my safe office job and a steady salary. However, I just had to remind myself of the time I was locked out and at the end of my tether, desperate for a better work-life balance, to know that it was all worth it.
ELISABETH CARLSSON is a Swede who now lives in London with her husband, her two children and her cat. Her new book, The Lagom Life: A Swedish way of living (Ryland Peters & Small, £9.99) is out now. Keep up with Elisabeth on Instagram @ec.nutrition
Positivity is a choice. Train your mind to see the good in everything. HERE'S TO A FUN-FILLED, BEAUTIFUL MONTH AHEAD. ENJOY THE CHANGE OF SEASONS. SEE YOU AGAIN SOON: ISSUE 5 IS ON SALE THURSDAY 19TH OCTOBER.
“Outshine the rain and bring some summer fun into these colder seasons. Add a dash of colour to the greyest of days with rainwear that isn’t just essential winter style, but a defence against winter. Beat the grey this season with an unbeatable blend of function and form in our new Autumn range.”
Let’s Go Somewhere Stores nationwide cotswoldoutdoor.com
Get comfy, feel your body relax then savour a warming drink for a few mindful moments. Look inside for your recipe, short story and puzzle.
La Cucina WHEN ELIZABETH MEREDITH MOVES TO TUSCANY AND TAKES COOKING LESSONS FROM A LOCAL WOMAN, HER ATTEMPTS AT FRIENDSHIP ARE MET WITH STONY SILENCE. BY ALEX WILSON
I said, but Signora Antonelli merely inclined her head, indicating for me to sit at the table before muttering “Scusi” and leaving the room. The cookery lessons had been Carlo’s suggestion. Peter and I had spent holidays in Tuscany for years. Our love affair with the country was consummated when we stumbled across the small ruin of a house in the hills near Barga. On an impulse we’d bought it, spending the expected inheritance from my mother. Our project was to renovate Casa Massimo, however it needed a lot of work to make it habitable. Carlo was a godsend, not only helping us find builders who wouldn’t rip off two ex-pats who only spoke phrasebook Italian, but also for being a fount of knowledge on such matters as when the truffle season began, and where to buy the best wine. The building work was expensive and, as Peter kept reminding me, while we were still paying the enormous fees for mother’s nursing home, our future inheritance was dwindling rapidly. “It’s not that I wish your mother would… you know,” he pulled a face, “but I doubt if she will even notice you’ve been gone next time you visit. I suppose that’s an advantage in some ways.” One evening over a delicious meal in
arlo was meant to have told his mother what time I was coming, but when she opened the door of the Villa Conti, it appeared I had caught her unawares. “Buon Giorno, Signora Antonelli,” I said, offering my hand, “Elizabeth Meredith, I hope you are expecting me?” She was certainly not what I was expecting, dressed all in black and tall and angular, unlike her rounded cheerful son, Carlo. There was a moment’s pause, but no welcoming smile before she gestured for me to follow her down a dark hallway, where she melted into the shadows. Just as my eyes were growing accustomed to the gloom, she opened a door into a large kitchen. Bunches of sage, rosemary and basil hung from hooks in the whitewashed ceiling, and a cast iron pot simmered on the stove. A long, narrow wooden table stood in the middle of the flagstone floor, and tall windows opened out onto a terrace, where tubs of scarlet geraniums blazed and bougainvillea tumbled down stone steps to the terraces below. I clapped my hands in childish delight. “What a fabulous kitchen! This is exactly what I would love at the Casa Massimo; at the moment it’s just a pile of bricks,”
TAKE A MOMENT I proceeded to make a sticky mess. “Sorry, I’m not very good with my hands,” I said, and unaccountably felt my eyes prick with tears. Silently she rolled up her sleeves and plunged her hands into the mix. After a few minutes pounding and kneading, she produced a smooth, golden ball of dough. When Signora Antonelli finished her kneading, her black dress was still pristine, but my blue sundress was streaked with flour. Standing at the stove, the signora stirred something in a small pan, and soon the sharp smell of garlic and lemon permeated the kitchen. I helped roll out the pasta before cutting it into thick ribbons. Standing side by side, we watched it sink and then rise again in the boiling water. Taking a large ladle from a hook, she spooned some onto a white plate and ladled a spoonful of the creamy, lemon sauce over it before placed it in front of me. “Pappardelle al limone,” she pronounced. I smiled at her, “Bellissimo,” I said, but she sat in stony-faced silence at the other end of the table while I ate. “Perhaps she doesn’t understand English?” Peter suggested. “She understands what I say alright. I know she does.” “Then maybe she just doesn’t like Brits darling. You can’t blame her, we are the invaders.” “I am determined to get her to speak, one way or another.” “Well you usually get your own way,” said Peter. “That’s not true, but I do want to know how to make gnocchi. Celia and Rupert will be mad with jealousy.”
the local trattoria, where the speciality was roasted meat over an open fire, I’d mentioned to Carlo that I was keen to learn Italian cooking. “Real Italian cooking, to impress my friends back home.” “My mother is best cook in Italy, she will teach you!” said Carlo. So here I was, alone in his mother’s kitchen, the only sound that of a fly buzzing, trapped on a sheet of brown sticky paper hanging from the ceiling. Where had Signora Antonelli gone? Hearing a noise outside, I looked down into the garden and was surprised to see her with Carlo. His head was bowed, and she was waving her arms around in the air gesturing wildly. Were they having a quarrel about me? As I stared down at them Carlo looked up, and I drew back embarrassed. ‘Really, this is absurd,’ I thought, ‘I’m not a child, and if she doesn’t want to teach me how to cook, she should tell me herself.’ An unexpected wave of homesickness swept over me, and for the first time I thought about my mother’s pale face at her bedroom window as we drove away from the nursing home. “She’ll settle when you’ve gone,” the nurse had said. Carlo’s mother re-appeared holding a bag of flour. There was no explanation of where she’d been, and no smile. Opening the flour bag, she tipped some out onto the table, heaping it into a mound and making a hollow in the centre. Taking an egg from a green glazed bowl, she cracked it into the hollow. “Pappardelle,” she said, and with small deft movements began to fold the flour into the egg before gesturing I should copy her. “Like this?” I asked. She shrugged as
SHORT STORY All my attempts to make friends with Signora Antonelli were met with a cool, but polite formality. “It is difficult for my mother,” Carlo began when I mentioned her reticence. I suspected he was about to say more, but Peter interrupted us. “What’s my wife up to Carlo?” he said, smiling. “She’s a manipulator, be careful.” “What is manipulator?” Carlo looked puzzled. “Never mind,” I said crossly. “It’s nothing you need to know.” The colours of the landscape were changing as autumn approached. I loved the burnt sienna and soft olive greens of the hills. It was still warm, and the air smelt of wood smoke and basil; but I was missing the friends who had descended like larks when we’d first arrived. The holiday season was over, and they had gone back to their centrally heated houses in England. My cookery lessons were coming to an end too. I thought carefully about what to give Signora Antonelli, and decided on a silver photo frame I’d bought in Lucca. We were to cook a rabbit on our last lesson. Its bony carcass lay on the table next to a pile of velvety brown mushrooms. Outside, someone was burning wood at the bottom of the garden, and plumes of smoke rose into the blue air. I suddenly felt sad that I hadn’t been able to break through whatever barrier there was between Signora Antonelli, and me. “I shall miss this, miss you,” I blurted out, surprising myself. I meant it. For all her formality, there was a stillness and consistency about Signora Antonella that affected me. She looked at me, and for the
Peter looked at me over the rim of his glasses. “That’s the spirit,” he said. I appeared at the villa for my next lesson armed with a packet of shortbread. “My mother’s recipe,” I lied, but she merely nodded politely. Chopping the onion she’d handed me, I said, “You must be terribly proud of Carlo. I don’t have any children and my mother is…” I paused, “she does not remember things anymore.” Signora Antonelli was standing with her back to me at the stove. I could hear something spitting in the pan, and the smell of bacon. She turned to look at me, a wooden spoon in her hand. “Where mama?” she asked frowning. “In England being looked after,” I replied brightly, “we hope Carlo will visit us there, maybe you too?” “I not travel,” she announced stiffly, and turned back to the stove. I felt a mild triumph at getting her to talk, but it was the only thing I got out of her all morning. We made gnocchi that day, and after we’d cooked and mashed the potato and added an egg and flour, she stood next to me while I tried to copy her movements as she turned the paste into tiny crescents. I pressed my thumb down to make a ridge in the little shapes, however I only managed to squash them. When the gnocchi were cooked, and she’d spooned tomato sauce over them, she placed a dish in front of me. “Gnocchi con salsa di pomodora,” she pronounced. “Won’t you join me, Signora?” I asked, but she didn’t reply, and as usual we sat in silence while I ate.
SHORT STORY “Oh,” I said startled, “you mean he was a prisoner of war? I am so sorry.” Images of thin, dark men, their faces pressed against wire fences, flashed across my mind. “Did he get back safely?” “No, never. He meet English lady. My mother,” she placed one hand on her heart. “Broken. She never forget. I miss you, understand? Mi manca il suo.” She sat down next to me and closed her eyes as though in prayer. Through the window, I watched smoke evaporating into the air. “I miss my mother too,” I blurted out. “She is alive but it feels as though she is dead.” I hadn’t been able to admit it to myself but I had lost her. She had gone into a realm where I had no place, where for all I knew she had no memories; a place where time and events were stripped of meaning and she couldn’t even remember her only daughter. Signora Antonelli looked at me and patted my hand lightly. We sat in silence for some time, watching the sky darken until the first chill, autumn wind made us shiver, and she got up to close the window.
first time I felt something soften. Fumbling in my bag, I handed her my gift. She opened it carefully, smoothing out the wrapping paper in the same way I remembered my mother doing when I was a child. “Bellissimo,” she said, with a faint smile. “Perhaps you can put a photo of Carlo in it,” I said, but she turned to open a drawer in the dresser and took out a red leather
“She opened it to show me a photograph of a young woman with large, sad eyes.” album with a faded cover. She opened it and tenderly lifted up the sheet of thin tissue to show me a photograph of a young woman with large, sad eyes. “Mama,” she said. “Your mother? She’s beautiful. Carlo has her eyes, and your father, do you have a photo of him?” She shut the album abruptly and turned away. ‘I have said something wrong,’ I thought, ‘oh what a bumbler I am.’ Peter was always telling me how tactless I was. “My father no good,” Signora Antonelli said, finally. “He,” she made a scuttling movement with her hands across the table. “Left?” I ventured. She nodded. “When I am baby, he in Scotland. He not allowed come to Italy.”
ALEX WILSON Alex has been a cook, antiques dealer and psychotherapist. She runs creative writing groups and literary events in Bath, with a friend. Alex has won prizes for her stories and has been published in magazines and anthologies. writingeventsbath.com
TAKE A MOMENT
Focus on a fun quiz! ACROSS 1 Fantastic (8) 6 Studying done by a child (10) 13 --- Breath You Take, 1983 hit by The Police (5) 14 Decorate with stitching patterns (9) 15 Style of yoga, also called ‘Agama’ (5) 16 The ---, Homer’s epic poem (7) 18 --- Armstrong, Pointless presenter (9) 19 Beast of burden (3) 20 Happen again (5) 22 Thin, crinkled paper used for decorations (5) 24 Indian state, popular in the 90s (3) 26 --- road, chocolate and marshmallow treat (5) 28 Album for preserving pictures and cuttings (9) 30 Farmhouse storage stove and cooker (3) 31 Helps (7) 32 Line where two pieces of fabric are joined (4) 33 Lawn covering (4) 34 --- Leith, The Great British Bake Off judge (4) 36 --- Moon, yoga pose (4) 41 --- Ballas, new Strictly Come Dancing judge (7) 42 Cow’s noise (3) 43 Person-to-person means of spreading rumours (9) 45 Disagreement (3-2)
46 Large, flightless Australian bird (3) 47 --- Shades Of Grey, E.L. James bestseller (5) 49 Kingdom (5) 50 Spoken musical form (3) 52 Historical Jewish language (7) 55 Key ingredient of Gazpacho (3,6) 58 Latin-American dance (5) 59 Person or thing used in an experiment (6,3) 60 Savour (5) 61 Shades (10) 62 One-to-one meeting regarding study (8)
DOWN 2 Nail file, --- board (5) 3 The Ministry of Utmost Happiness author, Arundhati --- (3) 4 Spicy (5) 5 Leafy vegetable, rich in antioxidants (7) 6 Baked product, served with cream and jam (5) 7 Ornamental plant with enormous flowerheads (9) 8 Rowed, paddled (5) 9 Aquatic plant and green superfood (10) 10 Minty yoghurt condiment, eaten with curry (5) 11 An easy life (3,2,5) 12 Reflective lights in the road (4,4)
17 Written text of a play or film (6) 21 Bridal flower worn in the lapel (9) 22 Company boss (1,1,1) 23 Dutch cheese (4) 25 Stun (5) 27 Fashionable Central American holiday desination (5,4) 29 Cassis and white wine cocktail (3) 33 Fragrant herb used to flavour stews and casseroles (5) 35 Woven floor covering (3) 37 Outdoor bazaar (4,6) 38 Sweet-scented essential oil (5,5) 39 Bread baked in one piece (4) 40 --- Clarke, Amazing Spaces presenter (6) 41 Unexpected event (8) 42 Heavenly Indian Ocean island nation (9) 44 --- Questions?, Radio 4 discussion programme (3) 48 Outdoor heating and cooking device (4,3) 51 Indian rice dish (5) 53 Set of principles (5) 54 Takes notice of a warning (5) 56 Toe or finger? (5) 57 Italian staple food (5) 60 Legendary Somerset hill, Glastonbury --- (3)
7 Across: 1 Terrific, 6 Schoolwork, 13 Every, 14 Embroider, 15 Trika, 16 Odyssey, 18 Alexander, 19 Ass, 20 Recur, 22 Crepe, 24 Goa, 26 Rocky, 28 Scrapbook, 30 Aga, 31 Assists, 32 Seam, 33 Turf, 34 Prue, 36 Half, 41 Shirley, 42 Moo, 43 Grapevine, 45 Run-in, 46 Emu, 47 Fifty, 49 Realm, 50 Rap, 52 Yiddish, 55 Red pepper, 58 Salsa, 59 Guinea pig, 60 Taste, 61 Sunglasses, 62 Tutorial.
Down: 2 Emery, 3 Roy, 4 Fiery, 5 Cabbage, 6 Scone, 7 Hydrangea, 8 Oared, 9 Watercress, 10 Raita, 11 Bed of roses, 12 Catâ€™s eyes, 17 Script, 21 Carnation, 22 CEO, 23 Edam, 25 Amaze, 27 Costa Rica, 29 Kir, 33 Thyme, 35 Rug, 37 Flea market, 38 Ylang-ylang, 39 Loaf, 40 George, 41 Surprise, 42 Mauritius, 44 Any, 48 Fire pit, 51 Pilau, 53 Dogma, 54 Heeds, 56 Digit, 57 Pasta, 60, Tor.
SOLUTION 61 58
31 42 27
43 39 25
41 26 32 23 28 18 20 14 16
TAKE A MOMENT
Spiced pumpkin latte
njoy the autumnal scents and flavours of sweet, spiced pumpkin and fresh nutmeg in a spiced pumpkin latte. Update the classic with this tea-based version, made with almond milk, from Bluebird Tea Co.
Keep away t hiteh a aut umn chill wlat te! warming tea
Ingredients SERVES 1
* 2 tsp Spiced Pumpkin Pie tea * 300ml hot water * 100ml almond milk * 2 tsp honey * Nutmeg, to serve METHOD Brew your Spiced Pumpkin Pie tea in the hot water for no more than 4 minutes. In a separate container, mix the honey into the milk, using a frother if desired. Add the milk and honey mixture into your tea, stirring as you pour and making sure to get a big dollop of frothy milk on the top. Sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg or your topping of choice, then enjoy! Recipe from Bluebird Tea Co. Find Spiced Pumpkin Pie tea & more tea inspiration at bluebirdteaco.com