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 Working too hard and trying to please everyone? Why it’s ok to focus on you.

Heal spots, blemishes and skin conditions from the inside


on how to ease anxiety


Photography Nikola Jovanovic



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welcome hether you love it or leave it, what with the World Cup, Wimbledon and my current sporting crush – the Women’s Hockey World Cup, being hosted in London as I write, this has been a long, hot summer of sport. As a result, I’m feeling inspired to step up my itness. I’m not talking Serena level here. For me, this has meant committing to an extra Pilates class a week and challenging myself to walk up the oice stairs (we’re on the 9th loor). My measure of success? When I can ascend said stairs and arrive at the top still breathing (fairly) normally. Let’s just say I’m not quite there yet, but I know that my body will thank me for it in the long run (pun intended). The Great Stair Challenge, as I’d like it to be known,

has also sparked conversations here in the oice about why it is we feel the need to challenge ourselves, and whether it’s actually good for us – a question we explore in our feature on page 20. “A challenge puts us in contact with parts of ourselves that we wouldn’t otherwise see,” explains Kimberley Wilson, Bake Of inalist, psychologist and self-confessed challenge addict. “A manageable amount of stress or pressure can make you psychologically stronger and more able to deal with diicult circumstances in the future.” With this is mind, then, I’d like to invite you to join me – whether your oice stairs are calling you, or your personal challenge is of an entirely diferent nature, I’d love to hear what inspires you. I hope we make it to the top, but as long as we celebrate the journey on the way, that’s good enough for me.


PS: You’ll find Take A Moment, our extra treat for you, inside WWW.CALMMOMENT.COM





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WELLBEING 19 20 CHALLENGE ACCEPTED Why an achievable goal is good for the soul. 28 WELLBEING COLUMN Overwhelmed? We'll soon have you back on track.

54 LISTICLE Follow these inspiring yogis. 56 RELATIONSHIPS Listen to your gut. 59 CHECKING IN Does your relationship give you everything you need? 65 AUNT JOSEPHINE Friendship concerns.



30 SKINCARE FROM WITHIN Natural ways to encourage and maintain healthy, glowing skin. 36 SHOPPING: SUPERFOOD SKINCARE 38 TAKE OUR QUIZ Learn how stoicism can build resilience.


LIVING 67 68 SNACK SMARTER Simple snack swaps to boost your mood and your creativity. 74 LIVING COLUMN Tune into the changing of the seasons.

42 MATT HAIG ON ANXIETY ls modern life to blame?


50 AERIAL YOGA Take your practice skyward.

78 MY EXPERIENCE I was burnt out at 25.





68 78

82 BOOK CLUB Yrsa Daley-Ward talks to us about her captivating memoir.

CREATING 85 86 CREATING COLUMN Why moments of silence are a way to let our imagination in.


ESCAPING 95 96 A LITERARY JOURNEY Find inspiration at a literary festival. 104 ESCAPING COLUMN Head off on a road trip adventure. 106 SHOPPING: ROAD TRIP KIT

88 RELAX WITH WATERCOLOURS Emma Block's simple potted plant tutorial.


Learn to watercolour

108 TO THE HILLS Discover rest and rejuvenation on a mountain retreat. 114 LIFE LESSONS There are no limits to what the mind can achieve.


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letters WRITE TO US

Your thoughts

Photography @mild_madcaps


Photo comp winner! Last month, the theme of our Instagram photo competition was ‘small things’, inspired by Karen Flannigan’s mindful photography feature in issue 14 where she shared her #noticethelittlethings hashtag. She joined us as a guest judge and we loved all of your entries – thank you

Get in touch InTheMomentMag inthemomentmag inthemomentmag inthemomentmag inthemoment



for sharing the details you noticed on your adventures with us. Our winner is Emily (@mild_madcaps), who shared a photo of a beautiful weed she noticed on her way to the station. “It would have been so easy to walk past,” she writes in her caption. “It was growing from an unremarkable crack in an unremarkable wall on an unremarkable road. But the lower was, on closer inspection, absolutely stunning; a subtle shade of blue with perfectly pointed petals.” Emily wins a sterling silver necklace from Mantra Jewellery, reminding her to be ‘still, present and mindful’ every day ( See our shortlist of last month’s entries and ind our latest photo competition on our Insta (@inthemomentmag).

Finding relief I have just read Julia Buckley’s article on chronic pain in your July issue. What a moving piece! I was diagnosed with MS in 2011 and sufer from chronic pain. A concoction of prescription drugs hasn’t ofered any relief and I have recently begun a journey towards using alternative therapy. Like Julia, I have felt like I should be listening to the ‘middle aged men’ telling me what would work for my body, instead of listening to my own mind. I have been so inspired by her recollection of the journey

Illustration Esther Curtis

she has been on. I now feel that it’s okay to look for a solution outside of mainstream medicine. I can’t aford to travel the world looking for a cure but I can certainly look for help closer to home. I feel now that I have made the right decision to ind an alternative therapy (or two) that might work better for me. Rosie, via Facebook

Perfect timing I just wanted to let you know that your mag is my favourite read! Every month you seem to read my mind and there is always an article in there that speaks to me. This month I turn 40, so the milestone feature in the last issue was perfectly apt and came at just the right time. Kelly, via Instagram


Meet our talented contributors

The team Editorial Editor-in-chief Jules Taylor Editor Kirstie Duhig Art Editor Becki Clark Art Assistant Olivia Watkins Production Editor Katharine Bennett Digital Editor Sarah Orme

It takes a lot to make your monthly guide to a mindful life, and it’s all thanks to our talented writers and contributors (as well as everyone else working behind the scenes). Say hello to four of this issue’s contributors…

Contributors Illustration Esther Curtis, Becki Clark, Amelia Flower Olivia Watkins, Geraldine Sy Photography Phil Sowels Additional design Julian Dace, Nicky Gotobed Additional production Jo Carnegie, Carys Evans, Bethan Rose Jenkins, Claire Vaughan

REBECCA HANMER Rebecca is a full-time television producer, occasional writer, intermittent abstract painter and mum-of-two who likes to take on a challenge when she has some spare time. Find her on Twitter (@RHanmer)

Advertising Call: 0117 300 8206 Group Advertising Manager Penny Stokes Account Manager Emelie Arnold Senior Brand Executive Ruth Cole

Marketing and Circulation Direct Marketing Manager Penny Clapp Direct Marketing Executive Joe Jones Newstrade Marketing Manager Helen Seymour International Account Manager Juliette Winyard

Turn to page 20 to read how Rebecca got on with her latest challenge

Sarah talks training our imaginations in her new column on page 86

Production Production Director Sarah Powell Production Coordinator Sarah Greenhalgh

Licensing Photography James Melia

SARAH TASKER You probably already know Sarah via her social media name, Me & Orla. She shares her beautiful photography on her Instagram account (@me_and_orla), which is bursting with creativity and fresh perspective.

Licensing and Syndication Tim Hudson International Partners Manager Anna Brown

Publishing Publishing Director Catherine Potter Publisher (Digital) Charlotte Morgan


SUZY GL ASKIE As a certiied health coach and lifelong foodie, Suzy knows a thing or two about what we should be eating for both body and mind. She shares her knowledge online as Peppermint Wellness ( Suzy shows us how we can up our snacking game on page 68

EMMA BLOCK Emma is an illustrator who creates gorgeous hand-painted pictures for everything from calendars to stories. Her irst book, The Joy of Watercolor, has just been published. Read more from Emma at Find Emma’s watercolour tutorial on page 88 and create a potted plants scene

For new orders and back issue sales call 03330 162153 Visit or email

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 ofice 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 NHS Direct on 111 Samaritans on 116 123 Befrienders Worldwide at



Uplifting ideas, stories and inspiration from around the world

Machines, medicines, ice cream... women have invented things in a staggering variety of ields, often working in obscurity. In our mini series, we’re sharing a female inventor who changed the world. This month – the woman who wrote the irst novel. Murasaki Shikibu was born in Kyoto, Japan in 978. It is said that she was a lady-in-waiting to the Emperor’s daughter at Japanese court. The story goes that said daughter tired of the books she had to read, and so gave Murasaki a royal order to write something more compelling. Write it she did, penning a hefty manuscript telling the tale of lusty courtier, Genji, and his romantic escapades. The Tale of Genji was published at the start of the 11th century and is widely thought to be the world’s irst full-length novel – and, by the sounds of it, the irst chick lit book too. Though, with the English translation running over 1,000 pages long, this might not be one we can pop in our bag for our commute!

Photography Thinx

Women of invention

Free your low No matter how organised our menstruation admin is (correct-absorbency tampons, spare moon cups, pads in bag pockets), it’s inevitable that us women get caught out from time to time with a spill. So we were overjoyed when we heard the words ‘period-proof pants’ – no more washing hassle or makeshift loo roll pads for us. “It’s all about empowering women and sustaining the planet,” says Maria Molland Selby, CEO of period-solutions company, THINX. They offer everything from thongs to gym shorts, made from high-tech, ‘leak ighting’ material, that can absorb up to two tampons’ worth in one wear. We can’t wait to update our knicker drawer.


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Keeping our clothes fresh might not be so great for the ocean – microplastics released from textiles when washed are found in more than 1200 fish species. Try popping your next load in a Guppyfriend bag to collect even the tiniest microfibres.


We take our hat off (and she loves them) to 75-year-old style influencer Judith Boyd. Boyd started her Style Crone blog and Instagram account for women aged 70+ to tackle the issue of ageism in society, especially the fashion industry. Style Crone is “dedicated to the older woman... in her most creative, outrageous, authentic, powerful, adventurous, funny and proud era”. To which we say three cheers. “We need to make our culture more embracing of diversity,” says Judith. “If older people aren’t included, then you don’t really have it.” Inspired by Judith’s style and joie de vivre? Follow her on Insta (@stylecrone) or online (

Photography Blake Jackson

Hats of (and on)

September 23rd is equinox time, when the Sun crosses the celestial equator. In the Northern Hemisphere it’s seen as the irst day of autumn. Conkers ahoy!

good news

Things to do to live your life well in September & October...

23-29 It’s Banned


Photography Dexter Fernandes

Book Week; an annual event celebrating our freedom to read. This year’s theme is ‘Banning books silences stories’, reminding us of the value of speaking out against censorship. Get involved at an event near you, or re-read some previously banned classics – Madame Bovary is at the top of our list.

28-29 FitLiving UK,


the South Coast’s biggest itness festival is back. It will feature top trainers, fun itness classes, demonstrations, wellness brands and networking events across a whole weekend of fun – whether you’re about building your business or your booty, there’s something here for you.

1 Aspiring authors, listen OCTOBER

up! Today is the deadline for entering Mslexia magazine’s short story competition, as part of their Women’s Fiction Awards 2018. The winner will not only get £5,000, but they will also have their story published in the mag, enjoy a week on a writing retreat and spend a day with an editor.



28 Today is Macmillan’s The SEPTEMBER

World’s Biggest Coffee Morning, a fundraising event to help people facing cancer. The ask is simple: host your own coffee morning and donations on the day are made to Macmillan. Last year they raised over £27 million – get involved this year and help their cup runneth over.


Seed Gathering Season begins on 23rd September. Each year, The Tree Council encourages us to head out into local woodland and collect seeds and nuts to plant in our gardens. Not only will it encourage our local tree populations, but trees grown in their native environment are more likely to thrive.

4-7 Olive groves, azure OCTOBER

waters, quaint harbours; it’s easy to ind artistic inspiration when surrounded by Mediterranean landscapes. The next Artful Retreats event offers just that – art creation, therapy and playfulness to help you discover yourself through creativity – in the idyllic island setting of Crete.



Time for tea


Long, sunny days might be ebbing away but we are all for keeping that lovely summer feeling going! Team ITM enjoyed iced tea in the ofice all summer, and we’ve been inspired by the recipes in the Good Vibes Cookbook by Jane and Myles Lamberth (Orca Publications, £17.99) to keep on drinking them well into the autumn. Here’s our fave recipe for fennel, apple and elderflower iced tea: You will need: *Fennel Tea *Fennel fronds (leaves) or dill *Apple juice (use equal parts fennel tea and apple juice) *Splash of elderflower cordial Method: 1. Make one very strong cup of fennel tea and allow to cool. 2. Once cool, add the apple juice, sweeten with elderflower cordial and pour over ice. 3. Ball up the fennel fronds and place on top, to serve. And if the autumn chill does soon arrive, just wrap a blanket round your shoulders while you sit and sip!

If your freezer is still full after a glut of summer berries, Jane and Myles have shared their favourite fruity recipes with us. Visit

Trick your tastebuds Many of us will fondly remember the day that we irst mastered eating with chopsticks. But, beyond a valuable life skill, could they be the key to tastier food? A group of scientists found that when they gave a set of subjects chopsticks to eat a bowl of popcorn with, they reported higher enjoyment levels and better-tasting popcorn than another group who just ate it with their ingers. They concluded that, whether with chopsticks or another inventive utensil, mixing up our eating routines can actually reset our tastebuds and enhance our eating experience.

ASMR ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) is a tingling sensation that we experience after listening to sounds like whispering or tapping. Research suggests it can help us relax and even send us into a peaceful sleep – find ASMR vids on YouTube.



good news

Photography Joyann Boyce


THE START-UP FOUNDER Joyann Boyce, 27, is founder of The Social Detail, a start-up agency that helps SMEs (small to medium sized businesses) to use social media to its full potential. Joyann lives in Bristol, UK, with her mother and a small cactus. I keep my imposter syndrome in check. I started my company last June and it’s been a really steep learning curve. At the beginning I was doing a lot of networking, but constantly being around people made me feel anxious and I would end up comparing myself to them. Now I look at my diary and cancel things to be alone with my thoughts if I need to. I ask myself if I’m going to an event because I want to, or because I feel like I have to. I also try to only go to things that will actually be productive to my business. I’m a fan of casual working. If I start to feel overwhelmed by my workload, I make a conscious effort to work in a more casual way instead. For me, this means doing the aspects of my job that don’t require a lot of concentration while I’m sat watching Netflix in the evenings, or while I’m listening to a podcast. While I am oficially working, I also feel as though I’m having a break, and it gets the task done without me even realising.

I have an accountability buddy. I wanted a mentor to help me stay accountable, but without a context and the connections, it can be hard. My friend also has her own business, so since January we have become ‘accountability buddies’. We talk every Sunday at 4pm and have a list of questions to go through. For example, how do you feel the week went? What was one thing you learned? What do you want to achieve next week? We also add little things to ask each other, such as, “Have you left the house?”. It might sound obvious, but when you work from home on the Internet, you can need someone to remind you. We even do it for going to the gym, which is a fun one! I use a ‘to-do’ list app. I love the Asana app. You can set things to repeat, so if you haven’t done something, it will pop up a few days later. I know this might give some people anxiety, but for me it frees up my brain to think about something else. Working in social media is fun and creative but it can be repetitive – it’s good to have that reminder and check things off.


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That’s the number of people who don’t have access to a toilet. Who Gives A Crap is an eco-friendly toilet roll company who build loos and improve sanitation across the developing world. 50% of profits are donated to toiletary causes, and each roll is made from a sustainable material, from bamboo to recycled paper. Plus, they deliver to your door – no emergency dash to the shops for us.


Seeking the Earth Keepers

Photography Down To Earth

Once in a while, something comes along that makes you stop, put down your phone and really listen. Down To Earth is an award-winning documentary, ilmed and narrated by a Dutch family who gave up their enviable life in cosmopolitan London to travel to the ends of the earth. For ive years, ilmmakers Rolf Winters and Renata Heinen, along with their three children, journeyed across six continents to live with some of the oldest indigenous communities on the planet. Their mission: to gain access to the ‘Earth Keepers’; the medicine men and women, wisdom keepers, shamans, spiritual leaders and healers who have retained a natural balance and live in harmony with their surroundings. “Down To Earth is a mirror to humanity, a poignant and timely reflection on our civilized world,” says the couple. “The movie invites you to see the world through the eyes of the Keepers of the Earth. [It’s] both a wake-up call and a resurgence of hope for our world to come.” As a viewer, we travel from the deserts of Kenya to the Amazonian jungle to an Aboriginal ‘urban earthkeeper’ living in Sydney. The family discover deep wisdom from their conversations, not least that in all of us is the power to change our lives and the lives of others. Profound, timely, reassuring. Like the ilmmakers, you’ll come away both changed by the experience and wanting to do more. Down to Earth is released on 14th September. Watch the trailer, read more and ind out where you can see it at

What I do... “AS A SOCIETY, WE YEARN FOR CONNECTION AND A SENSE OF BELONGING; TO FIND OUR TRIBE” Aisling Mustan is cofounder of new health and wellbeing event Wild & Well, along with her three friends: Gemma Thorogood, Ali Rowe and Kat Ballam. “We all met at work, creating festivals like Shambala, Bestival and Port Eliot,” says Aisling. “We love bringing people together to share incredible experiences. As a society, we yearn for connection and a sense of belonging; we want to ind our tribe. So we decided to create a new kind of festival that would do just that, taking all the fun of the ield and applying it in an innovative way.” For Aisling, the festival programme was key in creating this sense of community – where people feel accepted and supported, whatever their age, shape or itness level. “Whether it’s a silent disco woodland workout or paddle boarding on the river, everything we programme is designed to help people connect,” she explains. The activities can support attendees in other ways, too. “I’ve experienced mental health challenges throughout my life,” says Aisling. “I’ve spent a lot of time developing a wellbeing toolkit that works for me – itness, meditation, yoga, time in nature. I now know that I have this foundation to come back to when I need it – it’s incredibly empowering.” The focus of the event is very much on keeping that feeling going. “We want people to leave Wild & Well bursting with ideas and inspiration,” says Aisling. “We’ll be hosting events between festivals and creating a supportive network for them to tap into. Our irst event is happening in Bristol, but we have plans to bring the festival to other cities too, to share it with as many people as possible.” Wild & Well takes place 20th-21st October, in Bristol, UK. For more info visit

Photography Leighann Renee


good news

Sports day

If you have a teen heading back to school this month, listen up: Train Body Brain is a great new initiative being rolled out in UK schools, not only to tackle teenage physical health but mental health too. HIIT classes are on the timetable alongside positive mantras and meditation techniques. The TBT method is already being practised in London schools with plans to roll it out nationwide by 2020.

3 great sleeping apps to snooze by

Spiritual self-care

Photography Wild & Well

We love a podcast – they're such a great way to take a little time out, be inspired, ind a fresh perspective. We’re over the moon that Self Service is back for another season this autumn. This spiritual-meetsentrepreneurial podcast is ideal for delving into your weekly horoscope and learning a thing or two from the best #girlbosses around. For a mood boost, recap with the last episode of season one, where host Jerico Mandybur shares a mini meditation on shielding yourself from negative energy. Find Self Service on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify, as well as our own podcast – search ‘In The Moment’ mag.

Pzizz (iOS/Android, free) Beloved by insomniacs, Pzizz “utilises effective psychoacoustic principles to create beautiful dreamscapes” that will help you fall asleep fast, stay asleep, and wake up feeling refreshed. We’ve even heard that JK Rowling is a fan! Calm (iOS, Android, free) The world’s #1 app for mindfulness, Calm uses daily guided meditations and breathing exercises to ease stress. They have a whole section dedicated to a good night’s sleep – thank us after you’ve got your eight hours in.


Photography Jerico Mandybur

Sleep Better (iOS/Android, free) Does stress keep you awake? What do you eat before bed? Do you scroll under the duvet? This sleep cycle/alarm clock/diary tracks sleep, improves bedtime habits and even helps you monitor your dreams.

“Pets are better than people.” When it comes to a night in, it seems this is true – a study found that 71 percent of Americans think pets are the best TV watching pals. While we can’t tell you to ditch your partner for a pooch, we can guarantee they won’t give you any spoilers!






We hope you enjoy using your Little Book of Mindfulness to ind a sense of calm in daily life, with breathing exercises, visualisations and techniques from wellbeing author Harriet Griffey to help you along the way. Here are our top tips for making the most of it: Set aside some time to read the book when you can give it your full attention – remembering that multi-tasking is a myth! Pop the book in your bag (it’s the perfect size!) and read one or two pages whenever you need a quiet moment to reset. Pick your favourite pages and frame or hang them by your desk or at home as a visual mindful reminder.

Tap to download




id you know that Switzerland has been named one of the happiest countries on the planet in the World Happiness Report six years in a row? Given the alpine nation’s spectacular scenery and natural offerings, it’s not really surprising that its people are so content and boast one of the world’s highest life expectancies. Ricola has been producing delicious sweets with its unique 13-herb blend in the Swiss alps for more than 80 years, so it’s fair to say the brand is pretty clued up on what the country is doing so right. Like Ricola, Switzerland values and prioritises people’s health and wellbeing. In fact, the country’s government makes everyone take two weeks of their annual holiday entitlement back to back so they get a proper break from work and enjoy some quality downtime. Relaxation is a key part of the Swiss lifestyle – according to old laws, it’s even illegal to hang washing or mow the lawn on Sundays! Ricola knows how precious nature is and how important a role it plays in our sense of happiness, as demonstrated by the Swiss’ love of the great outdoors. Blessed with some of the world’s most breathtaking alpine landscapes on their doorstep, the people of Switzerland make the most of their surroundings all year round, heading to the snowy mountains in the winter and basking beside sun-soaked lakes during the summer. They’re also very friendly and polite, and make an effort to greet anyone they cross paths with. If you’d like to #BeMoreSwiss, why not try this next time you’re out and about? Taking a moment to savour one of Ricola’s calming and refreshing sugar-free herbal sweets is the perfect way to get a taste of the Swiss lifestyle.


For more happiness hacks and to take a quiz to find out how Swiss you already are,

go to Ricola sweets are available to buy online at and in store from the confectionery aisle at Holland & Barrett, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, WHSmith, Morrisons, independent health food stores and pharmacies.

Photography Harold Pereira




The urge to challenge ourselves may stem from our evolutionary instinct to adapt, survive and achieve our full potential.


Setting yourself a goal can be daunting, but taking small steps towards a bigger achievement is good for the soul, says Rebecca Hanmer bout a year ago, I set myself a challenge. I wanted to shift some pounds and get itter, so I decided I was going to swim the Channel. Well, not exactly – over 12 weeks I planned to swim the distance of the Channel, but in a nice clean pool. Maybe not quite as impressive, but it felt like the right challenge for me; an overweight mum in her 40s. The day of the irst swim came round quickly. I donned my bathing costume and fancy new goggles and took the plunge. Thirty minutes later I was exhausted, exhilarated and 20 lengths nearer my goal of 1,462 lengths – only another 1,442 to go! It quickly dawned on me that to get this done I had to dive in at the deep end. The challenge had been set and I was determined to crack it. But what was driving me to strip of in front of strangers at least three times a week and propel myself through cold water for hours on end? I’m not the only one up for this sort of craziness. I bet you know at least one person who’s training

for a half-marathon, or challenging themselves not to drink booze for a month (both are equally as hard as far as I’m concerned!). Social media is awash with people setting challenges. Search for #challenge on Instagram and you get no less than 9,949,178 posts at the time of writing! So why do we set ourselves challenges? Kimberley Wilson is a chartered psychologist SAFE OCEAN and self-confessed challenge addict, leading SWIMMING her to enter and make it to the inal of Surfers Jane and Myles The Great British Bake Of in 2013. Lamberth start each day with a brisk dip. According to Kimberley, our evolutionary If you're new to ocean instincts are one of the factors at play swimming, stay safe when it comes to challenging ourselves. with their tips, at “Our survival as a species is based upon our ability to adapt. Setting challenges and testing our limits is a part of this – we are driven to ‘self-actualise’, which means to reach our full potential,” she explains. “We have the need for food, shelter and safety, then after that we strive



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for belonging, self-esteem and respect. Then comes self-actualisation‌ we are all innately driven to be the very best that we can be.â€? Setting a challenge is also about testing ourselves, without any element of danger. “A challenge puts us in contact with parts of ourselves that we wouldn’t otherwise see,â€? she explains. “It is difficult to know how we’ll manage in extraordinary circumstances. A challenge can be a safe way to test these capacities. A manageable amount of stress or pressure can make you psychologically stronger and more able to deal with difficult circumstances in the future.â€? As long as our basic needs are met, giving ourselves a goal can have a positive impact on our wellbeing. But are small challenges just as beneicial for our wellbeing as big ones? “Oh my goodness, yes! Absolutely,â€? says Kimberley. “Any challenge is completely personal and context dependent. You might have someone who is able to go on stage and speak to thousands of people, but is terriied of having an honest conversation with their partner. Every day in my practice I have the privilege of seeing people undertake huge challenges that, from the outside, might look tiny.â€? We’re all unique, with diferent needs and abilities – it’s about stepping out of our own comfort zone. If you’re a keen cyclist, this could mean taking on a triathlon. But if you’re more of a sofa-and-glass-of-wine type, it could be as simple as walking up the stairs rather than taking the lift. Whatever it is, it counts! But, it seems, there’s also a lipside – sometimes we set challenges that are out of

REBECCA HANMER Rebecca lives in Bristol along with her husband Richard and their two children. When not working towards her challenges, she's a producer on BBC's Countryile programme.

Photography Richard Hanmer


our reach. We line ourselves up to fail and end up disappointed. “Unrealistic challenges often come when we are trying to prove something, either to ourselves or others,� explains Kimberley. “When you are trying to prove yourself, there is already a feeling of not being good enough and the challenge is a bid to change that opinion. It’s an attempt to justify your existence.� There’s also difficulty in how we deine success when setting ourselves a challenge, says Kimberley. “We talk about success as if it is one singular thing. People can ind themselves striving towards what they’ve been made to believe is success, only to get there and ind the destination utterly unfulilling. I certainly think most people are working too hard to conform to someone else’s idea of success without interrogating what the word really means for them.� I’ll admit that I’m guilty of this – I follow loads of incredible women on social media and aspire to be just like them, running marathons and climbing mountains. So how does Kimberley think we should go about choosing the right challenges for ourselves as individuals? “The barometer should be your ability to demonstrate self-compassion, to treat yourself with the same decency and kindness as you would a friend who was telling the same story. If your challenge is physical, that means remembering the importance of rest days and proper nutrition. If it’s non-physical


Photography Kimberley Wilson


Kimberley Wilson is the founder of Monumental Health, an integrated specialist mental health clinic in London. She is also the host of the Food & Psych Podcast. For more details, visit it’s bearing in mind that we all need to pause and/or ask for help at times – no matter how ‘strong’ and capable we are.” So, we need to recognise our strengths and push ourselves, but not too far. We need to ind a balance and allow ourselves to enjoy the process and not always focus on the end point. “The journey can be even more important than the goal,” adds Kimberley. “There are always transferable skills and unanticipated beneits on the way to a destination, whether that’s learning how to prioritise, developing your capacity to concentrate, developing physical and mental resilience… those are the aspects that will add richness to your life.” This brings me back to my challenge. Twelve months after setting my swimming goal, my lengths-tracker is still stuck on the fridge door, and every day the 365 lengths I didn’t swim leap out at me. In 12 weeks, I breast-stroked my way to more than 1,000 lengths – pretty impressive for someone who previously only splashed in a pool every couple of months with the kids. But I didn’t inish it, and there’s still a little bit of me that feels I’ve let myself down. I need to focus on what I did achieve, though, and how far I pushed myself – both physically and mentally. At some point, I may dive back in and polish of those few hundred lengths. But now I want to ind myself a fresh challenge; one I can learn new skills from. As Kimberley says, the journey is what really matters. In fact, she’s inspired me; I might just start learning to make cakes. Bake Of here I come!









Natalie is the founder of Gutsy Girls, a community of women seeking adventures, facing fears and having incredible experiences together. “Gutsy Girl challenges aim to give women the opportunity to get out of their comfort zones, push themselves and discover how strong and bad-ass they are in a supportive environment. “Challenges give us focus and an outlet away from work and other life stresses. They help us grow as individuals as they make us accountable for something. The resilience we take from them, we can transfer to our everyday lives. “It’s all about the journey leading up to the challenge and supporting each other. Challenges shouldn’t be a competition. Choose something you like and enjoy the process, it should be about friendship and having fun.”

Tara is an artist and online art teacher who runs weekly art challenges. “I think challenges are a super way to get yourself taking action on something that’s important to you, whether that’s creatively or for itness or any other reason – especially if you’re the sort of person who thrives with a bit of guidance and accountability alongside the space to make autonomous decisions. “Over and over, on Instagram, I’ve seen people surprise themselves with what they’re capable of, grow in conidence, make new friends, develop seeds of ideas into bigger projects, create work that has then sold; and not only make art they love, but thoroughly enjoy the process too. A challenge can be as demanding or as gentle as you like, and it’s a very low-pressure way to experiment with ideas.”

Kiko is an educator, challengeseeker, adventurer and founder of charity The Big Stand. Despite being diagnosed with Cushing’s disease in 2009 (a syndrome causing very high levels of the hormone cortisol in the body, causing a range of symptoms, which can include high blood pressure and muscle weakness), she recently set a record as the fastest woman to row the Atlantic solo. “When we challenge ourselves, we leave our comfort zone. I don’t know what I’m good at until I try it, what I like until I give it a go or who my friends are until I meet them. “Challenging yourself teaches you perspective, to be ok with failure, to let go of fear and to grow. It helps you become you and when you’re you, you become happy and it’s then you can really make a diference.”


Photography Anthony Ball


Photography Tara Leaver


Photography Natalie Bannister



@ we_run_diabetс




Also known as Fat Mum Slim, Chantelle was the irst person to set a ‘Photo A Day’ challenge on Instagram. “Personally, I don’t want to be stagnant. I love to keep growing and evolving and challenging myself, and Photo A Day is one way to do that. It’s such a positive movement. It encourages you to take a moment each day to take a photo, which leads to gratefulness, being present and inding joy in each day. “Almost 30 million photos have been shared so far in the Photo A Day challenge, and six years on it’s still going strong. For me, the community around Photo A Day has been the best perk. People from all over the world have found new friends, and some have even lown across the globe to meet each other. That’s pretty special.”

Bonita was the youngest person in the world to climb Mount Everest and to reach the North Pole. “I take on challenges for diferent reasons but mostly because I want to push myself, ind out what I’m capable of, go into that unknown. I love that feeling of being truly connected – to nature, the tribe and ourselves. It’s that connection that makes us feel alive. And what is life about but to be alive? “I don’t think leading by example and just ‘being out there’ on social media as an adventurer is enough. You need to make the efort to sit in front of people, engage with them and challenge their belief system. I make a real efort to speak in schools – over 200 to date. I try to inspire young people to believe in themselves, follow their own path and not give up when life gets tough.”

Eighteen months ago, London-based Emma took up running and now completes marathons despite her type 1 diabetes diagnosis. “Do something every day that scares you – you regret more the things you don’t do than the things you do. Challenge yourself, prove that you can do whatever you put your mind to. “As a type one, I want to prove to myself and others that health and other challenges don’t have to stop you – each time you hit a hurdle keep going, getting around any obstacles makes it an even greater accomplishment.”

Photography Emily Tonge


Photography Chantelle Ellem


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STAYING ON TOP When things feel overwhelming, take a moment to reflect and you’ll soon be back on track Words: Harriet Grifey / Illustration: Amelia Flower

owever well organised we are, there are times when events seem to conspire to overwhelm even the most resilient of us. We may pride ourselves on our ability to juggle, to be constantly available and on top of things, but this can sometimes mask underlying anxiety, or an inability to delegate or just say no. Then, feelings of being overwhelmed can sometimes result. But what tips the balance between managing things and not? This is very individual and can even vary from day to day. It might come from literally having too much to do, an emotional reaction to something that’s happened, or an insidious creep of circumstances. But regardless of what causes these feelings, the trick is to be self-aware, to recognise if things are mounting up, and take a step back rather than get to a point where it’s all too much. Work/life balance, for example, is very subjective. What hits the spot for one person won’t be as useful for another, so making comparisons can be really unhelpful and can exacerbate feeling overwhelmed. We all have diferent priorities. If buying all the school uniform for the next academic year by the end of July makes you feel on top of things, then that’s great; but it’s not necessarily where everyone’s energies lie. I often think of the Nelson Mandela quote: “It always seems impossible until it is done.” I ind it a useful reminder when I’m feeling overwhelmed to just pause, think it through, break it down into manageable chunks, and put one foot in front of the other until the task is done. Another tactic I ind useful, when anticipating something I’m anxious about, is to remind myself that I have done things like this before and will reach the other side. However, on that journey, things can crop up that bring your feelings of being overwhelmed back to the surface. Not being able to say no is one of them; for some of us,

this is really tricky. Often we feel obliged to say yes when we already have enough on our plate, we don’t have the right skill set, or someone is asking too much of us – and saying no would be the more realistic option. Learning to say no, diplomatically, gracefully, tactfully, is so much better for both you and the other person, and will keep you free to focus on the initial task. Asking for help is another thing many of us struggle with. Perhaps we’re worried about seeming incapable, or fear being refused, but often a task that feels overwhelming could be easier to face with a little aid. Knowing when you need a helping hand isn’t a sign of weakness; it shows that you know your own strengths and those of others around you. Many people will happily do what they can to help out – and you might be able to reciprocate at some point. Accepting our capabilities also helps us to deal with unrealistic self-expectations. Often we think we can accomplish more than is feasibly possible, or we don’t factor in how long it will actually take. Whether we promise this to ourselves, or others, we can then feel a huge sense of failure as we realise we won’t get the task done by the deadline we set. This can lead us to feel more overwhelmed by the idea of inishing the task, or doing it again in the future. Instead, when you start something, carefully think through all of the factors involved and how long each will take to do. Bear all these things in mind, have a plan B, and be realistic about the promises you make to yourself and others. Finally, I always try to keep at least one day a week clear of any commitments – a day when I know I can wake up and do whatever I want, on my terms. It makes me feel as if I have at least some control over my life, and because I’m the one in charge, I know there’s not going to be even a hint of feeling overwhelmed to get in my way.

HARRIET GRIFFEY is a writer, journalist and author of over 20 books on health and wellbeing. Her latest title, I Want to Be Creative (Hardie Grant, £7.99), is out now.




We can of our on the and on

take care skin both outside the inside.


Many of us suffer with skin conditions that we’ve tried everything to remedy, but looking after our gut could make all the difference Words: Janey Lee Grace

s frustrating as it is to be past your teenage years and still sufering with breakouts, the reality is that a huge number of women sufer from skin problems. From spots and acne to eczema, rosacea, psoriasis and dermatitis, there can be a lot happening on the outside that we’re not happy about. But according to leading experts, not all of the above are actually skin conditions – they are, in fact, autoimmune disorders that are a direct result of problems with our gut bacteria. And while topical applications do have some success, in order to fully and permanently resolve our skin issues, we need to heal our gut. It seems as though the microbiome has its own publicist at the moment; we’re all becoming more aware of the importance of good bacteria in the gut, and many of us are realising that we are sufering from microbiome damage. Shann Nix Jones is the best-selling author of The Good Skin Solution and founder of Chuckling Goat (www.chuckling, a company that sells goats’ milk products. She says that this microbiome damage is the result of what she calls ‘The Four Horsemen of the Gut Apocalypse’: antibiotics, sugar, stress and environmental toxins. These damage your good gut bacteria – rather like pouring bleach into a river kills the ish.





Photography Annie Spratt

There is now cutting-edge scientiic research to prove what SKIN DEEP Shann has long believed. It’s thought that A study from Cedars-Sinai we absorb up to 60 Medical Centre in the US percent of anything found that damage to our applied to our skin. microbiome is a key Each year, the average woman can take in up contributor to many to 2kg of chemicals diferent problems, both this way. www.soil internally and externally. In our gut, it may feel like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), or give us digestive problems. On our skin, it can look like eczema or acne. It can even result in allergies and sinus problems. Most of us go about trying to sort out our skin conditions by applying diferent lotions and potions to clear up the breakouts. Having facials, skin peels and all manner of treatments can help in the short-term, and might make skin conditions look less ‘angry’, but soon enough – because we haven’t sorted out the issue from within – those problems will return, often accompanied by bloating, pain, fatigue, digestive issues and even depression. Shann believes that when we heal the gut, we can resolve all of these symptoms in one go. “Healing your gut is a lot like restoring a natural ecosystem that has been damaged,” she explains. “You need to trickle those ‘good bugs’ in gradually over time, to bring the system back to life – and consuming fermented foods is the safest and most efective way to do that.” For Shann, a powerful probiotic drink called keir is her preference. Originally from the Caucasus Mountains in West Asia, it is made by fermenting milk with active keir grains, and is similar to yogurt, with a tart, slightly izzy taste. Although traditionally made from cow’s milk, Shann recommends goat’s milk keir. “All milk provides the most powerful base for probiotics,” she says, “but goat’s milk is the most hypoallergenic and most easily tolerated of all the animal milks. It does not contain the [protein] A1 casein that makes cow’s milk such a strong allergen for many people.” Keir is also a ‘psychobiotic’, meaning that it

Photography Shann Nix Jones


contains beneicial bacteria that have a positive efect on the gut-brain connection. In US medical journal Trends in Neurosciences, psychobiotics are described as exerting “antidepressant efects characterised by changes in emotional, cognitive, systemic and neural indices”. In other words, these probiotics boost our moods, as well as our brain function and overall health. Betsan Evans, a photographer from Wales, had some acne as a teenager, but it was only when she turned 30 that she started to sufer


Ingredients that can irritate WHAT NOT TO PUT ON YOUR SKIN * SYNTHETIC SKINCARE It can be dificult to know the origins of the products used in our skincare routine. “There’s no need to use synthetic ingredients on our skin,� says Rebecca Martin, creator of Conscious Skincare handmade products ( “There are always alternatives. Nature, as usual, can offer something just as good – I use a vegan-friendly version of hyaluronic acid made from recognisable natural ingredients, such as brewer’s yeast.�

* CHEMICAL IRRITANTS Many chemical skincare ingredients are actually known irritants; these include sodium laurel sulphates, artiicial fragrances, parabens, preservatives and phthalates. It’s easy to identify them on labels – look for products that don’t contain them.


* WATER WOES In the quest for calming our irritated skin, even for babies and children, one factor that’s often forgotten is the water we use to bathe in. It’s full of chlorine, which is extremely drying for the skin. An easy ix is to use a ilter. The Sensitive Skincare Company ( make a de-chlorination ilter that its onto a shower attachment, or a ball to hang from your bath taps to ilter as you go.






Photography Phil Sowels

to your diet, Shann advises building up the amount you take gradually. “Because keir is so powerful, it is best to begin slowly: I suggest starting with just one tablespoon per day, and work up to 170ml over time,” she says. Keir is also safe during pregnancy, and can be taken by babies after the age of four months. “A study by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found that taking probiotics during pregnancy decreased the chances of a baby being born with eczema by nearly half,” says Shann. “The good news is that with keir, unlike chemical medications, all the side efects are beneicial.” Simple food swaps can also help with skin issues. Eating good fats, like walnuts, salmon and avocado can reduce inlammation and help to speed up healing. Fresh fruits and veg, especially dark green leafy vegetables, are also key to support the good bacteria in your gut. You could also make your own skincare saviours to use alongside keir. These can combat speciic issues or simply soothe your skin, and they’re easy to make at home – all you need are some containers, a blender and some good raw ingredients, many of which can be found in your kitchen cupboard. If you like your porridge smooth, chances are you’ll have some ine oatmeal to hand. This is incredibly soothing for the skin. It has antioxidant and anti-inlammatory properties and will soak up excess oil to help treat acne. Ground almonds are great for gentle exfoliating, and also provide oils beneicial for the skin. Almonds also contain vitamin E, which is rejuvenating and soothing. Meanwhile, sea salt is perfect for adding to olive oil to make a facial scrub to remove dead skin cells and get that glowing feeling. The citrus oils found in lemon or orange juice can act as mild astringents for oily skins, while raw extra virgin coconut oil can be used as a moisturiser for face and body (as well as an intensive hair conditioner). If you’re in need of inspiration, look to the next page to ind a simple recipe that you can adapt to suit your skin and its needs. Photography Betsan Evans

with serious skin issues. Around that time, she was also dealing with acute stress, having recently lost three members of her family, as well as juggling three jobs and a course. “I sought help from a GP and a dermatologist and was prescribed antibiotics and several diferent topical creams, but nothing worked,” says Betsan. “In fact, they made my skin worse.” She began to look for alternatives, and started to learn more about her microbiome. “At irst, when I heard about keir and how it could help with skin issues, I was on a strict no-dairy diet, so I ruled out the idea,” she says. But a year later, after doing more research, Betsan realised that it was likely she was sufering from a leaky gut and that one of the best treatments was keir. She decided to give it a try. “I couldn’t believe the diference it made,” she says. “My skin is better now than it’s ever been.” She applies keir skincare too, and avoids conventional soap, preferring to make her own face washes using natural castile (olive oil-based) soap and essential oils. HONEY HELP But she is wary of Honey’s anti-fungal attributing everything to and antibacterial drinking keir: “It’s not properties mean it’s just the keir, it’s not just great for soothing acne the lotions, it’s also about as a face mask. It’s also getting your diet right,” efective for digestive she says. Betsan drinks problems such as peptic ulcers. www.honey 170ml of goat’s milk keir every day and follows a lowGI (low glycemic) diet, free from gluten and reined sugar, to keep her blood-sugar levels steady. It’s the combination of her diet and skincare routine that she believes has made such a diference to both her skin and her overall health. Shann agrees: “Natural healing is slow, and takes time. The length of time required depends on the severity of the dysbiosis (the term for an imbalance of microbes, or ‘good’ bacteria, in your gut) and how long-standing the issue is. It can take nine months to a year to deal with severe autoimmune issues.” If you are considering introducing keir

Choose an essential oil that suits your skin and add it to your natural beauty recipes. Below left to right: Betsan developed skin problems in her 30s; taking care of her gut soothed her skin.


Anti-ageing oil SOOTHE YOUR SKIN WITH THIS SIMPLE RECIPE METHOD Mix the rosehip oil into the sweet almond oil to make your base, then add the drops of lavender, rose and frankincense oils. Pour into a small glass bottle (preferably one with a pipette) and use sparingly. It smells divine!

Ingredients * 50ml sweet almond oil (as a base) * 50ml rosehip oil

* 2 drops of lavender oil * 2 drops of rose oil * 1 drop of frankincense oil

A TREAT FOR THE FACE It’s especially easy to make facial oils at home. These are excellent for restoring the hydrolipidic ilm, a light protective layer that covers your skin. Plant-based oils nourish the skin’s layers, and you can add a drop of essential oil to make your own bespoke oil for however you are feeling. For example, if you feel a cold coming on, add a drop of eucalyptus oil, or if your period is due, add a few drops of soothing rose. The recipe above is for an anti-ageing oil that you can mix at home to soothe and rejuvenate.


Photography Phil Sowels

SUPERFOOD BEAUTY What we eat can do wonders – both on the inside and the outside. Here, we’ve picked products made from our favourite natural ingredients to nourish and restore Words: Bethan Rose Jenkins


Cleansing miracle

Ingenious grains

Amazing algae

Avocado, it turns out, isn’t just for eating on toast. The healthy fats and vitamins of millennials’ favourite food helps to both hydrate and repair skin cells. The Avo Bao Cleansing Balm from Bodhi & Birch is a sell-out make-up remover, boasting avocado as its main ingredient. It also contains a host of other nutrient-packed goodies, and is 100% natural, vegan and cruelty-free.

Bursting with probiotic bacteria, kefir is the skincare superfood du jour. Often fermented into a milk drink, kefir is also said to do wonders for psoriasis and eczema. Paired with goats’ milk and essential oils, Chuckling Goat’s Kefir Lotion is the perfect pick-me-up for tired skin, while its Kefir Cleanser promises to exfoliate and moisturise your face, body and hands.

Algae may not be the first substance that springs to mind for your skincare, but protein-rich spirulina is packed with vitamins and works as a natural toner. In Sukin’s Super Greens Facial Recovery Serum, spirulina is paired with fellow green powerhouse kale, which helps tighten the skin and reduce under-eye circles to promote a healthy, youthful glow.


From £8.25


Tea for your T-zone

Make-up marvel

Infallible fruit

Green tea might be your afternoon saviour, but putting it on your face could bring even more comfort than your 3pm cuppa. Green People’s new Organic Young skincare range uses a whole host of superfood ingredients to soothe and calm stressed and spotprone skin. Thanks to its antibacterial properties, their cleansing moisturiser includes green tea to help balance skin.

Used in herbal medicine for centuries, the nutritious moringa plant has now become a beauty product essential. A natural harbourer of vitamin A, moringa aids cell renewal, while fatty acids help hydrate the skin. Magical Moringa Primer, made by anti-animal testing and anti-packaging brand Lush, promises to soften skin and provide a matte base for foundation.

The kakadu plum is all set to upstage oranges as the richest source of vitamin C. Said to improve acne and uneven skin tones and shield skin from pollution, it’s a key ingredient in botanical brand Oilixia’s Gummy Facial Cleanser. Including nourishing macadamia oil and antibacterial eucalyptus oil too, it lifts off impurities, leaving skin clean and protected.

From £11










Fling your basket down noisily and harrumph out of the store without what you came for. Complain loudly about how annoying the situation is to the people behind you in the queue. Take a deep breath. The shop is busy and someone will sort it out in a minute.





Not at all. It depends on the situation. This is my life mantra.




Immediately drop the mutual friend, without an explanation. You don’t need that negative energy in your life. Start bad-mouthing your mutual friend; you never really liked her anyway and clearly this is the nature of the friendship now. Wonder what the problem might be and, remembering what a good friend she has been in the past, talk to her about it.




Hand in your notice the next day. Who wants to work for a company that doesn’t value you? Try to undermine your promoted colleague whenever you can, to point out her flaws to management. Feel disappointed but accept the situation and talk to your manager about how you can gain more skills so that next time, it’ll be you.


I’m totally useless. I’m always losing things.


Score your answers Score 13 points or fewer Often, life’s anxieties and stress may seem overwhelming and we can find ourselves making decisions when we’re not at our best, making matters worse. So, the next time the computer throws a wobbly or someone lets you down, be a little kinder to yourself. Acknowledge your emotions – they’re certainly important – but give yourself some breathing space. When you pause to think, you’ll discover you have other options. And by picking one of them, things may turn out better than expected.

Score between 14 and 19

A = 2 points B = 3 points C = 4 points B

“We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond to them.”


Why has this happened to me now? I so don’t need this! When did I have it last?



Epictetus, Greek Stoic philosopher C

Rage at the ticket collector – they are a representative of the lousy train company, after all. Drum your fingers, huff and sigh loudly. This always happens to you, and now your evening is ruined. Carry on reading your book. You’d just got to a good bit and it’s nice to have some extra time to enjoy it.

Setbacks can make you feel singledout and you have a tendency to take problems personally. Try to remember that everyone has their fair share of frustrations, and while the things that happen are often out of your control, the way you choose to deal with them isn’t. So, the next time you’re stuck on a late train or you pick a slow supermarket queue, remember that no one’s trying to annoy you. Keeping a calm head will allow you to consider your options to get through the delay as swiftly as possible, or just enjoy the view.

Score 19 or more Seneca, step aside! When it comes to keeping calm and carrying on, you have this licked. Your cucumber-cool approach means that you can consider the problem objectively and decide on your best option without going into meltdown. Even better, you may turn a bad result into something to learn from. That being said, be careful that others don’t take advantage of knowing that you will react well to most situations. If something has happened that is unfair to you, raise your concerns in a calm but firm way.







History is studded with stoics; those inspiring thinkers, inventors and leaders who adapted their perception, actions and will in order to succeed. Historians even believe that many of these people wouldn’t have risen to greatness at all without a whole load of woe to wade through. Abraham Lincoln’s lifelong battle with depression is believed to have given him the tenacity and courage to fight slavery in the US. Edison’s commitment to hard work, epitomised in his famous remark, “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work,” made him America’s greatest inventor. And Suffragettes, such as Emmeline Pankhurst, endured imprisonment, violence and ridicule to ultimately change history for women. Using adversity as a source of strength can be seen in the triumphs of our modern paralympians and injured military heroes too, and closer to home in our own empathetic responses to humanitarian crises and terrorist incidents. It seems we all have the ability to respond to even the worst of events with something powerfully constructive.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, the mindfulness expert, said of life, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf”. We can’t splash out into the sea and ride right back to shore first time. First we must develop our core muscles and balance, build resilience to going underwater and shake off any bruises and wet sand we endure. Stoicism is like surfing. It takes persistence and practice. We face both big waves and no waves in life, we go under and we come up again gasping. With determination, we get back on the board. Sometimes the waves are violent, we are hurt and it takes us time to recover. But each time we clamber up again we’ve learned something new. Perhaps something practical, but more likely something about ourselves. And, like the determined surfer, we can pick up our board, wiser, ready for the next wave.




PUT IT INTO PRACTICE It’s natural to feel rattled by life’s problems. After all, our survival on this planet is down to ancestors who were hardwired to fight or flight when danger was imminent. We’re still geared to respond to any threat like startled pheasants. However, it’s worth remembering that pheasants often run out into the road. We don’t have to – instead, we can switch to stoic. In his inspirational book, The Obstacle is the Way, media strategist Ryan Holiday, (whose ideas are used by Twitter and Google) distils the philosophy into three practical steps that anyone can apply in their everyday lives.

“Fortune can take away riches, but not courage.”

PERCEPTION However much you might flap and yap, the problem really hasn’t arisen from fate, bad luck, destiny, the ‘fact’ that this sort of thing always happens to you, or the alignment of the stars in the sky. It’s an event, making it as indifferent as the rain. And as soon as you ditch your diva and start to see it that way, your options increase.


“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the diference.” Serenity Prayer

ACTION Once you’ve taken that irst healthy step back by changing how you look at the crisis, Holiday emphasises choosing the ‘right action’ to deal with it. Simply put, that’s doing something that is actually likely to help. Next time you’re faced with frustration, think through the problem logically. ‘Would swallowing my pride lead to a better outcome? Can I break the problem down into smaller steps? Should I try again? Could I settle for something short-term in order to achieve my long-term goal?’ Once you’ve considered all of these things, you’ll know which is the right action to take. And, remember, even deciding to do nothing may be the best option. WILL Perception and the right action often lead to success when things go wrong, but sometimes the problem is bigger than we are. And this is where the stoic’s third, and perhaps most valuable, step comes in. Will – the ability to accept that there are times when you can’t make things better and that simply wishing with all your heart that you could isn’t going to change a thing. Everyone has problems like this. That’s life. But, as Holiday points out, it is in accepting our limitations and adjusting to them that we are able to learn and keep going.




Struggling to switch off can be a sign that it's time to take a break from technology.


What is modern life and new technology doing to our brains and our bodies? Matt Haig tells us about his new book, Notes on a Nervous Planet Words: Sarah Orme

ver picked up your phone and found that you’ve lost track of time while you scroll through your Instagram feed? That’s just one of the ways that technology is taking over our lives, according to author Matt Haig. “It’s very hard to stay mindful in contemporary life because we’ve got so many things to check,” he says. “We’re overloaded with everything – books, magazines, TV shows, friends. We’re more connected than ever before and we’ve got so many options. It can be hard to step back and remember who we are, but it’s certainly possible.” In recent years, our relationship with technology has changed radically and it’s easy to develop a social media addiction. “I’ve deinitely been addicted to my phone,” admits Matt. “I always charged my phone by the bed, so I would wake up and check my emails, check my Twitter and Instagram, check the news and end up just scrolling aimlessly for ages – suddenly, that’s an hour of my day gone. Then you’re not eating breakfast at the right time and everything’s a bit more delayed. It just swallows up time.” In Matt’s case, this compulsive checking and scrolling triggered anxiety attacks. “I used to get anxiety when I’d been on the computer too much, but I didn’t realise that it had anything to do with it,” he says. Surprisingly, this kind of fascination with our technology is far from new. Matt tells the story of 17th century diarist Samuel Pepys who treated

himself to a new pocket watch: “He couldn’t stop taking it out of his pocket – he was obsessed with telling the time. As we do with our smart phones, Pepys was constantly checking it and he ended up giving it up because it was driving him crazy.” Social media can also damage our self-esteem. When we’re online, it’s tempting to compare ourselves to others. Matt says the problem is that you’re looking at the perfect parts of other people’s lives – the carefully-presented parts. “We’ve become magazines of ourselves and our own little personal fan clubs of ourselves. We can always see and feel our worst bits, but we’re looking at everyone else’s best bits,” he says. When we relect on our best moments, they’re often not captured by a photograph because we were too busy enjoying ourselves. “Someone who is Instagramming about a great experience isn’t necessarily having a great experience,” he adds. It can be difficult to ind a balance between the beneits of technology and the impact on our health. There are some positives: social media allows us to ind support when we’re struggling with our mental health and to ind our own tribes online. “When I irst became ill with depression and anxiety, which was before the age of social media, I kind of wish I’d had it,” Matt says. “One of the things, certainly when you feel bad in life, is that you often feel very alone.” Matt is very aware of his own mental health. At the age of 24, he became depressed and anxious, which




led him to attempt suicide. During his recovery, he struggled with panic attacks, which could be triggered by something as small as a walk to the shops. “I used to be really bad at supermarkets when I irst had anxiety. The irst diagnosis I ever got was panic disorder, which basically means you’re having panic attacks a lot, and when you’re not having them, you’re just anticipating the next one. Even when I got over that, I would have the occasional panic attack, often in supermarkets,” he says. “We were living in Leeds at the time. We would go to the local Morrisons and I’d be OK and feeling quite strong, but within ive minutes of being inside, I would panic and get stressed. There were lots of things that could trigger it – there’s the artiicial lighting, for one. A lot of supermarkets don’t have any natural light.” Supermarkets are a common anxiety trigger because the environment is overstimulating. Everywhere you look, branding competes for your attention. “You’re in the ultimate consumer environment, being presented with everything that you could be buying,” explains Matt. “Our consumer choices aren’t just about what we need to eat, they’re choices about who we are. We’re basically surrounded by a million life choices when we go into a supermarket.” Too much choice can be another trigger for anxiety. Matt recalls that when his mental health was poor, even choosing what to wear in the morning was a stressful experience. “I can remember when I was really depressed, all those daily decisions were so hard. You can just sit there staring at your sock drawer

wondering what to wear.” The philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once referred to anxiety as ‘the dizziness of freedom’, and it does seem that having too much choice can make us tense, even if our mental health is generally good. Keeping calm in modern life is difficult and even our sleep is under threat from a surprising source. “I love watching Netlix and streaming TV shows, but that’s having an impact on our sleep. Recently the head of Netlix said that his main competitor isn’t another TV company – it’s sleep,” says Matt. “Sleep is where they can make their money. If people aren’t going to bed until 2am because they’re watching the latest show, that will boost their business model.” Gadgets can also stop us from falling asleep – the blue light emitted by our screens disrupts our circadian rhythms and makes it harder to nod of. If you’re in the habit of giving your phone one last check before bed, it might be a good idea to give yourself a phone curfew. “The World Health Organisation – which has declared a sleep loss epidemic in industrialised nations – recommends that we sleep for seven to nine hours a night. But not that many of us do,” Matt says. And this lack of sleep inevitably afects our mental and physical health. “In another 150,000 generations humans might evolve and adapt to unnatural light, but right now our bodies and minds are still the same bodies and minds of those humans who existed before Edison patented his lightbulb. In other words, we need our sleep.” When Matt became aware of how badly his phone was disrupting his sleep, he realised he had to make some changes in his life and learn to disconnect. He admits that he hasn’t found this easy. He used to get separation anxiety when he couldn’t get hold of his

MATT HAIG Matt is a novelist and non-fiction author. His deeply moving memoir about his journey back from the brink of severe depression, Reasons to Stay Alive, is a number one bestseller.



Clockwise from top: using gadgets before bed can hinder sleep; Matt reminds himself to disconnect with a witty poem; have we become too attached to technology?


partner, Andrea, and he found it difficult to be on his own: “We think that phones have made that better, but it’s actually made it worse, because now if I phone someone and I can’t get through then I’ll start to worry about them. If I’m out without my phone, I think: ‘What could happen? I could suddenly have a heart attack and what would I do?’” In the past, we wouldn’t have worried too much if we couldn’t reach someone, but now if we’re not able to get through, it can make us panic. For thousands of generations we’ve managed without this technology, and Matt inds it strange how quickly we’ve come to depend on it. It’s now become a burden, when it was always intended to make our lives easier. “Despite all the devices and technology we’ve created, we don’t seem to have any more time,” he comments. “The fact that we’re so easy to contact as well has changed how we work. Weekends, for instance, used to be a sacred space where no one contacted you. Now it’s not abnormal to get work emails on a Sunday, or any time of the week. We’re not here to serve technology. We’re not here to serve work. They’re both there to serve us, collectively. There’s sometimes a risk in losing that.” So how do we disconnect ourselves from the situations in modern life that can trigger anxiety? For Matt, it’s the simple things that can make a real diference. He advises literally disconnecting: “Go for a walk, without taking your phone. I found that even during times when I was meant to be relaxing, or in the zone – like walking the dog – I’d be constantly checking. It’s amazing what even a small amount of time away from technology does. It allows you to reconnect with yourself.”

Photography Stil

Number one bestseller Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig (Canongate, £12.99), is out now.




How to exist in the 21st century and not have a panic attack MATT HAIG SHARES HIS TRIED AND TESTED ADVICE

CHECK IN Keep an eye on yourself. Be your own friend. Be your own parent. Be kind to yourself. Check on what you are doing. Do you need to watch the last episode of the series when it is after midnight? Do you need that third or fourth glass of wine? Is that really in your best interests?

INHALE, EXHALE Breathe. Breathe deep and pure and smooth. Concentrate on it. Breathing is the pace you set your life at. It’s the rhythm of the song of you. It’s how to get back to the centre of things. The centre of yourself. When the world wants to take you in every other direction. It was the irst thing you learned to do. The most essential and simple thing you do. To be aware of breath is to remember you are alive.

GENTLY DOES IT Don’t grab life by the throat. As the writer Ray Bradbury said: “Life should be touched, not strangled“.



SIMPLIFY THINGS Declutter your mind. Panic is the product of overload. In an overloaded world, we need to have a ilter. We need to simplify things. We need to disconnect sometimes. We need to stop staring at our phones. To have moments of not thinking about work. A kind of mental feng shui.

FIND ACCEPTANCE Accept feelings. And accept that they are just that: feelings.

SOOTHING SOUNDS Listen to calm noise; things that aren’t as stimulating as music. Think waves, your own breath, a breeze through the leaves, the purr of a cat, and best of all: rain.

MAKE PANIC YOUR PAL If you feel panic rising, the instinctive reaction is to panic some more; to panic about the panic. The trick is to try to feel panic without panicking about it. This is nearly – but not quite – impossible. My panic disorder was deined by frequent panic attacks and the continuous hellish fear of the next one. By the time I’d had hundreds of panic attacks, I began to tell myself I wanted them. I didn’t, obviously. But I used to work hard at trying to invite the panic – as a test, to see how I could cope. The more I invited it, the less it wanted to stay around.

MOVE IT Stretch and exercise. Panic is physical as well as mental. For me, running and yoga help more than anything else.

Take your favourite magazine with you wherever you go with the updated In The Moment app








cupressure, which is the basis of a seated acupressure massage, can be traced back thousands of years to the ancient practices of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Often referred to as ‘acupuncture without the needles’, acupressure is based on the principle that vital energy (qi) runs throughout the body, along channels called meridians. According to TCM, if the low of qi gets disrupted or blocked, this can cause disease within the mind, body and spirit, with the health of all three considered to be intrinsically linked. Acupressure aims to restore the balance of qi, with the therapist applying pressure to speciic ‘acupoints’ along the meridians, using their ingers, thumbs, elbows and other parts of their hands and arms. The development of seated acupressure or ‘on-site’ massage is largely credited to American therapist, David Palmer. He created a tailor-made routine in the early 1980s when treating employees working in Silicon Valley, the technology hub of the United States. Realising its full potential in the corporate world, he went on to design a portable ergonomic chair to enhance the treatment and ensure his clients were as comfortable as possible. “Today, people from all walks of life can enjoy a seated acupressure massage,” explains Mary Dalgleish, Vice President of the Federation of Holistic Therapists, and a practitioner of seated acupressure massage. “It involves the therapist using a variety of techniques, such as pressing, rubbing, stretching, kneading, squeezing and rotations. Usually the whole body will be treated, from head to foot, but

Five beneits of seated acupressure massage

more attention is usually paid to the neck, shoulders, back and arms, as these are areas where most of us store a lot of muscular tension.” “One of the really nice features of this treatment is its portability,” Mary continues. “Seated acupressure is still very popular in the workplace, and because it doesn’t involve removing clothing or applying any massage oils or creams, it’s now enjoyed in a wide range of other locations as well – from airport lounges and conference centres to local fairs and events.” Sessions last from 10 to 30 minutes and cost between £10 to £60, depending on the length of treatment, location and therapist. Many clients ind the treatment invigorating and uplifting, but do bear in mind that it may not be suitable for everyone, such as those who have experienced a recent neck injury or similar trauma. The Federation of Holistic Therapists ( is the UK and Ireland’s leading professional association for complementary, holistic beauty and sports therapists.

Lower back pain is a common and often painful complaint. Guidelines produced by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommend massage, alongside exercise, as a way of managing this. BEFORE YOU GO Seated acupressure For those massage should be who sit in the used alongside standard same position for medical care and not as prolonged periods, an alternative. Always seated acupressure consult your GP or other massage can help to health professional relieve muscular aches for medical attention and improve posture. and advice. If you happen to have sensitive skin, this type of massage could be ideal for you as it doesn’t involve applying any oils or products. Tension-type headaches can strike when muscles in the neck and scalp become tense or contract. Seated acupressure targets and helps to relax muscles in these areas. Time poor? This type of massage takes as little as 10 minutes, so you can enjoy an effective, stress-busting treatment without having to keep an eye on the clock.







Moving from mat to mid-air can give you a fresh perspective, says Alice Whitehead hen former aerobics instructor Sam Dignan damaged her back eight years ago, she had to learn to walk again. It was yoga that brought her back from the brink. But rather than roll out her yoga mat and work from the loor up in traditional asanas, Sam used the support of a trapeze to move in and out of poses, bringing a weightlessness to her life that she’d craved for years. “After my operation, I was just in so much pain, and the doctors said I would be paralysed in 12 months if I didn’t change my lifestyle,” recalls Sam, 51. “Being able to do something physical again was a magical feeling. I couldn’t believe how much my body loved to be upside down!” Sam now runs Gravity Yoga in Northamptonshire (, passing on her high-lying skills in a regular trapeze class. “It has changed my life,” she says. Sam isn’t alone. Across the globe, aerial yoga – a loating form of Hatha yoga – is taking of (quite literally) in studios, gyms and dance halls, with a rising number of participants tapping into the highs of mid-air asana and the freedom and fun that is rarely found in other itness classes. The idea of reversing blood low in the body to beneit health is nothing new – inversions in yoga are centuries old. Early practice of ‘elevation’ in yoga is thought to have been started by B.K.S Iyengar, the founder of Iyengar yoga, in the early 20th century. He incorporated blocks, straps, chairs and rudimentary slings using ‘silks’ – long lengths of stretchy tissus or fabric, used by circus performers – to allow students to get better alignment and inversions.

It is only in the last decade that specialist equipment, such as slings, swings and hammocks, has become more widely available, to facilitate such movement in classes. In aerial yoga, these low-hanging hammocks are suspended from the ceiling and support the body weight, allowing people to deeply but gently stretch and decompress the spine. The hammock height can be altered to give a diferent feel to the class: mid-waist tends to be more energetic, while just above the loor is more restorative. At New York’s Unnata Aerial Yoga (, the hammocks are used in harmony with more traditional, static yoga poses, in a more yin style, to achieve proper posture through relaxation rather than efort. “I wanted to create a method that worked for the average person, not just for athletes,” says Unnata founder Michelle Dortignac. “I don’t think of yoga and aerial yoga as being diferent from each other – we integrate loor and air and reap the beneits of both. The sensation of hanging gives lightness to the heart somehow. It brings me joy.” By contrast, Sam’s trapeze yoga is a more dynamic, yang-style interpretation, with one foot in circus skills and acrobatics and the other in yoga. This style of aerial yoga uses a hammock along with handles and footholds to get a better grip. And, as I discovered when I joined Sam’s class, you also need a lot of upper body and core strength. “It reaches parts other yoga classes and poses will not!” Sam exclaims as we lip over into a Flying Spider, with our torso and legs horizontal to the ground.





Photography Photography


choreographer Christopher Harrison – that draws on dance, pilates and calisthenics. “I sufer from excessive joint mobility and it’s been great for me to have the support of the hammock during training,” she says. “I also love the fact that it’s playful and fun, and is an inclusive activity,” she adds. Samantha’s student Andrew Gregory agrees, having recently had his leg amputated after many years of pain following a motorcycle accident. “The support of the hammock has allowed me to be able to take part in something alongside everyone else,” he says. “The challenge for me was working around my disability, but everything can be modiied to make it easier or harder, so I never get bored. My level of itness and strength has increased massively, but it’s also helped manage my long-term depression.” Sam Dignan feels the same. “Although I do still feel ‘broken’ after my operation, I’m able to do something wonderful with my life,” she tells me. “In my teens, I was a dancer, and for eight years I wasn’t able to dance. Now, I can dance in the air.”

Photography Alice Whitehead

She’s not wrong. A 60-minute class saw us low from one inverted pose to the next – the ‘Banana Man’, the ‘Flying Double Diamond’, even press-ups – giving us not so much a yoga class as a HIIT workout for the whole body. That said, like a traditional yoga class, aerial yoga is still very much about breath and focus, and can be very relaxing. The exhilarating feeling of blood low to my head kept thoughts at bay, and not since I was a child have I been allowed to ‘play’ in this way. Our inal blissful posture, the Cocoon, where we wrapped our prostrate bodies in the hammock and let gravity do the rest, felt deeply meditative. “Hanging upside down – what’s not to like?” affirmed a fellow classmate Sarah Higgins, 47, when we were inally upright again. Sarah, who’s been coming to Sam’s class for four months, says she fell in love with it from her irst session. “I’m an accountant and my job is very sedentary, so this is a fantastic chance to do something diferent,” says Sarah. “I like that it doesn’t involve running or jumping, like a conventional gym class does. It stretches every part of the body, but you also get up a sweat. It’s a great next step from a traditional yoga class and a chance to push your practice – I always leave feeling energised.” While aerial yoga isn’t for everyone (it is not recommended if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have glaucoma, high or low blood pressure, or a heart condition), anecdotally at least, it appears to provide a multitude of beneits. Evidence suggests that regular practice can help with cardiovascular conditioning; help to align the vertebrae; increase body awareness (or ‘kinesthetic awareness’); improve self esteem; refresh the lymphatic, digestive and circulatory systems; and boost our ‘happy hormones’ serotonin and oxytocin. It’s also particularly good for those with back or joint problems, for whom conventional exercise is too painful or problematic. At the London Dance Academy (, aerial yoga and pilates instructor Samantha Turner teaches AntiGravity Yoga – an aerial workout invented by former gymnast and Broadway



Photography Esther Segarra

GRAVITY YOGA UK Northamptonshire Trapeze Yoga classes led by Sam Dignan. LONDON DANCE ACADEMY A range of classes for all abilities, including an AntiGravity Suspension Fitness class based on cardiovascular body conditioning. AERIAL YOGA EDINBURGH Classes for beginners, improvers and a restorative option for relaxation. COCOON YOGA Carlisle-based classes with a comforting and restorative pregnancy aerial practice.

Photography Sam Dignan

VIRGIN ACTIVE Regular weekly AntiGravity Yoga classes held in gyms across the UK.

Clockwise from top right: a dynamic posture at London Dance Academy’s AntiGravity Yoga studio; aerial yoga has been life-changing for teacher Sam Dignan; relaxing in Cocoon pose at the end of class at Unnata in New York; Alice Whitehead channels her inner hero in the Superman pose; hammocks have helped yoga student Andrew Gregory to develop his practice despite losing part of his leg.

UNNATA AERIAL YOGA Visit these New York classes to explore, reine and advance your yoga practice from a different perspective. SKY-LAB Experience everything aerial itness has to offer with sessions for strength, relaxation and everything inbetween in this Sydney studio.



listicle {lis-tik-ul} noun

Great stuf presented wholly or partly in the form of a list.




Photography: Harold Pereira

Esther’s mindful approach to yoga is inluenced by her dedicated personal meditation practice and her background as a therapist. The emphasis in her teaching is very much on slowing down and being present in the moment. Esther hosts workshops, teacher training and retreats internationally – the latest one was held in Australia – and ofers online classes for her global following online ( There’s a class for everyone, from stronger styles such as hatha and vinyasa low to slower practices like yin and yoga nidra.



Photography: JQ Williams

Photography: Radesh Photography




Multi-talented Julia, who resides in Ojai, the Californian mind-body-soul mecca, weaves together asana (poses), pranayama (breathing), mudra (gestures), music and meditation to inspire joy, presence and relaxation both on and of the mat. Her teaching is infused with a soothing and uplifting dose of spirituality, and her passion for yogic chanting recently led her to record her irst EP, Embody Love, available on iTunes and other digital music platforms. @juliaberkeley

Photography: Kerri Verna

Photography Michael Worthington

A near-fatal rock climbing accident 20 years ago became the catalyst for Mumbai-based Deepika’s yoga journey. Her doctors said she would never walk again but she sought strength in her culture’s ancient healing practices, and ashtanga, meditation and pranayama gave her a new lease of life. Having devoted herself to sharing its virtues, she has since taught all over the world and frequently shares her teachings on TV. @deepikamehtayoga


If anyone’s going to help you nail a handstand virtually it’s Kerri, aka Beach Yoga Girl, but her message is to pay attention to what your body and soul most need rather than pursuing the perfect pose for social media. This philosophy, and her honesty about her life and struggles – she writes candidly about co-dependency and living with chronic pain – has earned the West Palm Beach-based yogi a loyal Instagram following of 1 million. @beachyogagirl


Faith began practicing yoga in the 1990s as a way of coping with the loss of her brother and found it transformational. Now a sought-after yoga and meditation teacher, as well as a wellness philanthropist, she is based in Washington DC. Faith tours internationally, sharing her practice which is inluenced by both kundalini and vinyasa and includes breath, movement, music and stillness, aiming to inspire others to live an epic life. @spirituallyfly






hen a client of mine, Amanda*, got in touch with me, she’d been experiencing anxiety in her yearlong relationship pretty much since it began. At irst, she put it down to new relationship jitters and not being used to dating such a nice guy. After a while, she blamed it on her ‘baggage’; intolerance and being ‘too sensitive’. But, as is the way when we dismiss our feelings, the anxiety kept niggling and building. Next thing, it was keeping her awake at night. Whether we realise it or not, many of us feel anxiety every day and in many diferent contexts. But in order to react to it correctly, we need to know whether the anxiety is due to past issues, our insecurities, or our intuition trying to alert us to something. It’s one of life’s ongoing challenges, and Amanda did what we often do in these situations: she rationalised her anxiety so much that she missed the wood for the trees. We tend to see anxiety as a negative trait, believing that the fact we’re anxious makes us wrong or our thinking faulty. But what we should be doing is acknowledging that our body is trying to communicate something. It’s letting us know that we need to be careful, based on past pain, fear and guilt – or that we don’t have faith in ourselves. Or both. The reason Amanda was anxious for the entire relationship is that she told herself that she shouldn’t feel anxious; that her partner was ‘nice’, educated and fun and that, relative to past relationships, this one was ‘better’. She talked herself out of her feelings because the relationship looked good on paper. It was as if there had to be something drastic to pin her feelings on for them to be justiied. In the absence of that, she overlooked the obvious: her anxiety was communicating that she was in the wrong relationship. Her emotional state was the evidence she needed to take action. She didn’t understand it, but her body did. Anxiety wants our reassurance, and where needed, our action. This means that we’ve either got to do something that demonstrates to it that we are OK, or we’ve got to remedy the situation. We also have to take care of ourselves, so that anxiety can do a better job of alerting us. What often happens instead is that we freeze. Analysis paralysis sets in. We want to think everything out to the nth degree because we’re afraid of getting things wrong. It creates a

Catch 22 situation: we struggle to listen to and trust ourselves, but also don’t feel entirely safe in trusting the other party. One of the handiest things I’ve learned through listening to myself and teaching others to do the same, is that intuition is only concerned with what is. Unlike ego, fear and criticism, it’s not trying to prepare you for what will happen in 2099, nor is it concerned with the past or power trips like winning and being right. Intuition is about now. When we fail to listen to our intuition, or to act in a particular area, anxiety is the body’s way of telling us. The best thing that anxiety ever did for me came in the form of a panic attack. As horrendous as it was, it forced me to acknowledge the accumulation of missed messages from my intuition. It was a massive wake-up call, and inally got me to take action. Throughout our lives we’ll experience getting what we want (or what others want for us) and having to act on the realisation that it’s not right for us. This is why I hear from so many people who inally land the ‘perfect job’ or achieve what they thought was their dream, only to be besieged by unexpected emotions that convey that this isn’t the path for them. They feel like they should be happy, that they should be able to make it work. That’s not to say we should always take anxiety purely at face value, but we do need to see it as an ally doing its best to alert us to something about an aspect of our life. Hating ourselves for experiencing anxiety will only tighten its grip, not least because we will respond in less-than-supportive ways. By irst accepting that this is how we feel, we have an opportunity to assess why. We can address underlying causes so we can talk and act ourselves out of the wave of emotions, or come to understand the current nature of our life. It might require us to get uncomfortable, to make changes that ly in the face of the ‘shoulds’, but inner peace is on the other side. Our intuition won’t always tell us what we want to hear, but it always has our back. When we cultivate a more mindful relationship with it, we gather the intelligence we need to understand our emotions. By basing ourselves in the present, we can acknowledge insecurities and past experiences – and respond in the now. The more we do this, the less we will be held hostage by it or be confused by its presence. We’re never going to be best friends with anxiety, but we can treat it as a friendly nudge to take care of us.

“We have to take care of ourselves, so that anxiety can do a better job of alerting us”

NATALIE LUE has been writing her blog 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



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Our bond with our partners should provide support, enrichment and love – but this isn’t always the case

Words: Karen Edwards / Illustration: Geraldine Sy




e book in check-ups to make sure our bodies are functioning well, we exercise to keep our physical stamina at its peak and we have appraisals to ensure our work is up to scratch. So why, when relationships are perhaps the biggest connections we can make in life, don’t we consider a relationship health-check? The fact is, relationships can be complicated, and facing up to potential problems can be daunting. But being willing to ask yourself tough questions doesn’t mean that you are pre-empting a failure. Instead, see it as an honest way to be sure that you aren’t going to end up in a painful situation further down the line. After all, if you are hoping to spend the rest of your life with someone, surely it’s best to know that they are right for you? The most important thing when considering the healthiness of a relationship is both your and your partner’s everyday wellbeing. And if something doesn’t feel right for either of you, it’s essential to determine what that is as early as possible. “At times like this, it is also worth asking why things might not be right,”

says relationship coach Wendy Capewell. She says that genuinely feeling comfortable with your partner is key in a healthy relationship, rather than convincing yourself that you are comfortable because the relationship sounds good on paper. “We can’t always share the same interests as our partners, and these often change with time anyway. Building a relationship on shared beliefs and values is better, and creates a more permanent bond,” she explains. Another important factor when addressing your relationship health is understanding that a partner should be an addition to your life, rather than that one thing you need to be happy. “We should have our own goals, dreams and aspirations and be able to pursue those within a relationship,” says Wendy. “Each person should be able to cheer the other on, acting supportively and being there if things don’t work out as planned,” she adds. Realising this will mean that you won’t pile all of your expectations unfairly onto a partner, which can lead to unhealthy behaviours developing. Unfortunately, despite our best hopes and eforts, there are times when this does happen. Dependence, a need for control and other negative behaviours can all grow within a relationship, especially when situations beyond our control are happening in other aspects of our lives, or when we’ve had bad experiences

WENDY CAPEWELL Wendy is a trained counsellor and relationship coach. She was inspired by her own experiences to help others.




in the past. “There are some obvious and some subtle signs to look out for. These are often dismissed as ‘just a phase’, but they are very real,” says Wendy. “For instance, if you ind yourself unable to share feelings, if you are always arguing over the same issues or feel constantly put down by a partner. If you stop being intimate with each other – and I don’t mean just when it comes to sex – but kissing and cuddling too, and talking about your innermost dreams and concerns. These can all be warning signs that something isn’t right.” But how easy is it to prevent a relationship getting to this stage? “[Unhealthy traits] come down to either how you see yourself in the relationship or how one or both parties behave. It might even be a mix of the two,” says Natalie Lue, relationship expert and In The Moment’s relationship columnist. “If one or both of you have resorted to behaving in ways that aren’t conducive to growing the relationship, an open and honest conversation is worth having,” she recommends. “It may lead to self-relection and growth for both parties, or it may prove to be the wake-up call that the relationship isn’t right.” This prospect might sound daunting, but if these unhealthy behaviours are not recognised or addressed they can become toxic over time, turning into emotional abuse, or worse. Unfortunately, the signs of this are more easy to notice, but even harder to resolve. The tactic of ‘gaslighting’ in order to gain more power – where the victim is made to question their reality – is recognised as a major part of a coercive relationship. As a result, the recipient of such behaviour may feel worn down, or as though they are imagining situations or ‘going mad’. Other common signs of a coercive partner include a

lack of compassion for others, and a gradual encouragement of isolation from family or friends – perhaps by expressing jealousy when you spend time with other people. Making decisions without consultation is another way to undermine a person’s worth, while also making underhand comments that seem like a harmless joke. Encouraging inancial dependence can also be included, as it could leave the dependent person unable to exercise control over their life if they have to run all spending past their partner. A more deliberate action; ‘stonewalling’ is an anxiety-inducing method of ignoring someone, often involving the partner in question disappearing for a few days out of the blue, with little explanation. “[This behaviour] can be very subtle and insidious, to the point where the person on the receiving end doesn’t notice it happening at irst,” explains Wendy. “There are often lies involved, and there are times when [the coercive partner] is loving and even apologetic, leading to even more self-doubt.” In 2015, the government introduced a new law making it illegal to exercise coercive control over a partner. The move was a nod to anyone sufering from emotional abuse, acknowledging that their situation was recognised as seriously as those experiencing physical violence. The difficulty is, when the situation has reached this level this is usually the point that it is hardest to ind the strength to leave the relationship, particularly if that person has been made to feel inferior through put-downs or a constant stream of criticism.




With this in mind, it is important to ask yourself those hard questions about your relationship as soon as any uneasy feelings arise. Don’t underestimate the necessity in following up on those signs, and don’t be afraid to walk away if you know the answers aren’t positive – the long-term alternative could be much worse. “It can be extremely hard to take those irst steps towards leaving, for many reasons,” says Wendy. “You believe that they love you deep down, or you’re fearful of what they will do if you try to leave. Perhaps you are also scared that you won’t ind anyone else.” In these instances, it’s helpful to remind yourself of the relationship qualities you desire and know to be important, as well as your deep-rooted values. Is it possible to achieve this with someone who has such tendencies? If the answer is ‘no’, then it might be time to walk away. Remember that, with 7.6 billion people in the world, you have a good chance of meeting someone else when the time is right – someone who you can share those core values with, creating a strong, supportive and ultimately happy relationship.


If you feel that you might need support with any of the issues mentioned in this feature, you can ring the National Domestic Abuse helpline on 0808 2000 247, or email helpline@



Rosie’s story* “By the time my two-and-a-half year relationship with Karl* came to an end, I was a wreck. I couldn’t help but replay the arguments we had and the names he called me. “Pathetic”, “mad”, “crazy b****”, “psycho’”. He had said them with such conviction that I had wondered if maybe I had actually turned into this horrible person he described. Things weren’t always like this. When we irst met, Karl was a diferent person. On nights out, he would grab my hand and pull me of into a quiet corner to tell me he loved me. We pulled sickies and lay in bed all day. I fell madly in love – and for a short while, I felt very loved back. We had been together for six months and were planning our irst holiday when I irst felt that something wasn’t right. “I don’t love you, maybe you shouldn’t come on this trip,” read a text message I received at work. I tried to phone him, but the calls rang out. Two days of complete silence followed, while I questioned what I could have done wrong. Then, he phoned me. “I’m sorry, baby. I don’t know why I said that. I love you, let’s go to Thailand together!” I can’t tell you why I didn’t walk away then. I should have listened to my gut. Instead, I put it down to being a blip and told myself it would be a one-of. It wasn’t. That feeling of unease became my life for the next two years. I went from seeing my friends several times a week to barely seeing them in months because he felt he didn’t connect with them. It was easier to pass on a night out than create that feeling of tension. Our evenings out became a nightmare of either watching him lirt with the bar staf or being completely ignored. When I confronted him, I was “paranoid” and “psycho”. I waited outside countless restaurants, bars and train stations at agreed meeting times, only for him never to show up. My conidence was slowly chipped away; I felt every bit the “pathetic” woman he painted me out to be. Deep down, I knew that this wasn’t


me, but I just couldn’t ind the voice to express it. My entire body ached constantly. I would look at my drawn face and sunken eyes in the mirror and wonder how I had gotten there. Finally, after a night out for my 23rd birthday where he told me my friends were ashamed to be around me, I logged onto a women’s forum. Under the heading, ‘Am I going mad?’, I listed some of the things that had happened. The answers came looding in: “You’re not mad, this is emotional abuse, please leave him before it goes too far.” Now, I had to ind the strength to escape. But before I could, Karl broke up with me – he had met someone else. My body just shut down and at times I struggled to leave the house. Then, my friend Tom* told me he was moving abroad and I knew immediately what I needed to do. I bought a one-way ticket to go with him. Eleven months later, having travelled through Asia and had enough time and space to heal, I came home. Karl tried to destroy me, but by doing this he helped me to build a new ‘me’. One that was brave enough to do anything by myself.” *Names have been changed.

Natalie’s advice “Unhealthy relationships are corrosive to your sense of self, afecting your emotional, mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing,” says Natalie. “They also gradually permeate every area of your life, often impacting on your other relationships and leading to isolation. Pain is not conducive to love. “Claims of change are extremely common in unhealthy relationships and it’s not unusual for these to be accompanied by what appear to be uncharacteristic displays of emotion. This leads to you feeling guilty and being charmed into giving them another chance. Talking about change isn’t enough – they would need to be seeing a professional and addressing their behaviour for it to happen. “I recommend a Get Out Plan, because it stops you from making a sudden decision that you backtrack on, whether it’s due to selfdoubt or being charmed out of it. Give yourself a deadline of, for example, three months. Use the time to slowly step back, but to also take the blinkers of. Stick to the date. If the relationship is abusive, the time can be used to quietly seek professional advice and support.”

NATALIE LUE Natalie is a relationship expert who specialises in helping people deal with emotional baggage and toxic situations.



3-7 October 2019

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rnegie & author, Josephine Ca Journalist, life coac h t is bu g listic counsellin holds a certific ate in ho e. vic out good ad best know n for giving


particularly if all you want to do is hang out with a friend “Dear Aunt Josephine, I moved to a new city and have some downtime. a few years ago and quickly met a new crowd of So, how can you ind friendships that suit you? You’ve people. My new circle is very sociable, which been there long enough now to establish your own base – was great at the start, but it has started to feel what other avenues or interests can you explore to ind exhausting keeping up with them. I’m actually quite an like-minded people? Lots of leisure activities involve introvert and I prefer meeting up one-on-one, or with keeping it, so they’re a really great way to feel healthier small groups of people. I’ve also put on some weight and meet kindred spirits. recently and I feel really self-conscious meeting up with It’s also worth bearing in mind that some people probably my friends, because I know they’re all quite glamorous and drink because they sufer from social anxiety. Rather than they can be quite judgemental about people’s appearances. seeing all your friends as massively extroverted, can you Everything seems to involve drinking as well and I don’t identify any fellow introverts? If so, you could contact them want my entire social life to be based around alcohol. and suggest new things like meeting up for a walk, or going I don’t want to risk losing my friends because they are for cofee rather than a drink. You don’t fun, but I’m starting to dread meeting up have to form a splinter group or drop with them. One of them made a pointed “GENUINE FRIENDS them completely, but have a proactive comment the other day about how I look at things to make them work for you. always make excuses. What’s the answer?” ARE ONES YOU Taking alcohol out of the equation is also Self-Conscious and Stressed, Bournemouth CAN TRULY BE a brutal but brilliant way to ind out if you actually have anything in common with YOURSELF WITH” people! If you have nothing to talk about “Dear Self-Conscious and without the wine, maybe you’re just not Stressed, I think we can be a bit right for each other. like magpies when it comes to making new friends: One thing I will say, is that the sign of a real, genuine we gravitate towards the shiny, glittery people because they friend is someone you can truly be yourself with, through seem like the most fun. It sounds like you hit the ground both good times and bad. Real friends don’t judge or running when you moved and threw yourself into a new criticise you for who you are, or what you look like. They social scene, for which I applaud you. The downside is have your best interests at heart. They ask what’s going on that now the dust (or glitter) has settled, it sounds like with you, rather than sniping at you. It doesn’t matter how you’ve found yourself in a friendship group that isn’t glamorous someone looks if they act in a toxic manner really for you. (which, coincidentally, is also a sure-ire sign of an unhappy Alcohol is a tricky one. In British or Western culture person). You need a social life that nurtures and enriches especially, it’s often the glue of our social lives. While you. If some people fall by the wayside, so be it. It will there is no doubting the enjoyment factor of meeting up only open up the space for new, better friends to come in. for drinks, or bonding with people over a glass of wine (or Ultimately, spending time with real friends should leave four), it can mean that a lot of our socialising can actually you feeling better about yourself, not worse. be quite supericial – and exhausting, as you mention, Ask Aunt Josephine a question by emailing her at hello@aunt Unfortunately, Aunt Josephine can’t enter into personal correspondence.




SEASONS MAY CHANGE ...but a beautiful shepherd hut can be enjoyed all year round, whether through socialising in the warmer months or creating a cosy spot to escape the cold Finding joy in every season is easy with a shepherd hut. Invite family and friends over for a barbecue and you could use the space to prep the food, set up a drinks station or even find some respite from the sun. Alternatively, you can deck it out with woolly blankets, light some candles and get comfy when the cold rolls in. They’re also great as mindfulness retreats, offering a spot where you can meditate, connect with nature or simply sit back and relax – whatever the weather. Blackdown Shepherd Huts has truly mastered the art of crafting these beautiful structures. The family-run company is based

in Somerset, and its gorgeous creations are inspired by the traditional shepherd hut – a mobile structure designed to follow the flock. Though Blackdown’s huts retain much of their original rustic charm, they have been updated to fit modern lifestyles with plenty of luxurious touches. The huts are completely bespoke, meaning you can put your personal stamp on every step of the build, whether it’s the layout of the interior, the materials you prefer or the colours that work best for you. There are plenty of blueprints to choose from, so you can make sure your hut fits the purpose – and space – you have in mind.

The Turnkey Hut, for example, is ideal for socialising as it features a hand-made oak worktop, a Neff hob and an integral fridge. The Retreat, on the other hand, offers a snug space where you can unwind after a long day at work or an invigorating walk in the woods. Go all out with the Brace Hut, a spacious retreat kitted out with a copper William Holland roll-top bath and a stargazing roof above the bed. If you love DIY or are feeling adventurous, you can build your own hut. Blackdown provides the materials and instructions needed to craft a beautiful hut, all you have to do is embrace the DIY spirit – and invest in a decent toolbox!

Discover more about Blackdown Shepherd Huts at

Photography Peppermint Wellness





We know that eating lunch al desko isn't good for us, but that goes for snacking as well. Move to another room or the kitchen to avoid mindless munching in front of your screen.




Simple swaps and energy-sustaining snacks can help us to sail through our working day, says health coach Suzy Glaskie

e’ve all been there – the 3pm slump hits and before you know it, you’re mindlessly munching on a treat from the office biscuit stash. But being back at our desks after the summer break presents us with a golden opportunity: rather than sliding back into unhelpful habits, we can eat smarter at work for better focus, drive and concentration. Switching to healthy, energy-sustaining snacks can help you to cruise through the day – something I’d never actually experienced until I retrained as a health coach. Before that, the 22 years I spent in PR were a rollercoaster… though not in the sense you’d imagine. Yes, there were the inevitable highs, lows and a fair few tears that came with the nature of the job. But I was also strapped into a rollercoaster of my own making – and the irony was, I never even knew I was on it. Although I was a cast-iron grafter, the truth I have to acknowledge now is that I limped through my career. Why? Because I hadn’t the slightest notion of how to fuel myself. All the qualiications and kick-ass trouser suits in the world count for nought if your brain isn’t functioning properly. And mine was most certainly not operating at its optimum level for a good portion of the day – every single day. My typical food day would go something like this. I’d have toast or cereal for breakfast, then feel absolutely starving by 9:30am, when I’d embark on the irst of several rounds of crumpets or malt bread. Lunch would be at 12.30pm (soup and a baguette), after which I’d feel OK for a while – until 3pm, when someone

would generally do a run to the newsagents and I’d enjoy a mid-afternoon chocolate ix. You get the picture. What I woefully misunderstood for all those years was that I was subjecting my body to a vertiginous ride that saw my blood sugar soaring and then rapidly plummeting, leaving me ravenous for my next carb ix. I had no idea that the toast I was woling down was rapidly being converted by my body into sugar – giving me the same hike and crash as a chocolate bar. I didn’t realise that the careless mistakes I was making at work were actually strongly connected to what I was eating. Every time I experienced a blood sugar crash, I’d switch from a competent PR executive to a shaky, cranky, green-faced, distracted liability. So, what was going on with me – and with most other people eating in a similar fashion at work? When our blood sugar level crashes, our pre-frontal cortex (the executive bit of our brain responsible for making wise decisions) can’t work properly. It’s no wonder, then, that so many of us are hit with brain freeze. Coupled with the drop in cognitive function, our mood is strongly afected too. So, instead of feeling emotionally resilient and speaking calmly and constructively to our colleagues and clients, we explode and bark things we later regret. The good news, though, is that this is easily and quickly remedied once we make some small changes to our diet. The irst thing to remember is that we need protein with each meal. Perhaps one reason for office snacking reaching such epic proportions is that we are




Brain-boosting cacao balls

simply not eating well. So many of us eschew breakfast, launching ourselves into work until we hit a wall and run for the irst quick-ix we can ind – and we don’t generally have to look very far for it. The smarter strategy is to insulate ourselves against cravings by fuelling up properly with nutrient-packed meals. My carb explosion breakfast of toast or cereal was setting me up for an entire day of crashes and cravings. Once I switched to eggs for breakfast, my whole day was transformed. Because the protein and good fats in these nutritious powerhouses stabilised my blood sugar, I was able to concentrate for the whole morning – for the irst time in my life. Good fats keep us feeling full and they also cut cravings – two very good reasons to give those sugar-illed low-fat yoghurts a miss and opt for nuts and seeds to keep you feeling satisied instead. These are incredibly nutrient-rich foods that will feed your HEART HELP brain (and skin), as well as As well as giving protecting your long-term you an energy boost, almonds are also health. Don’t fear them as good for your heart. fattening: research shows Their antioxidants that eating nuts regularly improve blood low can actually help you to and reduce your lose excess weight. blood pressure. Although snacking is no substitute for sitting down and enjoying a well-balanced, nutritious meal, it’s useful to have healthy nibbles to hand for those times when we’re on the hoof, grabbing a bite between meetings or we’re just in need of a bit of a lift to see us through until dinner. The food industry has been quick to jump on the healthy snacks bandwagon, but beware! Most of these supposedly healthy products are laced with sugar in one form or another – yes, even the ones in lovely artisan-looking packaging that make you feel healthier just by looking at them. Instead, do some simple meal-prep and make your own in advance. I still snack sometimes, but I’m now very choosy about what I opt for – I have no intention of going back to my rollercoaster days. Find my favourite go-to recipes on the next few pages.


METHOD Put all the ingredients in a high-powered food processor and blitz until well-combined. Tip the mixture onto a clean surface, take small amounts of it and roll into balls. If any nuts or seeds have fallen out of the mix, just reincorporate them. Place the cacao balls in the fridge to chill for a few hours before eating. They will keep for up to two weeks in the fridge.

Ingredients MAKES 25

* 200g (about 8) pitted *

Photography Peppermint Wellness



Medjool dates 150g (1½ cups) walnuts

* 50g (½ cup) raw cacao powder * 25g (¼ cup) pumpkin seeds * 25g (1/6 cup) chia seeds



Snacking dos and don’ts

Photography Peppermint Wellness

WHAT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR DIET * Protein: include a source of high-

* * * *

Ingredients SERVES 6-8

* ½ red onion * 1 clove garlic * 4 large, ripe tomatoes * ½ red pepper, yellow * * * * *

pepper and cucumber Small handful flat-leaf parsley 400ml (2 cups) tomato juice 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar Salt and pepper to taste

Flavourful gazpacho SIP ON THE RUN FOR A BRILLIANT VEGETABLE BOOST METHOD Place all the ingredients in a high-powered blender and blitz until they form a thick, soup-like consistency. Leave in the fridge to chill for an hour or two. Finely chop some more cucumber and pepper and sprinkle on top of the gazpacho. Add a drizzle of olive oil to serve.

quality protein with each meal. Organic eggs are a fantastic source of protein and Omega 3 healthy fats. Nuts and seeds: walnuts, in particular, are a really great source of brain-friendly good fats. A rainbow of fruit and vegetables. Green tea gives a gentle mental boost without the jittery downsides of coffee. Lots of water: research has shown that even the mildest dehydration of only 1-2 percent of body water can affect your ability to concentrate.

WHAT NOT TO INCLUDE IN YOUR DIET * Low-fat yoghurts: they’re often

full of sugar to make them taste better. * Diet drinks: while they’re lower in sugar, they include other ingredients that have been linked with a long-term risk of dementia. * Posh coffees: usually served with lavoured syrups. * 'Artisan' popcorns: they often have sugary ingredients added for lavour.

SUZY GLASKIE Suzy is a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach whose mission is to empower people to reclaim their health and vitality. Read more from Suzy at




ALL OF THE TASTY, OATY GOODNESS WITHOUT THE REFINED SUGAR METHOD Line a 10in square baking tin with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 160°C/ 320°F/Gas Mark 3. Melt the oil, syrup and almond butter in a pan, stirring them together until they’re completely combined. Stir the oats and nuts into the mixture in the pan, then gently fold in the blueberries until incorporated. Transfer the mixture to the lined baking tin and press it down very irmly with the back of a spoon to make sure it’s all compressed and there are no air pockets. Bake your lapjack mixture in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, then cool completely in the tin. Place the tin in the fridge for a few hours, before slicing the lapjacks to prevent them crumbling.

Ingredients MAKES 8

* 300g (3¼ cups) oats * 150g (1 cup) frozen or fresh blueberries * 10 tbsp coconut oil * 10 tbsp maple syrup * 5 tbsp almond butter * 150g (1¼ cups) hazelnuts, chopped





Seeded crackers


Pumpkin seeds are packed with zinc, which has been proven to enhance memory as well as improving mood. Sprinkle them on your porridge.

PERFECT FOR PAIRING WITH A HUMMUS OR GUACAMOLE DIP METHOD Preheat the oven to 140oC/275oF/Gas Mark 1. Combine the lax and chia seeds in a bowl with the water and leave them to swell up and form a gel (at least 30 minutes).

Spread the mixture out in a thin layer on a baking sheet covered with nonstick baking parchment.

Photography Peppermint Wellness

Bake for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and score the mixture into rectangular shapes. Flip them over and return to the oven for another 30 minutes, or until they are crisp.

Ingredients MAKES 20

* 85g (½ cup) flax seeds * 85g (½ cup) chia seeds * 250ml (1 cup) water * 40g (¼ cup) pumpkin seeds * 40g (¼ cup) sunflower seeds * 40g (¼ cup) sesame seeds * 1 tbsp of a good salt * 30g (¼ cup) za’atar (optional) * 1 tbsp caraway seeds (optional)

Photography Peppermint Wellness

Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl, and combine well.


EASING INTO AUTUMN Engaging with the changing season allows us to harness the shift in energy that September brings Words: Janey Lee Grace / Illustration: Amelia Flower

s summer fades, it can be easy to start berating ourselves. In the past I have found that I emerge from long, lazy days convinced that I must make up for the time spent relaxing. Surely after lots of relaxing over the summer, it’s time to galvanise myself into a proper itness programme and embark on a healthy eating regime (while there have been plenty of summer salads, there have also been lots of ice creams). I’ve often let lots of things slip over the summer months, and feel that now everyone is back at work, it’s time to inish projects, pitch to publishers, start a new online course, set aside more time to help my kids with homework... the list goes on. But, having had the chance to actually relax and enjoy my time, all of this resolve and running around trying to catch up usually just ends up making me feel exhausted – and as though I am setting myself up to fail. There’s no doubt that the changing of the seasons is important, and it is worth thinking about how you can best shift your energy to suit the season. That being said, racing around frantically, trying to make up for lost time won’t cut it. I’ve come to realise it’s all about self-care. I’m lucky enough to be a Hay House radio presenter, and get to interview some amazing spiritual and wellbeing authors. Recently, there has been an eclectic mix of guests, and the changing of the seasons and how we take care of ourselves often comes up in conversation. Rebecca Campbell, author of Rise Sister Rise and the new Work Your Light Oracle card deck, says that it’s easy for us to become disconnected from the rhythmic pulse of nature. We are cyclic, connected beings. As the seasons change, so do we. The more disconnected we become from nature, the more out of whack we can feel. One of the easiest ways to get back into low is to notice the season. When the leaves are beginning to fall from the

trees in autumn, ask yourself, ‘What is falling away within me?’ or, ‘What am I carrying that I am ready to release?’. When we take a moment to notice the changes within nature, we also acknowledge the changes within ourselves. Louise Allen is a holistic healer who believes that seasonal shifts should be part of everything that we do ( She infuses natural products with lower essences and works with the cycles of Mother Nature to make seasonal beauty products – I adore her day cream. She shares her relections on the changing of the seasons on her blog – I recommend reading it to tune in to what’s happening during these shifts. So, rather than putting pressure on yourself to make up for lost time this autumn, I recommend prioritising your self-care instead. It’s easy to feel guilty about this, having spent all summer relaxing and enjoying our holidays, but it’s just as important now as it was then. Focus on setting aside a small amount of time for yourself, perhaps ive minutes of meditation, and schedule that irst. Once you’ve made this commitment, you’ll ind it easier to then take more time to retreat and rest. This can be anything that works for you; it might be taking time out to walk, or having a lovely bath with a scented candle and some aromatherapy oils. I like to nod to nature with the Aromatherapy Reed Difuser from Shui Me (www. Unlike many petrochemical candles and difusers, this is an eco-friendly, non toxic product made with 100 percent organic essential oils – try ‘Relax’ with lavender, ylang ylang and pettigrain. However you honour the changing of the seasons, make sure that you’re putting yourself irst – and not the expectations of anyone else. By doing so, you’ll inish the summer feeling refreshed, rather than stressed, and ready to tackle your to-do list with a sense of calm.

JANEY LEE GRACE is a best-selling author, commentator and co-presenter on BBC Radio 2’s Steve Wright in the Afternoon. You can find her online at




UPCYCLED BAGS Having leftover material at the start or inish of every product’s life may seem inevitable, but innovative brands are now creating beautiful bags – either from discarded scraps or unwanted items

Photography Phil Sowels

Words: Rae Ritchie


Vegan handbag

Upcycled shopper

These Petal baskets are made by artisans who have been weaving for generations. Crafted from recycled plastic strapping, each one is unique and by giving new life to material otherwise destined for landfill, they have a minimal effect on the environment. They come in three sizes and a range of bright colours.

Paguro makes contemporary products by using reclaimed tyre inner tubes, printer belts and bike chains. To further reduce the environmental impact, its designers try to source the materials from near their workshops. With its simple, elegant design, the Reina Black Vegan Handbag is an ethical update on a classic style.

This young brand was born when founder Saher was working part time in a Sussex sail loft and felt that the vibrantly coloured surplus sailcloth was just too nice to be thrown away. After some experimentation, the first Terracotta Row bags were born out of recycled industrial materials, and they’ve proved popular ever since!

From £34.99


From £49

Scrappy saddle bag

Bouncy castle tote

Unique backpack

The Carnival Collection by What Daisy Did is made in India from leather and cotton that factories have discarded. The company then passes on its leather scraps to jewellers to minimise waste further. Creating the bags also provides jobs to former shoemakers who suffered when the local industry lost out to cheaper Chinese production.

You may well have seen one of Wyatt and Jack’s totes in its former life, perhaps even in your own garden, as these bags used to be part of a bouncy castle! All of its creations are upcycled from retired bouncy castle PVC vinyl or beach deckchair canvas. A proportion of tote sales also goes towards helping to plant trees.

In a converted Welsh chapel, Xandra Jane’s designer refashions classic shirts into unique backpacks that are both useful and celebrate the garment’s heritage – collars becoming handles and former button stands becoming adjustable straps. Workshops to convert your own pre-loved shirts are in the pipeline too.

From £29.99



Photography Jesse Wild

Pretty plastic




At just 25 years old, high-flying journalist Jocelyn de Kwant was diagnosed with exhaustion. It was a wake-up call that eventually lead her to step off the treadmill and start accepting her ‘flaws’

Photography: Milan Vermeulen

mployers loved my creativity and that I always went ‘the extra mile’, so to speak. But the annual feedback pointers were invariably the same: I was a sparkling personality, very dedicated and creative, but a little bit too emotional, too sensitive, and should learn to be more structured. But nevertheless, I’d get a “well done” and a raise. I compensated for my ‘laws’ by just working really hard. But somewhere in my early career, that went wrong. My creativity got lost, my stress levels were high 24/7, I was exhausted, I had panic attacks. At the age of 25, I was diagnosed with emotional, physical and cognitive exhaustion – also known as burnout. It took me seven months to get back on my feet. During those months, I took long walks, slept a lot, rediscovered drawing and crafting, and had hours of therapy. When I was ready to go back to work, I decided to never let it happen again.



I read everything there was to read about burnouts, about stress, about wellbeing. At that time, 15 years ago, that wasn’t a lot. But being a journalist, I could investigate it for a living and write about it. After a couple of years of freelancing, I became the managing editor of a successful magazine about creativity and mindfulness. Again, I gave it my all, but this time I would not burn myself out. If only one day I could master my emotional side and be more structured, I thought, the sky would be the limit. I was doing ine for a long time. But one night, I found myself sitting in the dark with only the blue light of my computer screen, working through my emails to get a head start the next day – something I had started to do more often, because I just couldn’t get around to doing everything during working hours. But that particular night, I started to receive immediate replies from one of my colleagues, also

working at that unsavoury hour. In her emails, I found new requests for the next day, ruining my head start. That was when it hit me: this doesn’t make any sense. If even well-organised people like my colleague have to work at night to get things done, where does that leave me? It was a wake-up call. I realised that I had slowly tricked myself again into working at moments when I should have been winding down. What had started as an innocent ‘I don’t mind working late sometimes, you get so much done’, had become a one-way ticket to burning out again. And it’s not just me – we’re all behaving like little mice on a treadmill. In the 2016 US General Social Survey, a study carried out every year since 1972, 50 percent of people answered yes to the question: “Are you consistently exhausted because of work?” By comparison, two decades ago, only 18 percent answered yes.


Jocelyn was diagnosed with exhaustion at 25, while she was working as a journalist.


“Now, in the middle of every working day, I take a few minutes for myself” In every developed country, people are stressed and burnout rates are rising, according to research. So what is going on? More than one expert has told me they believe technology is to blame for a lot of it. Apart from the fact that it easily facilitates working all the time, it has also introduced a new you: the ‘digital’ you. Journalist Jocelyn G Klei, who makes the wonderful podcast ‘Hurry Slowly’, explained to me: “We have this one self: the physical self, who exists in this universe and has 24 hours in a day. And there is this other self: our digital self, with an email inbox and a Twitter inbox and on and on. And these selves are ininite. We can have an ininite amount of messages and an ininite amount of requests and demands in our inbox. The amount of requests I have does not align with the amount of things you can do in a day.” The tricky thing, though, is that we feel really productive when working through our emails. It’s a quick ix for your to-do list and it even releases dopamine hormones in the brain. The more emails you send out, the more replies you can expect. If anything, we should be sending out less mail in order to be more productive. Also not helpful is the fact that we tend to forget that we are not robots. We all systematically overestimate what we can get done in one day. As humans, we just do not function at the same level every hour of the day. We can have of days and hours when we get nothing done. And even on



a good day, we cannot go on non-stop, neuroscientist Daniel Levitin told me in an interview. Multi-tasking does not exist, he told me; instead, we sequel task: we quickly switch between things and burn loads of energy every time. Even a quick glance at our inbox messes with our concentration on a serious level. So trying to speed things up, actually slows us down. Between periods of focus, we need moments of non-focus to let our brains recover. We need spells of staring out of the window, of daydreaming, especially when we need to be creative. You can’t force or schedule an aha-moment; creative breakthroughs only happen when your brain is in a relaxed state. So instead of getting angry at yourself when you’re feeling uninspired and fresh out of ideas, go outside and take a walk or do something else completely diferent for a bit. Maybe I didn’t realise how important taking a break was for my creativity, but I already knew how vital it was for my wellbeing. Especially late at night. So why did I ignore it? Because I always promised myself that I would take better care of myself after I had checked of everything on my to-do list. In some way, I felt that it was my own fault that I hadn’t gotten around to checking everything of. It was when I read Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself (Yellow Kite, £16.99) by Kristin Nef that it hit me. “Sadly, there’s almost no one whom we treat as badly as ourselves,” she writes. “Insecurity, anxiety and depression

are common in our society, and much of this is due to self-judgement, to beating ourselves up when we feel we aren’t winning in the game of life.” Instead of accepting that my sensitivity and chaotic side were just part of me, I was constantly blaming myself for it. Rather than seeing those traits as important parts of being creative in the irst place, I was trying to mould myself into someone who was creative and always efficient. And always the quickest to reply to emails. And, while we’re at it, also the perfect friend, mother and wife. Kristin continues: “Even if we do manage to get our act together, the goalposts for what counts as ‘good enough’ seem to remain frustratingly out of reach.” Yes, employers had always liked me, but I realised that this had become my own prison. I was afraid to let people down. To let myself down. I needed to get of the hamster wheel once in a while, even if that meant not getting everything crossed of my to-do list. Now, in the middle of every working day, I take a few minutes for myself and do something completely diferent. Drawing. Walking in the park. Reading a couple of pages in an interesting book. Staring out of the window. All those things that I’d written about, but never actually taken the time to do. But the most important thing is that now, when I’m having a slow day and get nothing done, I accept it. I am not the perfect employee, I’m not the perfect anything. What a relief.

Clockwise from top: Jocelyn is now at ease SEPDDAN=SOPEIA KQPEOREP=HSAKBPAJ overestimate what can be done in a day.


Five exercises to focus on the small things SHUT OUT THE HUSTLE AND BUSTLE AND FIND A NEW CALM Watching a sunset with our full attention evokes emotion and calms us down, whether we’re alone or with a loved one. Allow your mind to drift back to a sunset that was special to you. Where were you? How did it make you feel? Sketch a piece of fruit with as much accuracy as possible. What new things do you notice? Find a peaceful place to quieten your mind and listen to the sounds of nature talking to you. Jot down what you can hear if you ignore all human sounds. There is always something to appreciate about your ordinary day, even if your routine seems monotonous and you live for the weekend – you just have to look for it! Make a quick list of what you like about a typical day. Close your eyes. When you open them again, engage your ‘beginner’s mind’; look around you as if you are seeing everything for the irst time. What do you notice? What really stands out for you?

Jocelyn’s book Creative Flow. A Year in My Mindful Life is out now (Leaping Hare Press, £12.99).






rsa Daley-Ward is an actor and a model, but she made her literary name as a poet. Her breakthrough collection, Bone, (self-published in 2014, reissued by Penguin last year) is by turns funny and raw, confessional-feeling and character driven, as natural as speaking and as rich as Bible verses. It makes sense that she would follow up such a personal collection with a memoir. Playful down to the typesetting (certain words are printed teeny-tiny and even upside down to underline her meaning), the voice of The Terrible is always warm but never glib. This is key to the book’s success, because much of what Daley-Ward has to write about is heavy; violence, substance abuse, bereavement and sexual exploitation. Born to a Jamaican mother and an absent Nigerian father, she was raised largely by her grandparents in Chorley, Lancashire while her mum worked nights. Those grandparents were strict adherents to the Seventh Day Adventist Church, meaning that DaleyWard and her siblings were set apart from their peers at school, not only by race and culture (she was the only black person at her school until her brother joined), but also by religion. The book’s mix of incantatory lyricism and northern bathos is reminiscent of Jeanette Winterson’s autobiographical novel Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, and, like Winterson, Daley-Ward is interested in how one becomes an artist. The title, ‘The Terrible’, is both a personiication of bleakness and trauma, and a strange kind of gift through which poetry becomes possible. “What luck. What terriic magic,” she writes at the end of a story that could have been nothing but misery memoir, and you truly believe that luck and magic is exactly what you’ve encountered with her.




Q How did it feel moving from writing poetry to writing a memoir? A I don’t think there was a movement actually. I’ve always been writing, and writing is this huge thing – it shouldn’t be sectioned of. Really, we’re all storytellers anyway, whether we write or not. Some days I feel like making it succinct and four lines long, and some days I want to write continuously.

Actor, model and author Yrsa DaleyWard encourages us to turn negative experiences into something beautiful.

Q But this particular story touches a lot of nerves, and in poetry you have a certain artiice. If you’re writing a memoir, you’re saying, “this happened to me”… A Well yes; you can’t lie in a memoir. I was able to tell lots of lies with Bone. I was like, “No, that’s not about you!”. Obviously I can’t do that with The Terrible. But when you get your ego out of the way and you forget this is a book about you, you treat it like you would any other story – because we’re all going through similar things. I’m not saying everybody’s been through a lot of the stuf in there because I’ve lived a bit of a life, but I think that the joy and the beauty in it comes in that I’m giving a voice to things that happen to people all the time. And maybe by reading it, somebody will realise that it’s not just them that’s had this experience.

Photography Mike McGregor

Q Your mother comes across as a very complex character in the book. Did writing about her change your feelings about her at all? A No, I always had wonderful feelings towards my mum. I had an understanding from a really early age that we do the best with what we’ve got. It’s not an easy feat to bring up children, especially as a single woman, especially as a single woman from Jamaica and making her way, working nights and doing all of that.

Q How did you ind your upbringing with your grandparents? Did you realise it was different to that of others your age where you lived? A Nothing feels unusual to you when you’re living it, but of course we were raised in Chorley in the north west of England so there were no other black people and we could see that. And because my grandparents were strict Seventh Day Adventists, everything was diferent.

You see your friends backchat, and they can be out on the street at night, but you can’t do any of that. We always ate West Indian food, and our house was that of a typical Jamaican house – we still had the plastic on the chairs and lots of plastic igurines of Jesus and a lot of china. My grandparents liked to keep things beautiful.

Q What is the ‘Terrible’? A The ‘Terrible’ is a euphemism for lots of things. It’s grief, it’s loneliness, it’s addiction, it’s thoughts of suicide, it’s depression, it’s anxiety, it’s any of those things that sit with you constantly. Those things that you feel like you can’t run away from, you feel are almost part of you. And the personiication of the ‘Terrible’ was just to illustrate the fact that you can’t escape something you haven’t dealt with. You might think you have, but it’s just going to appear next to you. It’ll come into your bed, come out drinking with you, or whatever it is that you like to do. It’ll be the third person in your marriage. So it was important for me to personify that, because when you feel depressed, when you feel anxious, they are not light feelings. They’re the diference for some people between life and death.

Q There’s also this idea in the book of there being a gift or a richness from these negative experiences… A There’s absolutely a gift in it. Negative feelings and negative occurrences are great markers of what’s happening in your life and where you’re going. There’s a tendency to speak in a negative way about negativity, but I don’t know that we always should. It’s part of the tapestry of life. You take that, and you sew it into your own seams and you come out with something beautiful.

The Terrible (Penguin, £9.99) is out now. Yrsa’s poetry is on Instagram (@yrsadaleyward). This interview took place with the support of Bristol Festival of Ideas yearround programme (www.



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THE SOUND OF SILENCE Tuning out from the distractions of the world around us can leave room for more creative thinking Words: Sara Tasker (@meandorla) / Illustration: Amelia Flower

y ive-year-old, Orla, has started to insist we sit in silence in the car. No radio, music, podcasts or audiobooks. My husband and I are not even allowed to talk. Her reasoning? “I need to concentrate on my imaginations, Mama.” It’s adorable and a little frustrating, but I can’t help thinking she’s onto something. How often do we, as adults, make time for silence? Not so long ago, we had to do it by default. Waiting at the bus stop, riding the tube, the long line at the post office or cofee shop – all of it dead time with only the thoughts in our head for company. With the advent of iPods, and then smart phones, we suddenly have a world of information and entertainment at our ingertips. When we can always be learning, doing and making headway on our goals, sitting in mental silence can feel wasteful, lazy or indulgent. Even our chores are conducted to this soundtrack of information now. The only times when I’m not taking things in are in the shower, or after I put down my phone or book at night. But if we spend all our time absorbing other people’s creations, when do we create things for ourselves? When do we hear our own thoughts, and sort through the jumble of our daily life? Now, this isn’t a rant against the dangers of smart phones – they represent choice and communication, and those are wonderful things. And as someone who’s sufered with lifelong anxiety, I often welcome the ability to distract my whirring, supercomputer brain from intrusive or unhelpful thoughts. But when, like Orla, do we get to concentrate on our imaginations? Despite the quiet car rides, my daughter’s bedtime has been slipping later each night. We put her in pyjamas and tuck her in at the same hour, but she’s started to lie there awake, blinking in the midsummer dusk for an hour or so. When I asked her why, her answer was ierce: “It’s the only time I get to have my imaginations!” Those short car journeys home are not enough for her any more. Her

internal world – among My Little Ponies and Elsa from Frozen, where her class teacher is her mum (!) – needs more time and silence, so she lies awake and plays out the stories in her head. Meditation teacher Andrew Johnson told me the same when I interviewed him for my podcast. He attributes the rise in adult insomnia to this non-stop information treadmill we’re all on, and said he sees people who can’t sleep because when their head hits the pillow, a day’s worth of thinking loods into their mind. I can relate to that. I’m rarely more creative than in the half hour after I put my phone down at night, picking it up time and again to hastily make notes. I even bought a waterproof notepad for my shower, because so many of my best ideas come to me then. So, with all this in mind, I’m trying to make more time to do nothing each day. I’ve put up a fabric teepee with Orla, where we go and sit and make time for our imaginations together. I would like some music to help me with this, but Orla insists she inds it distracting. “You just need to choose one and get started,” she tells me. So that’s what we do. Out on walks, I’ve started to turn of my music and let the birdsong in for ive minutes or so. There are meditation apps that help you to introduce this relective time into your day. But if, like me, you ind it hard to do nothing, turn to the activities that humans have been doing in silence for generations. Sweeping the loor with a big straw broom, painting, drawing, sewing or craft. I’ve dug out my old calligraphy pen and ink and spend half an hour here and there just illing the pages with long, looping strokes. I’m happier this way. I’m having diferent ideas, feeling creative again. I’m writing those furtive iPhone notes all through the day now. Try doing an Orla sometimes and give your own imaginations some space. “You can be anything you want there,” she tells me, but I’m increasingly happy to just be myself.

SARA TASKER is a photographer, writer and creative coach who goes by the name Me & Orla. She shares her beautiful images over on Instagram (@me_and_orla) and also hosts a podcast for creatives (#HashtagAuthentic).




EMMA BLOCK Illustrator and author Emma shares how her work-life balance fuels her creativity – and where she inds her inspiration…




I LIKE TO INSPIRE OTHER PEOPLE TO BE CREATIVE AND TRY THEIR HAND AT DRAWING AND PAINTING mma is an illustrator and author who inds inspiration in vintage photos and travel. She tells us about her artistic career and how she inds a sense of calm in order to create. “As long as I can remember, I’ve loved drawing and painting. I had a ‘making cupboard’ when I was little, which was full of glitter, pipe cleaners and poster paint, and I was always creating something. Instead of sitting traditional A-levels, I did a national diploma in art and design, then went on to study illustration at Middlesex University. I’m so happy that I got to do art for ive whole years. I’m also very glad that my parents trusted that I knew what I was doing, and didn’t make me take more academic subjects just in case the art career didn’t work out. “I started working professionally as an illustrator when I was 17, slowly building up my client base and portfolio while I was studying. This meant that I could be a freelance illustrator as soon as I graduated, though it was deinitely tricky at the beginning to ind work! I’ve learnt a whole lot since then about business and making good business choices. “Despite doing something I love for a living, it can still be stressful. Sometimes things go wrong and supplies don’t arrive in time for a workshop, or my printer breaks

down when I need to send orders out. Sometimes I end up taking on too much work at once, which can be quite challenging! I do yoga every week, which I ind really helps me to relax. My favourite way to unwind at home is to have a bath and put a podcast on. “Having balance in my life is important to me, to make sure I don’t get burned out creatively. My ideal day of from work would be a visit to an exhibition at the National Gallery with my husband; cofee at Notes (my favourite cofee shop in London); then heading up Charing Cross Road to browse the books in Foyles. We always end up buying something in there! “When I’m not painting, I love reading to relax, and this year I’ve made an efort to read and inish more books. I’ve got a big stack of them on my bedside table because after I inish reading I forget to put them back on the shelf. Most recently I read The Stories of Eva Luna by Isabel Allende, The Summer Book by Tove Jansson and The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford. Right now I am reading Prospero’s Cell by Lawrence Durrell. I’d recommend them all! “When it comes to my work now, I’d describe myself as a multidisciplinary illustrator, but I still love painting as much as I did when I was small, and all of the illustrations

I produce are originally hand-painted. I like to inspire others to be creative too and try their hand at drawing and painting. People always assume that if they can’t draw one thing they’re never going to be good at art generally – but that’s just not true! I’m useless at drawing cars and other vehicles, for example. “If you want to learn to draw, I would advise starting with something simple. Spend time looking at your subject before you begin drawing, then take it slowly, and don’t put any pressure on yourself. Learning to draw isn’t easy and it takes a little while. I consider drawing and painting to be a visual language. No one would expect to learn to speak a language instantly, it takes a lot of practice. The main thing is to enjoy the experience and not put too much pressure on yourself. “You can ind inspiration for your art anywhere. Travel is very stimulating for me. Whenever I go on holiday, I come back bursting with ideas. But you don’t have to go away to ind something that sparks your creativity; I’m always looking out for colour and pattern in every-day life and if I see something lovely I have to record it in my sketchbook.” Turn the page to ind Emma’s tutorial on how to paint your own watercolour potted plant piece.





You will need: * Large round brush * Medium round brush * Small round brush * Watercolour paper, about 20x25.5cm (8x10in) * Pencil * Eraser * Table salt Paint colours:

* cadmium red pale * phthalo green * ultramarine blue * permanent carmine * sap green * Venetian red * yellow ochre * burnt umber

First, lightly sketch out the plants and their pots with a pencil. I have sketched three overlapping potted plants, but you could keep it simple with just one to start. You want the sketch to be as light as possible, so you can only just see it. Mix a little bit of cadmium red pale with lots KBS=PAN=J@HHEJPDA>=?GCNKQJ@QOEJCUKQN large brush, making sure to avoid the areas where the pots and leaves will be. Let the background dry completely.



While the background is drying, start mixing up some different shades of green. I like to use both blue-toned and yellow-toned greens in the same painting. Here, I mixed phthalo green, ultramarine blue and a touch of permanent carmine to make a turquoise-green colour for the plant in the middle. I mixed some sap green with a little bit of ultramarine blue and Venetian red to paint the plant on the left. For the plant on the right, I added more Venetian red and ultramarine blue to the sap green mixture. Experiment and play around QJPEHUKQJ@OARAN=H@EBBANAJPOD=@AOKB green you like.


Before you start to paint the leaves, and once the background is dry, rub out the pencil lines with your eraser. The painted >=?GCNKQJ@SEHH@AJAPDALKPO=J@LH=JPO  which means you don’t need the pencil lines anymore. When you paint the leaves, apply the colour using your medium brush in light washes in some areas, and allow the paint to pool in denser areas of pigment in others where the leaves would naturally be in shadow or darker. This gives a sense of natural variation and the impression that light is catching the different angles of the leaves.

I painted the pots with the three shades of red using a medium brush. While they were still wet, I sprinkled them with salt, for an interesting textured effect. Brush the salt off once they’re dry. Using a small brush, I added a wooden stand to the pot in the middle in yellow ochre and burnt umber. Once the leaves are dry, add stems and veins using a darker shade of green with your small brush. I added veins to the middle plant using a mixture of permanent carmine and phthalo CNAAJ2KJEOD '=@@A@=>EPKBOD=@KSPK the side of the pots by painting a thin line of the same colour used for each pot.

This is an edited extract from The Joy of Watercolor: 40 Happy Lessons for Painting the World Around You by Emma Block (Running Press, ÂŁ13.99).




Your own work of art! A masterpiece like this deserves pride of place on your wall. Don’t be disheartened if it’s not quite there yet, experiment with the techniques Emma has shared and see what you can create. You never know, it could be the start of a lifelong passion… YORKSHIRE, UK


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A literature festival is what you make it – just come along and soak up the atmosphere.


A great book is a voyage of discovery, which is why a literary festival is the perfect way to find and fuel your creative side, says Rebecca Gardner ersonally, I’ve never been tempted by the huge crowds and loud music of Glastonbury. My idea of a festival is somewhat diferent. For me, they mean celebrations of books and writing: authors, readers and the ideas that bring them together. I can be uplifted and inspired without a muddy welly in sight. And as summer turns to autumn, they are the perfect choice for recharging your creative batteries before winter. A book festival is really what you make it – strangely they’re not even necessarily about books. “You don’t have to have read the book, know the author – or even have read any books,” says Rachel Feldberg, festival director of Ilkley Literature Festival in Yorkshire, UK. “The author talks about their ideas, which you can follow – even if you don’t know their book. It’s about

extraordinary moments you couldn’t script and the chance to meet people you’d never normally meet.” The origins of a novel are often linked to life-changing moments. Whether that moment was seemingly insigniicant to onlookers or incredibly challenging, you are there to hear about it irst hand. If you are familiar with the author already, this experience can change how you interact with their work for the rest of your life. I saw author Dinah Jeferies speaking at Cheltenham Literature Festival about her irst book The Separation. Whenever I hear of her subsequent novels, I have such a clear picture of her talking movingly about her son (who died in an accident aged just 14), and how that inluences her writing. For women, especially, literature festivals are very



Photography Karen Ross Photography

RACHEL FELDBERG Rachel has been festival director of the Ilkley Literature Festival for the past 15 years. She began her career as a theatre director and writer, working at the Red Ladder Theatre Company in Leeds until 1993. She has helped create a festival that attracts big names and nurtures new talent.




easy places to visit solo. “We pride ourselves on making you feel safe and welcome,” says Rachel. Sarah-Jane Roberts, co-director of the Manchester Literature Festival, explains that the event’s audience is around 70-75 percent female, which she partially attributes to its “showcasing of excellent women writers, poets, biographers and activists”. Festivals ofer so many diferent voices in one place in just one week – especially women’s voices. At Ilkley, Maya Angelou was so gracious and incredibly inspiring, telling her audience, “what literature enables us to do is to understand each others’ lives”. Names such as Hillary Clinton capture festival headlines, yet equally, emerging poets are there reading to their irst audience. Cheltenham is my ‘local’ literature festival – one of the world’s largest and oldest events of this type. Regency buildings surround a large white marquee village and deckchairs sit on the lawns of Montpellier Gardens, most years in autumnal sunshine. Like a kid in a candy shop, every year I try something new.

Photography Ilkley Literature Festival

“Names such as Hillary Clinton capture festival headlines, yet equally, emerging poets are there reading to their first audience.”

Photography Hay Festival


SARAH-JANE ROBERTS Sarah-Jane has worked as co-director of the Manchester Literature Festival for the past three years. Before this, she was the artistic director of the Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival. Among other things, her role involves commissioning new work, looking after authors – and a lot of reading.

Photography David McLenachan

Photography Chris Bull, Manchester Literature Festival


Clockwise from top: the Hay Festival in Wales has been running for 31 years; Suzanne Hindle reading from punk poet John Cooper Clarke’s work at the Manchester Literature Festival; guests enjoy the atmosphere at the Cheltenham festival; Maya Angelou inspires her audience at the Ilkley event.

Creative workshops, festival volunteering and, at the height of my festival bravery, taking part in an open mic session. A festival often gets its character from its location. In Manchester, Sarah-Jane recommends exploring “the wealth of literary history and heritage in the city, as well as brilliant walking tours following in the footsteps of Elizabeth Gaskell and Charles Dickens”. In the heart of London, the Literary Footprints Festival from Footprints of London describes itself as an annual “walking book club” exploring the locations that inspired famous titles. It’s on for the whole of October. Festivals can also step into the natural world; Ilkley’s visitors are right in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales. One author demonstrated wild swimming – the subject of his book – in the river Wharfe before drying of and addressing his audience. The Stanza Stones Walk, featuring six rocks inscribed with poetry by Simon Armitage, was a collaboration with the festival. A short walk from local landmark Cow and Calf Rocks takes you to the Beck Stone and its poem. Or, what about books by the beach? The Isle of Wight Literary Festival is another autumn option. And if it does rain then you’re not stuck outside in a leaky tent; as Rachel suggests: “It’s a literature festival after all – stay inside with us and a cup of tea!” If your reading life is usually a satisfying yet solitary afair, meeting authors and other book lovers can be an amazing experience. “It’s always a pleasure to see people listen to, then meet one of their favourite authors,”



Photography Adrian White

EMMA KAVANAGH Crime writer Emma lives in South Wales with her husband and young sons. She spent many years working as a police and military psychologist, training police and military staff in the UK and overseas and her debut novel Falling received rave reviews. Her fifth book is due out in January 2019.




says Sarah-Jane. “Some people bring gifts, some people are VOLUNTEERING too overwhelmed to speak Festival volunteers and others cry with sheer keep things running happiness.” I love the behind the scenes and look after visitors and welcoming atmosphere authors. It’s a great at the author event and way to get a diferent the ‘after-party’: signings, perspective. For book tents and tea rooms. details, check out Reading chat often lows easily festival websites. between strangers. Rachel puts it perfectly: “You are surrounded by books, splendid people and piles of cake – what more could you want?” For the authors, too, this social aspect is a huge part of visiting these festivals; creating books, poetry and drama can be a solitary business. “As an author, I spend a ridiculous amount of time alone,” says Emma Kavanagh, the successful crime writer. “Festivals allow me a chance to get out of my own head, spend time with my fellow authors (a hugely supportive group) and to get to meet my readers. They’re not only fun, but a great way to remind yourself why you do it.” One of my go-to book recommendations is Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller. She admits to pre-event nerves, although they soon disappear. “I’m having conversations with people who love books, and what could be more fun?” she says. “I also love turning the questions back, and when I’m asked something like what my favourite book is, I like to ask the questioner the same question. It’s a great way of getting recommendations.”

Photography Chris Bull, Manchester Literature Festival





Think location. With so many festivals on offer, you can afford to be choosy! Plump for something fairly local, or book an event in another town – or country – that you’d like to visit and explore. Be adventurous. Don’t just book to see your favourite authors or names writing on subjects that you recognise. Take a chance, pick a wild-card or two and open yourself up to new experiences. Don’t miss out. Tickets for big-name sessions tend to get snapped up weeks beforehand, so make sure you book your favourites early. If you do miss out, check for returns on the day – you may be lucky!

Photography Ruby Ingleheart

Ask festival staff for recommendations. With their immersion in the event, they may have an unusual and interesting take on reading material. Widen your experience with creative workshops. Try something you’ve never done before and see where it takes you. Book accommodation early. Hotels and B&Bs can ill up quickly when there’s a festival in town, so plan ahead or pick a room in a nearby village to retire to.

Clockwise from top: sharing recommendations at the Cheltenham Literature Festival; a wayfaring walk at the Hay event; Montpellier Park in Cheltenham; Bake Off’s Nadiya Hussain meets young fans at Cheltenham; actor Maxine Peake at the Manchester festival, talking about her role as a female stand-up in a man’s world in the 2017 movie Funny Cow.


Clockwise from top: free your creative spirit at a literature festival; Shami Chakrabarti in conversation with Rachel Holmes at the Manchester event; relaxing with a good book at Hay.


“Emerging from a festival with a head of ideas, you may start to think about your own writing.” This two-way conversation is so much part of the festival experience; whether it’s a full theatre or a more intimate session, you have the chance to question, to challenge and to contribute. Emerging from a festival with a head of ideas, you may start to think about your own writing. So, what about a writing festival? These events can be diferent to the pick ‘n’ mix book festival schedule, where you select as much or as little as you like. Attendance at writing festivals tends to be by day ticket or packages for a full weekend with accommodation. Programs have key speakers and practical workshops for every morning and afternoon. Costs can also include short 1:1 sessions with an agent, for those who have aspirations to publish their work. Attending my irst writing festival, I had an attack of imposter syndrome. To go to a book festival, you just need to be ‘a reader’. So to go to a writing festival, don’t you have to be ‘a writer’, or have published something? Not at all, assures Laurie Rose, organiser of the Write on the Sound Writers’ Conference (WOTS) in Edmonds, Washington State, USA. “WOTS is

small, casual… attractive to the novice writer and hobbyist. However, there are those who have published work (either self-published or with an ‘indie’ press or a traditional house) and they enjoy attending for the same reasons.” I went to WOTS as my irst writing festival, knowing that most of my ‘writing’ was a pile of private notebooks. I’d never written iction. I’d never really inished anything that could be shared or sent to an editor. So, I chose intriguingly titled sessions such as ‘Pitching for beginners’ and ‘Deconstructing children’s picture books’. I felt happy simply sitting among the buzz. As the event was in the USA, I was listening to many new voices, and experiencing a wonderful Paciic Northwest location. Really, what could be better than planning a trip around books and the locals who love them? A few months after that irst writing weekend, I found a full year’s evening course on feature writing. Within six months, my irst hundred words had been published in a tiny magazine in Washington State. I still treasure my copy of the cheque for $20 I received in payment. That’s the thing about being inspired by words, ideas and the people who create them, you start to listen to your own story and you never know where it will take you.


Photography Marsha Arnold

Photography Adrian Harvey

CLAIRE FULLER A novelist and short-fiction author, Claire began writing at the age of 40, having worked for many years as the co-director of a marketing agency. She won the 2015 Desmond Elliott Prize for her debut novel Our Endless Numbered Days. Her third book Bitter Orange came out in August this year.



Photography Hannah Olinger


Photography Chris Bull, Manchester Literature Festival




ON THE ROAD Embracing life on four wheels can ofer a new perspective and sense of freedom like no other Words: Sian Lewis / Illustration: Amelia Flower

oad trippin’ with my two favourite allies…” The Red Hot Chili Peppers had it right, heading of on a road trip is the ultimate way to get away from it all. There’s something very freeing about packing a car with a tent, sleeping gear, snacks and supplies and seeing where the road takes you, with none of the restrictions of public transport and the freedom to stop on a whim when you drive past a jaw-dropping view, or an empty beach, or even just a café with appealing-looking cakes. Road trips remind me of the ‘Choose your own Adventure’ books that were around when I was little – do you want to take the highway or the quiet lane? Pick left or right? Choosing one path over another will alter your journey forever. Or if you’re more of a planner, there’s a lot of joy to be had in spending cosy nights before your trip with a marker pen and a map, dreaming of roads less travelled and highlighting the amazing places you want to visit. Your dream road trip can be as long or as short as you want. You could plan a huge trip along an iconic route – you can still drive some of Route 66 from Arizona to Missouri across the belly of America, or try the gorgeous Garden Route along South Africa’s coast – or it could simply be a weekend away in the next county or a day’s jaunt to the coast. Road trips big and small are brilliant ways to escape, and I think exploring Britain by car is the best of all. My trips have opened up my eyes to just how much wild, wide open space there is on our island, something that’s easy to forget if you live in a busy city. A few weeks ago, two friends and I drove from Inverness in the Scottish Highlands all the way to Cape Wrath at the very tip of western Scotland. We kept to the tiniest roads and lanes and drove past deep lochs and through dark forests of pines, stocking up on food in tiny white-walled villages and watching huge emerald-green mountains

grow bigger on the horizon. We parked up whenever we fancied – to hike into the hills, to wild camp by streams or to investigate the ruins of once-proud castles. We camped each night, which made our car feel a bit like our home as well as our vehicle for the week. We used it to dry towels on, eat lunch in, even to sit on top of for better views across to far-of Hebridean islands. By the end of the week our poor car was a smelly, sand-covered mess, and we were very tanned, very midge-bitten and very happy. Road trips are also a bonding experience. Long hours in the car lead to weird and wonderful conversations and shared stories – there’s something about sitting next to someone that invites conidence and allows you to share secrets. I also love swapping playlists and listening to other people’s favourite podcasts – it’s not often these days that we get to just sit and listen as beautiful landscapes slide by, not worrying about emails and work deadlines. Now for the practical stuf: road tripping well is all about packing the right kit and feeling comfortable. Pack a tent and camping kit in the boot (even if you’re booking some places to stay, it’s nice to mix some camping in – and it’s a good backup in case of breakdown), plus plenty of snacks, a supply of water, a spare can of petrol and a spare tyre. You’ll need a good mapping system – a SatNav is great, but it’s worth having proper paper maps of your route too, as technology has a way of failing just when you need it most. I ind making a real efort to keep the car as clean and tidy as possible makes life much easier! To keep your trip carbon footprint-friendly, you could consider bringing bikes with you so that you can use your car as a base while you bike about to explore your surroundings. Another option is to head to We Now ( to work out your carbon footprint and ofset it by donating money to environmental causes.

SIAN LEWIS is a freelance travel writer and adventurer. Sian blogs at and her book The Girl Outdoors: The Wild Girl’s Guide to Adventure, Travel and Wellbeing (Adlard Coles, £14.99) is out now.



ROAD TRIP KIT Start your journey in style with our must-pack essentials for life on four wheels, including the perfect warm jacket, reliable maps and an inspiring book full of driving wanderlust

Photography Hollie Harmsworth

Words: Sian Lewis


All-rounder wear

Chic coolbag

On-the-go bottle

For shorts and trousers that might just be the ultimate in active wear, head to Tog24. Its gear is a must-pack for your road trip wardrobe – flattering, comfortable, made from tough and durable cotton and quick to dry if you need to wash them mid-trip. They look good with everything from smart shirts to bikini tops; check out the Luna shorts and Eclipse trousers for starters.

Who knew cool bags could look this, well, cool! The lovely ‘Les’ from Millican (all of its bags are named after the owners’ mates, nice eh?) is made from 100 percent waterproof, natural materials and has been designed to carry a picnic’s-worth of food, plus a bottle of wine or two. It’s perfect for storing your lunch in the car, and it doubles up as a smart carry bag.

One potential challenge on remote road trips is carrying enough water. As well as making sure you have an emergency supply in the boot, carry this genius Lifestraw GO bottle with you on your adventures. It can filter any water source (except for sea water) and render it safe to drink, making it a lifesaver when you know you’re going to be out having fun all day long.

From £17.95



All-weather maps

Easy-pack jacket

Road to freedom

A good, comprehensive set of maps covering the areas you’re driving through is an absolute essential for a stress-free road trip. The downside is that most maps don’t stand up well against the elements. Instead of paper, invest in a set of Ordnance Survey’s Weatherproof Active maps, which are fully waterproof and will survive decades of use.

In a world of fluoro-bright down jackets, it’s nice to see this pared-back, stylish olive number from Finisterre. Slim-fitting, warm and light, the Cirrus provides instant warmth from synthetic fill that’s recycled (and animal crueltyfree) and is also resistant to light showers. It packs away into its own pocket, making it ideal for road trips and camping alike.

Get a big dose of both inspiration and road trip wanderlust in one book – Lonely Planet’s Epic Drives of the World does exactly what it says on the tin, introducing 50 of the greatest road trips on earth with to-die-for photos and pretty illustrated maps. From Hawaii’s Hana Highway to Germany’s Black Forest High Road, your next epic drive begins here.






The mountainous region of South Tyrol is a meeting point of countries, rivers and cultures.


Fresh air, invigorating walks and scenery to make your soul soar – the Dolomites are the perfect place to rejuvenate, says Kirstie Duhig Photography: Liz Schafer

or me, there has always seemed to be two types of travel – the kind where the contents of my suitcase are largely taken up by a king-sized beach towel and a stack of muchanticipated novels, and the kind which involves exploring, immersing myself in the culture, the architecture and the history of a place. As much as I enjoy both, when I’m feeling tired and in need of an escape from my urban day-to-day, it’s the beach I’ve always turned to for a dose of rest and relaxation. But as it turns out, rejuvenation can also be sought far from my usual coastal haven: there’s restoration to be found up in the mountains too. Since reading Johanna Spyri’s Heidi, as a child, the Alps have held a romantic appeal for me, but a pair of dodgy ankles has kept skiing of my agenda and the closest I’ve come to exploring these mountains is in the pages of this enduring novel. My irst alpine visit, then, is to South Tyrol, northern Italy, and the Dolomites, a range that forms part of the vast Eastern Alps,



to learn more about the region, the hotel can organise a guided walk or you can join a local tour via the tourist board ( On my irst morning, I join a group with a local guide, Veronika, for a 2-hour hike. It’s a 300m ascent from the Passo delle Erbe to Maurerberg lodge (, with spectacular views across the valley to the Dolomites’ snow-topped Geisler peaks. The sky is a painterly mix of cerulean blue and white, with brushstrokes of cloud that provide welcome respite from the summer sun. Our hike takes us along shady forest paths and through valleys populated by leisurely-looking Tyrolean cows, their bells jangling as they amble along. As we walk, the air is an earthy mix of scents and sounds – birds call raucously across the aromatic pines, and bees hum as they lit between blush-pink Alpine Roses, which lourish alongside the sunnier lengths of the path. I can feel a gentle burn in my legs as we ascend the steeper sections of the trail and I reassure myself inwardly that my body will thank me for this afterwards. At the top of each ascent we make a ‘photo stop’ for those of us who need a breather, and I am pleased to note that my ankles are holding up. When the mountain lodge comes into view, its gingerbread-house exterior makes me feel

Photography Kirstie Duhig

spanning Italy, Austria and Slovenia. The Dolomites have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009, and arriving in Verona, the closest airport, I soon discover that the two-hour drive to my mountain retreat is a wonder in itself. As we wind our way nearly 1000 metres up through the foothills, we pass apple orchards and vineyards stepped into the slopes. Our journey is accompanied by the twin rivers of Eisack and Rienz, indistinguishable as they criss-cross our path like braids, their glacial waters a milky blue grey. We are heading to the picturesque town of Brixen/Bressanone, the oldest town in South Tyrol, and the point where the rivers meet. Like the rivers, everything in this region has a twin: a German and an Italian name, an indication of a past less harmonious but now healed. Once part of Austria, South Tyrol (or Südtirol) was annexed in 1919 and the region underwent ‘Italianisation’ during the Fascist period. In 1923, Italian was made the official language, places were renamed and German (spoken by the majority of the population) was banned, along with the regional language, Ladin. Today, South Tyrol has reclaimed its heritage, and the region is a multi-lingual melting pot that draws together the culture, food and traditions of both Tyrol and Italy. My destination is My Arbor ( com), a new wellness hotel built on the slopes of the Plose mountain. We round a hairpin bend and the building appears, majestic, resting on a series of tree-like stilts. My room, a ‘Nest’, is cool and airy with a large balcony and comfy daybed with a panoramic view of the valley and the town below. It’s sophisticated and luxurious without being pretentious; the perfect place to wind down and allow yourself a little TLC. While my usual form of recuperation involves doing a lot of very little, being in the mountains means hiking is de rigueur. There are plenty of well sign-posted trails that you can take straight from the hotel (South Tyrol reportedly has more than 13,000km of natural, marked hiking trails) but if you’re travelling solo, or want

Photography My Arbor




Photography My Arbor

Nest suite from €139 per person/half board per night based on 2 people sharing. This package includes the use of the hotel's two saunas and pool, breakfast and 5-course dinner.

Clockwise from top: My Arbor hotel rests on tree-like stilts; a 'Nest' suite is the perfect place to relax; South Tyrol's picturesque mountain trails are easy to follow; Kirstie takes a moment to absorb the view.

as though I’m in Austria, rather than Italy, and I’m reminded that in winter this whole region becomes a ski resort, cloaked in snow. It’s a wonder that this lush, green landscape thaws and is reborn in such splendour each spring. Maurerberg’s owners greet us warmly in English and German, ofering us a Hugo to drink. “It’s the speciality of the region,” Veronika explains. “It’s named for the barman who invented it.” This refreshing mix of elderlower cordial, soda water, fresh mint and a splash of Prosecco is an instant favourite. The lodge’s menu is a typical Tyrolean blend of Italian and German dishes. We begin with antipasto – a sharing plate of salami, smoked ham and local hard cheese, served with a spicy horseradish and a basket of schüttelbrot (or ‘shaken bread’) – a traditional farmer’s bread, which is baked then cut into chunks and shaken in the tray as it’s baked again to dry it out and preserve it. It’s delicious. This is followed by hearty German dumplings, made from a mix of crumbled bread, fresh herbs and cheese with a herb butter dressing. It’s a fortifying combination that fuels our descent! A sauna and a swim at the hotel revive my tired legs and the next morning I wake up feeling energised, refreshed and ready for more of this marvellous mountain air. Plose cable car station is a short walk from the hotel and promises incredible views from the outset –


walk, we pause and Marco leads us through a short meditation. I try to absorb as many of the scents and sounds of the forest as I can before I return to city living. “Trees are like people – they care for each other,” Marco says. “They can identify their ofspring and they look after them. Some of their roots are kilometres long and they send nutrients by joining their roots underground.” I think about this, and seeing my own family when I get back, and it makes me smile. I’m already planning my return with them to these soul-soothing mountains, so that they can experience the mountain air for themselves. As I start my journey home, I’m reminded of the quote from Scottish-American naturalist and author John Muir: “You are not in the mountains, the mountains are in you.” Feeling re-centred and refreshed, I’d like to think that I’m embodying his words, bringing a little of the mountains home in me.


Photography Kirstie Duhig

in less than 10 minutes the car climbs 1000 metres. The view BREATHE from the top station, which IT ALL IN acts as a ski lift in winter, is Pine trees are a heart-soaring panorama often found at high across Bressanone, with the altitudes – enjoy their fresh scent and reap beautiful Pusteria valley in the beneits of the north and Isarco valley reduced stress and in the south. clearer sinuses. My guide this morning is Bettina, who takes our group along the ‘Woody walk’ – an easy hour-long trail that follows the Plose mountain on one side with spectacular views across the Dolomites on the other. Half way along the walk we come to a Kneipp Garten. ‘Kneipping’ is a form of naturopathic water healing, based on the efects of cold water on the skin, designed to stimulate blood low and strengthen the immune system. The aforementioned ‘garden’ turns out to be a ladder of small pools created from stones and pebbles. We are encouraged to take of our hiking boots and walk up one side of the ladder and down the other. The water is icy cold and my feet tingle at the change in temperature. “Every day I try to take a ‘Kneipp cofee’,” Bettina tells me, a practice named for its cafeine-like energy kick. Bettina shows me how it’s done and we sink our bare forearms into a trough of fresh water, feeling the cold sting before removing our arms and shaking them gently to stimulate the blood low. She’s right. It’s better than an espresso! The trail ends at the lovely Rossalm lodge (, where we stop for another Hugo and a rest before hiking back to the cable car station. Back at the hotel, I treat myself to a massage, then sit and take in the view with a glass of fresh herb tea. Despite a few achy muscles, my mountain hikes have energised me, and I actually feel rested with none of the sluggishness I sometimes experience after a day spent lounging on the beach. On my inal morning, there’s just time to take a walk with My Arbor’s forest bathing guide, Marco, before I make the journey back to Verona and onwards to home. During our

Photography Kirstie Duhig




Clockwise from top left: Bettina (right) leads the hike along the 'Woody Walk'; spectacular views; Lake Kaltern is the warmest in the Alps; walk through the Kneipp Garten for a natural energy boost.

MOUNTAINCARTS If you fancy an adrenaline rush, try riding a mountaincart down the 9km run from the top of Plose cable car station to the bottom. Similar to a go-kart, there are no engines or pedals, just brakes. The descent takes around 30 minutes!

THE MESSNER MUSEUMS The greatest mountaineer of all time, Reinhold Messner is from Brixen/ Bressanone. He is the irst man to climb every mountain over 8,000 metres, and all without bottled oxygen. An architectural engineer and keen environmentalist, Messner has also designed and created six Messner Mountain Museums in different locations across South Tyrol celebrating the culture and history of high altitude areas.

LAKE SWIMMING There are a number of beautiful freshwater mountain lakes in South Tyrol which are suitable for swimming. Lake Kaltern is the warmest lake in the Alps and you can also take a dip in Lake GÜller and Fennberg lake – all of which are a short drive from Brixen/Bressanone.






hen I booked a trip to Nepal to study Buddhism, I didn’t realise how much I would learn about myself. I loved practicing yoga and the mental wellbeing it brought me, and I wanted to gain and share a deeper understanding about the nature of the mind. When I told a friend about my trip he suggested I trek to Everest Base Camp – that walking the Himalayas is the real journey to enlightenment. The idea gave me butterlies. I’d never trekked before, was scared of heights, and for a Brazilian the mountains in winter are not my natural environment! But the trek would give me the chance to see if this meditation thing was working. If I could remain with an undisturbed mind for this endurance test it’d be a tangible way to experience the real beneits of meditation. And, I always encourage people to run towards their fears.

With the average temperature at this time dropping to -17°C, I spoke to adventurer Bonita Norris, who climbed Everest when she was only 22. I’ll never forget her advice: “When things get tough, all you have to focus on is where your foot lands and keep moving forwards.” After four weeks meditating in a monastery, I didn’t believe my body would be ready for 4-8 hours a day trekking at high altitude. But I made a vow to be kind to myself and respect my limits. Nine days later, without a blister or any sign of altitude sickness, eating garlic soup for breakfast and protein shakes for dinner, I made it to Everest Base Camp. That day, I realised that there are no limits to what the mind can achieve. We all carry an unbelievable amount of strength inside us and as long as we show willingness to take the irst step, we’ll be supported on our journey.

Natalia Bojanic teaches mindfulness via her meditation app, Sexy Mind. She is also the co-founder of plant-based nutrition brand Form ( She believes that feeling good is a necessity, and that we all have the ability to realise the greatest version of ourselves.



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We’d like to make it easy for you to pause and relax so we’ve created this mini magazine, which includes a short story & soothing drink recipe



elcome to your extra mini magazine, a chance to create a few mindful moments for yourself and

keep everyday distractions at bay. This issue, Take a Moment includes a recipe for an autumnal drink and a short story. We’d like to encourage you to gather the ingredients and enjoy the process of preparing your drink, then sip slowly as you immerse yourself in an engaging story. This issue, it’s a piece of non-iction by Ashleigh Young, about a thought-provoking experience she had while on a light to Wellington, New Zealand. We hope you enjoy it.





Ingredients MAKES 750ML

* 1 cinnamon stick, crushed * 1 tbsp peeled and grated fresh ginger

* 1 tsp ground allspice * 1 tsp dried juniper berries * 1 tsp cloves RECIPE WRITER

Rebecca is an author, urban farmer and entrepreneur who loves to share simple skills from the past to make our present better. www.rebecca

* * * *

1 tsp orange zest 1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves 3 bay leaves 1 bottle red wine (I recommend Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon)

* Honey, to taste

METHOD Put the spices, orange zest and herbs into a 1 litre sterilised jar and pour the red wine over. Seal the jar tightly and shake well. Store in a cool, dry place, out of direct light. Shake every day or so for up to 2 weeks. After a week, taste to see if you can taste the herbs. If it tastes good, strain out the herbs and spices using a muslin-lined sieve and return to a 750ml sterilised jar or glass bottle. You can add some honey to taste. Seal and store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. Once opened, keep in the fridge and use within 2 weeks.

Recipe reproduced with permission from The Art of Herbs for Health by Rebecca Sullivan (Kyle Books, ÂŁ9.99).


Serve over ice, or gently heat as the evenings draw in

Herbs and spices pro mote digestion


Window seat BY ASHLEIGH YOUNG t 8:20 on Thursday morning I found my seat, the middle of the row over the wing of the plane, sat down, and switched on my Kindle. I was reading The Examined Life, Stephen Grosz’s account of his experiences as a psychoanalyst, and I had reached the last section, ‘Leaving’, in which Grosz has taken on a new patient, a young man, who has just been diagnosed with HIV. The young man is beginning to spend all of his psychoanalysis sessions in deep, still, heavy silence, sometimes even falling asleep. I was at the part where Grosz is describing the diferent kinds of silences that patients sometimes bring to him – silences of refusal, discomfort, repression – when a tiny, withered woman with a huge pufy black bag over her shoulder indicated that she had the window seat beside me. I got up and helped her manoeuvre her bag into the overhead compartment, then she sat down and set about making herself comfortable; she took of her shoes, revealing papery brown feet, and arranged a blanket beneath her seat so that her feet had a resting place – her legs, in leopard-print leggings, were too short to reach the loor. She took out her own Kindle, which was kept in a proper zippered case, and I went back to Grosz and the young man in the therapy room. “Under ordinary circumstances,” Grosz was saying, “I might ask a patient who has been silent for some time what they’re thinking or feeling, and once or twice I did 6

SHORT STORY this with Anthony. But I soon realised that my speaking was an intrusion, a disturbance.” I stopped reading because I couldn’t focus. I was sensing a slight but building pressure between the window-seat woman and myself. It was a sense that she was about to say something, that she wasn’t really going to read; she was just iddling with the device while she decided where she would start with me. Sure enough: “If you see me popping pills or dragging on an inhaler, don’t you worry.” She had a bright Queensland accent, with an unexpected burr, almost Scottish-sounding. “Bronchiectasis. Much worse than asthma. Had it for years, so I’ve got all these scars on my lungs. Big knotty scars. Bronchiectasis. Last time I left New Zealand I took this sickness with me; now I’m going to give the bloody thing back!” She motioned at her tiny chest. “I’ve had about a hundred pneumonias and a fair few operations. It was all the mould in New Zealand. That’s why I moved away to Australia. But I’m tough. Don’t worry if you see me puffing away.” She looked at me sideways; blue eyes in a small tanned face, and one of those open-mouthed smiles that made it look as though she was silently saying “Aaah!”. She pulled a plastic lunch container out of the front seat pocket, cracked open the lid, and took out an egg sandwich, which she ate while swinging her feet and looking out the window. We were right above the wing. Outside on the tarmac an electric cart was shuttling about, a igure in high-vis at the wheel. “Sometimes when you’re between New Zealand and Australia,” she said between mouthfuls, “if you look down you can see a rainbow circle in the sea. A glassy sort of rainbow, like a big bowl. I always get the window seat so 7

TAKE A MOMENT I can see it, because it’s beautiful. But we won’t be able to see it with that darn wing there.” I said it was a shame about the wing, and she said, “No, not a shame, it’s just the way it’s happened.” She was quiet for a while, and in the meantime another elderly woman sat down in the aisle seat, to my left. She was dressed in shimmery black clothing and had white-blue hair, and bronzer on her cheekbones. She had the look of a dulled but beautiful gemstone, maybe an opal. I helped the opal woman adjust the direction of the tiny fan above us so that it was blowing directly into her hair; then we sat down. I was probably a frustrating barrier between the two women, making it less likely that they would talk to each other, when they might have more to say to each other – but then a middle-aged woman came down the aisle and handed the opal woman a packet of jelly beans. “You’ll need these for energy, Mum.” Her mother thanked her and tucked the jelly beans away, then reclined her seat and put her sleeping mask on. “Last time I lew, I got terrible altitude sickness,” the window-seat woman whispered to me. “It was years ago. I remember lying on the loor under the seats thinking I might be dying. Suddenly the word ‘God’ came to me. ‘God, God, God, God.’ I felt like the word was beaming into me right down the centre, like a torch beam, illing me with the word ‘God,’ and I thought, ‘Well, if this is dying, it’s all right’.” “That must have been incredibly stressful,” I said, and she jutted her chin upward, squinting. “It’s how it happened, and it got me to where I needed to be.” 8

SHORT STORY She looked out at the wing. “This is the irst time I’ve lown in many, many years. I haven’t been able to, with my sickness. But if I make it this time, it’s a sign I’ll be able to make it to Switzerland, where my son lives. This is my test light, you see.” She gave the open-mouthed smile again. “I’m meeting my sister in Wellington. First time I’ve seen her in ive years. We were born in Invercargill. I had to leave because of the mould.” Then she told me about the irst time she’d been up in a plane, when she was sixteen. Her friend’s father was a pilot, and he had a small plane. They all went up together in the small plane and did acrobatics for half an hour. “Straight after the light, my friend and I went of to a dance. All dressed up in our miniskirts. I was feeling so sick. My very irst dance, I vomited all over my partner! He was very annoyed with me.” We were still on the tarmac, and I was already feeling tired, because even though I’d enjoyed listening to the woman’s stories, I’d had to react with surprise and delight at them. My energy for talking to strangers gets depleted quickly. Maybe sitting next to window-seat woman would be too much. But she was quiet now, and soon we were in the air, and Brisbane, with its pale sky and all its evenly tanned people in sunglasses and sleeveless tops, was dropping away. I had been up since quarter to ive because I’d had to walk to the train station with my friend James, who was lying back to Darwin. I closed my eyes and fell into a blank doze. When I opened them again I felt heavy and sad. I always feel a bit sad on lights between countries. I can’t help thinking about the past and the future and where I will end up. The geographical limbo seems to emphasize a limbo I feel in 9

TAKE A MOMENT myself. I was staring into space, thinking about all this, when the woman suddenly said, “My brother’s a crossdresser,” and I was jolted back into our little row. “Been doing it for ten years, and has never been happier,” she said. “He’d always felt pulled in all directions as a young man – he just wasn’t ever himself. What grief. Imagine it. And when he was ifty, he met this wonderful woman who told him to just let go. Just let it out. And he started dressing like a woman, these lovely skirts, colourful shoes, and he and this woman who’d told him to do it, they ended up married. It was a real eye-opener for our whole family. We all loved him, but now we had to learn how to love him as a lady, too.” I got the sense she’d told the story numerous times but that she liked to tell it because it conirmed something she’d long believed about people and about their true selves. “It’s an amazing way to have your whole world opened up, you know.” She prised another sandwich from her plastic container and started to eat. We were lying over the clouds now, and were quiet again for a time. When the opal woman took of her mask and shakily stood to make her way toward the toilets, I stood up too. The window-seat woman followed. Ordinarily I would’ve felt irritated, but with this woman I didn’t. She didn’t seem needy or searching with her stories. She didn’t seem to expect anything from me. She would have told the same stories to whoever was seated beside her. We queued together at the end of the aisle, while the people in the toilets took what seemed like a very long time. Window-seat woman looked at me incredulously. “Funny how some people take so long. Just like life, isn’t it?” Then she looked ixedly at me 10

SHORT STORY and said: “About forty years ago my brother – not the crossdresser one, the other one – was lying over Saudi Arabia, and the plane got hijacked. It was in the days when it was easy to hijack a plane. The hijackers made the pilots land in a desert.” The thought crossed my mind then that the woman could be lying, at least exaggerating. “They had to stay there for two days until they were rescued. My brother was ine in the end, and no one was killed. But he came back to us very much older.” She gave a strange, sad laugh. “And later on, he ended up dying of AIDS. What a mystery.” A toilet door inally opened and she went in while I stayed waiting in the aisle. I thought about the woman’s brother, and about the young man lying silently on the couch in the psychoanalyst’s office. It had taken Grosz a long time to understand that all Anthony needed was not to feel alone. He didn’t need to talk, but he wanted to fall asleep without fear, knowing that when he was gone he stayed present and alive in the mind of another. Back in our seats, the woman told me that she’d once been a bikie in the Hells Angels – had probably been one of New Zealand’s irst female bikies – but got in trouble with the police so had to give it up; that she’d been thrown out of numerous nightclubs as a youngster because her skirt was too short; that once she went to an auction at Lyall Bay and her young daughter had tripped over in front of her, and when she reached out to pick her up she made a particular motion that made the auctioneer think she was bidding, and she ended up buying a big oak table. She told me that it was in Lower Hutt when her real life began, because it was here that she realised she was a healer. 11

TAKE A MOMENT What happened was this: A friend had arrived in Lower Hutt after a long light, and he had hurt his elbow lifting a heavy suitcase. She had put her hands on his elbow to rub it and comfort him, and when she did, something happened. “I felt this strange, powerful tingling in my hands and arms, and I thought I must be getting pins and needles. After a few moments, I had this strong feeling that my friend’s elbow was better now. I took my hands away, and he said, “Gosh, my elbow feels much better.” I said to myself, ‘I’m a healer, I’m a healer!’” She said that many years later, she ended up with her own healing practice in Zurich. Her husband earned all the money, so she didn’t charge for her healing services. It was possible that she was recklessly inventing. Who easier to tell an imagined life to than a stranger on a plane whom you’ll likely never see again? The geography and timescale of her life was erratic – she had mentioned Invercargill, suburbs around Wellington, Paekakariki, all over Europe, all over Australia – and it was hard to igure out who she was without being able to connect her irmly to one particular place. The past seemed so vivid to her that it was also hard for me to grasp that some of the stories she was telling took place more than forty years ago. I made up my mind not to decide there and then whether she was telling the truth. I wanted to stay open for as long as I could. I was wide-awake when she said, with resolve: “Now, I’m going to tell you about you.” She had not expressed any particular interest in me until this point, beyond asking me how old I was and what I did for a living. Opal woman was having a whispered conversation with her daughter, who had 12

SHORT STORY come down the aisle holding a miniature hairbrush. “You love your cat,” the window-seat woman said; “you love your cat very much, and you love all animals.” I realised that she must think she had psychic abilities, along with healing abilities. There was nothing to do but play along; I was trapped here. I told her she was right about the cat and the animals. “You’re very gentle,” she went on. “At your core you are very gentle, though you can be spiky on the outside.” How does one disagree? Isn’t that the basic human condition? “Where do you live..? I’m seeing you living on the top of a hill. Steep hill. And you’re zipping about on the roads, very quick, very zippy. An explorer.” She motioned with her hands. “You’re very like your mother but you think she talks too much. Your father is a bit hazy to me.” She frowned for a while. “You have more of a connection with one of your brothers than the other one, perhaps.” Then she shook her head. “I could go on and on, but it wouldn’t do either of us any good.” She laughed and said, “I will just say, I don’t see any black marks ahead. Isn’t that great!” She peered at me. “I also will just say, you need to clean your glasses.” We spent some time in quiet. I tried to read my book again. Anthony had not died – in fact, after being told he might have two years left and that essentially he had no future, he had lived for a very long time. “I now think that Anthony’s silences expressed diferent things at diferent times,” Grosz was saying. “Sorrow, a desire to be close to me but stay separate, and a wish to stop time.” Anthony was still alive at the chapter’s close, and then I began a new chapter, about a woman named Alice P., who was trying to grieve 13

TAKE A MOMENT for a baby she had lost, but wasn’t able to. We were ten minutes from landing when the woman turned to me and said, “I wanted to save this till the very end. I see some big changes ahead for you. Your life is going to go like that.” She made a zig-zaggy motion with her hand. “Yes, you’ve spent so much time putting others irst, and it’s your turn now.” She looked at me with such kindness that I put aside, for a moment, the knowledge that this is what psychics routinely tell their charges, because this is what people want to hear. Everyone wants to feel chosen. Being told “it’s your turn now,” feels like being praised, or needed, or pursued. But then she said, drily, “I don’t suppose you’ve met the love of your life.” I was lustered and felt a surge of annoyance. It was her knowingness, and her lippancy. I told her, “I’m not sure I believe in that expression ‘love of your life.’ But I feel that maybe I have, actually, back home.” She said, “Well, let’s see. You’re at the perfect age. Women come right at your age. Men never really come right.” I got really annoyed then – maybe she would go on to ask someone else if they had found the love of their life, and that person would grow doubtful about all of their decisions and throw everything away – and turned on my Kindle and read that Grosz’s sister had been to speak to a clairvoyant when she had lost her home and all her possessions in a brush ire in California. Grosz’s sister said that through the clairvoyant she’d spoken to her and Grosz’s mother, who had been dead for more than twenty years, and Grosz was surprised to ind himself tearful. “What did Mom say?” We were descending quickly into Wellington now and I could see the hills and houses taking on their familiar 14

SHORT STORY edges. The pilot had announced that the local temperature was 12 degrees Celsius – about 54 Fahrenheit – with a strong southerly wind, and a shriek had gone up from all the Queenslanders on board. I inished my book, and found myself crying. Window-seat woman murmured, “Jerry must be missing you.” Jerry is the name of my cat. She said, “Is that his name? Jerry? He’ll be glad to see you.” I managed to say, “Yes, yes it is,” even as I was shaking my head. At some point I must have said Jerry’s name, I must have, but as I combed carefully back through our conversation, I was sure I hadn’t. After we landed and were waiting for the seat belt sign to turn of, she said to me, “Do they still call Wellington the City of Angels? They always said that the angels help planes to get down safely to the ground.” I said no, I was sure they had never called it that. Then I helped her to pull her bag from the overhead compartment and a few minutes later she was swallowed by the steadily moving line of passengers ahead of me.

Photography Russell Kleyn

About the author This is an edited extract from Can You Tolerate This? (£14.99, Bloomsbury), a collection of noniction essays by Ashleigh Young. Ashleigh is an award-winning author and editor at Victoria University Press. She teaches creative writing at Victoria University’s Institute of Modern Letters and lives in Wellington, New Zealand, with her cat, Jerry.




“Sometimes what you’re looking for comes when you’re not looking at all.”

Simple ways to feel calm & cared for By Harriet Griffey Author of “I Want To Be Happy”

Illustrated by Becki Clark


“Being able to focus or ‘switch off’ from distractions is an important way to manage the many stressful demands of daily life. Whether mindfulness is a totally new idea to you or it’s a practice you want to strengthen or renew, take >iÌÜÌVÃ`iÀÌÃLiiwÌÃ>Ã>ÌvÀ living. The beauty of mindfulness is in its simplicity; it’s a practice you can easily bring into your day to day routine. Just a few minutes of regular practise can help you to reduce stress and face the challenges of daily life feeling calm and cared for.“

Haiet Griffey In The Moment columnist and wellbeing author


What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is a process of bringing conscious attention to what you’re doing. It is about being ‘in the moment’ and can be used whether you are reading a book, taking a yoga class, walking to work or having a bath. In addition, we can use these activities to promote a practice of mindfulness, because when we consciously engage with an activity, it helps us to focus our thoughts. When done consistently, mindfulness becomes a way of being in the moment that reduces stress and brings a sense of calm purpose into our lives.


There are no shoulds, musts or any one way to practise mindfulness. What is useful ÌÕ}ÃÌw`>Ü>ÞÌ>ÌÜÀ ÃvÀÞÕ>` practise it regularly, even when you feel you don’t need it – by doing this, it will be more accessible to you when you do. The more we practise, the more this strengthens the neural connections that support our ability to concentrate and reduce distracting ÌÕ}ÌÃ]>`Ìii>ÃiÀÌÃÌw`vVÕð



Think back to when you were a child or watch one at play. They absorb every last drop of experience and their concentration can be total, from watching a ladybird slowly walk along a twig to playing with a much-loved toy or dropping a pebble into a puddle to see the water ripple. They are absolutely present in that moment, and you, too, can regain that feeling through mindfulness.


What are the benefits? ÕiÀÕÃLiiwÌÃv`vÕiÃÃ>ÛiLii `iÌwi`LÞÀiÃi>ÀV>`ÌiÃiVÕ`iLiÌÌiÀ vVÕÃ]ÃÌÀiÃÃÀi`ÕVÌ]LÃÌÃÌÜÀ }iÀÞ] iÃÃiÌ>Ài>VÌÛÌÞ]ÀiV}ÌÛiyiÝLÌÞ] }Ài>ÌiÀÀi>ÌëÃ>ÌÃv>VÌ>`Ài`ÕVi` ÀÕ>Ì­ÜiÌÃiÕi«vÕÌÕ}Ìà ÕÀi>`Ã}ÀÕ`>`ÀÕ`®°/i"ÝvÀ`

iÌÀivÀ`vÕiÃÃÀi«ÀÌi`>Óä£ÎÃÌÕ`Þ Ì>Ì`vÕiÃà >Ãi` }ÌÛi/iÀ>«Þ ­ /®«ÀiÛiÌÃ`i«ÀiÃÃÌÃiÜ>Ûi iÝ«iÀiVi`ÀiVÕÀÀiÌi«Ã`iÃ]ÜÌ>xn¯ Ài`ÕVÌ>ÝiÌÞiÛiÃ]>xǯÀi`ÕVÌ

`i«ÀiÃÃ>`>{ä¯Ài`ÕVÌÃÌÀiÃð Óä£È]ÀiÃi>ÀVvÀÌi1ÛiÀÃÌÞv-ÕÀÀiÞ «ÕLÃi`ÌiJournal of Occupational Health PsychologyÃÜi`Ì>ÌÌiÀiÜ>Ã>Óί`iVÀi>Ãi ÀÕ>Ì]>ÓȯÀi`ÕVÌv>Ì}Õi>`> Îί«ÀÛiiÌÃii«μÕ>ÌÞ>}ÌÃi Ì>ÌV«iÌi`>i i`vÕVÕÀÃi° ÌÃÕÃÕÀ«ÀÃ}]Ìi]Ì>Ì`vÕiÃÃÃ>à ÀiVi`i`LÞÌi -Ìi1°

“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselvesâ€? >V Ă€wi`]V vĂ•`iĂ€vĂŒiĂƒ}ĂŒ Meditation Society in Massachusetts, USA

How does it work? Mindfulness helps restore feelings of calm and focus. It resettles our internal physical self, lowering our heart rate and blood pressure, which in turn makes us feel calmer. When our body is calmer, this sends a message to our mind that tells us we are calmer. The body-mind connection is very real, and this is something we can use to help us in our practice through mindful breathing.


“An important part of mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies, as well as the sensations they experience. This means waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment. That might be something as simple as the feel of a banister as we walk upstairs.� Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre


Your mindfulness practice Experiment with the mindfulness iÝiÀVÃiÃÌivÜ}«>}iÃÌw` the practices that suit you best...


Mindful breathing In all mindfulness or meditative practice, the breath is key and learning breathing techniques will help facilitate this. Introducing a mindful breathing practice, starting at 10 minutes twice a day and building on it, will make the ability to take some restorative ‘time out’ always available to you, whenever you need it. Breathing mindfully also helps stimulate the vagal nerve that runs


from the base of the skull all the way to the gut, via the throat, heart and stomach. This nerve acts as a ‘brake’ on the nervous system, calming these body «>ÀÌÃ]>`i«}ÌVÕÌiÀ>VÌÌi¼w}ÌÀy}̽ stress reaction. This, in turn, will regulate our internal, physical response to stress. It’s a two way process: manage the body to manage the mind and vice versa. We all have the tools we need, we just need to know how to use them. Here’s how...



iÞiÃ>`ÛÃÕ>Ãi>«iLLi`À««}Ì >«vÜ>ÌiÀ>`}iÌÞà }`Ü° * ,i«i>ÌÌÃLÀi>Ì}VÞVi£äÌiÃÆÌi ÃiiÜÞÕÀÀi}Õ>ÀLÀi>Ì}>`ÕÃÌð * 9ÕV>ÕÃiÌÃLÀi>Ì}ÌiVμÕi >Ì>ÞÌiÞÕviiÌiÃiÀÃÌÀiÃÃi`]À >ÃÌiL>ÃÃv>Þi`Ì>Ì«À>VÌVi°


“Breath is the bridge that connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts...


Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.� Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist



Mindfulness meditation Once you’ve learned how to calm the breath, the next step is meditation. Our mind likes to wander; it always will, even when you’re trying to quieten it. The point of this meditation is not to stop this, but to be aware of its wandering and consciously return to its focus point. Over and over again, like doing reps in the gym to build physical muscle memory, this process of constantly bringing your attention back to a focal point works to train your mind. You can use your breathing practice, in conjunction with counting or the repetition of a word (a ‘mantra’), to do so.



Throughout your day Remind yourself to do just one thing at a time. Don’t multi-task. Give whatever it is that you’re doing your undivided attention, whether this is eating, walking, reading or talking to a friend.



Take time to pause Take a moment and turn everything off. Phone alerts, computers, iPads, television, radio. Just sit in silence and listen to your breath. Ì>ÞviiÛiÀÞÕÕÃÕ>>ÌwÀÃÌ]LÕÌÕÃÌ>ÜÞÕÀ thoughts to come and go in the quiet.


“Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet. It’s a way of entering into the quiet that’s already there – buried under the 50,000 thoughts the average person thinks every day.”

À ii«>  «À>]V >ÕÌÀvThe Healing Self: Supercharge your immune system and stay well for life

Visualisation exercise Imagine a pool of water in a beautiful setting. In your mind’s eye, see its colour and stillness. >}iw`}>Ã>]ÃÌ«iLLi°*V  ÌÕ«]viiÌÞÕÀ>`]Ìi`À«ÌÌ Ìi«°i>ÀÌÃÃÕ`°7>ÌVÌà ]ÃÜÞ ÌÌi`i«Ìð-iiÌiÀ««iÃÌ> iÃ>` LÃiÀÛiÌiÜ>ÌiÀV}L>V ÌÃÌiÃð Repeat as many times as you need.


Be aware of sensations 7i>ÛiwÛiÃiÃiÃ>`ÜiV>LiÀi`vÕl vÌiÃi\ÌÕÃÌÜ>ÌÜiÃii]ÌiVÕÀÃ]Ã>«ià ÀÛiÜÃ]LÕÌ>ÃÜ>ÌÜii>À°ÀLÀ`Ã} ÌÌÀ>vwVÃi]ÌiÃiV>ÀÀÌ>ÌiÀ«>ÃÃÕÃLÞ]LÕÌ LÞÌÕ}ÌÌi]Üiw`Ài>Ü>ÀiiÃð 7>ÌÜiÌÕV>`viiV>Li>ÃÕÀVivÃiÃÀÞ «i>ÃÕÀi]>`V>LiÕÃi`ÌV>>`ÃÌi° /i`vviÀiÌÃViÌvyÜiÀÃ>Û>Ãi]vÀiÃÞ LÀiÜi`VvviiÀiÀ`À«Ã>L>ÌV>>Ûi >«ÜiÀvÕivviVÌÌiLVÃÞÃÌivÌiLÀ>°


Keep note Carry a notebook with you and write down all the small things that inspire and connect with you. A quote that resonates, >ÀiyiVÌ>L`i]>ivÀ> poem, a cherished memory that comes Ì`]ÀÃiÌ}vÀÜVÞÕvii }À>ÌivÕ°9ÕÜ ÜÜ>Ìëi> ÃÌÞÕ >`Ì> }>iÌÌvVÕÃÌÃ>Üà ÌiÀi>Ã>ÌvÜ>ÌëÃÌÛiÞÕÀvi°



“Practice presence. Embrace the place where life happens.� Eckhart Tolle, spiritual teacher and author of The Power of Now


Exercise mindfully Concentrating on the physical processes of your body, whether this is kicking a football in a team, playing tennis with a partner, doing yoga or Pilates alone or in a group, focuses your attention. Being mindful about this increases the two-way process that beds it in. Some exercise, like Tai Chi, is a form of meditation in movement and a literal embodiment of mindfulness. Factor in a period of mindful exercise every day.


“Do something every day that is loving toward your body and gives you the opportunity to enjoy its sensations.� Golda Poretsky, holistic health counsellor and founder of Body Love Wellness


Self massage Reconnect your physical and mental self by giving yourself a hand massage. You can use a delicious smelling hand cream or lotion, or just some almond oil with a few drops of your favourite essential oil, but concentrate on ViÀÃ}ÌÃi>À`ÜÀ }>`ÃvÀwÛi minutes. Appreciate the amazing work they do and restore their strength and suppleness.


Walking If you can, walk. The act of walking even a short distance can reconnect you to your body, break cycles of repetitive thought, regulate your breathing, energise you, open up your immediate view of life and help you to bring your mind back into focus, harmonising body and brain as you walk. Be mindful of your body,


notice the rhythm of your steps, the contact that your feet make with the ground, and your posture. Engage your abdominal muscles, relax your shoulders, power up your legs and walk briskly. Lift your gaze and deepen your breath. Five minutes mindful grace in a busy day.



“In every walk with nature one receives far more than they seek.� John Muir, Scottish-American naturalist, activist and author


“The feeling that any task is a nuisance will soon disappear if it is done in mindfulness.� Thich Nhat Hanh


Household chores No one likes housework and often chores have to be crammed in between other tasks. Given there’s not much choice about cleaning the bath or doing the laundry, turn these tasks into a moment of contemplation, rather than irritation. Notice the sensory pleasure of smoothing the fabric of just washed sheets and enjoy the anticipation of a newly made bed. Appreciate the sparkle of freshly washed glassware or the order of folded towels. These small meditations can refresh our thoughts.



Cooking This is something in which pleasure really can be taken: in preparation, presentation and anticipation. Taking time to follow a recipe, chop and peel, can become a restorative process leading to something pleasurable and shared, rather than a tedious task to be endured.



Before you sleep Allow yourself time to prepare for sleep. Turn off electronic devices. Do one thing – bathe, read, listen to music – in preparation. Do it with your full attention. Pause. Practise gratitude and take a moment to note the good things in your day, then trust the rest to tomorrow.


“Mindfulness brings us home to the present.� Thich Nhat Hanh




About the author HARRIET GRIFFEY Harriet is a journalist, writer and author of I Want to Be Happy]>ÃÜi>ÃwÛiÌiÀL ÃÌÃÃiÀià ­«ÕLÃi`LÞ>À`iÀ>Ì®°-iÀ}>ÞÌÀ>i`>Ã> ÕÀÃi>`ÜÜÀÌiÃ>`LÀ>`V>ÃÌÃi>Ì Ài>Ìi` ÃÃÕiÃ]VÕ`}iÀÀi}Õ>ÀÜiLi}VÕvÀ In the Moment°>ÀÀiÌÛiÃ`ÜÌiÀv>Þ°


“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.� Amit Ray, Indian author and teacher of meditation, yoga, peace and compassion