FRANK Oct/Nov 2019

Page 1


Issue 04 Oct - Nov 2019

FRANK by name FRANK by nature



EMEPELLE skincare

''Menopause significantly ages the skin''

Emepelle is a skincare innovation to help empower women coping with menopause. The Emepelle goal is to make menopause and the years beyond less of a struggle. As difficult as it may sometimes seem menopause can be a time of your life that you can embrace. Emepelle is here to help. Menopause brings many changes to how you feel and how your body behaves. The decline and loss of oestrogen during menopause and in the years beyond are the root cause of this. Understanding how your body works and how that makes you feel and look is key. Menopause and the loss of oestrogen causes significant changes in your skin. It affects your skin like no other time in your life. It causes a rapid and ongoing loss of collagen, a lack of moisture, sagging and a loss of vitality. You may have noticed how your skin has changed but not associated it with menopause. Emepelle has been created especially for you. Emepelle is the only skincare to contain MEP Technology. MEP Technology was researched and Emepelle was developed for women affected by menopause. The Emepelle community are here to help you look and feel your best. You can get help and support by: Talking to the Emepelle team. Consulting with one of the amazing professional skin clinics that recommend and sell Emepelle. By engaging with others in the Emepelle community on facebook and instagram. Emepelle is brought to you by AesthetiCare a division of Ferndale Pharmaceuticals Ltd, UK. Members the Ferndale Pharma Group Inc, USA. Our mission is to provide leading skin technologies, help and support so you and other users can look and feel great.

E D I T O R ' S N O T E

''Frank is for adult women who want to be informed, inspired, amused, look good and be healthy.''


ello gang, Here is the new issue of Frank. Its been a bit of a juggle to get it to you this month as I took on a new job as well as pulling together the magazine but that’s what we do, right?!

Fashion illustration by Jacqueline Bissett

So excited to feature the writer, director and actress Anne Marie Cummings the creator on all levels of ‘Conversations in LA’ the brilliant series on Amazon Prime ( there are three seasons for you to enjoy) She is pure inspiration and the series itself is groundbreaking and pertinent to us in its content. It really is a must watch. I am beyond thrilled to have landed an interview with my favourite actress, the one and only Maxine Peake. What a woman! Also In this issue we talk about having time to ourselves and its huge importance. Melanie Cantor, Author of ‘Death and Other Happy Endings’ tells us about her solo travel experiences and Danielle Dodoo explores the benefits of being alone.

Anne Marie Cummings, Maxine Peake & Melanie Cantor

For our fourth issue we have taken our fashion pages out and about to the beautiful Four seasons hotel in Hampshire. Their stunning grounds and hotel play host to our ‘Flights of fancy’ which we hope you enjoy. All that along with our usual health, beauty and wellbeing.You know us by now! An online magazine aimed at women 40+. Speaking openly about women's topics without avoiding any issues.

Melanie Sykes

CONTENTS Cover Model Interview Amma p10 FASHION Cover shoot 'Flights of Fancy' p14 Jacqueline Bissett Illustrates Stella McCartney p24 Accessories 'Join The FAN CLUB' p26 BEAUTY Healthy Happy Hair with Beauty Editor Fiona Eustace p30 Abigail O'Neil raw chocolate MUD MASK p34 Beauty Oil Essentials p36 Norma Kamali Defying age in every way p40 INSPIRATIONAL INTERVIEWS ''CONVERSATIONS IN L.A'' Anne Marie Cummings p50 Interview with actress & writer Maxine Peake p60 Interview with FEEDER’S Grant Nicholson p68 Trudy Bellinger Takes Hollywood p74 Interview with Emily Dean p82 Motoring Lorina McLaughlin p86 HEALTH Dr Louise Wiseman Autumnal Hues and Winter Blues p92 Fasting with Gabriela Peacock p96 Kate Tilston Authentic not Perfect p98 FaceToned Carme Farré p102 A yogini's story Lisa Missah p106 Catherine Gray Why Women Drink p110 Dear Claire by Wendy Euler p114 Melanie Cantor The Joy of travelling solo p116 The Five Elements Michelle Adams BSc (Hons) MBAcC LicAc MSc p120 Sandie Fredriksson My Breast Cancer Journey p124 An insight into addiction By Chip Somers p128 Charisse Glenn The Strength of A Woman p134 Can you relate? By Danielle Dodoo p138



CREATIVE WOMEN Sadie Frost Mind Body Soul p144 Interview with Azza Fahmy p148 Amina Ghali Interview p152 Sienna Jones founder of Justine Dalby p156 PR Queen Lysbeth Fox p160 Portrait of an Icon Michelle Obama p164 Artist Eileen Cooper p168 Artist Helen Beard p174 WHAT TO...BUY, SEE, READ & WATCH MODEL CHOCOLATE with Abigail O’Neill p182 Sam Baines Must Have Items p190 Book Reviews p194 Theatre Review A very Expensive Poison p198 Bruce Springsteen's Western Stars p200 Flights of Fancy at The Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire Annabel Kerman p202

AND MUCH MORE.........



Issue 04 Oct - Nov 2019

FRANK by name FRANK by nature

Want to receive FRANK Magazine online for free or treat a friend to a subscription? Email or visit our website



Editor-in-Chief Melanie Sykes Design Director Millie Cooper Beauty Editor Fiona Eustace Fashion Annabel Kerman

Photo by Sam Hemsley

Contributors Dr Louise Wiseman - Medical Gabriela Peacock - Health Kate Tilston - Life Coach Abigail O'Neil - Food Recipes Shaima Al- Obaidi - Portrait of an Icon Emma Harrison - Travel Lara Platman- Motoring Eleanor Tattersfield - Book Review Samantha Baines- Film Review Tamsin Flower - Theatre Review


''After 15 years in the tech world, Millie now has successful businesses in publishing and social media, delivering original content and design. She says she is excited about helping FRANK to be the magazine of choice for women over 40.''

London International Distribution | FRANK Magazine FREE Subscriptions Worldwide |

''Melanie Sykes was a fashion model before moving into hosting TV and Radio shows. Alongside her presenting work, she is now Editor in chief of FRANK magazine. As a woman in her late forties, she felt there was a gap in the magazine market for women her age and wanted to rectify that. “I believe it is never too late to try something new and creating and editing FRANK is the perfect project at this stage in my life and something I am relishing."


Issue 04 Oct - Nov 2019

Free subscriptions may begin at any time throughout the year. You can cancel a a subscription anytime. Copyright © 2019 The Frank Magazine.


Nothing from this or any other publications of The FRANK Magazine may be reproduced by letterpress, photo-offset, photocopying, microfilm or any other method whatsoever without the express written consent of the publisher or of the holders of the copyright of the author in question. This publication has been compiled with the greatest care. However, the publishers do not in any way hold themselves liable for any errors that may have arisen. Summer 2019

FRANK by name FRANK by nature



AMMA When did you start modelling? How were you ‘discovered’ ? I started modelling about 4 years ago, when my friend who works for Mulberry asked me to be in a shoot for a new launch for the brand. I’d dabbled in modelling as a teenager, but nothing really came of it. So when the Mulberry images came out and I was contacted by a few agencies, I was really surprised! But I thought I’d give it a go and here I am now. What do you enjoy about being a model? When I started modelling, I think I had an idea in my mind of what I thought it would be like but it’s been different to my perception. Naturally I like being in front of the camera, but it took me a while to understand what was expected of me: how to move, understanding my angles, knowing when to blink and when not to! I love that no day is the same, you get to meet some interesting people and help to create their vision. Modelling has given me so much more confidence about myself, as it forces you out of your comfort zone. How has the business changed since you became a model?

art of saying please and thank you and I think it’s so important to be polite in manners so that is something that I am strict with them about. How do you find time for yourself ? I don’t really feel like I do find time for myself! It is hard with three children, and I feel like a lot of my time is spent organising everyone else! But I enjoy walking my dog and reading after the kids have gone to bed. Now that my youngest has just started school, I am planning to enjoy a coffee on my own! I love my time in the gym too, I enjoy exercises that use my own body weight. What are your beauty must haves? The Body Shops Vitamin E overnight serum in oil is my absolute must have, I have been using it in it’s various forms since I was about 17! I even use it morning and evening. I love it because it sinks into the skin and gets rid of blemishes. Even though I try other products, it’s always the one I come back to. I don’t wear much makeup when I’m not working. If I do, it will just be some concealer and a bit of gloss on my lips. Sometimes I will reach for mascara to help open up my eyes too.

When you are not modelling designer gear I’ve noticed the change in the 4 years that I’ve been doing etc what are you mostly wearing ? it. There is so much more diversity now with models being of different ages, ethnicities and sizes. There are less rules I’ve always loved fashion and dressing up, mixing vintage and restrictions now – if you had told me 4 years ago that and contemporary. I like to rummage in charity shops but I also like to shop in Topshop and Zara too. But I live in I would walk fashion shows, or be the face of a beauty Converse, so usually my outfit has to match with those! I brand I never would have believed you! used to avoid ‘Mum’ jeans because I didn’t like the idea of the stereotype, but once I tried them I was converted! Tell us a bit about your family…. I am married to with three children (a girl and two boys) and we also have a 3 year old Labrador. Family life can be quite hectic as we have a busy household. We are always juggling, whether it is with work or with family life. The children’s social calendar is a lot busier than mine! What are you like as a mother?

What are your hopes and dreams for the future? I full intend to age disgracefully, in the sense that I don’t want to conform to stereotypes of how you should behave as you get older. I intend to model for as long as I can, living my life to my best and have fun whilst I’m doing it! I would really love to learn to swim though, I can’t at the moment and I have never learnt but I always encourage my children to swim and I want to be able to have fun and relax in the water with them.

I like my kids to have a fun and active childhood, we love spending time outdoors. But I am strict with them when it comes to manners. I think we’re in danger of losing the







In this month's ‘Flights of Fancy’ cover story we get frivolous, mixing classic wardrobe staples and heritage checks with the season's frills and femininity. Jacqueline Bisset illustrates her favourite pieces of the season and tells us why she loves Stella McCartney’s sustainable fashion. & Why we all should be fans of fans, a great and functional accessory, keeping us stylish and uber cool.



Wool blend trench coat ROCHAS at Cable knit tank top ASHISH at Foil pleated midi skirt MICHAEL MICHAEL KORS

Elizabeth polka dot gown OLIVIA RUBIN Minori ankle boot JIMMY CHOO

Faux mongolian coat MICHAEL MICHAEL KORS Talisa lamé-cloqué skirt ERDEM at Floral velvet top Brøgger at Harvey Nichols Nora chelsea boot GRENSON

Vivian dress MOTHER OF PEARL at Perspex earrings BIMBA Y LOLA

Josianne shirt dress ERDEM at Madra ankle boot JIMMY CHOO

Andrea blouse HOFMANN COPENHAGEN at Earrings BIMBA Y LOLA Twin tartan trousers PAPER LONDON




Stella McCartney Stars & Sustainability "I chose Stella McCartney this issue to highlight sustainable UK fashion (hence the traditional phone box!) Stella is one of our top UK designers and one of the few that promotes sustainability in the fashion world. I'm so fed up of seeing cheap clothing in fashion, how on earth do 'they' produce clothing for £1? We need to change the way we buy fashion,buying plastic free produce and sustainably sourced materials and yarns. Many designers are now producing ethically sourced fabrics and recycled materialsparticularly in sports trainers . I love these trousers which are the new shape for Autumn 2019, they make your legs look SO long.'80's checks are huge this season,whether in trousers or outerwear. I've teamed the trousers with this beautiful slouchy jumper with fringing,tucked into your waistband just a little, makes for this season's number one silhouette.The bag is gorgeous- I love stars on everything and the little touch of Stella's logo on this classic shoulder bag is perfect..�

Jacqueline Bissett Fashion Illustrator

Stella McCartney 'Armidale' Checked trousers and Ivory Jumper both 100% wool. Worn with Stella Star small shoulder bag all available at

Illustration by Jacqueline Bissett



Join The FAN CLUB A hand fan is the most perfectly functional accessory any woman could ever have and also beautiful. And they aren’t just for the summer months as we know.

Prêt-à-porter hand-fans Printed cotton, Sycamore wood frame. By Duvelleroy Paris, France

Fern Fans







This month beauty editor Fiona Eustace tackles hair and scalp health and reveals her must have products for glossy locks.

Abigail O’Neill shares her chocolate face mask recipe and shows us why sometimes its good to have a face full of chocolate, &

Frank shares the the joys of oils with our favourite face oils that nourish and hydrate your skin during the autumn months.



By Beauty Editor Fiona Eustace @fionaeustace


e all love a good hair day,but do we look after our hair and scalp properly? As we age, we all know that our skin ages too, but did you know that our scalp ages as well?

6 x faster in fact.Your scalp needs just as much (if not more) TLC as the skin on your face and body. So, when it comes to looking after your crowning glory Your anti-ageing routine shouldn’t stop at your face. You wear your hair every single day for everybody to see, it's a big part of who you are and how you look. I am going to let you into some of my stylists’ secrets and share with you some of my favourite products to make every day a fabulous hair day.

So now we know the science behind healthy hair, what can we do to help at home? Well with some simple changes to our beauty regime we can have it all. Firstly, try exfoliating your scalp. This can help to unclog your hair follicles. Every month try and do a scalp exfoliating treatment to stimulate healthy cell turnover on the surface. Try giving yourself a scalp massage every time you wash your hair as this will help stimulate the production of natural oils and help increase blood flow towards the hair follicles.

This in turn helps your follicles to receive more nutrients and promote hair growth. Using a scalp brush can help you work the product into your scalp and massage your head and finally Steer clear pf products containing SLS (sodium First some sciencey bits…… As we age women produce significantly less scalp sebum in lauryl sulphate) as this can impair the skins natural their 40’s than in their 20’s due to hormonal changes and protective barrier. lower levels of oestrogen.The right amount of sebum helps make our hair soft and shiny but a build up of oil can clog Now here’s a hair secret for you, used by some of the top the follicles and cause dandruff,thinning hair and even hair salons, Vitamin C powder….yes you heard me right, the loss. It can also affect the amount of protein our hair can humble Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid ) can act as a mild absorb. Since the hair on our head is largely made up of a clarifying agent and can be effective in helping remove protein called keratin you might start to see changes to your mineral build up accumulated on the surface of the hair. crowning glory.

You can find this in any health food shop Dilute 1 part to four parts water. Massage into your scalp and rinse well.

1 - Holland & Barrett Pure Vitamin C powder £26.99 Despite some beliefs, scalp treatments aren’t just reserved for those with dandruff or sore, itchy scalps. I love this one by Living Proof. Massage into clean towel dried hair, massage gently and style as usual. The hyaluronic acid and B3 vitamin will soothe and rebalance your scalp.

2 - Living Proof. Dry Scalp Treatment £25.00 I have been lucky enough to be using this product for the last few months and I love it. The smell is divine, and my hair has never felt better. Ch mpo (pronounced Char-pour) combines the science of trichology with Ayurvedic principles. To find the perfect combination for your hair care needs you can take their on line quiz to discover which dosha you are

3 - Ch mpo Pitta volumizing shampoo and conditioner £18 - £20

1 2


I have been using these turbans in my kit and on my clients for a very long time. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love using them. They are so handy, I take them to the beach, on holiday, to the gym and I use them at home too. Fiona Eustace




I have been using turbans in my kit and on my clients for a very long time. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love using them. They are so handy, I take them to the beach, on holiday, to the gym and I use them at home too. So, what do they do? They dry hair 50% faster and more gently for less damage and distress. Smooths frizz reduces split ends, tangles and breakages too. Just pop it on your head after a shower and it will draw away the water from your hair, so you don’t need to towel dry. I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on a limited edition Poosh leopard print turban. Designed by Kourtney Kardashian, this dual function turban features the same technology as the original turban whilst the reverse side will protect your hair whilst you sleep. So, you can look stylish while you sleep. What’s not to love. If you would also like to get one of these log onto and you can get it delivered from overseas. Shipping costs applied.

4 - Aquis X Hair Turban £30 I love this multi-award winning product. With Wellbeing at its heart, balancing Rose and Lychee is the first fragrance in the new Elasticizer Therapies range. Specially developed to balance, calm and relax, creating the ultimate sense of wellbeing and comfort. Its key ingredient is hydrolysed elastin, a protein that penetrates the hair shaft and increases elasticity without weighing down the follicles. I try and use this product once a week for a truly luxurious treatment. Perfect for treating fine and bleached locks.

5 - Elasticizer Therapies Balancing Rose and Lychee Deep Conditioning Treatment. £21.50 www. I couldn’t decide between these products when writing my Beauty Edit so I have included both of them as they’re both glorious. This innovative dry shampoo foam absorbs dirt and oil whilst providing the scalp with a hit of hydration to avoid flaking and dryness. Whilst this incredible summer fragrance doesn’t have any benefits for your scalp it will cover your hair with a beautiful scent of vanilla and fresh citrus, and that’s why I’m including it in my Beauty Edit.

6 - Amika dry shampoo foam and Hair Perfume. £19.99 and £18.79



raw chocolate MUD MASK

By Abigail O'Neil

Knowledge is catching on world over as to the potency and effectiveness of raw cacao being one of the most powerful source of antioxidants. After incorporating so much of it's raw goodness into my life over the last 7 years, I'm sure it has had it's part to play resulting in my 'youthful appearance', and 'agelessness' as they say! Raw cacao is also packed full of vitamins, A1, B1, B2, C, D, and E to name a few. It is also abundant in minerals – see magnesium and sulphur mentioned previously – as well as iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, chromium, sodium, phosphorus, and even zinc. But did you know that raw cacao is ultra-replenishing to the skin as eaten internally but also applied topically. I personally love to do both! I eat raw cacao daily, and at least once weekly apply my raw chocolate 'MUD MASK' to my face directly as well! Works incredibly to brighten and nourish the complexion. Of course, always gauge yourself when trying new ingredients on your skin, as to how your own skin type responds to them. More recipes on p182

This magnificent face mask contains clay powder for cleansing, along with the antioxidant properties of acai berry and cacao powder. Goats’ milk nourishes the skin; and manuka honey is also cleansing, healing and antibacterial; and vanilla gives the indulgent scent! 2 minutes to make enough face mask for 2. INGREDIENTS 1 teaspoon white, green or pink clay powder as preferred teaspoon acai berry powder, optional, or use any other superfood powder you love! 1 teaspoon raw cacao powder 1 teaspooon raw manuka (or your favourite organic raw) honey Pinch vanilla powder, optional, smells delicious 2 teaspoons pure water or goats milk METHOD Mix ingredients together until smooth. Apply to the skin and leave 10 minutes before dampening slightly with a warm facecloth and massaging gently to remove. Rinse the skin with warm water, splashing with cold to finish. Your skin should look amazing as its been cleansed, lightly exfoliated and nourished all in one.


essentials It’s that time of the year to slather on a skin saver, with countless benefits, and a feel that’s perfect for your dry autumn skin. Face Oil is the key product for us right now, so the FRANK beauty team have compiled these pages of natural face oils that we have tried, tested and absolutely love. So take a look through these beautiful oils to get some skin treat ideas for the upcoming months.

REN Vita Mineral Omega 3 Optimum Skin Oil £28

SISLEY Black Rose Precious Face Oil £158

HERBIVORE Orchid Youth Preserving Facial Oil £54

ARGENTUM APOTHECARY L'étoile Infinie Twin Enhancing Face Oil £82

Face Oil Black Rose Oil Glow Face Oil Seed Oil The Oridinary Lovely silky rosehip oil - great product, simple and fuss-free. DR. JACKSON'S 03 Face Oil £35

THIS WORKS Stress Check Face Oil £40

KORA ORGANICS Noni Glow Face Oil £60

THE ORDINARY 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil £9


Defying age in every way. FRANK talks to

Fashion Designer & beauty guru

Norma Kamali

In 2020 Norma Kamali will mark 53 years in the fashion business. Norma remains today the sole owner of her company. Her dream is to live a creative life. Her purpose is to help women feel good about themselves so they can reach their potential.

HOW ARE YOU? WHATS KEEPING YOU HEALTHY AND HAPPY AT THE MOMENT? Enjoying a healthy lifestyle is the key. I trained myself to enjoy healthy food, and I love working out. I actually need it for balance, as well as quiet time meditation and thai massage. EVERYONE WANTS TO KNOW YOU SECRETS. WHAT A GREAT ENDORSEMENT YOU ARE FOR THE SKIN CARE RANGE. TELL US ABOUT IT? WHAT ARE THE INGREDIENTS? I am a believer in a no makeup face and the SKINLINE supports that philosophy. The ingredients are timeless, safe and easy to use with results showing almost immediately.

YOU HAVE BEEN DESIGNING SINCE THE 60’S WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU? It truly is amazing that I still love my job! I mean, who wouldn't. I am living a creative life! TELL US ABOUT THE SWIMSUITS.. FARRAH FAWCETT’S FAMOUS POSTER. WHEN DID YOU REALISE SHE HAD USED YOUR SWIMSUIT? She bought the suit and used it because she had it in her bag. It was one of six suits I did as a test and actually dropped it because I didn't like the fit. Needless to say I was surprised and eventually asked her, why that suit? Trust me, it was her gorgeous smile that made men around the world feel as though she would be a nice, open and friendly person.

WHAT OTHER WAYS DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOUR HEALTH AND WELLBEING? Acupuncture is so helpful for wellbeing. I indulge in acupuncture face lifts as well. HOW IMPORTANT HAS YOUR ATTENTION TO THESE THINGS INFLUENCED YOUR WORK? Ageing with power is the best gift you can give yourself. Fulfilling hopes and dreams through your work is possible!

''I originally developed the SKINLINE in 1993. In two years, I would turn fifty and felt makeup was not complimenting my skin, but made it look like I was covering it up. I created the concept with a formula mostly from sea algae at the time, but when I opened the wellness cafe after 9/11, I revised the formula but kept the concept''

DID IT HAVE AN IMPACT ON YOUR BUSINESS/SUCCESS ? Lots of good will, thanks to Farrah! AND THE WHITNEY HOUSTON SWIMSUIT SHOT ON THE BACK OF HER FIRST ALBUM COVER. DID YOU KNOW THAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN? IF TO WHO CALLED YOU TO LET YOU KNOW? So much of this type of thing is always a surprise. YOUR CLOTHES ARE SO WEARABLE YET EDGY. HOW MUCH DOES COMFORT COME INTO THE DESIGNING OF YOUR CLOTHES? EVERYBODY SPEAKS HIGHLY OF THE FABRICS YOU USE. I am so physical in my work day, I definitely need comfortable clothes that travel well. Clothes should be fun and make you feel good too, so I am thinking about this while designing in an intuitive way. HOW DO YOU MANAGE TO KEEP BEING INSPIRED FOR NEW COLLECTIONS? It's fun and hard work, but the fun is worthwhile. YOU ALSO HAVE YOUR OWN PODCAST, HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT AND WHO ARE YOU TALKING TO? I had a radio show and podcast, and I find the podcast such a great way to share information. I do a podcast weekly and tend to focus on a series of topics. I just finished one with doctors who specialise in women's health issues. THE WORLD HAS FINALLY CAUGHT UP WITH PEOPLE LIKE YOURSELF WHO HAVE BEEN TRAILBLAZERS FOR HEALTH AND WELLNESS ETC HOW MUCH OF YOUR YOUTHFULNESS IS DOWN TO SETTING BOUNDARIES AND BEING TRUE TO YOURSELF IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE FITNESS AND FOOD ELEMENTS ? A healthy lifestyle is great for the human spirit, I think your spirit, your curiosity and sense of purpose is often looked at as youthful or a youthful attitude. GOING BACK TO THE SKINCARE RANGE, HOW WAS IT DEVELOPED? WHAT SETS IT APART FROM OTHER BRANDS? I originally developed the SKINLINE in 1993. In two years, I would turn fifty and felt makeup was not complimenting my skin, but made it look like I was covering it up. I created the concept with a formula mostly from sea algae at the time, but when I opened the wellness cafe after 9/11 I revised the formula but kept the concept. WHERE CAN WE BUY IT? Online and in-store at Selfridges.


THE ORDINARY 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip


ne hundred percent pure, cold-pressed and organic, this formulation provides the unmitigated power of a natural wonder: rose hip seed oil. Rich in linoleic (omega 6) and linolenic (omega 3) acids, alongside

pro-vitamin A, the oil targets signs of photo-ageing (premature ageing caused by repeated exposure to ultraviolet radiation) and boosts the skin’s overall health for a radiant result. Providing a pure, unmitigated natural skin saviour, The Ordinary’s 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil is brimming with vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids, which are known to hydrate and promote a smooth, even complexion. To ensure that no one of these is compromised, this formulation is cold-pressed, as any extraction process involving heat causes it to degrade. Rose hip seed oil’s rich quantity of linoleic (omega 6), linolenic (omega 3) acids and pro-vitamin A allow it to target signs of photo-ageing – premature ageing of caused by repeated exposure to ultraviolet radiation. It is also known to correct dark spots, hydrate dry, itchy skin and even reduce scars and fine lines by encouraging cellular regeneration. The Ordinary’s formulation is completely unrefined, leaving it with a natural scent, which is a testament to its purity not (as it may be mistaken for) its rancidity.











Anne Marie Cummings WRITER DIRECTOR PRODUCER ACTRESS Photographer Lauren Hurt Make up Jenny Karl

Anne Marie Cummings is phenomenal! If you’ve never heard about her - Now’s your chance! She is the first woman to receive Emmy nominations in the digital drama categories of Acting, Writing, and Directing, and all for the three seasons of her Amazon Prime digital drama series about an older woman who falls in love with a much younger man called CONVERSATIONS IN L.A. Just this past year, she also received a Telly Award for Best Scripted Series, and an Indie Series Award win for Best Director, plus Indie Series Award nominations for writing and lead actress. Now several things make CONVERSATIONS IN L.A. unique and groundbreaking. First, Anne Marie (a veteran of the theatre who just moved to Hollywood four years ago) took on the role of a network and independently produced theT.V.series herself! Second,it’s a one-shot series,meaning every single episode is a conversation that’s filmed in one continuous take with no cuts and for up to 30 minutes!We’ve seen one-shot films,which are still uncommon because of the tremendous challenge involved, but this may be the first time we’ve seen a one-shot T.V. series. And third, every location in this series is different and filmed 360. Say goodbye to‘cut here’and‘cut there’– this format shows you the world of the characters, the city in which they live, and the pulse beating behind their words and actions. The Tom Bernard Podcast called CONVERSATIONS IN L.A.“the BIRDMAN of T.V.,” and Anne Marie explained that what drew her to the unique style wasn’t just because of her theatre background, but her desire to create a format that could submerge viewers into a dramatic love story with many comedic elements to it. Well-known actors such as Lou Diamond Phillips (“La Bamba”), Justin Kirk (“Weeds”),Willie Garson (“Sex and the City”), Eric Balfour (“Six Feet Under”), and Amy Pietz (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”) were cast by casting directors Christy Faison (“The Newsroom”) and Jami Rudofsky (“The Gilmore Girls”).

WHEN AND WHERE WAS ITS CONCEPTION? Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoy my show! I first created “conversations” like a scene I wrote between two characters called Theo and Chloe while I lived in Upstate NewYork.This was just a few months before I moved to Los Angeles in 2016.What I had written for those characters was just one meeting scene,so I decided, for CONVERSATIONS IN L.A., to pick up where I had left off, but change their names and circumstances using my original scene as a jumping-off point for the characters they morphed into for CONVERSATIONS IN L.A. YOU WEAR SO MANY HATS, WRITER, DIRECTOR, PRODUCER, ACTRESS AND GIFTED AT ALL. WHERE DID YOU HONE ALL THESE CRAFTS? DID YOU GO TO DRAMA SCHOOL? I auditioned for and attended Carnegie Mellon University’s drama program in Pittsburgh, a four-year conservatory, intensive program for acting. I also studied drama for a summer at the British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England! And yes, for CONVERSATIONS IN L.A. I did wear many hats,but many artists who come from the theatre are used to that, and then, of course, there are those who like to act-direct-write, like myself.

However, I wasn’t always like this. This was something I slipped into, slowly. Initially, in my career, I concentrated At a time when the digital platform is expanding, Anne my efforts on acting,and then after that,I explored the other Marie Cummings is, as USA Today wrote,“…living proof avenues,in stages.I stepped away from acting to write plays, that it’s never too late to chase the dream.” and then I directed my plays (sometimes being in them),and after that, I began directing other people’s work (sometimes CONGRATULATIONS ON CONVERSATIONS IN L.A. acting in them as well).

Anne Marie Cummings (as Michelle Macabee) & Gustavo Velasquez (as Gus Borrero)

Now right before I began working on CONVERSATIONS IN L.A., I was looking closely at Edward Burns’ artistry and what he’d done -- low-budget films as an actor-writerdirector. That’s pretty much when I said to myself:“If he can do all that, why can’t I? I’m ready!” WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE ON STAGE? I READ YOU PLAYED ANNE FRANK WHEN YOU WERE FIFTEEN? HOW DID YOU TACKLE THE ROLE AND MANAGE YOUR TEENAGE ENERGY? NERVES, SELF-DOUBT POSSIBLY? I attended a children’s theatre, starting at the age of six! But the story of me playing Anne Frank on stage was a turning point when I was fifteen years old because I read about that audition, took myself there, and got it! And the reason I got that role was that I felt a secure connection to Anne Frank. I had read her diary years prior, and when I saw the audition notice, I wanted to play her. Not only that, I knew that my depiction of her would-be incredibly authentic, and I believe, based on audience response, that it was. And interestingly enough, I wasn’t nervous acting when I was young, and I’m still not to this day. Acting, taking on roles and empathising with other characters,is a part of who I am. It’s there if I want to do it, and it’ll still be there if I want to take a break and come back to it! ARE YOU FROM A CREATIVE BACKGROUND AND WHAT WERE YOUR PARENTS’ ROLE IN ALL

OF THIS, IF ANY? My father is a writer and commercial real estate broker, and my mother raised my brother and I. Both of them are incredibly creative people! In their spare time, they both have cameras in their hands and take pictures of everything they see, and they both like to draw (my father even used to paint, and quite well)! Also, they have always been supportive and often surprised by my creative decisions. I’ve been blessed this way because when we talk about what I’m doing, they listen intently and with enthusiasm. YOU HAVE SETTLED IN L.A. FOR NOW. WHAT PROMPTED THE MOVE? Yes! I came out here before I moved because I have a sibling here who has a family. It was a second visit to see them that solidified this is a city that I could be a part of. HOW DID YOU MAKE SUCH A HUGE IMPACT IN SUCH A RELATIVELY SHORT TIME OF BEING THERE. IT’S THREE YEARS? Hm, this is an interesting question that gets asked of me often,and it makes me chuckle because the time I have been here in Los Angeles doesn’t have anything to do with my successes over the past four years. This is more about the time in my life because keep in mind that it’s been thirty years of me honing my craft as an actress,writer,and director before my move here and creating CONVERSATIONS IN L.A. Everything I did for this series, I was ready and up for!

very much like a play, but rather a cinematic play. And, the more I wrote,the more movement and variety I incorporated into my episodes. But finding this style, cinematically, had to do with my camera direction for the two camera operators I used: Sebastian Heinrich (Seasons One and Three) and Roland Andre Miller (Season Two).This required that I, as the director, spend a lot of time with my scripts and map everything out on the page. My vision had to be as transparent as possible before I moved onto the next phase -- actor blocking followed by camera blocking. Once I was sure about what the episode looked like in my mind,I blocked the actors only (including myself quite often),and then blocked my .P.D.P.,showing him the camera choreography from points A to B to C, and so on.When I felt my D.P.D.P. was memorised with the basic moves, we transitioned into rehearsals where he concentrated on the IS IT RIGHT YOU DID SOME WRITING COURSES moves, flow, and pacing in between points A, B, C, etc. None WHEN YOU ARRIVED? HOW DID IT HELP YOU? of this was easy,for anyone,but we did it in stages and always looked over the footage after every rehearsal and discussed. I did! Before I had arrived, I had contacted The Film There was a lot of refining along the way so that by the end Connection, and when I visited, before moving here, I met of actor and camera blocking rehearsals (usually three weeks), with Emmy-winning TV writer, Ron Osborn, of the we could bring in the sound mixer, gaffer, and production acclaimed T.V. show,“Moonlighting.” He worked with me, manager who only needed two-to-three rehearsals on one-on-one, for about eight months and during that time, I location. I’ll say this, for theatre actors, there isn’t much of wrote my first screenplay. I was very much ready for that a difference from this style and the stage other than it’s at a intense work with Ron both mentally and emotionally.You location, or several areas, instead of being on a stage. The see, before this time, I had been a self-taught writer -- by flow for an actor, where there are no cuts, is very much like reading,directing,seeing plays,watching movies,and so on. the flow of being on a stage, but obviously, visually this is an But I knew I needed guidance, and Ron gave that to me. entirely different experience for the viewer. I see this style of This being said, it wasn’t an easy time. Ron was hard on me, continuous filmmaking as a way to submerge viewers into in all the ways a teacher should be if he sees potential in his the relationships I’ve written. student.I had to break old writing patterns I created without realising and learn new ones. It was because of the time with Ron that I felt the confidence to take my work to a whole new level and create CONVERSATIONS IN L.A. and everything else I’m doing now.

Writing demands that you dig deep and get it right because if you don’t, your viewers will feel something is off. Plus, I set very high standards for myself and everyone I work with so that we all reach our fullest potential. I believe, and certainly hope, that when people watch CONVERSATIONS IN L.A., they are deeply engaged and feel how “real” it all seems.”

THE ONE-SHOT STYLE IS SO INCREDIBLE! I WAS BLOWN AWAY BY IT. IT’S THE THING THAT HIT ME THE MOST APART FROM THE STORYLINE, BUT HOW THE HELLFIRE ARE THEY DOING THAT? HOW MUCH REHEARSAL TIME AND PREPARATION GOES INTO THAT? Thanks! And I’m so glad you brought this up! First,I’ll start by saying that one-takes are not uncommon, in film, but as far as I know, I’m the first person to have this style for every single episode of a .V.T.V. series. Second, I’ll say that I naturally gravitated to the one-shots when I created CONVERSATIONS IN L.A.L.A. because of my experience in the theatre. I was essentially creating, subconsciously, theatre on film, and it all began with my writing which was

I DID ASSUME THAT IT HAD TO BE AD LIBBED TO KEEP GOING IN THE WAY THAT YOU DO. BUT YOU WRITE EVERY WORD, DON’T YOU? I do write every word! However, I also introduce some improvisation, but only once we are towards the end of rehearsals. The reason for this is because I want to get my actors and the scripted lines down to a T so that it doesn’t confuse my DP. So many of his camera blocking moves are based on a word from an actor which is a cue for him to move in another direction or to film a different angle. Once everyone is set, a bit of improvisation is necessary for actors, but only in specific episodes and for specific sections. A good example of this is in the opening of Season Three. That’s a car scene, and because we never knew just how heavy traffic would be while we were driving, we had all sorts of different scenarios we could start ad-libbing to fill in moments. For instance,if we got stuck behind a red light,we would begin improvising until the light turned green,but all the different improvised scenarios were well-rehearsed.This is tough stuff to do that requires a team of people to be very flexible during filming! Everyone has to be on their toes and change direction given outside influences and circumstances. HOW DO YOU CHOREOGRAPH THE CAR TRIPS, ESPECIALLY THE ONE WHERE YOU ARE GOING FOR THE AUDITION, YOU PULL OVER GET OUT, TAKE A PEE? IT’S INSANE! Yes, the car scene, the opening to Season Three I just mentioned! This was so difficult that we had to film this on two separate occasions to get it right – meaning we had to take a break after working on it the first time for a month and then come back around to it several months later to be better prepared. The first time we tackled this episode, we made so many mistakes, and I, as the writer, saw that the episode needed more than just driving (which is what it was initially). So, for the second time around, I re-wrote the scene taking the actors in and out of the car, brought together a crew I called my location scout advisors, and together we looked for each spot after we found our starting point spot.After that, during rehearsals, I had to do a lot of re-writing, but in the end, it worked! It was a very involved and complicated episode. My DP had to have a crew around him, who you never see when watching the episode, of course, assisting him at times, but he was the one who was adjusting the camera settings while filming when he moved in and out of the car. So much of that episode was, like any of our episodes that were outside, about the time of day, and most of our day shots, unless you want the harsh mid-day sun look-and-feel, were filmed late afternoon. But the issue with that, for a car scene, was heavy traffic. As difficult as that was, I liked seeing lots of cars around our car in the episode as I felt it added to the tension of the scene. The other issue was the car itself and finding a way to balance the light inside the vehicle so that the actors wouldn’t be blown out while filming. Let’s say…I could write a book about how to film inside a car!

HOW HAS LIFE CHANGED FOR YOU SINCE THE and this was the day before I was about to put out a casting SUCCESS OF THE SHOW. BEING RECOGNISED, notice and audition as many actors as I felt I needed to cast AWARDS. AND BEING ‘FAMOUS’ for the young man role. But because Gustavo got back to me right away,I held off on putting out the notice,auditioned Oh gosh, that’s funny! I don’t think of myself as “famous” him, and very quickly knew he was the one. Yes, he was at all. I’m still Anne Marie hustling and working hard, starting out, in a way, but he took my notes exceptionally probably harder now than ever before.The difference now well, he had an intensity I liked, and he loved my writing is that I’m more focused on my work. I am working with my and his character,which is very important for an actor when literary managers, who I teamed up with right after embarking on a role! completing CONVERSATIONS IN L.A., and we’re working on a few projects which help me to be more specific I AM LOVING THE PODCASTS ABOUT THE about where I’m putting my energy. EPISODES’ DIRECTORS’ NOTES? FASCINATING. ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT PEOPLE ARE SO HOW CAN ONE PERSON HAVE SO MUCH INTERESTED IN THE PROCESS WHO AREN’T IN CREATIVITY? DOES IT HURT? THE BUSINESS? Ha! That’s funny! I think you’re the first person to ask me this and the answer is two-fold. There are times I need to be all of this or else I get incredibly antsy. I have the potential, the wisdom, and it needs to be exercised and tapped into on a regular basis. But yes, there are times that it hurts and usually that’s with the writing. Writing demands that you dig deep and get it right because if you don’t, your viewers will feel something is off. Plus, I set very high standards for myself and everyone I work with so that we all reach our fullest potential. I believe, and certainly hope, that when people watch CONVERSATIONS IN L.A.,they are deeply engaged and feel how“real”it all seems. I consider myself a tough director, like Ron Osborn was tough on me as a writing student, and I don’t settle for mediocre if I know someone can do more -- I want the best a person can give, always!

No, not at all. I think people who watch film and television are waiting for what’s new and different and what excites them, often curious about the behind-the-scenes process. And, I believe the viewers of my series are intelligent, so I do everything I can to challenge and surprise them with my writing, direction, and camera work! That’s part of the fun for me so I would hope that translates for them as well. WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR DRIVE AND TENACITY FROM?

Honestly, I think it’s because I don’t give myself a way out once I commit to doing a project. At that point, I’m all in! As far as tenacity? I set goals for myself and sincerely believe I can achieve those goals. Of course, I have moments of weakness along the way, we all do, but I rest to get back on HOW DO STAY CALM AND CONDUCT YOUR LIFE? track.A good night’s sleep does a world of wonders when the WHAT LIFE SKILLS HAVE YOU LEARNT TO heart and mind are weary and feels like giving up. KEEP YOU FUNCTIONING WELL? Well, we haven’t talked much about producing and I can say that out of all the skills I have, producing is the most stressful because it requires problem-solving all the time. Producing is knowing all that’s going on, and when issues arise, knowing how to handle them. It’s a dance of stepping forward and stepping back -- taking action and thinking things through.So,of course,with producing,and any other creative endeavour, I have learned, out of necessity, to manage my stress. I do yoga, I walk and listen to music, I meditate at the beach, and read. I also love socialising! Where did you find Gustavo? He is amazing! What was the casting process? I met Gustavo at a Starbucks. He was sitting next to me reading a scene with an actress, and I approached both of them because I wanted to audition talented actors who were “hungry”for work. I sensed that when I saw both of them,

“This show was produced by me and I put it up on Amazon Prime! I wanted total control of this one-take style and my vision. I am pretty sure that had I approached executives with the idea to do a one-shot series about an older woman and a much younger, Hispanic, man, it would have taken maybe five-to-ten years to get someone to agree to commission that. “

I LOVE THE EPISODE WITH THE DANCE ROUTINE AT THE BEGINNING, YOU ARE SO GOOD! HAVE YOU HAD DANCE TRAINING AS WELL? I have! Dance classes were part of my curriculum at Carnegie Mellon University, but I think it was the social dancing classes I took when I lived in New York City – swing and salsa – that taught me how to dance! Swing dancing even became part of my socialising, and I would go out every weekend to swing clubs and dance to my heart’s content! CONVERSATIONS IN L.A. IS SO FUNNY, SO RAW AND HEARTBREAKING. WHAT INSPIRES THE MAIN STORY AND THE STORIES AROUND IT? I’ve dated younger men, as well as older men, but I found that dating younger men were more complicated. This type of relationship looks excellent when you’re an outsider, and you see it – it looks sexy, exciting, like it would be a lot of fun, all the time, but make no mistake, there are a lot of things an older woman and a younger man need to iron out for it to be a loving, committed relationship that works. CONVERSATIONS IN L.A. isn’t about any particular relationship I had, but indeed my experiences dating younger men helped my imagination! In the beginning, were you doing everything yourself? Casting, camera, sound, etc.? In the beginning, it felt like myself, my D.P.D.P. and editor, Sebastian Heinrich, and Gustavo Velasquez were doing everything. But more so Sebastian and I, yet all three of us helped each other out as much as we could. And believe it or not, for Season One, Sebastian was also the sound mixer since he’s an experienced sound technician! That first year wasn’t easy, but we all wanted what we were creating, so we just dropped all ego and went for it! AS THE SHOW GREW AND YOU GOT MORE SERIES COMMISSIONED HOW HARD WAS IT TO DELEGATE? IS THERE GOING TO BE A FOURTH SEASON? Now here’s something that may surprise you -- I produced this show, and I put it up on Amazon Prime! I wanted total control of this one-take style and my vision.I am pretty sure that had I approached executives with the idea to do a oneshot series about an older woman and a much younger,

Hispanic,man,it would have taken maybe five-to-ten years to get someone to agree to commission that because of A, It’s never been done before and B,I’m not sure anyone would have believed I could do it since this was my first television project! Twenty-to-thirty-minute one-shot takes are challenging even for the most experienced in the field! But now that I’ve been true to my vision and have shown that I can do this, and well, there’s proof in the pudding. This scenario,in terms of producing one’s work,is something every creator with a unique vision has to face and make decisions about, particularly when breaking into film and television. As for the fourth season of CONVERSATIONS IN L.A., as of now, we are not planning it; however, my literary managers and I are working on another T.V. series in the CONVERSATIONS franchise. HOW HAS THE RISE OF THE SHOW BEEN FOR YOU PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY? I’m all about growing and getting better at what I do so that continues while I look for and surround myself with people who love what I’m writing and want to support it creatively and financially. I AM A HUGE FAN OF DIALOGUE AND ONE OF MY FAVOURITE DIRECTORS IS WOODY ALLEN. Woody Allen is also one of my favourite directors as well. He along with Richard Linklater, Sophia Coppola, Edward Burns, Spike Lee, July Delpy, Darren Aronofsky, Jane Campion, Martin Scorsese, to name a few.They all are great with dialogue and creating something unique, cinematically.. YOU HAVE THAT GIFT FOR ACTUALITY AND THE PLACES IN WHICH YOU SHOOT ELEVATE THE WHOLE THING? HOW MUCH GOES INTO LOCATION SCOUTING? Great question! For each season it took about 45 days to find all the locations.So much goes into finding the right location because of the one-take style. There’s a lot to consider from the amount of space in a room or rooms, ceiling height, overhead light, windows, complexity versus simplicity in architecture, what makes a space unique, reflection issues; the list is endless. I tend to select indoor spaces with less in them so we can design and decorate as we see fit for the


hearing Gustavo along with watching his physical gestures. After that, Gustavo stopped speaking out loud and went back to only reciting his monologue internally and making gestures while Sebastian practised camera moves solely based on Gustavo’s physical gestures. From that point on, we moved from my living room to the beach to rehearse – terrain similar to the desert and not such a long drive for us This was in Season Three and was one of the most on a regular basis.Our rehearsals were like three-hour periods complicated episodes we did, but then again, they were all of silence as we all moved along the sand, back-and-forth challenging! Let’s say each had their unique set of challenges until we got this episode down so that by the time we did go we all faced. This episode you’re asking about is called out to the desert, we could nail this quickly. In the desert, Bromo-DragonFLY, based on the drug, and it was about we faced extreme heat, snakes, spiders, and powerful wind. the character Gus walking across the desert on his way to You’ll also notice that in the episode itself, there’s a fire in meet up with his drug dealer. The entire episode is just with the distance.When we saw that,we decided to stay out there him while we hear his thoughts. I wanted to incorporate longer on a rehearsal day so that we could get our take with something like this in the season because – who does that? that Armageddon sky. But also because it’s very fitting for the character and the story. Yet to direct this, it was done in several stages over As for the voice-over? That was done afterwards with a the course of about four weeks.First,I blocked Gustavo and recording to match Gus’every move,but since,while filming, got him to recite his lines out loud.Then, as soon as he was Gustavo was completely memorised and was reciting the memorised (a 25-minute monologue), he would rehearse in monologue internally, it was smooth sailing to get the front of me in my living room and just walking around in a recording to match the final and selected take. But it still circle.I never had to hear him speak out loud because I gave took many times to record to get it to match just so. him gestures for his blocking,so I always knew where he was Now along these lines, I’ll add that the easy way out would in the monologue by merely following his gestures.Then I have been to have someone reading Gustavo his lines while brought in the DP and Gustavo returned to speaking his we were filming,but I don’t think the result would have been monologue out loud, at first, solely so Sebastian could nearly as powerful as this was.An actor has to embrace and memorise the camera blocking I gave him based off of embody what they’re doing entirely, and I’m the kind of

“I’ve dated younger men, as well as older men, but I found that dating younger men were more complicated. This type of relationship looks great when you’re an outsider, and you see it – it looks sexy, exciting, like it would be a lot of fun, all the time, but make no mistake, there are a lot of things an older woman and a younger man need to iron out for it to be a loving, committed relationship that works. CONVERSATIONS IN L.A. isn’t about any particular relationship I had, but indeed my experiences dating younger men helped my imagination!” IS IT BETTER FOR YOU TO WORK WITH ACTORS WITH A BACKGROUND IN THE THEATRE? It helps, but it’s not necessary.Theatre actors can do almost anything, but sometimes you have to tone them down a bit because they’re so used to being big on the stage. Film actors are easy to work with as well, but they aren’t as used to so much rehearsal, and that’s something they come to understand when working with me, but they appreciate having rehearsed come shoot days. YOU HAVE FINISHED A ONE-TAKE FILM. WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT IT? It’s a dramatic thriller called SINKHOLE and was first a dramatic play I wrote about six years ago.About a year or two ago, while working on CONVERSATIONS IN L.A., I had the idea to turn SINKHOLE into a one-take film. By the time I sat down to write it, it pretty much came gushing out of me, and I wrote it in about three months (including my outline time). So much has changed from the play, but that was, going back to my story with your first question in this interview, a script I went back to and re-shaped into something completely different. SINKHOLE is a compelling, meaningful, timely piece, and I cannot wait to get the right team on board for that and put it out in the world! I certainly have enough experience with the one-takes to make it work, but my challenge, as well as everyone else’s, will be to go from 30-minute one-takes to a 90-minute one-take that has about 33 different locations/set-ups. Talk about a challenge!


FRANK talks to

actress & writer Maxine Peake

axine Peake, 36, was born and brought up in Bolton. She studied performing arts at Salford Tech and was awarded a scholarship to Rada. In 1998 she was cast in Victoria Wood's TV sitcom Dinnerladies, and went on to play Veronica in Shameless and Myra Hindley in See No Evil.



Is it saying something worthwhile? Is the writing any good? If yes…then I’ll persue it. I do have to think long and hard and really ask myself if it’s a load of my sogiinist nonsense mascarading as progressive? HOW DID IT ALL START FOR YOU? WHEN WAS YOUR TALENT DISCOVERED BY YOU AND THEN OTHERS? Ha! Well nobody ever said your’e good at this you should pursue. Quite the opposite. I just enjoyed getting up in front of people making them laugh.

Why, thank you. How do I decide? It’s the story first and foremost. Does it interest me? Can I relate to this person?

I had so many people trying to put me off initially. It took me a long time to even admit to myself it’s what a wanted to do…In true Maxine Peake fashion the more people said I couldn’t the I thought right I’ll show ‘em. I am so contrary! WHAT WERE YOU WATCHING AS A CHILD THAT INSPIRED YOUR ACTING ? WHICH ACTORS DID YOU LOOK UP TO? It started with Margeret Rutherford, Irene Handle and Joyce Grenfell. They were just so funny and skilful. Creating larger than life characters. I remember thinking that’s what I want to do.Then Julie Walters and Victoria Wood there was a realism in their comedy and drama that I just clicked the majority of my generation of actors. they had such a huge influence on so many of us. YOU WENT TO RADA WHAT WERE THE CIRCUMSTANCES LEADING YOU TO THERE? Well…My great mate Diane Morgan and I thought we would audition for RADA for a laugh. See what the fuss was all about. They held auditions in Manchester so it was ideal. We went down. I think because I thought I had zero chance of getting in I was uncharacteristically blaze about the whole thing. I got a place but there was no way I could afford to go. I was from a single parent family and my Mum worked part time in a department store called Whiteheads in Bolton. I wouldn’t take no for an answer and eventually RADA put me up for a competitive Scholarship. Each drama school in the country nominated a student who couldn’t afford the fees and we had to audition for it. Long story short I got down to the final 4 and at the last round we were told to call at 10am the next morning to see if we had won. I didn’t call because I thought there was no chance. 2pm I got a call to ask why I hadn’t bothered to call. I explained and then they told me I’d got it. When my Mum found out she didn’t stop crying for 2 days! DID YOU FIND YOUR ACCENT CAUSED INTERESTING INTERACTION WHEN YOU GOT THERE? Oh yeah. People amused themselves constantly in taking the Michael. I wasn’t the only actor with a regional accent but it was definitely the strongest. RADA did have a fabulous policy of getting students in who couldn’t otherwise afford it.

I did feel pigeoned holed being a working class female at drama school. More so than my male working class peers. I was told my accent and size would hold me back but I sort of knew that anyway.

“There are so many female stories out there that haven't been made. There's thousands and thousands and thousands of stories that every week you discover more and go, oh my god, that'd make an amazing drama. But trying to get people interested is really hard.” OUR FIRST GIG WAS ‘DINNER LADIES’ AFTER LEAVING DRAMA SCHOOL. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN, WHAT WAS THE AUDITION PROCESS LIKE? I had got an agent interested in me in my final year at RADA. The late great Lyndsey Granger…(I remember going to meet her in her office and seeing a giant poster for Scaramouche on the wall. ‘Oh Stewart Granger? Are you a fan?” Very kindly Lyndsey informed me he was her Dad!) Anyway Lyndsey took me on and put me up for Dinnerladies. I was still at RADA. I was extremely nervous auditioning. It was all a bit of a blur being in the same room as my Heroine. I couldn’t really concentrate. I remember then getting a call back and reading with Shobna who was so lovely. We hit it off immediately. I walked away thinking ‘Well that was a great experience’ Never thinking for a moment the job was mine! FORM THIS WERE YOU INSTANTLY RECOGNISABLE? HOW DID YOU ADAPT? People were so lovely. I didn’t get masses of attention. To be honest it never bothered me at the time. It’s a honour to be recognised positively for your job. People would

THAT SAID YOU DO MANAGE TO STAY BELOW THE RADAR. HOW IS THAT ACHIEVED WHEN YOU HAVE DONE SO MANY HIGH PROFILE PROJECTS? Staying in! DO YOU HATE HAVING TO PROMOTE STUFF AND THE MEDIA ELEMENT OF THE INDUSTRY? I hate it with a passion. It’s like selling your soul on a regular basis! The public think actors love being in the papers doing interviews. Bullshit! It’s in our contracts. Then you get some smart arse who just wants to trip you up for a story..I am very easy to trip up. I’m too open with people always oversharing! YOU WORKED WITH MIKE LEIGH FOR ‘PETERLOO’ WHICH WAS SUPERB. HOW IMPORTANT WAS THIS STORY TO TELL FOR YOU PERSONALLY AND HOW IMPORTANT WAS IT FOR YOU PROFESSIONALLY? In the UK we have an appalling record of making TV and films about our fabulous and progressive working class history so this was very important for me to be part of. I wrote to Mike asking if I could be in Peterloo. He wrote back saying ‘Of course’(He’s good like that) Professionally I wanted to work with Mike on a bigger project as I am always in the market for learning and stretching myself. What’s the point if not? Mikes one of our most important filmmakers. WHICH DIRECTORS WOULD YOU LIKE TO WORK WITH IN THE FUTURE AND WHY? Film….More, more ,more with Carol Morley…she’s the bees! Andrea Arnold, Ruth Paxton, Phillipa Lowthorpe. Peter Strickland. Theatre Sarah Frankcom, Anne Louise Sarks, Katie Mitchell. FUNNY COW WAS AMAZING! CONGRATS ON THAT. I KNOW IT WAS LOOSELY BASED ON MARTI CAINE. WHO INSPIRED YOU GROWING UP AND HOW DIFFICULT DO YOU THINK IT HAS BEEN FOR WOMEN TO FIND THEIR VOICE IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY, ESPECIALLY NORTHERN WOMEN? THIS WAS SET IN THE SEVENTIES, HAVE THINGS ACTUALLY CHANGED TODAY? Have things changed…Well yeah and no. Men are still

very much in control. I see it in my industry even it’s a female lead piece it’s usually written by a man or directed by a man. We need to take more control over our narratives. Marti Caine was a big influence for me.. her goofiness, wit, humour and charisma was just wonderful. She really was a one off and seemed very much in control. I HAVE HEARD YOU DISCUSS THE TERM ‘WORKING CLASS ACTORS’ CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHY WE SHOULD GET AWAY FROM THAT? Yes!! Actors are actors but as with society we are riddled with class prejudice! Too many posh folk in charge! We need to change the education system. I would ban the private school system for one but to start with why can’t we teach entitlement in comprehensive schools. Tell those kids they are entitled to do well. They are special. They can HOW MUCH ARE CHILDREN FROM POOR BACKGROUNDS GETTING ACCESS TO DRAMA CLUBS? Yeah, there are drama clubs around the country. I think Nottingham have got a few great workshops that happen and people like Liv Hill and Molly Windsor in Three Girls, obviously Sam Moore and Vicky McClure. I think some of our best TV actors or most successful anyway, haven't actually been through drama school. If you can get into those places it's really about getting into the industry. That's what drama school does, it gets you a sure place in the third year for people in the industry to come and that's what youngsters need. I think now, especially with a lot of work being based in film and TV, I think mainly drama school is good for treading the boards more. But I think look at all that wonderful talent that Shane Meadows discovered. And I’d love to work with Shane but I don't think he's, he's too hot on people who've actually trained. And you can sort of see why because they're, sort of, pure, they've been left alone they’re unaffected.

“Actors are actors but as with society we are riddled with class prejudice! Too many posh folk in charge! We need to change the education system. I would ban the private school system for one but to start with why can’t we teach entitlement in comprehensive schools. Tell those kids they are entitled to do well. They are special. They can.”

“Well, I've always wanted to write, I remember trying for three years to get into drama school and thinking right, sod it, I'm not going to go to drama school. I'm not going to get in, I'm going to write. And my big influence was Victoria Wood, obviously before I met her... I thought that's what I'll do.” TELL ME ABOUT YOUR WRITING, WHAT PROMPTED IT?

year. And it's been on at Stalk and then it's on at Bolton Octogen now and then it's going to the Arcola Theatre and it's just been up in Hull. I am now in talks with someone to make it into a TV show. Things change so quickly. That would be really exciting to get her story out to an even wider audience. There are so many female stories out there that haven't been made. There's thousands and thousands and thousands of stories that every week you discover more and go, oh my god, that'd make an amazing drama. But trying to get people interested is really hard. I also got asked to write some more radio plays and then another radio play I wrote then the Raleigh Exchange asked me to adapt it for stage. So yeah, I'm still writing slowly, it's quite hard with the acting but I do enjoy it and I think as you get older you’ve got to have more strings to bow. And I think the acting may stop fulfilling me and I’m playing lots of mothers at the moment and at the moment they're still interesting mothers but I'm sure they'll just get less and less so. There's that fabulous quote that says actresses try hard one day you may play the mother, girlfriend or wife of somebody very exciting. So yeah. DOES WRITING DIALOGUE COME EASILY TO YOU?

Well, I've always wanted to write, I remember trying for I don't know. I think I write very much in my voice and it three years to get into drama school and thinking right, might not come easy to anybody else who's acting it. But sod it, I'm not going to go to drama school. I'm not going I do enjoy writing dialogue and trying to make it to get in, I'm going to write. And my big influence was naturalistic. Maybe at the cost of actually giving it much Victoria Wood, obviously before I met her... I thought depth. I’m not the most intellectual writer I like to write that's what I'll do. I really wanted to go to university, something that my theatre pieces have been, I want originally, and find a lot of like-minded people and form a people to have a good night out and maybe come to the comedy troop and write sketches. But I wasn't clever theatre who wouldn't normally and I don't want people to enough to get to university so that didn't happen. feel intimidated. It started with my boyfriend Pav, who’s absolutely amazing, bought me a book for my birthday, ‘Beryl WHEN WILL WE SEE YOU NEXT? Burton, Race for Life’. He came across the story on eBay looking for bits, he builds old racers and he found this I’m in the National Theatre next to do a play called The book. And he hadn't heard of her, I hadn't heard of her. Welkin by the amazing Lucy Kirkwood. So I'm really He said, you should write something. And I thought I excited about that. Twelve women on a jury set in Suffolk can't write, because every actor thinks they can write. in the 1700s. I'm working with Ria Zmitrowicz who I It's a skill writing, and I have a lot of respect for writers. worked with on ‘Three Girls’ who's, I think, one of our Anyway, I went to a radio producer and director, Justine best young actresses around. But that's it. So The Potter, who was doing a cop thing called Craven written National, I'm going to do a little part. I’m going to play by Amelia Bullmore. And I said, look I've got this idea, Shaun Ryder's mum in Twisting My Melon where Jack would you get somebody to write it and I play Beryl? O’Connell’s playing Shaun Ryder. I’ve played his mum And Justine said, why don't you write it, same as Pav. So before in a film called Private Peaceful so we're reuniting I sat down and went, okay, I didn't really know where to again. start. And I worked through it with Justine and I've got ‘Anne’ coming out which is about Anne Williams, eventually we came up with the script for the Radio 4 the Hillsborough campaigner for ITV. That hopefully, drama ‘Beryl A Love Story on Two Wheels’. And then once David Duckenfield’s case has been sorted and gone Westroch Plays approached me and said, we'll adapt it through, then that will come out. And I've done one of for stage. Which I did and then that went really well and those Inside Number 9s which I absolutely love that. It it was on extended and then was put on again the next was a real bucket list for me.




BRYAN ADAMS Photography Bryan Adams

Singer, songwriter, record producer, guitarist, photographer, philanthropist & activist. He rose to fame in Canada and the United States with his 1983 album Cuts Like a Knife and turned into a global star with his 1984 album Reckless, which produced some of his best known songs, including "Run to You", "Summer of '69" and his first number one, "Heaven". Here FRANK gets up close and personal with the man himself... WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST SURPRISE IN YOUR LIFE THAT YOU COULD NEVER HAVE PREDICTED? BA: perhaps watching my new album “Shine A Light” come into the charts at #2 this year, as this is my 44th year of writing and performing music. My thanks to Ed Sheeran who co-wrote the song “Shine A Light”. WHO WAS YOUR VERY FIRST PIN UP AND WHY? BA: I only ever had posters of rock bands WHAT TYPE OF DRIVER ARE YOU? BA: The kind that is prone to cause road rage in others WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED AND WHY? BA: Oh its easy to get me blubbing, I cry at adverts on the telly, sometimes singing songs, but especially when I talk about losing my old dad or my grandparents. I miss them all so much. HOW DO YOU SLEEP? BA: Usually quite well, a light sleeper and usually with an eye mask WHAT MAKES YOUR BLOOD BOIL? BA: Environmental destruction, particularly things like whale slaughter and over fishing. Also things like the UK building Hinkley Nuclear Power Plant C when we have such great technology to harness the sun and wind. Where are they going to dump the millions of tons of toxic waste? Who makes these decisions for us?

WHATS THE BEST GIG YOU HAVE BEEN TO. ( NOT YOURS ) BA: There are many, but my fave ones were when I was a kid, seeing Zeppelin, Elton, Bowie, James Brown, Stevie Wonder…those kinds of gigs. I also loved Iggy Pop when I saw him, he’s one of the best front men ever and more recently I saw Jack White who was fantastic. IN YOUR OPINION WHERE IS HEAVEN ON EARTH? BA: The Caribbean. As a Canadian you’d think I’d say the top of a mountain, but I hate being cold. It all stems from when I lived in Jamaica on and off in the 90’s making music there, and fell in love with that part of the world and the people. WHAT WAS YOUR LAST HAND WRITTEN NOTE OR LETTER AND WHO RECEIVED IT? BA: It was a thank you note to the CEO of RYU (Respect Your Universe) for very kindly sending me some nice clothes. WHEN DID YOU LAST HAVE PROPER BELLY LAUGHS? BA: The end of the brilliant film “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood”, it really made me laugh. Tarantino should write and direct the next Bond film, that would be genius. WHO OR WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST LOVE? BA: Probably my wire haired fox terrier “Mini” when I was a boy. HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED UNREQUITED LOVE? WHO? BA: I used to have a beautiful yellow canary called Peep. I never thought birds cared much for people, it would just sing away when it couldn’t see anyone. No matter how much i doted on it, our relationship seemed completely one sided. Then one day I let her out of her cage. I thought that was it, that she was gone forever…but she made a big circle and landed on my head. True love. ARE YOU A NIGHT OWL OR UP WITH THE LARKS? BA: Speaking of birds, I’m usually up early and late to bed. WHAT IS THE WEIRDEST QUESTION PEOPLE/FANS HAVE ASKED YOU? BA: “Sorry, who are you?” WHO ARE THE MOST SIGNIFICANT FEMALE ROLE MODELS YOU HAVE HAD IN YOUR LIFE, PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY? BA: I have to admit that every woman I’ve ever had a friendship or relationship with has taught me something.


FRANK talks to


lead singer & songwriter of FEEDER talks to us about their latest album Tallulah, family, friendships & festivals

WHERE DOES YOUR MUSICAL GENE COME FROM I just love writing songs and being in a band . I don’t know IF ANY? where all that energy would go if I didn’t have this outlet . I really enjoy making records and touring although it can Definitely my mother as she has quite a musical family back be draining at times , but it’s still fun and we are grateful to ground and also a great voice . She used to do shows like still be doing it . 'The Sound of Music', 'The king and I' etc and was a total natural on stage. WHERE DID‘TALLULAH’ARISE FROM AS A TITLE AND THE ENTIRE CONCEPT? WHAT WERE YOU LIKE GROWING UP? DID YOUR MUSIC INTEREST DOMINATE FROM THE GET The name came from my wife’s best friends 8 year old GO? daughter . She’s a real character and free spirit . I’ve always like the name and wrote a song called 'Tallulah' . It touches I grew up in South Wales just over the border and decided on the importance of children, family and how this affects I wanted to be in a band and write music from the age of ten your life and whole outlook .The album touches on a lot of . I was very determined to follow my dream . different themes . WHO WERE THE BANDS THAT YOU LOVED? It started with pop music like ABBA and also The Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac I later got into Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin,Black sabbath ,The Police and a lot of punk bands like the Sex Pistols , Buzzcocks and Stiff Little Fingers . I also loved Tom Petty and Neil Young . WASTHE MUSIC DEPARTMENTATYOUR SCHOOL GOOD AT NURTURING TALENTED STUDENTS?

TALK TO US ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH TAKA IS ITYOUR HISTORYTHAT BINDSYOUAND YOUR MUSICAL SYNERGY? I first metTaka after he placed an ad inThe Loot advertising paper . He had something different and was a great bass player . We have a respect for each other and also enjoy touring and the odd pint or two .A band that drinks together is a band that stays together . WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE SECRET OF THE LONGEVITY OF THE BAND HAS BEEN?

I played trumpet at school but decided guitar was more fun and started my first school band . The school was pretty good and allowed us to do end of term concerts in the main It’s all about the tunes, belief and some hard graft as well as hall. great forever growing fanbase. WHEN DID YOU GET YOUR FIRST GUITAR? I was around 10 years old and it was a black Les Paul copy made by Avon . The amp came later, a 15 watt Selmer . WERE YOU WRITING SONGS FROM THE GET GO? Not straight away as i was mainly trying to play along to albums . I started to write a bit at around the age of 13-14 but they were pretty awful compositions if I remember correctly .

CONGRATULATIONS ON THE ALBUM, IT HAS A GREAT OPENER IN ‘YOUTH’ WHICH MUST BE GREAT TO PERFORM? Thank you . 'Youth' is fun song to play as very instant and up beat , great for summer festivals . ARE THERE SONGS THATYOU CREATE WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF IT IN MIND?

Sometimes I imagine how they would work live ,yes .'Kyoto' and 'Tallulah' are two that spring to mind . I had a very CUT TO 10 ALBUMS LATER! HOW ARE FEELING visual image for both these whilst writing and that tends to ABOUT YOUR LATEST? be the case with most of the songs I write . Really good and the response has been amazing from both 'FEAR OF FLYING’ WAS THAT GIG INSPIRED? new and older fans , as well as media . 'Fear of Flying' is a classic Feeder style song so I imagined HOW DOYOU KEEP MOTIVATED? IS IT PURE LOVE it would work well in the set amongst our older songs, but it OF CREATING? also feel fresh to us .

“I first met Taka after he placed an ad in The Loot advertising paper. He had something different and was a great bass player. We have a respect for each other and also enjoy touring and the odd pint or two. A band that drinks together is a band that stays together�

YOU ARE A PROLIFIC SONG WRITER HOW HAS ,IF having our children and being a parent . It changes your AT ALL DOING A SOLO ALBUM BROUGHT A whole outlook on life and what’s really important . FRESHNESS TO YOUR FEEDER ALBUM? WHAT ELSE INSPIRES YOU? I think doing the solo stuff has been great for me on a personal level and helped me approach the Later Feeder People and emotions , day to day life , film , relationships stuff with a fresh and different approach. I try to get the and general experiences and news . I find getting older has lead vocal on tracks as soon as possible nowadays as it given me more to write about and as a band we have really makes the production that’s needed more direct and experienced so much. clearer to try the right parts . It also helps Taka see the bigger picture and how the song can be . I am definitely WRITING MUSIC IS A VERY CREATIVE AND happier with where I am vocally nowadays also . SOMETIMES AN EMOTIONAL PROCESS . DO YOU HAVE A GUITAR TO HAND ALL THE I LOVE THE ARTWORK FOR THE ALBUM. HOW DO TIME? YOU DECIDE ON IT. IS IT A COLLABORATION? Yes pretty much , usually an acoustic which I write pretty I worked with an Urban artist called Anthony McEwan much with all the time . It’s quite therapeutic to play a aka ( Rugman ) We are very good friends and I have guitar also and I love to write songs that are portable and several of his pieces on my walls at home . I really wanted work in a simple stripped back way also . an iconic and striking image for the album sleeve . It was a real labour of love but he did a great job and it’s one I HOW GOOD IS IT TO BE DOING FESTIVALS AND BE think people will remember for some time . WINNING OVER NEW FANS? ALL OUR LIVES CHANGE SO MUCH AFTER WE HAVE CHILDREN. YOU HAVE TWO. HOW MUCH OF YOUR SONG WRITING IS INSPIRED BY THEM?

Festivals are always a challenge as you never really know how they are going to go . When you have a good one and it connects with the audience it’s a real buzz and something different in some way to your own shows as a band .

A lot of my writing has been influenced or inspired by

“Music can be a fountain of youth . If we can still physically do it then it’s fine. I think we still have a lot of drive and energy and a lot of kids as well and the die hard fans are coming to our shows , so that’s a really positive thing . Other artists of our genre like the Foo fighters and Manics are also rocking the stages so why not.“


I think we a in this world of some stuff social media where everyone feels a bit of pressure to look good and be healthier. It’s just a case of balance . We still like to party once in a white but I know that physically I couldn’t do good shows if I did it every night .

I do miss the 90’s as there seemed to be more freedom , mystique and characters in the business . Social media can be great as long as it doesn’t take over your life . I use it to keep in touch with the fanbase and friends but like to keep a pretty private life in general .




A bit of both probably . I think animals are more interesting than people sometimes and Bamboo is such a character . I WAS GOING TO SUGGEST YOU SET UP AN INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT FOR THE CAT BUT YOU HAVE! LOL @BAMBOOTHECAT TALK TO ME … ? 1000 PLUS FOLLOWERS hahahahaha. My wife did that but I keep an eye on it as she’s become very popular with a lot of Feeder fans and cat lovers . We even do a Bamboo Feeder t shirt in limited editions . TALK TO ME ABOUT BEING THE ELDER STATESMAN IN THE INDUSTRY. HOW IS BEING THE OLDER GUYS AT FESTIVALS ETC ? NOT THAT YOU ARE REMOTELY NEAR THE STONES IN TERMS OF AGE BUT DO YOU FEEL INSPIRED THAT THEY ARE STILL RELENTLESSLY GIGGING? Music can be a fountain of youth . If we can still physically do it then it’s fine. I think we still have a lot of drive and energy and a lot of kids as well and the die hard fans are coming to our shows , so that’s a really positive thing . Other artists of our genre like the Foo fighters and Manics are also rocking the stages so why not . HOW HAS MATURING BEEN FOR YOU PERSONALLY AS A MAN ? ASK MY WIFE :)

I run a lot to switch off and also like swimming when I get a chance . I’m usually running off a hangover .

They both play guitar and my daughter Hana Sky also plays guitar mandolin . She’s got a little school band going also and definitely has the writing gene . She’s a bit shy about singing but I was the same until I got older . I don’t want to be the pushy Rock and Roll Dad so it’s up to them if they watch to take that path.. Of course I would support them massively but they need to do it themselves . That’s the best way and how I did it .. My son Ko is an amazing artist and loves to draw . WHICH BANDS/MUSIC ARE YOU LISTENING TO AT THE MOMENT? Amazons , Jade Bird , Tom Petty , Neil Young , The Eels and some old hip hop with my daughter . WHAT IS YOUR NEXT PROFESSIONAL COMMITMENT? I'm still doing some promo stuff for the 'Tallulah' album and I’m off to Tokyo next week for a film premiere . I co wrote a song called sleep with a Japanese indie band called Asian Kung fu Generation and it’s now the lead film soundtrack . They want me to go out and do some press for the film and also the new Japan release of our album' Tallulah' .

Women feel enormous pressure to keep youthful, do men have that anxiety especially in your game?


rudy Bellinger is a British Female film director living in Hollywood, rapidly making inroads in a predominantly male industry. Having previously made an impact as one of the first female creative executives in the British music industry, Trudy is now determined to do the same in the film and TV industry in America.

WHEN DID YOU REALISE YOU WERE A CREATIVE PERSON? WAS IT IN YOUR GENES OR WAS IT JUST SOMETHING YOU FELT FROM A CHILD? I remember creating a fashion magazine. When I was about eight years old, and I charged the neighbours ten pence to read it for an evening. I also recall putting on little shows for my parents, friends and family where I'd make impressions (wrongly) and dance or act. My creativity changed at eleven when my older sister Anita was killed a road accident. I think when something tragic happens to you as a child, it's almost like you have to have some outlet and creativity is no longer a choice but becomes a necessity and a way to channel the pain

TELL US ABOUT YOUR EDUCATION AND HOW YOU STEERED THAT? I went to an all-girls school from aged 13 and was really into art and drama. I then did a degree called Expressive Arts at Brighton University, where I studied visual and performing Arts. You could choose between Theatre, Music or dance for the Performing Arts element. I chose Theatre and specialised in photography and mixed media on the arts side. WHO INSPIRED YOU AT COLLEGE?

Multimedia art courses were scarce back then, and so the students were really eclectic, and some were already signed recording artists or in theatre or dance groups so I was very much inspired by my fellow students and by the work of Gilbert and George, Man Ray, Diane Arbus, Theatre de Complicite, Sylvia Plath, Kathy Acker and fashion and subculture. My primary influence and inspiration was my tutor and mentor, the late Conceptual Artist Helen Chadwick. She was, in fact, the first female artist ( in 1987) to be nominated for the Turner Prize. For an incredible installation involving photography and sculpture called Of Mutability. After graduating, I worked as her assistant on this show which is probably one of the greatest experiences of my life. She frequently used her own body as the subject of her work which focused on female identity and involved aesthetic beauty created out of an alliance of unconventional, often vile, materials‌without a doubt she has been an incredible influence on contemporary artists in particular female artists like Tracey Emin. WHAT HAPPENED WHEN YOU GRADUATED? I worked as an art assistant to Helen while trying to pursue my work as an artist, but it was incredibly difficult and expensive as my own art work involved massive installations and billboard size photography.

It was an exciting time as Helen lived on Beck Rd in Hackney where Maureen Paley and Genesis P Orridge lived, so I was surrounded by incredible Art and Intellect. I had a couple of my pieces accepted in The New Contemporaries Show at The ICA and The Young Contemporaries at Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester and had a few pieces commissioned for shows in small London galleries like Camerawork in East London. I needed to make money to fund my work, so I tried to pursue a job as a photographer.

I had been running a music video production company and executive producing and line producing for US and UK directors such as Sam Bayer (Nirvana Smells like Teen Spirit etc.) Russell Young, Kevin Kerslake, Howard Myers. I had a call from EMI saying that the MD wanted to meet me. I went to the meeting laden with heavy bags of my director’s U-Matic showreels (before the days of online reels!), and my intention was to see if I could secure some kind of music video production deal for our company (ExSpenCive Pictures/Midnight Films) When I got there, I was offered the job of running the I was very bold and brash back then and with youth music video department responsible for commissioning all came self-confidence. I carted my vast portfolio of the music videos. I hadn’t been prepared for that, but the experimental and conceptual photography round to MD wanted me and asked me to name my price which I agencies and magazines naively believing I was a great did and then to really drive a hard bargain I asked for a photographer and that someone would hire me. But there sports car! To my surprise, he agreed to give me what I wasn't much call for autobiographical depictions of wanted, and I found myself unexpectedly in a new job! I female identity or naked self-portraits on crosses at that was soon promoted to Head of Creative Affairs, which time !!! So I did various jobs including being a meant that in addition to music videos, I was also photographer assistant to Rocco Redondo, teaching responsible for image-making and overall visuals for EMI Photography and randomly Knitwear Design on a artists. Government Youth Training Scheme in Brixton, being a recruitment consultant for Photographers at Photostaff WHO WERE YOU HANDLING? Consultants, and running a small talent agency for hair and makeup artists and stylists. I worked with all the EMI artists so it was everyone from Diana Ross, through to Iron Maiden, Robert Palmer, Cliff HOW DID YOU WORKING IN VIDEO START? Richard, Geri Halliwell, Starsailor, Damage, Terrorvision, Eternal, Louise, Adam Ant etc and then all I worked for a company called Husdon Productions artists on the dance label Positiva and R & B label which mainly produced Stills campaigns. We then moved Cooltempo. into film when the demand came from our clients to do training films and in-store videos. WAS THERE MANY WOMEN IN THE MUSIC Shortly after that, I got a job at The PowerStation, the INDUSTRY AT THAT TIME? music channel on BSB Network. This was an incredible experience as I was working with people like Chris Evans, There were few Female Heads of Departments when I Boy George, Suggs and Jo Whiley. It was an exciting, joined, but EMI then employed the late Rebecca Coates experimental and creative environment and I learnt a lot as Head of TV/Radio/media and Jody Dunleavy was working as live TV floor director/stage manager.I met Head of Press. many artists and musicians and became passionate about music videos. They combined all the things I was WHEN DID YOU SWITCH FROM ORGANISING interested in, fashion, music, dance, theatre, performance THE DIRECTORS AND CONCEPTS TO SHOOTING and conceptual art, photography, film and subculture YOURSELF? and the best ones were like mini art films. I was at EMI for 10 years and it became increasingly Music videos had become an essential marketing tool for frustrating to commission as the industry was changing record companies, so many new music video production and becoming more corporate and my budgets were companies were opening and after the Powerstation shrinking. A lot of my artists worked creatively on closed when Sky and BSB merged, I knew that I wanted concepts with me which I then spoon fed to directors. to work in Music Videos. With the shrinking budgets, my access to great directors became limited and, coming from a creative background WHEN DID YOU START WORKING AT EMI? HOW (Visual and Performing Arts ) I became extremely hands DID IT COME ABOUT ? on (and dare I say interfering ) in every aspect.

“When I first moved to LA , the main commercials boards i would get sent (to direct) were Tampax or Vaginal creams ….it was like women directors could only tell female exclusive stories! It was shocking that given the fact half the buying public are women that only 5 % of commercials directors were female”

I gained a lot of trust with my artists and they consistently asked me to direct. I was also shooting stills for press and single/album art work so was already going above and beyond what a label executive would normally do. I co-directed several videos and then felt it was time to direct on my own. The first video I directed on my own was a drum and bass track “Shake ur Body” by Shy FX and T Power.

idea, .sometimes an idea literally just comes to me and I see it running like a film in my head. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STYLE LIKE AROUND WORK? DO YOU HANG OUT WITH CREATIVES MOSTLY?

Now I live in Los Angeles, I am surrounded by industry people I am naturally attracted to and inspired by WHERE DO YOU IDEAS COME FROM? WHAT creatives (artists, musicians and fashion stylists/designers) INSPIRES YOU? IS IT THE BAND/ARTIST OR THE as we have a shared understanding and interests. SONG? WHAT IS LIKE TO BE IN CHARGE OF A HUGE It varies dependent on the project. I work in music videos, GROUP OF PEOPLE. TELLING THEM ALL WHAT TV promos, commercials , fashion and original content so TO DO ESSENTIALLY? DOES IT FEEL GOOD? DO it depends. In music videos it is usually the song , the YOU NEED NERVES OF STEEL? lyrical content or the vibe that inspires me. If I can collaborate or brainstorm with the artist, that's really My crew/team are an extremely important part of the helpful but it rarely happens. In commercials, unless I am whole process so I don’t think of it as me being in charge the creative director (agency) as well as the director, I telling them what to do. Everybody is chosen for their skill start with the agency idea/ boards and then embellish or and its really important to collaborate and work closely bring a new vision /angle to it. I sometimes might see a wth people to achieve the best results. Of course I have a still image somewhere or a piece of art which inspires an vision but I am collaborative rather than bossy (I hope).

“Shutting down West Hollywood with Diana Ross (and Ru Paul) for "I will survive" video was an incredible experience as drag queens dressed as Diana came from all over the States. It was like the best Gay Pride Festival and Carnival combined”

Having said that when I am shooting abroad with a crew I don’t know, it can be a little scary especially if the crew is mainly male and not used to female directors. I try to be respectful to everyone whatever their role and I hope I encourage people to bring their own ideas to the party. Sometimes the talent might be intimidating or difficult and then its a matter of putting on a strong armor and knowing my crew are my army. WHO IS YOUR DP? I WOULD IMAGINE THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIP? Yes - the DP is extremely important and again it depends on the project who I work with. I have my favourites in USA and in UK. When those aren’t available, its a very difficult choice as its about the rhythm between the director and DP as well as the aesthetic and shared understanding of terminology/references etc so it can be love or hate.

and surrounded by an infectious frenzy, Miss Ross spontaneously and unexpectedly threw herself off the stage in a spectacular stage dive. For a split second my life rushed before me but fortunately there were hundreds of beautiful and strong Diana lookalikes ready to catch her! YOU HAVE WORKED WITH GIRLS ALOUD , SUGAR BABES, PIXIE LOTT , LEONA LEWIS, THE SATURDAYS AND MANY COMMERCIALS AS WELL? DO YOU EVER CELEBRATE YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS? I celebrate when I win a job! Getting the M & S fashion campaigns with Twiggy was a huge deal for me as was winning my first commercial for Rimmel with Kate Moss. I loved working on Next Top Model with Elle McPherson and Julien Macdonald which I did for several years.

As a director, I always want to do more or take things further and so I am never complacent - rather than WHAT IS YOUR BEST MEMORY OF SHOOTING A celebrating achievements I might be commiserating about POP VIDEO? the shots that didn’t make the cut and I'm usually anticipating the next job - I guess the moment I become Shutting down West Hollywood with Diana Ross (and Ru satisfied with my achievements is the moment I stop Paul) for "I will survive" video was an incredible progressing. Rather like a relationship, it might take a experience as drag queens dressed as Diana came from all few years before I look back on a project I directed and over the States. It was like the best Gay Pride Festival finally really appreciate it! and Carnival combined - In wild contagious excitement

YOU LIVE IN LA NOW WHY THE MOVE? I moved for several reasons. I have many great friends there and I felt there were more opportunities for moving into Television and Film. I love the weather, the lifestyle and the glamour! And of course the crews and talent are brilliant. HOW DIFFICULT A TOWN IS TO GAIN TRACTION? To be honest its been hard as a female director but I think that's changing now, inclusion will take time - we are now invited to the party, just not the really good ones yet!

“#freethebid was set up for agencies and clients to pledge that one of the three directors considered would be a woman which opens up new opportunities for female talent, brings a more realistic female voice and improves the quality of work. Production companies who pledge to #freethebid agree to sign and mentor female directors “.

WHAT ARE THE COMMON ASKS FOR FEMALE DIRECTORS IN THE COMMERCIAL WORLDS ? When I first moved to LA, the main commercial boards I would get sent, were Tampax or Vaginal creams. It was like women directors could only tell female exclusive stories! It was shocking that given the fact half the buying public are women and that only 5% of commercial directors were female. Our experiences as women are totally different to men, we have the sensitivity and experience to bring the (long overdue) female gaze to life and present women as the subject of the action rather than the object of desire.

By representing a female sensibility authentically and emphatically we can enable the female audience to RELATE - I aspire to make content which will make viewers FEEL rather than merely SEE and like to portray women as strong and in control of their sexuality so they are positive role models for our future generation. Fixing the gender problem in Hollywood is important but its also important for girls and women everywhere -we are influencing culture which is why its dangerous not to have more women directing . Its a slow process but female directors are gradually working towards leveling out the playing field. HOW DOES IT WORK IN TERMS OF NAILING JOBS, DO YOU HAVE AN AGENT? I used to be signed exclusively to production companies who would represent and market me. However the production company model has significantly changed over the last few years and with so much content needed now in all areas, I found it can be counter productive to be exclusive to just one company. I work in many different areas; commercials/music videos/TV promos/TV/ fashion /documentary so I am currently totally freelance and work with multiple companies who contact me if something comes up that seems to suit my style - I am not exclusive to one agent at this point but this is something I am seriously considering as I move into TV and creating original content. I also work as a creative director so I often get approached client direct to conceptualize and direct commercials and branded content. DO YOU MOSTLY HAVE TO COME UP WITH YOUR OWN BRIEF OF IDEAS, COULD YOU JUST BE A GUN FOR HIRE AND SHOOT SOMEONE ELSE VISION? It depends - my work is quite stylised so usually clients want me to bring my own ideas along with my vision and style to a project even if they have the initial concept. In the case of music videos, some TV promos and fashion films I am usually given a lot of freedom to ideate and conceptualize. I think I am much more of a “creative” ideas director than a technical director. Having said that, if its a great project already with a strong visual idea which I like then of course I am happy to shoot and execute someone else vision and believe I have the sensitivity to fully grasp the writer’s (or client’s) intention. Being the Creative Director at a major record label taught me the art and power of collaboration. HOW HARD IS IT FOR WOMEN DIRECTORS HERE? Personally I have found it harder in LA than in EUROPE. In UK I (naively ?) didn't think my gender was going against me in my career as a director, but I became aware very quickly of the sexism in Hollywood, even today more than 90% movies are directed by men. I am in a documentary called "Seeing is Believing, Women direct " (directed by Cady McClain) and its frustrating yet enlightening to hear the familiar struggles we have all shared to be heard and seen as directors but fortunately the balance is shifting thanks to organisations like #freethebid, Women in Film and trailblazing women like Shonda Rimes, Ava DuVernay and Alma Har’el. The gender imbalance in Hollywood is as a film critic for NYT put it; “ immoral, maybe illegal! “ TELL US ABOUT ‘FREE THE BID’? Free the Bid was set up by commercials director Alma Har’el. When an ad agency puts out a job for tender, they typically present three directors who write treatments and pitch for the job. Free the bid was set up to guarantee women directors an equal opportunity bid on commercial jobs (less than 7% of directors are women) Agencies and clients pledge that one of the three directors considered would be a woman which opens up new opportunities for female talent, brings a more realistic female voice and improves the quality of work. Production companies who pledge to free the bid agree to sign and mentor female directors . Free the bid was initially set up to disrupt the ad industry but has recently evolved into Free the Work inviting all creative industries to recognise, support and champion women.

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT? YOU ARE SO SUCCESSFUL, WHAT ARE YOUR ASPIRATIONS IN THE BUSINESS FOR THE FUTURE? I am continuing to direct TV promos, commercials and the occasional music video whilst developing two dramas and a TV non scripted format idea. One of the dramas (working title “Tease") has been developed with Dita Von Teese. Music and dance, subculture and art come together in glorious technicolor as we weave between glossy exotic fantasy and contemporary gritty reality with elements of old Hollywood. The main protagonists are women so there are multiple strong female and diverse roles of all ages. The other show (#trending) is more of a contemporary Ab Fab dramedy. I have a short film doing the festival rounds at the moment. I have just creative directed and shot a campaign for Maison Margiela/John Galliano's Mutiny which has been incredible. I’m a partner and creative director in a GenZ and branded content studio called 3RDSOL (with Amos Pizzey/Mark Simmons/Lisa I’anson) My aspirations are to get my shows off the ground and finally be able to get in the door to direct TV (its impossible to direct without having shadowed or directed TV before so I’m finding its pretty much a closed door at the moment). I have two fashion related documentaries I would like to make as well. I volunteer as a mentor for several colleges and film programmes and hope to inspire and support more female directors. As a single mum I also hope to continue to find quality time with my teenage son.

“Now I live in Los Angeles, I am surrounded by industry people . I am naturally attracted to and inspired by creatives (artists, musicians and fashion stylists/designers) as we have a shared understanding and interests.” Photographer Rich Royal Make up Jane Cohen Thanks to Angela Guice @Nu Context, James Mankoff and Rowly Denis.


Interview with writer & radio presenter EMILY DEAN Emily talks to F R A N K about her life & her best selling autobiography, ''EVERYBODY DIED SO I GOT A DOG''


mily Dean is a writer and radio presenter and currently presents a hugely successful podcast for The Times called Walking the Dog. She spent eight years as Deputy Editor of InStyle magazine and has written for titles such as The Times, the Evening Standard and You magazine. She lives in London, supports Arsenal and her career highlight was when Mark Gatiss called her 'sci-fi royalty' due to her childhood role in BBC cult series Day of the Triffids. CONGRATULATIONS ON YOU INCREDIBLE BOOK. HOW HAS ITS SUCCESS FELT FOR YOU? Its funny, before publishing a book you get so focused on reviews and sales. And lovely as all of that is, nothing prepares you for how absolutely connecting it is when a stranger gets in touch to say, ‘thanks, you wrote exactly what I felt’.

Mainly I think they’d have enjoyed me documenting our collective eccentricities - one of the best things about my family was their ability to laugh at themselves. TELL US ABOUT YOUR LOVELY DOG RAY. HOW IS HE TODAY? WHAT HAS HE FELT ABOUT HIS RECENT TV APPEARANCES? I SAW HIM ON THE JEREMY VINE BEING SUPER CHILLED! I stare at Raymond for hours – he’s a terrible distraction , its like having a real life Ewok wandering around the house. He’s lying on his back as we speak, paws in the air, demanding a belly rub. And it’s true, everybody really does love Raymond. The comic Adam Hills texts me saying, ‘ hope you’re well – but my girls and I were actually wondering if you could drop Raymond over for the day?’ I’ve accepted my role is essentially Raymond’s personal assistant now.

TO ME YOUR CHILDHOOD SEEMED SO EXOTIC WHEN WRITING AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL AND EXCITING BUT AS YOU SAY IN THE BOOK , MATERIAL IS IT HARD TO REVEAL THE TRUTHS STRUCTURE AND SO CALLED NORMALITY YOU ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHEN WRITING CRAVED (THE DOG FAMILIES) DO THINK THE ESPECIALLY ABOUT YOUR PARENTS DID YOU BOOKS SUCCESS IS DUE TO THE INTEREST IN FEEL DISLOYAL IN ANY WAY? YOUR UNUSUAL PARENTS AND BACK GROUND BUT AT THE SAME TIME IS THAT IT IS You have to ask yourself something when you sit down to SOMEHOW STILL SO RELATABLE? write a memoir – what do I most fear people knowing about me? If you’re prepared to answer that honestly, you Whatever our background we all sometimes struggle with might have the germ of an interesting book. It took me a the same family issues, feeling not like other kids, parent lot of therapy to get to that point in my life! dynamics, as well as divorce, abandonment and loss. And in spite of it all that, feeling so deeply connected with those Writing about my late parents was a balancing act. I people who are simply home. There’s a Dolly Parton song decided to make them real and not photoshop who they called Family and the lyric ‘ they’re a mirror of the worst were. They were flawed, but accepting the flaws of people and best in you’, floors me every time. you love helps you understand them more. One of the ‘‘You have to ask yourself loveliest things was getting a note from Dame Joan Bakewell an old friend of my dad’s who said the book was something when you sit down to a tribute to my parents and made her cry. Which then of course made me cry. write a memoir – what do I WHAT WOULD YOUR FAMILY THINK OF YOU GETTING THE BOOK DONE AND HOW DO YOU THINK THEY WOULD CRITIC IT? I really hope they’d be proud of me. And they were such extraordinary, charismatic people it feels lovely to share that with the world. In some ways it reassured me, knowing that they were all creative people who understood how life and art cross over.

most fear people knowing about me? If you’re prepared to answer that honestly, you might have the germ of an interesting book. It took me a lot of therapy to get to that point in my life!”

“ She ( Lynsey de Paul ) used to tell me how a woman had to buy her own house because then no man could ever tell her what to do in it. She also told me when a new boyfriend was behaving badly, ‘ remember he’s still on his best behaviour right now. This is his BEST?’.” “I was mates with Frank Skinner for years and one day he was asked to present a radio show and suggested I co host it. I had to learn how to do radio from scratch, you spend the first few years doing a bad impression of yourself, but now it’s like getting into a lovely warm bath every Saturday.”

I suspect that’s the one reveal she probably wouldn’t thank me for! I think it was only through writing the book that it dawned on me what a powerful role model she was. She used to tell me how a woman had to buy her own house because then no man could ever tell her what to do in it. She also told me when a new boyfriend was behaving badly, ‘ remember he’s still on his best behaviour right now. This is his BEST?’. People often talked about her being difficult– but now I think being called difficult as a woman is the ultimate compliment. It means you’re not afraid to be heard. FOR ME ONE OF YOUR GREATEST SKILLS AS A WRITER IS YOUR ABILITY TO MAKE US LAUGH OUT LOUD ONE MINUTE AND THEN HAVE US BALLING OUR EYES OUT THE NEXT? HOW DO YOU DO THAT?

I think laughing and crying are kind of inseparable, THAT ERA OF PARENTING IS VERY DIFFERENT they’re when we’re at our most authentic. But gear TO NOW, YET STILL NOBODY GETS THROUGH changes have to be delicately handled, otherwise it can CHILDHOOD COMPLETELY UNSCATHED DO end up like a daytime TV host saying, ‘and you can catch THEY? SO THAT SAID IS IT A GENERATIONAL Bobby Davro as Mother Goose all month! Coming up one OR NOT? woman’s struggle with a terminal illness..’ If it ever feels like that, you know you might need a bit of a ramp. I learnt in therapy that so much of who you are is shaped by your parents –the formative role models you have. If WHEN DID YOU DECIDE THE BOOK HAD TO BE your dad slams doors and swears you’ll either copy him or WRITTEN? WHAT’S THE PROCESS? DO YOU spend your life trying to please to avoid other’s anger. WRITE A SYNOPSIS AND CHAPTER IN ORDER Either way you’re carrying that through your life. People TO GET THE DEAL OR DOES THE DEAL COME of my generation often felt their parents didn’t put them FIRST ?ETC WHAT IS THE DRILL? first, so now we have a generation of parents prone to sheltering their kids too much. But I guess forgiving your I was asked to write a piece for The Times to promote my parents is how you start shaking those patterns off. Walking the Dog interview podcast I do for them. I sat down to write a funny piece and then this truth all spilled I LOVE THE BOND YOU HAD WITH YOUR out about my family dying. I hit send and almost vomited SISTER, YOUR SHORT HAND AND SAYINGS TO at how honest I’d been. But the response was so DESCRIBE OUTFITS ETC. DO YOU STILL TALK incredible from people and then a publisher got in touch TO HER? and asked for a synopsis and chapter breakdown. That was the fun bit. Then the annoying “oh god I’ve got to Oh god she was the best –it felt like the sun had come out actually write it?’ bit began. when she entered a room. She was so funny and smart and kind but also a feminist when it was uncool in the ACTUALLY WHAT WAS YOUR DAILY DRILL TO 90s. She was basically Yoda in the form of a Disney GET THE BOOK WRITTEN? princess. I miss her every day, but I also feel so lucky to have known her even for half a life. I’m the worst person at writing advice, I do all the things you’re not meant to –make tea every ten minutes, and THE BIGGEST BOMBSHELL IN THE BOOK WAS seize distractions ( ‘Oh yes PLEASE tell me about PPI, I LYNSEY DE PAUL’S BEAUTY SPOT WASN’T have hours to talk!’) I usually write best in the afternoon REAL IT WAS A CHICKEN POCK MARK SHE and evenings. My best friend Jane Goldman is a hugely COLOURED IN LOL! WHAT WOULD SHE SAY TO successful screenwriter and gave me the best advice, YOU ABOUT THAT? always write 1000 words a day and remind yourself it’s

FROM SUCH A FULL AND INTERESTING LIFE HOW DO YOU WORK OUT WHAT MAKES THE CUT? The first draft was over 30,000 words too long – but if in doubt cut - you only regret what you keep not what you cut. A writer won’t ever be any good unless they learn to totally park their ego and get some harsh feedback. You will want to kill the person giving it – but one day you’ll hug them. John Irving famously spends a third of his life writing and two thirds re-writing. Stamina, not talent is what makes a good writer. HOW DID THE CONTINUED PROCESS WORK FOR YOU? I hit a writing wall at one point so took myself off with Ray for a week to a country hotel and it was the best thing I ever did, changing your environment shifts your brain into turbo mode. I also lost 12000 words one day which was hideous. I drove all over London crying at Mac gurus ‘I’ll pay anything – find this file!’ . Non-writers said ‘why didn’t you back it up?’ Writers said ‘ I’ve been there. Don’t worry what you replace it with will be better. They were right. HAS ANYONE OPTIONED THE BOOK FOR A FILM? WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY YOU AND THE REST OF THE FAMILY? I’ve had some exciting approaches about film adaptations but I don’t want to jinx anything – but if it happens I promise Frank will be front row at the premiere. With Ray of course. I think Colin Firth and Emma Thompson would make pretty great parents.

I LOVE IN THE BOOK WHEN FRANK SAID TO YOU JUST BE YOURSELF, DON’T DUMB YOURSELF DOWN ? BE THE SMART PERSON YOU ARE. NOT MANY MEN WOULD SAY SOMETHING LIKE THAT ESPECIALLY IN A WORKING ENVIRONMENT. I FEEL THEY CAN BE COMPETITIVE USUALLY. THOUGHTS? That was really powerful for me. At the time I wasn’t very good at hearing truthbombs, it takes confidence to admit you can improve. But it was one of the most useful pieces of advice ever, as it stopped me going down the path of a giggling compliant sidekick. Sometimes you get a bloke messaging the show saying ‘its Frank’s show woman - shut up’ but that just makes me think – good, I’m taking up space like Frank has always encouraged me to do. He’s been a bit of a Daddy Warbucks figure to me – changing my life for the better. But then he’s called Frank – all the best things are.

“Sometimes you get a bloke messaging the show saying ‘its Frank’s show woman shut up’ but that just makes me think – good, I’m taking up space like Frank has always encouraged me to do. He’s been a bit of a Daddy Warbucks figure to me – changing my life for the better. But then he’s called Frank – all the best things are.” Everybody Died, So I Got a Dog available on Amazon

NOVEL NEXT? ARE YOU ALREADY WRITING IT ? I am writing something but for once in my life I’m going to keep my mouth shout until it’s done! TELL US ABOUT YOUR RADIO SHOW. HOW DID THAT CAME ABOUT? WHY DO YOU THINK IT WORKS? I was mates with Frank Skinner for years and one day he was asked to present a radio show and suggested I co host it. I had to learn how to do radio from scratch, you spend the first few years doing a bad impression of yourself, but now it’s like getting into a lovely warm bath every Saturday. With two men – but in a totally consensual way and we are all fully clothed.




One of only a handful of Ladies to hold full membership of the prestigious British Racing Drivers’ Club and is currently President of the British Women Racing Drivers Club, Lorina McLaughlin is one of the UK’s most successful Female Racing Drivers. Currently McLaughlin drives the ex- Michael Schumacher 1992 Benetton B192 Formula 1 car. Lara Platman caught up with this fast lady at ‘The farm’ one of the buildings of the British Racing Driver Club at Silverstone race circuit.

WHAT SORT OF CARS DID YOU SEE RACE AND DID YOU HAVE A PREFERENCE? I really liked the sports cars and the single seaters - it was more that fact that I was a bit of tom boy perhaps, so I had a tendency towards racing single seaters, but I also liked pretty things too, still do. YOU DECIDED YOU WANTED TO GO RACING, HOW DID YOU ACTUALLY START TO GO RACING? I just thought it would be a great thing to do, more interesting than anything I had done, I never wanted go karting, so the first time I went racing was with a boyfriend I had at the time. He was a keen golfer and dragged me around all the time as a caddy for him and I got rather disinterested with that and as we lived near Brands Hatch race circuit, I was able to make him watch racing as that’s what I wanted to do. So we started to go racing and we both decided that we’d have a go. We went to the school and got our licenses. Then he bought a Formula Ford car (a single seater and relatively inexpensive) and we raced together. We would do alternate races. Normally there were two heats and a final. I never got to do a final as it was his car. It went on like that for a while and he then bought a Formula 3 car and I used to do Formula League races in the formula Ford and it went on like that for a while. GIVEN YOUR PACE LORINA, DID YOU WANT TO RACE IN FORMULA ONE? For sure but you need to get seat time and money and well… WELL YOU ARE RACING FORMULA ONE CARS NOW, TWO OF THE MOST IMPRESSIVE, WE’LL TALK ABOUT THAT LATER, BUT HOW DID IT ALL BEGIN AND WHEN?

WHAT MADE YOU REALLY TAKE THE REINS AND TAKE RACING SERIOUSLY? My then boyfriend stopped racing and I had the car to myself. I used to do the mechanics, all the gear ratios and all sorts of stuff in the paddock and I got a little crew to help me run the car. I was lucky as the team who ran the race series also had a team of mechanics that would help drivers get their cars organised to race. By then I was able to stop doing the mechanics work and get on with the racing. Lucky really as I liked and still do like wearing coloured nail varnish.

It goes back, I tried all sorts of things, horse riding and ballet - everything that young ladies do, although horse riding was my favourite, but then I was taken to a race meeting a boyfriends parents before I could drive, and thought it was so exciting. I knew there and then I wanted BY THE TIME YOU WERE RACING IN to be a racing driver when I grew up. CHAMPIONSHIPS, WERE THERE ANY OTHER WOMEN YOU LOOKED UP TO? DID YOU SEE OTHER WOMEN RACE OR, WHAT MADE YOU THINK THAT? I raced in all sorts of different championships, sports cars and single seaters, but there was a woman called Anita I just thought I wanted to have a go at that. That weren’t Taylor, a fast lady, she looked so pretty she used to use her any women racing when I went to see it. It never entered wing mirror to put to put her lipstick on, I love all that my head that there weren’t any woman racing. feminine stuff, it really spurred me on.

HOW DID YOUR PERSONAL LIFE ALLOW YOU TO RACE? A LOT OF WOMAN READING THIS MAY THINK THAT WHAT WITH THEIR CAREERS OR CHILDREN, IT MIGHT BE HARD TO GET EVERYTHING PRIORITISED. My personal life did change and I did meet my current partner, it’s a long story, but I knew I wanted to race and chose to do so, so I created my personal life to suit it.

for the series. So he gave me a car, so to speak, to run. I had to find a team to run it, you know, do the mechanics side and get it to the track. I had to look after it and drive it. WHAT ARE THE RULES? IF YOU BREAK IT DO YOU FIX IT?

Yes, I think people know that I look after their cars, despite the fact these historic cars are worth a small A good friend used to race my (now) husband’s cars and at fortune, everyone let me drive their cars, I think they the same time I had a good female friend who was also knew I am reliable and fast and will bring the car home in part of that race team (and was at once stage was also a good position on the grid. president of the British Women Drivers Club), and when she split with her husband, I was at that time, racing in AND TODAY THE SPECIAL CARS? the Formula Junior series, a Lotus 22, we used to go racing together and at Donington. We used to be two I owned and use to race the ex-James Hunt Maclaren the women racing at the same race meetings, it was all fun, M23, I came 8th and 12th in Monaco on two separate after the races we met these other race chaps for a drink at occasions, with a grid of 30 cars I also finished 4th in the the bar and soon or later my good friend and my female Historic F1 support race at the Magny-Cours, the French friend got married. Grand Prix. After selling the Maclaren I now own the ExMichael Schumacher Benetton B192-08, I compete that BUT HOW DID YOU MEET YOUR HUSBAND up the Hill at Goodwood Festival of Speed and THEN AND WHAT OF THE PRIORITIES? demonstrate the car all over the world, at race circuits and on streets allowing so many people so see the car. My So, as I was saying, it’s a long story, this good friend blew husband David and I organise Historic F1 Events. his engine and my female friend said she would buy him a new engine. It ended up I was the bridesmaid and my We organise High-Speed Global Demos. David is the (now) husband was supposed to be best man, but never founder of The Historic European Formula One Race Car went to the wedding. In the end David my husband and I Entrants (THE FORCE) and the Bahamas Speed Week met at the race track. Our lives were running parallel for Revival. so long. I didn’t actually want to get married and have children, I just wanted to go racing. David my Husband TO A LOT OF THE LADIES READING THIS owned some race cars and also just wanted to go racing. LORINA, THE ACTUAL FORMULA ONE CARS AND We had the same priorities. THE DRIVERS MIGHT NOT MEAN ANYTHING, IT MIGHT BE THAT WHEN WE MENTION RACING SO YOUR PERSONAL LIFE WAS SUITED TO YOUR THAT EVERYTHING THINKS OF SINGLE LIFESTYLE, YOU BOTH HAD THE SAME SEATERS AND FORMULA ONE. EVEN FOR ME, INTERESTS AND PASSIONS, YOUR FAMILY IS SOMEONE WHO ADORES MOTOR RACING, I TOO THE RACING COMMUNITY. AM NOT KNOWLEDGEABLE ON THE HISTORY OF FORMULA ONE, I JUST THINK OF JAMES HUNT Yes, it has all worked out rather well really. TURNING UP AT A RACE TRACK, SEMI DRESSED, SWIGGING A BOTTLE OF WINE WITH CIGARETTE Well more on that in a minute but tell me about the IN HAND AND A FLURRY OF WOMEN BESIDE special cars you are racing now and how has this changed HIM AND SOME RICH LORD SAYING I’LL GIVE from previous years. YOU ANOTHER RIDE IF YOU WIN THIS ONE. I am racing historic cars these days my last contemporary race was a Davrion sports car, as I was mainly racing single seaters but some sports cars. But I started racing historic cars through a member of the British Racing Drivers Club, one of the husband’s friends, who had a collection of Formula Junior cars and was also the sponsor

That’s true, it was a bit like that! I would have been more professional, but I never had enough seat time, or received any sponsorship. Although I never had any children, I still had to watch everything, not go out for meals and watch what I spent. You have to cut your cloth to suit your coat, to suit your lifestyle. I took a couple of jobs - day and

I am lucky though as I raced the cars at the same circuits as Hunt and Schumacher, at Monza, Monaco... perhaps not the 1970’s but at historic events today. TALKING ABOUT TODAY I WONDER IF THE NEW W SERIES CAN HELP ENLIGHTEN EVERYONE A LITTLE WITH SINGLE SEATER RACING. It’s such a brilliant way of thrusting women back into the spotlight of racing. Jessica Hawkins was the Go Karting rising star at the BWRDC at such a young age, Sarah Moore and Alice Powell who is now racing in America after being spotted in the W Series, all ladies from the BWRDC and of course Jamie Chadwick now a development driver with Formula one team Williams and races with the Aston Martin sports car works team.

As we said most women may not know of all the different types of motor racing available and think of single seaters, which may not be for everyone’s taste. There are so many different racing clubs and series, from modern sports cars and old Minis to modern Citroen C1’s and Renault Clio’s. Also there are so many historic and sports car racing clubs to look at. If a lady would like to think about racing then they can speak to the British Women drivers Club and we Everyone was sceptical at first as you think most women can advise you on where the races are and how to get a who race want to race against men. Then my feelings racing license. It’s very much the same as a normal license changed, if this is the only way that women are going to be but with some added components. There is a race circuit promoted then why not. close to everyone really. Ladies can come and see who else is racing and see if they want to join in. WHAT PLANS DO YOU HAVE WITH THE W SERIES AND THE BWRDC TO CELEBRATE THESE Older ladies can have a new challenge now the kids are AMAZING GIRLS RACING? gone. Come and meet other woman and find out why they are addicted to it. We have a lot of BWRDC up and coming members, in karting and young racing drivers coming through the LORINA FINALLY, WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR ranks, so once they start doing really well, it gives our NEXT FEW YEARS? members something to achieve to look to the W Series, also we can ensure that our members can get a positive Carry on. As long as I can. chance in racing. The Series is so new, so it is really a case of watch this space with it. I love my car, it’s a very special car it was Michael Schumacher’s car. I’d like to have another car. But hey. I TALKING OF HOW WOMAN CAN GO RACING, look forward to driving different Formula One cars and WOMEN OUR AGE, WHO PERHAPS HAVE HAD continue to do guest drives at different circuits around the CAREERS AND FAMILIES AND NOW READY TO world so I am ticking of my bucket list to race circuits. TAKE ON A NEW CHALLENGE, AND WHAT OF Racing is my life. The fearlessness I used to have has THE WOMEN WHO REALLY HAVE A TIGHT TIME changed I guess, I am driving cars that need preserving SCHEDULE OR WOMEN WITHOUT TOO MUCH these days. I still haven’t grown up though, my helmet still MONEY TO THROW AT THE SPORT. has Tinkerbell on it.







Balance Breath

AUTUMNAL HUES AND WINTER BLUES How ‘seasoning’ affects the flavour of our emotion and why you might feel ‘fragmented’ in


Dr Louise Wiseman I recall, around age six, looking across sunbleached playing fields, ovejoyed that this heralded the long summer holiday ahead, filled with beach days and nothingness. We learn association with weather and the seasons early, but what if, as an adult, you learn to dread a season? Duvet days are fabulous, not so much if there is more ‘down’ in your day than your duvet. We all move fluidly along a mood spectrum and we are complex creatures. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a name given to those suffering ‘recurrent major depressive episodes with a seasonal pattern’…. This can happen in Summer but usually Autumn ignites a heart sink Winter dread. Described as having your own ‘portable cloud’. No mere melancholy, it is a helplessness and low mood not to be dismissed. While you may not have the disorder, you may identify with some aspects of it. We also associate different times of year with certain events like bereavement that triggers similar emotions. For some simply a ‘fear of cold’ saddens them. Sorting practical winter layers and hand warmers will elevate your temperature, but also your mood. You may be at the opposite end of the spectrum, embracing the heavenly crunch of autumn leaves and bouncing into the office in November, even if you did not win the Halloween raffle! There was evolutionary advantage to ‘hibernation’ behaviour in our predecessors. Winter could be for procreation, creating Summer babies. Doing less with our days conserved resources and required maintaining a layer of fat to provide nutrition. Pointless now if shorter days leave you craving carbs to see you retain more fat in a centrally heated home, with no motivation whatsoever to exercise. We joke about loving going ‘out out’! Well, feel like this, and you won’t even want to venture ‘out’ for milk. Don’t despair, there is much that can be done!

WHY DO SOME OF US FEEL THIS MORE THAN OTHERS? In the 1920s, a Psychiatrist noted that some patients elicited ‘moodiness in Autumn’, then passed over to Spring in ‘excitement’. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that scientists started to formalise the theory of ‘SAD’. There are many suggested reasons why it occurs as the days shorten in seasonal areas. If you live nearer the equator, the difference in seasonal light is less, so there is less effect. If you start life nearer the equator and move further from it, north or south, you may be more at risk of SAD. Those living at higher latitude, such as those with Icelandic genes, are more resistant to these mood changes. Similarly, a genetic tendency towards SAD symptoms can occur.

It is no coincidence that we hanker for second homes on Greek Islands. The light hits our retina and we behave differently. Not just stripping off to swimsuits, we may LAUGH more as we engage with life amongst sparkling seas! But why? More light in your eye and increased happy chemical (Serotonin) in your brain…. Studies have shown that those suffering with SAD have less stability in their serotonin levels comparing seasons, possibly less ability to cope with lower amounts. Long winter nights can throw off our Circadian rhythmthe pattern in our brains and bodies that gets us into, then out of bed. Some of us may find our Melatonin (sleep hormone) and sleep cycle starts at a different time of day in winter. Some may oversleep, some lie awake listless. Surely it’s because all us ‘young folk’ spend too much time watching screens and staying indoors, not working the fields and seeing the light?? Well sort of. Put us in the bright light of summer and the melatonin levels decrease and we have more get up and go. Our libido soars and we feel ALIVE. Figures quoted range, but approx. 6% UK dwellers are affected severely. It is less common in children. Average age at diagnosis is 27 and in fertile years SAD is 40% more likely in women than men. Maybe us gals are just more in touch with our surroundings?! As we get older it equalises between the sexes and is less common. If you recognise yourself in this, even partly, it is important to take action or you could be missing out on a good part of your year. WHAT TO DO IF THE SEASONS AREN’T CHEERING YOU Get outside. 20 to 30 minutes (ideally with some exercise) 5 or 6 days a week can alter your brain chemistry. Outdoor light can be 2 to 20 times brighter than that inside! A dog keeps you healthy if it forces you outside daily! If you don’t have a dog, borrow one. Maybe drag a friend out or go solo and relish the peace! The Vitamin D from sunlight will also reduce your chance of SAD symptoms and Public Health England recommends 10 micrograms vitamin D per day from October to March for many adults (cloudy UK dwellers). Better still, fill your plates with omega 3 and vitamin d rich goodies to help your brain stay above water- oily fish, red meat, liver, egg yolks, fortified cereals – choose what fits in with your choices. Avoid excess caffeine, alcohol and simple sugars, it is not enough to lament the winter weight gain in June when nothing fits- address it now! The Mediterranean diet (my cure for all ills) gives you a

fix of fruit, veg and wholegrains better than a speed dialled pizza. Experiments have shown b12 supplementation per se does not prevent SAD, but if it is mood boosting on your plate surely it all helps. Getting into green spaces and socialising aka laughing will create self care that tackles problems rather than ‘marinating’ in them indoors. Stop ruminating. Connect with others. Rather like any mood boosting exercise, you may have to ’fake it ‘til you make it’. Outdoor tennis anyone? Dance class. We know music has mood elevating effects so shake off the blues by shaking that booty at a class. Music at home can make us focus and relax, from Mozart to ‘gentle’ rap. Book special events. Take a note out of the Swedes’ book and practice MYS (cosiness) and invite friends round for ‘soup and board games’! Go with the flow and make your home snug. The Swedish research on SAD also involved not just lightboxes (see later), but whole light ROOMS! Mass mood elevation. Fabulous! Relax and enjoy the confines of winter. Try knitting. Not a joke. It could make you laugh. Try painting- no one need see the result. Start a book club +/-wine. Open the curtains. Not rocket science, light works through a window! You don’t have to be a DIY goddess and fit a skylight. Move your reading chair close to natural light, add lamps to cheer. Twinkly lights rule. If you have the means, visit a friend in sunnier climes- now your new BFF- she doesn’t need to know why! Set boundaries. If entertaining your extended family, twice removed, annually coincides with your lowest ebb in January, then delegate it to someone who sings the joys of icy winters. Know your limits. Journal. GETTING HELP If it gets serious and you cannot shrug this off, you must seek help from your Doctor. A professional may formally diagnose you if you have had two seasonal episodes of depression. What distinguishes it from other depressive diagnoses is the resolution as the seasons revert. Assessment may involve completing a ‘Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire’ and if nothing else I believe this highlights to most of us that we are often different animals in winter, even if we believe we are fine. The bright fact is many people only suffer once and you may not suffer annually. SAD rarely leads to suicidal behaviour or extreme loss of function but MUST be taken seriously if present. It may naturally resolve after a few years.

Difficulty recognising the huge implications of this condition mean many just rumble on- if nothing else, productivity at work declines in Winter and so does enthusiasm. All the more reason to plan a good office Christmas party. If you are like most, slightly affected by the season and not officially SAD, then try the lifestyle changes mentioned. TOOLBOX AGAINST SAD IN MORE SEVERE CASES The lightness of being in season Moonlight provides 0.2 lux Winter light 20000 lux Sunny summer day is 100000 lux

resolve as you become ‘acclimatised’. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can be very effective Studies vary in treatment length. Therapy may force you to do things like socialise if my motivation here hasn’t succeeded! Medication maybe an important option in severe casesideally the less sedating antidepressants. All to be discussed with your doctor. You may need a combination of treatments or mild cases may simply resolve with some self care approaches. JOY AT THE CHANGING OF THE SEASONS

As we mature we become more appreciative of nature, more connected and grounded. The changing of the Go figure! Studies of light lamps (these give about 10000 seasons emphasises the wonder of life. We may recall lux) have not clearly established why they may work. previous HAPPY events. Pumpkins and Christmas There might be a placebo effect because you know you are wreaths. This feeling of ‘healthy nostalgia’ increases as we looking at a ……lamp! get older. We feel a gratitude to our life experience that No ‘double blind’ trial here! brought us to this point, and we might appropriately However, the general impression is light actually helps downplay the negative of some memories but not forget many. This can be a light box, visor or even a dawn them as they shaped us. There is great quality in being simulation alarm that gently wakes you with some low present in each moment and this is supported by reflecting level light. All have been shown effective in some on the past. In the same way we are less likely to engage patients- many perceive light boxes as more effective. in conflict as we age, we also may become more Others prefer the convenience of dawn simulation as they sentimental. can get on with their day. These are not provided by the NHS so you have to research. You have to follow careful This is the time to create new memories for our future instructions and use a lightbox for at least 30 minutes a Winters, because without them our future will not have an day. Many users describe a feeling of ‘peace’. Side effects identity. include eye strain/visual disturbance but these often

''We joke about loving going ‘out out’! Well, feel like this, and you won’t even want to venture ‘out’ for milk. Don’t despair, there is much that can be done!''

''There is great quality in being present in each moment and this is supported by reflecting on the past. In the same way we are less likely to engage in conflict as we age, we also may become more sentimental''

THE JOY OF DRESSING FOR THE SEASON See the change of seasons as a refreshment, a chance to reorganise the wardrobe for practicality and comfort. There is no psychology of colour per se, but there is learned psychology related to colour that may affect our mental psyche- a theory of psychology of ‘colour in context’. I asked Professor Carolyn Mair, author of The Psychology of Fashion her views around how we develop beliefs about colour within our own culture, and how your Autumn wardrobe could pique your interest more. “Colours are socio-culturally associated with values and emotion. For example, orange is typically associated with joy, white with purity and in some cultures, black with mourning. It’s necessary to note that these associations aren’t universal. Because of the strength of socialisation, we take on board these associations and when we wear clothing of a particular colour, say orange, we believe that colour can bring us joy. Because belief is powerful, it can influence our mood and ultimately our behaviour. So although there’s no psychology of colour per se, as colour is a physical property of light, colours influence us in multiple ways through their socio-cultural associations.”

That aubergine sweater and long boots in the cupboard are perfect for walking, so if anyone asks, I am out out, with the dog, to trample in the leaves and plan my enjoyment of this Winter. Dr. Louise Wiseman MBBS BSc(Hons) DRCOG MRCGP

My writing does not constitute medical advice or replace any consultation with your own doctor who knows you, can examine you and understands your medical and family history. Always seek the opinion of your health care professional if you have a question about your health or changing your lifestyle. Louise is a former GP, who worked for 15 years in the NHS. She is now using her medical and life experience to write a book about women’s health over 40. Instagram @drlouisewrites Twitter @drlouisewriting Professor Carolyn Mair PhD

FASTING The concept of using Intermittent fasting as a healthy weight management tool is becoming more and more popular and so I get asked about it all the time. I think that it is a fantastic, easy way to keep yourself on track and has so many health benefits alongside weight management. Here are the facts and guidelines; the reasons why I think it is a great tool for better health!

By Gabriela Peacock Nutritionist

fasting be back soon!

Intermittent Fasting (IF) is a

pattern of eating that cycles between periods of fasting and periods of eating. There are many interpretations and forms of IF, with many of them stemming from cultural or religious beginnings, but the central idea is that you abstain from intake for a set period of time. The basis for any modern IF plan is to split daily or weekly eating cycles into fasting and non-fasting periods over your defined time frame. An example of a daily fasting pattern might be the 16:8 where you eat all your meals within an 8 hour period (such as 11am to 7pm) and then fast the rest of the time. Many people consider the 16:8 the beginner or intro way into IF as it allows for daily food consumption and only restricts the feeding window. Alternative approaches include 24 hour fasts, as seen in the 5:2 or increasingly popular 4:3 approach. During the 24 hours, calorie intake is either zero or kept low, at around 500-800kcal for the day. The 4:3 method involves fasting on alternate days over the course of a week, utilising the research driven alternate day fasting approach for healthy weight loss without the weight bounce back, muscle breakdown or mental strain or continued calorie restrictive diets. HOW DOES IT WORK?

fasting for steady & sustainable weight loss as long as you don't compensate by eating much more during the eating periods. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS? Besides weight loss, other health benefits of fasting include: Improved insulin sensitivity, making stored body fat more available. Changes to the level of human growth hormone (HGH) which has benefits for fat loss and muscle gain. Increased rate of cellular repair in the body. Improved function of the genes related to longevity and prevention of disease. Increased metabolic rate and subsequent weight loss, particularly of weight carried around the ‘middle’ known as central adiposity.

Intermittent fasting not only help you reduce your collective intake over a period of time e.g. a week, but also It’s easy to follow and streamlines healthy eating. Pick you impacts your metabolism and can improve insulin days; plan your meals. sensitivity. A vast amount of research supports the effectiveness of

WHAT CAN I EAT AND DRINK WHILE FASTING? There is no general rule on what you should eat or drink on fasting days, except that your total calorie intake should not exceed 500/600 calories [or up to 800 calories for exceptions]. It is possible to follow a null by mouth on fasting days but we find this is too intense or extreme for alternate day fasting for most people. It's best to stick to naturally low-calorie or calorie-free drinks on fasting days, such as water, coffee (black) and tea (black or herbal). Most people find it best to eat one "big" meal later in the day, while others prefer to eat early or split the amount between 2–3 meals. Since your calorie intake will be severely limited, it's best to focus on nutrient dense, high-protein foods, as well as non-starchy vegetables packed with a full array of nutrients. These foods will help you to maintain stable energy levels without causing blood sugar levels to spike, thus helping to reduce hunger and cravings. As nonstarchy vegetables are low in calories, they are a nutritious way of filling your plate (and tummy) whilst keeping you within your calorie allowance. Soups may also be a good option on fasting days, as they tend to make you feel fuller than if you ate the ingredients on their own. Avoid simple carbohydrates and high fat foods. Simple carbohydrates e.g. white bread, white pasta, cakes, biscuits, confectionery etc. are high in sugar and lead to increased cravings, anxiety, irritability, poor concentration and fatigue due to fluctuations in blood sugar levels. High fat foods e.g. Olive oil, nuts, cheese, avocado are best avoided on your fasting days as they are nutrient dense and will bring you up to your allowance of calories without providing much for you to eat. We do advocate the importance of these fats in the diet and they can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet on non-fasting or mindful days. Remember to stay hydrated, and drink at least 2.5 litres of water each fasting day. When you are dehydrated, the body retains water making you feel bloated. HERE ARE A FEW EXAMPLES OF MEALS THAT ARE SUITABLE FOR FASTING DAYS: Eggs and vegetables Yogurt with berries Grilled or steamed fish or lean meat with vegetables Veggie/chicken soup and a piece of fruit Large leafy salad with lean meat or fish Shake or smoothie made with fruits, veg, milk or nut

mylk and even protein powder. DO I NEED A SUPPLEMENT? It can be helpful to take a supplement while fasting to ensure all your nutritional requirements are met while you have a reduced food intake. GP Nutrition has a 4:3 package which includes Fibre rich drinks, GOLD multivitamins, Vegan Omegas, Curcumin and an everyday health probiotic capsule. This combination ensure that you have all you need to nourish and rebalance your system in a handy, convenient package. Alongside meal planning advice & 1:1 advice from a Registered nutritionist it’s an easy way to step into the world of intermittent fasting.

Avoid simple carbs and high fat foods. BOTTOM LINE: Alternate-day fasting is an effective and healthy way to lose weight. It has several benefits over traditional calorierestricted diets, and is linked to major improvements in many health markers. The best part of all is that it is surprisingly easy to stick to, because you only face restriction every other day. If you have any questions about the 4 :3 approach check out the GP Nutrition home page and get in touch by support or live chat.

Gabriela Peacock @gp_nutrition

Authentic not Perfect

By Kate Tilston

Kate Tilston has been working as a Life Coach for 12 years now. She specialises in practical coaching methods, encouraging and enabling her clients to find solutions to various challenges they have in their lives. Kate is known for her ability to see things with immense clarity and nonjudgmentally

“I’m practically perfect in every way” said Mary Poppins the FICTIONAL character created by the author P.L. Travers (please note the emphasis on FICTIONAL). It seems to me that we are under huge amounts of pressure these days to live somewhat perfect lives or at least to aspire to them.

they’re coping” or “their Mum & Dad think they should take a certain direction but they don’t want to.” I can’t tell you the number of times someone has said to me “I just know I should be doing better!” Better than what? Better than whom?

I truly believe that if most people were asked if they would What is perfect? What does it look like? If you look up the like to be perfect, they would laugh and say it’s impossible definition of perfect in the English dictionary it says, so why do we do it to ourselves? Why do we seem to “conforming absolutely to the description or definition of always be searching to obtain the perfect life? an ideal type” So what is an ideal type? Who do you know or who do you think fits that description? I was very lucky growing up, my parents never talked about things being perfect. I was encouraged to be Life Coaching and other positive related counselling or individual, to have my own views and opinions, the fact therapy have played a part in the media hype of living the that I didn’t always fit in with others around me was perfect life – I’ve read numerous articles about “living the celebrated rather than agonised over. When I made life you want” or “creating the perfect life” which to me, mistakes, they were life lessons to be learned rather than seems totally unobtainable and not the slightest bit events to be punished for (although believe me, there were realistic. times when a punishment was the only option!) So I grew up believing that being me was ok, that some people We are all very aware that social media can trick us into wouldn’t like me and they didn’t, some people would love thinking that our friends, our colleagues are all leading me and they did but the most important thing to be able these picture perfect lives and most of us are savvy to do was at the end of the day, look in the mirror and enough to know (certainly by now) that what is displayed know I had tried to do my very best, to be the best version on Facebook, what is styled on Instagram is not of me. necessarily a true reflection of that person’s life. Even the funny bloggers, the ones who appear to be “real” to be “telling you as it is” – they are also posting for affect even if it’s to make us laugh and there is nothing wrong with that but it is contrived a large percentage of the time. When clients come to me it is usually because they want to make some changes in their lives. They can be big changes – moving house, changing career, changing a relationship or smaller changes like managing their time more effectively, communicating better with their partner etc. the majority of these changes come from a place where people want to improve things in their life or to be better at something. Our initial conversations tend to start with my client justifying why they need to make the change and this usually has a strong driver behind it otherwise they wouldn’t have plucked up the courage to seek the help of a Life Coach. Then, we discuss what they want to achieve and by when. Now I’m known for being very honest, very practical and my “see the wood for the trees” approach so it’s at this point I ask the questions that they might not have asked themselves and inevitably they are, checking in that the client’s expectations are realistic and most importantly that the client is being true to themselves.

“What is perfect? What does it look like? If you look up the definition of perfect in the English dictionary it says, “conforming absolutely to the description or definition of an ideal type” So what is an ideal type? Who do you know or who do you think fits that description?”

You would be surprised by the number of people that book coaching with me because “their partner doesn’t feel

KATE’S SUGGESTIONS 1. Re-visit your values – we all change as we get older and what you might have valued in your twenties is likely to be very different from where you are now. What do you value? What qualities do you need in your life to be the best version of you? Write a list of your values, rate them on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being totally true to that value. Anything under 6 is something that needs addressing, that you’re not paying enough attention to. 2. Are there changes you need to make? Are they realistic? Is it something you want to do or are you under pressure from someone else? Start with small changes, things that are important to you – it can be walking 10 minutes a day to improve your health rather than pushing yourself to join a gym that you never attend. It can be cutting down on unhealthy snacks rather than cutting out things that you know you’ll eat the minute the pressure is on. Being realistic is crucial for change. 3. Finally, stop comparing yourself to everyone else. You have no idea about the journey they are on, what is really going on in their life. Maybe take a break from Social media if you’re finding yourself worrying about what others are doing or have done? Take a step back, ask yourself “do I really know what is going on for them?” the answer is likely to be no. Focus on you, what you want what you need to live the best life you can. Being true to yourself, being real, being authentic is the best gift you can give yourself. There will be people that cannot handle it, there will be people who embrace it, neither of which matter – the most important thing is you can look at yourself and know that you are being you.

RE-VISIT YOUR VALUES ARE THERE CHANGES YOU NEED TO MAKE? STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO EVERYONE ELSE For more information on how I coach, please feel free to email me You will also find me on Facebook, Instagram @katetlifecoach Twitter KateTlifecoach


The new face exercising technique to help you look youthful

by Carme Farré

Carme Farré is a Pilates teacher and founder of FaceToned® ( Facial Fitness programme. Carme hails from Tarrona in Spain and has a professional background in economics, having worked in investment banking for Salomon Smith Barney and City Group. She worked hard and had children, but combining a very high pressure environment with family commitments isn’t easy and eventually something had to give. In 2011, at the age of 39, she decided to become a teacher of Facial Fitness and Pilates. In 2013, she opened her own private studio, Studio Carme in London and since then, she has been teaching facial exercises to hundreds of private clients.

Frank Article - FaceToned® What is FaceToned and how does it work? FaceToned is a natural, healthy and holistic modern beauty and fitness routine for your face. The FaceToned programme can be accessed online, using either the website or a phone app, through a variety of membership levels. FaceToned is for women who want to be their Timeless You, who embrace ageing and who want to be the best that they can be, caring for themselves. Depending on your membership level, you have access to: -


FaceToned Foundation Programme o 6-week programme (based on 5 days of exercise/week) o Personalise the days and the time you want to work out o 18 exercises precisely explained o 4 sets of 15-minute tutorials to learn the exercise techniques o 10 workouts set to the rhythm of music o Flexible Face workout options, ranging from 10 minute to 30 minute workouts FaceToned food recipes o More than 50 recipes for healthy meals that provide important nutrients to renew your facial muscles and skin, and to address your hormonal imbalances Weekly webinars to personalise your workouts o In English and Spanish o Access as many as you want o Ask questions of us and get the answers in the live class and PERSONALISE your work outs

How are FaceToned exercises different from other facial exercises? Prior to developing, I studied Pilates with some of the most renowned teachers around the world. I developed FaceToned exercises to apply key Pilates principles to train your facial muscles. FaceToned® exercises use a variety of isometric, isotonic and stretching techniques to exercise first the core facial muscles and the retaining ligaments, and then the secondary, but still important ones, thereafter. It is essential to learn to isolate the muscles that you want to work on and to relax the rest the same way you would do in Pilates Who needs FaceToned and when should you start doing the exercises? FaceToned is for anyone, at any age, to prevent ageing, to tone or to rehabilitate their facial muscles. Exercise is one of the most powerful anti-ageing methods possible for the body, and the same is true for the face. By exercising our facial muscles, we can increase muscle tone and volume, thereby leading to a more youthful appearance. Where on the face doe FaceToned exercises work the best? Overall, FaceToned gives structure to the face and tones up the ‘core’ muscles of the face to the more superficial muscles located closer to the skin. In particular, FaceToned exercises lead to a more defined jawline, lessening of double chins, fuller cheeks, and smoother ‘laughing lines’ and softer wrinkles in the forehead. After only several workouts, your skin will appear glowing, fresh, healthy, young and relaxed. Combining the exercises with the right diet and skincare routine, you will see improvement in muscle tone and volume, and will smooth out the wrinkles above the muscles you have worked out. What is your background and how did you develop FaceToned programme? My name is Carme Farre and I started exercising my face at 35 years of age to prevent ageing. I always loved working out and when I discovered facial exercises, it was a revelation for me. It made complete sense to me

"After only several workouts, your skin will appear glowing, fresh, healthy, young and relaxed. Combining the exercises with the right diet and skincare routine, you will see improvement in muscle tone and volume, and will smooth out the wrinkles above the muscles you have worked out." that exercising your facial muscles could lead to a more youthful appearance in the same way as we when we exercise the muscles in the rest of our body. In 2011, at the age of 39, I decided to dedicate my focus to becoming a teacher of Facial Fitness and Pilates. I trained with several of the most well-known practitioners in the field. In 2013, I opened my private studio, Studio Carme in London and since then, I have been teaching Pilates and facial exercises to hundreds of private clients. The FaceToned exercise programme needed to be fun, quick and easy to learn. It had to answer the key concerns about how to improve the effects of ageing on your neck, cheeks, eyes and forehead. My years of study and practical experience have helped me to clearly understand facial anatomy, to tone the facial muscles efficiently, to get deep into the core muscles required to build the structure into the face to hold the skin in the best and most natural way possible, without using artificial methods. What else can I do to help my face to remain ageless? My skincare routine is quite simple, but having good advice is essential as my skin has changed over time. I consult with BeautyDerm in Barcelona, founded by Dr. Pablo Umbert, one of the world’s leading authorities on skincare. Currently I clean my skin with an organic none soup, then I apply moisturiser and finally sun protection. At night I use a night cream prescribed by Dr. Umbert with active ingredients tailored to my skin’s age, something that I strongly recommend. What is your personal health and beauty routine? Exercising is a fundamental part of my day, with Pilates being the basis of my training. I always try to work out at least one hour per day, not easy with a full-time fitness practice and two pre-teen children, but I believe that everyone can do so if disciplined in managing your time. I like alternating between Pilates, dancing, cycling, HIITtype exercise classes, stretching and lastly Yoga. I think variety is important to train different muscles and to avoid getting into a rut with one routine or another. Normally, I finish my day with my ten minutes of facial exercises and a short massage. You are what you eat! It’s simple, you can work out super hard, but your body shape and weight, the healthiness of your skin and your daily energy levels, are impacted by what you eat. I personally follow the 8020 rule, meaning that I eat 80% of the time quite healthy – fish, chicken, fresh vegetables and fruits, while allowing 20% for my cravings, which are dark chocolate and a glass of great red wine. My breakfast is typically oat milk porridge with plenty of fruits and seeds and green tea. Lunch will be grilled vegetables, quinoa salad or any super grain with fish. Dinner will be a home-made soup and grilled chicken with vegetables. My snacks will be fruit or nuts. I also love drinking either a turmeric latte or a Macca drink. Rest is also an important part of my life, it’s important to rest. I think our minds and bodies need to stop and just unwind without feeling there is something else to do. We need to just stop and either read, watch a movie with family and friends, practice a hobby or sleep as long as you like or need. Your face is the mirror of your soul, so it is important to remember this. Exercising regularly is key, together with using the right beauty products for your age and nutritional needs. However, we forget the importance of being calm and relaxed. We need to connect with our soul and find that mindfulness to feel well and relaxed with ourselves. So, for example for me, it is important to go back to Spain and reconnect with my family, nature and the sea. It resets my energy levels.

"Your face is the mirror of your soul, so it is important to remember this. Exercising regularly is key, together with using the right beauty products for your age and nutritional needs. However, we forget the importance of being calm and relaxed. We need to connect with our soul and find that mindfulness to feel well and relaxed with ourselves."


A yogini's story FRANK talks to Yoga Instructor


WHEN DID YOU GET INTO YOGA AND WHY? I came to yoga after a back injury stopped my dancing career in 1995. The diagnosis is herniated discs causing compression on the nerves and chronic sciatica. Gradual wear and tear seemed to be the cause rather than a particular accident. It became increasingly difficult to warm up for shows and perform to the highest standard required in a competitive industry. Detrimentally I continued to work through and ended up flat on my back in tremendous pain. I went through various forms of treatment to avoid surgery and realising they were all short term fixes I needed to find a way to strengthen the weakened muscles whilst keeping my flexibility and increasing my mobility again. A friend told me about hot yoga and the benefits of exercising in the heat. I can honestly say within a few classes I was hooked. I instantly knew this was going to be the right form of exercise for me and something I would be able to do safely as I got older. So far I was right !! WHAT MADE YOU GO FROM PRACTICING TO TEACHING? When I first started practising yoga it was purely to strengthen my back by doing something more gentle and kinder to my joints long term. Since stopping dancing which was all I had known since the age of 5 I had done a few different types of work but was always looking for that certain something to really fill the dancing void. I was working in retail which suited me while my daughter was at school and I plunged head first into my yoga. I was inspired by all my amazing teachers and how incredible I felt . Then one morning as I finished a yoga class it dawned on me. I want to do this , I should teach yoga, this is where I feel comfortable and happy and I can share this wonderful feeling with other people. I shared the thought with some of my teachers and the feeling was unanimous ! That day literally was the beginning of a massive change in my life and an incredible journey . HOW HARD IS IT TO BECOME A YOGA INSTRUCTOR. WHAT WAS THE PROCESS FOR YOU? Becoming a yoga teacher was definitely one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done but without question the most rewarding. It is expensive, but once I made the decision I was excited and eager to start. I looked at various different courses (of which there are many) but decided having been a fierce Grace student of Michele Pernetta and feeling the benefits of this interconnected system , the fierce grace 250 hour teacher training would be right for me . I split my training between London & Tuscany , 6 days a week for nearly 5 weeks. It didn't seem possible to learn so much in such a short space of time. The learning really begins when the course finishes and it still continues every day. It is hard work !! Learning over 75 poses , studying the philosophy of yoga, anatomy & physiology , injuries , modifications and of course controlling the heat and working a room of 20-60 people ! Putting into practice everything one has learned and keeping control of the room confidently whilst keeping everyone safe and delivering and enjoyable , fulfilling experience . HOW DID YOU ADAPT TO WORKING A ROOM SO TO SPEAK? Adapting to working a room can be one of the more tricky aspects of teaching especially as some of our studios hold up to 80 people. However the training definitely prepares you and the rest comes with confidence in ones own abilities . For me having come from a performing background and being particularly in tune with the body through dancing , massage training and my interest in anatomy definitely all helped . I think if you know what you are trying to convey and have the passion this will translate in the class and will allow students to trust in you.

“Teaching has given me a knew understanding of human relationships . It has taught me to listen more and to be selfless . The kindness and the appreciation I feel when teaching is something I had never really experienced even as a performer. “

“All I want is for people to come to yoga , allow themselves that 60 or 90 minutes on the mat to move the body , clear the mind and just breathe. “ WHAT DO YOU PERSONALLY GET FROM TEACHING? Teaching has given me a knew understanding of human relationships . It has taught me to listen more and to be selfless . The kindness and the appreciation I feel when teaching is something I had never really experienced even as a performer. The fact that I can share knowledge and my love for yoga and the benefits it will bring to the body , the mind and the soul is an absolute joy for me. I always hope that anyone who comes into my class feels included and has an enjoyable as well as beneficial experience. CAN PEOPLE COME TO YOGA AT ANY AGE? Yoga is most definitely for all ages . I’m a big advocate for “There is no one size fits all” everyone is different. Anatomically we are not all designed the same therefore the poses will not always feel nor look the same. It is up to us as teachers to get this message across to make yoga inclusive and not just about the poses we see on Instagram! All I want is for people to come to yoga , allow themselves that 60 or 90 minutes on the mat to move the body , clear the mind and just breathe . At fierce grace we have many different types of classes to suit all levels and abilities . WOULD YOU SUGGEST AVOIDING DOING ONLINE WORKOUTS TO BEGIN WITH AND GET TO A CLASS FIRST ? The online versus instudio question Hmmm .... such a personal thing as some people initially feel shy, intimidated and anxious about being in a room with yogis of all levels . I will go above and beyond to not make people feel like this in a class environment and personally I think when starting out there are many benefits to being in a class with an instructor. Firstly an awareness of the breathing is challenging and sometimes a little confusing . A teacher will instruct you and remind you throughout to breathe. Alignment is important to keep safe and not bypass the benefits of each pose . Having a teacher there to guide you and assist or adjust is most encouraging. Being in a studio creates a safe secure space preventing injury and creating a group energy that can help enormously . Being supported and part of a community. And of course with a teacher watching, one is more disciplined and less likely to stay in savasana !!

We’re drinking more than ever before, but is that a good thing? Catherine Gray reports.


pen scene: Northern Ireland, a kitchen party, circa 2010.

I am 30 years old, by anyone’s estimation now a bona-fide ‘adult’. Right now, I am teaching two gazelle-legged, saucer-eyed 16 year-old twins how to be a woman party girl. Their father is at the party, and doesn’t approve of them drinking underage (in retrospect: nor should he), so I have snuck them ciders with blackcurrant, so that their berry-coloured tumblers don’t give the game away. “Drinking is ah-may-zing,” I tell them, three glasses of wine in myself. “It gives you confidence, it means you can talk to boys you like, and I can’t even imagine dancing without it.” * Takes another swig * “You don’t like the taste? You’ll get used to it. It’s worth it, I promise.” Later that night, the teenage girls will be visibly drunk, her father will have sourced me as the alcohol-smuggling culprit, and he will pull me out of the party to give me a ticking-off under a fat harvest moon. The irony is, he is so drunk that he can’t enunciate his words properly, nor will I be able to successfully respond without slurring. I may be teaching his twins to drink, but so is he, in his own way. Our heated words will hang in the air, chilled to a crystallised fog, and the next day, most of them will be

forgotten. When I think about that night, I feel bone-deep ashamed. But at the time, I really felt like I was handing down a secret of feminine mystique, rather than being utterly irresponsible. I also told them to go to university - if not for the learning then for the fun before the grind of adulthood - and not to lose their virginity too young. I was bestowing all my best wisdom, I thought. Generation X are the biggest drinkers It’s only in the past few decades that big female drinking has truly become a thing. Or at least, a publicly approved, endorsed, and even encouraged thing. I’m about to turn 40 and a member of Generation X (those aged 37 to 55 are with me in the X-ers). Baby Boomers (those aged 56 to 74) were the first generation who were allowed to drink more than a snifter of sherry in public, or a couple of flutes of fizz, without being frowned upon. Come the ‘80s and ‘90s, female binge drinking had become cool, desirable, rebellious; a flamin’ B52 held aloft, sticking it to The Man. Our habits in those decades created a dependence that snowballed. I remember thinking that my drinking would just automatically decrease as my age ticked up, as if the two were on a pulley system, but… it didn’t. In my twenties it was celebrated that I could ‘drink men under the table’, but by my thirties I was given the nickname

witch who would lure people to her cottage via a chimney made of vodka bottles and free shots at the door, and not let them leave until 3am (indeed, I did hold people ‘hostage’ when I was drinking. ‘ONE MORE BAR. Please?!’)

hollered back. I don’t care what she has in her glass. I drank myself blotto for 21 years, so I’m the last person to cast judgement.

But why do women drink? We drink to blur the sharpness of social anxiety during the first hour of a party (or we I didn’t stop wearing playsuits or hotpants in my thirties, pre-game, as I used to), and often wind up too blurred. despite a friend telling me ‘We can’t do that anymore’, We drink to feel sexy, to feel unbuttoned, and end up because why the hell shouldn’t we?! Equally, I felt it was unbuttoning our buttons for those we never would sober similarly radical that I didn’t stop getting off my face, as (just me?). We order a whiskey sour because it feels like if beer-downing and bra-burning were linked somehow. something a New York artist would do, when actually we’d prefer an elderflower presse. My thirtysomething drunkenness began to be met with social disapproval. It was no longer cute that I was so We drink to mark the segue from work to play, to splish smashed. I was supposed to be thinking about becoming satisfyingly into the evening, but then find it smudges our a mother, not thinking about Brick Lane benders. It mood the next day (hangxiety). We drink to escape the became clear that the message had become ‘still drink, never-ending to-do lists of home, work, kids, and social because anything else is unthinkable, but not too much, admin, simultaneously pulling the cork out of the bottle OK?’ and putting a full stop to our adulting. Only problem was, once I’d started drinking, boy did I finish. I probably only stopped at one or two a handful of times in my entire life. As the saying goes, ‘I didn’t have a drinking problem, I was really good at the drinking, I had a stopping problem.’

Celluloid icons on TV and film hammer home this message, that drinking is the solution, is fun, is the fast lane to relaxation, and is a badge of feminist rebellion. Diane Lockhart from The Good Fight is often seen cradling a crystal-bottomed glass of brandy while doing something glass-smashingly badass. Phoebe Waller British women drink three drinks a day Bridge’s shares canned G and Ts with that hot priest. The I’m far from alone, it turns out, although I felt very alone cast of Big Little Lies share bottles of golden Sauvignon in those years. A World Health Organisation report last Blanc over Big Sur sunsets. In the BBC’s Keeping Faith year found that your average British woman packs away wine was omnipresent, and hangovers merely clownish, three drinks a day, or on average 26 units a week (12 units rather than crushing. I honestly can’t think of a female more than the recommended amount). TV or film protagonist that doesn’t drink big, can you? We’re level-pegging with the men, these days. But our frames are so much slighter, and we are so much more vulnerable when drunk. I won’t tell you about the scarily high rates of alcohol-related female fortysomething deaths, or the increased risk of breast cancer, because no doubt you know about that already. As did I, but it didn’t stop me drinking. By the age of 33, I had worked my way up to seven or eight bottles of wine a week. Miraculously, I was still mostly functioning, so the lion’s share of people reacted to the news that I was quitting with ‘you’re not that bad, Cath’. But I knew that I was. Often, other women now assume that given I don’t drink, I’m going to judge their drinking. I walked beneath a friend who was up on her balcony recently. I saw her, grinned and waved.‘This is lemonade, not wine!’ she yelled down, about her chinking glass, as if I was the drinking police. ‘Errr, OK, thanks for that info!’ I

And now, there’s a new way Big Alcohol is targeting us. By telling us that mothering and wine glasses are inextricably linked. Where do you think all of those memes come from, those messages, that noughties notion that alcohol is now an essential parenting aid? In America, there is literally a wine brand called ‘Mommy Juice’ (the label features a woman juggling a house, a teddy bear, a laptop and a saucepan, as if wine will somehow help her do that). ‘It’s not drinking alone if your kids are in the house’ says the cheery birthday card. It endorses the drinking on a playdate, or our demolition of a week’s worth of units in one big night out with our fellow parenting warriors. We deserve it! Look how hard we work. We forget that there is a multi-million pound industry that perpetuates this messaging. If you replaced alcohol with any other drug – tobacco, cocaine, even caffeine – and imagined the pushing of it all over candles, coasters, cards and tshirts it would seem bonkers, creepy even, but it’s become so normalised that we just expect it. I wouldn’t be surprised if in 50 years times, these items will be in museums to be goggled at, along with the cigarette adverts that featured doctors. We’re entering an age of sober-curiosity, of alcohol-free bars, of booze-less festivals, and overwhelmingly sober twentysomethings. Big Alcohol are not happy about this, and are trying many new tactics, such as the pinking of gin, and the attempted marriage of wellbeing and wine (Beer yoga anyone? Or the constant pushing of post-spin class prosecco). Mimosas and bloody marys are now conspicuously absent at brunch. As women, we shame each other for social displays of drunkenness (‘Did you see how wasted she was last night? Embarrassing!’) and yet also push each other into partaking. ‘Pffft. No? Are you pregnant? Well then, don’t be boring!’ We should stop judging each other, and start judging the thing itself; the alcohol. Is it worth it? Do we really enjoy it? Is it really indispensable? Does it truly help us become better parents? These are questions we should be asking. And if the answer is sincerely ‘yes’, then I wish you well and will * chink * your wine with my tonic water. You crack on. But if the answer is ‘no’, then let’s support each other out of the winewitch woods, rather than trying to lure each other back in.

Catherine Gray is the author of The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober.

My best friend Claire died 25 years ago. Her death left me hollow, mad, lost and confused. For years I resented her passing. Why would the "powers that be" take someone who touched so many lives and had much more to give? But as I have aged I've grown uneasy with my anger. Claire was not angry, not even at the end of her life. There was no room for my spiritual indigence. She gave me, and continues to give me, many gifts -- and in sharing these gifts with others, her memory gives me purpose.

By Wendy Euler

Dear Claire, Twenty-four years ago today I watched you exhale your last breath, release your energy, your spirit and your soul into the space of a hospital room. It was the saddest moment in my life. That moment, I was changed. It’s taken me years to fully understand what happened that day, but now I see it was a message, a lesson and most importantly, a responsibility. A responsibility to love and help. You were twenty-six years old. I remember looking at you, thinking, “How can this be you and not me…. how can a beautiful, vibrant, innocent girl die of AIDS after only sleeping with one man. How? Why? I wanted to crawl in that bed and take your place. I wanted to show you I loved you—that much. In the days before you died, you said you would “haunt” me—not in a scary way, but in a good way. Now, I know what you meant. Sometimes, a song. Sometimes, a scent. Sometimes, when a situation I thought would never turn around, turns around. When things are their worst, I sense your presence the most. I hear you whisper, “Life is a privilege. Live it for us.” As your body was leaving, your mom and dad invited me to stay with them until the end. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but only in hindsight (and after becoming a parent myself) did I grasp the significance of this invitation. I watched them lose a child that day. My notion of parenting was put into perspective. I did not know it then, but I do now. When I think back on our time together, I laugh a lot. I suspect because we laughed a lot. I remember the time we went to San Diego to visit my dad. We had fe-mullets and braces and wore heavy cotton Benneton rugby shirts, collars up, of course. We made sure to get a bright red sunburn the first day, wearing, with a false sense of security, pure baby oil “Sun Lotion.” We were introduced to the son of my parent’s friends—the guy that looked like he stepped off a Flock of Seagulls album cover. When he got a glimpse of us, he was less than impressed. Remember when we stopped to pick up his (equally hot surfer) friend? He took one look at us and declined. The Seagull was stuck with both of us all night. He was our lone, shared date. I think we grew on him in the end. Our trip to Europe in high school was a revelation. I’ll never forget leaving Auschwitz, both of us speechless listening to Howard Jones’ lyrics, “Does anybody love anybody anyway?” on our Sony Walkmans. The world was big. Much bigger than Kansas. It was crazy and unpredictably sad and unfair. We woke up that day. We became more empathetic. We were making our way.

I continue to make my way, with you by my side. I breathed you in that day you died. You became a part of my DNA. You give me the certainty I need to continue this path. I want to help others recognize how fortunate we are to grow older…to AGE, if you wish. Thank you for the gifts you gave me, the gifts you give me, the gifts I can now give to others. Thank you for demonstrating that even tragedy, especially tragedy, can be transformed into the gift of love.

I Love You, Wendy

DOUBLE ROOM, SINGLE OCCUPANCY The Joy of travelling solo

Melanie Cantor

Does the thought of travelling alone fill you with horror? Judging by the look on the faces of most of my friends when I told them I was holidaying alone this summer, it was not an idea that universally appealed. ‘You’re brave,’several said. Or maybe they thought it was just sad? But to me it felt like bliss. Let me put this into context. I am not an intrepid explorer. I’m happy to holiday with friends and family and travel to distant places so long as they don’t involve trekking through jungles or skydiving or mountaineering. I’m no adrenaline junkie. But on my own, my choice of holiday is somewhere civilised, where I can lie by a pool and relax. That said, I no longer desire what used to be my favourite hobby: sunbathing, so you’ll find me under a parasol, thank you very much. I am a sixty two year old woman (ohhhhh, I hear you say but bear in mind sixty is the new forty) and for me, going on holiday on my own is a happy choice. Of course there are several definitions of ‘on my own’. Sometimes, the journey itself might be solo but the destination holds company. Over the last ten years,I have travelled to various writers’ retreats and courses, within the UK or abroad, finding myself amongst a dazzling set of complete strangers. Bizarrely, I never fear the discovery of new people until I arrive, when I suddenly remember how daunting it can be. But my method is to dive in as if completely fearless and, after a few days, I always discover some likeminded folk with whom to share lively evenings to compensate the long, isolated sessions in front of a nagging computer screen.

dog. But since she is well looked after in my absence, I can overrule her sad face – notwithstanding a huge amount of guilt and heartache that only dog lovers will comprehend. Allow me to digress briefly to discuss the attitude towards the whole single female issue in general because it is one that fascinates me. My own experience makes me believe that we are stuck in a time warp where, no matter how many strides we take towards sexual equality, we remain socially conditioned to believe that being in a relationship is the pinnacle to be reached; the measure of our social success. It is held up to represent the ideal and is the go-to destination of our personal journey. The logical conclusion of course, is that if a woman (in particular) is not in a relationship, then she must surely want one. Why? As a single woman I’m invariably asked ‘How’s your love life?’When I confirm I haven’t got one and I’m absolutely fine with that, I detect an expression of disbelief, accompanied by a pitying look, mainly from men, trying to work out what must be wrong with me. Now I’m sure there’s plenty wrong with me (and them) and hopefully plenty right with me too (and them). But seriously… looking around at people in relationships, I’m often left to wonder who’s got it right? The great thing about living on my own for the past six years is I’ve had to get to know me because the person I am in a relationship with is me.

And if I like me (which I’ve discovered I do), then even better. Contrary to popular belief, I am perfectly happy. Equally, I would be happy to find the right partner because if there’s a chance their company might add to my happiness, then why not? And that dear reader, is why I am single! I This summer however was not going to be a trip to a writers’ rest my case. course. It was going to be a real holiday. A hotel with a pool kind of holiday; a proper treat to myself where I would be Anyhow, back to travelling alone. The first decision is answerable to no one, nor subjected to anyone else’s plans always where to go. Recently, on a night out with friends, I or food requirements, the time entirely mine to do with as threw the question into the arena and immediately one of I pleased. the couples (a happy couple at that, I’m not a total cynic) came back with the suggestion‘St Remy de Provence’. Back It’s not that I’m someone who seeks out solitude. I love the home, I went straight to my go-to app and looked up local company of friends but occasionally, just being me is hotels. precisely what I need. And this summer I needed it. I had I know there are several apps out there that may be better just spent the last couple of months joyously promoting the but I use’ve used them for years and they’ve publication of my first novel Death & Other Happy never let me down. Happily, I found a gorgeous hotel whose Endings. I had had the most amazing time in London and photos instantly suggested rest, relaxation and total NewYork,grateful to do whatever it took to promote sales; indulgence. It had a spa! A spa! signing copies from Daunts to Barnes & Noble, discussing the premise of my novel a hundred times over with The thought of massages (yes, plural) and I was sold. Le interested, enthusiastic readers. But with all that rush of Saint Remy Hotel is not cheap but I was at the stage where my kind of adrenalin,finally I was exhausted,which is when I wanted to treat myself and even though I object to the you discover that sixty is definitely sixty. I needed me-time expression‘you deserve it’(because what about the horrible and one of the advantages of being single is you can do me- things that happen to you in life, do you deserve them?) on time without someone raising an objection. Apart from my this particular occasion, I felt I deserved it. I booked.

''As a single woman I’m invariably asked ‘How’s your love life?’ When I confirm I haven’t got one and I’m absolutely fine with that, I detect an expression of disbelief, accompanied by a pitying look, mainly from men, trying to work out what must be wrong with

Next, travel arrangements. Flying was not easy, train was better. Eurostar goes direct to Avignon (a 20 minute cab ride away from St Remy). Sadly, the return journey is via Lille. I was not thrilled at the thought of a change of train but how lovely not to have to suffer early arrivals at a crazy shopping centre airport, liquid restrictions etc etc. I would let the train take the strain, which besides anything else, makes me very woke.

I head out to do a recce of the town to discover it far more beautiful and packed with treasures than I ever could have imagined. Cafes and restaurants line the streets and alleyways, food shops, clothes shops, interior shops. And then dinner.The first night’s dinner is always a bit daunting. Dining alone can be odd but with my kindle I am totally fine. My kindle is my holiday dinner partner and fortunately,this trip, it never failed to entertain.

Sadly, not the total strain. And here’s the rub. The one drawback of travelling alone is the journey to and from. Struggling with a suitcase, average size this time as it happens, which weighs a ton, packed lightly with clothes and heavily with toiletries (why are toiletries so heavy?), further encumbered with carry on and handbag, make the experience an act of faith over logic. The preamble to finally making it to your seat (whether it be on train or plane) is a catalogue of tiresome acts:having to put everything through the security scanner, (heaving your case onto the carousel is difficult enough), taking out your laptop, removing your belt,your shoes,then putting them back on again. My curse is I never fail to set off the security alarm, I have no idea why, only to be woman-handled, forensically searched, feeling like there’s some metaphorical arrow dangling over me, saying ‘look at her, single and dangerous!’

Back in my room I discover there is a turn down service. My bed was prepared and every night,two little treats by a local artisan were left for my delectation. Single, you get both! Win win.

Humiliation over, I walk towards the next humiliation, praying that I, an independent woman, will find some nice person to help me haul everything from platform into carriage. Oh the ignominy of struggling alone but then somehow, someone always comes to the rescue. Thank you whoever you were. That over, I have to hope for a space at the bottom of the luggage rack, knowing there is no way I will be able to place my luggage anything above floor height. Success!

Then there’s the first morning waking up to sunshine and the thought of breakfast! Yup. For me, the highlight is breakfast. Particularly in France. I love French bread. I always order ‘tartine’ which is half a baguette, butter and jam.And of course the essential cup of delicious coffee,which somehow always tastes better when you’re away. It took me a couple of days to find the café I loved best but once I’d found it I went back every morning, a creature of habit. I would sit in the little square with my online newspaper, (my iPad being my breakfast companion), keeping abreast with what was going on in this crazy country of ours, feeling safely cocooned from the madness. Afterwards, I’d wander through the little back streets, going into all the shops, unusually buying nothing, deciding where I might want to eat that night before returning to the hotel to lie down on a cushion covered sofa by the pool, in the shade of course, reading, occasionally swimming a few lengths to cool down. Every other evening I had a massage (you got five for the price of four and who can resist a bargain?) then feeling properly pampered, I’d head off to the evening’s restaurant of choice, armed with my dinner partner.

Finally mission accomplished, I arrive. If I had ever worried that ten days solo was too long, I was The immediate hit of heat, the blue skies, the smell that is wrong. It went all too quickly. Suddenly I was back at the so uniquely foreign,the gorgeous discovery of a new location. station, my suitcase in tow, praying for this part to be over Sweaty travel and heavy lifting is forgotten. At the hotel, and to be magically transported home to my bed. Happily, once shown to my room I immediately unpack. I’m one of the dreaded change of train proved far simpler than feared those people who has to get unpacked straight away. I’m and I made it home without injury with plenty of fond also one of those people who has to have no unopened emails memories to fall asleep to. on their phone. I am horrified by seeing phones with 1,453 unopened emails. How do you cope? Would I travel alone again? Just hold me back. Has this whetted your appetite to brave something you may have Then there’s the obligatory‘can I have more hangers,please’ considered but never dared? I do hope so. Summer might call to reception (why do they only ever give you four be over but go on…give yourself something to look forward hangers?) but once I’m done…I can do exactly what I want. to. I already have. No time constraints. No plans. I am entirely at my own mercy. Heaven.

The Five Elements Michelle Adams BSc (Hons) MBAcC LicAc MSc Traditional Chinese and Five Element Acupuncturist, Nutritionist

Michelle Adams is an experienced naturopathic nutritionist and practitioner of Chinese Medicine, with a focus of Five Element and Traditional Chinese Acupuncture. Michelle is extremly passionate about exploring the limitless potential of the human bodies self healing capabilities, and our connection to creation.

The Foundations As we watch our external ecology move humbly through the ebbs and flows of seasonal change, something also shifts and transmutes within our own internal ecology. As within, as without. In the fabric of Chinese philosophy, you will find woven the Five Elements. Within this structure they are hailed as the building blocks of universe, with everything in our world being a compound of the elements. The elements are Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood. Each element represents a mutually dependant phase and transformation of energy as they interact with each other through cycles and seasons. One of the most potent ways to illustrate the elemental nature, is through the unfolding of the seasons in our natural world.

Wood represents the uprising energy of Spring, such as dandelions and nettles pushing through the soil. Fire represents Summer and its ascending ignited energy such as flames rising and extending to the heavens Earth represents Late Summer, its grounding energy and the satisfaction from the summer’s harvests. Metal represents Autumn and its retracting energy. The trees are shedding their clothing for a more nude attire. Water represents Winter and its heavy decent of energy, such as water sinking deep into the earth from the falling rain. We are a reflection of creation, and these external seasons are also reflected within this casing we eloquently call the body. The Five Elements internal expressions, mirror how they move in our outside world, with added complexities or simplicities, depending on how you receive them. Before we move into the understanding of what this has to do with your reality, let us just explore one other inner dimension of this cycle. The Five Elements within us are responsible for the housing of individual internal organ systems and with that their emotional companions. These organ systems not only represent very real pathological functions within the body, but also subtle energetic functions that intertwine with their emotional counterparts, creating a well-oiled community.

The Metal Element We are currently experiencing here in the UK, Autumn. In Five Element language this is the season of Metal. The Metal Element, as the beautiful season of autumn, represents the cycle of our internal energy making a full circle as it begins to decline and fall. After a season of growth, harvest and maturity, the leaves of the trees begin their decent to the earth. Falling gracefully to the ground to wither and decompose. This rotting and decomposition pour vital nourishment and nutrients back into the soil and provides a rich foundation for the new plant life of the coming year ahead.

The Metal Element Within When we explore how the Metal element expresses itself in humankind, we can observe the same cycles and processes at work within. The letting go of the old and the taking in of the new. The energy of this divine season supports the letting go of that which can be considered waste or stale in our experience of life. This flow allows us to be receptive to the new. The internal organs who oversee this element within, or as so referred to in Chinese Medicine terms, the ‘Officials, are the Lungs and the Large Intestine. They are responsible for overseeing and guiding the flow of Autumn and the Metal element within our internal alchemy.

The Large Intestine Official The Large Intestine disposes of and eliminates all the waste rubbish, and that which is unnecessary and toxic from our bodies. The elimination extends beyond the physical body. It is also an elimination of mental and spiritual waste. If we do not nurture this function, then our minds can become stale, and you could say, constipated. Unable to experience that which can be considered pure and beautiful in all aspects of our environments.

The Lung Official Our majestic Lungs are our connection with the divine. Our connection to creation and our lifeline to this bodily reality. The lung enables us to take in the pure. This, on a physical level, is considered the air that we breath. A vital function to our very existence. This function is also vital on other levels that do not only pertain to the physical. Let us consider say, new ideas for the mind, and a refreshed spirit. The word inspiration captures this essence perfectly. The Lung, from a Chinese Medicine perspective, is described in its entirety as ‘The receiver of heavenly Qi (Chi) for the heavens.

The Emotion - Grief The emotion associated with the Metal element is Grief. Grief can be experienced in many alternate ways depending of the situations and also whomever is the effected. Grief can conjure up intense feelings not just of loss, but regret and disappointment. This element and its ‘Officials’, when in balance and good health, allow the capacity to let go of intense feelings of loss smoothly. When the functions of the ‘Official’s’ is impaired, stagnation ensues. Grief is the recognition that something of beauty and importance is gone from the outer world, but, inherent within Grief, is the capacity to identify clearly what we most value. Even in its absence. The Metal Element helps us move from a place of grief to a place of nostalgia and appreciation. While feeling the pain of loss, we can focus on the gift, the learning, the experience, what we have gained. And we can know that the most important things endure. Standing on higher ground, we can see the larger picture. As Autumn leafs fall, leaving naked and bare the trees, they fertilise soils for new growth. There is a teaching that all thoughts that are not productive are a symptom of a pathology. If we are stuck, if we need to go deep into a feeling and linger there, perhaps we need help to enliven our transformative capabilities. Nourishing the Metal Element Within

The power of breath- Explore some breathing techniques such as pranayama, and other restorative cycles. Try and integrate this in nature. As you inhale the clean autumn air, feel yourself energized and purified. Feel the old negativity, impurity, and pain leave your body and psyche. Then contemplate briefly who you are without these identifications. The power of nutrition- The taste associated with the Metal Element is pungent. A very broad category, the pungent flavour ranges from hot and warm like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, anise and ginger, onions and radish to the cooling mints and lemon balms. Their fragrance helps to stimulate the appetite, increase digestion and create warmth and circulation–and they bust up phlegm and mucus. Add warming spices to mulled ciders, warm applesauce, baked fruits and desserts or simply sip on a warming cup of tea. Aromatic herbs like sage, rosemary and thyme similarly circulate Qi, warm and stimulate the digestion and lend themselves to savoury dishes. Mints will help drain sinus congestion. The power of ritual - Go through your closet, desk, garage, and cupboards. De cluttered storage areas and discard what you no longer need in order to lay foundations for receiving the new. Donate, sell, or otherwise circulate what might be of value to others. You could also use the cyclative energy of fire. Creating a letting go ritual to support the processes of the Metal Element. Write on a paper things that may not be serving you any longer. Old patterns and issues that may be represented within yourself to self, or yourself to others. Hold intention for the release of this internal stagnation and burn the paper. This will allow for a symbolic release to the ashes. Our internal ecology is a direct reflection of the ecology in our external worlds. Nourishing our internal can not only allow for a more balanced environment within us, but a deepened connection and understanding of our outer dimensions and creation all around us. The best service we can do to the earth is first be of better service to ourselves. We are one.

Breast Cancer, Burnout and the Key to Healthy Living

City stockbroker turned kick-ass health

Sandie Fredriksson coach.

was just 44 when she found the lump on her breast. She tells Frank how this life shock opened her eyes to the way she was living and took her from stressed to strong.

“I’m sorry to tell you, but you do have breast cancer.” The words sent me into a tailspin. Tears rolled down my face as I imagined my twin boys trying to navigate life without me. They had only just turned 11, for crying out loud. I was a divorced single mother, and while my children have a great relationship with their dad, I have always been the one providing for them financially. I started silently pleading with God, the Universe - anyone that was listening, just let me get my kids to 25. Just give me some time to shape them and get them on their way.

My strategy to avoid burnout? It was pretty simple - keep my fingers crossed and hope to dodge that bullet. I was taking it for granted that my body would cope. That strategy failed me miserably. I thought there would be plenty of time to focus on myself once the kids were older and I could wind down my career. But I was wrong. Now here I was, being told that I might not have plenty of time after all.

Being diagnosed with breast cancer at 44 was my rock bottom. The ultimate kick in the pants. The warning I needed to pay attention to my health. I spent hours analysing my lifestyle choices. Should I have paid more attention to nutrition? Would a consistent exercise regime have stopped me getting cancer? Was I more stressed It took me over an hour to find the strength to leave the than I realised? I was spiralling. Why me? What was I Harley Street Clinic. The staff kept bringing tea and doing wrong? How long had this disease been nipping at tissues and asking if I was ok, but I wasn’t registering any my heels? of it. I sat there, blindsided, already mourning my unfinished life, too petrified to step out the door and let I guess I’ll never know the answer to that, but what I do breast cancer become my new reality. know is that I had let myself lose control of my lifestyle habits and my own wellbeing.

Heading for burnout I’d been juggling a punishing schedule for far too long and it felt like I was paddling hard to stay in control. Give me a problem and I would find a solution, show me a wreckage and I’d have a disaster recovery plan on the table within no time. I was moving through life at warp speed giving little thought to how that might be affecting my health. And when it came to my kids, I was highly skilled at ensuring their lives ran smoothly. From piano lessons to playdates to entrance exams for the top London schools; I had it all covered. Work was tough. The banking industry was in decline thanks to regulation overload and rapid advancements in technology, however, I’d had a successful 20 years as a stockbroker and it was all I knew. I was relentlessly ambitious and prepared to fight hard for my career... but I was also utterly exhausted. Like so many other mothers I know, self-care was just a footnote on my to-do list. The absence of healthy habits in my daily routine had left me with a toxic lack of balance. I grabbed food when I could (organic, of course), considered exercise to be a luxury (despite a drawer of gorgeous Sweaty Betty outfits) and I rarely took the supplements I’d spent a fortune on. I was a prisoner to the fatigue caused by my 5:30am alarm clock and I looked forward to the end of every day when I would crawl into bed and treat myself to Netflix.

"The food we eat, how active we are and how much we weigh are all things that influence our risk of cancer, and all of these factors are modifiable – there are things people can do to reduce their risk." Dr Kate Allen, source: American Institute for Cancer Research.

Ignoring the signs In a way, I was lucky - it was a chance conversation that led me to discover the lump. A couple of weeks earlier I’d been at a friend’s party, chatting to a girl who had been through breast cancer twice in two years. I admired her strength and positivity, sympathetic to the difficult journey she must have been through. As I lay in bed that night, I felt it. A lump on the underside of my right boob. To be honest, my hand knew exactly where to find the lump because I’d already felt it before... and dismissed it. ‘There’s no history of breast cancer in my family,’ I reassured myself. ‘I had a clear mammogram just last year and besides, I don’t have time to deal with breast cancer with my busy schedule. I’m sure it’s nothing.’

Only a third of women immediately 50 - Cancer Research UK. visit their doctor upon discovering Learning to adapt early signs and symptoms My world had changed very quickly. There was now only CoppaFeel, Breast Cancer Awareness one priority and that was staying alive. I wanted the cancer out that day. I wanted to know my prognosis Charity immediately. I wanted a timeline of events and answers to I’d let myself fall into the majority that didn’t take finding a lump on their breast seriously. It was time to reassess my priorities.

all my questions. But of course, no one had any of that for me.

I was about to find out that the next nine months would require an exceptional amount of patience at exactly the My GP saw me first thing on Monday morning and before time when I felt like I had no time to waste. I would need a biopsy of my lymph nodes to see if the cancer had spread, I knew it, I was on my way to have a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy. By midday, I was back at my desk a PET/CT scan to check for any metastases and I would need to wait for an analysis of the tumour they removed to talking to clients about their equity portfolios as if find out whether or not I would need chemo. I had the nothing had happened. But despite all the reassuring courage to go through it, but the patience? That was comments from friends and family, I suspected my life something I had to learn. was about to take a nosedive. The MRI revealed a 5cm tumour and my wonderful surgeon, Professor Mokbel gently informed me that a mastectomy would be necessary. I stayed strong, joking that I was in the market for a new set of boobs anyway, and I elected to have a double mastectomy to minimise my risk of breast cancer in my other breast in the future. When I woke up from surgery he told me that he had also found cancer in my nipple which meant a visit to the wonderful medical tattoo expert, Karen Betts for a 3D nipple tattoo. To be honest, it was all feeling quite manageable until he recommended six months of chemotherapy. Is it terrible that my first question was I also felt angry. I’d had a clear mammogram 12 months whether I would lose my hair? It might seem insane how earlier, which I had proactively elected to do and pay for much this matters, but it does. I have since heard so many myself. It didn’t make sense. But when I looked back at stories of women pushing back on the need for chemo the notes from that X-ray I saw the words ‘dense breasts’. because they couldn’t face being bald. I was no exception. I also had breast implants which I’ve since found out can sometimes make it more difficult to detect breast cancer Up until now, there had been no outward signs that I had on a mammogram. Why had no one told me the cancer and I liked it that way. I didn’t want an outpouring implication of either of things at the time? It turned out I of sympathy over my bald head and I couldn’t face the had a type of cancer that begins in the milk-producing idea of wearing a wig and risking the whispers if it wasn’t glands of the breast known as lobular cancer. This is not on straight. I paid extra to rent a cold cap machine for the only less common (it accounts for just 15% of breast chemo sessions in an effort to keep my hair, but it didn’t cancers) but it’s also harder to detect on a mammogram. I work. I bought the best wig I could afford. felt cheated. I thought I was getting ahead of the curve having a mammogram at 43 and breast density was not It soon became second nature to hang my wig up on a something I had ever even heard of, let alone known to hook next to my coat in the hall. It seemed like a good take into account. place to keep it, handy to grab when I went out to face the world. That is until one day when my son opened the door an unexpected visit from his new friend’s mum. We’d One in five breast cancers (20%) are to never met before and she was asking if I was home. I now diagnosed in women aged under wanted to get to my wig without her seeing me , but she was standing right next to it in the hallway! I was told to wait seven days for the results which was too much for my type-A personality to handle. Patience was not my strong suit back then and I called the clinic three days later. My results were back. I asked the nurse to read them to me but she said I would need to come in. If that wasn’t enough of an alarm bell, she suggested that I come first thing at 9am the next morning advising that I should probably bring someone with me. I felt sick with fear.

Dense breasts

I braced myself, stood tall and prepared to explain my bald head to a stranger for the first time. I don’t know why I had been dreading it so much - it wasn’t nearly as devastating as I had imagined.

Coming from a place of YES After I finished chemo, my boys asked if we could go on holiday to see the Northern Lights in Sweden. I’m not a fan of cold weather but cancer had gifted me a whole new attitude of ‘coming from a place of yes’, so I agreed. That attitude not only saw me driving full pelt up a mountain on a snowmobile (beanie on and wig flowing behind me) but in the months that followed it also had me challenging my fear of heights by zip-lining in Costa Rica and galloping through the South African bush on a horse I had no business being on. Of course, I fell off the horse, leaving me with a large scar on my left arm, but I was still really glad I did it. What’s one more scar? It sounds like a cliche but I was grateful to be alive and have a chance to take radical responsibility for my health. Something else I said yes to was a friend putting me on a dating app, even agreeing to her posting a picture of me in a swimsuit. I forgot about it for a while but when I eventually opened the app nine months later, there he was. This tall blonde Swede had been trying to speak to me for months and he now tells me he’d almost given up hope. He asked to meet and - although he wasn’t my usual type - I responded with yet another spontaneous yes, and today, three years on we are about to set our wedding date. MOVING FORWARD My prognosis is good, but I’m also a realist. It's no secret that lifestyle diseases are on the rise globally, at staggering rates. That’s why I‘ve got my health habits dialled-in and I’ve built my life around those habits. And it’s a life that I love and look forward to living every day. I’ve become an expert on what my body needs and I prioritise my relationship with myself. As I tell my clients, that attitude isn’t selfish - it’s self respect. By taking care of yourself you are sending out signals that you deserve to be taken care of.

My experience didn’t completely change who I am - my type-A personality means I’ll always be the girl with a solution and a ‘step-by-step’ plan. I’ve spent the last five years looking at health from a holistic perspective, trawling through countless books, podcasts and TED talks and talking to numerous wellness and behaviour change experts. Better health begins by examining our habits. What we eat, the quality of our sleep, how often move, the way we respond to stress, how we talk to ourselves, all matters. We are just one google search away from having information on how to live better. So what is it that keeps us stuck from doing the things we know we should be doing? No matter how much you know or how good your intentions, you won’t get the results you are looking for if you don’t change your habits. Dealing with health issues such as weight gain, anxiety and fatigue can feel lonely and frustrating. My 1-1 health coaching program moves my clients from overwhelm to a healthy life they love in just 12 weeks. Together we disrupt the patterns that are holding them back and create a new toolkit of good habits that stick. No one gets through life unscathed, but building simple healthy habits today can have a powerful impact on the trajectory of your tomorrow. To find out more about health coaching with Sandie Fredriksson visit

The key to healthy living It took hitting rock bottom for me to understand that your health is your greatest asset. It’s all very well chasing your dreams, but without a strong healthy body, will you really be able to enjoy them?

By Chip Somers

An insight into addiction

It’s always the mothers. Sometimes the sister. Sometimes the wife. But it’s always the female. The one person who is brave enough to ring up, email or contact me and say, “There is an issue with someone I know who has an addiction problem”. This is a universal truth with so few exceptions as to make them statistically insignificant.


his is odd because for every person I have ever dealt with who has had an alcohol, or drug problem, there has always been at least five other people seriously distressed, perturbed, angry or worried about that person’s behaviour. with regard to women and alcohol consumption today. The gender of those affected people is totally mixed. The presence of an alcoholic within a group impacts everybody in some way. No one remains unaffected or immune. Some become constantly worried that something dreadful is going to befall the person with the problem. Some become angry either at the person’s behaviour, or in many cases that the ‘black sheep’ of the family is sucking up all the attention while the one who is behaving themselves is ignored. Some try and save the alcoholic, dedicating their lives to either rescuing them or clearing up the mess they create. But it is the females that display concern and are active in trying to do something, anything, rather than sit idly by. The addictive dynamic attracts gender stereotypical behaviour in spades. In nearly every family, relationship or situation with an addiction issue I have encountered it is the female that exhibits the softer, more caring role, while the male will display the ‘just pull your socks up or throw them out’ role. Many relationships crumble as these two opposites collide over the dining room table. The trouble is that both viewpoints do very little to actually address the problem. The caring, maternal, softer role can often collude with the alcoholic creating what I describe as ‘alcoholic heaven’. They wonder why when the addict is laying on their bed, warm, being fed regularly, having their laundry done and being able to use their drug of choice whenever they want, that the addict isn’t motivated to change and adapt their ways. Why on earth would they be?

“The addictive dynamic attracts gender stereotypical behaviour in spades. In nearly every family, relationship or situation with an addiction issue I have encountered it is the female that exhibits the softer, more caring role, while the male will display the ‘just pull your socks up or throw them out’ role.”

They have everything they need - no consequences. Perhaps, at worst, the ordeal of having to endure an hour of verbal haranguing as the price of their bed and board. This behaviour in fact colludes with the problem, even at times going as far as funding it and, on rare occasions, going out and buying the drugs for their ‘child’ to protect them from getting in to trouble. This mixed message is profoundly damaging and unhelpful. If this approach is challenged or even slightly criticised I am accused of being heartless and cruel. “But he will be on the streets and die if he isn’t here”. This belief is emotionally dramatic and not even close to the truth. Very, very few addicts actually end up on the streets. True many of those on the streets may have drug or alcohol problems, but to make the assumption that if consequences, or boundaries are put in place street homelessness is an inevitable result is without any basis in truth. Addicts are very adept people, with enormous resilience and resourcefulness, and they will find somewhere to put their head down away from the elements. The thinking behind this attitude presumably is that if the addict can be seen and ‘cared for’ then there is a limit to the amount of damage they can inflict on themselves or others. The problem is that the carers are not only enabling the behaviour but they are also slowly participating in their physical decline and moving them ever closer to the fatal consequences of addiction. The other end of the attitude spectrum is the ‘throw them out!’ approach. This is almost completely a male response. “Fend for yourself!” It no doubt has its genesis in some dark times

millennia ago when anyone who didn’t provide for the pack was outcast as they contributed nothing, took food that was hard to acquire and caused distress wherever they went. Nowadays it usually occurs after months of domestic arguing and the male has no ammunition left other than to say “Go!”. This is such a clear admission of failure to manage the situation, such a clear avoidance of any part, or contribution, to the situation as to be as unhelpful as the over caring approach. There is also a totally unfounded “I know what is best” attitude, even though neither parent is likely to have the slightest idea how to deal with a complex medical and emotional problem.

There are several barriers to asking for help in the first place. Shame that a member of the family has socially failed and become an embarrassment is perhaps the biggest. The fact that someone is openly demonstrating out of control drinking or using is seen as a reflection of how the family is. It cuts straight through any image that might have been created that the family is a happy clappy unit, probably all dressed in white that eats together, has fun together and has no problems. As a result families lie to themselves and they're friends about the true impact of the addiction. “Oh, he’s terribly stressed at work at the moment”, “He’s fallen in with a bad lot of people at university”, “She’s been diagnosed with depression and anxiety” or the classic – “Well obviously it’s nothing that we did, all the children had the same childhood” The list is endless. The one phrase you won’t hear is “My daughter/son/ husband/wife has got a chronic problem with drugs/alcohol and I haven’t a clue what to do”

What families don’t realise is that there is no reason on earth why anyone should have a clue what to do, or any knowledge about addiction, or how best to treat it. Almost any other medical condition is immediately referred, by the family, to an expert – doctor, nurse, psychiatrist or whatever. No one tries to sort out their own cancer problems without going to see an oncologist and most people share their emotional response to having a serious medical condition. But with addiction there is not only an attitude of ‘Omerta’ but a belief that the family has suddenly become educated about how best to deal with the issue. The trouble is that without knowledge attitudes are usually reduced to the gender influenced binary responses already discussed. Families sometimes struggle for years arguing, fretting or pretending to ignore the problem until there is a slow, reluctant, eventual awareness that something has to be done. It is at that moment that the female steps in. The ‘controlling’ male who has chosen holiday destinations, ensured that his rules apply in the household and probably chosen the times when everybody can relax, now suddenly becomes incapable of making one of the most important phone calls required. Not only does she have to make the phone call, wade through all the paperwork but also have to personally feel the shame and embarrassment of having to discuss a ‘private’ matter to a stranger. She is then held responsible, and has to defend any information she has gleaned.

“The greatest irony of this whole issue of addiction is that the male role is so fundamental and important. Although there are exceptions to every rule, so far in 35 years I have never, ever met an addict or alcoholic who does not share one very powerful and strong common factor. They all have had either an emotionally, or physically absent fathers. Every single one of them.” Sometimes, of course, it is the woman with the problem but even then it is highly unlikely to be her partner who phones. Even then it is likely to be allocated to the ‘problem’ to seek help. Males will, I am sure satisfy themselves regarding this telephonic cowardice because they believe this sort of thing to be ‘womens work’ and they are therefore allowed to take a backseat. I started this article by saying – “ It is always the females……”. The greatest irony of this whole issue of addiction is that the male role is so fundamental and important. Although there are exceptions to every rule, so far in 35 years I have never, ever met an addict or alcoholic who does not share one very powerful and strong common factor. They all have had either an emotionally, or physically absent fathers. Every single one of them. I hope that as each generation becomes more emotionally articulate this will change. But the under 30’s I am dealing with at the moment are all still presenting with the same issue – an absent father.

“Come to the edge. We might fall. Come to the edge. It's too high! COME TO THE EDGE! And they came, and he pushed, And they flew. .” Christopher Logue

The Strength of A Woman Charisse Glenn


he strength of a woman comes in many forms, we think we can do everything. Women have been entering the workforce for decades now, with their power suits and “I can elbow my way into a man’s world” attitude. We have succeeded in acquiring the CEO, CFO, and COO statuses. By doing so, we have become tougher and more ruthless than many of the men, learning to play their game as well or better than they can. Yet, in some ways, we have lost.

We have lost the knowledge a woman brings to the table. A strength, men do not possess. So focused on proving we can be a better man than a man we have lost those innate qualities which set us apart from them. Women are not here to do what men can do better than them, which in many cases we can. We are here to do what men cannot do. By honoring and embracing our strengths we, in fact, can rise up and contribute in ways which surpass our ability to be a better man. Personally, I do not want to see an androgynous society. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for equal pay and equal rights. But, I like the difference between the genders, it creates a sexual tension which if handled with integrity can stimulate creativity. Being open to the others’ strength, expands our understanding, exposing us to a new way of seeing. Acknowledging another point of view does not imply one is better than the other, it is just different and different is good. Polarities and differences add depth and strength to life. It is what gives us the Je n’sais quoi of a delicious meal. It is the uniqueness of a piece of art. It is the spark when we meet that someone special.

“Women’s brains even at rest are more active than Men’s. That is why at the end of a stressful day a Woman wants to rehash the days’ events while a man will want to have his solitude.”

�A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.� Gloria Steinem

“So focused on proving we can be a better man than a man we have lost those innate qualities which set us apart from them. Women are not here to do what men can do better than them, which in many cases we can. We are here to do what men cannot do.�

“Asserting ourselves in the ways we have learned from a man may be useful, yet bringing to the table the strengths a woman possesses is more effective in balancing out the world.” We need differences to keep us strong. Asserting ourselves in the ways we have learned from a man may be useful, yet bringing to the table the strengths a woman possesses is more effective in balancing out the world. Men need Women and Women need Men. We are two halves to the whole. Possessing a different operating system each gender processes information differently. Women process details while Men process solutions. Women can bounce between ideas quickly, while Men are more single thought, single-action. Women’s brains are geared towards intuition and emotion, whereas Men’s lean towards facts and logic. Women have a larger Anterior Cortex in their brains which is also called the Worrywart center. It may heighten sensitivity and awareness and yet may cloud decisive thinking. Women’s brains even at rest are more active than Men’s. That is why at the end of a stressful day a Woman wants to rehash the days’ events while a man will want to have his solitude. Men need testosterone for fuel and each setback they encounter depletes it. That is why Men may be accused of retreating or shutting down. They need time to recoup their testosterone. Women have a tendency towards introspection while Men focus more outwardly. She focuses on intimacy while he focuses on action. Women use words to communicate feelings while Men use words to communicate information. Women are wired to connect with others while men are comfortable going solo. Maybe this is a throwback to our hunter/gatherer ancestors. While not all differences are set in stone, the generalities are enough to give us pause looking at where we can bring harmony to the partnership of sexes. It is by joining together these differences true success and unity in power can be found. Why bring to the table what a man can figure out on his own when we can bring into the equation a completely new and powerful alternative.


Can you relate? By Danielle Dodoo Finding time to spend alone is a luxury that few of us are lucky enough to experience. In an age of digital distractions,family obligations and work commitments,our personal needs come second to everyone else's. 2019 is continuing to be increasingly exhausting and we cannot turn to any media platform without being capitulated by anxiety-fuelling news. Brexit. Something Trump said. Constant streams of reality TV flaunting perfect bodies. Then there are the streams of social media posts making us believe we are inadequate.So what if we don’t have a side hustle?Who really vacays five times a year? And I don't actually believe you can sustain a decent living working virtually from a beach in Bali.We are totally saturated with fearmongering and unachievable expectations.With the weight of the world on our shoulders, you would be forgiven for wanting to crawl under a rock. But most of us are continuously drawn to these forms of media. We can't seem to get enough. We prefer to moan about how drained and tired we are, how we can’t find a minute to ourselves, and we flippantly make statements like "I need some headspace" and "I'm trying to practice mindfulness" which generally means, I lock myself in the toilet, to hide from my partner / kids / myself - to eat a packet of biscuits.

Why are we more comfortable complaining about how exhausted we are, than making a real effort to slow down? Brene Brown said it well:"It takes courage to say yes to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol." Studies have shown that taking time out, alone, has been linked to a reduced risk of depression,better life satisfaction, improved stress management and increased happiness. Spending time alone also opens up the opportunity to reevaluate your priorities and recalibrate and celebrate your achievements. It helps you to solve problems and get creative.But most of all,it allows you to become comfortable in your own skin. Despite all it's well known benefits, finding time to spend alone can be challenging for a variety of reasons. Here are just a few possibilities.

our favourite social media feeds. Whilst we might not be surrounded physically, by friends, colleagues or family - we are virtually held captive by their updates and their associated emotional triggers. So in reality, we are choosing to not be alone. Social Media addiction is real. Blame it on the dopamine. It's a well known fact that when you get a social media notification or like, our brains sends a neurochemical messenger called dopamine along a reward pathway, which increases our general level of arousal and desire to be rewarded. We want more instant gratification and with social media, it takes little effort or discipline to get it. In fact, a Statista study found that the average adult spends two and a half hours every day on social media.That's sixteen hours a week.

But we can be excused for seeking this gratification from a button click; hell, it’s a lot more instant than the dopamine You feel like a failure when you aren't busy. If you're not hit you get from exercising, sex, finding love or ordering a building new bonds and nurturing lifelong friendships, takeaway. No one saw this shit coming and we aren't you're putting in 11 hours a day at work or working round equipped to defend ourselves from the magic of neurological the clock on your start-up (because you refuse to delegate). voodoo. In the "spare time" you do you have;you're filling your time with crap. Scrolling through ASOS for another outfit to impress your colleagues / friends / people you don't even like. Binge watching TV shows you're falling asleep in front "Be alone, eat alone, take of just so you can tick the box of spending time with your yourself on dates, sleep alone. other half. You drag yourself to networking events and meetups just so you can feel like you're living your best life, In the midst of this you will never missing an opportunity (after all,your network is your net worth); and in the shower you're conjuring up of ways learn about yourself, You will you can be better, achieve more, earn more etc etc. You grow. You will figure out catch my drift.You're red eyed, caffeinated and slumped forward - but you carry on. You've actually convinced what inspires you, you will yourself that you're too busy to work on the stuff that could curate your won dreams, your actually make you happy. Or perhaps you find it hard to be alone with your own thoughts because you are worried you'll have to face yourself and your problems head on. It's our thoughts that define how we behave and feel how we feel.And it's safe to say that most of us have some interesting dialogue going on in our heads. Our own streaming narrative of super critical, super depressing and often,super angry thoughts.So you distract yourself from hearing them. Drinking, shopping, work, sex, drugs,more drinking...we placate and block our minds from focussing on these narratives with mindless distractions and noise.

own beliefs, your own stunning clarity and when you do meet the person who makes your cells dance, you will be sure of it, because you are sure of yourself. " Bianca Sparacino (via The Minds Journal)

Then there are those of us who are subconsciously addicted to the stimulants and rewards we get from scrolling through

“You don't need hours of time alone to feel the rewards of solitude. Just ten minutes a day could be enough to rejuvenate and refresh you from the daily grind. If you don't even think you have time for that that you probably need it more than ever.”

resentment or a painful memory, then sitting quietly can become intolerable.

Clinical psychologist Noam Shpancer, PhD, suggests first letting go of perfection. Accept your mind will produce plenty of thoughts but consciously choose how to respond to those thoughts, if at all. "Be a spectator; instead of taking the thoughts and feelings that come into your head as the truth, or as you,” he says, “simply observe them as they come and go.” Think of it all as “theatre in the mind” — as if it’s a movie you’re watching — not as something that is objectively true or inevitable." Breathe. If you're feeling anxious, simply taking three deep breaths, counting to five while inhaling and as you as So what can we do about it? you exhale, can help quiet and calm your mind. Another If you're the 'busy bee' and your busyness is an excuse to good way to centre yourself in the here and now is to "sense your surroundings and bring your attention to the not do important things like chill out, then you need a wakeup call. Get control of your life. Stop 'existing', stop physical sensations you are experiencing in the moment: making excuses and know this. Every time you say you're the pressure of your body on your chair, the warmth of your hands on your knees, the sounds outside the open too busy to spend time alone, you're just failing to window". And finally, don't be upset about being upset. prioritise your life. It is a fact that the most successful people in the world aren't busy. We associate and confuse “Scientific data suggest that periodic disturbing thoughts are very common,” says Shpancer. “So it is important to being busy with achieving. And our efforts to keep busy end up removing our focus on what we actually need to do not attribute too much meaning to these thoughts to begin with. A disturbing thought is not a sign of to be successful. I suggest the following. disturbance. Most troubling thoughts will go away on their own if we refrain from self-blame and attaching undo Stop. Just for one day. Give yourself some quite pace to meaning and significance to them.” write down what you are busy doing and evaluate whether you are working towards the goals and values With all of these things, regular practice and discipline that are important to you or if in fact, for others in your life. What's the purpose to all your hustling and bustling? will eventually allow you to be comfortable in your own Can you articulate what the 'bigger picture' looks like to skin. First you need to recognise when you are beating yourself up. Think about the narrative in your head and you? Choose to become less reactionary and instead do why you are being so hard on yourself. Remember, whilst the things that bring your closer to your goals. As its important to have strong connections with other yourself if you're being busy because it's easier than people, the strongest connection and deepest taking control of your life? Are you stopping yourself understanding you need to have is with yourself. Slowly from forward thinking and planning? If you truly want to be successful in all areas of your life, practice building your mental strength. It might not be you need balance and a little solitude has been proven to easy but start by practicing self-kindness and give yourself permission to be happy. increase your productivity and unlock your potential to be creative. You will have greater clarity and focus to put a plan in place. Just remember to continuously go back to it and make sure you're on track. It sounds simple enough. Sit quietly, put on some chill music, do nothing and relax. Bliss right? Not always. If you're afraid of being alone with your thoughts, then solitude can feel very uncomfortable. If, when you are left alone you are telling yourself things that you are unlikely to repeat out loud to friends or family, or you spend your time beating yourself up for where you are in life, what you haven't achieved, and chewing over the "what if" scenarios of losing your job, running out of money,

“Think about the narrative in your head and why you are being so hard on yourself. Remember, whilst its important to have strong connections with other people, the strongest connection and deepest understanding you need to have is with yourself.”

“Studies have shown that taking time out, alone, has been linked to a reduced risk of depression, better life satisfaction, improved stress management and increased happiness. Spending time alone also opens up the opportunity to reevaluate your priorities and recalibrate and celebrate your achievements. It helps you to solve problems and get creative. But most of all, it allows you to become comfortable in your

If you're the social media addict and you feel like social media is stopping you from living your best life or focussing on your goals then the only solution is to break the bad habit with a better one. First you've got to figure out why your addicted. What's your motive? It's unlikely that you're just bored. Are you stressed out, avoiding facing up to certain problems or challenges? Are you feeling disconnected from friends and family or just overwhelmed and using it as easy escapism? Then identify the triggers that make you reach for your phone. Second, make it harder to scratch that itch. Delete the social media apps from your phone (yes, a detox), turn on Do Not Disturb and turn off app notifications. Remember, some of the smartest people in the world have dedicated their lives to making social media more addictive; so it won't be easy. Finally, replace the negative impulses with the positive reward of going for a walk around the block or do a threeminute breathing exercise. You don't need hours of time alone to feel the rewards of solitude. Just ten minutes a day could be enough to rejuvenate and refresh you from the daily grind. If you don't even think you have time for that that you probably need it more than ever. Whatever you decide to do, meditate, journaling, learn something new - it's up to you but the important thing is to allow yourself to be alone with your thoughts. If you're feeling more adventurous then you might even schedule a monthly activity to do by yourself, perhaps even pick up a hobby or activity you enjoyed doing as a child. You can also get out into nature, absorb, and observe. The quiet time will give you the chance to reengage with your inner voice and your emotions. And best of all, you'll show up better for the people you love, in your life.

“ If you're the 'busy bee' and your busyness is an excuse to not do important things like chill out, then you need a wakeup call. Get control of your life. Stop 'existing', stop making excuses and know this. Every time you say you're too busy to spend time alone, you're just failing to prioritise your life.�






Creative WOMEN


SADIE FROST Mind Body Soul

After practising yoga for over 30 years, Sadie wanted to design a yoga range that incorporated her love for yoga. Inspired by the five senses, healing qualities and the alignment of chakras to inspire strength and positivity, FROST is a sustainable collection of leggings, vests and bra tops for the active, fun loving, soul searching woman.

When and why did you get into Yoga ? My mother first encouraged me to go to yoga when I was 16 years old, as I had asthma and she knew how important yoga could be for the breath. At first I thought it daunting but it planted a seed which grew and grew… so I started 35 years ago at least which is amaing-I have been so inspired by so many Yoga teachers over the years, and loved travelling to discover different teachers and different types of yoga cultures. WHAT TYPE DO YOU DO? I love it all, Ashtanga, Jivamukti, Forest, Yin and flow. I practice every kind but I now I mainly do self-practice that combines all of them- I have developed a morning practice that really compliments my body and awakens my spine and calms my mind.- I have had a lot of back problems over the years due to back labours when I gave birth to my childrenit caused some disc damage that took quite a few years to rehabilate.- I now know my body inside out and what yoga poses does what and what will help me in my everyday life- my practice supports me so that I can be pain-free, calm, engergised and contented. It’s important to practice yoga before you are your mat and afterwards also -All day long really- and remember that progress is different with everyone and it should be gentle- it’s a lifelong practice that helps with the combination of your mind body and spirit- I have had some wonderful teachers such as Stewart Gilchrist and Nadia Narain. HOW HAS IT ADDED TO YOUR LIFE? WHAT BENEFITS HAS IT BROUGHT TO YOU? It gives me space, focus, and a sense of calm. I feel supple, flexible and strong it gives me hope, peace and a direction. When I have gone through challenging times in my life - yoga has been my best friend- it’s always there and always assists me .. It really helped with my breathing when I had lung difficulties – and breathing is really key to calm the nervous system, which helps with depression and anxiety.]

“I want the clothes to be something you feel good wearing on your way to and from the yoga studio- so you can also wear them at other occasions by layering them up”

WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO CREATE A RANGE OF YOGA GEAR? It was a couple of years ago I wanted to do something that was more hands on and heartfelt, gentle and close to me and is what I am about now... A lot of the yoga gear out there was heavily printed- Lycra and seemed quite masculine – I wanted this to be the opposite so I wanted to use positive affirmations on some of the clothes such as ‘ I am love’ and symbols that represents peace such as the lotus. We use the different chakra color’s in our designs like red or burgundy for the root chakra ( energy is grounding strength) or Green for the heart chakra and the energy is giving and receiving love and opening the heart) I want the chakra energies within my design expand to other areas.. as the label grows!

WHAT IS KEY TO GOOD YOGA WEAR? Fabrics that are not too restrictive so your skin can breathe, move, and not feel too restrictive. HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH THE DESIGNS? WHAT INSPIRES THEM? My inspiration comes from chakras and healing, positivity, the five senses and peace symbols- I am influenced by dancing and the dancers silhouette- I wanted the shapes to accentuate the female form and the alignment of the muscles -

“Yoga gives me space, focus, and a sense of calm. I feel supple, flexible and strong it gives me hope, peace and a direction. When I have gone through challenging times in my life - yoga has been my best friend.“

“It was a couple of years ago I wanted to do something that was more hands on and heartfelt, gentle and close to me and is what I am about now... A lot of the yoga gear out there was heavily printedLycra and seemed quite masculine – I wanted this to be the opposite” WHAT INSPIRES YOU? Travel, yoga and my friends and family- also my own yoga practice- when I light incense and practice in front of a fir I feel inspired - but my most inspiration comes from when I am in India – the chaos, the culture- all the amazing architecture and clashing pigmented colours and of course all the food – especially the curries or the aulevedic cuisine. I LOVE THE SEXY FISHNET LEGGINGS. THESE CLOTHES AREN’T JUST FOR THE STUDIO ARE THEY? I want the clothes to be something you feel good wearing on your way to and from the yoga studio- so you can also wear them at other occasions by layering them up.. the body suit looks amazing when the mesh jacket is thrown over the top - they definitely have an 80’s dance feel also- remember the series Fame? WHERE CAN PEOPLE BUY THE BRAND? We sell online from our website and we also sell at selected yoga studios –such as Triyoga- Indaba –Bhuti and boutiques such as Press in Primrose Hill, Urban retreat and Yoga Matters.


AZZA FAHMY Azza Fahmy is an independent purveyor of handcrafted jewellery taking their inspiration from 7000 years of culture defined by contemporary minds. Honouring traditional techniques passed down from generation to generation, each piece is a result of years of research. Their spirit is proudly Egyptian whilst the appeal of their creations is now global, with stores on four continents, pieces worn worldwide by influencers and singers such as Rihanna and Joss Stone and collaborations with international designers Matthew Williamson and Preen by Thornton Bregazzi. Here we speak to the brand's namesake,Chairwomen/ Creative Director,Azza Fahmy about the brand's creation and future plans.

WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A JEWELLERY DESIGNER? I have always had an interest in design and I have BA in interior design. However, it was when I found a German book on Medieval European Jewellery. It was reconfirmed from the moment I finished my first piece. WHERE DID YOU STUDY? Initially, two years studying with the masters at Khan El Khalili in the ancient jewellery quarter in Egypt followed by a year at the London Poly courtesy of a scholarship from the British Council. WHAT ARE YOUR BASIC DESIGN PRINCIPLES? Connecting Jewellery with culture and historical references and translating this to suit modern, contemporary lifestyle without compromising our DNA. HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE THE LADY WHO WEARING YOUR DESIGNS? Someone who quintessential loves to be different, has an appreciation for art and culture, the integrity of unique, artistic designs, and loves individuality. IN YOUR VIEW, WHAT CHARACTERISES AZZA FAHMY DESIGNS? Each meticulously hand-crafted piece holds a story and is immersed in,and reflects cultures from across the globe while being stylish, modern and relevant at the same time. Indepth research goes into every collection in order for us to create authentic artistic designs that incorporate timehonoured techniques and include features such as beautiful motifs and calligraphy.

collections. It artistically translated the complex art form ofAncient Egypt’s motifs and symbolic references to modern contemporary jewellery. Every piece of jewellery holds a story and it is one of our most successful collections. TELLS US A LITTLE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE BRAND? The brand was established in 1969. I began my career working for the Egyptian Government as a graphic designer before my passion for jewellery design was ignited. I trained for two years as an apprentice with a well respected master in Khan El Khalili,Egypt’s ancient jewellery quarter before moving to London courtesy of a British Council Scholarship to further and complete my jewellery design studies. On returning to Egypt I began creating hand-crafted jewellery and steadily developed a growing business. By the mid ‘90’s ‘Azza Fahmy’had grown to a fully-fledged brand with a strong export business. We now have a workforce of over 220 employees and 14 retail doors across Egypt, Jordan and UAE and this includes Bloomingdales and Harvey Nichols in Dubai, seven standalone Azza Fahmy boutiques, online boutique – www. plus online retail presence in Italy (Luisa Via Roma) and the UK with La Maison Couture plus our new London store in Mayfair at 27 Burlington Arcade. Four years ago, I opened DSAF (Design School by Azza Fahmy) in Cairo in collaboration with Alchimia School of Contemporary Design in Florence. It is design training facility to train budding design entrepreneurs or those wanting to gain design capabilities and it delivers a comprehensive curriculum with courses in jewellery design and manufacture as well as providing commercial insight. When I decided to study jewellery design there were no designated facilities or organisations so I had to find my own way of achieving the necessary knowledge. DSAF fulfils this requirement as the first educational institution of its kind in the region.

WHICH ISYOUR MOST TREASURED COLLECTION AND WHY? The Pharaonic Collection – The inspiration behind the Pharaonic collection is the Armana period (1352-1327 B.C.) with a special focus on the theme of ‘Love and Wisdom’. It was a time of revolutionary cultural change to Egyptian religion, art and society and is the most famous of periods of Ancient Egyptian history. It took eight years of in-depth research and creative development with every detail being authenticated by an ex-Christie’s Egyptologist. Like all our collections the Pharaonic collection is hand-crafted and is one of our largest

18Kt Gold earring adorned with calligraphy and dangling charms

18kt Gold Art Deco Inspired Ring adorned with Precious stones and calligraphy

WHAT IS IT IS LIKE WORKING WITH YOUR DAUGHTERS? It’s great. They bring a fresh perspective which is vital to the company’s growth. We share the same aims and, they were immersed in my work from a young age, so, it’s all a very natural process. DID YOU EXPECT THEM TO JOIN THE FAMILY BUSINESS? No. It was quite a surprise, but it’s great to be working with them. AS A FAMILY, HOW DO YOU RESOLVE BUSINESS ISSUES? We have a golden rule. Business is not discussed outside of the office so. It can be difficult but it is important that any issues or potential issues are addressed and resolved in the office during specific regular meetings. It maintains domestic harmony.

18kt Gold Multi-wear Snake necklace adorned with precious stones 18kt Gold Hoop earrings with calligraphy


We have invested in growing the UK audience and our online boutique has witnessed significant UK revenue. This market has become one of our important The ‘Falahi’ collection is inspired by and reflects Egyptian growth areas outside the MEA region. traditional heritage from across the region. It is dedicated Additionally, London (with the help of the British Council) to and celebrates the peasant woman, the unsung heroine has made a significant educational contribution to my early who plays a great role in society that no one notices, who career path and that of my younger daughter who is our head has had a huge impact on modern jewellery introducing and of design, further enhancing our connection to the city. popularising many styles including kerdan and the ubiquitous serpent motif. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A YOUNG The collection is elegant and features intricate fine wirework ENTREPRENEUR? and detailing that has been carefully designed to create a layered 3D appearance. There is also a strikingly Believe in yourself and be passionate about your craft.Don’t sophisticated necklace with matching earrings that is be afraid of failing – disappointment is all part of process. inspired by and honours the iconic artist & performer, Consider failings and mistakes as learnings. They form Taheya Karyoka. experience. Work hard, success will come. As our inspiration is drawn from many different eras we have subtly fused Egyptian,Greco andVictorian origins to create WHAT CAN CONSUMERS EXPECT TO SEE YOU AT individual and unique stylish designs. THE LONDON STORE? The collection is available in our trademark metal mix combination of 18ct gold and sterling silver or 18ct gold Visitors to the store will be able to experience and shop the option and feature rose cut diamonds, pearls, coins, motifs Azza Fahmy brand. A curated selection of hand-crafted and calligraphy together with textured finishes. exquisite pieces from across our most popular collections together with exclusive pieces will be available as well as the WHY DIDYOU CHOOSE LONDON FORYOUR FIRST opportunity to utilise our bespoke design service. STORE OUTSIDE OF THE MENA?


AMINA GHALI Amina Ghali, Azza Fahmy’s youngest daughter, joined Azza Fahmy Jewellery in 2005 and spent 3 years working behind the scenes designing and developing pieces across the brand’s various collections. She impactfully endorsed and applied the brand’s ethos of producing unique pieces with subtle historic and cultural references with a contemporary modern twist.

WHEN DO YOU REALISE THAT YOU WANTED TO HOW AND WHERE DO YOU FIND INSPIRATION FOLLOW INYOUR MOTHER’S FOOTSTEPS AND GO FOR EVERY COLLECTION? INTO TO THE BUSINESS? So many different places.I can be inspired by anything from I was always very inclined towards the art side of things, a piece of art, to a cultural expression or a fashion trend but it really began after my gap year while studying in Italy. prediction.Whatever it is it has to ultimately sit well with I created my first ring, it was a brass crown design and I the Azza Fahmy personality. was so overcome with emotion that I left the ring and called my mother up in Cairo to say that this was it! It really was WHAT IS THE KEY ELEMENT OF YOUR DESIGNS a defining moment. THAT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE EVERY TIME, IS IT BEAUTY FIRST, FUNCTIONALITY SECOND? YOUR SISTER IS ALSO PART OF THE COMPANY. WHAT IS HER ROLE? Desirability and wearability which includes functionality and comfort are all key to my designs. I was once unable Fatma is the company’s Vice-chair and has the tough to get out of a designer dress due to the location of the back responsibility for developing the brand and growing the fastening which needed the assistance of another person and business internationally. She has been instrumental in as I was alone I was trapped in the dress! This reinforced the establishing our brand which will be celebrating its 50th importance of function,when function works well with form anniversary later this year. it’s creates a brilliant overall brand experience. We go one step further with unique designs that holds a story which WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND resonates with the wearer. DISADVANTAGES ( IF ANY) OF BEING A FAMILY BUSINESS? I KNOW YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT THE PIECES BEING COMFORTABLE AND WEARABLE. I’m so fortunate to work with my mother and sister. We THE WEIGHT OF THE JEWELLERY IS VERY share and are driven by the same business aims and goals MUCH CONSIDERED ISN’T IT? and this removes potential struggles that exist in nonfamily business. Absolutely. We rigorously wear test our pieces including an element of athleticism to ensure comfort. Jewellery I am not going to pretend that it is all plain sailing, we’re should be like soft fabric against the skin, you shouldn’t human after all. On occasions, there are some tense times notice that it’s there! and we all have to work hard to overcome such challenges but our common focus is always the hero. In addition, to I LOVE THAT SOME OF THE PIECES YOU CAN maintain a healthy work versus life balance,there is a family WEAR IN DIFFERENT WAYS AND HAVE rule in place that prevents us from discussing work outside MULTIPLE LOOKS. ITS A JOY FOR THE the office. I know we all find this incredibly tough but it CUSTOMER BUT HOW COMPLEX DOES THAT means resolutions to any issues are made in the office and MAKE THE DESIGNS FOR YOU? in a timely manner without jeopardising our domestic harmony as a family. It makes it a bit more challenging, because it means that I need to be very on top of global trends as well as how DID YOU STUDY JEWELLERY DESIGN OR DID people’s habits are changing and their sense of style. YOU LEARN BY OBSERVING YOUR MOTHER? WHAT IS AN AVERAGE DAY AT WORK FOR YOU? I did my BA in jewellery design and silversmith at the University of Central England, Birmingham, UK and a What an interesting question, no one has ever asked me year at Italy’s Alchimia Contemporary Jewellery School that before! My average day is crazy and varied. I wear before joining the company back in 2005. But naturally several hats within the company so it really depends. It by working alongside my mother I also gained a wealth of could include anything from media interviews, board, knowledge (and I’m still learning). We now work in marketing or budgeting meetings. But in all my days partnership and feed off each other’s energy sharing input there will be one common thing, design. Either I will be on anything from design techniques and inspirations to amending sketches or working on samples, designing or general development advice. thinking about what to design next!

WHAT IS AN AVERAGE DAY AT WORK FOR YOU? What an interesting question, no one has ever asked me that before! My average day is crazy and varied. I wear several hats within the company so it really depends. It could include anything from media interviews, board, marketing or budgeting meetings. But in all my days there will be one common thing, design. Either I will be amending sketches or working on samples, designing or thinking about what to design next! WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM THE NEW COLLECTION? We’re launching our 2019 Culture collection in October and this will mark the commencement of our 50th anniversary. I can’t say very much right now but the design for the collection is very intricate and the theme will celebrate a very important historical era in Egypt. There will also be a philanthropic element. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE EVER AND WHY? The Wing collar necklace, it’s easy to wear, day or night, and holds a story that reflects rich Pharaonic culture and is inspired by Nekhbet, a goddess in Egyptian mythology. I loved designing this piece and creatively translating historic references to this contemporary piece. HOW POSSIBLE WOULD IT BE TO GET A QUOTE FROM AZZA RE : WHAT SHE THINKS OF AMINA’S ACHIEVEMENTS, HER DESIGNS AND HER AS A DAUGHTER.

''It was a great surprise when Amina decided to join the company. I was both delighted and proud.Amina has a bold dynamic energy and brought a refreshing creative aesthetic that greatly enhanced our design process.We learnt from each other and were able to marry our individual approaches and techniques with complementary results. Our design partnership continues to go from strength to strength successfully create unique desirable collections. She embodies the Azza Fahmy DNA and is the future of our brand''

Sterling Silver & 18 Carat Yellow Gold Wings Collar A stunning statement Collar, and an Azza Fahmy Bestseller, this Sterling Silver and 18 carat Yellow Gold hinged collar necklace is inspired by the Ostrich plume of 'Maat'- an ancient symbol of cosmic balance, truth and justice- A story born more than 7,000 years ago in the heart of Ancient Egypt.


Wardrobe wishlist 'SIENNA JONES''founder of

Justine Dalby TELL US ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND IN DESIGN? I have always had a love of fashion, design and of course handbags. I have been involved in designing products in Covent Garden since 1995, ranging from accessories, beauty and cosmetics products to luxury handbags WHY DID YOU FOCUS ON HANDBAGS AND START THE COMPANY? I wanted to design a range of bags for me that were good quality with a Luxury look and feel and affordable. WHO IS YOUR CUSTOMER, WHO ARE YOU AIMING AT? Our target is women who love fashion, have busy lives, so need both elegant and practicality in one. We designed several of our bags to be worn as cross body and or backpacks, so they would be easy to use every day, hands free for the busy woman, easy to wear for work and fun. With some lovely colours to choose from. HOW PATIENT DO YOU HAVE TO BE AND HOW MUCH WORK GOES IN TO A START UP LIKE YOURS? DO YOU HAVE A BIG TEAM? You need to be very patient and it is hard. I actually started the business in 1995, so a long time ago, and moved into handbags in 2006. There is a small hard working team, everyone has to do a bit of everything, and we are all very flexible. It take a huge amount of time and investment to launch a brand, and it takes more time to become established, we are just at the beginning of the journey. TELL US ABOUT THE FIRST COLLECTION YOU HAD, WHO IT WAS INSPIRED BY AND A BIT OF THE BACK-STORY? The first collection was very much about classic, luxury design with a bit of character. Using first grade leather, which is the best quality, with a simple oversized leather bow and chunky gold accessories, the bags were for every day and evening.

DO YOU YOURSELF HAVE A ROYAL CONNECTION? We have a Limited Edition range of Bow bags designed by Sisters Amelia and Marina Windsor, the bow shape is inspired by their great grandmother Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark famous diamond bow brooch. The ladies have been great to work with and lots of fun. HOW MUCH WORK GOES INTO SOURCING THE RIGHT LEATHER, WHERE DOES IT COME FROM? There is a lot of background work on the sourcing side, and we buy leather wherever we can get the best quality and finish we need. We make many of the bags in grade 1 leather, which is the first cut. Although this is beautifully soft, it is not as hard wearing as some leathers that we use for the rucksacks and duffle bags, which need to be little tougher. WHAT INSPIRES YOUR DESIGNS AND COLOURS? I think we all love a bit of colour. A bag is a great way to finish an outfit or look. We were looking for striking and natural colours, deep reds and greens were chosen and are our most popular colours in the classic leather ranges.

Backpacks Primrose. Sienna Jones

Sienna Jones Marina Blue Bow Bags Launch YOU ALSO DO ACCESSORIES TALK US THROUGH An Equestrian friend of mine Tamara Czartoryski, SOME OF THEM. introduced me to Sophie a few years ago. Sophie is a great enthusiast about design. She was hands-on throughout The accessories are an addition to the look and feel of the the design process selecting which materials and colours brand. Simple striking jewellery and scarves that that she loves. Sophie understands that busy women complement the bags colours. today need a bag that looks great while being functional at the same time and playful adding a splash of colour, I ALWAYS LOVE THE NAMES OF HANDBAGS. sophistication and fun. HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT NAMING YOURS? Sophie was set on finding an affordable option for all busy I totally agree, Its great fun naming the bags, sometimes women without having to break the bank as being in her they would be names based on who we thought we be newly independent phase of life she no longer had the using them, so the City Bag was for busy working ladies, budget for the high-end brands but still wanted the luxury the Primrose Hill, for those relaxing weekends with feel at an affordable price! friends and family in your favourite park… HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR PERSONAL LIFE WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT THE DESIGNS ARE SEPARATE FROM WORK. HOW DO YOU SWITCH THEY ARE SIMPLE, ELEGANT AND OFF? EXTREMELY PRACTICAL THEY HAVE EXQUISITE LITTLE TWISTS AS WELL. HOW Although I love the busy, cosmopolitan London life, I mix IMPORTANT IS THE FUNCTION WHEN YOU ARE this with weekend time in the countryside with Tom, my CREATING THESE PIECES? other half, the dogs, Rosie and Snoopy and I to ride whenever I can. Function and practicality is extremely important to us, we want the bags to be worn with love and comfort. We WHAT ARE YOUR AMBITIONS FOR THE BRAND opted for less bag designs and more colourways. GOING FORWARD? It was important that our core collection of bags were made from first cut leather, providing excellent quality, I would love to build the brand, getting the bags into some whilst being elegant and affordable as well as practical. major stores would be great. Its takes loads of work and time, so watch this space… TELL US ABOUT YOUR COLLABORATION WITH SOPHIE STANBURY?

Sophie stanbury


Checking in with PR Queen Lysbeth Fox

Lysbeth Fox is the Managing Director of Fox PR, an integrated communications agency specialising in luxury, whose portfolio of clients includes some of the most prestigious brands in the world. Prior to founding her own agency, Lysbeth previously set up and ran PR companies and built specific travel & lifestyle divisions, running global media campaigns for some of the major players in the industry. With over 20 years in the business, Lysbeth is passionate about public relations – and not a day goes by that she doesn’t find something she loves about her work. Whether it’s meeting a new client, discovering a new destination or trend or finding a newsworthy angle that connects with an editor – she is tenacious, insightful, creative and an ardent proponent of the power of good PR.



Whether you’re man or woman running a business isn’t easy. Actually, setting up is the easy part, driving it to success is where the hard work sits, 25% of all start ups fail in their first year and 50% don’t even make it past year 5. I am on year 8. I know many women entrepreneurs and have worked for many in the past who ran successful companies, so in terms of women succeeding as business owners, I don’t think that the playing field has changed remarkably.

I had been in the communications industry for over 20 years and with all of the experiences I’d had, from working in small, large, in house, agencies – I knew I could build an agency that stood out from the rest. It was my ambition to specialise, to build a professional, yet creative agency, a boutique firm, but with big thinking. In fact, our strapline is A Global Reach, A Personal Touch, and I think that describes us perfectly. What was and still is of paramount importance to me is to build a company that is strategic and sees the big picture but never loses sight of the people involved. No matter how big we get as an agency, I want our offices to be a place that everyone loves coming to work in the morning.

What I do think has evolved is how women are perceived when setting up a business. In the past and even now, women are offered less money in loans for their start up. In fact typically women will have half as much capital as men. Something I find even more shocking is that women-only funding teams were given £32milion in investment while male only teams received more than £5billion – from the British Business Bank. So there is still work to be done. But for now we have discourse, the conversation has started and I hope that in time, soon, this will change for the future female entrepreneurs. WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO LAUNCH YOUR OWN AGENCY?

Whilst an entrepreneurial spirit runs through my family, in the end it was circumstance rather than business acumen that ultimately drove my decision. I was recently separated and the sole breadwinner for my 1 ½ year old. I knew I could get a big job in London in PR, however I’d have to hire a nanny, leave the house at 7am, not be home before 7pm – I’d never see my little daughter and that’s what propelled me forward. For me that was the driving factor, to be able to be a mum and be there for my daughter and not miss the important moments in her life, as well as putting a roof over our


Honestly I have had so many, that to say one particular one would be cheating on all of the others. When you’ve really had to struggle I think it makes you appreciate the good times even more. I’ve found myself sitting at a dinner or at an event and literally pinching myself to ensure that I am not dreaming. I am truly blessed to be able to experience some of the things I have and I don’t take that for granted, not for one minute.

There are so many, and that’s the joy of it. If you don’t love the highs and the lows, don’t do it, get a salaried job. Every day is a high or a low, or in the same day. It ebbs and flows, throughout the journey, and that’s just it, you need to see it as a journey not a straight-line. It might be more apt to say it’s even a roller-coaster at times! There are moments in which you will find you are holding your IS THERE A PERSON IN YOUR LIFE THAT hands so tight they go numb and blue and others where INSPIRES YOU? you are exuberantly throwing your arms up in the air with joy. Luckily there are some breather days there in I think it would have to be my dad, he started out a between too. chicken farmer, built a family business and sold it when he was in his late 50s – and then had to go out to the WHAT ARE YOUR AMBITIONS FOR FOX PR? workplace and get a job. He started his own business at the age of 60, which went on to be tremendously To build an agency that is a great place of work; where we successful. I think that shows guts and determination, achieve outstanding results on behalf of our clients, something that I aspire to on a daily basis. strategic, successful, professional, creative and we also have fun along the way. WHAT ARE YOUR TOP FIVE TRAVEL TIPS FOR WELLNESS? WHAT’S BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE? Don’t drink alcohol on the airplane Hot glass of lemon and water first thing in the morning Without doubt it’s setting up Fox PR, but that would Get up and work out, yoga, run, swim, whatever it is – just never have happened if I hadn’t had all the amazing get moving, it’s imperative. experience of building divisions, running other Clean your airline seat (but maybe not Naomi Campbell companies, working in house. It was a collection of these style) work achievements and life experiences over the past 20 And sleep, get a good night’s sleep – sleep is the best years has absolutely made Fox PR what it is today and wellness you can receive for that I am truly grateful. YOUR FAVOURITE DESTINATION? HAVE YOU HAD TO MISS OUT ON ANYTHING IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE FOR YOUR BUSINESS? Today the world, in the future maybe the moon…. YES, of course I have. Missed family and social events, neglected friends, increased stress, exhaustion, added wrinkles - all of it comes with the territory . But it’s also given me so much more: the ability to do things like attending my daughters sports day, to be with her when she’s needed me. It has also given me the freedom to create a business that runs the way I want it to run. To build something that I believe in, that inspires others and does great work. The sacrifices I have had to make have been vastly outweighed by the benefits, otherwise I wouldn’t still be doing it. HAS THERE BEEN A MOMENT IN YOUR BUSINESS WHERE YOU HAD TO PINCH YOURSELF AND REALISE YOU MADE IT THIS FAR?


Passion, determination & drive

''Without doubt it’s setting up Fox PR, but that would never have happened if I hadn’t had all the amazing experience of building divisions, running other companies, working in house''


The Day


By Maddie Waktare


In 2013, just after Barak Obama took office for the second time, legendary rapper, Common, released a song entitled, The Day Women Took Over. In it, he imagines a world where female ‘preachers and world leaders’ are the norm; young girls are given the support they need to become ‘phenomenal women’ and Michelle Obama’s face appears on dollar bills.

by none other than Missy Elliot! Author and journalist Yomi Adegoke sums up Obama’s unique effect on popular culture perfectly, writing in a Guardian article: “it is her star power that has seen them (the Obamas) become something politicians rarely can be: tastemakers.”

In permeating popular culture, Obama’s appeal has reached mass audiences, making politics appeal to young Common’s matriarchal utopia envisages much of what women from all walks of life. She has inspired women of Obama has been campaigning for over the past ten years. colour, providing them with a public role model, who has Most telling, however, is that after four short years in the excelled both academically and professionally. Before public spotlight, Common lays out her name alongside becoming First Lady, Obama had an exceptional record of polemic black feminist icons like Rosa Parks, Maya achievement: gaining her undergraduate degree from Angelo and Fannie Lou Hamer. Princeton, she went on to study at Harvard Law School before having a successful career in the law and then in As such, Obama’s iconic status comes in many forms. The public service. historic significance of her position as America’s first black First Lady speaks for itself. On the 20th January In an interview with the Telegraph, African-American 2009, her name, and that of her husband, Barak, was singer, actress and campaigner Janelle Monae talks about enshrined in the history books of the world. her own role in Hidden Figures: a film which tells the true story of the black female mathematicians responsible for However, her global hype has also seen her coin modern sending the first American astronauts into space. On day proverbs: ‘when they go low we go high’; held up reading the script for the first time, she recalls: “I had no alongside legendary black pop starts like Beyoncé; clue who these women were. So I was upset … but I was and hailed a style icon by Vogue. Like Beyoncé, Obama also proud and excited that, finally, we’re going to have has been guilty of sending the British public into mass some true, new American heroes that just so happen to be hysteria: disappointing tens of thousands of people who black women.” missed out on tickets for her sell out London talks last December. The stories of exceptional women of colour, game The effect the two women have on their audiences is also changers in their sphere, are rarely highlighted in not dissimilar. Obama’s speeches have transfixed crowds, mainstream media. American heroes tend to fit a rigid moving them from tears to elation and closing to the mould, as Obama also highlights in an interview with the sound of stadium shattering applause. New York Times: “Part of why I knew my book had to be As political scientist and author of On Behalf of the done, and done well, is because it’s a rare moment in President, Lauren Wright has pointed out, Obama uses history that a black woman gets to tell her own story. popular culture and social media as a way of engaging Success stories look a certain way: they’re male; they’re with younger generations and shaping public perception. white; they’re wealthy.” Her Instagram account in particular is peppered with old family photos and snaps of Barak hanging out with Over the past ten years, Obama has been a singularly daughters Malia and Sasha. Obama’s personal life consistent antidote to this image. Through her appears remarkably relatable. campaigning and the recent publication of her autobiography, she continues to offer herself as a fresh The account also showcases her mixing amongst the narrative for women of colour. American people with unaffected ease, warmth and joy. Then there’s the video of her dancing on The Ellen In March 2018, a picture of two-year-old Parker Curry DeGeneres Show and her viral Carpool Karaoke where gaping awestruck at a painting of Obama in the National she ‘surprises’ James Corden with a tour of the White Portrait gallery went viral. She was so captivated that she House, sings along to Stevie Wonder and is finally joined wouldn’t even turn around to have her photo taken. Her

“Obama has become an international voice in advocating for girls education and shining a light on the disparity of opportunities for children in her own country and in the world at large.” "In further discussion with (Parker) … I realised that she believes Michelle Obama is a queen, and she wants to be a queen as well. As a female and as a girl of colour, it's really important that I show her people who look like her that are doing amazing things and are making history so that she knows she can do it." In a country without royalty, it’s perfectly reasonable to view the role of First Lady as equivalent to a Queen. Another of America’s royal descendants, the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, once sang: “There was a time when they used to say, that behind every great man, there had to be a great woman.” This old phrase has got to be patriarchy’s most colossal back handed compliment, and in a way, so is the role of First Lady. Traditionally, the First Lady was responsible for little more than being the ‘hostess’ of the White House and feminists have repeatedly called for the role to be abolished. Gradually, however, it has gained more substance. Jackie Kennedy was instrumental in changing the landscape of both the White House itself and what it meant to be a First Lady. Jackie believed that the White House should tell an artistic history of the United States and set about restoring its dismal walls and drab furniture as well as replanting the entire Rose and East Gardens. More significantly, Jackie became indispensable on her husband’s presidential campaign. She spoke multiple languages and was such a hit in Europe that on returning from a trip to Paris, John F. Kennedy quipped: “I do not think it altogether inappropriate for me to introduce myself. I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris.”

responsibility for progressive social initiatives. However, the First Lady was still encapsulated very much within the nucleus of the presidential couple. No First Lady has commandeered and shaped the role to her own initiative quite like Michelle Obama. After graduating from law school in 1988, Obama started her career as an associate at the Chicago branch of Sidley Austin, a prestigious American law firm. However, after a few years, she began to find the work unfulfilling. Obama tried to remedy her unhappiness by advocating for more diversity in what was an overwhelmingly white and privileged work force. In her autobiography, Becoming, she recounts: “I tried to focus on the projects I found most meaningful, including my efforts to recruit a new and more diverse crop of summer associates.” She continues, “My goal was to bring in law students who were not just smart and hard-driving but also something else than male and white … We’d need to think about how they’d used whatever opportunities life had afforded them rather than measuring them simply by how far they’d made it up an elitist academic ladder.” In the end Obama’s dissatisfaction got the better of her. The death of her close friend Suzanne followed by her father shortly afterwards in 1991 revealed to her the depth of her social conscience. She concluded: “If I died I didn’t want people remembering me for the stacks of legal briefs I’d written. I felt certain that I had something more to offer the world.” So began Obama’s career in public service and she hit her stride working to support communities like her own on the south side of Chicago.

“It’s fair to say that when Obama became First Lady in 2009, her agenda was already well defined: shaped by years of working to improve the lives of young people in struggling communities. She used her new platform to upscale this work and her achievements have been no less than brilliant.”

She also ushered in an era of political celebrity. According to the BBC, in the glow of network television, the first truly glamorous presidential couple appeared before the nation, driven by a press fixation around Jackie, the like of which had never been seen. Jackie Kennedy marked a turning point. In her wake the First Lady grew as a public figure, became instrumental to presidential campaigns and slowly began to take on the

“In permeating popular culture, Obama’s appeal has reached mass audiences, making politics appeal to young women from all walks of life. She has inspired women of colour, providing them with a public role model, who has excelled both academically and professionally.”

Her first role was in the Development and Planning Department of the Chicago city government. Following this she went on to become Executive Director for the Chicago branch of Public Allies: a non-profit committed to advancing social justice by unlocking the leadership capabilities of young people. By 2005 Obama had risen to Vice President of Community and External Affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals. It’s fair to say that when Obama became First Lady in 2009, her agenda was already well defined: shaped by years of working to improve the lives of young people in struggling communities. She used her new platform to upscale this work and her achievements have been no less than brilliant.

highlighting the vast number of girls worldwide without access to education. The effects have been tangible, giving thousands more girls worldwide the opportunity to learn. In 2018 she announced her latest project: the Girls Opportunity Alliance which persists with this aim. Obama has become an international voice in advocating for girls education and shining a light on the disparity of opportunities for children in her own country and in the world at large.

What is quite remarkable, is that she’s done it all with unparalleled poise, grace and authenticity. Underpinning everything she does is a genuine passion and desire to see In 2010 she took on the epidemic of childhood obesity others thrive. As she said in her famous speech at the with her ‘Let’s Move’ campaign. With the help of the U.S Democratic National Convention in 2012: “When you’ve Olympic team and other sporting organisations she worked hard, and done well, and walked through that encouraged young people to take up new sport or activity. doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind She also campaigned around healthy eating and the need you. You reach back and you give other folks the same for children to understand where their food was coming chances that helped you succeed.” from, publishing the book, American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across A world presided over by Michelle Obama is a fantasy America. which must have been indulged by thousands, if not Next, in 2015, came ‘Let Girls Learn’, her signature millions of women. However, her strength is best served as initiative which involved recruiting corporations, a voice speaking up to structural power: a galvanising governments and non-profit organisations to invest in force, teaching self-worth to women and children of every adolescent girls’ education around the globe. Under this class, creed and colour, inspiring them to continue her umbrella she launched the #62MillionGirls campaign legacy.




My headmaster at the Duke of Norfolk’s Primary School in Glossop encouraged me from the age of 6 or 7, as did my teachers at secondary School ( Glossop School).

When I was very young my mum drew with me, just in The biggest influence was Bill Clarke, a brilliant artist and biro on a notepad and I was completely fascinated, that teacher whom I met whilst studying on Foundation, he set me off. was the painting and drawing tutor. I think drawing for me became a means of escape, at times from a fairly gritty northern background. ARE YOU FROM A FAMILY OF ARTISTS? Not at all, although who knows what might have been, had my parents or grandparents been given the opportunity to express themselves. My Grandmother worked in a cotton mill. My mum and dad ran a hardware shop. WHO MENTORED YOU, SPOTTED AND ENCOURAGED YOUR TALENT AT THE BEGINNING? A TEACHER? Most everyone can cite an important teacher and I was always encouraged and singled out in terms of drawing and painting.

“So many women of my and previous generations and still under rated and under represented in museums and galleries, sometimes their work hasn’t even survived as no one valued it. I’m thankful that I began working at time of great social change, such as the women’s movement, gay liberation, civil rights. Today women and artists from minorities are beginning to take centre stage, but there’s a long way to go and the weight of art history is considerable, its very western and very male.” YOU MOVED FROM GLOSSOP TO ASHTON-ULYNE TO STUDY AT AN ART SCHOOL. WAS THAT THE GREATEST FEELING, TO BE EXACTLY WHERE YOU NEEDED TO BE? HOW OLD WERE YOU? WHAT WAS IT LIKE THERE? I travelled on the bus everyday to attend Ashton Technical College (now Tameside College). It was incredibly intense and for the first time ever, I was treated as an adult. A new way of thinking and understanding the world and myself, was opened up to me. The teachers were wonderful and the intensity of the experience has stayed with me. WHICH ARTISTS WERE YOU INSPIRED BY STARTING OUT AND WHO WERE YOUR DIRECT INFLUENCES? Probably, early on, I was inspired by the German Expressionists. Also, I remember my first visit to Manchester Art Gallery, I saw paintings by Pre Raphaelites, I was intrigued.… although I’m not sure that I loved them.

daydreamer but desperate to escape my background, where in those days, everyone in Glossop knew who I was and knew my mum and dad. WERE THERE MANY FEMALE ARTISTS AT THIS TIME? WERE YOU AWARE OF BEING IN A MINORITY IN A WAY THAT WAS NEGATIVE OR POSITIVE ? There were no female tutors in my first year at Goldsmiths, although I accepted it as normal at the time. That is quite shocking. WHEN DID YOU REALISE THAT ART IS SOMETHING THAT COULD AND WOULD PROVIDE YOU WITH A LIVING? This took a long time and of course at first, although I gained visability and there was lots of interest in my work, sales were few and far between. I never took it for granted (strangely I still don’t )

YOU’VE WORKED THROUGH THIS PERIOD AND ONTO A TIME WHERE FEMALES ARE YOU MOVED FROM THE NORTH TO LONDON TO CELEBRATED IN ART. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO GO ON TO STUDY AT GOLDSMITHS WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN A TRAILBLAZER? IS THERE STILL A WERE VERY YOUNG, HOW WAS THAT LONG WAY TO GO FOR WOMEN AND TRANSITION FOR YOU PERSONALLY ? AND AS A RECOGNITION AND EQUALITY IN THE ART STUDENT AND WHAT YOU WERE BEING ASKED WORLD? TO DO? So many women of my and previous generations and still I am so grateful that I was a part of a privileged under rated and under represented in museums and generation who could study whatever they wanted to, galleries, sometimes their work hasn’t even survived as no with the aid of a Government Grant. I was the first of my one valued it. I’m thankful that I began working at time family to go onto Higher Education. I arrived at of great social change, such as the women’s movement, Goldsmith College when I was 18 years old and found a gay liberation, civil rights. Today women and artists from small flat in Lee Green, south east London, for £3.50 per minorities are beginning to take centre stage, but there’s a week! I think I was completely naïve and bit of a long way to go and the weight of art history is

Possibly one of the things still not discussed in the artworld is the class system and how this excludes so many people, probably it’s a bigger issue now than in recent decades. The route that I found, through education is less available now, to a wider working class. Student hardship and debt makes studying art, drama and music for example, such a huge challenge. YOUR WORK HAS ON A LEVEL BEEN AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL AND YOU HAVE EXPLORED YOUR LIFE STAGES, WHICH HAS BEEN THE THE MOST JOYOUS TIME FOR YOU AS A WOMEN AND AN ARTIST. WHICH HAS BEEN THE MOST CHALLENGING? HAS PAINTING EVER FELT LIKE A CHORE? I hope the most joyous time of my life is still to come! Managing motherhood, teaching and studio practice was a massive challenge, especially when my boys were young, and within that, navigating relationships, making a living, that’s hard. Happily painting never feels like a chore for me, its still an escape in some ways, my private world. WOMEN ARE A HUGE THEME OF YOUR WORK AND I LOVE THE POSITIONS YOU PUT THEM IN, FLOATING, DANCING, BALANCING ,DIVING. DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS IT YOU ARE TRYING TO SAY BEFORE YOU START OR IS THERE NO PREMEDITATION? WHAT ARE YOU SAYING OVERALL IN YOUR BODY OF WORK?

me. The studio is also a subject for me, it’s my ultimate personal stage set and my arena. I’ve always been aware of the performative and ritualistic aspect of painting. TELL US ABOUT YOUR STYLE, YOUR USE OF BOLD COLOURS AND BROAD STROKES AND HOW YOU APPROACH A PAINTING? DO YOU DRAW AN OUTLINE FIRST? I’ve never managed to make work where the lines doesn’t dominate, but its not one simple outline. The line is arrived at and becomes more emphatic through constant re drawing, making adjustments until I’ve reached some sort of conclusion. I’m always frightened of overworking. IN THE BOOK I HAVE JUST READ ABOUT YOU ‘BETWEEN THE LINES’ THE PAINTINGS THE PAGES FEATURING PAINTINGS 2010 IN THE BOOK ARE VERY STRONG IN COLOUR, OUTLINE AND ACTIVITY. THE WOMAN IN THE BLUE DRESS CUTTING THE HEAD OF A PAPER MAN ( IT LOOKS LIKE ) AND I’M ASSUMING THE ‘SELF PORTRAITS’ OF AN ARTIST AT WORK. WHAT WAS HAPPENING AT THAT TIME TO ENSURE THESE WONDERFUL CREATIONS?

I suppose by this date my two sons were fairly independent and getting on with their lives, this allowed me a lot more headspace to focus on developing my ideas and examining some new ones. My focus on the artist in her studio,( which I see as both universal and personal) shows this total engagement with I don’t fully know what I’m going to say in my work, its studio life. still my way of making sense of the world. However it’s an The painting you mention ‘Paper Doll’ got some ongoing evolution and at its best it’s spontaneous and extraordinary reactions. I didn’t mean to show my female intuitive and I discover new things. I do see art as a subject decapitating the paper figure, I was trying to means of communication, fingers crossed this is relevant describe, visually, the complexities of cutting with scissors to other people and our shared experience. around edges…do you remember this from when you I discovered over the years that balance is a big part of made similar paper dolls? I’m as intrigued as the viewer my subject matter, this adds challenge and danger – as it about the complex ways of reading this – I really enjoy it. does in life. Women balancing their many roles, has I am pleased when my work has a dark side to it. always been imbedded in my work. Dance and theatre as well, stage sets rather than a ‘real world’ always intrigues

“The painting you mention ‘Paper Doll’ got some extraordinary reactions. I didn’t mean to show my female subject decapitating the paper figure, I was trying to describe, visually, the complexities of cutting with scissors around edges… I am pleased when my work has a dark side to it.”

YOU ALSO CREATE CERAMICS AND BRONZE WORKS? WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT THESE MEDIUMS? I love to subvert my way of working by introducing new approaches, processes and materials. Degrees of difficulty keep my practice alive, then I’m fresh when I return to ways of working that I’m very familiar with. WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED ENVIRONMENT WHEN YOU ARE CREATING A PIECE ? WHERE IS YOUR STUDIO ?DO YOU LIKE MUSIC TO BE PLAYING ETC ? I much prefer working in my studio. As I’ve got older I have developed several studio spaces, as opposed to one grand space. My main studio’s for painting, drawing and printmaking are at my home in South London. I also share a printmaking studio with a friend nearby. Then for bronze and ceramics I work in specialist workshops, I need quite a lot of support in these areas! Yes I play music, a lot of the music I’ve known for ever, Soul music, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Neil Young, and newer stuff, some world music and country. Malcolm, my husband is very good at finding new music- I nick things off him. I HAVE SEEN ON INSTAGRAM LATELY YOU HAVE BEEN HAVING PEOPLE SITTING FOR PORTRAITS. HOW LONG DO YOU GENERALLY NEED PEOPLE THERE, BEFORE YOU CAN CONTINUE ALONE? HOW IS THIS PROCESS FOR YOU? YOU HAVE AN AUDIENCE! This has been a completely new way of working for me. As a young artist I turned my back on working from observation, preferring to work more imaginatively. So, in returning to working from life, that’s unknown territory and of course it’s a real challenge. The sessions last on average 2-3 hours, a bit longer if it is a portrait of 2 people or more. I only make small changes after someone has left, maybe finishing the drawing in 1 or 2 other short sessions. I think this adds to the intensity of the portrait. Unlike when I’m in my painting studio, where I’m not talking at all, we pretty much talk all the time. I want to put people at their ease, it’s a weird experience for someone being drawn….. DO YOU NEED TO KNOW THE SUBJECT/S PERSONALLY OR KNOW ABOUT THEM IN ORDER TO PAINT THEM?

I know most of the sitters quite well, lots of them I taught when they were studying Fine Art at the Royal Academy Schools. But I’m keen to show a diversity of faces and bodies, solo, couples and groups…this is so hard to organise as everyone is so busy! I’m making some pictures of parents and children as well. In principle, I’m open to drawing people I don’t know. HOW DO YOU PREPARE PEOPLE FOR SITTING WITH YOU? DO YOU TELL THEM WHAT TO WEAR ETC? I do sometimes discuss with people what they wear. I’ll feed them as well and we’ll have as much tea/coffee as required! I stress to them that sitting completely still isn’t important, the sitter can get in and out of position, I can work around that. Once or twice I’ve asked them to dress in a way that’s relevant to them as artists, so a female sculptor in her work clothes, a film maker was very keen on Westerns came in his cowboy hat, occasionally I have asked people to take things off, shoes, tops, once or twice I’ve drawn naked portraits. TELL US ABOUT YOUR ACCOLADES AND WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A ROYAL ACADEMICIAN AND WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU? I never get carried away with how people perceive me, or in terms of recognition, I’m very grounded and I know how much more I hope to achieve in my work.

“I discovered over the years that balance is a big part of my subject matter, this adds challenge and danger – as it does in life. Women balancing their many roles, has always been imbedded in my work.”

YOU ARE A TEACHER TOO, HOW DO YOU BENEFIT FROM BEING AROUND NEW ARTISTS? ARE THERE ANY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE STUDENTS IN THEIR APPROACHES AND ATTITUDES THAT YOU FIND INTERESTING? I’ve always learned from my students, they keep me on my toes and if you want their respect, you have to earn it, I really like that. I’m often out of my comfort zone when talking to students about their work, I like the challenge. ARE THERE ANY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE STUDENTS IN THEIR APPROACHES AND ATTITUDES THAT YOU FIND INTERESTING? Such a good question about male and female, not sure I can answer it. One thing for sure it’s changed over my 40 year teaching career, women are much more confident now. In terms of gender politics, younger men consciously avoid what was the ‘macho’ norm when I was a student. A more fluid and open approach to sexuality has had a big impact as well, as has the cross cultural questions about identity. It’s a very rich time to be an artist, plus, with the possibilities of installation, new media, performance etc, it’s very wide open. TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEW SOLO SHOW? Thanks for asking, its called ‘Personal Space’ an exhibition of new paintings, at Huxley Parlour Gallery, 3-5 Swallow St, Piccadilly, London, 16th October- 16th November 2019

Have a look online,


Helen Beard

Interview by Melanie Sykes

Helen Beard is an artist who explores themes set within a broader context of relationships and sex. Recent large colour field oil paintings of closely cropped sexual images, are drawn from Helen talks to F R A N K about her work and new exhibition


women artists that make work on and about sex, like Sarah Lucas and Louise Bourgeois. I wanted to paint sex in joyous way as that is how I felt about it and it is often FROM A DISTANCE SOME OF YOUR WORK LOOKS talked about in a very negative way in the media, as LIKE BLOCKS OF COLOUR BUT ON CLOSER shameful and secret, I think we need to talk about this INSPECTION THEY TELL I DIFFERENT STORY. subject more openly. THE SKIN HAS SUCH TOUCHABILITY AND DETAIL AND THEN YOU DISCOVER WHAT THE WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THE IMAGES IS THE PAINTING IS. HOW AMAZING TO BE SO COLOURS YOU USE. THEY ARE VIBRANT AND EXPLICIT YET SO COVERT. WAS THAT THE CONTRASTING YET JUST HAVE A SYNERGY. MASTER PLAN? HOW DO YOU DECIDE ON THE PALLET. DO YOU WORK ALL THAT OUT BEFORE YOU START TO I like that the paintings can be read in different ways, PAINT? some are obviously explicit others are almost abstract, they are all uniform blocks of colour so in no way My colours are instinctual, I love playing with colour. I photographic, but I hope the frisson between the colours always have. I work it out on a small study in acrylic on and also the brushstrokes lend themselves to describing board, it is my favourite bit of the process it can be tricky emotions and feelings, that you can’t capture in a flat to get right which is why I make the studies then when it image. comes to making the large works I can be freer and concentrate on the mark making. WHAT IS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR THESE PIECES? YOU HAVE DOCUMENTED OTHER FORMS OF SEXUAL EXPERIENCE THAT ARE CENSORED IN I think sex is such a fascinating subject because it drives THE MEDIA. WHAT HAS THE REACTION BEEN human nature, like it does other animals. It is one of the TO THEM? most important things in life. Love is love, we need to embrace all kinds of people and DO YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT PORNOGRAPHIC the love they share, I live in Brighton which is a very open MATERIAL TO CREATE THE IMAGES, DO YOU place and I love it. USE LIVE MODELS? I use photographs from all sorts of sources, including pornography, I am not anti pornography but I think it can be harmful and is very one dimensional. It rarely focuses on female pleasure. I also use photographs I have taken and been given. I LOVE THAT IN AN AREA THAT IS USUALLY MONOPOLISED BY A MALE PERSPECTIVE YOU EMERGE WITH THESE IN YOUR FACE IMAGES/ WHAT PROMOTED THAT FIRST IMAGE OF ITS KIND? I think it is important for women to have their voice in a predominately male arena, and I have always loved

HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE HAVING A SOLO EXHIBITION? IS IT RELIEF THAT YOUR HARD WORK IS OUT THERE? I am so excited about the solo show, I was always quite guarded about showing people my work so it is nice that people are finally seeing it. I have really enjoyed making this body of work, and I am very excited about making a sculpture, an idea that I have had in my head for twenty years it has been so nice to be able to finally make it happen. HOW CAN SUCH BLOCK COLOURS CREATE SO MUCH DESIRE? It is funny how block colour can illicit so much desire, I don’t really know why but people love it I get such a positive response to the paintings, people almost want to stroke them, but hopefully they won’t! There is no such thing as the perfect body, I like to depict all shapes and sizes.

WHERE DO YOU WORK AND HOW DO YOU WORK? I am just moving studios and I will be on the waterfront in Brighton, I am very excited it is a nice space and at the moment I spend almost all of my time there, the kids think I have left home! HOW HARD IS IT TO SAY GOODBYE TO YOUR PAINTINGS?


I do find it really hard to say goodbye to my paintings and I do keep a few of the really special ones, but it is going to be so amazing seeing them all at the Unit Gallery, it is such a great space, I can’t wait to install them!

It is so fascinating to see peoples reactions I have friends who have been around my paintings for years particularly the more abstract ones and then one day they suddenly realise what it is! I can’t believe it isn’t obvious because I know what I am painting!

My new solo exhibition ‘It’s Her Factory’, started on the 6th September, at Unit London. It is mostly new works and I have been working on it for about 10 months. There are around thirty works in the show and most of them are new works.


WHICH ARTISTS DO YOU ADMIRE AND WHY? I love art, I have so many favourites. When I was younger I loved Patrick Caulfield, I couldn’t believe it when Damien put me next to him in a group show called Simulation Skin at Newport Street Gallery. I also love Gary Hume, Annette Messager, Sophie Calle, Carol Rama, and recently Teal Adnan and March Avery there are so many important female artists coming to light now, being celebrated and getting the recognition they deserve. It is brilliant.








MODEL CHOCOLATE Hello gorgeous FRANK readers! What a treat it is for me to bring you a few of my Fashion Meets Superfood recipes from my gorgeous book MODEL CHOCOLATE.

Model Chocolate is just that. The chocolate Models eat! Because it’s refined sugar free, gluten and dairy free! Raw cacao chocolate is the highest in antioxidants of all, vitamins, minerals too, so you’ll be nurturing your beautiful skin and body with every bite whilst elevating your mood, enhancing libido...this kind of chocolate is the real deal! No wonder it’s caught on world over. Happy chocolate making. Abigail O’Neill xxx

BUTTERY BLUEBERRY MUFFINS The goodness of pure cacao butter makes these healthy vegan muffins extra delicious. 10 minutes to prepare, 30 minutes to bake. Makes 12 medium-sized muffins. INGREDIENTS 60g cacao butter, finely chopped cup cold-pressed macadamia oil cup coconut sugar 1 cup organic milk of your choice teaspoon vanilla powder cup rice bran, fine 2 cups spelt flour 2 teaspoons aluminium-free baking powder 1 cups fresh blueberries 1–2 tablespoons extra coconut sugar, for sprinkling Extra macadamia oil, for greasing METHOD Preheat oven to 180°C and line a muffin tray with some pretty cupcake liners and grease lightly with oil. Melt cacao butter in a large bowl over another bowl of boiling water. Once liquefied remove from heat and add oil, sugar, milk, and vanilla, combining well with a large whisk. Add flours, salt and baking powder and whisk again. Lastly, stir in the blueberries. Spoon into muffin cups and sprinkle tops with a little extra coconut sugar. Bake 25–30 minutes.

LOVE ME BITTERSWEET JAFFA PIE This pie is exquisitely smooth and fruity, with a bittersweet finish. It is highly rich, however. Feel free to eat it for breakfast – it’s that good for you! 20 mins to make. Serves 8.

INGREDIENTS Nutty Base 1 cup dates 1 cups raw macadamia or brazil nuts cup desiccated coconut Bittersweet Jaffa Filling 1 cup raw cashews 1 cups freshly squeezed orange juice cup raw honey 5 drops essential oil of orange 1 cup raw organic coconut oil 1 cup raw cacao powder – cup cacao nibs for topping METHOD Process dates and macadamias until fine and starting to bind but still having some texture. Add coconut and process enough to combine. Press into 27cm pie dish. Process cashews and fresh juice together until smooth. Next, add all of the other superfood ingredients, finishing with cacao powder. Blend again until silky smooth, pour the mixture into prepared crust and then sprinkle with raw cacao nibs. Refrigerate to set and serve as is! Perfect. SuperTip: Try adding the pulp of 4 fresh passionfruit into the final blend.

SECRET CHOC-MINT MOUSSE Don’t tell a soul that this rich creamy mousse is based on avocado and see if anyone can guess the secret ingredient! Peppermint essential oil is refreshing and aids digestion. 10 minutes to create. Serves 4. INGREDIENTS 2 medium – large avocados 200ml organic coconut cream or cup green coconut water + cup coconut flesh cup coconut sugar 2 tablespoons maple syrup 2 teaspoons tahini, disguises the avocado flavour! 6–8 drops essential oil of peppermint cup organic cocoa powder METHOD Beginning with avocados and continuing in order, blend all together until velvety smooth. Once perfectly combined, present small portions of mousse in glasses or small bowls to serve, or as a variation freeze into popsicle moulds. SuperTip: if making pops, coat in Classic Dark (page 92) for a more decadent affair.


This pretty, refreshing chocolate is perfect for entertaining in a hurry. Makes chocolate for 4–6. INGREDIENTS 60g cacao butter, finely chopped 1 tablespoon cold-pressed macadamia oil 2 tablespoons raw nut butter 1 tablespoon raw agave cup organic raw cacao powder 1 cup frozen mixed berries and cherries METHOD Melt cacao butter and macadamia oil in a glass mixing bowl over boiling water. Remove from heat adding everything except berries and combine until beautifully smooth. Pour warm chocolate into a lined glass dish. Squander berries into warm chocolate and tilt dish to semi-coat each one. The icy fruit will set it in less than a minute! Refrigerate. Serve from the freezer or fridge. 5 minutes to prepare. 1 minute to set.

FOREVER YOUNG HALVA I first learned about raw sesame halva when reading Dr Paavo Airola’s health books when I was only 13. Halva is extremely anti-aging and highly nutritious. 10 minutes to make. Serves 6–10. INGREDIENTS 4 cups finely ground sesame seeds teaspoon vanilla powder cup raw honey 1 tablespoon raw agave 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder Bee pollen, optional for sprinkling METHOD Use a coffee grinder to finely grind half cup portions of sesame seeds until fine. Mix together ground seeds, vanilla and honey. Hands may be necessary! Split the mixture, pressing two-thirds into a glass dish. Add agave and cacao to the remaining third and mix together well. Firmly press chocolate halva mix over the vanilla layer. Top with bee pollen if desired and refrigerate. Cut into chunks or slices to serve.

ECO BLOCK This is the economical way I made chocolate for years, except I used carob powder in place of cacao. Whenever I made it, someone always asked me for the recipe. 10 minutes to prepare, 10 minutes to set. Makes a massive family-sized block. INGREDIENTS 200g creamed coconut, chopped 2 big tablespoons raw honey teaspoon vanilla powder 1 big tablespoon raw nut butter cup chopped raw brazil nuts cup mixed sultanas, currants and raisins Pinch fine sea salt cup raw cacao/organic cocoa powder METHOD Place creamed coconut into a glass bowl to melt over a larger bowl of boiling water. Remove from heat adding all other ingredients and mix gently until combined. Scrape out onto a lined tray or chocolate mould and set in the fridge. SuperTip: to make this nut free, substitute raw organic coconut oil in place of nut butter and omit brazil nuts.

Images used with permission. Copyright Abigail O'Neill. Online credits: Instagram @abigailoneill and book page @modelchocolate my website for health/beauty/wellness and truckloads more SF DF GF chocolate!

Why Not Try...?

By Sam Baines

Start here to make your life brighter, shinier and a little better with these beautiful items you need to own this autumn and beyond.

Glamorous Stationary If new stationary makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside then these Rama Publishing accessories are a must. The eye pen holder comes in a luxurious gold colour and clips on to your notebook to ensure you are never rummaging for days in the bottom of your handbag to find that elusive pen. The company was set up by a husband and wife team in Australia and offers high quality bookmarks and gorgeous notebooks and planners. Prices range from ÂŁ5 to ÂŁ20

Keds Footwear Keds have relaunched their vintage classic shoe, moulded specifically to the shape of a woman's foot, these trainers are incredibly comfortable and the perfect accompaniment to any dressed down look. From 1940's Keds were part of the initial sports shoe movement and created one of the first trainer type shoes made specifically for women. Follow in the footsteps of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn with this classic sports shoe. Available in a range of colour and patterns. Prices from ÂŁ35

Eco-conscious Travel Washbag This gorgeous eco-friendly washbag OneNine5 comes in two colours and has a detachable clear inner section to save on clear plastic bags used at airport. Made in Shoreditch in London, this new washbag features 100% recycled lining, a hook for hanging in hotel washrooms and lots of practical compartments including a hidden section perfect for jewellery. ÂŁ49

Copper Wellness Bottle You can save on plastic and stay stylish and balanced with these gorgeous copper cups and bottles from this independent brand My Copper Cup. Did you know copper also has some great health benefits? It can reduce inflammation in the joints, produces anti-oxidants, improves skin health and aids digestion so its the perfect material to carry your water around in. These beautiful bottles can be personally engraved and include crystals to promote wellness and balance. ÂŁ43

Statement Lighting Your home speaks volumes about you and what better way to add a touch of statement glamour than with a feather light feature. These luxurious lights from Cold Harbour Lights are handmade in the UK, using British-made brass ball chain and ethically sourced feathers that are hand-dyed in Devon. From ÂŁ420


Here are some recommended books for the warm & cosy autumn months. By Eleanor Tattersfield

Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds I always thought poetry was difficult and perhaps not for me, until I read Stag’s Leap. My mother bought it for me, perhaps rather worryingly, a few years ago and like most things that mothers enforce on you, even at the age of 45, I resisted. Recently, I picked it up and could not stop reading the heart -wrenching poems about Old’s divorce. They are written as to understand the punch straight to the heart, her shock, her helplessness, her consumption of this news. The heady out-of-control nature of the rug being pulled from under you and your life assuming a new - not good - directionless path for a period is rendered so beautifully, so sparely but so powerfully.

the moments that draw you in, that make you want to hold her hand. Her battle has just began and as the poems progress through the process of divorce she is brutally revealing about all the downs and as time goes on equally revealing as the ups start to surface. Did I mention the humour? Don’t be put off there is plenty of that too!

It hits you almost as hard as it hit her. The first poem, ‘ While he told me’ encapsulates in the very first verse the quick evolution of emotions that alternate and change as her mind tries to process this devastating news. She admirably holds nothing back. She describes the things she stared at as she was being told, how her mind was trying to rescue her; “I looked from thing to thing, in our room, the face of the bedside clock, the sepia postcard of a woman bending down to a lily…’ And then with unparalleled honesty she recounts how when she gets into the shower ‘ I called out something like flirting to him, and he smiled.’ To reveal the weaker moments, those you may be embarrassed to admit to are

The Country Girls Trilogy by Edna O’Brien

friend’s actual lives ) go through the agonies of female friendship, dating, work, family, mental health and marriage to death.

What can I say about Edna O’Brien that hasn’t been said before? I have come to her late. After watching her recently on Imagine I was hooked. I went straight to buy The Country Girls which I only found in an edition its sequels The Lonely Girl and Girls in Their Married Bliss. I found on starting the first book that a rare thing happened, not only was I reading fast and the pages were turning at a satisfying rate, I was so immersed that time seem to collapse.

These books are wonderfully evocative about growing up in rural Ireland at this time. These two courageous girls broke out of the society in which they were imprisoned and they had to do this time and again in different stages of their lives. At the end of the three books the reader has been on the whole journey with them, lived through their triumphs and disasters, epic in its scope.

I have since been to see Edna talk and she is as eloquent, witty, brave and sharp as a tack at 83, that’s with liking a The Country Girls was banned in Ireland when it was first tipple or two. She recently went to Nigeria with £10,000 published in 1960. It portrays the lives of two girls strapped to her undergarments to interview kidnapped sex venturing out of and overcoming the patriarchy of Ireland slaves for her new book, Girl ( 2019 ). Her courage and in the 1950’s. It is a coming of age story from rural curiosity is boundless, compelled by her imperative to give childhoods to convent school expulsion to living alone in the unspoken voice a place in the world. This is a woman bedsits in Dublin. The girls ( based on Edna and her after my own heart, long may she continue.

The Men by Fanny Calder Each chapter is dedicated to one man, one romance. The Singer, Noel, Rich Boy, The Politician, Transvestite, Woodsman, No-name, Rotting Man each intoxicating, decadent and dreamlike. Our ‘beautiful’ narrator takes us through each of her lovers, from the sordid to the super wealthy, each as compelling as the next. The tales are full of frank descriptions of courtship and one night stands. Our heroine is particularly fond of dancing and drinking and dancing and drinking some more, these Bacchian frolics that ends mainly in her big gold bed with one or more men, or sometimes alone on a crumpled futon in a corridor. Some men host extravagant parties just for her and others leave her in high rise bedsits alone. The atmosphere of her adventures has something of the fairytale The Twelve Dancing Princesses and of the film Eyes Wide Shut; adventures we are destined to being taken on with her. The Men is a very good book, an unusual and compulsive read; a magical mystery tour of London in the 90’s following a young woman experiencing all of the love she can get hold of.

The Closed Door & other stories By Dorothy Whipple The most hyped book of the summer. I found myself in LA buying an American edition in hardback and forgoing the other books I brought with me on holiday. It is a journalistic telling of three women’s sex lives told to the author over eight years of interviews. She has slightly fictionalised their form and interlaces the three stories throughout the book. They are women from three different backgrounds, one a wealthy, waspy restauranteur whose husband encourages her to have sex with other men. One is a young girl groomed by her teacher over many years to fall in love with him only to be left high and dry. The third is a young housewife scrabbling to find time and a babysitter to escape to the woods to meet her ex boyfriend for car sex. The point is to document female sex lives and fantasies; the outcome is a rather explicit account of the sex the three women have which borders on the salacious. For a exploration of woman’s sexual desire I thought Nancy Friday’s Women on Top from 1991 did a more honest job. Three women is somewhere between documentary and peeping Tom and how much can only three women really tell us about female sexuality in general?




Review by Tamsin Flower

Script by Lucy Prebble Direction by John Crowley


ucy Prebble’s creative adaptation of Luke Harding’s book tells the story of Alexander Litvinenko’s poisoning and explores how true stories, such as this, are told.

Opening on a cafe scene between Litvinenko’s widow, Marina, and Emmerson, the lawyer who spearheaded The Litvinenko inquiry, the action is framed in a blacked-off rectangle illuminated by LED strips.The effect is clinical and adhers to established political theatre techniques - characters step in and out of the frame to address the audience and offer commentary. We are encouraged to question events and how they are presented. Our primary relationship is to Marina, who guides us through the mundanities and plot-twists of Alexander’s period in hospital. She does so with the gentle, rather English humour that becomes a staple of the play.

As we follow the detectives unpacking Alexander’s account of events, the canvas of the stage becomes broader, deeper and more epic in scale. The story’s narrator role shifts from Marina to a heinously cynical Putin figure. We are then offered an intimidating vision of Russia’s ‘mafia state’ in the form of towering imperial doors,emblazoned with black eagles. Variously, parts of the set are dropped, extended, collapsed and replaced as points in the narrative receive a different expressive treatment. Yeltsin, Putin and Gorbachev enter the Litvinenko’s home in the form of giant carnival puppets who watch Alexander’s whistle-blowing press-junket on the television. Act Two opens on a silhouette presentation of the Russian fairytale, ‘Ruslan and Ludmilla.’It progresses to introduce the nuclear power reactors of the same name, linking the radioactive traces found in Alexander’s body fluids to their place of origin. Interestingly, the play’s officials, such as lawyer, Emmerson, Martin the UK intelligence agent and Russian MP and rake Andrei Lugovoi who (along with his sidekick Dimitri) administers the poison, are ‘establishment’ stereotypes. There is much comedy yielded from introductions and the etiquette of using ‘how-do-you-do?’ In fact, all of the above would fit happily into an Ealing comedy spoofing the English middle-classes and will please The OldVic’s audiences.But it also raises worthy questions about similarities/differences between power-play of money and status in Russia and in the UK. By contrast, the relationship between Marina (played flawlessly by MyAnna Buring) andAlexander (a considered performance from Tom Brooke) is tenderly drawn. When not

communicating with British officials, they speak in colloquial English, as do their family. The portrait of a couple is relatable and we invest in their cause. Following the point at which the public enquiry identifies Andrei and Dimitri as murderers, a chorus of top-hat wearing swells appear cavorting with life-size cut-outs again signalling the relationship between ego-lust and the play’s central crime.Predictably,the play ends with Marina - dancing with her deceased husband and decrying Putin in a tragic monologue. She then ventures into the auditorium, requesting that audience-members read the undeniable results of the public inquiry. Murmurs from a post-show audience dance around the issue of the play’s end.There are certainly too many endings to drive home one single, resounding message. But rather, we are offered conclusions to a relationship, one woman’s journey and an injustice belonging to the international stage. It is debatable whether the play’s excesses of structure and light-hearted content are sufficient to maintain our investment throughout. However, from the satirical puppets to the walls of maps and police strategy and scenes reminiscent of drawing-room drama, we are shown many angles from which to view this personal and political tragedy. Consequently, we not only question the facts and moral failures surrounding the events of 2006, but reflect on the stereotypes and images we attribute to Russia’s identity in western culture. People will no doubt be talking about this production for some time!


Bruce Springsteen's Western Stars


Directed by Thom Zimny & Bruce Springsteen

Warner Bros. Pictures will release a cinematic film version of Bruce Springsteen’s latest album,Western Stars, within UK & Ireland on 28th October 2019. Longtime collaborator Thom Zimny directs together with Springsteen in his directorial debut. Springsteen’s first studio album in five years,Western Stars marks a departure for the legendary singer/songwriter while still drawing on his roots.Touching on themes of love and loss, loneliness and family and the inexorable passage of time, the documentary film evokes the American West—both the mythic and the hardscrabble—weaving archival footage and Springsteen’s personal narration with song to tell the story of Western Stars. “Western Stars”offers fans the world over their only opportunity to see Springsteen perform all 13 songs on the album, backed up by a band and a full orchestra, under the cathedral ceiling of his historic nearly 100-year-old barn. “Western Stars” is written and performed by Bruce Springsteen, with Special Guest Patti Scialfa. Thom Zimny, Jon Landau,Barbara Carr and George Travis produced the film,with Springsteen serving as executive producer.The original score is by Springsteen.

Touching on themes of love and loss, loneliness and family and the inexorable passage of time, the documentary film evokes the American West — both the mythic and the hardscrabble — weaving archival footage and Springsteen’s personal narration with song to tell the story of Western Stars.

The Frank Photoshoot Diary

Flights of Fancy at Flights of Fancy at The Four Seasons The FourHampshire Seasons Hotel Hotel Hampshire Annabel Kerman

Fashion Stylist + Writer


ehind the scenes on a fashion shoot is rarely glamorous. So it’s a treat to spend the day creating the Flights of Fancy fashion story at

the stylish Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, a feast of rural gorgeousness a world away from central London, yet taking little more than an hour to reach. Let’s just call it London suburbs. The hotel Arriving down a sweeping driveway, the hotel makes a grand statement amidst 500 acres of ancient parkland (yes it’s sprawling) along with more formal gardens and orchards. The building is a restored 18th century manor; we’re feeling positively Downton Abbey-ish already. Inside, a marble entrance hall and high ceilings follow the manor house hotel blueprint, with wood panelled drawing rooms, velvet sofas and a hushed formality. So far so grand. However a closer look reveals unexpected colour pops (yes please bright mustard leather footstools), portraits with a feminist bent, a chirpy concierge team who could have stepped straight from a Town and Country fashion shoot, and an admirable commitment to a quirky floral wallpaper juxtaposition. This is clearly a hotel with confidence: unashamedly grown up, with a well positioned flash of frivolity that makes the whole thing sing. It's fair to say Frank is feeling quite at home. The Shoot Using the backdrop of the hotels lush interior and the wilds of its countryside location, this month’s story explores the idea that age gives us the confidence to be brave in our style choices. Agreed, well made classics will create a timeless wardrobe, but moderation with an element of frivolity and experimentation can act as a showcase for the assurance we have at this stage in our lives. Jennifer Lopez at 50 is a standout example: Closing the Versace s/s20 show last month in a version of a barely there dress she wore twenty years ago, or the now famous pink frou frou Giambattista Valli at the Emmys. Her age and experience give credibility and balance to the excess. So this month’s mix of florals, frills, sparkle and polka dots teamed with classic checks and neutrals on the gloriously androgynous Amma is Frank’s two fingers up to those who think frivolous fashion is for the young. In manicured Four Seasons style of course.

The Food Our crew lunch of afternoon tea worthy mini baguettes served with the crunchiest salty chips, are so more-ish they force a hiatus in shoot proceedings. However the three course lunch menu at the Wild Carrot restaurant (there are four other dining options) - looks too good not to make a return visit for. Fine dining classic British dishes using seasonal and local produce, including eggs from hotel chickens. Instagram friendly starters of goats curd and mackerel are followed by halibut roulade with the finest slivers of potato and a hand poured consommé. The chocolate laden tiramisu for dessert could feed an entire family. The September afternoon is so sunny we sit outside, on low sofas facing a panoramic countryside view and bright blue skies. A Four Seasons blend craft beer is presented with a flourish. Spectacular lunch well and truly ticked.

''Using the backdrop of the hotels lush interior and the wilds of its countryside location, this month’s story explores the idea that age gives us the confidence to be brave in our style choices''

The Spa A post shoot spa therapy feels slightly Ab Fab but we roll with it. Especially as we are trying the hotels newest offering, a hypnotherapy treatment named ‘The Mind Massage’. The session proves a revelation. After five minutes with therapist Mark all mental images of Eddie in a floatation tank are banished. Straight talking and clinically trained Mark usually works in a more traditional setup. His message is that we must start to look upon hypnotherapy as a wide reaching tool to ease the stress of modern life, just as we do a physical massage. After an hour on Mark’s ‘couch’ (Notethere is no physical massage happening here) and his hypnotherapy starter session of positive affirmation, mindfulness and relaxation we waft out newly inspired to seize the day. The next day an unexpected take away of a bespoke audio session arrives to download and listen to daily. Mind Massage, and Mark, and yes the whole Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire: We are converted.