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Why good enough is sometimes more than enough

11 ways to be good enough
11 ways to be good enough

Why good enough is sometimes more than enough

In our social media age, we’ve become focused on being perfect. We need to have the best job. The best body. The best relationship. The best friendships. Heck, even kids’ birthday parties, once the domain of musical bumps and a wonky home-made cake, have become a perfection contest with uber cakes, amazing party bags and fantastic venues.

Instagram is littered with inspirational quotes about excelling and pushing yourself to achieve your very best, but what if just good enough is well, actually good enough?

If anyone should know about trying to excel, it’s me. I was the first of my family to go to a grammar school and then onto university and I was determined to make it big in my career. I can’t deny I’ve been successful and that striving to be excellent has enabled me to land some brilliant jobs, but it came with a sacrifice. Mainly my mental health.

The dangers of being perfect

I learnt the hard way that giving a job 110% doesn’t get you more rewards or make you feel better. I busted a gut in one job, working long hours, always taking on more work and while I felt appreciated during my time there, when I decided I needed more, they simply turned round to that I should take the other job offer I’d had. All that striving. All that working so hard to be rewarded with nothing. I’ve never made that mistake since. I still make sure I give my best, but I’ll never burn the candles at both ends again. It just wasn’t worth it.

Oprah Winfrey Perfection Quote

Maybe it’s not work with you – perhaps you’re striving to be the best parent? I know I’m guilty of that as well. One British psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott believed that being good enough as parents is infinitely better than being perfect. Good enough parents leave room for their children to grow into their own person, whereas perfectionists can overwhelm them, making their behaviour worse and hindering their development.

Perfectionism can also lead to ill-health. Studies have shown that perfectionists are naturally prone to stress, which can create a whole host of health problems such as high blood pressure, headaches and irregular periods. Then there’s the link between mental health problems. Perfectionists are often terrible at showing compassion to themselves and are skilled in self-criticism, both of which have been shown to increase symptoms of anxiety and depression in people.

 

How to leave perfection behind

What can you do if you’re stuck on a perfection treadmill? 

First, up don’t wait until things are perfect. In fact, is there even such a thing as perfection? Even if you think you’ve done a ‘perfect’ job, I bet someone could find fault with it. How exhausting is it as well? Once you’ve set those high standards, you’ve got to maintain them and then that one time you only deliver 99%, you’ll start beating yourself up as the job wasn’t up to your standards.

Now I’m not saying don’t try your best, but I am saying, weigh things up before your launch yourself into them head first. That project at work may need you to work late several nights and miss lunch for a week or so and that may be worth it. However, do you need to then stay up until midnight creating the ultimate costume for your kid’s school play or baking a birthday cake for your mum? The kids won’t care if you’ve bought the costume and your mum will just be happy she had a cake to celebrate her big day.

Gigi Hadid perfection quote

When you remove the need to be perfect and excel at something, you open yourself up to creativity and room to try new things. If we’re constantly striving to be the best, how can we enjoy those ‘good enough’ moments that life is littered with?

11 ways to be good enough

1 Don’t fear failure
Don’t worry about making mistakes. These are the things that help us grow. When we do things that are good enough, it leaves room for us to explore other avenues.

2 Understand that perfection is impossible
The one thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us all is that life is in a constant state of change. Even if something is perfect, it won’t stay like that forever, so stop trying to find that perfection.

3 Be realistic
Recognise that you are enough and lower your expectations. You don’t always have to be perfect to reach your goals. 

 

4 Practice self-compassion
Keep an eye on all that negative thinking that goes on in your head. When you start thinking unkind thoughts about yourself, stop. Think about how you’d talk to a friend in that situation, with those thoughts, and tell yourself that instead.

Kevyn Aucoin Perfection quote

5 Celebrate your wins
However small, do a little victory dance every time you achieve something. And by achieve I mean complete, not finish with sequins and glitter on top. Your latest bake may not have won GBBO, but it will keep your family happy – job done! 

6 Ditch social media
If you can’t totally stay away, try limiting your time. I’ve stopped following all those Insta-Mums who make me feel totally inadequate with their ‘perfect’ lives, while I rejoice if the small child has survived yet another day and boy, do I feel better for it. The truth can’t be shown in a single image or video.

7 Don’t crave approval
You can’t live your life by other people and their standards – it’s just exhausting. As long as you know you’ve given what you can, that’s all that matters.

8 Learn to be present

Whether this is through meditation, yoga, breathing or just taking a moment to be still and appreciate where you are, being present is the best thing any perfectionist can do. It will make you appreciate what you’ve already achieved and help you connect to yourself in a way you can’t when you’re busy being perfect. 

Paul Arden Saatchi and Saatchi_perfection_quote

9 Ditch the multi-tasking
Juggling several things at once may make you feel like you’re excelling, but really, it means you’re not coping and it’s not as productive as you may think it is.

10 Adjust your expectations of others
Don’t judge everyone by your rule of 110%. Keep an open mind and see that everyone has different ways of getting to the same place.

11 Start living your life
Don’t wait until your house is perfect to invite friends over for dinner. Don’t wait until you have the perfect body until you wear a bikini. Don’t wait until your CV is perfect before your apply for your dream job. Your friends won’t notice a bit of dirt or the fact that the wardrobes are still very much flat-packed. No-one on the beach will care if you’ve not lost that stone. And future employers want to see where you worked not be wowed by your CV creation abilities.

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Product Partner spotlight – Dr Harriet Holme

Dr Harriet Holme
Dr Harriet Holme

Product Partner spotlight – Dr Harriet Holme

Each week we are going to be putting the spotlight on one of our Product Partners so they can share their stories and inspiration behind their business. We will also be asking them a few questions around their challenges and successes.

This week we meet Dr Harriet Holme, the healthy eating Dr

Dr Harriet is passionate about the facts and the science behind what really is the right foods for us. Her goal is to help all of us make the right decisions about our nutrition and not just follow the fads. It really is fascinating talking to Dr Harriet, she is a font of knowledge and her years of research and science backed information will have you thinking differently about which foods you eat. 

Meet Dr Harriet…

The old adage ‘we are what we eat’ has never been more important. With a wealth of contradictory information published about the latest ‘superfoods’, or what not to eat, how do you navigate a path to find what is best for you? Do you feel overwhelmed by contradictory and conflicting information? Unsure who to trust?

Instead of following restrictive diets, detox drinks, and lots of supplements,

my advice is based on the latest science, providing an evidence based, practical approach to enjoying tasty real food for life.

 

I am a great believer that food should be enjoyable and not overly restrictive, while benefiting your health. There are healthy choices that you could be making now which mean a rich array of tasty nutritious food, that may improve the quality of your life and reduce your future risk of disease.

I studied medicine at the University of Cambridge and have over a decade in academic clinical practice as a paediatric doctor. In addition, I have a PhD in genetics from University College London. I now use these uniquely developed skills for the benefit of my clients and students, exclusively consulting as a registered nutritionist with the Association of Nutrition and lecturing in culinary science and nutrition. I was commissioned to write a cutting-edge degree combining culinary, nutrition and health, the first of its kind in the UK, and I’m also involved in teaching the chef’s and doctors of tomorrow about nutrition.

Your health is fundamentally linked to your diet. Optimising your health is more to do with what’s on your plate than what you do for exercise. Start one of my video programs today and I will guide you to realise your health goals. For more personalised advice, book for a skype consultation with me. As with improving physical fitness with a personal trainer, I recommend repeated consultations to continue to review and improve your food choices.

Dr Harriet’s favourite product…

Our quick Q&A…

1. What was your ‘on fire’ spark that made you start your business?

I experienced a series of life changing events connected in part to the birth of my first child. The effect of those experiences still resonant as strongly now. I felt that there was so much more potential in proactive health optimisation than in reactive traditional medicine. My spark of curiosity became a passion. I read, I learnt, I added fuel to the fire. I used the skills I had accrued as a clinician and researcher to then dive into the details. I recall being surprised that despite some powerful evidence and recommendations, how the benefits of food were poorly represented. The World Health Organisation have said that an unhealthy diet is the largest modifiable risk factor for disease. I left the NHS after over a decade as a paediatric doctor, and decided I really wanted to educate clients, doctors and chefs of the future about the importance of nutrition. Everyone should know what power they have over their own health through eating.

2. What has been your biggest challenge to date and how did you overcome this?

I had thought that it was going to be challenging to start and develop my own business, but that element turned out to be an unexpectedly happy venture, made all the easier by my incredible clients.

So my biggest challenge has been the corona virus pandemic and the initial inability to interact directly with clients. But, much like stoic philosophy, from the discomfort comes growth. Instead, I’m now working more with skype or zoom and it has been a perfect time to launch an online course. It has been really inspiring to see how people can transform their way of working so quickly and particularly their attitude to video calls.

3. What has been your proudest moment?

With a husband and two children, my family provide me with an equal measure of laughs, pride and sometimes quite the opposite. However, in the context of work, my proudest moment was being awarded my PhD in cancer genetics at 36 weeks pregnant, just before having my second child. 

Although on face-value this academic moment is rather simply portrayed in a single sentence, it is the cumulation of a sustained period of original research at a world class laboratory. I learned and developed not only as an academic, but also laid the foundations for my career in nutritional consultancy, while juggling being a mother.

4. What advice would you tell yourself if you could go back to the start?

I feel like there have been so many starts or new chapters to my life and I hope there will be many more. Each one has had what seemed at the time an envelope of difficult decisions and not a small smattering of anxiety, questioning whether or not the task ahead of me was achievable. However, from starting as a medical student in Cambridge, starting at the foot of Mont Blanc, starting as a paediatrician, to starting my own business, the truest advice would be to block out the negative, amplify the positive and let that drive your perseverance. Just take the first step with confidence, then grit your teeth and build the habits necessary to ensure that your objective moves from an idea to reality. I am delighted by any new client that comes to me seeking change for the better. They’ve taken that first step, I’ll help them take the next. Together we can literally change their lives though optimised nutrition.

5. Share a quote about your business or life that you stand by?

My mantra and ethos is ‘knowledge is power’ but that has to be ‘evidence based’. I really think that trustworthy information based on rigorous research is key. However, of more importance than what I stand by, is how I work. My unique professional background as a doctor, scientist and registered nutritionist, means that I bring a credible ability to translate the scientific evidence into an approachable, simple, and sustainable way of eating healthily for life, while still enjoying food.

6. What is your fav product

I genuinely love all my products but if I have to pick one, it will be the nutrition course for expecting mums. This is a worrying time for the mum-to-be and there is a lot of misinformation out there as to what they should be eating. My course is full of practical and science backed information that will help them through this with an easy to follow nutrition checklist.

More of Dr Harriet’s products

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Women of the world who inspire and lead

Women who inspire
Women who inspire

Women of the world who inspire and lead

There are many great women around the world that are a true inspiration to us all. Each week we celebrate one of these amazing women and share why
Caitlin Moran

Caitlin Moran - 29th July 2020

Journalist, author & broadcaster

Just when we thought journalist and author Caitlin Moran couldn’t possibly hit us with more humour, honesty and female empowerment, she goes and releases a film AND a new book. Bang!

With her trademark Dr Martens, huge hair and heavy eyeliner, Caitlin’s life story is extraordinary. Born in 1975 and raised in working-class Wolverhampton, she’s the eldest of eight children. Describing her family as the ‘only hippies in Wolverhampton’ she was home-educated with her siblings from the age of 11. Her first taste of writing success was at just 13, when she won an essay contest called ‘Why I Like Books’. By age 15, she scooped the Observer’s Young Reporter of the Year award and soon after published her first novel The Chronicles of Narmo. She was convinced that she’d make millions from her novel and help her family out of poverty. Sadly not. But then a writer for the Times told her that she could make money immediately by becoming a journalist, and she’s been writing for the broadsheet ever since. That was back in 1992!

"When a woman says, ‘I have nothing to wear!’, what she really means is, ‘There’s nothing here for who I’m supposed to be today."
Caitlin Moran
Caitlin Moran
Journalist & broadcaster

In her excellent column in the Times magazine on a Saturday, she’s covered teenage body image, the class system, abortion, the menopause, diets, and too many other women’s issues to mention. Every single feature is full to the brim with truth and underlying odes to women. Caitlin is the writer we’ve always needed. She shines a light on topics previously undiscussed in detail, such as periods and masturbation. And she’s dedicated to writing about the reality of poverty, just as she experienced in childhood. She’s honest about her own social mobility and about how her privileged present life in affluent north London is not the ‘normal, baseline experience’ that she fears most of her community believe. And so she gives life to the ‘people who don’t get written about – the weird kids, the joy, the council estates.’ Her 2013 sitcom Raised by Wolves – written alongside her sister Caroline – was a wonderfully warm and sympathetic portrayal of working-class life.

Caitlin Moran: photo credit The Times
Caitlin Moran: photo credit The Times

And now Caitlin’s first film is out there. Adapted by the writer herself from her semi-autobiographical novel How to be a Girl, it’s set in 1993 and tells the tale of a ‘fat, bright, funny’ working class Wolverhampton teenager and her escape to London to become a rock music critic. Starring the brilliant Beanie Feldstein (of Ladybird fame) as lead character Johanna Morrigan (teenage Caitlin), How to Build a Girl is an empowering, coming-of-age story. Johanna is an ambitious, irrepressible soul who’s bursting with energy and creativity. Citing her heroes as the Bronte sisters and Sylvia Plath, she tires of the ‘cool crowd’ and the book-throwing bullies at school. So she lands a job on a gritty weekly music magazine in 90s London. The entertainment press was in its Britpop and hedonism heyday back then, and Johanna throws herself into the male-dominated scene by re-inventing herself as ‘Dolly Wilde’. We’ll leave you to watch what happens next. It’s fantastic. Oh and look out for Emma Thompson who has a cameo role. Along with Lily Allen, Gemma Arterton and Mel and Sue!

So back to books. Her bestseller status kicked off in 2011 in her must-read How to be a Woman. It’s a gloriously warm and funny memoir that made women’s rights and gender equality more accessible than ever before. She tapped into the common untruth that feminists are radical ‘man-haters’ and focuses on the movement as one of personal freedom and choice.

And then came her second novel, Moranthology with all its super-smart social commentary. How to Build a Girl was next, followed by Moranifesto, which is dubbed as ‘the polite revolution for making the world a better place’. How to be Famous was her fifth book and sequel to How to be a Girl. It’s raucous and hilarious, whilst tackling sexism, reinvention and body image. If you’re a child of the 1990s, you will LOVE this book! And you’ll love Caitlin Moran for bringing it to us.

So now we’re just waiting for her new book, More Than a Woman, to hit the shops. Again autobiographical, but now featuring ageing parents, teenage daughters and a larger bottom, she

answers those midlife questions: ‘Why isn’t there such a thing as a Mum Bod?’ And ‘why has wine turned against me?’ We cannot wait. It’s out in September. Caitlin has truly taught us that anything is possible. To land a column on a national newspaper aged just 17, with very little formal education and from incredibly humble roots, she’s a symbol of female tenacity – especially for our teenage girls. We heart her!

Beyonce

Beyoncé - 22nd July 2020

Singer, producer, campaigner, independent women and actress

All hail Queen Bey! One of our favourite artists of all time, Beyoncé is a bold symbol of strength and sisterhood. We first found her when she was lead-singing for all-girl group Destiny’s Child. Belting out inspiring, tough tunes like Survivor and Bootylicious we loved everything the band stood for. And oh, how we longed to bust those dance-moves! We’ve all tried, right??

But more recently we’ve been celebrating Beyoncé for her political voice in the Black Lives Matter movement. Her devout stance on equality – for both women and the black community worldwide – is heart-felt and impactful. This week she released a film trailer for her new visual album Black is King. Produced by Beyoncé and filmed in Africa, Belgium, LA, New York and London, the video is dedicated to black resilience and culture. Described as ‘the voyage of black families’ and ‘a tale about a young king’s transcendent journey through betrayal, love and self-identity’ the one-minute movie leaves you a little breathless. It’s beautiful.

"I’m not happy if I’m not improving, evolving, moving forward, inspiring, teaching and learning. My mother taught me the importance not just of being seen but seeing myself. As the mother of two girls, it’s important to me that they see themselves as CEOs, as bosses, and that they can write the script for their own lives – that they can speak their minds and they have no ceiling."
Beyoncé
Beyoncé Knowels
Author & actress

Beyoncé’s support for BLM is currently soaring, as she’s taken on the fight against police brutality towards black people. But looking back at some of her stand-out live performances over the past decade, she’s been shouting out for equality for all along. There was her sensational 2016 Superbowl show, throughout which she fiercely paid tribute to black figures of the past and present, before 100 million viewers.

Now remembered as Beychella, Beyoncé’s phenomenal set at the Coachella festival in 2018 made music history. The first black woman to ever headline the event, she rocked the world with the most powerfully poignant salute to black culture. It had everything. The New York Times said: ‘It was rich with history, potently political and visually grand. Uproarious, rowdy and lush. A gobsmacking marvel of choreography and musical direction’. And Michelle Obama was quick to praise her: ‘Girl you’ve done it again. Constantly raising the bar for us all and doing it flawlessly’. Beyoncé’s documentary, Homecoming, chronicles her whole Coachella performance and is definitely worth a watch. And we recommend cranking up her older music for a kitchen disco! We’d forgotten just how awesome tracks like Crazy in Love and Single Ladies are. Like in so many of her songs, female empowerment and independence flood her lyrics. She’s been a powerhouse of a solo artist since 2003, releasing six studio albums and 49 singles.

Beyoncé

We can’t NOT talk about how mesmerisingly beautiful the mum-of-three is and we love her honesty about the work she must put in to achieve that perfectly toned hourglass body. But beauty has never been her focus. Or indeed something she is most proud of. It’s her growth as a woman.

In her life story for Vogue, she said: ‘I’m not happy if I’m not improving, evolving, moving forward, inspiring, teaching and learning. My mother taught me the importance not just of being seen but seeing myself. As the mother of two girls, it’s important to me that they see themselves as CEOs, as bosses, and that they can write the script for their own lives – that they can speak their minds and they have no ceiling.

‘I’ve been through hell and back, and I’m grateful for every scar. I have experienced betrayals and heartbreak in many forms. I look at the woman I was in my 20s and I see a young lady growing in confidence but intent on pleasing everyone around her. I now feel so much more beautiful, so much sexier, so much more interesting. And so much more powerful.’

And that’s EXACTLY how we think of Beyoncé – as power personified. Going back to her live shows, If you’ve ever had the pleasure of being there (one TGIOF member was utterly transfixed by her at Glastonbury 2011) you feel the full force of her – not only as a mind-blowing performer – but as a warrior. And she fires that strength right through the crowds, and you’re left feeling more empowered and energised as a woman than you’ve ever been!

So, in her very own words: ‘Who Run the World?! GIRLS!’ Sing it! Oh, and run to it, if you need some encouragement to get out there and move.

We’ll leave you with this line from her new Black is King film: ‘You can’t wear a crown with your head down’. Love!

Denise Welch

Denise Welch - 15th July 2020

TV personality, author & actress

Denise Welch is undeniably a national treasure with that north-eastern warmth and stella TV career, having starred in some of our favourite soaps such as Coronation Street, Soldier Soldier and Waterloo Road. And not to mention her honest, funny presence on the Loose Women panel. But it’s her tireless dedication to supporting those suffering from depression that has made her one of our Women Who Inspire.

As Denise’s TV career was taking off, she was secretly suffering from post natal depression to such an extreme that she was at times suicidal. Hiding away her heartbreak while pulling pints on set at the Rovers Return, Denise turned to alcohol to cope.

Now eight years sober, she’s spoken frankly and admirably about her 31-year battle with clinical depression, inspiring others to talk openly about their own mental health. Denise personifies her illness in her new book ‘The Unwelcome Visitor: Depression and How I Survive It’. This is one to read.

"It doesn’t matter whether I’m happy or sad, weighed down by problems or fine, ‘the unwelcome visitor’ turns up anyway and plunges me into a deep depression, sucking away my joy and draining the colour from my life. I hate him."
Denise Welch
Denise Welch
Author & actress

In her book, Denise delves into the depths of her depression with detailed descriptions of how her illness manifests itself.  She talks about the misconception that depression makes you feel sad, when the true devastation of the illness lies within feeling absolutely nothing. She said in an interview recently: ‘You long to feel something. Anything. Five days after the birth of my son, the colour drained from my whole life and everything turned black.’

It was this post-natal episode that sparked a further three decades of recurrent depressive episodes. Denise describes how her own mental illness is endogenous, rather than reactive. It can engulf her without warning. At any time.

But Denise’s book is not about defeating her depression. It’s about how she lives with it and how she’s developed a happy life around her episodes. What we really love about her book is just how it bursts with hope and survival. She offers achievable tips for fellow sufferers of depression, such as how to tackle those mornings when a low-level hum of anxiety threatens to creep to the surface and destroy your day. Simple techniques that people just really need to hear, like ‘get up, get the kettle on and just keep moving’. Denise is passionate about reassuring anyone with mental illness to never feel alone. And that it’s not your fault. It’s these candid conversations that we celebrate here at TGIOF.

Denise Welch

The support and comfort that Denise has given to loved ones of depression sufferers is also applaudable. They can often be the forgotten ones who feel lost, bereft and utterly helpless. To read such an honest account of the real bones of mental illness is so, so valuable. Now, more than ever, people need to hear that ‘everything will be OK’. And the fact that Denise’s book is already in the Sunday Times Best Seller list is testimony to just that.

She said: ‘Though we have come a long way, this crippling, debilitating and often terminal illness is still shockingly misunderstood. This is my story that you have asked me to tell. Those who suffer from depression will understand and those who don’t will hopefully learn how to.’

Denise Welch
Mary Berry

Mary Berry - 8th July 2020

TV personality, Queen of baking & author.

The UK’s beloved Mary Berry. She’s like a hug of culinary comfort. And if anyone else has been finding solace in good food throughout lockdown, well you might just be as excited as us about Mary’s new cookery show, Simple Comforts.

The six-part series follows the Queen-of-all-the-cooks as she celebrates the best of heart-warming food, with fuss-free recipes that promise to warm the cockles and lift the spirits. Is there anything we could want more right now? Nope! The BBC said of its upcoming show: ‘Now more than ever, home cooking is central to daily life and Mary’s take on comfort food is exactly what we all need.’ And it really is. We’ve been finding that very comfort in cooking and meal-planning to be so integral to our control of what is ultimately an uncontrollable situation. It’s given us daily structure and small pleasures.

So Mary Berry’s attitude to food is brilliant. She once said, when asked how she stays so slim: ‘I walk and I play tennis, but mainly I watch what I eat. I eat all the things that I love, including cake. But it’s all about the size of the slice!’ True story Mary. With so much conflicting advice on calories, carbs and fat, along with copious fad diets being flung in our faces, it’s reassuring to have such a legendary foodie who keeps it real. Simple, she says. Cook the food you adore and eat the things that make you feel warm inside. Just not too much!

 

"I walk and I play tennis, but mainly I watch what I eat. I eat all the things that I love, including cake. But it’s all about the size of the slice!"
Mary Berry
Mary Berry
Queen of baking

However, Mary’s life has been far from simple. She contracted polio as a 13-year-old, which left her with a twisted spine, weaker left hand and a thinner left arm.  She cites the horrific three-month separation from her parents, in a glass isolation room as ‘toughening her up’. She’s retained that strength of character, and this – combined with that signature warmth – is just one of the many reasons that we respect her infinitely.

And there’s even more respect going out to Mary for making her would-be husband wait before she decided to say ‘I do’. Doting Paul proposed three times before Mary finally said yes and the couple wed back in 1966. She looked wonderful in her £5 wedding dress and she OBVIOUSLY baked her own cake. They had three children but experienced utter tragedy when their middle child William died in a car accident, aged just 19. Mary truly believes that the resilience she gathered as a child, gave her the strength to survive the trauma.

And now at age 85, Mary is positively thriving. She’s written close to 90 cookery books, many of which have remained classics since her first publication in 1970. She’s sold 6.5 million copies worldwide, covering culinary topics ranging from Aga cooking to freezer cuisine and, of course, baking.

 

Mary Berry

Her passion for food was fuelled by a trip to that gastronomic heaven that is France. Twelve-year-old Mary was entranced by the charcuterie and fresh herbs and cheeses. Eight years later, a fiercely independent Mary moved to London and shared a flat with four other girls. She bagged a job developing recipes for the Dutch Dairy Board and persuaded her boss to send her to the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu cookery school in Paris. Living in a grubby youth hostel, with only enough Francs to afford a baguette for dinner, her big break was just around the corner. She started writing recipes for (ahem) Housewife magazine, eventually becoming editor of Ideal Home. Her TV debut came in 1973 on The Good Afternoon Show with Judith Chalmers. Fast forward four decades and she officially became one of our favourite Girls on Fire. A national treasure of the truest kind. Her humour and style on The Great British Bake Off – ‘soggy bottoms’ and those insanely jazzy jackets of hers – made us love her just as much as we love cake. And that’s A LOT! There’s just something about Mary.

So we’ll leave you with our favourite Mary Berry fact.. She’s a raver! At age 71, the Queen of Cakes could be found in Ibiza super-club Pacha! She said: ‘It was like a rabbit warren; lots of little rooms and in every room there were bars, there were strange drinks, there were people smoking or sitting on the floor.

‘The noise was amazing and of course the boys couldn’t stand it. They went outside and waited for us on the stairs and all the girls hung together inside. We didn’t want to miss a trick!’

Alicia Keyes

Alicia Keyes - 1st July 2020

Singer, song-writer, actress, film-producing philanthropist and author.

Alicia Keys is one of those artists who writes and sings from the depths of her soul. And never more so than in her new track ‘Perfect Way to Die’. She performed it live at the BET Awards (Black Entertainment Television – you can watch it here) recently and it was one of the most poignant moments in music we’ve ever seen. Our love for the singing, song-writing, acting, film-producing philanthropist and author has peaked. It’s dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement and it’s heart-wrenchingly good. Alicia spoke of the power of music and the horrific reality of police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. She said: ‘Whether it’s spiritual or the blues, jazz, or hip-hop, music has always been the voice of the Black experience. It speaks to our resilience, our resistance, and even in the messiest of circumstances we find melody.’

Alicia wrote Perfect Way to Die with the deaths of Michael Brown and Sandra Bland in mind, but her performance at the BET Awards paid tribute to many others who have since tragically lost their lives, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. 

 

"Of course, there is NO perfect way to die, that phrase doesn’t even make sense. Just like it doesn’t make sense that there are so many innocent lives that should not have been taken from us due to the destructive culture of police violence. Let’s NEVER stop fighting for justice."
Alicia Keyes
Alicia Keyes
Singer

The 39-year-old New Yorker started playing the piano aged seven and later excelled in music at a prestigious performing arts school in the city. She was raised by her mother, who often worked three jobs to fund her daughter’s music lessons and indeed to survive. They lived a tough life in a very tough neighbourhood. Alicia says her success is all down to her mum: ‘Thank you for all the Sundays you played Ella Fitzgerald and Dinah Washington on vinyl. Thank you for all the nights you worked overtime to make the ends and beginnings meet. Thank you for teaching me about womanhood and everything in between’.

By age 12, Alicia was composing her owns songs before being snapped up by a record label at just 15 years old. She went on to release her debut album ‘Songs in A Minor’ in 2001, which went platinum five times over and earned her five Grammys. If you haven’t listened to that album in years – like us – we strongly advise digging it out and cranking it up. We remember being floored by her spine-tingling vocal range when we first heard it. Such a stunning record.

Ten Grammys and five studio albums later, Alicia has also appeared in four films, produced a Broadway show, directed a movie and executive-produced a further film. Her catalogue of accomplishments is quite frankly mind-blowing. And one of her latest successes is her New York Time’s best-selling autobiography ‘More Myself’, which we are LOVING! Part narrative documentary, the book delves into her complex relationship with her father, the people-pleasing nature that characterised her early career, the loss of privacy surrounding her romantic relationships and the oppressive expectations of female perfection.

Indeed, Alicia took a stand against this very expectation of women by going make-up-free in 2016. She said: ‘It felt really empowering and really freeing. Because we put so many limitations on ourselves and think we put limitations on each other. Society puts limitations on us. And in a lot of ways, I’m sick of it. Over it, to be honest. It would be so amazing to just embrace each other how we are. I think the most important thing is you do what feels good for you.’

This is the key theme throughout her book, and it’s liberating. She struggled with self-acceptance for most of her life and finding fame at such a young age left her scared to show who she really was, for fear of rejection. Alicia talks about the journey she had to endure to finally find the strength that now defines her.

Alicia Keyes

Top tip: check out the fabulous Fearne Cotton’s recent podcast with Alicia about her book. It’s a fascinating insight into her life-story and has some heart-warming moments of sisterhood between the pair. It’s a lovely listen.

Now onto Alicia’s activism. Although she’s a hero to us with her attitudes, accolades, and talent, it’s her ardent philanthropy that really makes us idolise her in 2020. She’s a FIERCE fighter for justice and equality. After Donald’s Trump inauguration in 2017, she helped lead the Women’s March in Washington. Her address to the crowd was simply sublime: ‘Let us continue to honour all that is beautiful about being feminine. We are mothers. We are caregivers. We are artists. We are activists. We are entrepreneurs, doctors, leaders of industry and technology. Our potential is unlimited. We rise!’

A couple of years prior to this, Alicia launched a movement – We Are Here – to bolster the global community to encourage respect and equality. Her aim is to ensure vulnerable people are heard and treated with dignity through a host of funded initiatives with international non-profit organisations.

The artist is also the co-founder of Keep a Child Alive (KCA), a charity that partners with grass-roots organisations to combat the physical, social, and economic impact of HIV on children, their families and their communities in Africa and India.

So basically, Alicia Keys is what the world needs right now. And she’s everything we want to be. We’re so grateful to women like her who use their platform to yell about such important issues on our behalf. And she’s a brilliant role model for our growing girls with her strength, talent and determination. She’s just so damn cool. So let’s put on one of our favourite Alicia tracks, ‘This Girl is on Fire’! We are NOT biased over here at TGIOF Towers!

Alicia Keyes
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Product Partner spotlight – Laura Johnson & Danielle White

Laura Johnson & Danielle White
Laura Johnson & Danielle White

Product Partner spotlight – Laura Johnson & Danielle White

Each week we are going to be putting the spotlight on one of our Product Partners so they can share their stories and inspiration behind their business. We will also be asking them a few questions around their challenges and successes.

This week we meet sisters, Laura Johnson and Danielle White from Johnson and White Aromas – who took their passion for fragrances and exotic travel, to make the most amazing candles and diffusers. We are big fans of the attention to detail and style that these two female entrepreneurs put into each and everyone of their products, and we are sure you will be too.

Laura Johnson & Danielle White

Meet Laura & Danielle…

Following a lifetime passion for fragrance, travel and design, it seemed only fitting that the creative and resourceful designers behind Johnson and White would set up a business based around their family’s shared values of making a house a very special home.

This exclusive home fragrance brand comes from an exceptional team of two sisters, both devoted to their products and families, even sharing the same birthday but one year apart. Their connection, trust and loyalty has brought to life, their fragrant childhood memories, of exotic travel and caring happy homes, in the most original and authentic scented creations.

Anyone who has a passion for interior design, or just likes their living space to have a few finishing touches, will have an interest in home fragrance and its ability to enhance, energise and lift the mood. Johnson and White fragrances will transport your home to a special and distinctive place.

“We are so proud of our company’s vision and values, uniquely woven from the beauty of sisterhood, that our brand logo became the Celtic Sisters Knot. This symbol means so much to us. The unbroken line represents the powerful lifelong bond of love and friendship, which we share with each other and our closest family and friends. Our support and allegiance of one another has created a sense of purpose for our business and lives as a whole. To love life requires passion and effort, something we practice every day”.

When you love what you do, it shows.

Laura & Danielle’s favourite products…

Our quick Q&A…

1. What was your ‘on fire’ spark that made you start your business?

The on fire spark that inspired us to start our business was our passion for fragrance. It was whilst we were on holiday in Dubai that we fell in love with the middle eastern fragrance. It was there in Dubai we realised how varied scents were in different cultures around the world culminating in our vision for Johnson and White. Our passion for interior design also inspired us to design a glass that would be unique and luxurious like no other.

2. What has been your biggest challenge to date and how did you overcome this?

The product design was our biggest challenge, we knew that we wanted to design something that was completely unique, that could be placed anywhere in your home and give you that look of elegance while the fragrance transports you to your favourite destination.

Producing the luxury aromas wasn’t a problem because we used our previous experience and contacts within the industry. The challenge was finding a manufacturer that could develop the glassware shape to the highest quality of glass needed.

3. What has been your proudest moment?

The launch for us was a huge achievement, it was the result of 3 years of hard work, of course something we are proud of but the greater satisfaction for us is getting to see how happy our candles and diffusers make our customers. We are very lucky that we get to repeat this feeling of being proud every time we see the expression on someone’s face after smelling our aromas and the joy that it brings when they are able to escape to their destination of choice.

4. What advice would you tell yourself if you could go back to the start?

This is tough, all of the choices we have made have helped us to learn and get us to this point. It’s natural as fledgling entrepreneurs to want to gain knowledge form others within the industry and business. We think the biggest lesson for us is knowing when to trust our gut instinct and when to follow others advice. We now feel more comfortable about seeking the information needed to make the decisions for our business to move it forward but are more confident if that decision is against the advice of others.

5. Share a quote about your business or life that you stand by?

Danielle – All our dreams can come true, if you have the courage to pursue them.

 

Laura – No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else

6. What is your fav product

We love all the fragrances, if we had to pick one Laura loves the New York collection and Danielle loves the Dubai collection.

More of Laura & Danielle’s products

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Seven easy ways to create a calm living space

How to create a calm living space
How to create a calm living space

Seven easy ways to create a calm living space

Chucking a throw over the sofa or hanging some new artwork does more than just make your home look nice – creating a nice, cosy living space can also help your wellbeing. Brightly lit rooms, for example, have been shown to improve depression and anxiety, while indoor plants can help boost your mood and reduce stress levels.

Now, more than ever, our homes – and us – all need a boost. After living inside the same four walls for so long, it’s time to makeover your home and create a sanctuary in your living room. None of these ideas are expensive or take much time, but you could be getting yourself a whole new living space – and a calmer state of mind!

1. Cut the clutter

Studies have shown that messy rooms and too much clutter can cause stress, so the first step in creating a peaceful lounge is to get rid of the stuff you have lying around.

Once you’ve ditched anything that you no longer need or put it away in the right place, why not splash out on some flexible furniture? A foot stool that has hidden storage is so much more useful than a regular old foot stool. Or buy some cool trunks that can be used as coffee tables

2. Rearrange the furniture

The easiest way to give your living room a new look without spending a penny is to rearrange the furniture.

Pull pieces away from walls, change where you put your sofa and chairs or move the coffee table from the centre of the room to the side.

Look at areas of the room that are unused – such as a corner or behind the door – and think of ways to utilise this space. Perhaps you can sneak in a small desk or set of bookcases behind a door to create an office or reading nook? For smaller corners, a lamp or big indoor house plant can really change the look and feel.

And the great thing if you don’t like the new layout? You can change it all back!

3. Add soft furnishings

You can never have too many cushions. Fact! They’re an easy way to change things up and add a splash of colour of pattern. 

If you’re sofa or armchair is a bit worn, a throw can also help change things up, while adding a rug into a living room helps create a focal point and some interest into a boring room.  

Try a Berber style rug for a really ‘now’ look – plus they feel lovely under foot, which is never a bad thing when you’re trying to add a touch of calm to your living room.

Go for soft furnishings that add comfort – choose velvet soft finishes and soft colours if you’re going for all out calm.

4. Paint a wall

White or magnolia walls are a great backdrop but boy, are they boring. Inject a bit of colour into your lounge by painting just one wall. You don’t need mega DIY skills to do this but it can really transform a wall.

Choose a soft green if you want a calming effect, pink for tranquillity and love, or blue to help stimulate your brain and intellect.

5. Create your own art gallery

If the only painting you do is your nails, then the easy way to add some warmth and colour to your walls is by putting art on your walls.

Whether you choose to create an on-trend gallery wall or just add a single, large print to one wall, this is your chance to show your personality, as well as jazz up your living space.

Personal photos area always a winner as well – try Free Photo Tiles to turn your family favourites into works of art.

6. Include greenery

Houseplants not only look great and change up your living space, but they’re also good for your health. They release oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide, which freshens the air and gets rid of toxins.

Don’t just try a bog standard pot in a plant, hanging planters are all the rage now and add a little bit of interest to the eye line.

If you’re not really green fingered, cheat your way to a green utopia with an artificial plant or two – they’re so good these days, no-one will notice that they’re not the real thing!

7. Create a calm new colour scheme with accessories

If your budget is tight, choosing quirky accessories in a colour scheme of your choice is a great way to make it look more modern, without having to splash too much cash. 

If you’re looking to inject some calm, choose soft blues, which according to Feng Shui can help lower your blood pressure; dusty pinks for a soothing feel or pale green, which conjures up feelings of being outside. 

Stylists use accessories to ‘dress’ sets, giving it a theme or adding in some colour here and there. A vase, an ornament, a funky mirror, a big candle – choose them in complementing colours to make your living room look ready for its close up!

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Why play time can be great for the whole family

A family play football outside
A family play football outside

Why play time can be great for the whole family

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Last night, when I should’ve been loading the dishwasher and tidying up, I was instead hiding behind a door ready to pounce on my ten-year-old-son and blast him to smithereens! Don’t worry, no small children were harmed in the making of this feature – we were just playing laser tag.

The day before, we battled to become famous wizards, attempting to out-spell each other and earn pixie dust. The child beat both me and the husband in a game of bird taxis and crazy spells, but we all had a great laugh. (It’s called Wizards Wanted, if you wondered).

Playing together as a family is really important to us: So important in fact, that sometimes – shock, horror – I stop doing grown up things and just have a laugh.

This is not something that  started when my son was born. Even before he came along, I was always up for new fun experiences. I’ve done the Charleston with Jay Gatsby in an interactive play, got squatted with paint during Paintball games and been to a ball pit just for grown-ups!

Why is play so good for you?

I don’t need an expert to tell me that play is good for you! After our impromptu laser tag session, my son and I were not only out of breath, but laughing and joking with EACH OTHER. And when we played the wizarding board game, we were in fits trying to first work out the rules and then laughing at the stupid spells we had to perform. It bought us all together as a family, which with a husband who works shifts, is a pretty impossible task at times.

Don’t just take my word for it. Dr Amanda Gummer is the founder of The Good Play Guide, an organisation dedicating to helping children develop their skills through play.

On the website, she explains just why play is so important as a family, citing many reasons to give it a go.

“It opens the channels of communication” Dr Gummer explains on the site. “If your child is often distracted by the latest YouTube video, apps or even homework, play can be a great opportunity to catch up with them again.”

A family playing chess together

Other benefits include forming stronger family relationships, creating great memories, teaching them new skills, making them feel a valued part of the family and giving you some relaxation time.

You may wonder what’s relaxing about pretending to be a gazelle chased by a cheetah (a favourite game of one of my friend’s kids!) but I’ve found play-time to be relaxing because you switch off your grown-up brain for a bit. Whether it’s pretending to be a superhero or playing Scrabble, doing something out of the ordinary is good for your mental health.

When lockdown started, I suddenly found it really difficult to be frivolous and play with my son, but not only did our mental health suffer, so did our relationship. Once we got into our new lockdown groove however, we were able to get back to playing, whether that was video games or hiding in the woods and pretending to be spies. I realised how important it was for my son to have a play companion when he couldn’t see his friends, but also how important it was for us to have fun together.

In fact, a study by the University of Nebraska discovered that those families who play together, are stronger because of it. When they asked people what made a strong family, the same elements kept appearing, which included spending enjoyable time together, appreciating each other and positive communication, which humour and playfulness was listed as being the most important.

How to start playing as a family

You may be convinced that playing is great for your family, but if the last time you played a board game was in the ‘80s, you may need some advice to help you add some playfulness into your lives.

For many of us adults, play isn’t something that comes naturally anymore, and it can be a bit nerve-wracking to suddenly have to release our inner child. Dr Amanda Gummer’s advice to newbies on the play scene is to let your kids take charge!

“If you’re nervous about playing with your children – lots of parents worry they’ll get it ‘wrong’, just relax and let the kids lead,” she suggests.

“They spend such a lot of time being told what to do, it’s great for them to be in charge – they also get to practise their decision-making skills.”

She also says not to worry about getting things ‘wrong’ when you play – that’s all part of the process!

“If you make a mistake, remember, that’s all part of it too,” she advises.

“There’s a lot of pressure on people to be perfect and if your children see you mess up, laugh about it and put it right, you’re giving them permission to not be perfect too and a model to copy when they make mistakes.”

Here are a few other tips to help you start playing as a family:

Don’t think about it too much
I think the best advice I can give you is not to overthink it. If your kids are having fun, ask if you can join in. Suggest a board game. Do a silly dance. The other day in the paddling pool, my son and I had a great time trying to walk like crabs around the pool. Stupid, yes. Fun, yes. Bonding? Definitely!

Mum and child in a den

Schedule it in
If you don’t like going with the flow and are more of a planner, you can also schedule in ‘fun’. Week six of lockdown and my family were miserable. We’d miss out on a trip back home to Devon to see the family and we were just hating being indoors all the time. My son’s idea to cheer us all up? An ‘80s party!

It was a roaring success. We showed my son some of our favourite ‘80s videos, dressed in our finest ‘80s clothing and played some of my favourite party games from back in the day. The hit of the night was the chocolate game – a game I used to love playing with my extended family at parties.  We ended the night with an ‘80s inspired menu – arctic roll went down a treat with the 10-year-old and an ‘80s movie.

Having something to look forward together and plan as a family helped us bond so much. My son went to bed having had fun and me and my husband carried on the nostalgia, listening to some ‘80s vinyl after he went to bed. All in all, it was a great night!

Start small
I’m a frustrated actress, so when my son asks me to be a futuristic fighting fairy, I’m there with full character motivation and costume (dressing up is big in our family!). I appreciate though that not everyone is in touch with their inner child. Play is like any muscle, the more you use it, the more you get used to using it, however it’s fine to start small. Play a board game. Do a wordsearch. Complete a jigsaw. Play badminton.

I think even reading can be a fun, bonding experience. My son and I are currently working our way through the Artemis Fowl books and are both enjoying them in our different ways. I’ve also introduced him to my favourite childhood books including The Magic Faraway Tree and The Water Babies. My husband also dug out some old Beano annuals for him and we all had a good laugh at the exploits of Dennis the Menace!

Be in the moment
Ten minutes of intense, losing yourself in the moment play is worth a whole day of distracted interactions with your kids, so don’t beat yourself up if you’re not rolling down hills.

Dr Amanda’s advice is, regardless of how much time you play for, make sure you give your child your full attention.

She says: “Just make sure you are giving them your full attention, so put away the phone for a while and rediscover the joys of childhood with your kids.”

Go outside
We are so lucky to live near woodland – it has simply been our saviour during lockdown. There are days however when my son doesn’t want to walk the dog, but I’ve got a fool proof way to get him out now – walkie talkies! We play spies. He hides from me. The dog gets a walk. Win-win. 

We also love doing a bit of puddle jumping and playing football. I’ve been known to roll down a hill… I love the silliness of play and how it can make you feel so young sometimes, even if my neighbours do give me funny looks!

A son and dad playing video gamesStart a play list
Those days when everything is just a bit ‘bleurgh’ and my brain is fried, I go to my list. This is something I’ve been keeping for years now – every time I see a good idea online or on the TV, I jot it down. It goes on for three pages and includes links to do-it-yourself scavenger hunts, tips on how to build a den in the woods, various science experiments and several little ideas that can help alleviate boredom on trips (Thumb Wars is our favourite).

I also have a literal playlist – full of tunes, chosen by the whole family, that I can pop on anytime and make a move to. Our kitchen discos are legendary and yes, we may have three disco balls…

We also have a boredom box, which has unusual games we’ve found along our play journey – our favourite at the moment is Sussed, which is great to play with all ages – quiz books, balls, frisbies, wigs… Basically, it’s full of stuff that help us come up with ideas on what to play.

I believe we never truly grow up. There’s a fun side to everyone and during these bleak times, I think it’s never been more important than to try and access this. It doesn’t matter if your family have all grown up, try a virtual quiz or charades. Go for a walk in the rain. Walk some llamas (seriously, it’s a thing). Engage your inner child and you’ll be surprised at how much better you all feel!

For more ideas on how to play, visit Dr Amanda Gummer’s website, The Good Play Guide. On the August Bank Holiday weekend, they are running their second Play At Home Fest, providing two action-packed days of virtual family fun.

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Product Partner spotlight – Lisa Fretwell

Lisa Fretwell product Partner Spotlight
Lisa Fretwell product Partner Spotlight

Product Partner spotlight – Lisa Fretwell

Each week we put the spotlight on one of our Product Partners so they can share their stories and inspiration behind their business. We will also be asking them a few questions around their challenges and successes.

This week we meet Lisa Fretwell from Naturally Essential who makes amazingly smelling (and natural) wax melts and diffusers. When Lisa first spoke with us about joining the TGIOF Marketplace, we got excited about her passion for what she does and her learnings along the way. And if you look further down, you will se which one of Lisa’s products are her personal favourite, and we would have to agree, such a lovely and uplifting smell.

Meet Lisa…

How it all began.

I started researching different methods of making candles when my daughter and I noticed that we were getting a sooty residue on our ceilings and itchy throats from the candles we were burning.

I started researching what was in the candles we were burning and learnt that most conventional candles are generally created from paraffin, which is a petroleum by product that understandably creates an unhealthy air quality when burned.

Typically, paraffin candles contain toxic synthetic fragrances and emit fumes that are similar to those of a diesel exhaust! Carcinogens and toxins often linked to allergies, asthma and irritations are released when paraffin candles are burned. I also found out that even though some candles are labelled as soy candles they will often have paraffin added in to them which is why I started to make 100% soy candles with pure essential oils.

Soy wax is a natural product from a renewable source, a vegetable wax from the oil off soy beans. It is safe for the skin and respiratory system, it is also biodegradable and cleans up well with soap and water. With all this in mind I am sure you will agree when combined with essential oils it makes the perfect candle or wax melt!

Lisa’s favourite product – Lemongrass, Geranium and Cypress reed diffuser

Our quick Q&A…

1. What was your ‘on fire’ spark that made you start your business?

For me it has always been about protecting my families health with clean burning candles and products and sharing these products by establishing Naturally Essential.

2. What has been your biggest challenge to date and how did you overcome this?

The biggest challenge I have found is getting used to the world of social media, hash tagging, reposting and so on. I am now feeling more confident with this and actually find it quite satisfying now that I can promote my products through social media.

3. What has been your proudest moment?

I love my products, and what has made me feel really proud is the amount of compliments I have received from customers saying how impressed they have been with how well the fragrances from my products fill their homes and how happy they are knowing they are clean burning and 100% natural.

4. What advice would you tell yourself if you could go back to the start ?

Not to sound too cheesy but I wish I had started this years ago.

5. Share a quote about your business or life that you stand by?

100% natural 100% honest

6. What is your favourite product?

For me it’s the Lemongrass, Geranium and Cypress reed diffuser. It gently fills the whole room with its fresh fragrance without being overpowering. Every time I walk into the room it just makes me feel really happy and uplifted.

More of Lisa’s products

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Werk it! 3 exclusive video workouts for you

Woman in her lounge doing a video workout
Woman in her lounge doing a video workout

Werk it! 3 exclusive video workouts for you

Lockdown, it seems, has turned us into a nation of fitness addicts. Retailer Sports Direct revealed that it sold 218% more pairs of running trainers online during the lockdown than in the same period a year earlier. It seems being trapped in our houses and having a bit more spare time has enabled many of us to fit exercise in our lives more easily, whether through running or video workouts.

So, we thought we would ask some of our fitness faves to create totally exclusive workouts – just for you. They’re good for all fitness levels and promise to help keep you fit and healthy, both in mind and body, so whether you’ve just started to dip your toe in this fitness malarkey or are a pro, we think you’ll enjoy these workouts.

Yoga at home with Mickey Monroe

Aged just 17, Mickey Monroe became a model, appearing on magazine covers all over the world. Now, she’s the founder of cool workout brand, Active Pada and also a qualified yoga teacher.

Yoga is a fabulous exercise to help keep you active and still your mind, making it the perfect exercise for these strange lockdown times. In fact, one worldwide survey by digital health firm Withings found that there’s been a 42% uptake in people doing yoga during lockdown.

This yoga video workout is great for all levels – even if you struggle with knowing the difference between a cobra and a downward dog – so take a deep breath, inhale and get your body moving.

We say: Any workout that starts with a lie down is good in our book!

The ‘feeling joy’ workout with Hannah from Everybody Fitness

Hannah, from Everybody Fitness, is a health first personal trainer, which means she doesn’t believe in exercise purely for weight loss. 

“This isn’t about losing a magical half stone or getting a flat stomach – I want you to feel the joy in exercising,” she says.

Music is also super important to Hannah – she makes personalised playlists for her personal training customers – and she swears by the energising nature of your fave tracks.

Her exclusive video workout for us is good for all levels – you can put more or less energy into it depending on your fitness levels or mood. It utilises all the things you have at home, so there’s no excuses to get moving and put a smile on your face.

We say: Exercise that fills us with joy is our kind of thing – especially one that uses wine bottles instead of dumbbells!

Stretch, relax and revive with Sarah Maxwell

If working from home at the dining table has caused you ache and pains, this video workout by Sarah Maxwell is for you. It’s also perfect if you’ve been upping the cardio and need to stretch out those tense muscles. It’s only 15 minutes long and involves some stretches to help restore and relax you. Light a candle, play some relaxing music and join in.

Sarah says a lot of her clients are complaining about aches, pains and stresses brought on by lockdown, which is why it’s important to move every day. “The most important thing is to enjoy having this time to concentrate on yourself & have some time out,” advises Sarah.

We say: And relax…. The perfect way to end or start your day.

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5 easy summer wardrobe styles for 2020

How to create an easy-to-wear summer wardrobe
How to create an easy-to-wear summer wardrobe

5 easy summer wardrobe styles for 2020

As the temperature rises, it’s time to think about your summer wardrobe. Summer is a time for ditching those clothes that feel tight and uncomfortable. It’s a time to wear natural fabrics and dresses that swish, especially as we continue with our new ‘mostly from home’ life. 

There’s not such a need to dress up, but there’s every need for comfort. However, at This Girl Is On Fire, we don’t believe that comfort means being slobby, so check out our comfortable clothes that will make the easiest to wear summer wardrobe.

Chuck on dresses

These are those dresses that you literally throw on and forget about. No faffing with wraparounds, no pulling up low cut necklines – you’ll forget you’re wearing these beauties once they’re on, allowing you to get on with teaching improper fractions, while also trying to hold a Zoom conference call, with ease.

The long and short of it

Thankfully those tiny shorts that make it hard to sit down have been consigned to the pile marked 2019. Now there’s no festivals to attend, these longer length Bermuda style shorts are not only more wearable, they’re also a smarter option for when you go on a socially distanced walk with your mates – plus there’s no worry about flashing the cellulite.