Why Your Brain is on Autopilot

How often are you consciously considering things and making decisions? How can we step back, become aware of making choices – whether big or small – and actually make them? Monday is a crucial day to switch your brain off autopilot – here’s why. 

autopilot

It isn’t that we’re making bad decisions. More often, we aren’t even aware there’s a decision to make. Your Brain Is On Autopilot More Than You Think–Here’s How To Wake It Up. Read more: Fast Company.

The Return of Valley of the Dolls

Sometimes things just happen in the most serendipitous way. You’re looking for a book to take on holiday – something unputdownable to really get your teeth into; a page-turner to peruse poolside. And then, just like that, that exact book is published – it’s absolutely perfect timing for your summertime reading. We are – of course – talking about Jacqueline Susann’s 1966 publishing phenomenon: Valley of the Dolls. But as a book that occupied the top spot on New York Times’ bestseller list for no less than 28 weeks, it’s much more than just a poolside read. Translated into 30 languages, Valley of the Dolls has sold more than 40 million copies since it was published in 1966.

valley of the dolls 50th anniversary

And so, in recognition of Valley of the Dolls‘ 50th anniversary, Virago are republishing the celebrated bonkbuster with a special edition paperback. If you haven’t read Susann’s bestseller before, you’re in for a treat. If you have, then you’ll know it’s definitely worth re-reading. Because, scratch below the surface of the page-turning, sexy exploits of Valley of the Dolls‘ showbiz starlets – Anne, Neely and Jennifer – and you’ll see that it’s truly an era-defining masterpiece. Sure, it’s gossipy, salacious and packed with pop culture, but it’s also tackles some pretty important issues head-on – Valley of the Dolls was way, way ahead of its time.

valley of the dolls jacqueline susann

Gender, sexuality, feminism, women’s rights, drug addiction and body confidence are just a few of the topics Valley of the Dolls treats with frank, no-nonsense style, making it every bit as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. Sure, the sex scenes are pretty graphic, and there’s despair, depression and drugs too, but Valley of the Dolls wasn’t just a bestseller because of its gripping, salacious narrative. There’s power in these pretty pink-edged pages. ‘Jackie, it seemed, understood by instinct that her readers were ready for the raw side of love… for a franker sexuality and a tougher kind of story – for romance with tears AND oral sex,’ says The New York Times.

jacqueline susann

Of course, the rags-to-riches tales of the novel’s protagonists will have you turning the pages to find out what happens next. Three gorgeous heroines making it big in a male-dominated world, tall tales of the rich and famous – Valley of the Dolls is a book you’ll read and instantly want everyone else to read too.

Published by Virago, Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann is available to buy online here.

Life & Work

“You have cancer”. Words that no one wants to hear, ever. Kristin Hallenga was diagnosed with breast cancer aged just 23.  Her story is moving, powerful and one that – luckily for Kris – has a happy ending. A diagnosis of stage four cancer (the most advanced type) at age 23 and everything that entails – radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hospitals and hair loss – would be enough to knock the fight out of most people. But not Kris. Oh no, she beat cancer – and went on to set up her own breast cancer charity: CoppaFeel!

Coppafeel Kris

Its premise? “We’re here to ensure you check your boobs regularly, throughout your lifetime. Simple as that.” CoppaFeel!’s aim is to put an end to the misdiagnosis and late detection of breast cancer by making sure people check their breasts regularly, and are aware of the signs and symptoms. The charity doesn’t receive any funding from the government, relying solely on donations and fundraising through regular sponsored events. So yes, Kris Hallenga is quite probably the most inspiring woman we’ve ever featured on here. We found out what makes her tick – and whether she can run in heels…

Motivation for me is all about…

 
Doing something that matters. If I wasn’t doing something that I knew made a big difference, I would find it very hard to motivate myself, I may even struggle to get my ass out of bed each day. I am also very motivated by deadlines, I am a last minute.com kinda girl so without the stress of a deadline I get very little done (this article is case in point)

coppafeel charity

Success means…

 
The world and their dog checking their boobs to ensure everyone stands the best chance of surviving breast cancer. Ideally, this disease wouldn’t even exist.

I couldn’t have got there without…

 
My twin sister Maren. She is the bread to my butter, the carrot to my hoummus. From day one of me having cancer she has been a bit a legend, staying strong, making me food, sticking the kettle on on the particularly rainier days. When we first met, in the womb, I knew she was going to be my best mate for life, and without her I wouldn’t have achieved half the things I have. Before cancer our lives were going in very different directions and we were living very far apart, me in Beijing, she in Cornwall, and now we get to work together and talk every day! I am very lucky I get to work with my best friend and try to make the world a slightly better place with her.

coppafeel founder

I always start my day with…

 
A cat’s bum in my face. My cat, and flatmate, Wilhelm stop at nothing to get me up so I feed him. That is then followed by a green tea, checking my emails and a juice involving at least nine carrots.

When I don’t feel inspired I…

 
I read through emails we’ve received from people who have got so much out of CoppaFeel! either through checking their boobs and finding cancer early, or someone who has volunteered for us or is a Boobette and loves the friends they have made from being an ambassador for us. I often think of my friends who have died of breast cancer and that they wouldn’t want me moping around feeling sorry for myself, they’d want me to keep going, to keep fighting for a future where none dies of breast cancer. So I do.

coppafeel boobettes

When I am feeling unwell or demotivated I find being at Boob HQ perks me up a lot. I LOVE walking into the office and seeing our girls beavering away, getting excited about their projects or a new exercise class we should all go to together. It’s a fun and hard-working environment that can’t NOT motivate and inspire you. BUT if that fails then a trip to Cornwall and a stroll on the beach with my sister’s dog Rambo always sorts me out.

The landscape for women in business today looks like…

 
An inspiring space. I am surrounded by kick ass, creative, determined women so what I see is a future full of girl bosses everywhere. At least, that’s what I want to see.

The trait I most deplore in others is…

 
Having a meeting about a meeting about a meeting. There’s nothing I hate more than waste, including wastage of time. If it can be discussed, negotiated and agreed on the phone, then pick up the phone. I don’t like pointless meetings and too many people in London have them.

kris hallenga

I’d like to be remembered for…

 
Giving people the best chance to survive cancer. I don’t want to be remembered as “the girl who bravely battled cancer and eventually lost”. When I am done here, I will have lost nothing. I hope people see that I am navigating cancer the best way I can with as little suffering and fighting as possible. Aside from cancer, I want people to remember my awesome sense of humour and love of glitter and cat merch.

What makes me happiest is…

 
GELATO. MUSIC. FOOD. Good food, good company, good weather and good ol’ chats about life. I love watching people I love be happy and get excited about life and adventures.

coppafeel fundraising

Can I run in heels?

 
For LOLs, sure. Otherwise, I prefer my pom pom flats.

For more information, see the Coppafeel! website. Fancy a challenge? The CoppaFeel! Hilly Hundred is returning to the hills of Cornwall this September! The charity is partnering with the Eden Project, where the ride will start and finish, and you can choose between two hilly routes – the Hilly 100 miles or the Hilly 100 km. The event incorporates Cornwall’s most breathtaking scenery, the iconic Eden Project Biomes, endless support en route and lots and lots of hills!

The Beauty Fix

Well ahoy there, perfect packaging! If you’re into pretty packaging, it doesn’t get any prettier than the NARS Under Cover collection for summer 2016. The French Riviera-themed limited edition collection features beautiful illustrations from artist Konstantin Kakanias – and the products themselves are pretty damn covetable too. If you fancy some makeup newness for summer – and really, who doesn’t – you certainly can’t go wrong with summery lip colours, eye shadows and blush palettes.

nars under cover collection

Of the collection’s four Lip Cover liquid lipsticks, we’ve been wearing Get Dirty (ahem…) non-stop. A dusty rose-nude with a soft matte finish, this is an elegant shade for day, or looks hot hot hot with a smoky eye come sun-down. If you prefer something a little more ZING, you’ll love Do Not Disturb which is a bold, vivid orange-red – perfect for a change from your usual scarlet shade. Both are highly pigmented and long-lasting, so they pass the Running in Heels test for style and substance with full marks.

nars under cover

The Under Cover collection’s blushers are extremely pretty too – and universally flattering. It’s no secret that NARS makes some of the best blushers in the business, and these don’t disappoint. Obviously, product titles should have no bearing on how much you like them, but Sexual Content and Liberation might just be the best blusher names we’ve come across since 2007. (From the people who brought you Orgasm, obviously!) Sexual Content is a soft peach/raspberry combination to suit paler complexions, while Liberation is a gorgeously bright pink/dusky rose duo to instantly add a pop of colour.

nars summer 2016 collection

Two neutral and two bright eye shadows complete the collection – a special mention goes to Topless: a pearlescent seashell pink which works seamlessly as a highlighter too. Sea, sand, sunsets and sophisticated rendez-vous in the South of France, “glamorous, chic and fun” is how Kakanias describes the women of his illustrations.  Ah oui, we’ll have some of that!

Shop the Under Cover collection online here, or head to the NARS website for more information.

New (Classical) Music Now

Maybe you love classical music and know many composers whose music you enjoy. Perhaps you know a few composers, symphonies and even conductors who enchant your ears with musical loveliness. Or it’s just possible that you don’t know anything about classical music really, but you’d like to – and you’re not too sure where to start. Search doesn’t work so well when you don’t know what you’re looking for. Klarafy is a magical technological tool which translates your taste in music into classical music. Clever technology eh?

klarafy

How does it work?  Very simply, actually. You give Klarafy access to your Spotify, and it does the rest, finding corresponding classical music in next to no time. Love Queen? You should try Bach. Prince fan? How about some Puccini? Playlists mainly composed of electro and house? You might enjoy Bartók. Klarafy bases its classical music suggestions on the genre and mood of Spotify playlists, generating selections that it thinks you’ll enjoy and helping you discover music you’ll love. And it’s all completely free. Try it – there’s nothing quite like finding new music to fall in love with.

For more information, see the Klarafy website.

Don’t Love Yourself

Know yourself, love yourself – two things we’re sure you’ll have heard a fair few times. But how about if loving yourself is in fact unhelpful – and actually an unhealthy habit? If you want to progress and grow as a person, you need to stop loving yourself.

self love life lessons

The importance of loving yourself is a common catchphrase among feel-good gurus and the subject of countless self-help books. But Harvard University’s Michael Puett argues that loving yourself – and all your flaws – can actually be quite harmful. Read more: Quartz.

Hawksmoor Turns Ten

We were talking about celebrating more just the other day, and here’s a very good excuse reason to celebrate something rather brilliant. The unfailingly excellent steak palace that is Hawksmoor is celebrating ten years in business – cheers to that! Cheers is exactly right, as – alongside a celebratory History of Hawksmoor menu with ALL THE FOOD – there’s also a special new cocktail selection. And it’s very, very good.

hawksmoor cocktails

Behind an unremarkable door next to the restaurant, Hawksmoor’s Spitalfields Bar is an absolute gem – and a favourite of many a cocktail aficionado. Why? The stylish basement bar has won too many awards to bother naming, the mixologists really know their stuff, and it’s a sophisticated spot from the drinks menu to the deco. The bar’s new cocktail menu divides into The Gin Years (celebrating the past ten years) and a shiny new list to honour the start of a new decade of adventures. Some of it is a bit bonkers, some of it is a little silly, but we can attest that it’s all delicious.

hawksmoor spitalfields cocktails

There’s creativity on the drinks menu galore – with Hawksmoor’s bartenders not only dreaming up incredible cocktails, but also making their own bitters, shrubs and syrups. The Old Fashioned Date Night mixes that craziness and creativity; it’s popcorn-washed Ron Zacapa, Coke & date reduction, chocolate and tickets. It’s a strong, sweet and very moreish concoction that needs to be tried to be believed. And we love the Good Tiki Drink which is pure holiday in a glass – with rum, spices, smoked passionfruit and toasted coconut.

hawksmoor spitalfields bar review

Traditionalists won’t be disappointed though – we’d recommend the Pastis St Germain (St Germain Elderflower, lemon myrtle tea, tea pot bitters and a dash of Pastis) which is a deliciously elegant, refined cocktail – and one of the most popular on the menu. And then there’s ten years of gin cocktails to try too… 2006’s original Champagne Charlie always goes down a treat – it’s a potent mix of champers, gin and the current seasonal syrup. Guaranteed, you’ll want more than one.

Champagne Charlie

Soak up the booze with a bar snack or two – although ‘snack’ doesn’t really do Hawksmoor’s legendary shortrib nuggets or gooey macaroni cheese justice honestly. There’s also lobster rolls, hotdogs and – of course – burgers, which are as exquisite as you’d expect. Happy Birthday Hawksmoor – here’s to another decade!

For more information, see Hawksmoor Spitalfield’s website.

RIH Eats

Marie Antoinette might have said “Let them eat cake,” but she was obviously genetically-blessed with a ridiculous metabolism. We’re never going to get militant about diets here at Running in Heels, and we do believe in all things in moderation, but you probably shouldn’t really be eating cake on a daily basis – regardless of your metabolism! And so, we’d unreservedly recommend Henrietta Inman’s Clean Cakes – a book with a title that may sound like a contradiction in terms, we know…

henrietta inman clean cakes

Billed as offering recipes for “delicious pâtisserie made with whole, natural and nourishing ingredients and free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar,” Inman’s book will make you rethink your whole approach to baking. After all, making – and eating – cakes is fun, relaxing and pretty therapeutic. But butter, sugar and white flour are never going to be part of a healthy diet, let’s face it. And if you’re lactose and/or gluten-intolerant (or you have friends that are), cakes and desserts can represent a no-go area.

clean cakes henrietta inman

A qualified pastry chef – having earned her stripes at London’s Michelin-starred Lanesborough Hotel, no less – Henrietta Inman has thoroughly tried and tested all of the recipes in Clean Cakes. And you won’t be disappointed, we’ll guarantee that. So here’s an exclusive Clean Cakes recipe for you to test out – one that definitely gets our seal of approval too: salted tahini shortbread biscuit bars with yogurt-coated walnuts and figs. Deeeeelish.

clean cakes

These bars are crazy-good! Crunchy toasted walnuts and sweet, juicy dried figs coated in homemade yogurt-like ‘white chocolate’ on a slightly salty buttery biscuit base, what more could you want? For it to be guilt-free, too? Well, here you are! Hard to put down and devilishly moreish, these won’t be around for long. This recipe makes 24 square bars

henrietta inman

For the ‘white chocolate yogurt’

120g cashew butter    –      180g cacao butter, melted
½ vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped out
Finely grated zest of ½ lemon
65g (generous 3 tbsp) raw honey      –    Pinch Himalyan pink salt

For the biscuit

360g walnuts, preferably activated and dried
80g coconut oil, softened but not melted
120g coconut sugar      –     180g light tahini
2 tsp vanilla extract     –     200g oat flour
2 tsp coarse sea salt, finely ground
1 tsp baking powder     –    20g arrowroot
200g dried figs, small stalks removed

To make the ‘white chocolate yogurt’ place everything in a blender and blend until completely smooth. Pour into a bowl and set aside, leaving it in a warm place so it does not set.

clean cakes recipes

Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3. Line a 30 x 20 x 3 cm deep tin with baking parchment. Line another tray with baking parchment and toast 160g of the walnuts on it for seven minutes or until just beginning to colour. Set aside to cool. Beat together the coconut oil, coconut sugar, tahini and vanilla extract until smooth.

salted tahini shortbread biscuit bars

Blitz the remaining 200g of walnuts in a food processor with the oat flour and arrowroot until as fine as possible. Add the salt and baking powder and blitz once more. Combine the dry ingredients with the tahini, sugar and oil mixture. Finish by bringing the mix together with your hands. Press the biscuit mix into the prepared tin, smoothing it out to make an even base with a step palette knife. Bake for 30–35 minutes, turning halfway, until light brown. Leave to cool.

henrietta inman cakes

Roughly chop the figs into about 4–6 pieces each. Roughly chop the toasted walnuts into pieces a bit larger than peas. Mix thoroughly into the ‘white chocolate yogurt’ and then immediately pour over the cooled tahini shortbread base. Leave to set in the freezer for 30 minutes, then remove from the tin and cut with a large serrated knife into 5 cm  squares and serve. The bars keep well for five days in a sealed container.

clean cake recipes

The recipe and images are extracted from Henrietta Inman’s Clean Cakes, with photography by Lisa Linder. Clean Cakes is published by Jacqui Small.

Look Good, Brush Better

We’ve long been fans of Look Good Feel Better‘s amazing work in offering essential hair and beauty advice and workshops for women undergoing cancer treatment. A confidence boost to those who need it most, the charity’s work really makes a tangible impact. And we also absolutely love Look Good Feel Better’s beautiful quality makeup brushes and tools – they’re excellent quality and they definitely do the job, all while giving us an extra way to give back too. So obviously we were delighted to hear about the launch of the charity’s latest launch: the Anti-Bacterial Brush Set.

LOOK GOOD FEEL BETTER Anti-Bacterial Brush Set

The set’s four brushes have been made with antimicrobial technology designed to keep them clean and hygienic – so they’re ideal for use on the go – whether that’s travelling, the gym or perhaps summer festivals. The synthetic bristles are super soft too – and the brushes are every bit as effective as the Look Good Feel Better’s original, best-selling beauty tools. The brushes are also completely cruelty-free and suitable for sensitive skin.

The Round Foundation Brush is perfect for a flawless base, dispensing product evenly and smoothly, while the large Multi-Tasking Brush is fantastic for powder, blusher and bronzer. The kit also includes an Eye Shading Brush and Lip Brush which we’d recommend whether you’re a beauty pro or simply buying your first set of makeup brushes. It’s the first time we’ve come across antibacterial brushes, and we’re wondering why more brands don’t offer something so clever and effective. Brushes that look good, work well – and help make women in need feel better? Buying these brushes and effortlessly donating to charity just makes sense.

Look Good Feel Better’s Anti-Bacterial Brush Set is available from Marks & Spencer, Look Fantastic and Beauty Expert. For more information on Look Good Feel Better, see the charity’s website

Celebrate More

Happiness and success aren’t the key to life. No, no – it’s all about celebration. Sure, birthdays and anniversaries are lovely, but we all need to celebrate a whole lot more – and more of the time. Work, friendships, relationships and motivation – all areas of life where you definitely need a little more celebration. You need to be saying ‘hoorah’ much more. Really.

celebration

You don’t celebrate enough. I’m not talking about just having fun for the sake of having fun. Plenty of scientific research shows that celebrating is the key to a better life. We need more high-fives, more parties, more chocolate consumption, and a lot more saying, “Wow, that’s great!” Sound too simple and cheery? Wrong. Here’s why… Read more: Barking Up The Wrong Tree.