The Power of Self-Awareness

Do you understand who you really are? Or how others really see you? We all know people with a stunning lack of self-awareness – but how often do we consider whether we might have the same problem? Research shows that self-awareness is the meta-skill of the 21st century – the foundation for high performance, smart choices, and lasting relationships. Unfortunately, we are remarkably poor judges of ourselves and how we come across, and it’s rare to get candid, objective feedback from colleagues, employees, and even friends and family. Psychologist, researcher and bestselling author Dr Tasha Eurich shares tips from her latest book – Insight – on how to improve your self-awareness, along with your career, relationships and more…

Why insight matters

People who possess self-awareness – that is, who know themselves and how others see them – make smarter decisions, build stronger relationships, enjoy more successful careers, feel more self-confidence and acceptance, and live happier lives. Insight is therefore a noble goal, and many people try to gain it through introspection – that is, digging into our deepest thoughts, motives, and emotions. But rather shockingly, research (mine and others’) has shown that the act of thinking about ourselves very often doesn’t result in knowing ourselves. The good news is that introspection can be effective—it’s just that so many people are doing it incorrectly! Below, I’ll bust a few myths of introspection, and show how approaching it a bit differently can have a powerful payoff.

Be intentional about how you journal

Though it’s often seen as one of the most effective ways to get in touch with our inner selves, a growing body of research suggests that introspection via journaling has some surprising traps that can suck the insight right out of the experience. Though there are a lot of nuances to this, let me share a few key takeaways. First, we shouldn’t use journaling as a method to discharge our negative emotions – instead, we should look at both our feelings and the facts of a situation – for example, we might describe what happened, or how other people viewing the situation might have seen it. Those who learn the most from journaling find new ways to view their negative experiences, leading to growth and change. Second, and though this may be surprising, we should write less to learn more. Writing every few days or only when you are trying to make an important decision has been shown to be more effective than writing every day.

Don’t get stuck in an endless loop of self-scrutiny

Though rumination is the enemy of introspection, almost everyone does it. We might endlessly replay a conversation in our minds or beat ourselves up about something we did (or didn’t do). In addition to being a mental hell, rumination is also a barrier to insight. But it can be squashed with the right approach. Let’s say you’re beating yourself up about a recent mistake. One way to move past it is to remember that other people don’t generally care about our mistakes as much as we do. Ask, If someone I knew did the same thing – would I even be thinking about it now? Another approach is to adopt a learning mindset—instead of focusing on the mistake itself, focus on what you learned. But if you really can’t stop ruminating, you can use a tool I call “hitting pause” – find a distraction that will give you a fast, positive reward, like cleaning, seeing friends, or exercising. Getting some distance very often makes things feel much less upsetting and much more manageable.

Practice non-meditative mindfulness

When we get in the habit of mindfully noticing new things in ourselves or our world, it dramatically improves our self-knowledge. Try to look at circumstances, behaviours, and relationships from a different angle, both the good and the bad. You might ask yourself what opportunities you can find in a difficult situation, or how your weaknesses might be reframed as strengths. You can use this same technique to gain valuable insight by reframing your experiences from a more objective angle. For example, if you and your partner are having a disagreement, take a moment to mentally step outside of yourself to “watch” what’s going on – instead of being an angry spouse, for example, become an detached observer.

Don’t stop using social media – just use it differently

Researchers have discovered that people who use social media generally fall into one of two categories: 80% are so-called ‘Meformers,’ who like to post messages that are all about telling everyone what’s going on in their lives. The remaining 20% are ‘Informers’ who tend to have more friends and enjoy richer, more satisfying interactions. They use social media as a way to truly engage and stay connected with others – their goals are to inform, entertain and inspire rather that to rack up ‘likes’. They might post an article they found interesting, an amusing observation, or a funny or informative video. To move from Meformer to Informer, when you are about to post something, ask What am I hoping to accomplish by doing this? Then, ask Is this action about me or about others?

Seek and hear feedback

Psychologists have found that generally, other people see us more objectively than we see ourselves. They can also anticipate our future behaviour better than we can (a fact to which you can attest if you’ve ever met a friend’s new, obviously ill-suited love interest and correctly predicted that the relationship wouldn’t last). Even strangers have been found to see us disconcertingly accurately. It takes courage to consider that other people might see us differently than we see ourselves, and to actively seek out that information. It might feel intimidating or terrifying, but the insight we gain is well worth it. Seeing ourselves from multiple angles—that is, examining our own perspectives and comparing them with how others see us – gives us more context, more information about how we can improve, and more control over our destiny.

Ask What, not Why

Asking why we do things creates a negative impact and permits us to justify or rationalise bad behaviour. It also reduces the quality of our decisions as we invent reasons that confirm our existing beliefs. To better understand our true thoughts and emotions, we need to stop asking “why” and start asking “what.” Asking “what” questions keeps us open to discovering more information about ourselves and moving ahead in a productive way. What’s going on? What am I feeling? What is the dialogue inside my head? What’s another way to see this situation? What can I do to respond better? Making the transition from “why” to “what” can indeed be the difference between victimhood and growth.

Insight: The Power of Self-Awareness in a Self-Deluded World by Tasha Eurich is published by Pan Macmillan, priced £18.99. Insight is available to buy online here.

We Love Mornings

When you think of dancing at 7am, it’s probably a picture of sweaty all-night ravers that comes to mind – not healthy, happy people starting their day in the most positive way possible. Since it first launched four years ago, Morning Gloryville has created something of a revolution, with events now taking place across the globe and the rise of ‘conscious clubbing’. Dancing your heart out sans alcohol is actually a truly, truly wonderful experience, and one that – once you’ve tried once – you’ll want to repeat ASAP! Ahead of Morning Gloryville’s fourth birthday extravaganza, we talked energy, happiness, wellbeing and the power of dancing with their CEO, Samantha Moyo…

What is so special about dancing?

Dancing is a medicine that is 100% powered by YOU! It’s an opportunity to release, unleash your spirit and connect to your heart. The moment you are lost in a dance you stop thinking and when you stop thinking you are free as a bird and in bliss!

Top wellbeing tip?

Feel good in your body and mind throughout the good times and bad. If you’re feeling awful, do awful well. And guess what – if you’re feeling great, do great well.

What does mindfulness mean to you?

To me, mindfulness is the ability to observe everything going on within the inner plane (mind, body and soul) whilst cracking on with life. It’s an infinite set of tools that help us manage life. It’s important to recognise that part of mindfulness is mindlessness.

What does your morning generally look like?

I LOVE to wake up gently and stroke my lover. Then some breathing or meditating. Then showering and moisturising. Then trying to start working as late as possible. In an ideal world, all meetings and seeing of people is from midday.

What do you do to boost your energy?

Pranayama. I learnt Atma Kriya Yoga and it’s literally saved my life. It teaches how much LIFE, ENERGY and NUTRITION is in every breathe.

Why are so many people so tired these days?

Good question. I thought it was from working so much but then the other day it dawned on me. It’s because we are becoming more sensitive so we’re processing more of everything around us – like computers. The more we expand our consciousness as a civilisation the more we are learning to operate differently and the more energy it’s taking. I believe there will be a collective breakthrough. Remember this is also the first time people are openly talking about feelings and tiredness and consciousness and wellness. All of this takes energy.

What does happiness mean to you?

Happiness is when my heart feels warm and fuzzy or when I choose to smile.

Favourite music/song/album/DJ to dance to?

Do Your Thing by Basement Jaxx, Fatboy Slim’s Praise You and I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free by Nina Simone.

Top morning energy tip?

Breathe in deep like air is your food. Then listen to your favourite music. And then smile. Oh and summer love-making is always great for getting your shine on!

Morning Gloryville‘s Fourth Birthday takes place at the Brixton Beach Rooftop on the 1st June, promising to be their biggest rave to date, with a surprise headlining act from one of the world’s most famous DJs, and attendance of over 1000 sober Londoners. With past acts including the likes of Rudimental and Basement Jaxx, the secret performer this year is sure to wow guests and get pulses racing. To book tickets, see the Morning Gloryville website.

All Day Cocktails

There seem to be so many silly days celebrating random things RN. But a whole day dedicated to cocktails? Hell, World Cocktail Day is something we’d happily celebrate 365 days a year! And the best kind of World Cocktail Day? Who doesn’t love a sparkling cocktail? So without further ado, here are three cocktails made with the finest Skinny Champagne and Skinny Prosecco – one for breakfast or brunch, one to enjoy in the afternoon and one to make if you’re inviting people over for a relaxed dinner or garden party…. Cheers!

The Pink Grapefruit Sumac Mimosa

A twist on the traditional mimosa, this adds a hint of Middle Eastern flavours into the mix, with a zing of tangy sumac and an aromatic hint of star anise – all finished with scented lemon thyme. With fresh pink grapefruit juice topped up with Skinny Prosecco, this is basically the perfect AM cocktail to enjoy with breakfast/brunch and the weekend papers – a little perk-you-up* to get Saturday or Sunday started. Packed full of Vitamin C too, so it counts as one of your five-a-day right? (*also an excellent hair-of-the-dog).

Pink grapefruit // Sumac
Star anise // Small bunch of lemon thyme
Skinny Prosecco

Juice the pink grapefruits and strain out the pips – one grapefruit should make two mimosas. Lightly wet the glass rims and then dip them in sumac to coat. Pour in pink grapefruit juice and then top up with fizz. Bash two or three stalks of lemon thyme against your palm to release the aroma then add as a garnish. Carefully turn the star anise in a flame for ten seconds or so, then add one to each glass to finish.

The Strawberry Jasmine Afternoon Tea

What flavour says summer more than strawberries? Whether you drink the Strawberry Jasmine Afternoon Tea with Champagne or Prosecco, it’s a wonderfully light afternoon cocktail – and delicious with cakes and sandwiches. Or just on its own – up to you! Jasmine tea and rose water add a slighted scented finish, but you can easily omit these if you want. Fresh strawberry puree with a twist of summery basil is a delicious combo – and even better when the sun is shining… For something a little different, finish with a little dusting of black pepper – it works beautifully with the flavour of the strawberries.

Strawberry puree //  Rose water
Jasmine tea //  Skinny Prosecco
Basil  //  Jasmine flowers

Start by making the jasmine tea and leaving to cool ahead of time. Then prepare the strawberry puree – one punnet should make three or four cocktails depending on the strawberry size. Don’t forget to sieve for seeds! Add three or four tablespoons of strawberry puree to each glass and then a couple of drops of rosewater to taste. Stir in two to three tablespoons of jasmine tea before topping up with Prosecco or Champagne. Finish with a basil leaf or two, and some fresh jasmine flowers – or pink rose petals if you prefer.

The Garden Goddess

This is one marvellous cocktail to make lots of if you’re having people over for drinks – perhaps an al fresco meal of a summer evening, or a long, all-day barbecue with people popping in and out. Make a big jug or pitcher with lots of ice, fruit, a little cloudy apple juice and top up with Skinny Champagne. We haven’t given exact quantities as this cocktail is really best made to your taste. You can also add in gin if you’d like a stronger cocktail – but a word of warning: the Garden Goddess is very, very moreish. Perhaps one of the most drinkable long cocktails we’ve come across.

Cucumber // Apple
Cloudy Apple Juice // Light sparkling elderflower
Pear // Lemon
Mint // Skinny Champagne

First prepare the fruit – thinly slice apples, pears and lemons and add to a large jug or punch bowl. Add long, thin strips of cucumber (create these with a peeler) and top up with half-and-half cloudy apple juice and sparkling elderflower – then leave in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve, throw in lots of ice cubes and mint, before finishing with fizz. Easiest cocktail ever and everyone loves this one!

For more information on Skinny Champagne and Skinny Prosecco, see the Thomson & Scott website.

Why Write?

When Virago Press was founded forty-some years ago, its principal aim was revolutionary: to publish books by women. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this wasn’t actually all that game-changing, but Carmen Callil’s publishing house was the first to take on this apparently impenetrable mission. And the meaning of Virago? A heroic war-like woman. Almost half a decade later, another mythical female figure has stepped into the spotlight: Salomé. Another powerful female figure championing women and their writing. Salomé is an online literary magazine for emerging female writers.

Perhaps you’ve previously scribbled a few poetic musings down on the back of an envelope. Or thought that one day – one day – you’d finally write that novel. Maybe you’ve even submitted work to a literary journal, or written a birthday limerick, or penned a eulogy so perfectly, perfectly composed that it really ought to be published. But maybe you’ve never ventured into writing – although the thought has crossed your mind, albeit fleetingly. So why should you write? Here, Salomé‘s founder shares her essential tips on what it means to write – and why you definitely should!

I want to start writing, where should I start?

I think the best place is to write whatever comes into your head. There’s a journalist I love, Ann Friedman, who really recommends this for getting over writers block. Yes, some of it might be complete rubbish, but most of the time you’re writing in your style about anything that pops into your head – it might give you some inspiration.

How often should I write?

I – along with many others – am an alumnus of Write Like A Grrrl: creative writing workshops for women which are hosted across the UK. Write Like A Grrrl founder and tutor Kerry Ryan teaches something called a Brief Daily Session (BDS). The advice here is to write for about 20 minutes a day (and not more than about an hour), but to make sure that you do it every day. That way you get into good habits and become used to writing all the time. BDS takes off the pressure of giving yourself a deadline and invariably leaving it all to the last day and having to make yourself not procrastinate. I know people who have written whole novels through BDS – it might have taken them six months, rather than three, but it is a much more productive way of doing it.

What about getting others’ opinions?

Submit your writing to Salomé! We give everyone who submits – regardless of whether we publish them or not – feedback. And that means about a page of the stuff. So just submit to us – it’s free, you could get paid if published and you’ll get feedback. There’s nothing to lose, only to gain!

How is writing fiction different from writing a blog?

I’m not sure it is. It’s still a creative process. The writing process is the same, though you might edit it more if you’re trying to get a novel published. What is different, though, is the immediacy of release and consumption. The thing I love about a blog is you can splurge your thoughts onto the computer, send it out into the world and have people read it there and then. For me, it’s a much more rough and ready process. I have a piece of flash fiction (it’s only 800 words) that I wrote in February this year and I’m still tweaking it.

How should I find inspiration for writing?

Inspiration? I struggle. I always try and think of new topics to write about but I always come back to the same one: mental health. It’s because I have my own very profound experiences with it. I was thinking about this today on the way back from the gym actually; why I can’t find anything else I write about well enough, in my opinion at least. Is it because I don’t have the depth of experience needed to really connect with a writing subject? Or is it just that the depth of my experiences of mental health outstrips everything else to the point that my writing on mental health blows everything else out of the water. I’m not sure. You can’t create inspiration. You just have to wait. Doing new things, meeting new people, giving different writing topics a go, can all help though I think.

What’s different about ‘female’ writing?

I can’t say in general, but from what I’ve noticed from Salomé submissions after just one issue, is a pervading sense of melancholy. I’d be interested to do a “happy” themed issue one day and see if the writing is any happier. I’m half-expecting lots of the pieces to be about a loss of, or the pursuit of, happiness though!

Why share my writing?

You don’t have to. Really. But why not? I used to write for me. I still do, but the sense of satisfaction I get from knowing others are reading the words I poured my heart and soul into is greater than it might be otherwise.

Jacquelyn is the Founder & CEO of Salomé, the literary magazine for emerging female writers. We give anyone who identifies as female the platform, confidence and experience to get their work published in an industry that favours and publishes male writing more. You can follow Salomé on Instagram @salome_lit and find them on Twitter with the same handle.

Summer Cocktails

Garden parties, social occasions and summer evenings are somehow just that little bit better with a cooling cocktail in hand, aren’t they? From refreshing spritzers to punchy fruit cocktails, here’s our pick of the very best summer cocktails to make right now…

Plum & Thyme Prosecco Smash

Unexpected but delicious – this is also a really pretty cocktail to serve of a summer evening. Or if you’re having a special brunch, this makes a chic replacement for the traditional mimosa. Recipe via My Diary of Us.

Sangria Verde

Quite different to too-sweet traditional sangria, this take on the Spanish staple is a refreshing blend of lime, cucumber, mint, basil and melon – mixed with Vinho Verde. Recipe via The Bojon Gourmet.

Passionfruit & Elderflower Fizz

Scented elderflower pairs with passionfruit’s tropical vibe, and topped up with sparkling water and a twist of lime, this is actually pretty healthy too! Add in a shot of vodka if you’d like a boozy version. Recipe via Eat Love Eats.

The Love Potion Cocktail

Blackberries, thyme, prosecco – who would have thought something so simple could be so darned delicious. Not to mention eye-catching. Make a big jug of this – it’ll go quick! Recipe via Lark & Linen

Vodka Pear Lavender Lemonade

Lavender might not be to everyone’s taste, but here it works beautifully with sweet pear and fresh, citric lemonade. It’s also easy to make without the vodka for the Designated Drivers too. Recipe via Sugar & Cloth.

Strawberry Thyme Lillet Spritzer

Strawberries. The pure flavour of summer no? Serve this sparkling spritzer with afternoon tea, or make a big punchbowl of it if you’re expecting company! Recipe via What’s Gaby Cooking?


Ginger & Jasmine Rose Cocktail

And now for something quite, quite different. Oh come on, you’re thinking, rosé mixed with fresh ginger and jasmine tea? Sounds wrong, tastes very right. Recipe via Sugar & Charm.

Rose Lemon Spritzer

Yes, this might be the most Instagrammable cocktail ever. But just LOOK how pretty! Luckily it’s also incredibly easy to make, so prepare to knock your guests’ socks off with this one. Recipe via Half Baked Harvest.

Black Cherry Bourbon Cola Smash

If you’re B O R E D of gin, how about a cocktail with a lil bourbon to spice things up? If you’re not keen on cola, you can substitute for ginger beer – or swap for a diet version for an almost saintly tipple… Recipe via Supergolden Bakes.

Chili Lime Mango Margaritas

Who’s making margaritas? Get the tequila on the go with these punchy mango margs, with a hint of lime and a hit of chili. Counts as one of our five-a-day, right? Recipe via Minimalist Baker.

Wedding Guest 101

Invites are arriving and weekends are getting booked up. Oh yes, wedding season is on the horizon! After you’ve decided what to pick from the gift list and booked your hotel, the next big question is – of course – what to wear. Read on for our tips for how to get it right every time…

Plan Ahead

Yes, we’re all busy, but honestly slinging all the possible sartorial choices and various pairs of shoes into a suitcase with the intention of choosing on the day is never, ever a good idea. Panic isn’t generally consider conducive to choosing an outfit that you feel happy, confident and comfortable in. Even if you’re not thinking of buying something new to wear for a wedding, take ten minutes to lay your outfit out, look at different accessories and shoes – and try it on!

What’s The Vibe?

Countryside wedding or city shindig? Relaxed affair on the beach or white tie? Find out what you can about the wedding before the day arrives, that way you’ll know if it’s the moment to dress down and keep things low key, choose to impress with something ultra-chic and on-trend or stick to a simple day dress and heels. If it’s an all-day affair, you’ll also want to wear something to take you from afternoon drinks to dancing come sundown. Considering the weather and hot weddings under the midday sun or chilly evening receptions is also important – perhaps pack a hat to shade your face or cosy cashmere wrap?

Be You

That green lace jumpsuit is rather fabulous and yes, you’re sure to turn heads, but does it really feel like you? Wedding are all about dressing up, but now is not the time to debut a new style direction that you’re not 100% confident of. And if you don’t want to wear something that looks like it’s a typical wedding guest outfit, don’t! Another thing to not – you do NOT have to wear a dress. Elegant jumpsuits, chic culottes, a skirt suit combo or sophisticated tailored trousers all work well for weddings, so if you don’t want to wear a dress, that’s fine! The most important thing is being yourself and wearing something you feel confident and relaxed in – and that suits you and your sense of style

Styling Tips

Outfit sorted? Excellent news. Next up? Hair, makeup and accessories! A spectacular hat can be the star of the show if you’re wearing a simple frock. And the right clutch, earrings and necklace can make all of the difference to your outfit too. Makeup-wise, if you’re doing your own, make sure that it’s achievable and ideally choose long-lasting products so that you’re not worrying about touch-ups when you should be enjoying yourself. Makeup counters are always a good place to start if you’d like some advice on new products or trying something different – and who doesn’t love a free makeover? If you’re doing your own hair, again – don’t go for anything too complex or time-consuming – soft waves or a simple blow dry are timeless and elegant.

Choosing Shoes

Of course, we LOVE sexy shoes, but they become distinctly less sexy when they’re shoes you’re struggling to walk in. If you’re not used to wearing heels and don’t find them comfortable, don’t wear heels, it’s that simple! If you’re attending a wedding that lasts all day, it’s worth taking an extra pair of shoes for the evening reception. Whether you find wearing heels all day long challenging or don’t want to miss out on tearing up the dance floor with Uncle Magnus, take some matching flats along! And – just in case – don’t forget blister plasters…

Getting Spendy

Of course, you want to pick the perfect outfit, but bankrupting yourself splashing out on just the right clutch or overspending on a dress which is only going to be worn once? Forget it! Best case scenario – choose items that you can wear again, whether that’s for another wedding or special occasion, or even dressed down for work. And reviewing your wardrobe is always a good idea – you never know what gems you might find hiding at the back of your wardrobe that you’d totally forgotten about!

Not forgetting…

It’s fine to wear white – just make sure your dress doesn’t in any way resemble a wedding gown. AWKWARD. Black is also very acceptable these days, but do break things up with colourful accessories and a bright lip, for example. Leather and denim don’t really look right at a wedding honestly, so avoid – aside from perhaps a biker jacket over your frock for a little extra edge. Most importantly? When it comes to wedding outfits, don’t overthink things! This is a day celebrating friends or family – so enjoy every moment. In the end, no one will remember your shoes – they’ll be focusing on the bride’s radiant smile as she says “I do!”

Life & Work

Having met Katia Beauchamp in person, it’s hard not to open this feature with a gushing, celebrity interview-style intro. Fresh off the plane from New York, mother to two young boys and head of a wildly successful international company, signs of tiredness would be understandable. But no, when we met 30-something co-founder of Birchbox, she was glowing, infectiously passionate about her business and undeniably charming, flashing an all-American smile at every turn. Her professional background? A degree in International Studies & Economics, plus an MBA from Harvard led Beauchamp to a successful career in finance and real estate. Pretty good going you’re thinking.

2010 saw the launch of Birchbox – effectively a true disruptor in the beauty industry and a business format that has subsequently been copied the world over. Fast forward to 2017, and Birchbox has 1 million subscribers and 4 million total customers worldwide, as well as stores in the US and France. Beauchamp has garnered awards too numerous to mention here – and even (squeal!) appeared on Project Runway. Celebrating 100,000 subscribers in the UK – we asked Beauchamp about just what makes her tick – instant inspiration guaranteed.

Motivation for me is all about…

I’m motivated by the size of the opportunity to change the way women discover beauty. The majority of women don’t enjoy the process of researching and shopping for new products – they just want it to be easy. And Birchbox is uniquely able to reach those women and deliver a fun, efficient experience that effectively changes their relationship with the category. We’re just getting started.

I’m also extremely motivated to build an army of strong female leaders who feel empowered to be ambitious and advocate for what they need to be successful. I want women to feel comfortable asking their employer for whatever it is that they need – whether that’s more resources, a higher salary, development opportunities, flexibility in their schedule or mentorship.

Success means…

I want to change the paradigm of what success means. It’s not just about working incredibly hard until retirement, but rather building a mutually beneficial relationship with your employer so your needs and demands are met too. I want to scale the idea that a having a job can be truly fulfilling and gratifying. That would be a win.

I couldn’t have got there without…

My team at Birchbox. I am truly grateful for the passion, time and hard work they dedicate to Birchbox every day.

I always start my day with…

I wake up to the sound of my twin boys, Alec and Guy, talking and singing to each other in the next room. I go get them and we watch the Today Show together on the couch (they are obsessed with Al Roker!). Then I make them breakfast while my husband Greg makes us coffee. I check my phone for any important texts when I first wake up, but I don’t look at email until after I’ve spent time with my kids.

When I don’t feel inspired I…

Take a break and spend time with my family! Seeing the kids and my husband refuels me. Their dancing and silliness is so fun, it just grounds you. Before I had kids it was impossible for me to turn my brain off from work. However now I realize how beneficial it can be to disconnect – I’m able to add so much more value. Inspiration doesn’t come when you are not feeling balanced.

The landscape for women in business today looks like…

There has been so much progress but there is still a real opportunity to change the status quo. Female leaders have a responsibility to set examples that allow other women to learn from and build upon. Diversity in leadership is clearly positive for society – men and women think differently. Diversity creates an important balance that changes the potential solution to any problem or opportunity. Growth and change comes from challenging our own ideas and preconceptions. We need to challenge our thinking and create opportunities for female leaders.

It’s important for young women to first understand their own self-worth; that they are talented, deserving and can contribute even in the early days of their career. Ask smart questions, be humble yet demanding, and learn from every opportunity.

The trait I most deplore in others is…

Lack of support for other women! The most important thing we can do is to support each other. We have to be comfortable coaching our peers. It takes practice, it can be uncomfortable and sometimes it may not go well, but it’s the most likely place women will turn to for help. We need to celebrate other women finding success. We are in this together!

I’d like to be remembered for…

I want Birchbox to be known for attracting and developing the most talented leaders in the world. To me, that means building a team that is responsible for the innovation and future of our company – a responsibility that goes far beyond executives. I’ve also learned to accept that those people may leave to pursue other things that advance their careers in a different way – whether that’s heading to business school or starting their own company. That’s a real signal of exceptional, quality leadership and something that I think about a lot.

What makes me happiest is…

Without a doubt it is spending time with my family

Can I run in heels?

I’m much more likely to be in flats than to be in a situation where I’d have to run in heels, but I could definitely do it – especially if I’m chasing after my kids.

For more information and to subscribe to Birchbox, see the company’s website.

Showtime Cocktails

Book your tickets and take your seats ladies and gentlemen, London’s hottest show has arrived in town – here for a one year run in the heart of Covent Garden. We should say shows actually – as this is no less than 17 shows in one! Confused? Don’t be – we’re talking, of course, about One Aldwych hotel’s brand new Showtime Cocktails menu, which is an impressive production in itself.  It’s taken almost one year to put the show together, and The Lobby Bar’s Showtime Cocktails collection is sure to wow theatre fans and cocktail aficionados alike.

Inspired by the London hotel’s Theatreland location, the menu has been divided into Comedies, Musicals Satires and Dramas – plus a sneaky peek Backstage too, more on that later! Directed by the Lobby Bar’s award-winning manager Pedro Paulo, the showstopping collection has something for the serious amongst you – a Mediterranean Macbeth (gin, rosemary, campari and Champagne) or King Lear-inspired Three Reigns (gin, bergamot, elderflower, rooibos and Champagne) perhaps, as well as those looking for something a little more light-hearted – try Take A Chance on Me (Mamma Mia-themed with gin, Champagne and gooseberry liqueur) or The Holy Mary (with tomato-and-strawberry, inspired by The Book Of Mormon).

A prettily illustrated menu acts as a programme for the production – which also serves to showcase the spectacular original glassware used for the cocktails, think sculptural goblets, engraved copper tumblers and globe-shaped vessels. Suffice to say, there’s more than a touch of theatricality at work here! We loved the heady hit (mezcal and tequila) and exotic fruit flavours (passion fruit, pomegranate and peach) of the Aladdin-inspired Jasmine Breeze – sure to impress as its served on a bed of billowing scented smoke. The impossibly pretty Midsummer Night’s Dream-themed Fairy Garden Infusion is presented in a magical glass wheel, filled with fresh fruit and an aromatic mix of gin, white port and rose lemonade, offset with a hint of coriander bitters. The sweet-sour Don Quixote-inspired Sancho Panza is another one we tried and loved – a punchy blend of rum, ginger and vanilla.

But the real showstopper of the collection comes when we take a spectacular trip behind the scenes using virtual reality – and try The Origin. Pop on your headphones and VR headset, and prepare to be transported to the Scottish Highlands to discover the background of The Origin. Aerial footage takes us over sweeping hillsides, forests, fields and shimmering blue waters to the heart of where Dalmore 12 year old whisky is made. As the two-minute film comes to an end, we make our way – thanks to virtual reality – back through the streets of Covent Garden, and into the hotel bar. As the film fades, there’s a hint of the scent of cherrywood smoke in the air – and taking your headset off, you’ll find The Origin before you, ready to try. Sweet yet smoky with deep notes of chocolate bitters alongside cherry liqueur and whisky, it’s a fascinating – and fun – experience.

If the cocktails are starting to go to your head, never fear – there’s bar food pairings devised to match with the drinks. The pulled pork buns and spiced lamb tortilla wraps ensure you’ll be able to make some headway on the bar’s 17 shows – Moulin Rouge, The Lion King, Les Miserables, The Play That Goes Wrong and Uncle Vanya are all waiting to go on stage!

Showtime Cocktails are priced from £16, with bar bites costing £7. To find out more information or to book a table, see One Aldwych’s website, telephone +44 (0) 20 7300 1070 or email



Life & Work

Whether you’re looking at Katherine Ormerod’s impressive CV or her lively, always-updated Instagram, it’s pretty clear why she’s called her latest venture Work Work Work. An online platform dedicated to showcasing women – and their lives – working across creative industries including fashion, beauty, design and art, it’s an instant hit of #inspo, with a generous dose of honesty. An “anti-perfectionism project which aims to reveal and explore the non-edited challenges that women face behind the fantasy of social media”, you’ll find women sharing on everything from stress and suicide to money and motherhood – strictly no holds barred.

Despite stints at everywhere from Grazia and Lyst to the Sunday Times Style, Ormerod herself has faced more than a few challenges along the way. One thing is clear though, she’s always, always worked. The result? For someone in her thirties, Katherine Ormerod is one pretty inspiring lady, if only to prove that motivation and tenacity will always pay off in the end. Fashion and journalism are two industries which are notoriously poorly paid and hard to break into, but Ormerod has carved her own path, based on talent, drive and – guess what – work, work, work. We found out more about a name you’ll definitely want to keep watching…

Motivation for me is all about…

I’ve always been really driven. I think there is an element of sheer ambition-I came from a modest background and was a scholarship kid and knew that I really wanted to achieve something different in life. In my twenties that meant career success and positions at respected publications. In my thirties it has meant freedom and financial security.

Success means…

Self respect, confidence and inner security. For me success is about resilience and knowing you can 100% rely on yourself.

I couldn’t have got there without…

Rejection, failure and disappointment. All have made me steely but also empathetic. The more you understand the human condition, the better you become at engaging and inspiring people – I’ve been fortunate enough to experience lots of ups and downs, catastrophes and triumphs just like everyone else. Lessons in humility have definitely helped me get to where I am today.

I was given a chance early on in my career by the then fashion editor at the Sunday Times Style, Sharon Ridoynauth and was supported through the worst time in my life by the team at Grazia – without other women like them I wouldn’t have made it through those tough few years at the beginning of my career. My parents have also been so instrumental – mum with her unfailing sunny-side up attitude and my dad’s constant encouragement for me to live the life I want and not be, ‘just another grey suit,’ as he puts it.

I always start my day with…

A firm psychological mentality. I want so desperately to snooze, but I don’t. I always get up when I planned to unless I’m at death’s door – the rest of the day is always better if you’re strict with yourself first thing.

When I don’t feel inspired I…

I think the key to inspiration is doing a lot of things and having multiple ‘jobs’. I edit a website, shoot imagery, work with brands across all sorts of content and strategy, interview new people every week and still do bits and bobs for press. A lack of inspiration for me only happens when I’m underemployed – any easy or repetitive work kills me and I have to have enough to sustain me for at least eight hours a day. Life has to be pacey and dynamic or I can become very dejected very quickly. I think it goes back to success – being busy is actually something I need to feel successful.

The landscape for women in business today looks like…

I’ve been incredibly sheltered my entire life from any form of gender prejudice or any idea that I couldn’t achieve whatever I wanted. I went to a selective all girls school on scholarship and financial aid from my dad’s company and our teachers were resolute feminists who believed they were moulding the next generation of industry leaders. My mum runs her own business and I’ve only worked in fashion which is so disproportionately female and bolshy you can struggle to imagine anything holding you back.

The past political year has obviously smashed my naivety apart and I can really see that women still have a huge way to go in business starting with maternity and childcare and ending in equal pay and far wider representation at the highest echelons. On the flipside, I really feel my generation of women in business are incredibly supportive, we share our struggles and feel a huge amount of common ground. It sounds trite, but the truth is we’re stronger together and the unity I’ve experienced during my career suggests women as a force in business will soon be unbeatable.

The trait I most deplore in others is…

Selfishness and entitlement. You see it a lot in the fashion industry and it makes my toes curl. I do really believe in karma, so ultimately I feel sorry for people who don’t have the ability to respect others, but it still gets my goat! Be on time, apologise for your mistakes and do what you say you’re going to do. Courtesy and kindness should also come as standard.

I’d like to be remembered for…

Having something to say! It’s so easy to get lost in the visual side of fashion and social media, but I really want to encourage all women to stand for something – whatever it is, use your voice.

What makes me happiest is…

A completed to-do list. It’s currently something I fantasise about.

Can I run in heels?

I’m 5’4″- I could give Usain a run for his medals in my stilettos.

You can check out Work Work Work online here, and follow Katherine Ormerod on Instagram here.

RIH Drinks

Is the civilised world going to give up its obsession with gin any time soon? Probably not is the answer to that question, oh gin-swigging friends. Known once upon a time as ‘mother’s ruin’, these days gin couldn’t be hipper, with bars regularly offering special gin & tonic menus, gin festivals taking place across the country, and a bottle or two gracing the booze cupboards of most homes. But not all gins are created equal – and Pinkster Gin has something just a little different to just about anything you might have tasted before…

Described as a “natural gin with a mischievous grin,” Pinkster Gin is the creation of a chap who began experimenting at home, after enjoying making his own sloe gins and other flavoured concoctions. Pairing different fruits with everyone’s favourite spirit, it quickly became obvious that the delicate flavour of raspberry worked beautifully with gin – adding a sweetness and freshness to offset the aromatic botanicals.

The raspberries used in Pinkster Gin are grown in rural Cambridge – so yes, this is a British gin through and through! And how best to imbibe said spirit? Well, the people at Pinkster suggest that topped up with tonic is the best way to bring out the subtle raspberry flavours, before garnishing with fresh fruit and herbs. Mint works well, as does a hint of rosemary – plus a zingy twist of lemon. We’ve also added some fresh rose petals and a drop or two of rosewater to our G&T for a very slightly scented finish. Plus they also make this look SO sophisticated, right?

This is the easiest cocktail to prepare, serve – and impress – your guests if you’re having people over for dinner or hosting a drinks party. Everyone loves a G&T! Choose some pretty glasses, fill with ice cubes, raspberries, lemon slices and mint or rosemary. Add Pinkster gin and a couple of drops of rosewater then top up with good quality tonic. So simple to make, serve and DRINK!

For more information, to buy Pinkster Gin and to find stockists near you, see the brand’s website, where you’ll also find cocktail recipes plus events where you can try the magical stuff.