Sarah Jayne Dunn & Jon Smith: On Creating more time with your family outdoors

Sarah Jayne Dunn & Jon Smith: On Creating more time with your family outdoors

Sarah Jayne Dunn & Jon Smith:

On Creating more time with your family outdoors

By Lolo Stubbs, Editor-in-chief

__________________________________

It can be hard to find balance in life when we are so busy with all the other things that we have to juggle. One thing that has stood out since starting BROOD, is just how many of us are constantly looking for more ways to try switch off and spend quality time as a family. It’s also clear that we all want to incorporate ways to exercise into our weekly routine and encourage our kids to be active and outdoors too, but it can be hard to fit it in when there is only so many hours in the day!

So, with a new sport activity sweeping exciting across the UK – Padel – we just had to find out what all the hype was all about, and to see if it was an activity that would fit into family life.

When we arrived at The Padel Club, in Wilmslow, each court was filled with people obviously having a great time and we were surprised to see that the whole of The Padel Club was completely outdoors – seating areas and all! However, we quickly noticed that it didn’t affect the capacity for pre- and post-match socialising, or people coming along to watch, if anything – thanks to the various pergolas and stylish outdoor furniture – it enhanced it!

Sarah Jayne Dunn playing Padel

 Sarah Jayne Dunn © Tom Pitfield Photography for BROOD Magazine

BROOD Live

We chatted to various people at The Padel Club, who explain and that Padel was more than just a fun and challenging sport, it was bringing people together and building an important community. So far Padel, seemed to be ticking a lot of boxes; we all know how important networking is throughout your career or when running a business, and this way you can look after your wellbeing and fitness at the same time! It also felt like a safe and inviting space and when we heard that they also were holding classes to teach children, and that more and more parents were heading down to take to the courts with their kids, it ticked that final and very important box – family time!

We spoke to our friends, Sarah Jayne Dunn and Jon Smith (who were BROOD’s very first cover stars when we launched as an online magazine in April 2022) and they too, had been drawn to The Padel Club for all of the above reasons and they had also transformed their outside space over the summer, incorporating outdoor living range and pergola in to their garden. (LuxSol are the same brand that has created such a clever outdoor space at The Padel Club) So we sat down on the uber comfy corner sofa, snuggled under blankets, and sheltered from the rain under the pergola and chat all about being outdoors and incorporating new activities into family life.

What initially drew you to the padel club?

Jon – “I know a lot of people who play that really enjoy it, and so I was curious because everyone keeps banging on about it! [He laughs] I wanted to see what it’s all about!”

Sarah Jayne – “Yeah, I’ve seen it a lot on social media, because there is a lot of people that we know that come here. Like Nick Bianchi, who is fellow school parent and neighbour, and all the Thomas brothers are always here, and I know them, and so I kept seeing it, and it made me curious too.”

Jon – “I’d never seen it played or played it, so I was just like ‘what is it?’ basically”.

Sarah Jayne – “It’s just become such a big thing it’s huge!”

Do you think that Stan would enjoy playing Padel?

Jon – “Oh yeah, give him something to hit something else with and yeah, and I’m sure he’d love it!” [We laugh]

Sarah Jayne – “He’s played tennis at Summer Club at school, and he liked that, so I think he definitely would.”

Jon – “He likes crazy golf too.”

Sarah Jayne – “That’s another thing that appeals to us, as I think it could ne a nice little thing that we could do as a family. Especially as a father and son activity – just because Jon is sportier than I am – but you could come down and it would be a nice little activity to do at the weekend. I think kids can come and do lessons from 3 years too, and they recently had a little Halloween event on, so I think it’s definitely something that Stan would like”.

“HAVING THE PERGOLA HAS REALLY INCREASED THE AMOUNT OF TIME WE SPEND OUTSIDE TOGETHER AS A FAMILY”

Sarah Jayne Dunn and her husband Jon Smith.jpg

Sarah Jayne Dunn & Jon Smith images © Tom Pitfield Photography for BROOD Magazine

Sarah Jayne Dunn Brood
Luxury Outdoor Furniture

Stunning Aluminium Pergola by LUXSOL Images © 

The Padel Club
Sarah Jayne Dunn, The Padel Club Wilmslow

Kids just love spending quality time with their parents don’t they, be that playing a board game, doing an activity, whatever it maybe, that’s what they crave, and this is something that a parent can enjoy too, isn’t it?

Sarah Jayne – “Absolutely! I remember I used to go and play tennis with my Dad – I was dreadful! But it’s a core memory for me. I was quite young and that was his thing and we used to go to the local tennis court, and knock the ball around, and I loved spending that time with him, so it made us both happy.”

Jon – “Yes, and I think getting out of the house and being outdoors is really important too. Away from technology.”

Sarah Jayne – “It feels like a safe space here as well, you’re coming in, and you can sit with the kids, or if the kids are playing you can sit and have a coffee and watch the kids. And what I found with Padel is that it feels very community based. What the guys we’re saying before was that everyone ends up knowing everyone, so again if you were coming In with your family, then you suddenly become friends, and to have that added social aspect is really nice too. And you can enjoy it regardless of the weather which is great.”

Talking of which, you have a LuxSol pergola and some of their outdoor living range at home don’t you? And you recently added a garden room at home, how has the additional space at home improved your family’s lifestyle and wellbeing?

Sarah Jayne – “For me in particularly, the garden room has made a massive difference as I’m using it as a studio space. So it’s meant that I moved all of my work that I was doing inside the house and that can be creating content, for myself or partnerships, or even just sitting and doing some admin business work; I’ve now moved it into the garden room and  I have that separate to the house, which has been great to create that work/life balance. It’s always organised now and it’s just so much better having a space that is dedicated to work.”

Jon – “There’s no toys anywhere!” [They laugh]

Lucy Mecklenburg Interview

“HAVING A GLASS OF WINE OUTSIDE IN THE GARDEN IS AS CLOSE AS YOU CAN GET TO FEELING LIKE YOU’RE SOMEWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD”.

Sarah Jayn Dunn, Lux Sol & Padel Club

Sarah Jayne Dunn & Jon Smith with Kris Ball, CEO of The Padel Club & Nick Williams, CEO of Olympian Garden Buildings

Sarah Jayne – “Yes, there’s no Lego pieces to stand on! It’s lovely – I don’t actually do any work; I just go in to sit in there” [She laughs]

Jon – “Yeah, I’m a bit jealous!” [We laugh]

Jon – “And having the pergola has really increased the amount of time we spend outside together as a family, because even if it starts raining you stay outside – which is kind of a big thing in this country! It doesn’t mean pack up and go inside, sit I the kitchen and dining room again, it means if it’s not too cold you can just carry on regardless of the weather.”

Sarah Jayne – “Yeah, you just get that indoor outdoor space and where we have ours, it’s just outside the dining room, so it means if we’re hosting and we have people over you can have the dining room doors open and then you’ve got your indoor seating area, your outdoor seating area, but it becomes one space”.

Jon – “We love our garden, but you can’t sit out there much living in the UK, so it kind of gives you a little bit more time in a space that you actually enjoy being in.”

Sarah Jayne – “And actually, when we’re sat under the pergola it’s a really nice view of the garden room and I find myself sitting there just admiring our garden space! [She laughs] Don’t you?” [She turns to Jon laughing].”

Do you have a specific memory at home where the experience was enhanced by having your outdoor living space?

Sarah Jayne – “Yeah, we were talking about this, we had a barbeque at the end of summer – when we suddenly ended up with that really nice weather – we had all just got our jumpers out and then out of nowhere it was warm again!

So, we had a barbeque, and then later, after we put Stan to bed, we went and sat back outside, which we never would have done normally. We put the little lights on that we have around the pergola, we had a glass of wine and we just sat there relaxing and chatting to each other. It was a lovely mild evening, and we wouldn’t have done that had we have not had this lovely comfy and tranquil area outside. Normally we would have just crashed onto the sofa and put the tele on”.

Jon – “Yes, it was really nice. It kind of emulates that holiday vibe. Having a glass of wine outside in the garden is as close as you can get to feeling like you’re somewhere else in the world”.

Do you think it’s important then that people are making their gardens more accessible and enjoyable to be in, in all weathers, and places like The Padel Club doing the same at their venue, given the value of being outdoors?

Sarah Jayne“Yes, definitely, I mean look at us today, we’re all sat outside and it’s absolutely lashing it down!” [She laughs]

Jon – “It’s like what we just said, having the pergola at home means we don’t have to go inside mid barbeque if it starts raining, and here it means we don’t have to pack up and go home – you can wait for the shower to pass; you can have a break.”

Sarha Jayne – “It’s nice seeing the pergola here today actually, as we’re getting the side screens added to ours at home, and it’s nice to experience it in this weather, because you do feel even more sheltered and more of that inside outside feeling. It’s lovely!”

Interview by @lolostubbs.author

Images by @tompitfieldphotography

JMW Solicitors

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Related Articles

Sarah Jayne Dunn & Jon Smith: On Creating more time with your family outdoors

It can be hard to find balance in life when we are so busy with all the other things that we have to juggle. One thing that has stood out since starting BROOD, is just how many of us are constantly looking for more ways to try switch off and spend quality time as a family. It’s also clear that we all want to incorporate ways to exercise into our weekly routine and encourage our kids to be active and outdoors too, but it can be hard to fit it in when there is only so many hours in the day! So, with a new sport activity sweeping exciting across the UK – Padel – we just had to find out what all the hype was all about, and to see if it was an activity that would fit into family life.

read more

Recharge Through Nature’s Medicine: Cacao Ceremonies

Recharge Through Nature’s Medicine: Cacao Ceremonies

RECHARGE THROUGH NATURE’S MEDICINE:

CACAO CEREMONIES

My Experience, by Editor-in-chief: Lolo Stubbs

“I was completely new to the world of Nature’s Medicine Ceremonies, and if I’m honest I was both excited and daunted in equal measure when the day of my weekend retreat arrived. Now, having experienced the ceremonies first hand, I had no reason to be wary of them. Each ceremony raised a lot of emotion, sometimes opening deep emotional wounds, but somehow, even when sobbing my heart I felt enveloped in warmth and love, and it actually felt good to release the emotions. These ceremonies do not just stir up sadness though, they made me feel empowered almost immediately. I felt completely centred and at peace – and I don’t even think I have ever used the word centred but there really was no other word to describe that feeling that I had post ceremony – it was complete bliss! It was also very powerful to be in a room with other people who were also showing up, opening their minds and willing to be vulnerable. I’ll admit there was one part at the beginning of the ceremony where I did open one eye just to check I wasn’t the only one dancing around and shaking off my bad vibes to Makeba.- I wasn’t by the way – but overall I didn’t feel silly at all, in fact I felt completely accepted as my authentic self. Since the ceremonies I would say three of the most noticeable factors for me are that I feel more confident, I’m more content both with where I am in life and with who I am as a person and last but by no means least – I’ve started wearing colour! That may sound strange, but for everyone who knows me will know that I have pretty much worn black for the last 10 years, I may have got as adventurous as wearing white or khaki, but in the main it’s been black all the way. But not anymore, I have bought Orange, Hot Pink, Sapphire Green and Electric Blue dresses since and I have worn each and everyone one of them comfortably. It’s like I’m not afraid to be seen anymore. It’s quite liberating! So, if you’re wondering whether it’s something you should do or not, I would say absolutely go for it. Find someone with a good reputation, as I’m sure a lot of my experience was equally down to the fact the amazing earth angel Ashleigh Guthrie was holding the ceremony, so make sure you attend a ceremony with someone you trust and have a good connection with and you won’t regret it!”  

CACAO CEREMONIES

Cacao ceremonies

Cacao ceremonies have gained popularity for their potential physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental benefits, all of which can contribute to a deeper connection with oneself, enhanced creative flow, self-expression, and self-acceptance. Here’s a breakdown of these benefits:

 

Physically:

  • Heart-Opening Properties: Cacao is often associated with opening the heart chakra, which can help people experience a greater sense of love, empathy, and connection with themselves and others.
  • Stimulant and Mood Enhancement: Cacao contains natural stimulants like theobromine, which can provide a gentle energy boost and improve mood. This can aid in maintaining focus and mental clarity both during and after ceremonies.
  • Nutrient-Rich: Ceremonial-grade cacao is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, which can support overall health and well-being when consumed in moderation.
  • Enhanced Senses: Some participants report heightened sensory perception during cacao ceremonies, which can lead to a deeper connection with the environment and oneself.

 

Emotionally:

  • Emotional Release: Cacao can act as an emotional catalyst, helping participants release and process repressed emotions. This can lead to a profound sense of emotional clarity and healing.
  • Stress Reduction: The relaxation and grounding effects of cacao can help reduce stress and anxiety, facilitating a more open and receptive emotional state.
  • Self-Discovery: Cacao ceremonies often encourage introspection and self-reflection, allowing participants to better understand their emotions, thought patterns, and past experiences.
  • Enhanced Empathy: Cacao is believed to promote empathy and compassion, which can lead to improved relationships with oneself and others.
Cacao ceremonies: Ashleigh Guthree
Cacao ceremonies: Ashleigh Guthree

Spiritually:

  • Connection to Inner Self: Cacao is sometimes referred to as a “plant teacher” and is believed to facilitate a deeper connection with one’s inner wisdom and intuition.
  • Spiritual Insight: Many participants report experiencing spiritual insights, heightened intuition, and a sense of oneness with the universe during cacao ceremonies.
  • Ceremonial Ritual: The act of participating in a cacao ceremony itself can be a spiritual practice, fostering a sense of reverence and mindfulness.
  • Connecting with Spirit Guides and Loved Ones Who Have Passed: In some cacao ceremonies, participants report experiencing a heightened spiritual connection, allowing them to connect with spirit guides, ancestors, and even loved ones who have passed away. This connection can provide a profound sense of guidance, comfort, and closure, leading to emotional healing and spiritual awakening.

 

Mentally:

  • Enhanced Creativity: Cacao ceremonies can boost creativity and inspiration, allowing participants to tap into their creative potential more freely.
  • Increased Focus: The mild stimulants in cacao can enhance mental clarity and concentration, making it easier to access deeper parts of the mind.
  • Self-Acceptance: The heart-opening and self-reflective aspects of cacao ceremonies can lead to increased self-acceptance and self-love.

It’s important to note that the benefits of ceremonial cacao can vary from person to person, and individual experiences may differ. Additionally, the effects of cacao depend on the quality of the cacao used, the intentions set during the ceremony, and the facilitator’s guidance. As with any practice, it’s essential to approach cacao ceremonies with an open mind and a respectful attitude toward the traditions and cultures from which they originate.

Lucy Mecklenburg Interview

Reducing Stress:

  • Relaxation and Grounding: Cacao contains compounds that promote relaxation and grounding, making it particularly effective in reducing stress levels. When consumed mindfully during a ceremony, it can induce a calming effect on the nervous system, helping participants find a sense of peace and tranquility.
  • Cortisol Regulation: Cacao has been linked to the regulation of cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone. Consuming cacao in a ceremonial setting may support the body in maintaining healthy cortisol levels, which can, in turn, alleviate the physical and emotional symptoms of stress.
  • Emotional Resilience: Through its heart-opening properties, cacao can foster emotional resilience, allowing individuals to better cope with stressors and emotional challenges. Participants often report feeling more emotionally centred and better equipped to face life’s difficulties after a ceremony.
  • Mindfulness and Stress Reduction: Cacao ceremonies encourage mindfulness and being present in the moment. This practice of mindfulness can help individuals manage stress more effectively by redirecting their focus away from worries about the past or future, leading to a calmer state of mind.
  • Community and Support: Participating in a cacao ceremony often involves coming together with a group of like-minded individuals in a supportive environment. This sense of community and shared experience can itself be a powerful antidote to stress, offering a feeling of belonging and connection.

By reducing stress, ceremonial cacao contributes to a more harmonious balance between the physical, emotional, and mental aspects of an individual’s well-being. 

 

Healing Childhood Trauma and Overcoming Self-Sabotage:

 

Healing Childhood Trauma:

Cacao ceremonies have been increasingly used as a tool for healing childhood trauma. Childhood trauma can leave lasting emotional scars and deeply ingrained patterns of behaviour that can undermine one’s self-esteem and well-being. Ceremonial cacao can play a significant role in this healing process by providing a safe and nurturing space for participants to confront and process their past experiences.

 

  • Emotional Release: Cacao’s heart-opening properties can help individuals access and release deeply buried emotions related to childhood trauma. This emotional release is a crucial step towards healing, as it allows participants to acknowledge and let go of painful memories.
  • Inner Child Work: Ashleigh’s Cacao ceremonies often involve inner child work, a therapeutic approach that focuses on nurturing and healing the wounded inner child within us. Participants may gain insights into their past and learn to provide the self-compassion and care that their inner child needs for healing.
  • Self-Reflection and Integration: Ceremonial cacao encourages self-reflection and introspection, enabling individuals to gain a deeper understanding of how childhood trauma has influenced their beliefs and behaviours. This self-awareness is a crucial first step towards healing and transformation.

Overcoming Self-Sabotage:

 

Self-sabotage often stems from unresolved issues, including childhood trauma. Ceremonial cacao can aid in breaking self-destructive patterns by addressing the root causes and fostering self-empowerment.

 

  • Increased Self-Awareness: Cacao ceremonies promote self-awareness, allowing individuals to recognise self-sabotaging behaviours and thought patterns. This awareness is the foundation for initiating change.
  • Empowerment and Self-Compassion: Cacao’s heart-opening properties can help individuals develop self-compassion and self-love, which are essential for overcoming self-sabotage. It can shift the inner narrative from self-criticism to self-acceptance and empowerment.
  • Clarity and Goal Setting: Cacao ceremonies can provide mental clarity and focus, enabling participants to set clear intentions for personal growth and positive change. This newfound clarity can be harnessed to break free from self-sabotage.
  • Support and Guidance: The supportive environment of a cacao ceremony, often facilitated by experienced guides, offers guidance and tools for participants to address self-sabotage constructively. It can be a transformative experience that catalyses lasting change.

Incorporating ceremonial cacao into a therapeutic or self-help journey for healing childhood trauma and overcoming self-sabotage should be done with care and ideally under the guidance of a trained facilitator or therapist. It can be a powerful complement to other therapeutic modalities and self-improvement practices, offering a holistic approach to personal growth and healing.

 

Sound

 

Combining a sound bath with a cacao ceremony can enhance the overall experience and provide additional benefits for participants. Sound baths involve the use of various instruments, such as singing bowls, gongs, and other sound-producing tools, to create a meditative and immersive auditory experience. Here are the benefits of incorporating a sound bath into a cacao ceremony:

 

  • Deeper Relaxation: The soothing and harmonious sounds produced during a sound bath can induce a state of deep relaxation. When combined with the calming effects of cacao, participants may experience a heightened sense of tranquility and inner peace.
  • Enhanced Meditation: Sound baths can aid in meditation by helping participants reach a state of mindfulness and focused awareness. This can complement the introspective aspect of the cacao ceremony, making it easier for individuals to connect with their inner selves and explore their thoughts and emotions.
  • Stress Reduction: Sound baths are known for their stress-reducing effects. The gentle vibrations and frequencies produced by sound instruments can help release tension and promote a sense of ease. When combined with cacao’s stress-reducing properties, this can lead to a profound sense of calm.
  • Chakra Balancing: Sound baths are often used to balance and align the body’s energy centres, or chakras. When integrated with a cacao ceremony, this can help participants achieve a greater sense of emotional and spiritual balance, which is conducive to self-understanding and self-acceptance.
  • Enhanced Creativity and Self-Expression: The combination of sound and cacao can stimulate creativity and self-expression. Participants may find it easier to tap into their creative flow and explore their thoughts and emotions through artistic or introspective means.
  • Heightened Spiritual Connection: Sound baths are believed to open up channels for spiritual connection and exploration. When used in conjunction with cacao, individuals may experience a deeper connection to their inner selves, spirit guides, or the spiritual dimension, enhancing the overall sense of spirituality during the ceremony.
  • Increased Self-Awareness: Both sound baths and cacao ceremonies encourage self-awareness. Together, they can create a synergistic effect, allowing participants to gain deeper insights into their thoughts, emotions, and life experiences.
  • Community and Connection: Sharing a sound bath within the context of a cacao ceremony fosters a sense of community and shared experience among participants. This collective experience can strengthen the sense of connection with others and promote a feeling of unity.

It’s important to note that the combination of cacao and a sound bath can be a deeply personal and transformative experience.

BROOD Live

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Sarah Jayne Dunn & Jon Smith: On Creating more time with your family outdoors

It can be hard to find balance in life when we are so busy with all the other things that we have to juggle. One thing that has stood out since starting BROOD, is just how many of us are constantly looking for more ways to try switch off and spend quality time as a family. It’s also clear that we all want to incorporate ways to exercise into our weekly routine and encourage our kids to be active and outdoors too, but it can be hard to fit it in when there is only so many hours in the day! So, with a new sport activity sweeping exciting across the UK – Padel – we just had to find out what all the hype was all about, and to see if it was an activity that would fit into family life.

read more

Introducing The Eyewear Stylist

Introducing The Eyewear Stylist

INTRODUCING THE EYEWEAR STYLIST

By Lolo Stubbs, Editor-in-chief

______________________________

When you are suddenly told that you need glasses, it can be quite a big deal and feel quite a daunting process. When your career or running your business means attending lots of networking events and dinners etc, and it’s so important to feel comfortable in these situations. As our appearance is one of the biggest factors that can determine whether we feel confident or not, we asked The Eyewear Stylist aka Daniel Scott, on how we should approach buying eyewear and the psychological impact it can have on you.

The Eyewear Stylist
BROOD Live

EMBRACE

For a person that needs glasses for the first time, and let’s say that person is in their late thirties or in their forties, what generally happens is that they almost don’t want people to realise that they are wearing glasses – so will navigate towards the rimless and the understated styles. But it can have the opposite effect and it can actually age you a little bit. Essentially when you’re wearing glasses everyone can see that you’re wearing glasses, so the best thing that you can do is embrace it. And when you do, you can look younger, elegant, more like yourself, and inject a bit more of your own personality through the
eyewear that you choose.

It’s always scary the first time you have to choose glasses, it can change the way your face looks and that’s a really big thing. And that’s where I come in, I want people to be able to choose glasses with confidence and find pairs that are going to work with them and boost their self-esteem. So regardless of the colouring, what style suits you etc, it’s about what gives you that confidence.

“By choosing something that you really love, you’ll find that you get so much more happiness, and you’ll get so many more compliments, by just embracing who you truly are!”

The Eyewear Stylist

FRAME STYLE

Stylish glasses
Sarah Jayne Dunn, The Padel Club Wilmslow

The greater the thickness of the frame, then the greater the contrast against the skin and the bolder you’re making it – and that’s all it is really. When you’re looking to decide, ‘Do I want a bolder style, or more understated?’ I’m personally not a fan of rimless, because I just think it can wash you out. Having said that, there are ways of doing it, you see a lot with Cartier at the moment, where they are putting a fashion tint in the lens. A lot of people think about eyewear as just being about the frame, and they forget the impact that the lens can have. It can make a huge difference, for example I’ve bought quite an understated pair, that just have a gold metal rim, but I’m putting a 25% fashion tint in it. So that gives the glasses a really luxurious edge to it.

Lucy Mecklenburg Interview

Colour & Confidence

Psychology plays such a big part in how we style ourselves; people have said that seeing me is like seeing an optician, a personal stylist and a therapist, all rolled into one! It’s amazing how things people say can affect you and how we can all hold onto those things and how they can affect your confidence and your style choices. And I’ve experienced that myself, but the big change for me was when I did the colour analysis, because I’m a very logical person and that was a big part that I have taken into this business from my personal styling course, because it’s amazing the effect that colour can have. The wrong colours can be really draining, you can see dark circles more noticeably, but it can also have a big effect on how you feel. You don’t realise how detrimental it can be, to not be yourself.

Sarah Jayn Dunn, Lux Sol & Padel Club

PERSONAL BRAND

Your glasses sit in the middle of your face and are part of your first impressions. I’ve had clients that have Aston Martins, Porsche’s, but then they’re wearing a crummy pair of glasses off the rack from the local pharmacy! You can’t understand why people put such little thought into something that they have to wear every day. And when you go to networking events etc, people do notice these things, it’s part of your personal branding.

Introducing the eyewear stylist

Sarah Jayn Dunn, Lux Sol & Padel Club

Dan has been an optician for the last decade and decided to further enhance his client experience by also training as a personal stylist in London in 2019, meaning his service is now a holistic approach to finding the most stylish and suitable eyewear. Since starting The Eyewear Stylist, Dan, has quickly become the go to person for eyewear working with actors, musicians, tv presenters and producers.

One Truth 818 Anti Ageing Skincare

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Related Articles

Sarah Jayne Dunn & Jon Smith: On Creating more time with your family outdoors

It can be hard to find balance in life when we are so busy with all the other things that we have to juggle. One thing that has stood out since starting BROOD, is just how many of us are constantly looking for more ways to try switch off and spend quality time as a family. It’s also clear that we all want to incorporate ways to exercise into our weekly routine and encourage our kids to be active and outdoors too, but it can be hard to fit it in when there is only so many hours in the day! So, with a new sport activity sweeping exciting across the UK – Padel – we just had to find out what all the hype was all about, and to see if it was an activity that would fit into family life.

read more

CHARLOTTE HAWKINS INTERVIEW: Mum of one, TV and radio presenter

CHARLOTTE HAWKINS INTERVIEW: Mum of one, TV and radio presenter

“I DIDN’T REALLY KNOW WHERE TO START, BUT I JUST HELD ON TO THE FACT THAT ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!”

Mum of one, TV and radio presenter, Charlotte Hawkins has firmly cemented a place as one of Britain’s most loved TV presenters. She is one of the first faces millions of Brits see each morning, as co-host of ITV’s Good Morning Britain. Charlotte has enjoyed a successful career particularly over the last decade, but she worked incredibly hard to get there, showing unwavering determination in an extremely competitive field to achieve her dream career. Like so many of us, although she is living out her career dreams, she too has to constantly juggle work, parenthood and get through the various challenges life can throw at us.

We enjoyed a wonderful afternoon with Charlotte and her adorable daughter 8-year-old, Ella-Rose (who definitely stole the show), at the breathtaking Pennyhill Park Hotel in Surrey; where we made the most of the beautiful scenery for the photoshoot and I sat down with Charlotte for a chat about having a successful career alongside being a doting Mum. Charlotte shared how she bravely overcame her biggest challenge to date following the loss of her beloved father just before giving birth to her daughter; how she hopes to inspire her daughter to believe anything is possible if you work hard enough; and how Hollywood Actor Bradley Cooper features in the highlight of her career…

BROOD Edition 1 - Charlotte Hawkin
CHARLOTTE HAWKINS AND HER DAUGHTER ELLA ROSE
IMAGES BY TOM PITFIELD FOR BROOD MAGAZINE ©

READ THE LATEST EDITION:

Lucy Mecklenburg Interview

INTERVIEW WITH CHARLOTTE HAWKINS

Did you always know what you wanted to do for a career and how determined was you to achieve your career goals?

Charlotte – “Yes, I always wanted to work in news, I always wanted to be a reporter, a presenter – I was just intrigued by that whole world! I was put off initially though, because it just felt really competitive, and I kept thinking, ‘I don’t know if I can do this?’ Then I worked for a year in advertising, and what I realised through doing that, was that being a reporter/presenter really was my dream and I was going to spend the rest of my life regretting it, if I didn’t give it my very best shot!

I remember thinking, if it doesn’t work out, at least I can say that I’ve tried, but I’ll never forgive myself if I don’t give it a go. So, after I finished my job in advertising, I began a post graduate diploma in broadcast journalism. I was then lucky enough to get a job as a trainee for ITV Meridian, and I just kind of worked my way up over the years. I was super determined though, and I wanted to make sure that I gave it my all. Whether that was through working crazy hours, or sticking my neck out and going to people and saying, ‘Can I try this? Can I get some practise doing this? I can get some work experience doing that’. Basically, pestering a lot of people along the way! [she laughs]

I feel very lucky to be doing a job that I always dreamed about doing. Not everybody gets that chance and I feel so grateful to still enjoy it all these years later. Every day is different, every day is challenging, and it just means it makes life so much more interesting and rewarding when you’re doing a job like that.”

At what point in your career did you become a mum and how did you find that transition?

Charlotte -“On Good Morning Britain my alarm clock goes off at 2.45am – which is still a bit of a shock every morning! [laughs] However, it does mean that I can organise my day where I still spend a lot of time at home – especially back in those early days when I went back to work. As soon as I had finished at Good Morning Britain, I could go back and spend the rest of the day with Ella-Rose as a baby. Obviously, I would be super tired. It would be really hard when I had been up through the night and then I’d be getting up to go work so early, so I just had to be really organised and make sure that I had the right care in place for her when I wasn’t there, so that I could go to work and completely trust the fact that I could switch off and focus on my work because I knew that she was being well looked after. Then when I would get back home, I was able to spend time with her and just focus on Ella-Rose. I do feel lucky that I could and still can do that, because I’ve got friends who do various jobs, but they each have to go into their workplace all day every day, and at least for me I could still spend a good amount of time with her.”

Charlotte Hawkins
CHARLOTTE HAWKINS AND HER DAUGHTER ELLA ROSE | IMAGES BY TOM PITFIELD FOR BROOD MAGAZINE ©

How do you try keep the ‘right balance’ between work and family life.

Charlotte – “I think that I’ve tried to continue to achieve balance, by going to work, throwing everything into making it work whilst I’m there and focusing solely on that; but also, then going back home and doing the same there and throwing myself completely into family life. I think it’s important to protect that family time as well. For us it’s about protecting our weekend family time as much as we can, and if we are doing things at different times of the day, we just make sure that Ella-Rose is happy with the set up and we’re happy with the set up. I think you just have to try your best and plan everything with military precision really.” 

People talk a lot about ‘mum guilt’ is it something that you’ve experienced and if so, how have you dealt with it?

Charlotte – “I don’t think people should even use those words, ‘mum-guilt’ ‘parent-guilt’ what have you got to feel guilty about, you know? As long as you love your children and you have a plan in place for their care when you’re not there, who’s to say what’s the best set up for your child anyway! Children want to be loved, they want to know that people care for them, and that the people who are there with them are giving them quality time. I think if you’re happy as a family, and the work set up for you means that you then look forward to having the quality time with them, and you go lovely holidays with them and treasure that time with your children as well, then you have no reason to feel guilty.  

It’s not the right set up for every family, and there are parents that are there 100% of the time with their children, and of course that’s perfectly fine if that’s what works for them, and they are happy. I think that because we just have Ella-Rose, we have always felt like it’s important that she goes and spends time with friends, that she goes and spends time with other family members, and she has done that right from being a young age. She’s been used to spending time with other people and she’s very happy in other people’s company. I know some children who are very clingy though because they’ve only spent time with their parents, and that’s just because that’s what they are used to. Again, that set up is completely fine if that’s what works for those parents, and those children, but for me I wanted to make sure that Ella-Rose was comfortable in lots of different environments, and that she was sociable & happy with going to see lots of different people, to experience lots of different places and I think by doing that it has really benefitted her.

It’s all about building resilience in our children, but at the same and you want to make sure that they are comfortable in lots of different situations. They need that so that as they go through life, for example starting at a new school, or new job where they don’t know anyone, they have to be able to be comfortable in lots of different situations, so I think actually the earlier you can start that the better. As long as they know, where you are, when you’re coming back, that there is a plan in place that they’re happy with, then that’s the most important thing.”  

Ella-Rose is watching you having a successful career, after following your dreams. Do you hope that it inspires Ella-Rose into believing anything is possible, so that she too follows her dreams?

Charlotte – “Yes, absolutely! I think it’s really important to show our children that hard work pays off and that’s the message I want to give her. I want her to know that if there’s a dream job that you want to do, and you throw everything into making that work, if you’re determined and you don’t let things put you off, then you can achieve it. And whether that means getting the right qualifications, working long hours etc, if there’s a job that you really want to do then you must give your best shot!

I think it’s important that you lead by example, and you show them that you can make it work. I want Ella-Rose to achieve her dreams, to work hard for them and to be happy. I’m not going to force her into any particular career, I just want her to be happy with the path that she chooses. I think in my mind anyway it’s about pushing yourself, challenging yourself and making sure that you have new experiences, new adventures and making sure that life doesn’t get boring!”

What has been the most challenge time during your career and how did you overcome it?

Charlotte – “I lost my Dad a month before I gave birth to Ella-Rose. And I needed to go back to work after a certain amount of time, so I went back to work four months after having Ella-Rose. I kind of needed that structure back in my life, but emotionally I was still kind of all over the place, as I think I had delayed grieving for my Dad because I was having Ella-Rose. I wanted to be all happy and smiley for her, and when I was pregnant, and my Dad had died, I didn’t want to her to feel that sadness, so I tried to postpone it – but of course that was always going to come back at some point! So, I was on a bit of an emotional roller-coaster for quite some time afterwards I think. The interesting thing about my job is however you’re feeling in the morning, being on breakfast television you have to have a smile on your face, you have to be bright eyed and bushy tailed, and you know sometimes it’s the hardest thing in the world to do when you’re feeling sad – to put a smile on your face. There are other times I think you can kind of make yourself feel a bit better, because you think ‘I’m getting up, I’m going to work, I’m keeping it all together, I still manage to smile!’ And I think you just have to keep thinking – this will pass. This isn’t going to last forever. I just need to keep going, one day at a time, one foot in front of the other! And I think when you are going through these times, when things are really tough, or they feel insurmountable, you just have to try and think. ‘Okay, don’t panic, let’s just what tomorrow brings’, but it will pass. It’s hard but sometimes you have to just ride it out and keep doing those things that day by day make you feel a little better. Whether that’s being with people you love, going out and getting some exercise, taking a bit of time to do those things to put a smile on your face – a real smile on your face. You have to be thankful for the things you have on a daily basis as well and realise that those are the things that will get you through it.”

What has been the highlight of your career to date?

Charlotte – “There’s been a lot of things, I’ve interviewed so many amazing people that I feel so lucky to have met, including Oprah – who is obviously amazing at interviews, so that was equally a bit scary! [she laughs] But I think for me the highlight of my career has to be when got I asked to take part in the Bradley Copper film Burnt. It is such a highlight for me, and I’ll never forget the day that a Hollywood Film crew came into the studio, and I was the breakfast TV presenter interviewing Bradley Cooper, it absolutely blew my mind! I’d read the script and learnt script, and we sat there, and we had filmed it all and then the director came over and whispered something in Bradley Coopers ear. I didn’t really know what was going on, and then they said ‘That was all great, everything was spot on, but we’re just going to do one more take as we just want to try something a little bit different’. And then Bradley just went completely off script and pretended that everything was going wrong and was looking at the wrong camera and I was just thinking, what is going on! This wasn’t in the script! [she laughs] But, I just went along with it and that’s the take that they used, but I think they really wanted that whole vibe, as his character was supposed to be a really grumpy chef, who kicked up a fuss about everything. So, for me being in Hollywood film like that, and I guess it really hit home where I was at in my career. I got invited to the premiere, which was amazing! And I was sat on an aeroplane one day, and the person in front of me was watching the film and my face popped up and I couldn’t believe, (well I still can’t believe) that I’ve been in that film, and I felt like tapping him on the shoulder and saying, “That’s me!” [she laughs] That was a real pinch-me moment.

My career has been a bit crazy, but I wouldn’t swap it for the world – even with the 2.45am starts!”

Do you have any standout ‘BROOD Moments’ where the juggle has led to a bit of a ‘parent fail’?

Charlotte “Oh, there’s so many, but there’s a recent one where it was one of these days at school where you’ve got to dress up in a themed outfit, and I forgotten that she had to dress up in toga. But I reassured her it was fine, because essentially a toga was the same as a bed sheet, so I told her we’d make it work and we’ll just wrap one around her and then tie it with like curtain tie or something. And I thought it looked pretty good, but she was not convinced at all, she said it just looked like a bed sheet. [smiling] So, I was saying to her, well traditionally that’s how they looked. But what I hadn’t really envisaged was that a lot of the other parents would have gotten special outfits – that were not bedsheets! And there was a moment of mortification when I waved her off and she was walking alongside someone wearing a full-on medusa outfit, and all of these other fancy outfits and I could see this bedsheet slipping down already and I just thought ‘No, that was a bit of fail!’ So, I felt disappointed on her behalf, and I felt disappointed that, that had happened. However, you always have to see the positives in these things, and I thought, well that’s going to build a lot of resilience that one! [she laughs] The thing is, they do have to get used to things not quite going to plan and just making the best of it. It’s happened to all of us over the years. Hopefully it won’t scar her and she’s not still talking about it in 20 years’ time – “Mum, I remember that day you sent me to school in a bedsheet that was around my ankles before I had even got in!” [she laughs] Luckily, I had made her wear shorts and t-shirt underneath too!”

What advice would you give to someone who is following their career dreams, whilst juggling parenthood?

Charlotte – “Don’t aim for perfection. I don’t think it’s healthy to strive for perfection in everything, because then it’s just an unattainable standard. So, I think you have to be realistic. Even if you didn’t do anything else in life, but look after your children and pack for them, sort for them, cook for them, that’s not always healthy either, so I think it’s just about making sure that you try get balance right. Things aren’t always going to go to plan, but that’s life. You do have to give your children that message too, along with the tools to be able to deal with it. To help them look for the lessons when things go wrong, how to learn from it and then we move on.

I would also say don’t look at others and assume that they’ve got it all figured out all of the time – because they won’t have! That’s just the front that everyone likes to put out for public perception, because everyone has got the same juggle, the same struggles, the same balancing act going on. So never compare yourself to someone else, you’ve just got to make sure that as long as your children are happy and healthy that’s all you need, that’s all you can wish for!”

Charlotte Hawkins
CHARLOTTE HAWKINS AND HER DAUGHTER ELLA ROSE | IMAGES BY TOM PITFIELD FOR BROOD MAGAZINE ©
Simon Wood
Written by Lolo Stubbs
Tom Pitfield and his daughter Iris

PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM PITFIELD

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DISNEYLAND PARIS: EDITOR REVIEW

DISNEYLAND PARIS: EDITOR REVIEW

Disneyland Paris 

If you’re looking for an extra special holiday to enjoy with the children, then it really is hard to beat a Disney holiday. We’ve been on two Disney holidays now and both were filled with lots happy tears. Our first trip was on a Disney Cruise back when we only had our oldest two children, so this year we did decided to give Disneyland Paris a go, to see how our little ones tolerated the flights and the rides. 

Although most of the rides you can queue for, there are some of the attractions that require booking in advance such as the shows, and the Marvel Avengers Hero Training Centre – so be aware of this to avoid disappointment! It’s worth noting that if you’re pregnant or you have any children with a disability then you can access the special assistance which will mean you don’t have to queue for any where near as long, but once again you will have to book in advance and make sure you have all the correct documentation with you. 

If you don’t want to eat fast food or snacks the whole time that you’re there, you’ll need to book the restaurants in advance 

As much your days at Disneyland will be fun packed, they will also be tiring for everyone in the family, but especially the little ones, so a buggy is an absolute must. We hired one, but as you can’t take them out of the park it meant we ended up carrying our two little ones at the end of the day to get back to the hotel which wasn’t ideal, so if you can I would recommend taking your own if you can. 

If you don’t have park passes for each day of your trip you can still take in some Disney magic by spending some time in Disney Village. You don’t need a park pass to wander around, it right by both parks and it’s filled with Disney themed restaurants, bars and shops, so save your money on your park day visits and let them know they can pick up their favourite toy on the Disney Village day. If you are staying in any of the Disney Hotels than you can get access to the Avengers centre, within the 5*Marvel Hotel, which is really fun and filled with fab photo opportunity’s that the kids will reveal in. 

Avengers Hotel Disneyland Paris
Lolo Stubbs & Rob Stubbs and their Family at Disneyland Paris
Hotel Football, Old Trafford Offer

MORE FROM BROOD:

Sarah Jayne Dunn & Jon Smith: On Creating more time with your family outdoors

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It can be hard to find balance in life when we are so busy with all the other things that we have to juggle. One thing that has stood out since starting BROOD, is just how many of us are constantly looking for more ways to try switch off and spend quality time as a family. It’s also clear that we all want to incorporate ways to exercise into our weekly routine and encourage our kids to be active and outdoors too, but it can be hard to fit it in when there is only so many hours in the day! So, with a new sport activity sweeping exciting across the UK – Padel – we just had to find out what all the hype was all about, and to see if it was an activity that would fit into family life.

Introducing The Eyewear Stylist

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When you are suddenly told that you need glasses, it can be quite a big deal and feel quite a daunting process. When your career or running your business means attending lots of networking events and dinners etc, and it’s so important to feel comfortable in these situations. As our appearance is one of the biggest factors that can determine whether we feel confident or not, we asked The Eyewear Stylist aka Daniel Scott, on how we should approach buying eyewear and the psychological impact it can have on you.