What are you up to at the moment?
Hmmm, lots of exciting things. I have just completed my second yoga book called 10-minute yoga designed for busy over-subscribed women who want to tone up and calm done fast – it’s out in the autumn. I’m reporting on all sorts of exciting workouts, eating trends and new therapies for newspapers like the Daily Mail and sending off editors and bloggers to try all things hot in health that we cover on Healthista.com the women’s health site that I edit. It’s aimed at women in their 30s and 40s and features top expert opinion, the latest health and wellbeing news and reviews (including spas!), practical videos and real women blogging about their health journeys.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Oh everything! If I had to choose one thing it’s hearing real women’s health journeys. The thing about being healthy is that it really works and it can be life-changing. So whether it’s triumphing over a severe bout of postnatal depression through therapy or curing yourself of lifelong PCOS through a raw diet and then going on to have a longed for baby, I love nothing more than hearing about it. It always reminds me that the human spirit is a fierce and wonderful thing. I see this in the women I interview every day.
What’s the strangest experience you have had in your career so far?
Well it would have to be landing in Dublin 15 years ago from Australia without a single work contact! We had moved over for my husband’s work (in sports broadcasting) and I had to go from senior editor on a glossy in Sydney to cold calling people who had never heard of me. I was 29 and went back to writing junior pages. But hey, you do what you have to do!
What has been the best experience so far?
Definitely launching Healthista.com 10 months ago. I have spent so much time shooting videos and writing features with some of the best fitness, nutrition and wellbeing experts in the UK and many have become my friends. Suddenly, I live, breathe and sleep women’s health and I have met all these people that do the same (we’re all as obsessive about it as each other!). I have also discovered a bunch of really cool women combining their love of wellbeing and health with technology such as Liz McCarthy from abeautifulworld.co.uk who exclusively imports organic products from all over the world (THE most lush stuff).
What’s your idea of the perfect day of relaxation?
A full series of one of my favourite sitcoms such as The Thick of It or 30 Rock, crisps and a sofa! No phones and lots of Rooibos tea (I gave up caffeine four weeks ago and am feeling better, more focused and calmer for it – I used to have about 10 cups of builders tea a day).
When are you at your happiest?
When I am near the sea. I grew up in Sydney, in the beachside suburb of Maroubra where the ocean was powerful and we learned to swim in huge surf at age five. I used to walk to my favourite cliff and look out to sea whenever I felt emotional, lonely or upset and it would give me such comfort. The sea is always there, never changing but never quite the same from moment to moment. It helps me put most things in perspective and I guess feel somehow protected by the sea. Even now, living in London, I try and visit the seaside every other weekend. My current favourite is Margate. It’s kind of tacky but the fish and chips are superb and the old town has great cafes.
When do you feel at your most glamorous?
This is really predictable but I guess when I am being photographed for a story in a magazine or paper to go with one of my first person features. I would love to be all blasé about it but the truth is, I can never quite believe it’s happening and often think, ‘why do they want pictures of me?’ I love nothing more than other people doing my hair and make-up and handing me gorgeous clothes to wear!
Do you have a role model?
I was always inspired by Leslie Kenton , a best-selling health and beauty writer whose prolific books were maverick back in the 90s because Leslie was one of the first people to write about the benefits of raw juice fasts and super foods. I wanted to be her so much I could feel it in every bone in my body. I got to interview Leslie a few years ago and even in her 60s she was as fabulous and inspiring and knowlegeable as I’d imagined she’d be.
Who would play you in a movie?
Do you have a ‘desert island’ beauty product?
Yes, well sunscreen but let’s say that’s a given, then leave-in conditioner is something I simply can’t live without. My current favourite is Bumble and Bumble’s Tonic. A few sprays post-shampoo softens my blow-dry ravaged hair in an instant. For anyone fighting frizz, it’s a must-have.
Top tip for looking and feeling your best when you have a hectic schedule?
Don’t get too stressed over sleep. We’re getting lots of high profile people (should I mention names… Arianna Huffington ?) preaching about how we all should get our eight hours sleep every single night. But for some of us that’s impossible. Plus, it’s just another ideal to strive for. The optimum amount of sleep is just like striving for the perfect body! It creates sleep anxiety that makes us all too anxious about sleeping to enjoy our rest. I sleep about five to seven hours a night – sometimes more sometimes even less – and of course I get tired. But having a couple of hours less sleep now and then is not the end of the world – I am a startup founder, I have a full time job as a journalist, I run an office and a home and have friends I love seeing. I can sacrifice a bit of sleep for that if I have to. In fact, I used to get stressed about getting enough sleep to function well the next day. Then a sleep expert explained how trying to get to sleep is the enemy of restful sleep as stressing about it releases hormones that make sleep impossible because they prepare your body to fight a threat! He said: ‘Anna, the best thing you can do for your sleep is worry less about it. Turn the alarm away from you and if you wake in the small hours, don’t even look at the time or think about the number of hours’ sleep you’re missing. Think about how lovely it feels to be in your bed and you’ll eventually drift off.’
Complete this sentence: A beautiful woman is… warm, funny and passionate – comfortable getting it wrong!
We try to encourage everyone to do one thing each week to be kind to themselves. What are you going to do this week to #bekindtoyou?
I am going to walk barefoot through the long poppy field in my local park. I pass it every day on my walk to work and always imagine myself doing that and then think ‘oh how indulgent!’ But why not? I love the feeling of walking barefoot on the earth. Such a simple pleasure – hope the weather holds out.
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