Lesley Pearse was told as a child that she had too much imagination for her own good. When she grew up she worked her way through a number of jobs, including nanny, bunny girl, dressmaker and full-time mother, before, at the age of forty-nine, settling upon a career that would allow her gifts to blossom: she became a published writer. Lesley lives in Devon and has three daughters and three grandchildren.
How are you in these crazy times?
Pretty good, having worked at home for 20 years it’s not so different.
Where are you and what is your situation?
I’m living in Torquay Devon, by the sea, with my dog.
Let’s start firstly with ‘LIAR’ your latest. What’s it about and the inspiration behind it?
Set in London in the 1970’s, Amelia White finds the dead body of a young girl on a pile of uncollected rubbish close to her home. She works for the local newspaper and is sent to the parents of the dead girl to interview them. Two more dead girls later, Amelia’s involvement has grown, and there are fears she may be the killers next victim.
“People always said they kept my letters because they were entertaining, and I was often asked to write difficult letters for people. But I started out writing a short story about something that happened on a holiday. It was rubbish, but it gave me the bug.”
How hard is it when writing a period piece (Liar is set in the 70’s) How do you stay in the mind set?
I had my eldest daughter in 1970, and so I recall everything about that time. The music, what we wore etc. For previous books set long before I was born, I have to do extensive research. But I love that part of the job, and quite often begin to believe I’m living in that period.
How much research do you have to do re the policing at that time?
That is quite hard. I don’t think I could handle writing believably about forensics. My brother was a scientist and I used to pick his great brain a great deal, but sadly he died a few years ago and I’m on my own now. I do have a policeman friend as an advisor, but to be honest I’d rather not get into technical stuff, I leave that to those writers who have that background.
Tell us a little about your life as a writer. You weren’t published until you were 49 years old. What was the catalyst for you to finally get on that path?
People always said they kept my letters because they were entertaining, and I was often asked to write difficult letters for people. But I started out writing a short story about something that happened on a holiday. It was rubbish, but it gave me the bug, I did a home study course on creative writing, then just kept on until I finally got published. That took 16 years!!
Your personal story has had its challenges, could you tell us bit about that?
My mother dying when I was 3 and being separated from my brother and sent to an orphanage wasn’t great. But it’s been useful bit of research for troubled children. My stepmother who came later was a dragon, but I do believe she made me what I am now. So no bitterness.
You have a staggering 28 novels under your belt. Does it get easier or harder to keep coming up with the goods?
Harder, I fall asleep something at my desk, I’m not so keen on bombing around the world to research things. The ideas keep coming, but the plodding ability needed to sit and write isn’t so good anymore.
“I have to be at my desk. No sitting up in bed with a laptop. I usually start writing after I’ve taken Stan out for his morning walk. But good weather distracts me as I love gardening. I sometimes pray for rain, for both the garden and my writing.”
What is your routine around writing?
I have to be at my desk. No sitting up in bed with a laptop. I usually start writing after I’ve taken Stan out for his morning walk. But good weather distracts me as I love gardening. I sometimes pray for rain, for both the garden and my writing.
Who or what inspires you on a personal and professionally level?
Charles Dickins is an inspiration. But reading any good book makes me want to try harder, broadens my mind.
Tell us about your fund-raising for NSPCC. Why is this charity close to your heart?
They were called to my school once when I had can weals on my legs. My stepmother could be a brute, and at the time I was very unhappy. I saw that uniformed ‘Cruelty’ man as my saviour, and although I never told him the truth about my injuries, the man stayed in my head, and I think I vowed then that I would try and find a way to help other children. I don’t do so much now, but I am always available as a guest speaker at any of their fund raisers.
Tell us about your public speaking. What do you love about it? I’m a born chatter box, and I think a latent comedienne. I just wing it. I don’t prepare, I mostly talk about my own life, about funny incidents while researching. Whatever comes into my head really.
“Write for yourself, if nothing else it’s something to leave your children, and it can be very cathartic. I’ve killed off my stepmother twice fictionally!”
How do you feel when in front of a lot of people?
I see a room full of strangers as potential friends, I don’t really suffer from nerves. I usually try and make them laugh as then they are on my side. No real preparation unless of course I’ve been asked to speak about a cause. Then I have to gen up on it.
What would you say to anyone who has a desire to write a book, who may feel it might be too late in their lives?
Go for it. If you have the passion and drive, all you need then is persistence. It’s a tough marketplace to break into now and may be age could be held against you if publishers feel you aren’t very promotable. But write for yourself, if nothing else it’s something to leave your children, and it can be very cathartic. I’ve killed off my stepmother twice fictionally!
Liar by Lesley Pearse is published by Michael Joseph, price £20.00
Find out more about Lesley and keep up to date with what she’s been doing: Follow her on Twitter @LesleyPearse Follow her on Facebook @LesleyPearseAuthor Sign up for her newsletter www.lesleypearse.com
I am writing this as its raining outside, breathing in the beautiful scent that comes with the rain, the damp earth and fresh flowers. I know my garden is enjoying this change in the weather as well. I have really loved that we have been so lucky with the weather over the last few months. I have personally loved the sunshine and the time spent outdoors away from the hustle and bustle, playing with the family and running around with our puppy. But how good is heat for our skin? What benefits will we receive by adding a little heat to our routine?
Let’s go deep and dirty with some Self heating products. In order to understand how heat works and how it can help our delicate layers of our skin, here is a quick outline of our skin and what each layer produces.
The epidermis is the outermost of three main skin layers. It is thin but durable and acts as a protective barrier. The primary function is to protect your body by keeping bacteria and viruses out but by keeping water and nutrients in.
They contain melanin and is responsible for your skin colour. The more melanin you have the darker your skin tone.
These cells are part of your immune system. They are the soldiers of your skin and will guard your body against foreign substances. Take care of your epidermis by keeping it clean, avoiding harsh chemicals and staying out of the sun will help ensure that it stays healthy and continues its job of protecting your body for a very long time.
This is the second layer of the skin and is much thicker and sturdier than the epidermis. It contains elastin, which makes your skin flexible, like a piece of elastic it pings back to shape easily. There are several layers within the Dermis which are equally as important.
Sweat glands. These produce sweat that helps your body stay cool. It’s also a way for your body to remove some of its waste products.
Hair follicles. Hair is produced in these tubular structures. Each follicle contains a small muscle that causes you to have goose bumps when its contracts.
Oil (sebaceous) glands. Connected to the hair follicle, these glands produce an oily substance, called sebum, that keeps your skin and hair lubricated. It also helps protect your skin and helps make it water resistant.
Nerve endings. These allow your skin to feel things.
Blood vessels. These bring blood to your skin and move waste products, like carbon dioxide, away from your skin
The hypodermis is the deepest section of the skin. This layer of fatty tissue helps us from getting too hot or too cold. It adds padding to your body to protect the bones and tissues when you fall, get hit, or bump into things. When we introduce heat to our routine it can really help the skin microcirculation and the oxygenation. Spending time in a warm steamy shower or using heat either from a product or a device will help the skin’s microcirculation which is located in the dermis and hypodermis layers It plays a big role in the transportation of nutrients, waste and hormones and in regulating the body temperature and its inflammatory response. It’s important to keep your skin healthy by washing regularly to get rid of the oil, dead skin cells and bacteria which can cause spots. Cleaning off sweat after physical activities is also important to maintain skin health.
There are a lot of benefits of steam when it comes to healthy, glowing skin. Gentle steaming opens your pores so nutrients can sink in and also blankets the face in extra oxygen (a component of H2O).It also cleanses pores, removes toxins, promotes relaxation and enhances circulation. Increased circulation helps boost oxygen in the skin from inside the body. This gives you that rosy glow that makes facials so popular. Here’s a quick way you can have a spa style steam in your own home: Fill a bowl with some boiling water, use a couple of drops of your favourite essential oil, Lavender, Chamomile or Rose are great for the skin. Place a towel over your head and around the bowl. Stay far enough away so you don’t get burnt by the steam. Now relax for 15 minutes and let the steam do its work and breath in those gorgeous oils. Voila gorgeous skin ready for some gorgeous products.
Here are some products that use heat to help get your glow on and not just for your face! IONIC SKIN PERFECTOR £99 http://www.chokbeauty.com A gorgeous handheld device that is so easy to use with some amazing technology to help with your cleansing routine. The unique ionic thermo-infusion technology uses heat to open the pores for better absorption of skincare products by opening the pores and reaching the lower layers of the skin in just 2 minutes. The ionic generator eases the penetration of creams and serums and increases the amount of product absorbed by the skin cells magnifying the desired effect in just a few days of use.it Uses EMS Micro Current that trims and tones muscles for healthier younger looking skin. It also uses Nano Sonic Vibrations that enhance the skin by removing the impurities and blocked pores. WOW that’s a lot!
I recommend using this with a sheet mask for a super quick beauty treatment. I love the MIIN SWEET DREAM SHEET MASK for £2.70 from http://www.miin-cosmetics.co.uk. Great to use just before bedtime because of its beautiful lavender scent. There’s also a beautiful message inside the mask for you! Place mask on your face, Using the Thermal heat setting, massage the device over the sheet mask for 90 seconds then remove. Voila you’re done. This helps you absorb 98% of the products in only 2 mins! How amazing is that? Such a handy little device. I have certainly loved using it at home.
SANCTUARY SPA DE-STRESS WARMING BODY BALM Boots.com £7.50 Another wonderful product to use just before bedtime. This rich, moisturising and self-heating body balm formula is infused with fragrant ginger and rosemary oil to help you ease the day away. I love the heat you feel once you’ve applied this product and the smell is divine. Massage the product on any tense areas e.g. neck, shoulder & legs before going to bed and let it do its magic. It’s absolutely divine.
FARMACY HONEY POTION RENEWING ANTIOXIDANT HYDRATION MASK http://www.cultbeauty.co.uk £36 I love anything with Honey in it as I know that it has such amazing healing properties. So, when I saw this warming mask, I knew I wanted to try it. This hydrating honey mask has a jelly-like texture and is made with natural honey sugars containing amino acids and essential B vitamins. After applying this mask to your wet face, you’ll feel its warming effect. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. You will definitely notice the glow.
This hydrating honey mask has a jelly-like texture and is made with natural honey sugars containing amino acids and essential B vitamins.
ASSOME MASSAGER http://www.assome.co.uk £199 This beautiful ultrasonic massager just glides across your booty. It looks and feels like real luxury. Combining 3 cutting edge technologies LED, radiofrequency and ultrasonic waves to fight cellulite and help lift and firm your booty in the comfort of your own home. The radio frequency applies heat to the dermis without causing any damage to your epidermis and is able to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Peachy!
PIXI COLLAGEN IN SHOWER STEAM FACIAl £18 http://www.feelunique.com Bring the spa experience home with the PIXI Collagen In-Shower Steam Facial; a cleansing and nourishing formula that can be used in the bath or shower as a pampering treat. Infused with Peptides and plant-derived Acacia Collagen, the luxurious treatment transforms from a gel to an oil and releases a pleasant warming sensation when massaged onto skin. It delivers firming, plumping and moisturising benefits to leave your complexion looking radiant and revitalised after use.
WELLA ENRICH SELF-WARMING TREATMENT £11.10 http://www.feelunique.com Let’s not forget about your hair as well, it’s normal for hair to get a little dry and dull sometimes. When that happens, rub this mask onto your damp hair and enjoy the 30 seconds of bliss from its warming sensation. Bonus: The scent will leave your hair smelling amazing too.
Michelle is an Executive Coach and Certified Wellbeing Instructor who has been teaching wellbeing, meditation and mindfulness for over 13 years, helping leading companies, individuals and renowned talent to address the causes of stress and unlock peak performance. She was trained personally by Dr Deepak Chopra at The Chopra Center for Wellbeing.
“Michelle, can you write 1000 words on mindfulness and sex?” “Only 1000 ? I could fill a book”. Like the act itself, there are multiple approaches to the subject. I’m going to focus on the three which I think are most poignant – 1/ how practising mindfulness in the moment can make sex more enjoyable and longer lasting, 2/ how meditation itself can be an erotic experience and 3/ how one of the key benefits of a regular meditation practice is the reduction of anxiety which can be a major barrier in the bedroom.
Two thoughts to kick off. It’s no coincidence that the term ‘mind blowing’ is used in connection to sex. If you try to remember what you were thinking about during your most enjoyable sexual encounters the answer is probably nothing. Meditation is about going beyond thought, letting go of expectations, surrendering, and being totally immersed in the present moment. Just like good sex. The second interesting connection is in the word for mindfulness itself. As Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, pointed out, the Chinese character for ‘mindfulness’ combines the ideograms for presence and heart. It literally means presence of heart, so when we combine the practice during intimacy there is an opportunity to boost the emotional connection and heighten the experience. So why do we need to connect mindfulness and sex? Well the latest sex survey published in 2018 by Public Health England found that 42% of women complained of a lack of sexual enjoyment. The most recent National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, published in 2013, found that people in Britain were having less sex than they once did, with low sexual function affecting about 15% of men and 30% of women. Problems with sexual response were common, affecting 42% of men and 51% of women reported one or more problems in the last year. One reported factor inhibiting enjoyment is the distracted mind. An average adult spends 47% of their life not in the present moment, wandering to thoughts of past events or ruminating about the future (Harvard, 2010). The increasing pace of life and the invasion of technology into every aspect of life hasn’t helped. Do any of these sound like familiar scenarios? You are in the heat of the moment and your mind wanders off to your to do list of chores, or the phone rings and you debate whether to answer, or you’re looking at the clock wandering how long this is going to go on for because you’re sleep deprived?
So where does mindfulness fit in? Mindfulness is putting your mind and body in the same place. Whichever method you follow, it’s about finding an anchor for your focus and learning to return to that anchor when you’re distracted. This anchor or focus for awareness could be a mantra, the breath or sensations in the body. Regular practise is like building a muscle so that you become more aware when thoughts or other distractions enter your mind, and you’re better able to let them go and return to your anchor. Applying this in the bedroom means replacing mind-filled sex with mindful sex, where you’re totally immersed in the physical sensations of your body. It doesn’t mean you’ll never have distracting thoughts. It means that you’re more able to let these distracting thoughts go without getting stuck on them.
Women can experience physical arousal, such as increased blood flow to their vagina, but it barely registers mentally.
“There may be a strong physiological response, [but] there’s no awareness in their mind of that response. We know that healthy sexual response requires the integration of the brain and body, so when the mind is elsewhere – whether it’s distracted or consumed with catastrophic thoughts – all of that serves to interrupt that really important feedback loop.”
Couples therapist Diana Richardson describes mindful sex in terms of “being sex instead of doing sex”, directing our attention inside the body and using it like a sensing organ. She has spent 25 years studying tantra, the union of sex and meditation, and exploring the ways that sex is affected by the mind. She points out that by thinking that orgasm is the reason to have sex, and often the agenda, it makes us climax or goal oriented with for example, getting it right, pleasing partners, timing it right – which can bring stress. She describes nine principals to achieving mindful “sex with awareness” which if followed can make the experience much longer and a more bonding experience –
1, Make a date and put 2-3 hours aside undisturbed.
2. Your intention is to be present and aware as possible.
3. Scan for tensions in the body repeatedly.
4. Breathe deep and slow into the belly and genitals.
5. Enter consciously and slowly with lubrication.
6. Instead of mechanical friction, move with awareness and slow to increase sensitivity.
7. Have eyes wide open and make eye contact.
8. Share in words what you experience.
9. Have a sense of humour.
This guidance is applicable to couples of all orientation. Diana uses a fire metaphor to contrast tantra mindful sex to everyday mind-filled sex. If you add wood to a fire quickly, there are blazing flames but it’s not long before the fire dies down. “If you add the wood piece by piece and keep the flame low, that same fire will last the whole night through”. Turning now to how mindfulness in itself can be an erotic experience. Sometimes when people enter a deep meditative state, it can stimulate the sacral chakra (energy centre) which is located in our lower abdomen and is the seat of sexual energy. During my group meditation and mindfulness courses I teach the science behind meditation, research into how it works and the benefits, before giving participants their first experience of meditating with a personal mantra. Afterwards they share what happened, both the challenges and the enjoyment. Occasionally I see a flushed face and I know exactly what’s happened that won’t be shared. More often this reaction happens when people meditate on their own and they return to future sessions with appreciative stories from their partners who have also noticed the difference. One client was ecstatic to report that after attending a 45-minute Tranquillo session (her first ever experience of meditation) where we combine guided meditation with live cello, she went straight home to have the best sex of her life. There are studies which back up these anecdotes. One which is often quoted in relation to mindfulness and libido is a study among women at the University of British Columbia, at their Centre for Sexual Medicine. After taking standard tests of sexual function, participants took part in three group mindfulness meditation sessions two weeks apart. Between these sessions, they practiced mindfulness meditation at home and then retook the sexual function tests. The course of meditation was shown to increase the women’s desire, arousal, lubrication and sexual satisfaction. In the post-program feedback, the women rated the mindfulness exercises as the most helpful aspect of the program, which also included advice and guidance from a gynaecologist and sex therapist.
Another study at Brown University found that 44 women who took a 3-month mindfulness meditation course reported feeling much more aroused by looking at racy pictures and much more quickly than non-meditators.
One explanation is that long term meditators experience increased cortical gyrification (folding) of the brain’s insula. This has been shown to allow the brain to process information faster and some studies have found that women with more gyrified insula experience more intense orgasms. It also comes back to this aspect of mindfulness of uniting mind and body. Psychology Professor Brotto of the University of British Columbia and author of ‘Better Sex Through Mindfulness’, who has spearheaded a lot of the research, explains that “lots of data shows us that women, more so than men, tend to be somewhat disconnected from what’s happening in their bodies”. Her experiments have shown that women can experience physical arousal, such as increased blood flow to their vagina, but it barely registers mentally. “There may be a strong physiological response, [but] there’s no awareness in their mind of that response. We know that healthy sexual response requires the integration of the brain and body, so when the mind is elsewhere – whether it’s distracted or consumed with catastrophic thoughts – all of that serves to interrupt that really important feedback loop.” It can be the same for some men, she says, but “there tends to be more concordance between the body’s arousal and the mind’s arousal. When men have a physical response, they’re also much more likely to have a mental sexual arousal response.” Embedding a regular mindfulness practise, or using techniques in the moment, can bridge that gap between mind and body. Before giving you some bullet points (why does everything sound like an innuendo) on putting this into action, I think it’s worth exploring how mindfulness reduces anxiety and how this connects to sexual satisfaction. Psychosexual and relationship therapist Kate Moyle says that mindfulness is a common part of therapy, even if it’s not always given that title. “When people have sexual problems, a lot of the time it’s anxiety-related and they’re not really in their bodies, or in the moment. Mindfulness brings them back into the moment. When people say they’ve had the best sex and you ask them what they were thinking about, they can’t tell you, because they weren’t thinking about anything, they were just enjoying the moment. That’s mindfulness.” Regular meditation has also been shown to reduce the amount of cortisol in the brain, the stress hormone. When we are in our fight/flight or stress response, cortisol is produced to direct blood to essential functions like our muscles and away from areas that are not important in that moment, like the genitals. When you’re in fight/flight mode, sex is probably the last thing on your mind, so libido is reduced. By lowering cortisol production in the body through mindfulness, libido and therefore sexual desire is increased.
“It’s no coincidence that the term ‘mind blowing’ is used in connection to sex. If you try to remember what you were thinking about during your most enjoyable sexual encounters the answer is probably nothing.”
At its core, mindfulness can be defined as present moment non-judgemental awareness. As Professor Brotto points out “Each of those three components are critical for healthy sexual function.” By removing self-judgement, space is allowed for more honest communication with your partner and an ability to express what turns you on. I hope that this can inspire you to take up a regular meditation practise but here are two simple techniques to try out in the meantime –
Mantra mindfulness – When you find yourself distracted during intercourse, repeat silently to yourself “Be here now”. When your mind tries to drift, escort your focus back to the repeating mantra. You might have to repeat this process multiple times, but each time you return to the mantra you are building your mindful muscle and gaining control over your thoughts. Then move your focus to wherever you’re feeling the most intense physical sensations. Allow your awareness to rest there and notice how the feelings are heightened through your focus. When thoughts try to distract you, follow the same method and escort your focus back to your strongest sensations.
Deep Breathing Space – This can be practised before or during sex to help bring you into the present moment and boost your focus. It should take just three minutes.
In the first minute notice what thoughts are dominating your mind. Don’t judge those thoughts or enter into conversation with them but just list them as if you are a witness looking into your mind.
Then move your focus to where you are feeling strongest sensations in the body. You’re not trying to change anything but just observing.Then move your attention to the breath and where you are feeling it most intensely –nostrils, chest, abdomen or back of your throat. Notice the movement of the body with each breath in an out, the rise and fall which each inhale and exhale. Again you’re not controlling the breath, just watching it.
In the final minute follow the circulation of the breath through the whole body. Feel the cool breath coming into your nostrils and picture it moving down to your feet. Then on the exhale imagine that breath travelling up your body giving energy and vitality to all organs that it passes and notice sensations on your skin. Visualise the whole body expanding on the inhale and letting go on the exhale.
There is a 15% discount for FRANK readers who book a course before the end of August 2020 Quote Frank15
For meditation & mindfulness courses, Michelle can be contacted via www.michellelanger.com or follow her guided meditations on Instagram @michellejlanger
Broadcaster & Editor in Chief Melanie Sykes talks to FRANK
On turning 50 …
I’m really excited about turning 50. Turning 49 last year wasn’t great. I’m not sure why. I just felt fed up and didn’t have any mojo to celebrate, but this year I feel completely different. I cannot wait to welcome in the next stage of my life. The last decade has been fascinating, challenging and a period of extreme personal growth and I am grateful for all of it. It’s life and I have to learn to roll with it and take all positives from it no matter hard in parts it has been. I have my health and the mutual love of my children, anything else is a bonus.
On the pandemic and lock down …
This last few months has been a lesson in staying in the moment, otherwise it would have been too overwhelming. The death toll and the way in which people have been affected by the virus has been devastating and of course a worry. My youngest Valentino has nephrotic syndrome (A kidney disease) and we have to be very careful to keep him protected. He is also Autistic so the virus as a concept has been hard to explain. He has missed school and has been afraid to leave the house with me. But we talk a lot and I hope I have helped to soothe his worries. However home schooling has not been easy. I have unlimited patience as a mother but not as a teacher. He has told me how rubbish I am at it and how he cannot wait to get back to school. He makes me laugh every day with his brutal honesty. I’m not sure if that’s what he has inherited from me or a trait of his condition. My eldest, Roman was unable to sit his A levels but will be hopefully going to Uni in October all being safe. He has coped very well with the situation. The boys have been with me for much of lockdown which was challenging to say the least in our flat and I had to go for the occasional short drive and have a scream in the car when I needed to. Luckily for me I have been able to work, of course with this being an online magazine its been business as usual, as I do most things on my laptop from my dining room table. My voice over work has been able to continue as it’s me alone in a sound booth and my radio show with Alan Carr has been able to go ahead by us sitting in separate studios whilst being connected by Facetime. For me, the lockdown and the run up to my big birthday has been a time of great reflection. I have thought a lot about my life and future and where I would like it to be for the next chapter. I aspire to live here in the UK for half the year and the other, elsewhere for a better climate and quality of life. I am in the process of working on that and only I can make that happen.
“I cannot believe I have been in the TV and Radio game for 24 years now and I still suffer with imposter syndrome. It was never in the plan to be known and be on telly. It was thrust upon me at at time when it was hard to turn the opportunities down. I was a 26 year old model and it seemed like a good time. That said, I suffer terribly from ‘stage fright’ and that has simply never gone away.”
On being a mother …
Awwwww the children, the lights of my life. Roman is now 18 and Valentino is 16. I don’t share them on social media and they have asked me to not talk about them in detail in the media. They deserve and are entitled to their privacy. I respect them and that. They are my reason for being. I am pretty much their sole provider and always have been.. I have obviously taken work to provide for them and had to turn work down if it takes me away for too long. They come first always. I have a good relationship with their father and we share them as much as we can. I wasn’t particularly a maternal type who craved having children prior to my body clock telling me so on the run up to my 30th birthday and thankfully it absolutely kicked in proper the day Roman was born. Juggling a child with Autism and a child without any challenges has been difficult for me to balance, in terms of the attention I have had to find equally some how, and I have probably failed at that a lot. You can only do your best though, right. I check in with them all the time to see how they are doing emotionally and although they may find their feelings difficult to articulate, at least they know that I am interested, if nothing else. I am a very grounded mother, I have always treated them as intelligent beings, never dumbing things down. Although my relationship with them is that of a mother, they still see me as human being. They hear me laugh, they hear me cry and that is important. You cannot pretend to be perfect. They both know that nothing is off topic (for them) and that it would be very difficult for them to shock me and they know I do not judge. It’s just not my style. Who knows if I have succeeded in bringing up well adjusted children. They always get good reviews from other people but the proof will be how they behave as men, as friends, as partners and as family members going forward. As for Valentino he may never be independent of me, which obviously isn’t a problem. We will see how he evolves.
“My youngest Valentino has nephrotic syndrome (A kidney disease) and we have to be very careful to keep him protected. He is also Autistic so the virus as a concept has been hard to explain. He has missed school and has been afraid to leave the house with me. But we talk a lot and I hope I have helped to soothe his worries.”
On love and relationships …
I don’t often talk of such things in print as I am very protective of my private life but I will say I love to be in love, it just hasn’t happened for a long time. It is going to take someone very special for me to succumb to it again, somebody who will add to my life and enhance it. It’s interesting when you are single people assume it’s not by choice, but it is for me. I have no interest in just settling. Sometimes I travel alone, I dine alone, I go to the cinema alone, all by choice. I am extremely comfortable with and enjoy my own company. I don’t need a father for my kids, I don’t need to be financially supported and I’m not sure if I want too much domesticity with someone. I enjoy my life and I don’t want to negotiate what I watch, when I go to bed, when I eat and I don’t want to share my bed on nights I don’t want to.
love taking care and being a support to a man but I will not give away that energy to someone who is simply not worth it. Yes I get lonely sometimes but better that, than having those feelings within a relationship. Been there, done that, got the certificates. I merely want a companion, someone to love and him to love me in return, someone to have fun with when it is convenient for him and me without ever feeling obligated.
On health …
I try to be healthy but I’m not always. Sure I exercise, its habitual, part of my routine and has been for about twelve years now but I have absolutely no interest in getting people to change their habits and influencing them. Do what suits you. Live and let live, thats what I say. People’s opinions around this topic are interesting though. I was speaking to a cab driver recently about health and I said I don’t drink or smoke anymore and he said “I’ll never give them up, life is too short” to which I replied “ and these things can make it shorter!” That said, I listened to an audio documentary on ‘BBC Sounds’ recently called ‘The Secrets of the Super Old’ There was a lady who was 115 years old and was smoking. Her Doctor told her she should stop that and her reply was, “The last Doctor that said that to me, is dead now.” Which made me laugh. There are no hard and fast rules for longevity but there are things you can do for yourself that make you feel good. Keeping my core balanced, my body’s flexibility and maintaining some muscle strength are the things I am more interested in as I age. Food, well my preferred diet is that of a student, cheese on toast, packet noodles, bacon butties and peanut M & M’s. its such an effort for me to eat fruit and veg, but obviously I do. I have a balanced diet but naturally I would prefer to eat crap. Yoga and weights and ballet based exercises are the combo I use at the moment, as and when I feel like it. I am in tune with my body’s needs and respond accordingly. Everyone is different so I don’t feel its my job to tell people what to do either way.
On ageing …
I have a youthful spirit and that will never change. I have suffered some set backs in life as we all do but I cannot hold anger and its impossible for me to be bitter. It’s just not in my nature and I think that reflects in my core being and what emanates from me. I haven’t been at the whim of my life, I have mostly taken it by the scruff of the neck and dealt with things as and when they have arisen. I’ve tackled things that could have potentially buried me or giving me prolonged unhappiness. I have cut these things out and have done this alone. The older I get the less I will tolerate. Aesthetically I am faring quite well so far. As we know genetics play a huge role in this as is taking care of oneself physically, emotionally and mentally, which I have got covered. They do say mediation is anti ageing and that is a daily habit for me along with some kind of exercise and a relatively healthy food intake. You know, I’m doing what I can. I would not rule out surgery in the future, if thats what I want, I’ll do it. It’s my right to choose either way. I could not give a stuff about anybody else’s opinion. One of my idols is Jane Fonda. I just love her. She said that she hasn’t been brave enough to age without a bit of help. I love her honesty and in the future I might feel the same. Time will tell.
I was watching a documentary on David Foster, about his amazing career and at the end of the programme, he said he probably has 15 summers left at best and it made me think I might have 35 summers left at best. It really does give a tangible perspective on things going forward. Don’t waste time, seize the day and try find the joy in every moment before my time is up.
On broadcasting …
I cannot believe I have been in the TV and Radio game for 24 years now and I still suffer with imposter syndrome. It was never in the plan to be known and be on telly. It was thrust upon me at at time when it was hard to turn the opportunities down. I was a 26 year old fashion model and it seemed like a good time. That said, I suffer terribly from ‘stage fright’ and that has simply never gone away. I hate being centre of attention and being in front of an audience but I just push through and do it anyway. I absolutely love my voice over work and my radio show. I find it much easier, as there is no extra process, I just ‘am’. Even shooting for the magazine and being on set meant bringing some kind of ‘other me’ energetically, in order to get it done.
On women …
I am a woman’s woman and that is a fact. I love and admire women. I celebrate all our successes and I appreciate the struggle. I feel so devastated when women do not support other women. Not just when it is directed at me because every time it happens it is directed at all of us. There is a culture of jealousy and competition that can happen between some women and the thought of it pains me. We must stick together. We are up against it as it is.
On Men …
I have sons and I hope they turn into decent men. I have male friends who I love dearly who are great fathers, decent partners and who’s opinions I seek. I would love to find a good man to share my life with. romantically. Sadly in all realms of life, most, not all, but most men are pretty basic and disappointing. I feel a bit sorry for British men who have adopted the limited vocabulary of the television character, Keith Lemon, when talking about, and to women. I would be surprised and indeed it would be a miracle, if any of these men are actually getting laid!
On Frank …
I just love being Editor in Chief of FRANK and writing interviews and sourcing content. I love working with the brilliant women on the team, Millie Copper my partner and Frank’s design director, Annabel Kerman our fashion editor, Fiona Eustace our beauty editor and all the contributors, writers , artists, therapists etc we feature. All the women on our covers are over forty. It was probably the first thing that I was insistent on when it came to creating the magazine. The magazine is a celebration of mature women with their abundance of experience and all they have to offer. It was a no brainer that our models should and would be over forty. The process of putting the magazine together every few months is intense with such a small team but it is worth it. I feel so much pride when its published and you all get to see it and have a good read.
“I haven’t been at the whim of my life, I have mostly taken it by the scruff of the neck and dealt with things as and when they have arisen. I’ve tackled things that could have potentially buried me or giving me prolonged unhappiness and I have done this alone. The older I get the less I will tolerate.”
PHOTOGRAPHY Elisabeth Hoff
FASHION EDITOR Annabel Kerman
HAIR Tim Crespin at Angeli & Co using hair by Sam Mcknight
MAKEUP Aimee Adams using Kate Somerville Skincare and Bare Minerals Cosmetics
Julian Joseph is an online interiors boutique and we design, curate, love and live inspiring furniture. It all started with a penchant for interiors and in particular the humble chair. We wanted to design jaw-on-the-floor statement chairs that turn heads and also spark a little interior envy!
With attainable luxury in mind, our collection includes traditional designs with modern touches, cute as a button velvet cocktail chairs, a contemporary linen range and chic ottomans. Our designs stand out in avant-garde interiors as well as accentuating calmer spaces. You may have even seen our Eversley in emerald green featuring very recently on Renovate Don’t Relocate hosted by Sarah Beeny.
Although we thrive when we’re in full-on design mode, we also adoringly curate accent furniture to embellish our own designs such as coffee tables, side tables, storage trunks and butler trays. Because why wouldn’t you want a butler tray in your life?
Julian Joseph is made up of Hannah and Luke Silver and Louise and Mike Cronin. In 2012 Hannah and Luke moved from Texas to Shanghai and coincidentally Louise and Mike left Blighty also bound for the bright lights of Shanghai. Thanks to fate and good fortune we all enrolled at the same Mandarin school and it was instant friendship between both couples.
Hannah and Louise soon discovered a mutual love for interiors. It became clear that between the four of us our experience spanned interior design, marketing, manufacturing and finance.
After much daydreaming of owning a business, we took the plunge and left bustling Shanghai behind and headed to rural South China, known for furniture production. We immersed ourselves in the world of manufacturing and after six swelteringly humid months returned home.
Hannah and Luke currently manage the U.S. side of the business based in Texas whilst Louise and Mike oversee operations in the U.K. and Europe.
Now that wearing a mask has become mandatory on public transport, demand for cotton facemarks is set to boom. So why not make yours stylish? Many designer’s first batches of fashion worthy face coverings have already sold out in record time, but these are some of our favourites you can get your hands on now. Plus with many of these independent and sustainable brands donating profits to covid related charities we can feel like we’re helping keep businesses afloat and supporting the cause at the same time.
London based Artist Amy Judd (born 1980 in Margate) has been painting her signature obscured female figures for over tens years. Inspired by Mythologies and folklore her pieces capture surreal stories of women and nature. Her work always strives to be striking, beautiful and feminine. For the last 4 years she has happily juggled studio time with Motherhood, turning 40 in lockdown and returning to painting has given her a new vigour for her work.
Hey Amy, thank you so much for being our cover star! How has lock down been for you?
As a pretty private artist I feel like I have been training for isolation my whole life, sometimes locked down in my studio for days at a time! Then over a year ago I went on a long maternity leave with my second daughter and hid in a baby bubble enjoying cuddles and tiny feet, not joining any baby clubs and staying in my PJs till noon! I have appreciated and enjoyed having a new born so much more second time around and found it hard getting back to work. So I have grown accustomed to some sort of lock down, all be it a more pleasant one! I dipped into my work now and again over the last year but I had not fully immersed myself in painting for months, so when lock down was announced and my husband said he was going to be home more, I jumped at the opportunity this strange time has given me and started back at the studio. I am able to work most days and have a new vigour for my work, this has kept me sane and the baby brain has almost been replaced with something more creative. So despite the crazy scary situation we are all in its not so bad in our small world.
When did you realise that painting was going to be your world?
Like many creatives at school I struggled with academic subjects but I could draw and paint and loved it, and from an early age it became obvious that it was all I wanted to do. My earliest memory of painting was at my junior school, I was asked to do a mural depicting the myth of Pandora’s box; coincidentally mythologies were to become a big inspiration in my work. In my teenage years I was a child among adults at an evening life drawing class and I soon gained confidence and an understanding of the female form that has stayed with me my whole career. I knew for certain that I could make painting my life when I could quit my part time job at a wedding dress cleaners, and paint full time, my gallery gave me the confidence and support to do this and I haven’t looked back.
Are you from a family of creatives? Who were your mentors?
My parents have always had a home full of books, my mother was a librarian and my father a history teacher before retiring, so as well as a mountain of Vietnam war books which are not really my cup of tea, we also had enough art books to sink a ship! My folks are my mentors and biggest fans, they would take my brother and me to international museums and art galleries, and introduced me to the world of art at an early age, more importantly they were always enthusiastically supportive and gave me the encouragement and confidence to believe this could be a way of life.
How and when did you develop your style?
It’s been an organic progression over the years, from life drawing throughout my studies to self portraiture for my Masters, I have always painted the female form, but it wasn’t until I saw Swan Lake at Covent Garden that my work shifted. This was a game changer, I was captivated by Odette’s transformation to and from a swan, it was a sublime idea. Within folklore, mythologies and literature stories have been told of a magical relationship between birds/animals and humans, I soon realised I could conjure up my own “myths” within my paintings. I was drawn towards more avian themes at first, the feathers and plumage of birds were a joy to paint and they had a certain spirituality, they captured vulnerability and strength simultaneously. My new flower paintings, inspired by the goddess Flora, have the same qualities; In painting the flowers larger than life the fragile petals become sculptural gaining a strength and abstract quality, the blooms become beautiful suits of armour, helmets, masks or headdresses for the statuesque women. Although the Roman Goddess Flora was the initial inspiration, the figures are modern and timeless, they become less Muse and more self assured, poised women. All my figures are anonymous they are often obscured by birds, feathers or flowers, giving the viewer space to create their own narrative, often I paint my women with “familiars” animals or birds that seem to engage the viewer on behalf of the figures, creating a sense of ambiguity and intrigue. I see the combination of the female form and nature as organic and harmonious. My work is a contemporary reimagining and revision of traditional mythology that celebrates this relationship.(More than anything my Floral collection gives me a great excuse to buy beautiful flowers, especially now as its peony season!)
Do you use models or are these women a figment of your imagination?
I work from gathered imagery and my own photos, Also taxidermy and Museums are a good source for studying feathers and Fur. Then composition is constructed in sketches and often manipulated in Photoshop exploring further positioning, lighting and subject ready to transfer onto canvas. This process of using different sources like a collage, gives my work its surreal quality.
How were you discovered?
Following my MA at Wimbledon school of Art I found a tiny studio near by with no windows and the occasional pigeon visitor! That year we had an open studio and Jeff Hicks turned up and asked if I wanted to be in a group show at his gallery, Yes! Of course. I sold all the work and the rest is history, I have worked with the lovely Hicks family that run the Gallery in Wimbledon for over 10 years. They have shown and sold my work here in London and internationally. Since then I have a larger studio with Windows!
You paint women. Do you paint for them with them as buyers in mind?
This is a good question, I have never been asked this before, I paint for me and I am a woman, but my buyers are both men and women equally. I see them as feminine images, not just because they are of women, but perhaps because I adorn them with the beauty of nature, delicate but strong feathers, juicy but architectural peony petals, soft but statuesque rabbit heads. The images are ambiguous, open to interpretation and contradiction. Singer and song writer Laura Marling reclaimed Virgil’s misogynistic phase “woman is an ever fickle and changeable thing”. I personally would like to reclaim this, as although not fickle I am certainly changeable and I see this as a strength not a weakness.
“I feel good at 40, just a little more tired and I have a lot more potions by my bed. But life is all that my 30 year old self would have hoped for. I am still enjoying painting more than ever, some days the time I spend in my studio is almost meditative, I believe this is a contributor to my positive mental health.”
I bought my painting to seeing it an art fair. I wanted all of your work! They are achingly beautiful.
When you set out to do a series, how does it come to you?
At the moment I am revisiting past themes and carrying on with the Floralia collection, inspired by the goddess Flora, I am combining and playing around with ideas, there is no strict narrative at the moment as I am finding my groove after being on maternity leave. It feels like a good time to do this as normal life is on hold and the world is in a strange limbo, I hope to have a show after lockdown and perhaps that will give me a focus. I have started collecting ideas and will try and get a body of work that will sit well together in the gallery.. watch this space!
What is your routine, if any, around your work?
My new normal is to look after my two little girls in the morning, (how often can you give your children Coco pops for breakfast?! ) then I head to my studio after lunch, I set certain days to research, compose, photograph, and then finally paint.. If I know its a painting day I skip to the studio, I still get a thrill when a painting is going well and I’m enjoying my own company, I admit it is nice to have time to myself especially at the moment. When I arrive I plug in my laptop ( I finally treated myself to a new Mac, its not too covered in paint yet!), get Spotify up and running, I play my music loud, or recently I’m loving a podcast. I answer any emails, ignore social media.. knowing I should be better at it! I paint until it comes to an organic end, stop for a snack, often a crisp sandwich and chocolate biscuit, My body is a temple! I can stay till late which is a luxury after years of having to rush home for the nursery pick up! So I crack on till I get hungry and go home to my wonderful husband who cooks me a late night dinner!
Who or what inspires you as a person and then your work?
I have previously mentioned how the Ballet Swan Lake has informed my work, I am interested in Costume design within theatre and cinema, in how designers create imaginative beautiful solutions to make stories come to life. I continue to be inspired by the more creative side of fashion, specifically designers inspired by nature. Alexander McQueen’s designs are ruled by nature almost in a spiritual way, they sit beautifully with Philp Tracey maginative and surreal head wear that often dramatically hides the wears face. Both designers use materials found in nature, feathers, flowers, skulls, or directly inspired by them. There was a female Italian designer of the 1930’s called Elsa Schiaparelli who was connected with the surrealist movement, her dresses and hats were beautiful with a surrealist edge, from lobster dresses to shoe hats. I like anything that is beautifully surreal, “Judex” (1963) is a black and white French film by George Franju, the opening scene is marvellous, a man in a bird head walks through a masked ball, then begins to do a strange magic show with white doves, firstly poor birds, but it is such a decadent but disturbing scene. This is what inspired the masked killer in the recent TV series “True Detective”. I binge watched this in two days! Max Ernst (1891-1976), part of the surrealist and Dada movement created collage illustrations for Une semaine de bonté, he rearranged images to create a dark and surreal world where people had the heads of lions, birds, shells or lizards; they are both funny and disquieting. On a lighter note! One of my favourite magazines, as well as Frank of course, is Elle decoration, I adore interior and architectural design. I will watch grand designs all day and lust over peoples homes on instagram, I see the stillness and limited palette in my work perfectly suited for a domestic setting, some images giving drama to a space others creating a sense of calm.
How does it feel to part with your pieces and how did it feel the first time?
The first piece I sold was a small ink life drawing, at a local art gallery in Sandwich Kent, where I grew up, I was still at school, and it was about £150, I was thrilled! I don’t often think about the life of my paintings after they leave the studio, but when I see a photo of one in situ its lovely, a reminder that people actually have my work in their home, becoming part of their lives. This makes me so chuffed and gives me a weird feeling of pride, more like a mothers pride as they are out in the wide world making people happy!
How long does each piece take?
I use thin oils on canvas, and typically I work on several paintings at a time, as I need to let the paint dry after each layer, so a piece will develop over a month or two. The ideas and composition often take longer, and perhaps I will return to ideas I started months ago.
Before having my second daughter I did a commission for The Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane in London, it was the largest painting I have done and I had to go and raise a drink to it with some of my girl friends!
Which other female artists do you admire?
There are many women I admire, for very different reasons; I am in love with Mary Cassatt paintings, a female impressionist, her scene of domesticity are just beautiful, perhaps I appreciate them more as a mother?In stark contrast to Mary Cassatt Paula Rego’s often dark menacing scenes are just so strong and unapologetic. I have a physical response when I witness them in the flesh like no other painter, I am in awe of her story telling and raw emotion. Since I was little I have enjoyed Georgia O’Keeffe’s flowers, I would make studies of her work when I was young and perhaps that’s why I have ended up painting flowers now? She often uses skulls within her paintings something I have for a long time wanted to incorporate in my own work. Recently I went to the Frida Kahlo exhibition at the V&A museum and my long term admiration for this almost legendary woman was confirmed, I love her for her story, strength and surrealism.. and not least for her sense of style and use of red lippy even on her death bed.
How do your children feel about your images?
They are only little, but Mia, 4, has seen some pieces, She thinks they a beautiful and she likes the “Easter bunny heads”! We will see what they think when they have grown and have teenage friends; “what? your mum paints boobies?”
Are they showing any inclination towards painting themselves?
Yes Mia loves drawing, she draws everyday, mostly family portraits, but she does a mean parrot too! I hope they stay creative, Mia is so imaginative right now and I wish I could bottle it!
Do you think your maturity brings more to your work every year?
Absolutely, every year I strive to make new work and my craft seems to be second nature to me now, almost like a muscle memory, I guess this is out of practice and love of what I do.
So I hope I have my best painting years aheads of me!Having children definitely hits every parents career especially women, I haven’t seen it as a sacrifice but a change of life and a hiatus in my work. I am lucky I can come back to work when and how I want and once the kids are in full time education I can get back to full time painting! So I believe my more mature self will be on some fierce painting mission once the nappies and milk bottles have been chucked away!
You just joined the 40 club how does it feel?
Yes I turned 40 in April whilst in lockdown, it was not really celebrated, just an extra fish finger and cupcake with the kids dinner! I have decided to skip this year and so I will be 40 next year! My husband and I had to cancel our big Great Gatsby themed birthday party due to Corona Virus, all our friends have 1920’s outfits so we have to make it happen after lockdown! I had planned to get a tattoo when I turned 40! Many people are walking around with tattoos of my paintings on their bodies, not put there by me! It is an art form I am in awe of, I would never have the nerve to paint something so permanent on someones skin. I always wanted one and thought by 40 I’d have decided what to get, but I still haven’t.. perhaps by 50! I feel good at 40, just a little more tired and I have a lot more potions by my bed. But life is all that my 30 year old self would have hoped for. I am still enjoying painting more than ever, some days the time I spend in my studio is almost meditative, I believe this is a contributor to my positive mental health. Its hard being a mum and this quiet alone time is a luxury I know many parents don’t have. Becoming a mum has been the biggest change over the last decade, which has been the hardest and the best thing I have ever done, giving birth is the most amazing thing I have been through and my girls are my world.. after this so many superficial worries are banished and you’re given a new perspective on the world. I feel like my career and personal life are well balanced and moving forward. I have always been a pretty contented person and at 40 I take joy from simple pleasures and home comforts.. and I know the grass is hardly ever greener.
Lumity is a comprehensive supplement range clinically proven for healthy ageing and multiple benefits with targeted 24/7 nutrient rich support. After a 12-week, independent study, 92% of participants noticed a significant shift in the condition of skin, hair and nails.
84% reported that they had more energy, with increased immunity and improved emotional balance also scoring highly. Lumity’s formula also improves immune health, tiredness and energy, plus enhanced quality of life. Lumity helps to build a true foundation of health, well beyond what is possible through diet and lifestyle alone.
Welcome to my Spring Beauty Edit. I hope you’re all doing ok? It seems very surreal writing this during these unprecedented times. I want to take a minute to thank everyone on the front line from our teachers, delivery drivers, NHS staff, carers and to all the people working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure our economy and its population can survive and thrive. Thank you thank you thank you, although that doesn’t seem to do you justice. Now let’s get on with the show… For people who know me, know that I love self tanning all year round. I am very pale, like a jellyfish and I love a little kiss of sunshine, albeit from a bottle, to keep me looking healthy. So, as we come out of a very wet winter and into a very strange spring, I want to talk about Self tanning and list some of my favourite companies who are also helping the planet by being sustainable. Here comes the science bit behind our self tans and what happens when we apply it to our skin. I have to confess that I am a bit of a science nerd and I love to understand the how and why behind what makes a product work and to truly understand what we are putting onto our bodies. The ingredient inside all self tans, is a colour additive called dihydroxyacetone (DHA) This harmless chemical (more about this later) which is actually a type of sugar molecule, creates the tan colour on our skin. DHA reacts with amino acids found in our skin and causes the top layer of our skin, the stratum corneum, to turn the tan colour we see after application. It’s the same reaction that takes place when we cook a piece of toast in the toaster. YUMMY!! for all you fact nerds out there this is called the Maillard reaction.
Some of the most delicious superfood smoothies that will give you a boost!
LEMON TURMERIC FLUSH DRINK
Ingredients: 2 cups Water 1 Lemon, squeezed 1/2 teaspoon Ground Turmeric 1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (optional) 1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon 1 teaspoon Stevia or 1 Tablespoon Honey or Real Maple Syrup Serves 2
Directions: Mix together, water, lemon juice, turmeric, ginger, cayenne pepper (optional) and cinnamon. Add stevia, honey or maple syrup to taste. The cayenne pepper adds a kick to it so not everyone can handle it.
SWEET CHERRY ALMOND SMOOTHIE:
Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups Cherries frozen 1 cup Almond Milk 1 scoop Protein Powder 1 Banana Ice Optional: top with unsweetened coconut flakes + almond butter
Directions: Add ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Add ice depending on temperature preference. Frozen bananas work best in smoothies. Peel, slice in half, and place in a large Ziploc bag in the freezer overnight. Add more spinach and kale to increase nutritional benefits.
YOUTHFUL GLOW GREEN SMOOTHIE:
Ingredients: 2 Handfuls approximately 2 cups Kale or Power Greens Mix 2 Handfuls approximately 2 cups Baby Spinach 2 cups Pure Apple Juice 1/2 Cucumber 1/2 Lemon squeezed (for extra benefits, use the juice from an entire lemon) 1 Banana Ice Optional: 1 teaspoon Fresh Ginger grated
Directions: Add ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Add ice depending on temperature preference. Frozen bananas work best in smoothies. Peel, slice in half, and place in a large Ziploc bag in the freezer overnight.
CHOCOLATE POWERHOUSE SMOOTHIE:
Ingredients: 1 cup Coconut Milk 1 scoop Chocolate Protein Powder 1/2 cup Blueberries 1 cup Spinach 1 Banana 1 Tablespoon Almond Butter Ice
Directions: Add ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Add ice depending on temperature preference. Frozen bananas work best in smoothies. Peel, slice in half, and place in a large Ziploc bag in the freezer overnight. Add more spinach and kale to increase nutritional benefits.
Hello there, What extraordinary times we are living through. I hope you are all staying safe and well, including all in the front line, key workers and those staying home to do their bit. We are all in this together. The last day I spent with other people at work was actually the day spent shooting the cover and fashion story for this issue. It was great fun with a great team. I have mentally revisited that day many times whilst compiling this issue and I am truly grateful for the new connections I made on that particular day and the beautiful images that were created. Hope they bring a little light into your day along with all the articles we have chosen for you.
Stay safe & stay present Happy reading Much love Melanie x
Hello gang, Here is the new issue of Frank. Its been a bit of a juggle to get it to you this month as I took on a new job as well as pulling together the magazine but that’s what we do, right?!
So excited to feature the writer, director and actress Anne Marie Cummings the creator on all levels of ‘Conversations in LA’ the brilliant series on Amazon Prime ( there are three seasons for you to enjoy) She is pure inspiration and the series itself is groundbreaking and pertinent to us in its content. It really is a must watch.
I am beyond thrilled to have landed an interview with my favourite actress, the one and only Maxine Peake. What a woman!
Also In this issue we talk about having time to ourselves and its huge importance. Melanie Cantor, Author of ‘Death and Other Happy Endings’ tells us about her solo travel experiences and Danielle Dodoo explores the benefits of being alone.
For our fourth issue we have taken our fashion pages out and about to the beautiful Four seasons hotel in Hampshire. Their stunning grounds and hotel play host to our ‘Flights of fancy’ which we hope you enjoy.
All that along with our usual health, beauty and wellbeing. You know us by now!
Gaby Roslin @gabyroslin Talks to Clare Hornby Founder of
ME + EM clothing. @me_andem ‘’Frustrated by how hard it was to find well-made, on-trend clothes that didn’t cost the earth, Clare Hornby founded ME+EM’’
How did Me+Em all come about? Where did it all start?
It all started on holiday with a friend called Emma, hence Me+Em and we both worked in advertising and we’d both just started young families. I had always wanted to start my own business and always wanted to do something in fashion. Emma had very complimentary skills to mine and I thought she’d be a great business partner. We brainstormed for the whole week on holiday about where there were gaps in markets because in advertising you’re trained to look for those gaps. We came up with an idea called ‘Pyjama Room’ which was an idea around making women look good at home: Beautiful fabrics, beautiful attention to detail, clothes that you could wear at home and then also wear out and about. Comfy, well-made clothes.
That idea ended up being rather niche and we changed the direction of that brand pretty quickly. Pyjama Room became Me+Em two years later. But the ethos around beautiful fabrics, beautiful shapes, attention to detail and being very functional is all there today.
Welcome to our second issue of Frank, the new bi-monthly magazine for adult women who want to be informed, inspired, amused, look good and be healthy. We shine a spotlight on and celebrate women over forty and this our summer issue is stacked with great interviews.
We talk to an art dealer and art curator Fru Tholstrup about her life, work and the issues female artists face. We hear from Carol Morley, writer and film director of the recent hit ‘Out the Blue’ who talks about her career, process, latest project, and her star-struck conversation with her biggest fan and fellow film director Martin Scorcese.
Amid the menopause topic explosion, we talk to Meg Matthews about how she has pretty much started the conversation single-handedly with http://www.megsmenopause.com website
We feature the brilliant Dr. Louise Wiseman and her thoughts on sleep hygiene and how to get enough shut-eye through these summer nights.
In our fashion pages, we look at modern neutrals that will keep you cool in the city heat and beauty Editor Fiona Eustace shares her vital tips to best protect our skin from the sun.