This is 50

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


HAIR Tim Crespin at Angeli & Co using hair by Sam Mcknight

MAKEUP Aimee Adams using Kate Somerville Skincare and Bare Minerals Cosmetics


alighieri.co.uk, emiliodelamorena.com, gina.com, guess.eu, jimmychoo.com, michaelkors.co.uk, mywardrobehq.com, nynne.co.uk, williamwilde.com, wolfordshop.co.uk,

Read the full issue HERE


Meet Julian Joseph

Statement Design

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.

And voila. That’s Julian Joseph.


Julian Joseph is offering one of our FRANK readers a STUNNING CHAIR from their Eversley Collection as a GIVEAWAY!

All you have to do is email us at FRANK and tell us your favourite colour ”Eversley Chair”  to be in with a chance of winning (UK only), One winner will be announced 31st July 2020. 


Eversley Emerald Green

Cover up in Style

Frank’s Favourite Face Masks.

Words Annabel Kerman

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.


Summer Fashion


Amy Judd

The Cover Interview by Melanie Sykes

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

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.



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Sustainable Self Tan

By Beauty Editor Fiona Eustace @fionaeustace

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.


Healthy Drinks


Some of the most delicious superfood smoothies that will give you a boost!


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

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.


1 1/2 cups Cherries frozen
1 cup Almond Milk
1 scoop Protein Powder
1 Banana
Optional: top with unsweetened coconut flakes + almond butter

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.


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
1 teaspoon Fresh Ginger grated

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.


1 cup Coconut Milk
1 scoop Chocolate Protein Powder 1/2 cup Blueberries
1 cup Spinach
1 Banana
1 Tablespoon Almond Butter

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.


April May Edition

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
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


FRANK Feb March

Hello you wonderful Frankettes!
The days are starting to be lighter for longer and i’m getting excited for Spring. I really hope our latest issue of Frank makes you feel that way too.

Frank is packed with lots of fresh and fun articles, some flash back fashion with a retro feel, advice on keeping lustrous lips for the loved up season and how to recover our lost mojo.

We find out what makes Kirstie Gallacher tick and Amelia Freer shares some of her quick and easy recipes from her latest book.

All that and more.
Get stuck in Ladies , you know you want to!

Melanie X


F R A N K Oct Nov Edit

Read Oct Nov edition HERE

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!

Melanie Sykes


Clare Hornby Founder of ME + EM clothing


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.

Read more here

Follow F R A N K @thefrank_mag


Summer Edition-out now!

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.

So kick back, keep cool and enjoy

Melanie Sykes