Vincent Starr Photography_On Set

I’m very excited to introduce you to Vincent Starr today. This top photographer has had a successful career capturing elite sports people including premiership footballers, rugby players and Team GB athletes. He has even worked with Annie Leibovitz on a shoot with David Beckham in Milan.

I met Vince earlier this year at a motivating HIIT workshop with Kim Ingleby; he photographed the event, while the class was put through Kim’s high intensity workout. I was inspired by Vince’s energy and outlook on life. He certainly has a lot of knowledge to share and passion for helping others.

Opening to yoga and meditation, his direction is changing to involve more photography and videoing of yoga retreats and workshops. When we spoke over the phone, Vince was out connecting to nature and enjoying the English countryside with his black Labrador, Harpo.

Let’s meet this talented man. Welcome Vince.

You have been a professional photographer now for 15 years. What was the most challenging part about starting when you first went out freelance?

I completed my Degree in Photography, Film and Video at the University of Westminster, and then moved to Spain to learn another language as well as get into a studio and gain experience from other photographers.

After a year I went freelance and started assisting a couple of photographers who shot sports campaigns for the likes of Adidas and Pepsi etc. all over Europe, which was quite exciting. After five years I moved back to London to get stuck into building up a career as a sports photographer.

Going freelance was a bit daunting because you feel like you’re going to lose your regular pay packet, but that’s just the first leap you have to take. You have to trust that you’ll get more work and be better paid. It went quiet for the first month, then it worked out okay and I was earning more money straight away.

You know you can do it. Within you is the opportunity, so trust yourself and just go for it.

Vincent Starr Photography_Footballer Michael Essien

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You know you can do it. Within you is the opportunity, so trust yourself and just go for it.

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What are three of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt since running your own business?

My life’s changed a lot in the last two to three years where I’ve got more into yoga and looking at the rhythm of life as a whole, not just the day-to-day.

I shoot more yoga and lifestyle photography too now as well, which is really interesting. Career path wise you realise you have to look within yourself to see who you are, what you’re good at and where you can excel instead of relentlessly attacking everything and hoping it comes off.

So three things I’ve learnt, especially recently;

1. Mindfulness. The biggest thing I’ve learnt is being more mindful of your thoughts and actions. The more clear you are with these, the more the Universe gets an understanding of those vibrations and gives it back/returns them to you.

If I walk around with my career, stressed because I haven’t got as much work as I want, in a way, I’m telling the Universe that’s what I want. I’m giving out those signals like I want to be stressed and not have much work. You’re projecting that and creating that reality. So thinking a more positive version of that would be much more beneficial.

The Universe is giving you everything you want every second of the day. Almost like you step out of your body and you are the whole Universe looking back at a small tiny version of yourself and trying to help it (and it’s generally confused).

We have to be clear and exact with our actions, energy, mind, thoughts and emotions as these things are us telling the Universe what we want and who we are. We can’t sit down for an hour and plan what we want and expect that to happen. It’s all day, every day that our vibration is being felt.

2. Success doesn’t exist. Sometimes it feels like the desire for being successful isn’t natural, almost like its created in us from an early age through school and education. You can be successful just by planting a flower, or by smiling at someone in the street. It doesn’t have to be in the business world or to visually exist in the shape of an object (car, clothes, gadgets).

Survival of the fittest, dog eat dog, gotta fight to survive; being a success feels like the wrong attitude to have in life. Almost like everything is running out and we have to scrabble around to get a piece. “There is enough of everything for everyone” feels like a more true, natural way of living. If you live and believe there is abundance on the planet of everything, then you have a completely different mindset and you’re a lot less stressed too.

3. The work I get doesn’t prove who I am. I’ve changed the way I think from just hanging on for the next big shoot, as if it defines me. As if I’m not complete until I have a big shoot. I’ve given up being hungry for those big shoots because it doesn’t define me as a person.

Every day I wake up, I’m a complete, perfect human being. I don’t need any other external thing to to make me happy or to prove I exist. Believing this gives me back control of my life and my feelings.

Vincent Starr Photography_Yoga Pose

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The biggest thing I’ve learnt is being more mindful of your thoughts and actions. The more clear you are with these, the more the Universe gets an understanding of those vibrations and gives it back/returns them to you.

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Who inspires you and why?

People that help other people.

I think our brains tie us up in knots and it’s sharing knowledge that unties those knots, enlightens us and helps us all on the path to happier everyday lives. Those kinds of people inspire me and that’s more where I’d like to drive my career these days.

Sure, ages ago it was world famous photographers that inspired me, but I would beat myself up that I’m not as successful as them (yet) and I found that unhealthy. Also in a way I was hijacking their dream. Copying their dream and fighting for their dream. Externalising my happiness into something that’s already been done and not being happy until I got a similar version of it for myself.

I’m 39 years old and the second half of my life is going to be all about open mindedness and unlimited possibilities. Using my photography as a vehicle to move my life around and not as something that limits or contains me.

I’m not as stressed about getting big advertising shoots anymore – I mean they’re awesome fun. I love the buzz of big lighting set ups and that’s always what I’ve wanted to do as a photographer, but the more I learn about myself and this creative path I am on, the more I think maybe there’s something more I should be focusing my creativity on.

As you take this thought further you realise you’re putting a lot of your energy into the possibility of getting advertising shoots, with email marketing campaigns, phone calls, trying to set up meetings, portfolio drop offs etc. etc. Then when you do get a job, those images make people want to buy more products for them to be happy, which is creating a synthetic, false version of the world and happiness. Also making you unhappy until you get the work. So you step back from that and see the very strange bigger picture for what it really is.

It’s not real. It’s not natural. I’m not helping people on the planet be happy. I’m contributing to a system that makes people happy only when they’ve bought something. I guess that feels wrong. I should be re-connecting people to the natural, real world and to themselves. As a creative isn’t that my responsibility?

It’s always good to question things. Stop and think. See things in a different light. Even everything we’ve just spoken about isn’t written in stone. It’s just a thought process, some ideas. Some wrong, some right. Advertising seems to be convincing people they need something outside themselves. I guess it’s really irresponsible, but it’s also the way the western world is wired; consume, consume, consume.

Vincent Starr Photography_Jo Running

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I think our brains tie us up in knots and it’s sharing knowledge that unties those knots, enlightens us and helps us all on the path to happier everyday lives.

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What was key for you growing your business?

Giving the best quality of work you could possibly achieve and giving that to the client. Also getting the most out of the athletes on shoots.

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Do you have a major career highlight since starting as a photographer?

The first Adidas shoot was pretty amazing, because that was quite a big deal. It ran me ragged and stressed me out no end with the budget and production the shoot involved, but it was my first juicy six day shoot with premiership football players, so I loved it.

Then there was the Wayne Rooney and Fernando Torres shoots. Double front covers for FourFourTwo magazine and Nike. That was pretty awesome fun. Speaking Spanish with Fernando was a nice little reward from five years in Spain too.

And then, I think more recently it feels like a highlight to be finally aware that I have the chance to really knuckle down and work out what is the best thing I can possibly create and give instead of just thinking and striving for my own ‘successful’ career.

I guess a highlight of this energy developed into photographing and filming a yoga teacher training retreat in Tuscany. That was loads of fun because in a way it was my first yoga course. As well as filming in a beautiful location with amazing teachers and students I fell into the wealth of knowledge the 5/6000 year old yoga philosophy has to offer. Very inspiring. The opposite of the western way of life maybe. That really blew me away.

Vincent Starr Photography_Footballer Wayne Rooney FourFourTwo cover

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There’s 30-40 people on set and you’ve got all these lights on two or three different sets, crisp quality lighting, an amazing photography team and equipment with you – and you’re producing it, it feels great.

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What made the Adidas shoot personally rewarding? Was it the fact that you succeeded in such a large shoot with big names?

It just felt like it had been everything I wanted to achieve: to become a big photographer shooting big lighting set-ups.

Shoots like that where you’re in a big studio – there’s 30-40 people on set and you’ve got all these lights on two or three different sets, crisp, fresh, amazing quality lighting, your best hand-picked photography team and equipment with you – and you’re producing it, it feels great.

But then, the Wayne Rooney and Fernando Torres were smaller, but a bit more fun because they both just nailed it. It was quick and more relaxed with a lot less people on set. Maybe four or five. I’d done quite a few shoots by then, so that was a bit more of a buzz. Fernando Torres just jumped up and did this horizontal kick perfectly in the first frame (obviously I took more frames but I was smiling to myself as I knew he couldn’t beat that shot).

Vincent Starr Photography_Footballer Fernando Torres FourFourTwo Cover

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Torres just jumped up and did this horizontal kick perfectly in the first frame (obviously I took more frames but I was smiling to myself as I knew he couldn’t beat that shot).

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What was the turning point that got you into meditation and yoga?

I remember sitting down at the dining table in our flat in Balham in January a few years back and saying to myself “What more I can do? What more can I put in to get me more work?” I’d been giving 200-300% in everything and it wasn’t giving the same energy back.

I was holding my head in my hands. I was frustrated and I was thinking, “What more can I do?”

Later that year I was hanging out with my sister who’s into loads of sport, meditation, yoga and writing etc. and she got me into a few science and spirituality workshops and meditation techniques. I’d tried meditation before, and was a little into yoga but second time round it was different and something just clicked.

Meditation can be just closing your eyes (well a very simple version of it anyway), shutting off external inputs, slowing your breathing to half it’s normal speed and just being. It’s really amazing when you get the hang of it. You kind of find you connect with your true inner self. The real you. Then after I got the hang of it slowly loads of things and energy just opened up to me. I began to ‘see’ more of what was really going on. What was driving everything in my life and in the world around me. Where I was going. What I thought I wanted and why I thought I wanted it.

When you have a moment of inspiration for example, really I think that’s you connected with your higher self. The more enlightened, less weighed-down-by-every-day-life type person and through meditation, yoga and balancing your life you kind of get more in tune with that side of you and stuff like that. You connect to that more.

You become less weighed down by the stressful things in life like money worries, what you haven’t got, the news, people in power etc. etc. and focus more on the positive things. Beautiful and simple.

Vincent Starr Photography_Yoga Poses

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When you have a moment of inspiration, really I reckon that’s kind of you connected with your higher, more enlightened, less weighed down by every day life self and through meditation, yoga and balancing your life you kind of get more in tune with that side.

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Starting a new venture can be equally exciting and scary. Do you have a way of overcoming personal fear and self-doubt?

Yes, just go for it!

There are two books that re-wired my thinking this year.

There’s one called The Power, which is the second book after The Secret. The Power is a bit more business based and creative I think. It’s funny, I never got into The Secret. Someone showed me that, and I wasn’t into it at all. That just shows how closed off I was then I guess.

The other one was Ubuntu Contributionism by Michael Tellinger. Amongst loads of other topics, it speaks of a better version of the world where people contribute four hours of work a day to their community doing whatever they want to do, then they are free to do anything they like. They don’t need money etc. In a way money is a controlling mechanism I guess.

Amazing, amazing books. Funny that I was reading them both at the same time.

Things I took from The Power are; it’s all to do with our sub-conscious mind. In the space of a minute you regenerate like a million cells in your body. In the space of a week you regenerate and replace all the trillions of cells in your body, so you’re constantly changing and are more like a wave is the sea than a static object..

Then also, things that are scary, are good for you. That’s what you should be attracted to, but your sub-conscious brain is trying to protect you, so if you walked out in front of a car it will jolt you back, which is good. It’s a failsafe, but also it stops you exploring more and going for other things in life.

Every day there’s things that you think, like “Oh, I can’t be bothered to do that, I just want to stay at home all day”, or “If I did that, how will I make money to pay the rent?” It’s you’re sub-conscious just trying to stop you doing stuff to protect you. To keep you ‘safe’. You’ve really got to push yourself through that barrier no matter what.

You’ve got to take yourself out of your comfort zone. What’s the worst that could happen? Even though it’s scary and daunting, just do it. Go for it, because you’ll become more alive and then more and more opportunities arise from that energy.

Give yourself affirmations to read to yourself everyday – telling yourself what you should be doing and thinking really – they’re really cool. “I am a successful photographer”. “Money is flowing to me from expected and unexpected sources”. “I am alive, happy and at peace with myself”. “I love myself”. Anything like that is great and really good for you.

Our brains are so tied up in a knot, that it really helps to tell ourselves these affirmations or positive things because the niggly voice in the back of the brain does the opposite. You know like “my job’s crap”, “I can’t cook anything”, “he/she doesn’t understand me”. Automatic negative thoughts can run our lives and we sometimes don’t even notice they are there. We have to be aware of them at least, that’s half the battle.

All these things add up to distract us and slow us down, so we’re less enlightened like a low hum and we need to be a higher vibration. A higher frequency.

With a daunting new thing; go for it. What’s the worst that could happen? Would that worst really be that bad? You’d get through it, even if it did happen – which it won’t, so go for it!

Vincent Starr Photography_Sporty Spice Mel C

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With a daunting new thing; go for it. What’s the worst that could happen?

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What advice would you give someone wanting to follow their passion and create a career out of what they love doing?

The most important thing is try not to do something to be successful because you may find out that that success isn’t a real thing. Do things for pure passion and because it’s who you are inside.

That’s really positive.

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What adds colour to your life?

To me it’s all the tiny little accidents that happen that seemingly no one really notices that I think are massively important.

It’s like accidentally smiling at something funny that some does or that happens in the street and a moment later you catch someone’s eye and they also found it funny. Those simple small sparks in life are awesome.

Like miniscule dust mites of energy floating through the Universe that are lost everyday, but you catch one and it gives you a spark. Those little bits of magic. They’re not marketed, or on a billboard and they’re not sold to you. They’re just under the radar that no one really knows about and they’re little things that tickle your fancy and keep you going.

Like gold but in a currency nobody knows about.

Vincent Starr Photographer with his black Labrador Harpo

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You’ve got to take yourself out of your comfort zone. Blind faith. What’s the worst that could happen? Even though it’s scary and daunting, just do it. Go for it, because you’ll become more alive and then more and more opportunities arise from this energy.

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Quick fire questions: London, England

Best breakfast/brunch spot: La Suite West Hotel London. Nothing is more British than afternoon tea in London.

Favourite place for coffee: Shoreditch Grind.

Best local activity off the tourist trail: Jivamukti yoga at somewhere like the Jivamukti centre in Acton, or Yogahaven in Richmond.

When you’re not busy working, you can be found: Lost in the countryside or researching someone’s weird and wonderful work.

Favourite travel destination: Glastonbury or Valencia.

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Finally, getting a lot more into the yoga, your direction is already changing. How do you see your business evolving over the next five years?

The biggest thing I want to do in the next five years is give more to others, not to myself.

I want to use my creativity to help other people get more out of life, unwinding their minds if needed – unlocking any limiting belief systems they might have as opposed to concentrating my creativity to try make me money and ‘prove’ myself. Connecting my creativity more with the natural world.

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What a jam packed interview! Has Vince’s advice or philosophy resonated with you? Let me know what you enjoyed in the comments.

To see more of Vince’s impressive portfolio, or to connect with him, check out his social media below.

Vince Starr Vince Starr Facebook  l  Vince Starr Twitter  l  Vince Starr Vimeo

All photographs courtesy of Vince Starr.

Live more free,

Ed Hewitt_World in London

What if you didn’t need to travel thousands of miles to see the world and experience different cultures? Great news explorers! In fact, you can discover it all right here in London. Turkish hammams, Brazilian parties and underground Burmese supperclubs can all be found right in your own back yard.

All it takes is one persons idea (with a lot of hard work and lesson learning) to create something innovative and new in the marketplace. Ed Hewitt and Ed Gillespie are currently on a mission to do just that with an app.

I’ve often said that London feels like the capital of the world, now through this new project, World in London are showcasing the diversity and bringing the best of nationalities to help Londonders experience the world in their own city.

Let’s find more out about the adventures behind World in London.

A very multicultural welcome, Ed Hewitt.

You have just launched a crowdfunding campaign to get your app, World in London off the ground. What was your motivation behind creating this?

With regards to the World in London concept, I used to be a travel blogger myself and started to question whether it was actually really necessary to keep on going off thousands of miles away from home for months on end in search of adventure and new cultural experiences. Especially when my own city (London) was blessed with so much cultural diversity.

After the end of one particularly long overland journey from Thailand back to the UK I started to write about ‘travelling’ the world in my own city. Seeing my own city from a new perspective was incredibly rewarding for me, and also was by far my most popular posts with my readership.

I began to think there could be something more to this than just a blog, as there wasn’t one place (in London) which really bought together all the amazing multicultural experiences you could have. As Londoners we know we live in a multicultural city, but we don’t really know how to make the most of all the wonderful opportunities that entails. That’s something I wanted to change through the World in London app.

The specific motivation behind the crowdfunding campaign is to really prove whether people want what we are offering before we go ahead and spend a lot of time and money building it. Everyone says ‘what a great idea’ but will they actually put their money where their mouth is to enable it to happen. Of course we need to raise the money too, but its more about validating our offering with as many people as possible.

Check out the crowdfunder link at the end of this interview to watch the video.

World in London graphic banner

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As Londoners we know we live in a multicultural city, but we don’t really know how to make the most of all the wonderful opportunities that entails. That’s something I wanted to change through the World in London app.

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What has been the most challenging part about turning your vision into reality?

From the demand side its definitely trying to get the message out to enough people. We need thousands of people to make this concept really work and engaging all of those is a real challenge.

From the supply side its making sure that the experiences we recommend through the app really are special and authentic. We also need to make sure that we are being culturally sensitive when working with different communities – the last thing we want to do is cause any collateral damage. That’s all quite time consuming and involves more than just a quick Google.

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Can you tell us a little more about your background before this venture?

My (adult) life to date has really revolved around my three passions for: multiculturalism, environmental issues and travel. They’ve always been passions, and have played the lead role in various phases of my life so far.

I wrote my dissertation at Oxford on multiculturalism in the UK, before leaving to travel around India and work for an environmental NGO in 2008.

I came back home to work on commercialising low carbon technology for a number of years, before deciding to scratch my travel itch again by taking a flightless journey from Thailand back to the UK along the Silk Road. That’s when I got into travel blogging – my blog mainly focuses on environmental issues I encountered along the route.

I think it was somewhere on a 36 hour train journey through the desert in Xinjiang province, China, that I first started hatching ideas for World in London. Back to my multicultural student routes!

Ed Hewitt_World in London on train in China

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I wake up every day with butterflies in my stomach. Some days it’s the scared butterfly, others the excited one. Not knowing if people will take to your concept – especially when it hasn’t been done before.

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What are three of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt since starting World in London?

1. Starting your own business from scratch is much more difficult than you think.

2. Everybody saying ‘it’s a great idea’ doesn’t necessarily mean that it translates into a great business.

3. Collaborate rather than compete! Especially in the early days.

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What has been key for getting the word out there for your app?

Well that’s what I’m doing now!

Initially it starts with your family, friends and early followers, but the key is to engage beyond those as quickly as possible. You need to create sharable content through social media, collaborate on good stories with newspapers and magazines and approach influential and relevant bloggers.

There are also the paid channels – Facebook and Google ads which we will contemplate once we’ve explored the other channels.

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Describe your biggest highlight since coming up with the idea for World in London?

Yesterday Sir Jonathon Porritt (leading British environmentalist) pledged £200 to the campaign which was pretty damn cool.

Prior to that, our ‘World Cup festival’ was great where we recommended how people could watch each team in the World Cup surrounded by the fans from that nationality in London.

The atmospheres in some of the places were absolutely amazing – exactly what World in London is all about. Being in Elephant & Castle with the Colombians was literally like being in Bogota and in the Mexican restaurant where the Mexican fans gathered one person described the atmosphere to me as ‘the best since the final at the Azteca Stadium in 1984!’ It rocked!

Ed Hewitt_World in London dancing

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Be very careful you don’t kill the passion which made you love it in the first place. Turning your hobby into a business can be a dangerous thing. You start seeing commercial implications when before you only saw the joy of doing something.

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Starting something new can be equally exciting and scary, and a time when many of us can be overwhelmed with self-doubt and personal fear. How do you overcome these feelings?

Like this question. It’s something I’ve wrestled with a lot. I even wrote a couple of blogs where I discussed this very topic and tried to create a new word for the feeling – ‘scexy’ – a mixture of scared and excited.

It’s really tough to be honest. I wake up every day with butterflies in my stomach. Some days it’s the scared butterfly, others the excited one. Not knowing if people will take to your concept – especially when it hasn’t been done before – is especially ‘scexy’!

I don’t really know if I do ‘deal’ with it. The feeling is always there, but it creates the adrenaline that fuels me. The key is not to let the moments of self doubt last too long! The next really exciting positive thing is just around the corner!

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What advice would you give someone also wanting to start their own business and create a career out of what they love doing?

Be very careful you don’t kill the passion which made you love it in the first place.

Turning your hobby into a business can be a dangerous thing. You start seeing commercial implications when before you only saw the joy of doing something.

I’ve met a lot of people who have grown sick of their hobbies because they tried to turn them into businesses. Bear that in mind…

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What does living A Life Less Beige mean to you?

It’s about removing the goggles which blinker your everyday life. I think when we travel we do that. We are in ‘discovery’ mode – we want to try new things, learn about new cultures. Yet when we return for some reason we forget that – get too caught up in the here and now of our everyday lives.

Through experimenting with World in London this year I’ve learned to see something amazing in the familiar – to take the ‘discovery mode’ of my travels and apply it to everyday life. That’s what we want to help others do through World in London.

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Quick fire questions: London, England

1. Best breakfast/brunch spot: The Turkish café appropriately called Enjoy Café on Kingsland Road. Freshly rolled gozleme (from an old lady sitting in the window!). Great value and really down to earth!

2. Favourite place for coffee: Bar Italia in Soho. Basically a slice of Rome right in the heart of London. Been going since 1949 so they must be doing something good!

3. Best local activity off the tourist trail: Pueblito Paisa. It’s the Latin American market of Seven Sisters. Truly a whole new world which basically nobody knows about!

4. When you’re not busy working, you can be found: Watching football with Colombians in Elephant & Castle (hang on that is working)?

5. Favourite travel destination: Your own city! Enter discovery mode and see it from a whole new light.

Try couchsurfing your own city for something really off the wall! Either that or Kyrgyzstan! Especially if you are into a heedy mix of beautiful alpine lakes, rusting Soviet infrastructure and fermented horse milk!

World in London Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyzstan landscape

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It’s about removing the goggles which blinker your everyday life. I think when we travel we do that. We are in ‘discovery’ mode, yet when we return for some reason we forget that.

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Where do you hope to see World in London in a year from now?

Having really taken off for Londoners. I want the crowdfunding campaign to have been a success and to have built the app and have thousands of people using it.

Once we’ve proved the concept in London, we’d love to take the ‘World In’ brand to cities around the world.

World in London banner_The world is here discover it

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So, what do you think?! Great idea huh? If you want to get behind these guys and help develop their fantastic project, check out the World in London Crowdfunder page. You can also find out more and follow their progress on social media:

World in London Facebook  l  World in London Twitter

Get travelling,

Bridget Arsenault and Fatima Martinez Moxon BYT Film Club

A chance meeting and a shared love brought these two talented film enthusiasts together. I’m excited to bring you not one, but two inspiring guests for today’s A Life More interview. Bridget and Fatima have a passion for showcasing up-and-coming talent in the film industry, while making premieres accessible for audiences.

I love their enthusiasm, professionalism and belief in what they deliver. The evenings are always top quality and an enjoyable experience. If you want to see what a BYT Film Club premiere is like, have a look at my post Mayfair’s Secret Cinema: The Bright Young Things Film Club.

Time to get rolling. Welcome Bridget and Fatima.

Lets go back to the beginning. How did The Bright Young Things (BYT) Film Club come about?

Bridget: BYT (pronounced “bite”) started by accident! Fatima and I had a chance meeting at a Vanity Fair event. Fatima had discovered an incredible documentary called Mary and Bill about a 90-year-old triathlete and an 83-year-old high jumper and was so moved by it she wanted to host a screening.

We joined forces and June 26th 2013 hosted our first screening at the May Fair hotel. We sold out 201 seats, had the most fantastic night and afterwards all we kept being asked was “when is the next one”. And BYT was born!

In December 2013 we became a limited company and launched officially as a business March 6th of this year, with an absolutely spectacular American film Afternoon Delight.

Fatima: I had been trying to organise a screening for Mary and Bill for at least two years. I wanted the world to watch the film, but somehow the timing was always off, I would start a new project at work that required all my time, or I would be travelling a lot. I tried many times and got nowhere… and then I met Bridget and things started to click…. the rest is history.

Andrew Napier documentary poster for Mary and Bill

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Fatima had discovered an incredible documentary called Mary and Bill about a 90-year-old triathlete and an 83-year-old high jumper and was so moved by it she wanted to host a screening.

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What was your motivation to start this unique film club?

Bridget: We love films and we sometimes feel let down by the current cinema experience, nearly £20 to watch a blockbuster in a central London movie theatre, where the person next to you spends the whole two hours texting on their phone.

We want to bring back the glamour and fun of the cinema experience at an affordable price and help smaller, independent films have a platform to screen their work to a real audience outside the festival setting.

Fatima: I agree with Bridget. There does not seem to be a lot of variety in terms of the films being shown, unless you consider the BFI. We are both big on trailers and there were so many films we would find online, which would never make it to the UK.

I guess that after a couple of years waiting for these films to arrive, we thought: We are no longer waiting for someone else to screen the films we want, we are going to do it.

Afternoon Delight - Bridget & Fatima - Film Night

Image © Mark Cocksedge

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We want to bring back the glamour and fun of the cinema experience at an affordable price and help smaller, independent films have a platform to screen their work to a real audience outside the festival setting.

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What was the most challenging part about starting?

Bridget: Both of us have events experience and Fatima has experience in PR and marketing and I have some level of experience in the film industry but neither of us had ever run our own business! I don’t want to say it’s been easy but we’ve had so much support and we work with the most incredible and like-minded sponsors, and they make it easy and rewarding.

Fatima: Juggling two jobs at once! Once we decided to organise our first screening, things started moving very quickly and there was a lot to look after… we were glued to our phones/computers most of the day. Being organised was key!

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What are three of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt since starting BYT Film Club?

Bridget:
1. Time is probably our closest ally.
Especially with securing the films it can take quite a lot of time to get all the correct permissions and to find the right person who can get you access to the film.

2. It’s important to talk about what you’re doing. Don’t be afraid to let people know if you’re part of something exciting.

3. Get everything in writing. Everyone is so busy and working on so many diverse projects and with different clients and businesses, avoid any ambiguity, and get everything in writing.

Fatima:
1. You will make mistakes
, and you just have to accept it. It’s part of the experience and of growing any business. Make sure you learn from them and carry on.

2. If in doubt, call your contacts to clarify. Relaying only on email con sometimes result in parties talking about different things without realising it.

Toby Regbo_BYT Film Club premiere Q&A_The May Fair Hotel

Image © Gary Morrisroe

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It’s important to talk about what you’re doing. Don’t be afraid to let people know if you’re part of something exciting.

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What has been key for growing your brand?

Bridget: What is key for us now is growing our audience. We have a strong concept and model. We’ve done five events now, and we have a lot of the base infrastructure in place and fantastic relationship with some very cool and talented brands. We just need to keep getting the word out there.

Fatima: Our enthusiasm and not being afraid to approach anyone, from film directors and distributors to potential sponsors. If we think there is an opportunity for collaboration, we will contact them.

BYT Film Club guest with Propercorn at The May Fair Hotel

Image © Gary Morrisroe

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Describe your major highlight since starting BYT Film Club. What made it personally rewarding?

Bridget: What’s really great about working in an events-based business is that you absolutely do get to see the fruits of your labour. Every time we have a screening Fatima and I leave completely inspired and invigorated.

The feedback we get about the films we choose and listening to audiences laugh along with the films and enjoy them as much as we do is so incredible. It’s also such fun working with the different filmmakers. We typically work directly with the directors of the films and that is exciting and always such fun.

The other exciting thing about running your own business is how quickly you can put your own ideas into motion. Fatima and I can brainstorm an idea, or a company we want to work with, a film we want to screen and then we just do it. No red tape.

Fatima: Nothing beats knowing that people have enjoyed the event you organised. It’s wonderful to see people smiling or talking about the film after a screening.

The charity Women for Women International contacted the director of a film we screened to collaborate on a fundraising project after watching his film at one of our events.

Jill Soloway and Bridget Arsenault_The Bright Young Things Film Club Director Q&A_The May Fair Hotel London

Image © Mark Cocksedge

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Break everything down into chewable tasks so you don’t overwhelm yourself and know that it absolutely gets easier, the more experience you have and the more your confidence grows.

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Starting something new can be equally exciting and scary, and a time when many of us can be overwhelmed with self-doubt and personal fear. How do you overcome these feelings?

Bridget: It’s cheesy but you need to just forge on and try to banish those thoughts because they never do any good. We only work with films that we unwaveringly believe in and I think that gives us a strong foundation to feel secure in what we’re doing.

We also are lucky enough to work with some of the coolest and most talented brands in London. We couldn’t ask for a better venue than the May Fair hotel, we can always trust in Ciroc ultra premium vodka to make incredible drinks (so good they make us look and sound better on stage) Metcalfe’s, Propercorn, Green & Black’s, UNOCO, we are so proud of all our partners. It’s that age old piece of advice about surrounding yourself with clever and talented people and everything else will work itself out!

Fatima: I completely agree with Bridget. I also think having a good business partner is essential. There is only so much you can do by yourself, having someone you trust 100%, whom you know will have your back no matter what is really important.

Propercorn and Unoco sponsors BYT Film Club

Image © Mark Cocksedge

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Timing is everything. Don’t give up. Sometimes the right conditions are not there, don’t be discouraged, your break might be around the corner.

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What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business and create a career out of what they love doing?

Bridget: You can do it! Set realistic deadlines and just jump on in. Another good thing about an event-based business is that you can’t procrastinate too much, you have a date that you need to work to and if you don’t get everything done by that date, it’s simply not going to happen.

Break everything down into chewable tasks so you don’t overwhelm yourself and know that it absolutely gets easier, the more experience you have and the more your confidence grows.

Fatima: You are doing something new, be patient and unassuming, nobody expects you to be an expert; be willing to learn from those around you.

Finally, timing is everything. Don’t give up. Sometimes the right conditions are not there, don’t be discouraged, your break might be around the corner.

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What does living A Life Less Beige mean to you?

Bridget: People! My friends and colleagues and all of the incredible people I get to work with every day.

Fatima: Not knowing what opportunities lie around the corner.

The May Fair Hotel Cinema Guests

Image © Richard Wallwork

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Quick fire questions

Best breakfast/brunch spot:
Bridget:
Providores or Berner’s Tavern  l  Fatima: Lantana or Cecconi’s

Favourite place for coffee:
Bridget:
Everbean  l  Fatima: Kaffeine

Best local activity off the tourist trail:
Bridget:
John Soane’s museum  l  Fatima: Visiting Muswell Hill and Alexandra Palace

When you’re not busy working, you can be found:
Bridget:
Psycle! Or at the Royal Court  l  Fatima: Hampstead Heath or Heartcore

Favourite travel destination:
Bridget: Anywhere in the south of France  l  Fatima: Bhutan

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How do you see BYT Film Club evolving over the next five years?

Bridget: We really want to keep doing what we’re doing and keep doing it well. We would like to work more with distributors and in the future perhaps help the films we showcase secure distribution (if they don’t have it already).

Fatima Martinez Moxon. BYT Film Club at The May Fair Hotel

Image © Gary Morrisroe

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What do you think of this glamorous cinema experience?

If you are in London and interested in coming along to a BYT Film Club premiere, check out their website, or follow them on Twitter to keep up to date with all the latest info.

BYT Film Club  l  BYT Film Club Twitter

Lights, camera, action,

Bevan James Eyles Waterfront

I am so excited to introduce today’s guest. Bevan James Eyles has energy and it is infectious. You can’t help but be drawn in and feel inspired by his motivation and drive to support others achieve their personal goals through exercise and healthier living. It is his mission to continually improve himself by trying to help others in health and fitness.

Three time New Zealand fitness instructor of the year, International Les Mills Presenter, Ironman winner and more recently, author are just a few of his career accomplishments. Once on a destructive path, Bevan found a love for fitness and now leads a much healthier lifestyle – both internally and externally.

Not only has he taught classes to thousands of people, travelled the world and reached the highest level in his industry, he is also very generous with his time and sharing his knowledge.

Let’s meet this inspiring man. Hello Bevan.

You’ve been in the fitness industry now for 15 years. Let’s go back to the beginning. After you made the decision to stop drinking and taking drugs, what was your motivation to get involved in this industry?

It was more an opportunity that presented itself. When I gave up drugs and alcohol, I was playing rugby league and I joined a gym to get bigger and instantly became obsessed with weight training.

While I had been doing weights at the gym, one of my friends said I should do a circuit class one day, so I turned up and did this circuit class, which I thought was kind of cool. A few weeks later, he said I should try a Body Attack class, which was like an aerobics class and I just loved it. As time went on, I was doing more and more classes.

I was planning on going to University the next year to do Law and Politics. I thought, it would be cool if I could teach part time at the gym while I was studying. I managed to learn to be an instructor at the same time I started University. I did my first year of University, but it was pretty obvious that fitness was the career path I wanted, so after my first year I gave up studying that and then totally changed my direction and went towards fitness.

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You mention on your website that all your focus at that time was to be the best at your job in the world. While most people are happy to settle with ‘good enough’, what drove you to want to be top in your field?

I’m a pretty obsessed kind of person. I came from kind of nothing and had not a lot going for me and I found this thing that I loved that I was actually really good at instantly.

The idea that I could be the best was actually realistic as well. I could achieve this goal if I was willing to work hard at it. The thing that I learnt at that period of my life was that hard work helps me achieve big things and I just became obsessed to be honest. The desire was just so high. I don’t know if I can say I’m the best instructor in the world but I’m fortunate that people enjoy my work.

I’m very goal orientated and everything was about being the best Body Attack instructor in the world and I was just really driven towards it and every angle it took to achieve that goal.

Bevan James Eyles Studio

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I don’t really say, “I have to achieve this thing in three months.” It’s more who I have to be every day and in three months from now I’ll be achieving big things.

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Do you find personally writing down goals that it helps you stick to them and achieve them?

I think I’ve evolved. I don’t necessarily focus on the outcome so much now days. When I was younger, I very much needed the outcome at the end to drive me. I needed the goal of being the best instructor in the world, or a goal of finishing an Ironman. Whereas, I’ve evolved to more; “What’s the process I live in in my day to day that helps me perform at the highest level every day, which leads to great outcomes?”

I don’t really say, “I have to achieve this thing in three months.” It’s more who I have to be every day and in three months from now I’ll be achieving big things, so it’s kind of shifted. I’m more how I Iive in the day to day, so it’s a bit different.

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Where do you draw inspiration from?

My driver has always been my evolution and my understanding of wisdom. I did Ironman for seven years and it was always about, ‘how do I learn a higher level of self?’ I committed a lot of energy and time and achieved some pretty cool goals, but then I got to a moment where I realised there was no more evolution for me. There was no more growth and I just stopped overnight and moved my life into a different direction.

For me, my drivers have always been how I can have a bigger impact on my world, so I don’t necessarily look for outside influences. If there’s anyone I do admire, it’s a guy like Paul Newman who was in an industry that was very image focused, and always focused on the right things; he never got plastic surgery. His work towards the end was charitable work. He was a wise man and for me, that’s the kind of thing I want to chase in my life.

I worry about our society’s focus on youth. You see so many people, especially people my age who are trying desperately to hold onto their youth and you just can’t win that battle. It’s such an unhealthy thing to chase because age is a part of life.

I want to be someone who stands comfortable in my different ages, but also age gives you wisdom, so that’s actually what we want to be chasing.

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Your business has certainly diversified and evolved over the years. While still teaching fitness classes and presenting with Les Mills, you are also involved with personal coaching, speaking, writing, podcasts, running groups AND you recently released a book, The Fitness Attitude. Phew!
What do you find the most challenging part about business and juggling so much?

I’m pretty lucky because I get to do everything I love, but not too much of any of it. I love mentoring people, but I only restrict it to about eight people a week. If I did 40 hours a week, it would do my head in, but eight people is a really nice number.

I love writing, but I only really write about three hours a week. I get enough of everything, but not too much of anything, so I’m very lucky that way. I’ve learnt really great time management skills and so I have this ability to be able to put my mind on the thing I’m doing right now and not worry about anything else, and then when I switch to the next thing, I switch.

Ultimately I think time management skills are one of the most important things, but to also then know what you want to be doing with your work.

Everything about my work fundamentally comes from how I help people evolve themselves through movement. While I’ve got different outlets for my message, everything kind of is the same thing and it’s just different ways of exploring that.

Bevan James Eyles with running group

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I worry about our society’s focus on youth. You see so many people who are trying desperately to hold onto their youth and you just can’t win that battle. It’s such an unhealthy thing to chase because age is a part of life.

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What are three of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt during your journey so far?

1. Awareness is probably one of the most important tools we have. When I talk about awareness, it’s to have tools in your life that help you be realistic around where you really sit in the different areas in your life.

When most people change, it’s because they’ve had a dramatic event, but the change happens well after the fact that they need it. It’s the break up, it’s the job loss, it’s those types of things.

For me I’ve always had great awareness tools in my day so that I never slip that far away from what’s important to me, whereas I think a lot of people slip far away from what’s important to them and then they wake up in a life that they don’t like. Then a big thing will happen that creates awareness, but I think if you have good awareness in your day-to-day that’s important.

2. I’m actually quite generous to myself. I’m definitely an optimistic person and I’m not someone who’s hard on myself. I think people think that when you achieve, you must be really critical and hard on yourself, and I’m actually far from that. I don’t tend to beat myself up.

I find it’s really interesting when we get new runners – people who haven’t exercised in a long time – and they’re so hard on themselves. They think that beating themselves up will help them achieve. We let them be kind to themselves and we remove the beating themselves up and that’s actually what helps them to be successful. While we want expectations around levels that we’re trying to achieve, I actually think being kinder to yourself is a much better approach.

3. Be good to people. Even in a selfish way, the reward is massive. I’ve been fortunate to create this life where it’s always about helping other people, but the reward I get back is so much more than the investment that I put out.

I often think that if you can help one person change, it often helps other people change. That small impact you have with one person actually has a massive flow on effect.

Bevan James Eyles Park Run

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Awareness is probably one of the most important tools we have. When most people change, it’s because they’ve had a dramatic event, but the change happens well after the fact that they need it. I think a lot of people slip far away from what’s important to them and then they wake up in a life that they don’t like.

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Many of us struggle in day-to-day life to get everything done. How do you achieve so much?

I don’t know if I achieve that much more than everyone else. I just think that the world gets to see that I achieve a lot, because I think there are a lot of people achieving some amazing things. It’s probably a little bit of self-promotion helps the perception of my achievements.

One thing that I do have; I’m never afraid to try. I think a lot of people are afraid of trying and so those first steps are always the thing that holds them back. I’m never afraid to put myself in an opportunity where I can be vulnerable.

For example I play music, it’s one of my hobbies. This year I decided I wanted to be in a band – I’m okay at best – and I got an opportunity to play with these guys who are amazing musicians. I was very vulnerable, insecure knew I was the weakest link and was worried about my skill set.

I still went towards that opportunity because it’s something I desired in my life. It turned out that it’s worked out really well and it’s a really awesome life experience I’m having. If I was afraid of vulnerability and insecurity, I would have never have moved towards that. Like writing a book. I wasn’t a guy that would ever have considered writing a book, but then I was like “Well, why can’t I?”

A lot of people have these big barriers that stop them from that first point, and for me I don’t necessarily have that, so that definitely helps me a lot.

Bevan James Eyles_The Fitness Attitude Book in store

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They think that beating themselves up will help them achieve. We let them be kind to themselves and we remove the beating themselves up and that’s actually what helps them to be successful. I actually think being kinder to yourself is a much better approach.

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Do you have any advice for someone that does feel overwhelmed and feels that personal fear before they start something new?

If we look at our runners; we’ve got different levels and we’ve got this product ‘Get up to Five’, which is just getting people who have done no exercise – often people who haven’t done exercise in 30 years and are overweight – successful with exercise.

One of the keys to making them successful is finding what we call ‘correct entry points’. For those people, the entry point is a really, really low-level entry point. It’s still a bit scary for them, but deep down they probably know they could do that entry point.

For them it’s a three and a half minute walk with a thirty second light, light jog. Now these people will look at that and they’ll be scared, but deep down they’ll go “Well, I’m scared, but maybe I could do that”. If we were to say they have to run twenty minutes, they’d fail, because the entry point’s too high.

They get there, they do it, they feel successful, then you stretch them in a way, so that the next step is again a bit of a vulnerable step, but not too big so you manage their psychological growth as well as their physical growth.

So for those people who struggle, one thing is to really explore what’s an entry point based on the current skills and current ability in this area.

Often we see the biggest failing with exercise is that people’s entry points are just way too high. When I personal trained, you’d see people who hadn’t exercised and they’d come along and they’d tell you they’re going to do four sessions a week and an hour each time and you just knew they were going to fail. Often people’s expectations are well above their current skill set and their ability and they set entry points that are too high.

In any area of your life: where do you want to develop yourself? Where do you currently sit and then what’s an entry point that would be a good entry point based on that?

I figure, I don’t know much about the next life, but I know I get this life, so I want to make sure it’s pretty awesome.

Bevan James Eyles Running Group Runners

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One of the keys to making them successful is finding what we call ‘correct entry points’. They get there, they do it, they feel successful, then you stretch them in a way, so that the next step is again a bit of a vulnerable step, but not too big so you manage their psychological growth as well as their physical growth.

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Do you have a particular career highlight so far?

I’ve been very fortunate to achieve some pretty cool things in my career, but actually the biggest highlights are the connections you have with people.

It’s when you’re dealing with the people that you see every day and you actually see their growth. I’ve always been a people person and for me that’s the thing that I find the most rewarding.

The ultimate compliment I can get is “I’m a better person because of the work you’ve done, or the exercise in my life”. That’s what exercise can offer, so for me that’s pretty rewarding.

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Is there anything that’s been particularly key for helping you grow your business from where you first started?

Having key people are really important. My partner Jo, she’s a legend.

Ultimately for a small business; one thing to always be thinking about is ‘What’s the wisest next step?’ If you have unlimited resources, there’s so many things you could do, but as a small business, you don’t.

A lot of people put focus into things that are steps they should be looking at in five years, or further on down the piece. What you’ve got to think about as a small business person is, ‘I have limited time and resource. Here’s where my business is right now. What’s the most important steps that I can make, to make sure that in three months from now we’re in a much better position to taking us towards the ultimate goal that we’re trying to achieve?’

Stay focused on the right priorities at the right time within the evolution of your business.

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What does living A Life Less Beige mean to you?

People, fitness and music. Those are my passions and I’m very fortunate because every part of my day is one of those.

I teach group fitness classes, so it’s people, fitness and music all in one. I did a running session today – it’s fitness, people and exercise. I’ll play piano this afternoon. Every moment of my day are those three things.

It’s who I am. I love exercise. I think it’s one of the best things in life and I love music. So for me, if my days are filled with those things, I’m doing life right.

Bevan James Eyles with running group in park

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Quick fire questions: Christchurch, New Zealand

1. Best breakfast/brunch spot: The Raspberry Cafe.

2. Favourite place for coffee: C1, but I actually drink tea. They give big cups of tea.

3. Best local activity off the tourist trail: Get in some nature. There are some beautiful walks. Go up to the top of the hill and do one of the walks like Crater Rim, or Harry Ell, it’s so beautiful up there.

4. When you’re not busy working, you can be found: Outside running on a trail.

5. Favourite travel destination: Spain. I love what they prioritise in life. They seem to have their priorities right around what’s important and just their attitude to life.

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Finally, where do you see your business evolving over the next five years?

The ultimate goal is really how many people we can help.

Five years from now, if we could be everywhere in New Zealand helping thousands of people each week, that would be pretty awesome. That’s our ultimate aim.

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What an inspiring man! I came away from our Skype interview feeling so energised and motivated. Bevan is generous and full of practical knowledge and advice.

If you are interested in effective ways to create change and learn to love keeping fit, Bevan’s first book, The Fitness Attitude has just recently been released filled with loads of practical tools and strategies.

For more motivation, you can also follow Bevan online:

Bevan James Eyles  l  Bevan James Eyles Facebook  l  Bevan James Eyles Twitter  l  IMTalk Podcast

Images all courtesy of Bevan James Eyles.

Healthier living,

Rosie Norman_Gluten Free Rosie and The Camberwell Kitchen with Anthony

Replacing her Vogue magazines with science journals, this gluten-free girl left her job in the fashion industry and is studying to become a nutritionist and dietician. Even though the transition has been challenging at times, Rosie hasn’t looked back after having her eyes opened to the world of nutrition.

As well as maintaining her popular blog, Gluten Free Rosie, Rosie and her fiancé Ant also hold a gluten-free supper club in their South East London flat, The Camberwell Kitchen. Having now featured in The Guardian (who rated their supper club as one of the five best supper clubs in the UK), The Evening Standard and more recently, Vogue, it’s no wonder I’m still yet to nab myself tickets – they sell out in minutes.

With their couch moved, they can welcome 14 guests into their home for an evening of seasonal and nutritious gluten-free food shared in good company. What better way to enjoy an evening of delicious food, than in the intimate setting of someone’s own home who is passionate about the food they are creating.

Let’s see how this girl manages to juggle studies, a supper club and her blog while constantly coming up with fresh and new food ideas.

A very warm welcome, Rosie Norman.

Rosie Norman_Gluten Free Rosie Cooking

Let’s go back to the beginning. What was your motivation to start Gluten Free Rosie?

After being quite unwell when I was younger, I was diagnosed with coeliac disease which meant I had to change my diet and follow a strict gluten-free diet for life!

My diet needed to be extra nutritious too because I had developed various complications associated with being a coeliac such as osteopenia (low bone density), anaemia and poor digestion. After taking a career change, leaving the fashion industry to train as a nutritionist and dietitian, I started my blog in response to realising there’s a common misconception that gluten-free means healthy!

Though the gluten-free industry is booming, packaged gluten-free foods can be highly processed with refined sugar and flour, making them relatively energy dense, but not necessarily nutrient dense. I wanted to have a blog which contained recipes using healthy, seasonal whole foods but without the fads. Apart from gluten, I don’t restrict anything from my diet per say, but follow a largely traditional Mediterranean style diet.

For me this means my recipes mainly focus on fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds and oils, and at times incorporate good quality meat, fish, eggs or dairy. Aside to this, I wanted to make sure my blog addressed areas of nutrition and health generally.

The internet is full of misleading health claims, food fads and nutrition nonsense, so I wanted to use my science knowledge to investigate the evidence behind different aspects of nutrition and health with the aim to decipher fact from fiction.

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You have also created a popular gluten-free supper club, The Camberwell Kitchen. What was the most challenging part about starting?

I started The Camberwell Kitchen with my fiancé, Ant about a year ago in our flat. We’ve been blown away by the response, but since we both have full-time jobs, I’d say making time to prepare for an event was the most challenging part about starting.

There is much more time involved than one would just think leading up to a supper club. Weeks of menu planning, juggling dietary requirements and recipe development are imperative, along with a day and a half at the supper club weekend picking up produce, cooking and hosting.

It’s worth the effort as there is nothing more satisfying than seeing people enjoy the food you have created and of course getting to meet some fantastic people along the way.

The Camberwell Kitchen_London Supper Club

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Though the gluten-free industry is booming, packaged gluten-free foods can be highly processed with refined sugar and flour, making them relatively energy dense, but not necessarily nutrient dense.

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What are three of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt so far about starting your own business?

1. Work never stops. Since I’m training to be a dietitian full-time, I have to fit in blogging, cooking and writing articles on the side. With respect to this there is always more I can be doing, meaning their are sometimes some pretty late nights, early mornings and weekend sacrifices.

2. Working freelance means you need to really take control of your finances. I was too trusting initially about being paid for work and would send off an invoice, only to find 6 months later I had never been paid. I am now much more savvy and have super duper spreadsheets and apps to keep me on top of monitoring this side of the business.

3. It’s imperative to trial a concept before rolling it out. I’ve found a great way to do this is to offer a free dummy run to people (friends and strangers). Be it a new recipe or event idea, it always important to get feedback from people in your target market before you go ahead.

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Who inspires you and why?

I feel very lucky to have amazing friends and family whom I am very close to and I find naturally inspire me in different ways.

Some have a strong work ethic, others creative, loyal, crazy, witty or intelligent.

Rosie Norman and Ant_The Camberwell Kitchen

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Be authentic and true to yourself. All businesses have their ups and downs. If you are truly passionate and believe in what your business is about, you will be able to ride through anything.

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What has been key for growing your business?

Firstly, Social media is a must as it allows me to very quickly gauge what’s going on in the world of food and nutrition and also engage with like-minded people. I use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which all have benefits for different reasons.

Secondly, If you are starting a food blog, you need to learn to take good pictures of food, otherwise people won’t be drawn in. I haven’t taken any photography courses but have picked up hints and tips along the way from reading photography blogs and websites.

I now never take a photograph of food outside natural light, that’s the biggest tip I could give anyone.

Thirdly, be authentic and true to yourself. All businesses have their ups and downs. If you are truly passionate and believe in what your business is about, you will be able to ride through anything. If you halfheartedly believe in your business ethos, it is unlikely you will have the drive and credibility to take you through rocky roads.

Gluten Free Rosie Recipe

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If you are starting a food blog, you need to learn to take good pictures of food, otherwise people won’t be drawn in. I now never take a photograph of food outside natural light, that’s the biggest tip I could give anyone.

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Describe your major highlight since starting Gluten Free Rosie. What made it personally rewarding?

I strongly believe healthy eating should be a lifestyle not an extreme diet. My blog has given me a platform to develop my writing skills and go on to write nutrition related features for magazine and newspapers which is extremely rewarding to me as I can get important health messages out to a wider audience.

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Starting a new venture can be equally exciting and scary. How do you overcome personal fear and overwhelm?

This goes back to authenticity and passion. If you believe in what your business is about, your drive will override any fear.

I’ve found it can help to associate myself with like-minded people within my work who understand my business premise and can act as mentors. Twitter again has been great for this as I’ve been able to meet, converse and make friends with with some wonderful dietitians, bloggers and cooks. Many of whom have provided much needed advice and support at times.

Rosie Norman and Ant_The Camberell Kitchen Supper Club Prepping

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What does living A Life Less Beige mean to you?

From a nutritional perspective this means a varied rainbow diet without any unnecessary restrictions. There is no reason for everyone to be gluten, wheat, dairy, carb and sugar-free. Unsubstantiated food fads like this can be bland and joyless.

I’m particularly passionate about getting people to relax about their diet and simply be healthy by aiming to eat an array of different delicious, colourful foods for optimum health.

Rosie Norman_Gluten Free Rosie Bircher Muesli

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I’m particularly passionate about getting people to relax about their diet and simply be healthy by aiming to eat an array of different delicious, colourful foods for optimum health.

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Quick fire questions: London, England

1. Best breakfast/brunch spot: Good gluten-free brunch is hard to come across in London. I love M1lk in Balham. It does amazing sweetcorn fritters with avocado mash.

2. Favourite place for coffee: Federation Coffee in Brixton Village. Their flat white coffee is out of this world.

3. Best local activity off the tourist trail: I’m still yet to do this, but there is a an amazing, welcoming weekend exercise community bootcamp session in Brockwell Park with a nominal donation of a £1. It’s called Block Workout and was set up by Terroll Lewis, a former gang member and prisoner who turned his life around through exercise and fitness.

4. When you’re not busy working, you can be found: Making some yummy food or crying whilst watching a documentary.

5. Favourite travel destination: Italy. I used to live in Florence and love their way of life.

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And finally, where do you see your blog and business in five years time?

In a year’s time I will have finished my training and hope to be a registered dietitian. I honestly have no idea where my blog will be in five years time but hope I am able to juggle working clinically as a dietitian and running a business.

Rosie Norman_Gluten Free Rosie Food Shopping

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Keep an eye on this girl. She’s going to go far. Has any of Rosie’s advice resonated with you? Let us know in the comments.

For more gluten-free inspiration, follow Gluten Free Rosie online (or try get tickets to their supper club):

Gluten Free Rosie Facebook  l  Gluten Free Rosie Instagram  l  Gluten Free Rosie Twitter  l  The Camberwell Kitchen Twitter

Images all courtesy of Rosie Norman.

Gluten-free living,