How Balance Me's Rebecca Hopkins stays balanced
‘Work-life balance is aa phrase we often use, but how many of us actually do something to improve ours…? When Rebecca Hopkins (with her sister Clare) set up natural brand Balance Me in 2005, that’s what they had in mind. Rebecca had retrained as a reflexologist after working in PR for luxury brands at L’Oréal – and Clare became a yoga teacher, following a career as a stockbroker and management consultant. Today, Balance Me has grown from its beginnings – literally hand-made on a kitchen table – to a botanical-powered, multi-award-winning range stocked in almost 250 Waitrose stores and loved by beauty editors everywhere. And here’s how she’s managed to maintain that work-life balance which is so elusive, for so many…
Running keeps me fit, restores my vitamin D levels and helps to clear my mind. I’ve found that 45 minutes twice a week near my home keeps me fit, supple and balanced, along with my weekly Iyengar yoga class, which my sister introduced me to 12 years ago. I run on soft ground and I don’t listen to music as I use this time to think through the family diary, process work issues, or switch off completely and do a bit of daydreaming! All my activities have to fit around my work and family commitments so I don’t beat myself up if I have to skip the odd session. I stay sane and revitalised as a result!
I rely on my Vespa scooter to get me from A to B; it helps me juggle my work/family life. I have to be incredibly organised each day and I like to drop the girls at school every morning. My scooter allows me to zip through the traffic so I know exactly what time I’ll arrive at the office - which ensures that I’m always on time for business appointments. Thanks to my Vespa, I’m also home in time to have supper with the children and read with them before bedtime.
My ‘me time’ indulgence is facial rejuvenation. It works on the 90 tiny facial muscles by stimulating various pressure points on the face. It is ideal for improving skin tone, lymphatic drainage and stimulating blood circulation in the face and leaves my skin plumped up – a great way to target fine lines. (Google ‘Facial Rejuvenation’ to find a practitioner near you.)
I swear by daily dry body brushing. Like flossing your teeth, it’s one of those things which feels like a bit of a chore - but pays dividends: a great way to wake up your circulation and give skin a radiant glow. I body brush before my morning shower, using long, sweeping movements and always working in the direction of my heart. Use two brushes - it's quicker. Elemis and John Lewis have some great dry body brushes but I have also used traditional gentleman's hair brushes in the past! I then apply our Super Toning Body Oil/£20 for 200 ml - buy here - which was created by Clare when she was 18 years old and one of our first Balance Me products - with juniper, bergamot, lavender and geranium essential oils.
Baking has become a favourite weekend pastime. I find it super- relaxing and my children love to help. We bake as a treat after homework on a Saturday morning – something which we all find stressful! Although the girls have school lunches, I like to make home-cooked snacks for after school. I’ve mastered the art of a variety of sweet and savoury cakes, tarts and biscuits which are tasty and healthy. I stock up on Waitrose Cook’s Ingredients and my family especially love the dark chocolate chunks – perfect for cookies.
The one beauty product I can’t live without is our Balance Me Radiance Face Oil. It’s my twice daily must-apply under my moisturiser. It’s100% natural and the blend of Amazonian buriti nut oils and ancient skin conditioners benzoin and yarrow provides my skin with an extra layer of protection, addresses uneven skin tone, plumps and enhances my skin’s natural luminosity. (Balance Me Radiance Face Oil/£30 for 30ml - buy here).
I try to tune into my sense of smell – literally, ‘take time to stop and smell the roses.’ We’ve worked hard to create sophisticated aromas with our essential oil blends, but fragrance is also something I can indulge when gardening - my other ‘me time’ therapy. I find pottering, watering and pruning extremely relaxing. I’ve planned the garden so that most months something is flowering and my favourites are my magnolia tree – which blossoms on my birthday each year without fail! - the camellia and climbing roses. I am a huge rose fan generally; we’ve devoted an entire range to rose otto, not just for its wealth of therapeutic properties but also for its exquisite aroma.
As a family we love to travel; holidays are also perfect inspiration for new ingredients and products. We recently returned from a holiday in Costa Rica – a perfect family adventure! As well as relaxing on the beach, we discovered colourful birds and animals in the rain forests, watched turtles lay their eggs, kayaked and I even learnt to surf! But we’re equally at home on the beaches in North Cornwall where we spend many holidays. It’s a chance for me to get together with my older sister who lives in Asia with her family but visits each summer. At the end of the day, family’s what counts.'