Kirsten Carriol's wellbeing secrets

The beautiful Kirsten Carriol is creator of one of our favourite ranges to emerge in the past few years: Lanolips: lanolin-powered skin goodness, for (almost) top to toe. But building a business and juggling that with motherhood is, we know, demanding - so we asked Kirsten to tell us how she stays gorgeous, slender - and sane. 1 Constant movement. Regular exercise is not something I have time to factor in right now, so rather than get all guilty about it, I just ensure I don’t get lazy in ‘the every day’. My secret to keeping slim is simply constant movement. No short-cutting in daily physical stuff. Walk the stairs; run with the kids, I even know how to skateboard now. I use my daily life as my exercise.

2 Everything in moderation. My parents were the champions of ‘moderate’. My Father (who is a Professor of Genetics) told me once that “too much of ANYTHING can kill you – except boiled cabbage.” My parents were a generation from the 50s and 60s and with subsistence farming background we were brought up all naturally grown foods (which we now call ‘organic’). So I eat a little of pretty much everything I want, but never overeat. Basically, I eat when I am hungry. If my body is not yelling ‘hungry’ then my body doesn’t need anything right now.

Mostly its three normal meals a day but every now and then it means I skip meals, sometimes it means I graze all day. I also avoid synthetically derived colours and flavours and over processed foods, as they are just – well - not natural for humans to eat so god knows what the long term effects are of these new chemicals. Also - no cleanse diets. Your body needs a balance of everything – not too much, not too little of anything or else it can go into kind of shock.

3 Yearly blood tests. I take yearly blood tests simply to check essential vitamin levels. It often shows me to be iron deficient (anemic) so when I take iron supplements with vitamin C, and eat more red meat this drastically increases my energy levels more than anything else I do with my diet.

4 Always eat breakfast. And normally it’s a very high fibre cereal. To start the engine and, well, keep the plumbing moving.

5 Keep personal maintenance simple. Since having my two boys I have learnt to keep it simple, streamline my grooming and choose products that multitask. My focus is looking after my skin, then adding mascara and a little lip balm, to give me a ‘glow’. You have probably already guessed this, but I swear by the power of lanolin to keep me looking good. Deep, natural hydration is the best thing you can do to your skin cells, as dryness and limp skin cells is the #1 sign of aging. I use simple, effective ingredients in high percentages, rather than lots of nothing. And I strongly believe thatsmiling when you talk (even if you are on the phone) breaks down even the iciest barrier and makes people look their best, and get the best out of others. Some fast beauty tricks I have learned are tying my hair up while wet into a chignon and take it down when its dry to have instant waves, giving myself a mini-pedi in the bathroom while bathing my boys, St Tropez Mousse for the 5 minute perfect tan, and a thick layer of Lanolips 101 Ointment on my lips and cuticles before bed every single night. Fashion is important but it needs to be a practical part of my life. I invest in great flattering jeans, simple tees, a few tailored stretch jackets and chic flats – so I can look effortlessly stylish and a great pair of sunglasses will always make a simple outfit look cooler.

6 Be kind to yourself. As a busy Mum of 2 boys and the creator of Lanolips ‘busy’ is an understatement. I have toprioritise, as there is never enough time to get everything done.  Part of that has been learning to be easier on myself, some things will slide, but that’s OK.   My motto is “Don’t expect to ‘have it all’ because then you have to DO IT ALL!” Which if course you simply cannot. My biggest workday tip is that your email in-box should never be your to-do list.  You should create your to-do list every day before looking at your emails.   

7 Forced brain switch-off. When your brain is switched to the ‘very fast’ (and let’s face it ‘panic’) button all day, you have to find forced ways to turn it off. I can never, ever get to the top of my ‘to-do’ list. For most business owners, the temptation is to work from the minute you wake up to the minute you go to bed. This result is burnout, both in personal and business. One of the characteristics of hard workers in the age of the mobile office is the drive you have, and for me it means I have had to put in methods to self regulate a ‘forced switch off’.   Or else I literally burn out.

For me there are two – children time – For me the easy option is NOT to have a nanny. The time between 3 p.m. (school pickup) and 7.30 p.m. (bedtime) is my time with my children. It’s not negotiable, as they literally won’t let you concentrate on anything but them and their needs (food, driving & hugs, mostly). By not having a nanny these hours are my precious soul filling time for me and for them, but also a great way to avoid checking and responding to emails for a few hours. Mostly when they go to bed, I do need to switch back on for a few more hours to deal with important and overseas matters. But at least there is a good break.

The second way I force myself to switch off the work-brain is reading. Fiction. But it has to be really good ‘calling me to the bed to read’ fiction. It can be brainless (I love a bit of Dan Brown) or the more deep (I couldn’t put down Goldfinch by Donna Tart or Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn recently). If it’s not ‘calling me to the bed to read’ good, then give up and start another, or the smart phone will win out and you will not get that forced switch off. I avoid business books or world affairs, as the point is to give your brain time to relax.