Making it happen: How 3 women turned ideas into action

International Women's Day

Looking for a new challenge, a side hustle or a career change? To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re shining a spotlight on three inspiring women who did just that in lockdown…

The past year has been hugely challenging (understatement of the century, we know). It’s shaken up the way we live and work, but has also brought about some more positive changes, too. For some of us, it’s given the opportunity to reassess what’s important and make a fresh start. So, if you’re thinking about retraining, looking for ways to give back or want to turn that lifetime dream into a plan of action, read on for some great advice from a few of our friends who started something new in 2020.

Don’t focus on the things you think you should do, just enjoy the things you love.

Sophie

Volunteer at London-based food redistribution waste charity, The Felix Project

International Women's Day

What inspired you to volunteer at The Felix Project?

The project collects surplus food that would otherwise go to waste and delivers it to schools and charities. I was inspired to volunteer after reading about the increased reliance on food banks during the pandemic. I became aware of the project a few years ago after watching a documentary about food waste and was shocked by the statistics.

I live nearby, so I signed up to help. I also thought it would be a good way to get involved in my community. Community has become really important to me during lockdown, and it’s great to feel involved and know I’m making a difference.

5 things people may not know about food banks…

  1. Our food industry generates almost 2 million tonnes of good, edible surplus food each year.
  2. Over a million adults in London struggle to afford to eat every day and 400,000 children are at risk of missing their next meal.
  3. You don’t need to know anything about food to get involved.
  4. It can be hard work, but it’s really rewarding and a great way to meet people in your local community.
  5. If you don’t have time to spare, you can get involved by donating online or donating items at supermarket collection points.

Your advice for anyone starting something new…

Embrace a beginner’s mindset. I was once given this advice and I think it’s really helpful when starting anything new. There’s power in being a beginner, as the questions that arise when you’re learning can help formulate new ideas and ways of thinking.

A cookbook that inspires you…

Summer Kitchens by Olia Hercules. I love the vivid images of life in Ukraine that she’s managed to capture through the words, photos and recipes.

Your style motto is…

Comfort, but make it fashion.

1 thing you’d tell your younger self…

Don’t focus on the things you think you should do, just enjoy the things you love.

3 things you’re excited about in 2021…

The return of warmer weather, being able to see family and friends, and the arrival of my new baby niece or nephew.

Encourage women you know in their business ventures, celebrate good ideas and lift each other up!

Adjoa

Creator of the #prampowerwalkchallenge

International Women's DayWhat inspired you start the #prampowerwalkchallenge?

I wanted to work out, but was struggling to find the time. That, along with everything else that goes with being in lockdown, was getting me down. I saw some running challenges on Instagram, but knew I wasn’t going to be able to keep up with one of those, so I posted a story asking if anyone would join in if I created a challenge.

I decided that if five people were interested, then I’d do it. In the end there were 25 of us and 80 have joined in for March! I’ve been inspired to keep it going by all the women who’ve taken part and worked hard to complete it – I’m so happy with the community it’s created.

5 tips for staying positive and motivated in lockdown…

  1. Any outdoor exercise. Being outdoors has huge mental health benefits and it’s good to get out of the house, away from distractions and screens. I come up with my best ideas when I’m out walking!
  2. Have a routine. Get up at the same time every day, have a shower and get ready in the same way you would pre-2020 – it makes such a difference.
  3. Stay in touch. Check in with your family and friends, even if it’s just a quick call.
  4. Self-care. I love to do home pamper sessions!
  5. Have things to look forward to. Even something as simple as a movie night with all your favourite snacks will break up the week.

Your advice for anyone starting something new…

Persevere. It’s so easy to get discouraged but keep showing up and trying your best. I remind myself of this every day.

Your feelgood song is… 

Never Too Much by Luther Vandross.

Your style motto is…

You don’t have to follow every trend – wear what suits you!

3 tips on how to support women-owned businesses… 

  1. Purchase from them when you can
  2. Support them on social media by sharing, commenting and saving their posts
  3. Encourage women you know in their business ventures, celebrate good ideas and lift each other up!

Tell us about another woman that inspires you…

I’m so inspired by my mum. She set up her own business at 55 years old and is so hardworking and dedicated, she does not stop! She’s also participated in every pram powerwalk challenge, despite the colder weather up north!

Don’t worry about making mistakes because with that comes growth and experience.

Jen

Nutritional therapist specialising in women’s health, hormone balance and fertility

International Women's Day

What inspired you start Jen Walpole Nutrition?

Wellness is a big part of my life on both the nutrition side of things and the lifestyle aspect. I’ve always loved cooking and learning about the different benefits of certain foods as well as keeping fit, so I decided to take a 12-week course in nutrition a few years ago.

The course really sparked a passion within me to build on that knowledge and, when the time was right, I decided to take the plunge and study alongside my career as a fashion buyer. For three years I spent my weekends either at college in London or with my head in a biology book, but it was all well worth it in the end.

 5 tips on nutrition and lifestyle… 

  1. It’s important to enjoy food, so I encourage my clients to follow an 80:20 approach. If you eat well 80% of the time, you can have a little of what you fancy. Never deny yourself, life is too short!
  2. Cook once and eat twice. Double up the recipe so you have leftovers for lunch the next day – it’s a huge time saver.
  3. Eat intuitively. I think modern life has become so hectic and routine-driven that we’ve forgotten to connect with what our body actually needs. Is that snack necessary, or is it boredom? Connecting with ourselves can make a big difference.
  4. Avoid ‘diets’ and trends. Even if a client comes to me for weight loss, we never talk about calories. It’s more about providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to eat well and still get results.
  5. Find what works for you when it comes to exercise and relaxation. For example, yoga and meditation aren’t for everyone, so maybe a long walk or a good book is what nourishes you. Be open to trying new things and figure out what you enjoy the most.

Your advice for anyone starting something new…

Small steps move you forward. I’ll never forget my first day of college because it was only then that I realised the sheer amount of work I had to get through to achieve my qualification. It was a scary feeling however, once I broke it all down into smaller chunks, it didn’t seem so bad. Make a list of some short-term goals and eventually you will reach the end goal!

What do you love most about your home workspace?

I’ve tried to create a space that’s calm, relaxing and low maintenance. I try not to follow too many homeware trends and go for classic pieces that’ll stand the test of time. Last year, I loved growing a few plants at home and would encourage anyone to give it a go.

Your style motto is…

Be true to your own style because you’ll feel far more confident that way.

1 thing you’d tell your younger self… 

Don’t worry about making mistakes because with that comes growth and experience.

A feelgood recipe you love… 

A traditional Sunday roast with all the trimmings always makes me feel good. It reminds me of my childhood and family time – it was always a bit of an event on a Sunday!

Happy International Women’s Day! For more inspiring stories, check out our Women Making it Work series. 

AUTHOR

Claudia

Read more posts >