Real life morning routines from busy London women

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In an ideal world, we’d all be the kind of cherubs that get up at 6am every day, meditate, do some yoga, set intentions, sup a green juice and squeeze in a double spin class before work. But the reality is often very different and much more interesting. We spoke to a selection of real, busy London women to find out what they really get up to in the mornings…

Hayley Simpson, Director of Lucky Pineapple Bar @luckypineapplebar

My morning starts the night before when I set my intentions for the day ahead. I’ll say to myself I’ll be at my desk by 8am, or go to a morning gym class. The reality isn’t so optimistic, as when the alarm goes off I’ll likely snooze for well over an hour leaving no chance for my good intentions… at least I tried, eh!?

My very lovely boyfriend will always bring me a coffee in the morning – it’s one of the things I love most about him! First thing I do is scroll though Instagram until I’m fully conscious, checking for new likes and comments on my business Instagram page – a terrible way to be validated first thing in the morning but that’s where I am right now!

I quit my full-time job at the end of last year to start my own business (a giant gold mobile bar called Lucky Pineapple), which means my routine is a little all over the place and working from home has been a massive adjustment. The up shot of this is that I don’t have any colleagues to please, so I’ll whack up the tunes, shower, drink more coffee and dance around the flat until I am at my desk by 9am.

Helena Dowling, Personal Trainer and Dancer @helenadowling_

First of all, I love mornings. It’s an opportunity to set yourself up for a great day. If you get your morning routine right, you are just SO much more equipped to deal with whatever life throws at you that day. Of course, there are times when all this goes tits up and I’m running for a bus with a hunk of bread in my hand, but even personal trainers are only human!

My typical day may include training clients, going to castings, shooting and training myself. This will mean travelling around the city a fair bit so I like to have that first hour to myself to get myself into my body and ready for the day.

When I wake up I do NOT look at my phone, well only to turn my alarm off. I honestly think scrolling through socials first thing isn’t cool. It’s a time to set intentions and channel positivity from within, so I go downstairs and make a herbal tea. I don’t drink caffeine until later in the day as I find it’s a pretty harsh substance to train on. If i’m working out in the morning, and really going to maximum potential, I don’t really want coffee as it makes me feel sick. I will also drink loads of water. I normally have a bottle by my bed so I drink a litre first thing. Then a quick shower with something gorgeous (no hair washing – that’s a 2 hour job for me!) My favourite at the moment is a rose smelling vegan brand, or if I need a pick me up, a lime scented one.

Depending on the time of my first appointment, I will head to the gym. I check my emails and Whatsapp on the way. I love to listen in to my body and workout accordingly. It may be yoga, reformer pilates (I adore it) or a HIIT or weight based workout always followed by a long stretch. By the time the hour workout is done, I’m usually feeling like a boss!

If I wake up groggy or have a particularly challenging day, I will listen to motivational speakers while I run, like Oprah or some badass uplifting music. If I’m feeling I want peace I’ll listen to something more soothing or a TED talk. Then home and a high protein breakfast like 2 egg omelette and half an avo with more water or my favourite coconut water.

If I have say a 7am client, I will still do the above but rather than go for a full session, I get my yoga matt and pilates ring out and roll around my living room for about 10 mins stretching. It’s imperative for me to feel connected to my body and fully in it as I will be teaching people how to move theirs, so I need everything to be en pointe!

Elle Ford, 27, is the Publicity Manager for an arts publishing house @elleford1

I wake up exactly two minutes before my alarm goes off and, depending on what has or has not launched the night before either fight my way out of the thousands of colourful throw pillows I own (when it comes to interiors I am a die-hard maximalist – sorry Marie Kondo but they all spark joy), or, I stare at my phone in shock for a full 14 minutes by which point someone has snuck in the shower and I change tack and eat breakfast for once while I wait (yoghurt and granola with chocolate flakes in it) – instead of a triple shot cappuccino on the way to work.

I start my make-up routine by staring in awe at the Dior Youth Capture Serum I was gifted after I told absolutely everyone I know that I have in fact, got my first wrinkle (I am equal parts proud and horrified). I now use it in tiny scoopfuls lest it run out and my second wrinkle is unworthy of such an expense.

I am very sold on the idea in general that moisturiser is the key to combating all signs of one’s well-lived life. My remaining make up routine mainly consists of Nars Sheer Glow foundation and a lot of Bobby Brown on my eyelashes and eyebrows (I’m very blonde). I then pace my room moving from wardrobe to overflow rack throwing black t-shirts around and pretending to think about clashing one of my very loud vintage sequin jackets with a long patterned skirt which I don’t own and bright yellow boots (which I do own and have never worn) before pulling on black jeans, a black turtle neck, a black vintage Dior men’s tuxedo jacket and 3,000 brightly coloured enamel vintage bangles, shoving my feet into black boots and flying out the door.

Felix Le Freak, Gender fluid vegan Drag Queen and star of Queen of Hoxton Drag Bingo – @felixlefreak

What morning routine? The morning is a disgusting and unsociable time and should be avoided at all costs by anyone with a shred of self-respect.

However, if I must rise before noon I start the day with copious amounts of black coffee, an underripe banana and half a Xanax before taking a long bath in asses milk.

I like to take telephone calls in the bath. It helps me to feel powerful and important, which I am.

After towelling off, I like to take a walk around the nearest park, where I always take a ball and dog lead. I like to wander around beckoning “Alfie! Alfie!” and lure hunky joggers into helping me search for an imaginary lost dog.

A quick tussle in the bushes and I’m ready to face whatever the day has to offer, after another quick ass milk bath and the rest of that Xanax, of course.

Jenna Al-Ansari, founder of Wild Above Rule and the SuperCulture programme at Mothership Group

I wake up at 8.30am, slap my hand around the side table blindly looking for glasses and, depending on the evening I had, paracetamol. I rise to walk around in a t shirt with no pants like a Winnie the Pooh. I stand in the shower, if feeling rank I sit in the shower, pawing vaguely at myself with some argan oil body wash.

I plod into living room and indulge in moisturizer – depending on funds it’s either Rodial Bee Venom cream (£68.40) or Nivea Face Cream (£4.10). The Rodial makes me feel like Cleopatra. Then a mix of foundations from Deciem, highlight for the gods and the goldest jewellery I can find.

My style is somewhere between art and crafts teacher and 60 year old CEO of a boutique hotel industry who may or may not have murdered her husband. I always stride out the door to an absolute banger; Emotional by Whitney Houston is standard. Walk to work with queens.

Gemma Gould, Visual Merchandiser for Cos

So my SAD light alarm clock wakes me up with its emergency beeps whether it’s light or dark outside… I snooze once or twice depending on whether or not I can squeeze in another day of not washing my hair. I make my bed straight away to secure the vertical-ness that I have achieved – it is an achievement.

After that I’m straight in the shower. Wash my hair with my fancy shampoo if there’s a date or event in the evening or the other stuff for normality and splash my face with water. I properly cleanse my face the night before, whether it’s 4am or not because that’s part of being a grown up. Turn on iron.

I choose between music or a podcast depending on my mood. Spend 5 mins deciding on mood. I finish my skincare with toner and moisturiser, dry my hair and do my make up (just eyebrows and mascara usually). Choose my clothes based on how comfortable I need to be that day – where I will be going, how much I will be sitting down, who will I be meeting. End up accidentally channeling Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen or Sue Perkins. Use iron. Realise that I’m going to miss my train even though it’s at the same. Time. Every. Day. Swap my essential life items from one bag to another. Wish I was a person that just used one versatile bag and run out of the door.

Angie Phillips, Freelance animator and illustrator living in London @angie_phill

My alarm goes off half 7. I stare at the ceiling for 15 minutes and talk to my plants while we both wake up. I’ll forget I’m running late so spend 20 minutes plucking my eyebrows then panic and run out the door. I always have two coffees before I leave the house and maybe a banana if I’m treating myself to breakfast.

I listen to Radio 4 while I freshen up my fringe and cycle the 10 minutes to my studio in Peckham. Clothes wise, I try and go as near as possible to tracksuit without it being a tracksuit. Comfort is key. Very occasionally I’ll go to F45 or Peckham’s Yogarise before work and feel gloriously smug and astonishingly hungry for the rest of the day.

By Lucy

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