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About us/ Self Care

Self Care

I dream of blogging I have ideas for what I want to write and often blog in my sleep (strange as it sounds), then I wake up and the thoughts are gone. Sleep deprivation does strange things to you!

On the 12th March it will be Pippa’s second birthday (our youngest) – she’s a whirlwind of adventure, lover of life, funny, thoughtful, fierce and very clever. She also is a terrible sleeper. So almost two years into a life of disrupted sleep its taken its toll on our family. The last few weeks have been especially hard due to teething and Pippas eczema going through a long healing crisis, sleep has been almost non existent. Last week I had a fall carrying Pippa – she hurst her head and I hurt my pride and my body. It gave me a bit of a reality check I need to change things.

So I booked a massage to try and heal my aching body it was a nice treatment but at the end the lady said I had chronic back and shoulder problems I needed to sort out and take seriously. It was hard to hear and another push that I need to make changes. I had a goal in 2019 for more self care and now I need to really put this into action.

I miss writing, running, time with Phil (my lifey) and of course I miss sleep. I also miss “me”. Somewhere along the road I have lost myself and I need to get me back. So this year I am making big changes to my work, my blogging, my mind and body. I am excited, nervous but also I want a change – it’s time for something new. But first I need to rebalance my life. #selfcare2019

NB For anyone that followed “Fussyfoodie”… I have moved to a new blog “So Much to Say…” so that I can blog about more than just food all in one place.
Dairy Free/ Recipe challenge/ Soya Free/ Vegetarian/ Wheat Free

Spelt Naan Bread

I never knew making naan bread could be so easy! I love a curry, something which is easy to adapt for most food intolerances. I don’t have wheat so my usual accompaniment to curry is rice and a few poppadum’s (which are made from lentil flour). My little girl Emily, loves naan bread however most contain milk so I recently decided to try and make her one. I found a recipe from The Hairy Bikes Great Curries book that I thought I could adapt. The result was super tasty.

Spelt Naan Bread

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Serves: 6

These spelt naan bread are super tasty and fun to make - dairy free too.


  • 600g spelt flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 heaped tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds (optional)
  • 1 medium egg, beaten (or 2tsp flax seed mixed with water - not tested this)
  • 300ml mylk
  • 2 tbsp rice bran oil
  • 25g melted dairy free spread or coconut oil, for brushing



Put the spelt flour, bicarbonate of soda, coconut sugar, salt and nigella needs, if using, in a food processor and blitz them quickly until lightly mixed. Break the egg (or use flax) into a bowl and whisk in the mylk and oil.


With the motor running, slowly add the mylk mixture to the flour and blend for about 20 seconds or until the dough comes together into a rough ball. It will be very soft and fairly sticky. You can also mix the dough by hand, adding the liquid gradually to the dry ingredients. Remove the blade and turn the dough out on to a well-floured surface. Place a large baking tray in the oven and preheat to its hottest setting. This could be as high as 280°C/Fan 260°/Gas 9. A hot oven is crucial for a good naan.


Break the dough into 6 portions and roll them into balls, my daugther loved rolling the naan. Taking 1 ball at a time, roll it out on the floured surface into a tear-drop shape with a slightly pointed end. The dough will need to be no more than 4mm thick or it will be too scone-like when baked.


Pull the oven shelf out a little and place the naan bread quickly, but very carefully, on the baking tray and push the shelf back into the oven. Cook the naan for about 2½ minutes or until it is puffed up and lightly browned in places. Melt the dairy free spread in a small saucepan.


Take the naan out of the oven with tongs and place it on a warmed serving dish or board, then brush it lightly with a little melted spread. Cover with foil and a clean tea towel to keep warm and continue cooking the other naan breads in the same way. Serve them warm.


These are spelt naan are great to freeze – just pop them in the toaster or hot oven (with a splash of waster on them) to defrost and refresh them.


Knowledge is Power

Back when Pippa first had a rash, I wish knew then what I know now.

I’ve spent hours (probably days) researching about eczema. One perk of an unsettled baby is lots of awake time at night to research. There has been so much information to absorb; sometimes I’ve been overwhelmed. However equally I feel blessed to live in the age of information and social media. Knowledge really is power.

I have always had a holistic approach to healing; growing up with parents running a health food shop gives you great exposure to alternative treatments. A lot has changed since I was small, I remember when yogurt wasn’t mainstream but there is still along way to go.

I hope the things I have learnt along the way will help others to heal.


War Against Eczema

My names Miranda; I live and work in Warwickshire. I am a mummy to two little girls; Emily almost 4 and Pippa newly 1. I run my own businsess fromhome  where I design and build websites and systems. I also love to write and cook.

I have started this blog to record my journey with our youngest daughter in the battle to heal her eczema. It’s been a sleep deprived year and the mission is still in progess, but as the journey continues I get more answers  why eczema exists and how to heal it . Alongside healing little Pip I really want to help others. I know that I can help to heal Pip and I hope that one day I can help spread the word and help heal others.

I have experienced such poor and dated advice from the NHS and I hope in my lifetime that this will change and people will open their eyes to steroid overuse and take a more holistic and proactive approach to healing eczema.

The war against eczema is on!

Product review

Maca Powder – What is it?

Being a Fussy Foodie and living with Food Intolerances I check labels in anything new I buy, as I like to know and try to understand what I am eating.

In my last post on “No Added Sugar Free Hot Chocolate“, I mention Maca Powder. It’s a bit of a fashion food at the moment and is popping up all over the place so I thought I would find out a little more about it.

What is Maca?

Maca is a root vegetable native to the high Andes. The root is a storage organ for nutrients and when taken from the earth comes in a variety of colours.

It’s been used in Peru (aka Peruvian Ginseng) for endurance, energy and hormonal balance for over 2000 years.

Maca is a source of thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, calcium and iron which all contribute to normal energy-yielding metabolism. It also contains zinc which contributes to normal fertility and reproduction, as well as normal levels of testosterone in the blood. Riboflavin and zinc additionally supports the regulation of hormonal activity and help to reduce tiredness and fatigue. Sources: Naturya

Essentially you could see it as a caffeine-free energiser.

Add Maca Powder to smoothies, milkshakes, warm drinks, energy bars, biscuits, brownies and more.


Rocking Around the Christmas Tree with Sainsburys

In the last year I have become a Sainsbury’s convert, like most people I am a creature of habit and that includes going to the same Supermarket for my big shop. I rediscovered Sainsbury’s just over a year ago, we are lucky to live near a really nice big Sainsbury’s just outside Coventry which is packed full off food intolerance friendly products, its easy to navigate, people on the tills are friendly and nice to your food (no bruised fruit) and it’s actually nice to shop in and I think products are priced competitively. I love seeing my fridge and cupboards stocked after a trip to Sainsbury’s.

The lovely folks at Sainsbury’s have choose us as one of the websites to host a Christmas Giveaway.

Win a Luxury Pamper Kit worth £40 – The Perfect Christmas Gift!

The pamper kit contains all of your pampering must haves and presented in a fabulous blue tote bag. The kit contains: Nip + Fabs body wash, body lotion, facial wash, hand cream, day cream, eye cream, relaxation mask, hydrating mask and facial scrub and is valued at £40.

The Rules…

To enter comment on this post or via Twitter, including retweeting the link to the post and #ChristmasDay (link) revealing who you would give the pamper set as a gift this Christmas and why. Sainsbury’s will judge all the entries, decide the winners and send out the lovely hamper.

“…I would give mine to my lovely Mummy, who has supported me beyond belief this year through some scary and hard times – thank you will never be enough.”

Twenty winners will be chosen Monday 17th December so the pamper set should be with the winners in time for Christmas.

Good Luck Everybody!

Dairy Free/ Dinner/ Egg Free/ Gluten Free/ No added sugar/ Recipe challenge/ Soya Free/ Wheat Free/ Yeast Free

Green Tea Salmon, Coconut Rice and Miso Greens

I regularly have emails from readers living with or recently diagnosed with multi food intolerances, struggling to know what they can cook. Well the good news even with the most complex of intolerances most recipes can be tweaked for you and your family to enjoy, especially savoury ones.

For this Fussy Foodie recipe challenge I am cooking Jamie Oliver’s; Green Tea Salmon, Coconut Rice and Miso Greens from his Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals and demonstrated on his TV program today.

In the week I tend to cook on the fly, working with what’s in the fridge and my store cupboard ingredients, so it was great to have enough ingredients to be able give this recipe ago.

Green Tea Salmon Ingredients:

Serves: 4 | 603 calories


  • 4 x 120g salmon fillets, skin on, scaled and pin-boned – I replaced with trout
  • 2 green tea bags – I missed this out but looking forward to trying this
  • olive oil


  • 1 x 400g tin of light coconut milk
  • 1 coconut milk tin (300g) of basmati rice – I used brown rice, cooking time 10 mins longer
  • ½ a lemon


  • ½–1 fresh red chilli
  • 1 small thumb-sized piece of ginger
  • 1 heaped tsp miso powder or 1 tbsp miso paste – I replaced this with 1/2 tsp of gluten free stock powder
  • ½ a bunch of fresh coriander
  • ½ a lemon
  • 2–3 tbsp low-salt soy sauce – I used wheat free version
  • Few leaves of coz lettuce – my extra ingredient to pad and give texture and taste to sauce
  • 1 heaped tsp runny honey
  • 200g sugar snap peas
  • 200g tenderstem broccoli
  • 1 bunch of asparagus (300g)
  • 1 lime

The challenge with this recipe was that I lacked a few of the ingredients and I needed to replace the miso paste to make the recipe wheat free and this also would then be soya free.

I replaced the salmon with trout, just as this is what I had and used brown rice instead of white, just to make it that little bit healthier.

The biggest challenge was the miso paste as I have never tried it, so didn’t know what I was trying to replicate. However what I did know is that it’s salty and would make the sauce thicker.

Link to original recipe

Follow all the steps in the original recipe bar the steps to make miso paste:

Finely slice ½ the chilli for garnish and throw the rest into the liquidizer with the peeled ginger, the miso powder or paste, most of the coriander, the juice of ½ a lemon, the soy sauce, honey and a splash of water, then whiz until smooth.

Alternative steps for gluten free, wheat free, soya free option:

Finely slice 1/2 the chilli and add to liquidizer or food processor, with chopped peeled ginger, stock powder, most of the coriander, juice of 1/2 lemon, soy sauce, honey (could replace with 1/2 tsp agave nectar or water), splash of water and lettuce leaves. Whizz until smooth and mixture holds together.

This recipe took about 25 minutes to get to the table, due to increased time on the brown rice cooking. It was easy to make and I loved the technique to make the fish skin crispy both sides, I will defiantly be trying this again. It was tasty and a great alternative way to cook salmon/ trout and serves greens.


CEO Sisters

Whilst scanning through The Economist: “The World in 2012” it took me till page 66 to find anything remotely related to or mentioning women in business until I found this –  “Women Will Get A Lift to the Top” – interesting reading and makes me wonder how different the content of the Economist will be in its edition “The World in 2020”.
Despite there being very few women in the Board Room, one lady who is certainly at the top of her game right now, is Denise Morrison, CEO of  Campbells.
The following comment made about her in The Economist article Bosses to Watch in 2012:
“the new boss of Campbell’s, Denise Morrison, will not persuade Chinese and Indian consumers to abandon home-made soup for canned stuff”
…made me want to know more about a woman who had made it to the top of a huge global brand.

First Women CEO of Campbell's - Denise Morrison

Denise Morrison Campbells CEO

In 2011 Denise Morrison Campbells became the first woman CEO of Campbells Soup and as well as this amazing achievement Denise has been recognised with many prestigious awards, including:

  • “Woman of Distinction” American Heart Association of New Jersey, 2010.
  • One of the 50 Most Influential Irish Women, Irish Voice 2010.
  • “Top Woman in Grocery,” Progressive Grocer magazine, 2008, 2009, and 2010.
  • One of the Top 50 Women to Watch, Wall Street Journal, 2007.
  • Garden State “Woman of the Year” for Corporations, Garden State Women magazine, 2007.
  • “Executive of the Year,” Snack Food & Bakery magazine, 2003.

Denise studied at Boston College for a degree in economics and psychology, graduating with magna cum laude, a rarely used distinction. She went on to start her career in the sales department at Procter & Gamble and then later joined Pepsi-Cola in Trade and Business Development. She then spent most of the 1980s at Nestle USA, where she held senior marketing and sales positions. In 1995, Denise moved to Nabisco Inc. She served as Senior Vice President and led the Nabisco Food Company’s sales organisation and was General Manager for the Down the Street division. She then went on to become Executive Vice President and General Manager of Kraft Foods’ Snacks and Confections divisions.
Denise joined Campbell in April 2003 as President-Global Sales and Chief Customer Officer in 2007 she was named Senior Vice President and President-North America Soup, Sauces and Beverages. Then in 2010 she was appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer leading all of Campbell’s global businesses, corporate strategy, global advertising & design and research & development – impressive stuff!
I believe Denise has achieved her position of CEO at Campbells impart through dedication to one market sector, the grocery market. Denise has always worked inside this market sector, seeing her skills, knowledge and experience recognised through regular promotion within each organisation in which she has worked. Such dedication to one market has given Denise invaluable experience and helped propelled her to the top of her market sector.

The CEO Sisters

Researching Denise Morrison I found out very quickly, that not only is she one of the only women at the top in America but her sister, Mary Agnes Wilderotter,  is also CEO for Frontier Communications (#558) – now this was getting interesting.

Denise Morrison and Mary Wilderotter

Women at the Top in the USA

Women currently hold 3.4 % of Fortune 500 CEO roles and 3.6 % of Fortune 1000 roles – list published by Catalyst, this includes the CEO Sisters Denise Morrison and Mary Wilderotter:
Fortune 1500 (17 CEOs)

  • Meg Whitman, HP (#11)
  • Virginia Rometty, IBM (#18)
  • Patricia A. Woertz, Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) (#39)
  • Angela F. Braly, WellPoint, Inc. (#42)
  • Indra K. Nooyi, PepsiCo, Inc. (#43)
  • Irene B. Rosenfeld, Kraft Foods Inc. (#49)
  • Ellen J. Kullman, DuPont (#84)
  • Carol M. Meyrowitz, The TJX Companies, Inc. (#119)
  • Ursula M. Burns, Xerox Corporation (#121)
  • Laura Sen, BJ’s Wholesale Club (#221)
  • Sheri S. McCoy, Avon Products Inc. (#226)
  • Deanna M. Mulligan, Guardian (#245)
  • Debra L. Reed, Sempra Energy (#274)
  • Denise M. Morrison, Campbell Soup (#312)
  • Gracia C. Martore, Gannett (#415)
  • Beth E. Mooney, KeyCorp (#417)
  • Heather Bresch, Mylan (#418)
  • Fortune 501-1000 (19 CE

Fortune 501-1000 (19 CEOs)

  • Ilene Gordon, Corn Products International (#502)
  • Mary Agnes (Maggie) Wilderotter, Frontier Communications (#558)
  • Karen W. Katz, The Neiman Marcus Group Inc. (#567)
  • Laura J. Alber, Williams-Sonoma (#594)
  • Kimberly Harris, Puget Sound Energy (#644)
  • Mindy F. Grossman, HSN (#670)
  • Amy Miles, Regal Entertainment (#691)
  • Constance H. Lau, Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. (#717)
  • Diane M. Sullivan, Brown Shoe Company (#747)
  • Tamara L. Lundgren, Schnitzer Steel Industries (#793)
  • Cindy B. Taylor, Oil States International Inc. (#797)
  • Linda A. Lang, Jack in the Box Inc. (#799)Helen McCluskey, Warnaco Inc. (#800)
  • Patti S. Hart, International Game Technology (#878)
  • Kay Krill, ANN Inc. (#883)
  • Sara Mathew, Dun & Bradstreet Inc. (#980)
  • Jane Elfers, The Children’s Place Retail Stores (#982)
  • Patricia Vincent-Collawn, PNM Resources (#983)
  • Judy R. McReynolds, Arkansas Best Corp. (#989)

In comparison, as of the 29th June 2011, there are 14 female CEO’s running FTSE 350 companies, of which 4 are FTSE 100 and 10 FTSE 250:

  • Angela Jean Ahrendts-Couch, Burberry Group PLC
  • Cynthia Blum Carroll, Anglo American PLC
  • Alison J Cooper Imperial, Tobacco Group PLC
  • Dame Marjorie Morris Scardino, Pearson PLC
  • Lynn Rosanne Fordham, SVG Capital PLC
  • Katherine Lucy Garrett-Cox, Alliance Trust PLC
  • Doctor Harriet Green, Premier Farnell PLC
  • The Hon. Diana (Dido) Mary Harding, Talktalk Telecom Group PLC
  • Doctor Louise Makin, BTG PLC
  • Carolyn Julia McCall, EasyJet PLC
  • Ruby McGregor-Smith, Mitie Group PLC
  • Heidi Mottram, Northumbrian Water Group PLC
  • Kathryn (Kate) Elizabeth Swann, WH Smith PLC
  • Dorothy Carrington Thompson, Drax Group PLC

Making it to the top against the odds

Against the odds these CEO Sisters have made it to the top in both the companies they work for – brains and ambition must run in the family.
In an interview together they talked about what lessons their parents taught them:

I would love to have been a fly on the wall as they were growing up, as from what I read their parents did a fantastic job in giving them the foundation they needed to become the CEO’s they are today.
The CEO Sisters are often interviewed together and asked about how their relationship has helped them in their career, they talk about the ability to get a different perspective on problems they may have, share contacts and network together.
Both women talk passionately about supporting women in the boardroom and the lessons they learnt from their parents which enabled them to be self confident and have the belief that anything was possible coupled with a focus that getting a good education would give them the freedom and flexibility to do anything they wanted.
One of the lessons they talked about was the “job jar” in which they could earn money from various chores. They could trade chores as long as the chores were done and even work together if they thought that was the best way to get the job done – the emphasis was that the family was a team working together. This struck a chord with me as I think it’s so important to learn the value of money early on. The way in which the CEO Sisters were taught was very clever, giving them more than just an understanding of the value of money, it also developed team working and negotiation skills from an early age, even if they weren’t aware at the time.
For two women from one family to be at the top of their chosen careers – is a rare thing, and the only example I can think of where I have seen this before is with the tennis playing Williams Sisters. I really believe that the lessons that the CEO Sisters learnt from a young age gave them the drive to learn and work hard. Their parents must be proud!
So what makes anyone stand out from the crowd and make it to the top like the CEO Sisters have – genetics, parenting, talent or luck? No one can take away from the CEO Sisters the hard work, dedication and sacrifices they must have made to get where they have today. I think coupled with a natural capability, their upbringing and the opportunities that life has then brought them has led them to where they are today.


Fulfilling Needs

This week got me thinking.

  • Why are less women at the top of companies?
  • Is there a glass ceiling or in fact… do women not want what is currently being offered at the top of corporate businesses?
  • What barriers are there to entry?
  • Are there more differences in small or larger companies?
  • Are women more or less entrepreneurial when it comes to setting up in business?
  • What drives women to succeed and what do they consider success?

Maslow Hierarchy of Needs

In a recent discussion Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” was the top of discussion

Abraham Harold Maslow (April 1, 1908 – June 8, 1970) was an American professor of psychology at Brandeis University. He is credited with founding humanistic psychology and famous for his hierarchy of needs.  Maslow put forth the idea that human beings need to fulfil basic needs before moving on to those more complex.

If Maslow’s hierarchy were to be reconsidered in today’s world, would the model be different for men and women? And if there are differences in needs does this then affect what aspirations and requirements a person has for happiness?
From the moment we are born our genes shape us, the songs our mum does or doesn’t sing to us when we are little, the stories our dad reads to us, the decisions on what school to send us to, and even what trainers we wear, the friends we make, the grades and aspirations we have, what we are inspired or not inspired by at a young age, the media, our desire to succeed, our exam results, the education path we choose, our first job, our first rejection, what we like and what drives us, the relationships we have, the people that manage us… our life shapes our needs and desires.
I have never felt I could not achieve anything because of my gender – age yes, size of my brain YES but gender no. I started work early after A Levels (I just wanted to work)  and studied at Open University later on in life. The biggest challenge was perception of age vs experience and gender in terms my pay packet. It wasn’t questioned that I could not do the jobs but the pay was not representative to equivalent jobs for male candidates and I have experienced this in both small and larger companies.

My life has shaped my needs.

I was brought up with food in abundance, I was loved and my mother sacrificed her career to look after myself and three siblings. My parents separated when I was 13. I was inspired by grandpa who set up and ran a successful fastening business – as well as manufacturing, he was one of the first people in the UK to import parts from the Far East.
As soon as I could get a job I did; I recommend a paper round to any teenager who needs to learn the value of money and hard work. Above anything else my desire was to be independent, in time it was a desire to be successful, I loved seeing the differences I could make and loved problem solving. The money was a drive as time progressed as I wanted recognition for the work that I had done.
My partners drive is in comparison different; he has more of a financial drive, driven by the need for security. He started life with financial struggles, coupled with his dad’s strict focus on education – this was the key to success and gave you choices. He traveled extensively, went to University to study Engineering and then qualified as a Chartered Accountant.

What needs do women at the top have that drives them forward to succeed?

Anita Roddick had an initial need to support her family and a desire to do things differently (ethically) which is what drove her business and made her stand out from the crowd
Ginni Rometty worked her way up to the top of IBM learning the business from the ground up. She is highly educated, well supported by her husband and has no children. I think what drives her is her need to learn and to push the boundaries on herself so she can keep growing and developing. Also to problem solve – something I am sure she is challenged and motivated by on a daily basis. In an interview (shown here) she talked about developing her confidence to push herself beyond what she felt were her capabilities being what has led to her success.

“Don’t believe in the inevitable”
Ginny Rometty

If the lower level needs are being met; you are safe, fed, watered, loved (not that basic) and educated then we as individuals can strive to achieve the higher needs and in turn help others.

So what are your needs?

Further reading on Maslow Hierarchy of Needs:


Businesswoman, Activist and Environmentalist

I can remember getting the train into Exeter when I was a teenager for a trip to the Body Shop, it was the in vogue shop at the time, with against animal testing products, refillable containers and what felt like a ethical purchase, it also smelt amazing – I, like lots of my friends loved it.
Years later when researching for setting up my own company I read Business as Unusual by Anita Roddick, the Body Shop founder, and I was inspired. The book was unlike any other Business Book I had read and took me through Roddick’s adventures of daring to be different and sticking to her principles whatever the cost. These principles are what I believe ultimately led to her success.

Dame Anita Roddick, DBE
(23 October 1942 – 10 September 2007)

A pioneer of the natural beauty industry, Roddick amassed a personal fortune of £51 million through her cosmetics and toiletries business, making her one of England’s richest women. She began The Body Shop with the vision that all types of businesses could be run ethically and that every ingredient had a story. The company was one of the first to prohibit the use of ingredients tested on animals and one of the first to promote fair trade with third world countries.

Anita Roddick

A taste of the awards Anita Roddick has received:

  • 1984 – Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year
  • 1991 – Center for World Development Education’s World Vision Award, USA
  • 1994 – Botwinick Prize in Business Ethics, USA
  • 1994 – University of Michigan’s Annual Business Leadership Award, USA
  • 1996 – Women’s Center’s Leadership Award, USA
  • 1999 – British Environment & Media Award
  • 2003 – DBE (Dame Commander of the British Empire)

Anita Roddick’s Background

Born in Littlehampton in 1942 Anita Roddick was the child of an Italian immigrant couple who instilled in her an intense work ethic. She trained as a teacher but then took an educational opportunity on a kibbutz in Israel which eventually turned into an extended working trip around the world. Soon after she got back to England her mother introduced her to her future husband, Gordon Roddick, together they opened a restaurant and then a hotel in Littlehampton. They married in 1970 with a young child and another one on the way.

The Body Shop

Anita Roddick started the The Body Shop in 1976, to create a livelihood for her family whilst her husband was travelling. At the time she described herself as having no training or experience but a desire to do things differently.
“Running that first shop taught me business is not financial science, it’s about trading: buying and selling. It’s about creating a product or service so good that people will pay for it.
It wasn’t only economic necessity that inspired the birth of The Body Shop. My early travels had given me a wealth of experience. I had spent time in farming and fishing communities with pre-industrial peoples, and been exposed to body rituals of women from all over the world. Also the frugality that my mother exercised during the war years made me question retail conventions. Why waste a container when you can refill it? And why buy more of something than you can use? We behaved as she did in the Second World War, we reused everything, we refilled everything and we recycled all we could. The foundation of The Body Shop’s environmental activism was born out of ideas like these.
Businesses have the power to do good. That’s why The Body Shop’s Mission Statement opens with the overriding commitment, ‘To dedicate our business to the pursuit of social and environmental change.’ We use our stores and our products to help communicate human rights and environmental issues.” Anita Roddick
She opened her first shop in Brighton with just 15 productsWhen her husband returned from 10-month travels, she had opened a second store and customers were asking if they could start their own Body Shop branches. In 1993 she told Third Way Magazine:
“The original Body Shop was a series of brilliant accidents. It had a great smell, it had a funky name. It was positioned between two funeral parlours–that always caused controversy. It was incredibly sensuous. It was 1976, the year of the heat wave, so there was a lot of flesh around. We knew about storytelling then, so all the products had stories. We recycled everything, not because we were environmentally friendly, but because we didn’t have enough bottles. It was a good idea. What was unique about it, with no intent at all, no marketing nous, was that it translated across cultures, across geographical barriers and social structures. It wasn’t a sophisticated plan, it just happened like that.”
and in an interview with she said:
I shouldn’t have survived, there were only 20 products in a tiny shop, but it had amazing creativity, all because we had no money.
If I had a shed load of money, I’d have done everything wrong – marketing, focus groups, although they are more important now. A lot of entrepreneurs don’t run their business, they just find a great brand – many of them couldn’t manage their way out of a paper bag! If their idea isn’t being developed by someone then they just sit on it and it never gets used… read more of the interview.

The leap from small to big business

The Body Shop arrived just as Europe was going ‘green’, I remember my decision to buy from the Body Shop was the promise of products not tested on animals and I loved the idea of refilling a container that would other wise have been thrown away, to this day the messages that The Body Shop promoted on Animal Welfare stick with me – that’s some powerful messages.
With the demand for growth Gordon Roddick came up with the idea for ‘self-financing’ so they could open more stores, which sparked the growth of The Body Shop franchise across the world. By 1978 a kiosk in Brussels became the first overseas franchise and by 1982 new shops opened at the rate of two per month.
The company went public in 1984 and at its height The Body Shop was worth £700 million.
By 1990, just one year after launching in the USA, there were 2,500 applications for a franchise. The company was now trading in 39 countries just fourteen years after opening it’s very first shop.
My background is in Systems and Change Management and I have worked for a number of growing businesses where my  job was to implement the systems, processes and team that would take the company forward. For me what was always critical was that the processes, systems and the people would work hand in hand and any changes I made needed to be thought about holistically. I have been known to “wing it” on many occasions but change needs time and full understanding. There is a great book, Change Management: Just Doing it, where the author talks about how he turned the fortunes of Sellotape UK around. I remember the example “sticking” with me of where he made changes that caused big unintended consequences because at the time he didn’t understand the process fully – worth reading.
Roddick talks about their period of huge growth, as unplanned (in which I think she meant the growth wasn,t a coordinated strategy not that the didn’t want to grow), with no systems, no marketing departments, no procedures and no organisation chart’s. I think there is something to be said for flexibility and a bit of winging it but as you grow you need to couple this with systems that support not suffocate a companies culture – a challenge but one worth taking on.
From opening one store in 1976 to floating a company in 1987 would be a feet for anyone, but for someone who was obviously creative and a free spirit this must have been a real challenge. Here Roddick talks openly about her experiences of working with Management Consultants, where she describes herself  as “losing the plot”:

Anita stepped down as chief executive in 1998 and from then on acted as a consultant.

The Body Shop – L’Oreal takeover

In March 2006 Body Shop agreed to be taken over by French cosmetics giant L’Oreal in a deal worth £652m. Its fortunes had been hit by rivals making similar products, but the Body Shop fought back and still had more than 2,000 stores in 53 countries.
At the time I can remember the sale caused controversy, because of L’Oréal’s involvement in animal testing and being part-owned by Nestlé, which has been criticised for its treatment of third world producers. I can see why the move came about but I think people felt connected to the brand and like me loved the stories that Roddick had told through the years – it was potentially the end of a chapter if not the book with the Body Shop for a lot of people.
Anita and Gordon Roddick, owned 18% of BodyShop stock and were reported to make £130m from the deal.

Anita Roddick on Women in Business

I have read lots of business books written by both men and women but Roddick’s book was one I was immediately drawn to, maybe its because I grew up seeing her brand develop and listening to the stories told through her messages. She is  a inspiring Woman who has over the years has won awards for her work supporting women in business.
In a 2001 article “Women on Top” Anita Roddick wrote:
Since I started my business, The Body Shop, in 1976, so little has changed in the corporations. Business organizations as we know them were created by men for men, often influenced by the military model. Hierarchical structures built on authority remain the same.
The only way this can be changed is for women to set up their own businesses. However, it is still far easier for a woman to go to a bank and secure a loan for a new kitchen or fitted wardrobe than it is to get them to agree to lend her money to start a business.
In every country I have traveled in the West, it is the older, larger corporations, dying of boredom, being eroded by giantism, that have lost millions of jobs. But it is the women-owned businesses that have been generating new jobs every year. My view is that these small to middle-sized companies that are becoming the backbone of any country’s economy.
Women are flooding the job market and boosting economic growth, helping to reshape the economy. They have been the linchpin in the shift toward service and away from manufacturing. Women are a strong force behind corporate innovations such as flextime, cafeteria benefit plans, and day care centers. Women have forced the humanization of the workplace.

If you start thinking big, you will be obsessed with the bigness rather than with getting that smallness brilliant.
Anita Roddick

The corporate world must take, and in many ways is already taking, notice. Women have to be listened to — they are standing up and they are shouting!
My advice to any woman thinking of running her own business is to start small and think of one thing — that you are in control of your own life. Think of it as an honorable livelihood, nothing more. If you start thinking big, you will be obsessed with the bigness rather than with getting that smallness brilliant.”
When I started my business in 2007, I found that being a woman in business gave me an edge, maybe because the industry I was working in was male orientated and even opened up grant opportunities. I even had found support with free mentoring, help with business planning and finances.

Activist and Environmental Campaigner

Aswell as running her hugely successful company Roddick was actively involved in activism and campaigning for environmental and social issues, including:

  • 1985 – Stop the dumping of toxic waste in North Sea, Greenpeace
  • 1980s – Against Animal Testing for cosmetics, collected 4 million signatures through shops
  • 1990 – Set-up project to refurbish 3 Romanian orphanages. Work extended into Albania and Bosnia
  • 1991 – Funded Unrepresented Nations and Peoples organization
  • 1993 to 98 – Ogoni Campaign against Shell and Nigeria
  • 1997 – Self-Esteem Campaign with its controversial mascot, Ruby, exposes myth of the perfect body
  • 2001 onwards –  Challenging Exxon-Mobil, World’s No 1 Global Warming Villain and campaigning for renewable energy for world’s 2 billion poorest people, Greenpeace
  • 2001 onwards – Challenging Globalization/Free Trade agenda of WTO, Trade Justice Coalition
  • 2001 onwards – Sweatshop Labor and workers’ rights in Free Trade Zones, National Labour Committee

In an opening statement in her book, Business as Unusual, she said:
“I have never believed that business was in a separate compartment from civilizing the world. That’s why I have always been an activist, an agitator and an entrepreneur rather than a conventional business leader.”
When Anita ran the Body Shop it was impossible to separate the company values from the issues that she cared about – social responsibility, respect for human rights, the environment and animal protection, and an absolute belief in Community Trade.
Footdown believes in putting people first and aligning people with the culture and values of the organisation – and Roddick did just this. She created a culture based on her values and the people around her believed in her and her values.
In 2004, Roddick was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis due to long-standing hepatitis C. After she revealed this to the media in February 2007, she promoted the work of the Hepatitis C Trust and campaigned to increase awareness of the disease. Anita Roddick continued even through her battle with health to fight for human rights and against economic initiatives and structures that abuse and ignore them.

My Thoughts

From humble beginnings, necessity and the desire to do the right thing, Anita Roddick is an inspiration.
As a Human Rights Activist and Founder of The Body Shop you just can’t help but be inspired and if not over whelmed by the achievements of one woman.

When I went into business, I didn’t think you had to leave yourself and your beliefs at the door.
Anita Roddick

Supported by her husband and inspired by her mother’s ethics she was hard working and unflinching in her beliefs.
As well as sticking to her principles, she listened to the people around her, nurtured her business and aligned the companies culture with her values.
She created a worldwide and powerful brand, followed the journey of every ingredient, had a passion for people and her products.
Even through the growth of The Body Shop her business stayed the same; a shop selling cosmetics and toiletries. Who would have thought that “bubble bath” and “moisturiser” could make such an impact on the way we buy and the way companies trade.
To close only the words of Anita Roddick can do her justice:
“The Body Shop is not, and nor was ever, a one-woman-show – it’s a global operation with thousands of people working towards common goals and sharing common values. That’s what has given it a campaigning and commercial strength and continues to set it apart from mainstream business.” Anita Roddick


Women at the Top

Throughout my career, so far, I continue to be inspired by the women in my life and in the working world. This week I read an article about newly appointed IBM CEO, Ginny Rometty, this has inspired me to research and write about the women who make it to top , what inspires them, motives them against the odds to get to the top of normally male dominated positions, why do women start the businesses they run and how do they balance what is important to them in there lives and what makes them tick. So each week I will learn and share lessons about how women are making it to, staying at and enjoying it at the top.

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty

In 2011 the The IBM board of Directors elected Ginni Rometty as president and CEO of the company, to start in January 2012, making her the first ever woman to head up IBM, an awesome achievement.

IBM via Bloomberg

“Ginni got it because she deserved it… It’s got zero to do with progressive social policies. She is more than a superb operational executive. With every leadership role, she has strengthened our ability to integrate IBM’s capabilities for our clients. She has spurred us to keep pace with the needs and aspirations of our clients by deepening our expertise and industry knowledge. Ginni’s long-term strategic thinking and client focus are seen in our growth initiatives, from cloud computing and analytics to the commercialization of Watson. She brings to the role of CEO a unique combination of vision, client focus, unrelenting drive, and passion for IBMers and the company’s future. I know the board agrees with me that Ginni is the ideal CEO to lead IBM into its second century.”  S Palmisano IBM CEO 2003 -2011.
This move promoted her from IBM senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing and strategy, where she was accountable for revenue, profit, and client satisfaction in the 170 global markets in which IBM does business. She was responsible for IBM’s worldwide results, which exceeded $99 billion in 2010 and also for leading IBM’s global strategy, marketing and communications functions.
Ginni Rometty is on the Board of Trustees of her alma mater Northwestern University, as well as on the Board of Overseers of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and on The Deming Cup’s committee at Columbia Business School, which recognises individuals for operational excellence.

Ginni Rometty Background

Born in 1958, Ginni Rometty grew up in a Chicago suburb and is the oldest of four children. She has a Bachelor of Science degree with high honors in computer science and electrical engineering from Northwestern University. After graduation in 1979, she started an internship with General Motors in Detroit, where she met her husband Mark and joined IBM in 1981 as a systems engineer. She splits her time living in White Plains, New York, and Bonita Springs, Florida, where she and her husband Mark are avid scuba divers.

Career Highlights

  • In 2002, she championed the purchase of the big business consulting firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting, for $3.5 billion, this acquisition was the largest in professional services history, creating a global team of more than 100,000 business consultants and service experts
  • Credited with spearheading IBM’s growth strategy by getting the company into the cloud computing and analytics businesses.
  • Successfully led several of IBM’s most important businesses over the past decade—from the formation of IBM Global Business Services to the build-out of our Growth Markets Unit, which is expected to contribute as much as 30 percent of IBM revenues by 2015.
  • Named in Fortune magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for seven consecutive years, ranking #7 for 2011.
  • Led her group into the business of providing technology for complex transportation systems and upgrades of the electric grid. That spadework blossomed last year into IBM’s uber-strategy of providing the business expertise to help create a “smarter” planet.

Ginni Rometty on Taking Risks

CEO with a conscience

As well as being on the Board of Overseers of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Rometty is a leader in diversity initiatives including IBM’s Women in Technology Council and the Women’s Leadership Council, and is one of the senior sponsors of the Women’s Executive Council. She is a frequent speaker at industry and business conferences.
Speaking at Northwestern University commencement speech last year, she said:
“IBM’s long- standing mantra is ‘Think.’ What has always made IBM a fascinating and compelling place for me, is the passion of the company, and its people, to apply technology and scientific thinking to major societal issues. Every day I get to ‘Think’ and work on everything from digitizing electric grids so they can accommodate renewable energy and enable mass adoption of electric cars, helping major cities reduce congestion and pollution, to developing new micro- finance programs that help tiny businesses get started in markets such as Brazil, India, Africa.  After 30 years, I’m genuinely excited to get up and apply those problem- solving skills in ways I would never have imagined when I was sitting where you are.”

Rometty on her Success

In an interview Rometty credits her husband with a crucial insight that helped shape her corporate ambitions and says she has grown the most in her career through “experiential” learning.
“I learned the most in my life and career when I took a risk.”
“Her succession at IBM has been the result of careful, long- term planning by the company’s board. Rometty not only held many key positions at IBM during her career, she also has received mentoring and exposure to global leaders important to IBM’s future” said R Kanter a Harvard Business School professor.

My Thoughts

This is no over-night promotion or success story. Ginni’s success comes from 30 years service at IBM, where she started as a System Engineer. She has worked hard in many areas of a large organisation, developed her skill set and made huge impacts on business revenues and strategy. Also from what I can see she has made personal sacrifices; having never had children and her husband provides a role that supports her in a very demanding job.
In the 2011 list of Fortune 500 companies, ranking of America’s largest corporations, 12 are run by women. That’s just 2%, so Ginny joins an small group of women at the top in the America.
Good luck to Ginny in heading up IBM and I look forward to reading more about her journey at the top.

Being a Fussy Foodie

Food Diary Week 7

Sorry its been a while since my last food diary post, so I have a few weeks that I will be catching up on. Hope the updates are still helping with some inspiration for those of you with multiple food intolerance’s like me, I am trying to mix things up with a few new recipes and ideas to inspire so watch this space. Continue Reading…

Being a Fussy Foodie/ Dairy Free


I was doing some research into the different types of soya milks when I came across “inulin” as an ingredient in some soya milks and had no idea what it was and why it was there. I really don’t like not knowing what an ingredient is, so for anyone wondering what inulin is and if you should worry about it Continue Reading…

Drink/ No added sugar

Licorice Tea

Mmmm just relaxing from my latest mug of licorice tea, so warming. My nutritionist advised me that I should have one licorice tea a day to help with some of my tummy issues and I have to say they are tastetastic, and if like me you don’t have any sugar (except fruits) in your diet you will be pleased Continue Reading…