The harder I work, the luckier I get!
You are the average of the 5 people that you spend the most time with. So surround yourself as much as you can with positive, good people if you want a peacefully, successful life. Someone once said ‘Before you diagnose yourself with depression or anxiety, first check that you are not in fact, surrounded by assholes’.
If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
If someone is always surrounded by drama and it’s one nightmare after another, and they’ve been repeatedly supported to get out of their drama but it persists, give up trying to be their saviour sooner rather than later. They only have drama in their life and that’s why they keep it around. After all, without it what would they be left with? If you don’t move away fast enough, they will take a part of your soul with them.
People who are being a pain are carrying pain. Ask yourself why someone might be behaving aggressively and unkindly before taking it personally. It’s usually not about you, it’s about them.
If you have an invitation to something exciting and have a plus one, never invite that flaky friend who is always late and will leave you let down and stranded for the first half like Sally-no-mates. Invite a reliable mate. Life’s too short.
Have a small but loyal set of friends that are #rideordie, will listen to your trials and tribulations, knock you back down to earth if you get too big for your boots, (you’re never too big for the boot – Stormzy!), come over with tea, cake, crisps and cuddles when you have a life tragedy and accept you for all the crazy that you are. My girl friends truly are the family I chose. With a great set of friends you will never need therapy or expensive counselling.
Online bookings aren’t always cheaper than calling the airline directly. I’ve often saved hundreds by talking to a real actual human being. Virgin Atlantic definitely my fave all-round brand. Friendly, hospitable and fun to travel with. They have edible food, ice-lollies and in-flight massages and random fun.
Buy flights to depart on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Saturdays – they’re usually much cheaper on these days of the week.
It’s ALWAYS worth checking in online 24 hours before the flight to grab the best seat. Do you really want to risk sitting next to the loo on a transatlantic flight.
When travelling never fold clothes. Always lay clothes in sets on top of each other (dresses / trousers / tee shirt) and then roll the clothes up into a huge Swiss roll and pack. This ensures crease-free clothing at your destination, as well as a deterrent for airport thieves to sneak a hand into your zipped up case and grab something quickly to steal.
Buy cheap Primark jewellry (or other cheap retailers are available), for beach and travel vacations so as not to bother worrying about loss / theft of your sentimental valuables. Especially on tropical beach holidays where you will sky-line, scuba dive and inevitably lose or damage your diamonds. Lol. #CheapTrinketsAreUs
If you are ever transiting through South Africa, throw a strop in the office and insist that your production manager re-routes your transit to Namibia or frankly, anywhere on the planet. Suitcases left unattended in transit at Jo’burg airport are in mortal danger and will get sucked into the airport Bermuda triangle never to be seen again.
Where possible always negotiate a couple of extra days abroad after business trips. Business trips and weekends to far-flung places like Australia, Africa and the Caribbean for two days then flying straight back aren’t fun. And why not take advantage of the fact that your employer has already paid for the flights! YOLO
Always carry your teabags on vacation with you. Even one of my fave hotels in the world, The Carlton in Cannes doesn’t have real English Breakfast tea. It might say it on the packet or silver teapot, but it’s never really real. (My personal preference is Yorkshire tea).
There should be at least one password that no one close to you, or even your best mate that’s shared all your childhood secrets, should be able to figure out.
We pop our passwords into gadgets hundreds of times a week. So make your password is something that reminds you of a future life goal. It’s the best re-focus method ever. If you are entering a life goal into your mobile numerous times a day you cant go off track.
Double-check everything before blindly hitting ‘’share’’ on social media. Spreading fake news because it agrees with your political thinking or outrages you is the start of an unhappy, depressed mind. To my embarrassment, I have been guilty of this. Fake news is everywhere. Forget the days when the millennium was approaching and the world was doomed to end. The world is truly ending now.
It’s the universal law that if you haven’t backed up your phone data that you will lose it all when least expected. Set up auto-back-up on your devices regularly so you don’t lose or regret not planning ahead. My girl scouts days are always with me. Plan ahead. Be prepared. Fail to prepare- prepare to fail! Thanks Mrs Errington!
The stuff you see on social media is just a teeny percentage of what is reality in most peoples lives. Its curated, filtered and marketed like never before. Don’t compare your life to theirs. We ALL have our own THING going on.
Try not to turn up to people’s homes later than arranged and empty-handed. Even a last minute gift of nibbles, drinks or flowers say I appreciate your kind invitation.
If you are always attending other peoples homes and never invite them back to yours, that one-sided friendship might not be as equal as you think and the invites may start fizzling out. Unless of course your mates have screaming toddlers that need to be around their toys and sticky mess. Then they can always expect you to meet up with them for prosecco at their crib.
If you damage someone else’s property offer to replace it/ fix it immediately. I’ve lost count of the number of people who will stain your carpets with beverage spillages or break your chandeliers in an over excited moment of debate, and never offer to repair. This is why my dinner party guests can only drink dark/red drinks in the kitchen. Seriously I am THAT anal.
Be nice. For as long as possible. But if someone really oversteps the mark, it’s okay to turn into Godzilla. Karma is a bitch and bad behavior will always catch up with you. When responding to rude people take the high road. (see the recent Taylor Swift / Britney example) always be Britney.
The harder I work, the luckier I get!
If you’re putting a professional working team together, avoid friends. Or at least avoid friends that you have to drag to the table to be available. The business will flop and so will your friendship. Cut the losses early. You will keep it moving, the stagnant folk will always be stagnant and wonder why they never get ahead. If you are the stagnant one, sign up to a self – help daily free e-mail that may help you make better life choices. My favourite is Marc & Angel Hack Life.
The harder you work the luckier you get. Its easy to look on at the great breaks others get and wonder why it wasn’t you. They’re not lucky. They work hard. Great things happen when preparation meets opportunity.
If you want to work in media you have to be a tough cookie. Media folks don’t get sick often. We have shoots, deadlines and stories which can’t simply be take over by a colleague. Our exciting lifestyle means adrenalin keeps us healthy. No sick days on this HR record.
If you want to be a TV presenter NEVER say it out loud to a media professional. It’s like the kiss of death for us. It screams ‘I want to be famous’. Instead, show off your area of expertise and specialist skills and one day soon they’ll be inviting you to talk on the telly.
Incentive is everything. You can persuade anyone to do anything, if you make it hard for them to say no, by making them an offer they can’t refuse.
In employment, it would be nice if you could just be good at your job, but let’s not pretend that overall presentation visually isn’t important. If you walk into work looking like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards, and your nails are a chewed, chipped mess or your body odour is on nauseating levels people will judge you. I’ve had to speak to two members of staff in two decades about B.O and its awkward. Fix up, look sharp is not just a Dizzee Rascal song.
Always have a topical elevator pitch ready to go. You really will bump into your aspirational business guru one day and kick yourself later for being gob smacked. Yes, Oprah probably wasn’t most impressed with me and I spent a whole week in her company. #Fail
Be better than the rest. Why should people employ you to do an average job? Always go above and beyond what is requested and be the company ‘’can-do’’ person. I didn’t want to make a years worth of teas, coffees, photocopy scripts, pick up lunches, babysit staff kids, drive around picking up props, etc on The Big Breakfast but I did it and those early lessons bode me well. (After i went from runner to presenter, I made the producer that was always bitchy to me with her tea demands pay when she became my producer and roles were reversed. Once she was looking after me, I –in jest – teased her daily about JUST how I liked my tea!) #PayBacksAbitch
Understand boundaries. Agree to disagree professionally and don’t pull rank. That person you power-move over today may be your line manager next year. The industry is small, people talk. If you have reputation as being mean or unprofessional you can start queuing at your local benefit office now.
We all have the same 24 hours as Beyonce.
Be one with nature. I would be lost without my regular, weekend; early River Thames walks with my mates. We banter, share, debate and finish with brunch. Nature is hard to get at one with in a busy urban city, but park walks are free, instant therapy for a peaceful mind and soul. Don’t subscribe to what people have brainwashed you into believing are your natural ‘cultural stereotypes’. You’d never believe the things I was told by closed-minded folk when I was a kid…. I.e. ethnic people don’t ski / walk along rivers / go see the Northern lights. I do all that. I have brown skin. Deal with it.
There are 3 main fitness areas – strength, cardio, and flexibility. Don’t be the bulky ironman in the gym that can’t press your own body weight, do planks or touch your own toes. NO point in being able to lift a house if you can’t run for 5 minutes. Train using your own body weight as much as possible. No point lifting a house when u can’t do ten pushups!
All rich people’s living rooms look the same. Cream carpets / cream sofas. Lamps and candle sticks chandeliers with tones of caramel / brown / grey. (Unless you’re rock & roll and then a few Andy Warhol-esque family portraits and neon signs with naughty words mesh with pure white rooms). I made MTV Cribs, I’ve seen it all.
When throwing parties NEVER have a VIP section. Puffy taught me that. A VIP section immediately gives the party a ‘them & us’ vibe so no-one feels good. A party is for mingling, mixing and engaging with all. If you need a VIP area you’re hosting a bad party where you make half your mates feel inferior.
Consider a group lunch pool at work. Like a car-pool but better. Between your work colleague’s, shop for yummy, healthy food on a Monday from the deli and store in the work fridge space. Hummus, chicken, salmon, prawns, sweet corn, sweet potato, tomatoes on the vine, sun-dried tomatoes, beetroot, fancy cheeses, broccoli, asparagus, coleslaw etc. Every day you have a variety of healthy, diverse food choices and it costs us in our lunch syndicate one pound a day – really! (Beware the coleslaw fiend. Buy extra coleslaw for her, cos if it runs out she won’t be happy).
Try not to be a creative arts snob. There’s nothing worse than seeing early adaptors of tech, music and more scoff at latecomers. People access things at different times in different ways and we shouldn’t judge their journey. I once attended Glastonbury with a very famous person who was disgruntled at ‘’all these new Jay Z fans standing at the front, they should be made to go to the back cos they hadn’t even heard of him when I bought his first album!’. WTF. Seriously?
But do be a judgmental snob if you see folks in the supermarket wearing pyjamas and Ugg boots. Some things just make you shudder. Sorry, not sorry.
White vinegar is a God-send. Pop in the fridge to get rid of smells or in the kitchen a small cup will soak up cooking smells. It will also clean the bathroom better than many detergents.
Always keep a fab shoes and frock option in your car / under desk in case of last minute fab invites. I am ALWAYS ready for spontaneous activities and invites. My car boot has all my gym stuff and a pair of fancy shoes and frock. Always. This is the only life we have! (Unless you believe in an afterlife in which case, stay at home nightly cos there’s bad weather in London). See you in the afterlife. Or not.
Keep nail-varnish-free as often as possible to avoid yellowing nails. Or always use a base coat. It’s worth not having witch talons in the future. If your nails discolour using red nail polish, soaking them in lemon juice usually sorts them out. There’s only one time of the year for witches and thats not everyday.
The best mascara brand is Rimmel. My preference is Rimmel Kate.
Never go make a beeline for the hottest guy in the room. He’ll be riddled with issues and insecurities. Go for anyone past the 6th hottest. He will always be more grounded and likely a keeper.
Never moisturise hands and feet before a yoga class. You’ll slip & slide and binding poses will be impossible.
People say we live in an equal age where women can get up to the same as men and we all pretend it’s true. It’s not. We would like it to be so- yes. Unfortunately, women are always judged for being ”too much”, criticised for embracing their sexuality, described as bitchy or cold if they are assertive leaders and more. You can choose to be just how you want to be. Feminism and equality is about having the choice and freedom to be who you desire to be. You choose what seems to be appropriate and whether your life choice will ultimately be a positive or negative decision for you, no-one else. Try not to hurt people, be kind and remember karma is real. Be the best you that you can be, and you won’t go far wrong
Ladies please wear shoes your real size. When did it become a thing to wear sexy heels that are a size or two too big and flopping off your heels as you walk? Seeing this on insta regularly is freaking me out. Weird.
Don’t be old-skool British in your thinking. We are far too modest and afraid to push ourselves forwards. Don’t think that by pushing yourself forwards you are being ‘’too much or too pushy’’. Shine as brightly as you can and don’t let others make you feel insecure about it. People offended by your light shining don’t have your best interests at heart. When I work with American and Asian colleagues they are pushing themselves, their brands and ideas daily, literally after I’ve just shaken hands with them.
Haters are a good sign. The more they hate the better you must be doing. Let the haters fuel your ambition. Tell them ‘Yes haters, keep watching, I have much more for you!’. (See Maya Angelou’s definition of a hater elsewhere on this site)
Be ever-thankful for your mentors in life. Those that have supported and guided you through your journey. As a child, mine were my ballet teachers Joan Crouch and Sara Ridley, many years ago my bosses at MTV Kim Luck, Will MacLachlan and Richard Godfrey, my former MTV SVP colleague – now life mentor Fleur Sarfaty and Channel 4 News’ editor/ my one time boss and now factual commissioner Shaminder Nahal and the fabulous Donna Taberer -Head of BBC Talent who has fought for diversity and inclusion all her life and is responsible for hundreds of people making it in TV. An amazing set of people that have inspired me to mentor downwards and pass on the good vibes.
Sometimes when you lose you really win. Job interviews / romances / opportunities. Trust me. Something better is around the corner waiting to scoop you up.
Video your loved ones in happy times. Ask them questions about their lives, hopes, dreams, and achievements. Once they’ve passed away, photos won’t be enough. It’s their voice and mannerisms you’ll miss most. Most importantly cherish your parents. You can never know the sacrifices they’ve made and how much they’ve worried about you. I cringe when I recall my mum sitting at her bedroom window waiting for me to come home at 4am each weekend cos she was worried about 15/16 year old me.
Never believe people who are a hot organisational mess at home but insist that they are really organised at work. If you’re late, miss deadlines and have no manners consistently, this usually reflects across all your life areas. Fix up. How you are anywhere, is how you are everywhere.
We all have our own crosses and burdens to bear. No ones life is perfect. It’s difficult to juggle family, life, career and love. We all go through pain. Don’t be afraid to share your anxieties. Once you share you will find everyone else shares theirs too. The saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ is true.
In the last few years of my dad’s life when I was his sole carer I tried to juggle horrific carer and life scenarios. It was hell. Once I shared my woes with close friends, family and colleagues I was amazed to hear, many were going through or had already gone through similar situations and therefore supported and informed me of organisations that could help. We all have our ‘’thing’’ going on. Be kind to each other.
When you see injustice, are you brave enough to stand alone and voice your thoughts, to try and be that one small step that leads and builds movement and momentum to make society a better place? Always choose to challenge injustices (professionally).
Know that good lifestyles are earned. Ask yourself “Am I willing to live a few years of my life like many people won’t working really bloody hard, so I can spend the rest of my life like many people can’t, still working bloody hard, but doing something I love”. If you’re not, then stop whining and stay in your lane.
Don’t be afraid to give out compliments to others if it instantly comes to you. See a classy woman, like her fashion, admire her hair, and love her speech? Tell her. Women supporting women is a great thing. We hear a lot about women putting each other down. Tell someone why they stood out to you. You will feel great. They will feel greater. People will forget what you said to them but never forget how you made them feel.
The world is your classroom. Travel as much as you can and see this amazing planet that we call home.
Happy International Women’s Day 2017!