These are the Marie Claire Verified influencers you need to start following now

These are the Marie Claire Verified influencers you need to start following now


Photo: Olivier Degoulange/REX/Shutterstock

Tonight marks Marie Claire’s Verified party in partnership with Hugo Boss Watches, celebrating this year’s power list, the women using their platforms for positive change – the influencers you need to be following now.

In our complicated and messy modern world, a meaningless pout posted on social media no longer cuts it. We’re looking to influencers who have something to say, and who are prepared to take a stand. Style without substance is not enough when there’s so much at stake – from the future of our planet and our politics to the ongoing fight for equality and representation. That’s why the Marie Claire Verified power list 2019 champions women who use Instagram to amplify a positive message, inspire others, build a community, start a movement or open a difficult conversation. We’re celebrating those who use their influence – today’s most sort-after commodity – to make things a bit better than they were yesterday.

Take film-maker Kat Hawkins (@amputee_kat; 10.2K followers), a self-described ‘film-maker, movement shaker, disabled babe’, who charts her life as an amputee and inspires us all to take life ‘one step at a time’, or Lauren Mahon (@iamlaurenmahon; 43.4K followers), who paints an honest and heartfelt portrayal of life with cancer. Immy Lucas (@sustainably_vegan; 59K followers) also stars on this year’s list. Lucas started the Low Impact Movement to help us all try to lead a more sustainable and responsible lifestyle, encouraging us to make small, achievable changes each day. Meanwhile, Grace Victory (@gracefvictory; 151K followers), podcaster, counsellor and all-round inspiration, wants women to ‘step into their power’, and Candice Brathwaite (@candicebrathwaite; 38.7K followers) has started an online movement and podcast to challenge the images of motherhood online.

We hope you agree that the impressive women listed – some of whom you might have already spotted in Marie Claire and others who you will be seeing more of over the next 12 months on our platforms – are all working hard to make a difference in the digital world and beyond, with core values that align with our own.

The post These are the Marie Claire Verified influencers you need to start following now appeared first on Marie Claire.

Payal Kadakia: ‘We need more diversity on the other side of the table’


Female tech founder Payal Kadakia is next in our Women Who Win series, giving us some insight into how tough you have to be to hack it at the top…

You may not have heard of Payal Kadakia just yet, but you’ll certainly know her brainchild, ClassPass, with the fitness membership app giving access to the most on-trend classes across the globe, from boxing to barre.

In the UK alone, there are classes across London, Bristol, Brighton, Edinburgh and Manchester, and it’s only spreading.

‘People always think I’m this huge fitness person,’ the ClassPass founder explained to our Junior News Editor Jenny Proudfoot over avocado toast. ‘But, I started this company because I am scared of fitness. I didn’t even own sneakers until I was in my twenties. I was not an athlete by any means. I hated gym class. No one wanted me on their team.’

But Payal found a gap in the market due to her own need, quitting her corporate job to set up her own company from scratch in Starbucks.

‘My own product has helped me feel so strong,’ she explained. ‘I feel really confident now walking into any class, and through ClassPass, we’ve made it really fun and made everyone feel like they can do that too.’

View this post on Instagram

that way, you're always moving forward

A post shared by ClassPass (@classpass) on Apr 16, 2019 at 1:45pm PDT

But starting a business from scratch doesn’t come without its difficulties, something Payal wouldn’t let stop her on her mission.

‘Failure for any company is running out of capital. That’s the only failure that actually happens – when you cannot pay your bills and pay people working for you,’ she explained. ‘That’s when you have a shutdown. But until that moment, everything is fair game. And you need to make as many hard decisions as you can.’

Our Women Who Win interview series celebrates strong and inspirational female trailblazers, shaping the future for us all, and Payal Kadakia and her refusal to let anyone or anything stand in her way is that in a nutshell.

Jenny Proudfoot sat down with Payal to find out how tough you have to be to survive as a female founder nowadays and why we shouldn’t be afraid of making mistakes…

What is the boldest thing you’ve ever done?

Quitting my job. That is one of the scariest things anyone can do because you’re throwing security out of the door. I always remember that day. I don’t think I realised how bold I was being at the time because you almost feel a little defeated – you’re quitting. But I was in a job where my dreams weren’t there and there was no one I aspired to be or for my company to become. The way people reacted to my quitting changed my perception. I earned a tonne of respect from all these people who were like ten years older than me because I made a really bold decision in my life. The tables had flipped and then I realised, that was the way to lead life.

What is the best advice anyone’s ever given you?

It was around the time I started building my company, from one of my earliest advisors. I was going to potentially take a job at Spotify because it was scary not having an income, and she told me, ‘If you’re not going to bet on yourself, how is anyone else going to?’. It was an eye-opening moment for me and I didn’t take any other job and focused on ClassPass from that date forward.

What has been your proudest moment?

When my parents first saw my office. We moved into our big office in New York in 2016, and while it was five years into the journey, I think my parents were wondering ‘What is my daughter doing? Does she have a real job?’, until then. You have to remember, my parents came to America with nothing, and while they believed in me and were really sweet, when they saw my office, that was a really important moment for them to be like, ‘Wow, this is your office and you employ all these people’. But really, I feel like every single time someone hits ‘book’ it makes me proud – especially after being on this journey for eight years. Obviously now we’re in the millions of reservations, but because I remember fighting for every one, I find it such a privilege.

Have you ever felt discriminated against as a female founder?

I can’t think of a particular moment, but I do remember in the early stages one of the hardest things was selling the product. I was pitching to a predominantly female-specific market but most of the people around the table that I was selling to were men. It just made it harder to raise money – that’s the reality of it. We need more diversity on the other side of the table and that’s really what it comes down to. I developed a really strong armour against gender discrimination in my youth and now I won’t let anyone doubt me. Sadly we do have misconceptions in the world – it happens everywhere. I just need to show them that even though I’m different, I can be exceptional at what I do. We need more role models in the world to make people look and change their minds.

How can we all ask for more?

Before you walk into any meeting or have that conversation, you need to convince yourself that you deserve it. Whether that comes down to writing out all the reasons why you deserve it or pumping yourself up, you have to believe it – that’s what it comes down to. If you walk into any room being like, ‘I’m going to do this and it’s mine’, it’s not a question and it’s not up to anyone else. Let it be already done.

What is your mantra?

There’s a quote by Robert Sherman that I live by which is, ‘Your greatest life is on the other side of your greatest fear’. I live by that all the time.

What will you never compromise on?

My time. I think time is the most important thing we have. I try not to feel guilty about how I spend my time because that, to me, is a compromise. If I want to go and do something, whether that be going to class or dance or whatever, I give myself the permission to make sure I do that. I think if you can figure out how you work and how you spend your time efficiently, it’s the best way to move forward in your life.

How do you achieve the right work-personal life balance?

You can’t. I mean honestly, in the earliest days, I didn’t. I was very okay with that. I learned to not feel guilty about it. I missed people’s weddings, I missed friends’ things, I was MIA for a while. I think all my friends knew I had this dream of something I wanted to build. I am a really mission-oriented person. Nothing over-rides mission to me. I truly believe people in your life should understand that.

What has held you back?

Sadly, the buck stops with you. I don’t mean this in any bad way, but it’s when you get stuck in your own thoughts and when you doubt yourself that stops you progressing. The world doesn’t want to doubt people. The world wants to root for you. I think it’s about being able to root for yourself as well. We all have moments when we get stuck in our heads and think, ‘Oh I don’t think I can do that’, but I’ve learned how to work my way out of that and find the right people in my life to help move forward.

What is your superpower?

My superpower is my ability to focus. Even when I was younger, I could be in the middle of a party and read a book.  And now, when I have something to solve or something to do, I just know how to do it really quickly. It’s intense and weaves into everything I do.

What has been your biggest mistake?

I really don’t believe in mistakes and I’m saying that truthfully. I believe that all failures are points that take you to the next step in your life. So I don’t really dwell too much on them – I rationalise each moment whether it was a down moment or an up moment, it’s a part of what will happen next.

What’s your typical day?

There’s no such thing as ‘typical’ in the life of an entrepreneur. I think it really comes down to knowing what hard decisions you need to make every single day and prioritising your time. In fact, I think that once you get into a typical routine, it’s actually the best way to fail. It means you’re too comfortable. I think as a leader you have to constantly be putting yourself in a new atmosphere and a new challenge which means it’s never going to be typical.

What has inspired you?

Growing up in America I sadly got made fun of a lot for being Indian, but it was a defining moment in my life. The hard thing was that I loved my culture – I have always had a love of dance and movement and all of my dancing is from the history of my ancestors. I remember starting to hide my culture from my friends – I felt like I was living two lives. And at some point, that adversity is what inspired my first company – a dance company. I thought, ‘I’m doing something so beautiful – maybe I can use that as a vehicle to show people what my culture is all about’.

How do you psych yourself up?

I love going to a class or running. To me, that is like meditation in a way. We’re around our phones and technology all the time, so I need moments when I’m away from that. It doesn’t even mean being silent but movement just helps me think better and helps my creativity. I just feel strong.

How do you celebrate success?

Celebrating with the people that made it happen. The best things in the world have never happened because of one person – they happened because of a group of people – so I think it comes down to saying thank you. But success to me isn’t an endpoint, and I say that in the sense that I don’t want to ever be done. To me, success is having another dream. And I never want to be done on that journey.

What is one change you would like to see for women?

I think everything I have learned in my journey comes down to being confident in who I am. And so that is what I would like to see for women, for men, for anyone in the world – to have that confidence and remember it’s all your choice – the environment you hang out in, the career you have, the people you work with, the work you do – it’s all your choice. And the more you know that, the more you hold your cards on what you can become. It’s not up to anyone else.

ClassPass is the leading online fitness membership and is available in five major cities across the UK, including London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Bristol and Brighton. 

The post Payal Kadakia: ‘We need more diversity on the other side of the table’ appeared first on Marie Claire.



Meet Ellie Norman – Formula One’s first female executive on a mission to rebrand the sport

Meet Ellie Norman – Formula One’s first female executive on a mission to rebrand the sport


‘44% of our fan base is actually female’

Ellie Norman

Ellie Norman was working at Virgin Media when she got a call in the beginning of 2017 from her now-boss Sean Bratches, Managing Director of Commercial Operations at F1, asking to meet him for a coffee. Today, Formula One’s first female executive, is doing her very best to change the sport’s false perception.

Did you feel comfortable going into Formula One?

‘Believe it or not, as a ten-year-old girl I dreamt of being a female Formula One driver. I never got to the stage, as you may have guessed, but I’ve always had a love for cars and speed – I obtained my racing license in 2007 – and I am fascinated by the engines and technology in cars. Having that general, sort of basic, knowledge of the automotive industry, made the transition easier.’

Ellie Norman

Ellie Norman, Director of Marketing & Communications at Formula One

Growing up as a girl interested in cars, did you ever feel like the industry was primarily targeted towards men?

‘That’s really interesting because from a very young age, I’ve never seen any barriers. I grew up on a farm with my sisters – my dad was a farmer – and we weren’t really exposed to gender stereotypes. I got thrown into the deep end, worked outside with machinery and altering vehicles like tractors. I’ve never looked at anything and thought: that’s more of a boy’s thing versus a girl’s thing.’

You’re the Director of Marketing & Communications at Formula One. What keeps you busy on a daily basis?

‘My role is structured around delivering the business’s three main objectives. First, we want more people to engage with the sports, this can be via TV or via digital channels. Secondly, we want more people to attend the races around the world. And finally, we want to grow our fan base, make Formula One as relevant to as many people as possible. There is a false perception that F1 is a male-oriented sport, but 44% of our fan base is actually female. I believe that as an organisation and as a sport, we have the responsibility to look for ways to further increase that inclusion and diversity.’

Is that why you removed the grid girls?

‘We realised that if we wanted to grow our female fan base, this was a decision we had to make. Their roles were no longer relevant – the drivers couldn’t actually see the lollipops these girls were holding, neither could the audience that was watching the race on TV. This one simple move has allowed us to shine the spotlight on other highly skilled women in the sport, like the women in the pit crew, broadcasters, marketers and event managers – there are a lot more women taking on roles in this sport than you might expect.’

So you never doubted this decision?

‘Oh no, not at all. t’s fair to say that it was a controversial decision that didn’t make everyone happy. Especially for the older fan base – those who have been avid fans of F1 for years – it was a big change. It was incredibly interesting to see the amount of support we received from newer fans and the Generation Z audience, as well as from young guys who found the whole concept slight archaic.’

Tell me more about how you’re getting Gen Z interested?

‘One of our goals is to inspire the younger generations to consider careers in Formula One. The sport has always been perceived as quite elitist. We want to break down these barriers, open up the conversation with Gen Z, and the best way to do that is via social media. We had Millie Bobby Brown from Stranger Things come in and join us. That gave us an opportunity to create relevant content and portray the sport in much more relatable way to her fan base.’

It is still very much a male-dominated industry. Do you have a lot of women working for you?

‘When I joined the company, I got an office, a mobile phone, a laptop and essentially a blank sheet of paper. I was very conscious about how to built my team – we’re a small team, only 22 people – so my recruitment strategy was to hire 50-50 men and women, some with experience outside the industry, as well as people from within F1.’

What advice would you give young girls that want to get into Formula One?

‘As an aspiring race driver, you have to stay focussed and keep the momentum up – work hard and go for it. There are more and more young women coming up through the ranks, like Tatiana Calderón – the first woman to compete in Formula 2 – and Jamie Chadwick. If you’re interested in the business side of F1, remember to be brave, be bold and get comfortable with being uncomfortable.’

The post Meet Ellie Norman – Formula One’s first female executive on a mission to rebrand the sport appeared first on Marie Claire.



Ola Ince: ‘Achieving what you want just means you get to dream bigger’

Ola Ince: ‘Achieving what you want just means you get to dream bigger’


We speak to British Theatre Director, Ola Ince, about what ignited her passion for theatre and the power of storytelling

Ola Ince

Words by Niamh McCollum

Next in our #WomenWhoWin series is British Theatre Director, Ola Ince.

A graduate of the Rose Bruford Theatre College, Ola burst on to the drama scene in 2016, after winning The Genesis Future Director Award and staging a provocative production of Amiri Baraka’s Dutchman in the Young Vic Theatre.

The young director also made waves in 2018 with her production of Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, at the Gate Theatre.

Ola’s most recent adaptation of Danai Gurira’s The Convert was shaken up by an all-star cast, including Gurira’s Black Panther co-star Letitia Wright as the lead, and she is currently directing Tina The Musical alongside Mamma Mia! director Phyllida Lloyd.

Far from shying away from controversy, Ola is credited for facing it head on by ensuring that her long line of work has stimulated further conversation about colonialism, cultural identity and gender roles within society.

We spoke to Ola about the moment she discovered her passion for directing, her diverse on-stage repertoire and why taking bold actions can really pay off…

‘I was interested in story telling from a young age’

I realised my enthusiasm for directing when my classmates and I were asked to devise a play in secondary school. I remember being amazed at what we made and wanting to do it all the time, so I joined a youth theatre group. From there I went to Brit School, before doing a directing course at Rose Bruford College. I met so many weird and wonderful people, which was a nice contrast from my ordinary school.

 ‘I needed to be brave, so I applied for the Genesis Future Director Award’

In 2016, I was working on big stages as a Theatre Associate, but I wasn’t putting my neck on the line. I pitched my idea for Dutchman, a provocative play set in 1960s New York. I wanted my production to be a thriller inspired by Alfred Hitchcock, and I had some really nuts ideas for the set. Low and behold, I won! I grew lots of muscles during that process. Later on with The Convert, I was really bold about picking superstars to work with. Achieving what you want just means you get to dream even bigger.

‘It’s amazing to see the kind of conversations sparked by plays’

Twilight Los Angeles, 1992, [a one-woman play about the LA riots] stands out to me in how it presented the complexity of the prejudices between Korean Americans, African Americans, and white Americans. One of my upcoming shows, Is God Is?, is a spaghetti western about female strength and empowerment. Black women have long been known as the mules of society, and this play reverses that. Rather than being seen as victims, they are both villains and heroines, which is exciting and unusual.

 ‘I’m proud to have turned a form of expression into a job that I love’

You are often told as a young artist, ‘It’s really nice that you want to be a director, but you are going to be poor and unhappy forever. While your loved ones are getting mortgages and having kids, you will just be a pauper of an artist.’ This year I have learnt that you can have both. Something that I’ve worked on for a really long time is now paying my bills and allowing me to travel the world. It feels good that I no longer have to suffer for my art, and that it’s actually helping me.

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical officially opened at the Aldwych Theatre on 17th April 2018. Tickets are available at www.tinathemusical.com.

The post Ola Ince: ‘Achieving what you want just means you get to dream bigger’ appeared first on Marie Claire.



Ola Ince: ‘Achieving what you want just means you get to dream bigger’

Ola Ince: ‘Achieving what you want just means you get to dream bigger’


We speak to Ola Ince, British Theatre Director, about her thoughts on the changing landscape of British theatre and the power of storytelling.

Ola Ince

Words by Niamh McCollum

Next in our #WomenWhoWin series is British Theatre Director, Ola Ince.

A graduate of the Rose Bruford Theatre College, Ola burst on to the drama scene in 2016, after winning The Genesis Future Director Award and staging a provocative production of Amiri Baraka’s Dutchman in the Young Vic Theatre.

In 2018, Ola also made waves with her production of Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, at the Gate Theatre.

The young director’s most recent adaptation of Danai Gurira’s The Convert was shaken up by an all-star cast, including Gurira’s Black Panther co-star Letitia Wright as the lead, and she is currently directing Tina The Musical on Broadway & in Holland alongside Mamma Mia! director Phyllida Lloyd.

Far from opting to shy away from controversy, Ola is credited for running toward it with full force by ensuring that her plays stimulate further conversation about integral themes such as colonialism, cultural identity and gender roles within society.

We spoke to Ola about the moment she discovered her passion for directing, her diverse repertoire and why taking bold actions can really pay off…

‘I was interested in story telling from a young age’

I realised my enthusiasm for directing when my classmates and I were asked to devise a play in secondary school. I remember being amazed at what we made and wanting to do it all the time, so I joined a youth theatre group. From there I went to Brit School, before doing a directing course at Rose Bruford College. I met so many weird and wonderful people, which was a nice contrast from my ordinary school.

 ‘I needed to be brave, so I applied for the Genesis Future Director Award’

In 2016, I was working on big stages as a Theatre Associate, but I wasn’t putting my neck on the line. I pitched my idea for Dutchman,a provocative play set in 1960s New York. We wanted to create an African Alfred Hitchcock thriller, and I had some really nuts ideas for the set. Low and behold, I won! I grew lots of muscles during that process. Later on with The Convert, I was really bold about picking superstars to work with. Achieving what you want just means you get to dream even bigger.

‘It’s amazing to see the kind of conversations sparked by plays’

Twilight Los Angeles, 1992, [a one-woman play about the LA riots] stands out to me in how it presented the complexity of the prejudices between Korean Americans, African Americans, and white Americans. One of my upcoming shows, Is God Is?, is a spaghetti western about female strength and empowerment. Black women have long been known as the mules of society. This play reverses that. Rather than being seen as victims, they are both villains and heroines, which is exciting and unusual.

 ‘I’m proud to have turned a form of expression into a job that I love’

You are often told as a young artist, ‘It’s really nice that you want to be a director, but you are going to be poor and unhappy forever. While your loved ones are getting mortgages and having kids, you will just be a pauper of an artist.’ I have learnt that you can have both. Something that I’ve worked on for a really long time is now paying my bills and allowing me to travel the world. It feels good that I no longer have to suffer for my art, that my art is actually helping me.

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical officially opened at the Aldwych Theatre on 17th April 2018. Book tickets at www.tinathemusical.com.

The post Ola Ince: ‘Achieving what you want just means you get to dream bigger’ appeared first on Marie Claire.



The Queen is hiring a Social Media Manager and this is how to apply

The Queen is hiring a Social Media Manager and this is how to apply


Let’s get digital

queen elizabeth stained glass window
Robert Perry/REX/Shutterstock

Looking for a new job? Consider yourself a bit of a social media pro? Want to work for the Queen herself?

Then you’re in luck. Queen Elizabeth II is actually on the hunt for a digital whizz to manage her online presence.

The role of Digital Communications Officer has been advertised on the official Royal Household website as well as professional networks and job sites like LinkedIn. The Queen is looking for a ‘natural communicator’ who will maintain the ‘Queen’s presence in the public eye and on the world stage.’

The ideal candidate will be comfortable managing and creating content for social media platforms including Instagram and Twitter, as well as the royal family’s website. Duties include researching and writing articles in addition to covering the Queen’s official royal engagements.

Think you’ve got what it takes? She’s looking for an individual who is ‘educated to degree level with previous experience of managing websites and delivering successful digital communications and projects, preferably in a high profile environment.’

The right person will have experience ‘creating and publishing digital and social media content’, have ‘accurate and compelling written and editorial skills’, and ‘good photography skills with experience producing live social media content. Video production skills would also be highly desirable.

You’ll be based in Buckingham Palace (fancy) and the salary is £30,000 p.a, dependent on experience, for 37.5 hours per week, Monday to Friday. Benefits include 33 days annual leave, including bank holidays, and free lunch.

You have until the 26th May 2019 to apply for the position, so you’d better get your CV in shape ASAP.

Good luck!

The post The Queen is hiring a Social Media Manager and this is how to apply appeared first on Marie Claire.

I lived on £120 for a month – here’s how to budget like a boss

I lived on £120 for a month – here’s how to budget like a boss


Words by Maisie Bovingdon

I am the Queen of spending willy nilly; if I’m in a bad mood, or good mood, I’ll buy something, and if I’m bored… oops I’ve tapped the contactless once again.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not a big spender, and my hard earned wonga isn’t going on the latest Chanel sandals (sadly) or designer bags, instead it’s being swallowed up by Tesco meal deals, Pret lunches and travel.

Over the April bank holiday I was far too frivolous with my card, and after I paid my bills and rent (not including travel), I was somehow left with £120 in my bank account until my next pay cheque came along. So, I decided to teach myself a lesson.

I am not the first person, and I won’t be the last, to have money matters on my mind. According to a study conducted by F&C Investment Trust, almost 70 per cent of people lay awake at night dwelling on their financial problems.

I spoke exclusively to money saving experts George Charles from Money Saving Heroes, Dilusha Hettiralalage from Consumer Savings Expert at Codes, as well as a spokesperson from Quidco.com, to find out the nifty tricks to make your pennies last longer, and how to make money.

Here’s how I got on…

Week one

Day 1: I have no doubt living on £120 will be pretty impossible – especially as just one Topshop purchase can cut into half of this monthly budget – but expert George has insisted it is more doable than we think.

Speaking exclusively to Marie Claire Online, George Charles said: ‘In the current economic climate, it’s hard to distinguish what the minimum liveable amount is. It will also vary from city to city, however we would estimate you could very well get by on around £200 (excluding rent and bills) a month.

‘My favourite way to budget is to ensure you keep a spreadsheet of your monthly bills and how much of your pay check this equates to. Then, give yourself a budget for groceries, socialising and other payments you may make.  Having a plan in place to stick to can make budgeting easier.

‘There are a wealth of apps that can help you budget; Monzo, Money Dashboard and Plum to name a few, which analyse the areas that are your biggest outgoings.’

Consumer savings expert, Dilusha, added: ‘At the start of the month work out what key dates you have coming up that will require a larger portion of your budget.  Only keep a small amount of these funds on you at a time – in cash – so you can physically see what you have.’

A Quidco representative added: ‘Shopping through a cashback site like Quidco will allow you to earn money while you shop online. You can also make exclusive savings on groceries through ClickSnap.

I had previously done a food shop ahead of the four-day weekend, and leftovers allowed me to meal prep for the week ahead. I got this!

Outgoings: £0.

Day 2: After making overnight oats for breakfast, as well as lunch and snacks, my bag was full and I made my way into work with a spring in my step. My Oyster card was topped up last week, which stood me in good stead for day two.  Maisie 1 – Bank balance 0.

TIP:  As part of TFL’s refund scheme they reimburse you when your tube has been delayed, while linking your railcard to your Oyster can slash a single fare from £3.95 to £1.95 on off peak journeys.

Outgoings: £0.

Day 3: Mid week is ALWAYS a hard one because it’s when all the plans start to roll in. After meal prepping the night before, I saved myself a few pounds on lunch again, which is rare for me.

Despite a calm start to the day, panic swiftly set in when I remembered I had dinner plans with friends. I love nothing more than to stuff my face, sip on a few G&Ts, and let the good times roll.  But I contemplated cancelling because I was too conscious of eating my precious pounds, which is so not me, and I didn’t like who I was becoming. When dinner came around my PR friend treated me and my other journo pal to part of the dinner, which meant we only had to put a little bit towards the bill. Yasss!

Outgoings: £16

Day 4: The first week of budgeting went better than expected. Although I meal planned so lunch was covered, guiltily I had to decline meeting a friend for drinks because I was all too conscious of the dollar.

In a bid to make up some extra cash I have turned to good ol’ eBay to work a miracle on my finances. I managed to flog a couple of clothes for £20.  Bonus. Downside – postage fees (and the extra fees eBay will whack me with later down the line).

In: £20

Outgoings: £8

Day 5: I always justify spending money on days when I have already bought something. When I started the day with an Oyster top up, I knew it was going to be one of those days.

Low and behold, I was right. Despite bringing in breakfast and lunch (leftovers from the day before) my stomach was acting like a bottomless pit and I was still hungry.  I had no choice but to splash on snacks.

No Friday night is complete without a little evening girly meet up, and that’s exactly what happened.  Although dinner and drinks plans were on the cards, they swiftly changed to just drinks (my suggestion – obvs).  After I cancelled plans earlier in the week I was adamant my finances were not going to ruin any more outings, as expert George insisted it is vital we keep our social lives going for our mental health.

George said: ‘It is easy to get accused of being stingy when in reality you are being savvy. Despite being on budget, it is still important to keep up an active social life for the sake of your mental wellbeing.’

Outgoings: £14.09

Day 6 and 7: Then came the weekend, and the inevitable, a huge dent in my account. A boozy brunch AND a birthday on the same day undid all my hard budgeting (I’ve got cold sweats just thinking about it).  Then Sunday I was eating my body weight in food, which was another financial blow.

Over the weekend I guiltily relied a lot on my credit card, because I didn’t want to be the one unable to buy a round of drinks. But we all know credit cards can be dangerous territory.

George explained: ‘Self-restraint is key. Training your brain into believing there is a limit on what you can use for each outgoing is one way of avoiding dipping into money that was put aside or using any credit cards you may have.

‘Credit cards can be dangerous, especially for those who struggle to save money. Interest rates can be crippling for many and can lead to serious money problems down the road.’

A spokesperson from Quidco added: ‘If you’re savvy then your credit card can work in your favour. Many credit cards offer points on every purchase which can then be redeemed into vouchers to spend on the high street.’

Outgoings: Too much to admit

Morale: At the start of the week 10/10, until the weekend. But memories are priceless, right?

Get 30% richer by 2014

Get 30% richer by 2014

Week two

Day 8: Monday came around far too quickly, and guiltily the week of successful meal prepping before did not last long. So, when lunch time came around I made sure my lunch was under £5, which is hard to do in the city.

A common fear when counting the pennies is we will miss out on days or nights out.  But that’s not the case. Although lunch and travel cut into my account, I still managed to enjoy an evening out without spending a penny thanks to my Cineworld Unlimited pass, which proved to be a life saver.  Free night out it was.

Outgoings: £34 for travel and lunch

Day 9: It often takes a couple of days for your bank account to sync and catch up with all your spending. So, when I reluctantly checked my account my jaw dropped.  Somehow I was left with VERY little to spend. Panic. Panic. Panic. I had no choice but to be rigorous and cut back where possible.

TIP: Tinned food is a lifesaver.  With spare three beans, tuna and sweetcorn in the cupboards, and some veg in the fridge, I rustled up a nutritious three bean salad – proof you don’t always have to live off pasta or sandwiches when on a budget.

Outgoings: £0

Day 10: With little preparation under my belt I somehow managed to pull off another zero-spend day after rustling up a very swift lunch.  I attended the new launch of the Galaxy dark chocolate, which meant dinner was covered, and (another bonus) the PR company arranged our taxis to and from the event.

Outgoings: £0

Day 11: Almost half way through and I hit a slippery slope. After a late night, a couple of beverages, I’ve not meal prepped, and I’m hungry as hell.  By the time I got to the office, my stomach was growling – just like a scene from The Little Shop of Horrors. – which meant lunch was excessive and it was snacks galore. Thankfully a night in meant no more splurges from me.

Outgoings: £8.10

Day 12: I hit a wall and fretted to the max; I hadn’t meal prepped, and with upcoming birthdays, the pennies were dwindling.

I have always been the girl who likes to buy a new outfit for a new occasion, but I had to put my foot down and prioritise my spends.

Then came the gift. Thankfully the shopping centre near the Marie Claire HQ had a sale on and saved my bacon with a corporate discount offering 20% off. I was sold, so out came the credit card.

TIP: Although discounts are a rarity do some research, and ask staff in local stores about any sales or promos. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

Dilusha agreed: ‘Shopping around online, looking at the brochures that come through your door and even utilising loyalty schemes can all help to save money.’

Despite the big dent in my account, I had a little surprise eBay sale to cancel out the day’s spends.  I started to feel I could get through this.

Quidco spokesperson insisted having a clear out can make a major difference to your bank balance and mind set. They said: ‘Having a clear out isn’t just good for the mind – it’s good for your pocket, too. With sites and apps like eBay, Shpock and Depop making it easier than ever to sell unwanted items, you can make a small fortune and realign your Feng Shui at the same time.’

‘If you’ve got a driveway as you can rent out your drive for a daily/weekly fee via a number of websites.’

George added: ‘There are plenty of sites that offer cashback out there, including Topcashback. The sites allow you to gain some money back with each of your purchases which can be a godsend when finances are tight.’

Outgoings: Lunch £8.24, including cards (not too shabby), gift £40 instead of £50 (but that was on the credit card so doesn’t quite count), plus leaving drinks for a friend £9 (yes, that’s for one drink *eye roll*).

In: £40

Out: Technically £57.24

Day 12 and 13: It’s the start of the bank holiday weekend and too many temptations.  But after last month’s spending spree I was adamant I was going to stick to my guns, take off Apple Pay, and leave my card at home.

With Christening preparation on the cards I ruled out Saturday to stay in the kitchen and do some baking, which made for a money-free zone.  Sunday’s Christening followed suit with food on the table I was sorted. Although I may have made a little Topshop purchase.

Outgoings: £31

Morale: 4/10

Week three

Day 14: After a very savvy weekend I used May Bank Holiday to meal prep like a mad woman for the week ahead.  With just four working days this week I made a very rigid shopping list to help budget, although there were temptations when every aisle makes your mouth water. I ventured to Aldi after hearing rave reviews about how affordable everything was, and £10 later I had all the ingredients to make a few healthy lunches.

Dilusha insists being mindful when we shop is vital, because supermarkets and fashion retailers are very clever with their product placement to draw you in.

The expert explained: ‘Avoid the ends of aisles where deals and offers can usually be found. Look up and down the shelves; products typically at eye level are the most expensive.

‘Don’t be afraid to buy reduced products; the packaging may suggest the food item needs to be eaten that day, but that’s usually not the case, the sell-by and use-by dates are merely guidance. What’s more, you can freeze food to use at a later date.’

Outgoings: £10 on my food shop. Nailed it.

Day 15: A new working week meant the Oyster top up was looming.  After whacking my remaining £30, I felt slightly uneasy, but I had to remind myself I’ve meal prepped and pay day is just a week away – I can do this. Thankfully a savvy eBay purchase left me quids in again and took a little bit of the pressure off (especially after treating myself to an outfit on the weekend).

Admittedly I cancelled some plans this week and rescheduled for pay day. Boring – I know, but the fear got the better of me.

In: £40

Outgoings: £30

Day 16: Following on from Monday’s meal prepping I was ready for the day ahead. Although I have been tempted to leave my card at home to stop any temptations, I didn’t – just in case of an emergency (she said). A night out with a friend in the evening I kept in the planner, although The Fear hit me in the run up, just in case I did splash the cash.

Outgoings: £0

Day 17:  Admittedly meal prepping works wonders on your bank balance, but it doesn’t do any favours for satisfying your palette. After eating leftover dinner from a couple of nights ago for lunch I found myself craving all sorts of tasty treats. But Thursday treats for the office were in order.

Outgoings: £7 – small price to pay for tooth decay!

Day 18: The end is near.  As much as I wanted to treat myself to a delish Leon, I refrained.  With an early start on Saturday a night in for me with a Jo Loves candle, face mask and trashy TV was just what I needed. Overall, a week of budgeting well done.

Outgoings: £0

Day 19 and Day 21: Despite being in credit after this week of being super thrifty, a girly day of wedding dress fittings (not for me) inevitably led to brunch and a lot of food. With my sister and mum in tow, I was conscious of the burning hole in my purse as I wanted to do my fair share of treats for them too, without the embarrassment of hitting the ‘insufficient funds’ phase.

Outgoings: The remaining scraps.

Morale: 2.5/10 – who wants to go to nice events and fear they will overspend?

Top 10 Tips To Negotiate A Job Offer

Top 10 Tips To Negotiate A Job Offer

Week Four

Pay day… say no more 🙌

Moral of the story

All those #quotesoftheday saying ‘spend your money because you can’t take it with you’, or #ballingonabudget, oh and my favourite ‘champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget’, are all well and good for encouraging us to live our best lives – and proceed to checkout – but it pays the price.

Planning is key when strapped for cash; you have to consider plan meals, days/nights out, and unexpected spends. Admittedly, I didn’t factor in certain expenses, which left me feeling anxious and stressed, and made the process harder than it could have been.

While saving has been a struggle, it was a huge learning curve; not only have I found new things out about myself, but also London living. I’m an ‘in for a penny in for a pound’ kind of girl, and I don’t like to be limited financially. Though London is expensive, there are ways to cut corners.

The unnecessary corner shop runs for snacks stopped, my spontaneous online shops out of boredom were a difficult no no. I started to make a mental note of cheaper options. I also became more thoughtful about how I was spending my free time, and with who; when you don’t have much money you start to prioritise certain people ahead of others, but saying no didn’t always leave me with major FOMO.

Guiltily I dipped into my credit card as a safety net to ensure my social life didn’t take a beating. But most of those purchases could have been avoided, and living on £120 can be done, especially if I factored in travel costs at the start of the month.

Total in: £100

Total out: £61.43 after I deducted the cost of those thrifty sales.

Morale: 4/10 Budgeting is hard, and it made me an anxious wreck worrying I wouldn’t make it to pay day, but it’s doable.

The post I lived on £120 for a month – here’s how to budget like a boss appeared first on Marie Claire.

Five ways to unlock your inner entrepreneur

Five ways to unlock your inner entrepreneur


It has never been more important – whether you’re self-employed or part of 
a company – to be an enterprising self-starter. Alix O Neill gets down to business

entrepreneur

Meg Haggar knew from a young age that she wanted to be her own boss. ‘Any time my parents had friends over, my sister and I would set up a table in the garden and try to charm them into parting with their cash for random objects we’d found around the house,’ she says. These days, 30-year-old Haggar sits at the helm of Raw Halo, the artisan chocolate company she founded in 2014, and now runs with her fiancé Jonathan Chapman. From humble beginnings, experimenting with cacao and coconut sugar in her London flat, Haggar has gone global – the brand is now stocked in major supermarkets, department stores and health-food shops around the world.

She credits her success to a combination of factors: passion, great timing and hard work. The business was born after she cut out refined sugar from her diet and struggled to find a healthier chocolate that tasted as good as the real thing. It also came at the start of the ‘free-from’ boom, so she was able to capitalise on the growing interest in natural foods. But it was Haggar’s grit and determination to make it work that transformed Raw Halo from a kitchen-table business to a global brand. ‘Jonathan and I were saving up to get married,’ she says. ‘But I persuaded him to use our wedding fund to buy a tempering machine. I was so desperate to make it happen.’

From retail behemoth Jeff Bezos to media goddess Oprah Winfrey, the world has been shaped and shaken by the ideas of entrepreneurs – big-thinking self-starters, unafraid to take risks. With social-media platforms to test and research our ideas, build communities and reach new potential clients, there’s never been a better time to join their ranks. Across the UK, the number of new companies registered in 2016 rose from 608,000 in 2015 to over 660,000, according to the Centre for Entrepreneurs – a record high.* While the landscape continues to be dominated by men (infuriatingly, only one in ten of the fastest growing start-ups in the UK have female founders**), things are changing. Encouraged by the rise of the side hustle – which, according to Henley Business School, generates a staggering £72 billion of UK GDP – a new wave of young, ambitious women are following their passions and changing the world around them. The question is, how do we join them?

 

Think big, take risks

Good news – there’s no biological determinant of success in business. In other words, entrepreneurialism isn’t in your genes. However, career experts agree that environmental factors and attitude do count. Take family. ‘Research shows that, on average, entrepreneurs are more likely to have parents who are or were in business,’ explains Professor Carole Howorth, chair of entrepreneurship at the University of York. ‘This is because they will have grown up in a context where business was talked about, will have a deeper understanding of how to start and run a business, and see it as normal to start one up.’

And yet there are plenty of self-starters who didn’t have anyone at home to look up to. For instance, Spanx founder and self-made billionaire Sara Blakely. Her mother was an artist and father a lawyer. Or Kanya King, who was born to immigrant parents and was forced to drop out of school aged 16 when she became pregnant. She went on to found the MOBO Awards and has been named one of Britain’s Most Entrepreneurial Women. What Blakely and King share, says Fern Mandelbaum, a lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Business and managing partner at investment firm Vista Venture Partners, is a ‘growth mindset’. ‘This state of mind is the opposite of the “fixed mindset”, where an individual thinks they need to be a natural to succeed. Those who possess a growth mindset think, “I’m not an entrepreneur yet”, believing their existing abilities are malleable. They are committed to self-improvement and hungry to learn – this is key.’

Prepare to fail

There’s no shortage of manuals to teach you the skills required to perfect your hustle and get ahead. Last year saw the release of a slew of books on the subject, written by women, for women, including Emma Gannon’s The Multi-Hyphen Method, Farrah Storr’s The Discomfort Zone and Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené’s Slay In Your Lane. There’s also a host of business courses designed to take you to the top of your entrepreneurial game – see reed.co.uk/courses/entrepreneurship and shortcoursesportal.com. Across the pond, Mandelbaum, who has worked with CEOs for the past 20 years to help them develop their leadership style, teaches the COOGLE method: courage, opportunity, optimism, grit, leadership and execution. ‘Courage is critical – if you can take action in the absence of certainty, there’s at least a chance you’ll succeed. But if you don’t take action, you’ll never know. We need courage to fail. The key then is to get back up and move forward. This process will build your confidence and push you when you’re surrounded by doubt,’ she says.

‘Smart failure’ has come to define our era of #careergoals. ‘Fail fast, fail often’ is the mantra in Silicon Valley, where starting a business that fails is seen as a badge of honour. At FailCon, an annual conference about ‘embracing failure’, entrepreneurs give speeches about their misfires. The brains behind LinkedIn and Twitter are among the start-up founders who flunked out before hitting the big time. It’s why podcasts, such as How To Fail by journalist Elizabeth Day, are topping the charts. Day has quizzed big names such as Alastair Campbell and Lily Allen on the failures that made them. Instead of viewing our mistakes as a source of shame, there’s a greater emphasis on reframing them and learning from them. Take media mogul Ariana Huffington, who founded one of 
the world’s largest digital news outlets. Before launching The Huffington Post, her second book was reportedly rejected by 36 publishers. Respinning failure is a vital cognitive tool, given that Bloomberg estimates eight out of ten entrepreneurs who start businesses will fail within the first 18 months.

Identify your tribe

According to Professor Howorth, not all entrepreneurs are the same. Understanding your motivations will help you realise where you fit in the bigger picture. ‘Some people just want to be in business. They are opportunity seekers who value the independence of being in business. Some [like Haggar], see a problem and recognise the opportunity it represents. Others have a passion for a specific idea, a product or an industry in which they want to immerse themselves,’ says Professor Howorth. ‘If they just want to be in business, franchising might be the way in, whereby an entrepreneur buys into a tried-and-tested model and runs their own business under a franchisor, who controls how it’s operated. This works for inexperienced and/or less confident budding entrepreneurs, but it doesn’t give the independence that some seek and it can be expensive.’

Work around the gender gap

A greater desire for flexibility and 
the failure of the corporate model to accommodate working mothers is believed to be the reason behind the female entrepreneurship boom. Yet, too few women are taking the plunge in the start-up world. There are 
half a million more women in the UK than men, but twice as many male entrepreneurs as female ones. The Entrepreneurs Network says men are 86 per cent more likely than women to secure venture capital funding. Women receive fewer and smaller bank loans for their businesses. New Entrepreneurs Foundation CEO Neeta Patel believes a lack of confidence is also at play. ‘Women are less likely to exaggerate the qualities of their businesses or oversell the growth potential. Most men I know don’t have those qualms. We need to develop self-belief.’

And if you can’t quit the day job…

The upside is that you learn to be more entrepreneurial without sacrificing the security of a regular pay cheque, says Professor Howorth. She advises brainstorming to ‘allow the crazy ideas to flow’ and getting out of your comfort zone by engaging with people who aren’t like you. If you’re not ready to build up your side hustle, Mandelbaum suggests seizing every opportunity in your current role, no matter how scary. ‘As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You must do the things which you think you cannot do’’.’ Ultimately, be prepared to make sacrifices. Four years on, Haggar still hasn’t said ‘I do’. ‘Working evenings and weekends is how we got Raw Halo off the ground,’ she says. ‘We’re still putting some of our personal plans on hold, but we’ve built a business that we’re proud of.’

*cityam.com/271538/london-drives-increase-number-new-uk-startups. 
**telegraph.co.uk/technology/2018/12/10/one-ten-fastest-growing-uk-startups-have-women-founders-research/

The post Five ways to unlock your inner entrepreneur appeared first on Marie Claire.

Want to be your own boss? Follow these simple steps for career success

Want to be your own boss? Follow these simple steps for career success


If you’re thinking of making the leap to go it alone you need to ask yourself these honest questions, says Lizzie Penny, co-founder of The Hoxby Collective, an award-winning community for the self-employed

boss

Am I a resilient person?

‘Coping with not having the stability of a monthly pay cheque takes resilience and so does bouncing back after disappointments. Reminding yourself of your priorities and values during those times really helps. I am still amazed by the tough lows and ecstatic highs of being your own boss, but I can’t imagine working any other way.’

Does this work motivate me to give 100 per cent?

‘When you’re not employed by someone else on a wage, you need to want to go to work. If you’re deeply passionate about what you do, there is a much greater chance of success in being your own boss; you’ll inspire others, make connections and convince them that they want to work with you, too.’

What are my weaknesses?

‘To thrive as your own boss, you need to be acutely aware of your strengths and weaknesses. You need to know what you’re brilliant at, but also realise when you need to ask for help or lean on others. Just because you’re working for yourself, it doesn’t suddenly mean you can do it all.’

Am I ready to collaborate?

‘The onus is on you to find ways to engage with others. Even if you’re comfortable with spending time on your own, finding a mentor, gathering feedback on your business, working with collaborators and a community to reach out to for help when needed, is really important. Research communities in your field or consider setting up in a co-working space.’

Am I disciplined enough?

‘Working for yourself means deciding your own work style and then having the discipline to stick to it. It also means being able to say no and doing so with confidence when a client or project is wrong for you, or would compromise on the reasons you started working for yourself in the first place. Being disciplined with staying on top of self-employed admin is also hugely important.’

Do I have the business nous?

‘It’s important to recognise if you’re going freelance that you’re running the business of You. You need to know your day rate, where your next piece of work is coming from, keep an eye on your cash flow and manage things such as your tax return.’

The post Want to be your own boss? Follow these simple steps for career success appeared first on Marie Claire.

You can get paid to be a spa and hot tub tester and it’s the perfect summer job

You can get paid to be a spa and hot tub tester and it’s the perfect summer job


Words by Maisie Bovingdon

Summer is just around the corner, so when the sunshine hits everybody wants to ditch their offices and channel their inner child by going out to play outside. Fact.

So, what if we told you you could ditch your nine to five for the perfect summer job, and it may involve sitting in a hot tub in various different spas.

SpaSeekers are recruiting for an official spa and hot tub tester, and we can’t cope.

Your entire summer could involve getting pampered, practicing your lengths in infinity pools, and sitting back whiling away the hours in a jacuzzi, for £500.

The successful candidate can choose any four days between Monday and Friday across July and August to visit four different spas in the UK assigned to them by the company.

They will be given a VIP pass, one free treatment a day and unlimited use of the spa facilities at each venue, as well as two glasses of complimentary champagne.

During each visit you will be required to share images and videos, being sure to tag SpaSeekers and using the hashtag too.

But, there’s a catch.  Applicants have to be UK residents and 18 years old or over to sign up for the role, and payments will be received at the end of summer on 30th September when all the work is complete.

However, if you can’t attend a day the role will be offered to another entrant.

The terms and conditions state: ‘This is not an offer of full-time employment. You will be our summer spa tester and visit four different spas in the UK.  Entries are only open to UK residents aged 18 or over.

‘You will be paid £500 at the end of summer (30th September 2019).’

To apply for the role simply send a picture of your most-loved holiday picture with SpaSeekers on social media, whether it’s you on holiday, on a beach, or sitting in the hot tub.

Whether it is uploaded on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter remember to tag @spaseekers, alongside the hashtag #dreamsummerjob.

The application closes on May 31st, and the winner of the competition will be announced on June 3rd.

Where do we sign up?

The post You can get paid to be a spa and hot tub tester and it’s the perfect summer job appeared first on Marie Claire.