#ADDRESSPOLLUTION Is living in a city costing you your health?

#ADDRESSPOLLUTION Is living in a city costing you your health?


As MC’s Beauty & Style Director I’ve loved living and working in central London for 20 years but with toxic air pollution levels rising and potentially harming my three-year-old daughter, Eliza, I now regularly find myself wondering if I should move to the countryside.

Living in London has given me so much: friends, a career, a home and the best time ever but what I don’t want it to give me is a sick daughter. The latest studies are spooking me so much with findings revealing that every time my daughter goes out to play or walks to her play group she’s breathing in toxins that may eventually damage her long-term health. In fact, London’s air has reached such high levels of toxicity the London Mayor’s office classified it as ‘illegal’ in data published by the London Atmospheric Emission Inventory.


So why am I still here? Because I truly believe London is the best place for me and Eliza. I took my maternity leave where I grew up in Gloucestershire and loved being in the countryside, but I desperately missed London’s buzz and my career in the thriving beauty and fashion industry. I had a community in London, a place I belonged. And the city kept my mind and body busy, while although I love the therapeutic health benefits of the countryside I conversely found my experience isolating. I didn’t want Eliza to grow up seeing a mum who was lonely and who had quit a job that she loved. I want her to learn to chase contentment and to find a life that makes her thrive, and think the best way to teach her that is to show it to her, daily.

But the question of air quality is undeniably hard to ignore. Before falling pregnant, I lived in Notting Hill and, as a cyclist, had clearly been breathing in plenty of fumes – but it was only when I moved back to town after time in the countryside that the stark difference in the quality of air struck me.

‘Exposure to high levels of air pollution can lead to life-long impacts for children’s respiratory systems, neurodevelopment, and health more broadly,’ says Beatriz Cardenas, Air Quality Manager at the World Resources Institute. ‘Some of these impacts are set even without long-term exposure – brief, high levels of pollution can affect lung development and resilience for the child’s lifetime.’
Yes, the nightmare is real and as Unicef has acknowledged, we are in the middle for a public health emergency. UNICEF’s Pauline Castres, Policy and Advocacy Advisor says: ‘No parent should have to make the decision to move out [of a city] to protect their children’s health, and every child deserves the right to breathe clean air wherever he or she lives. Children are particularly vulnerable to air pollution as their growing heart, brain, lungs and immunity system are still developing, and research is also beginning to point towards effects on growth and intelligence.’


A new citizen-funded initiative, addresspollution.org, by the Central Office of Public Interest (COPI) is giving Londoners the tools to act and demand change. At addresspollution.org you enter your postcode and get a free report on the annual average levels of pollution there. It makes it clear if your London home area exceeds the World Health Organization’s annual legal limit for clean air. The data, from King’s College London gives every address in London an accurate, annualised reading of nitrogen dioxide and then details the specific health and financial costs for living there.

It’s also easy to lobby your council with localised solutions and to demand action by signing a petition through your MP. Humphrey Milles, founder of the COPI says: ‘Air pollution is killing people across the country, and London is one of the worst hit – but people won’t believe it until it affects them or their children. Find out your rating and then lobby your government for the sake of your kids.’ COPI plans to extend addresspollution.org to other UK cities by February 2020.

The question of whether to stay a Londoner or move back to my home town of Stroud, Gloucestershire, remains unanswered. But for now, I’m joining COPI and putting their advice on measures parents can take to protect their children into action.

1. Switch driving a car to walking, cycling or using public transport

Walk, cycle, bus or train it. Drivers can be exposed to twice as much air pollution as pedestrians and nine times more than a cyclist. So as well as cutting down the amount of pollution you make, you’re reducing your exposure and getting some exercise too.

2. Take the side streets

Using quieter streets when you’re on a bike or on foot can lower your kids exposure to air pollution by 20%.

3. Avoid exercise when pollution is high

There are about 10 to 20 high pollution days a year when it’s better to avoid intense activity, particularly if your children have a heart or lung condition.

4. Choose Click & Collect

Many city workplaces report that half of all deliveries are personal parcels for staff. That’s a whole lot of extra vans clogging up the city. Instead, choose a Click & Collect location near home.

5. Switch off engine when stationary

By turning off your car engine whenever you’re not moving – and it’s safe to do so – you’ll help to make the air cleaner for you, other drivers and pedestrians.

6. Keep your car tyres inflated 

Inflating your tyres properly means your car will be more efficient and use less fuel. And remember to give your car a regular service to ensureit runs as efficiently and cleanly as possible.

7. Invest in an electric car 

If you have to drive, Electric Vehicles (EVs) are better than their petrol and diesel counterparts – and their costs over a lifetime are cheaper than you might think. So when you upgrade your car, consider buying an electric vehicle.

8. Inspire others

Encourage others to take the actions above to improve the air we breathe.

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Why that really annoying work nemesis is actually very good for you

Why that really annoying work nemesis is actually very good for you

A healthy dose of office hatred will spur you on to greater things…

work nemesis
Getty Images

Words by Clare Thorp

As much as were all taught to play nicely and, particularly as women, to support each other wherever we can, even the most placid among us are unlikely to get through our working lives without at least a few people rubbing us up the wrong way.

In fact, research earlier this year by Total Jobs found that 62% of us have a work enemy with a nearly a fifth of us have called in sick to avoid them. But while horrible bosses and workplace bullies can have a damaging effect on our health and performance, there is one type of workplace adversary that can be beneficial to our careers. The nemesis. 

A nemesis is a rival, of sorts. Its that person who snags a job, project or promotion you think should have been yours, gets more recognition than you or just seems to be climbing that ladder a little faster. They might not always be doing better than you, but when they are, it really riles.

You dont hate them as such you might even kind of respect them. But their actions frequently bug you, and bring out the green-eyed monster within.

The writer Roxanne Gay has been tweeting about her (unnamed) nemeses for a few years now, just this summer saying: My nemesis got a job I was in the running for. I had paused plotting against her for the holiday. I wont let that happen again. There, in that last line of her tweet, is the power of a nemesis. It might sound a little ominous but what shes saying is that witnessing her nemesis’ success will spur her on to do better next time. Replying recently to one Twitter follower, Gay recently explained: You dont need to sabotage a nemesis. You want to defeat them through your excellence rather than their failings.

Theres science to back up how having a rival can help you thrive. A US study found that long-distance runners are faster when one of their rivals are in the race. There are also many examples of professional rivalry spurring people on to great things. Bill Gates has said of his well-documented rivalry with the late Steve Jobs that their competition was always a positive thing.Tennis players Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have each pushed the other to further greatness.

work nemesis

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Catherine Bunting, Director of HR company Hill & Jago, says finding a nemesis in every job shes had has motivated her throughout her career. I thrive on having a rival,she says. All through my life Ive identified the individuals who are brilliant at what they do and had a drive to do better. A competitor becomes a nemesis if theyre frequently beating me. I suppose its a system of gamification. I think the downside is there is rarely a feeling of contentment.

That having a nemesis can have both bad and good sides is something Aria Guzulaityte, co-founder of Braingic noticed a few years ago, working in a communications role and striving to do better than a colleague. We should have worked side by side but both of us became really competitive,she says. It pushed me to work harder, learn new skills and be more innovative. However, it didnt create a healthy working environment and both of us were really stressed. 

Keeping a healthy attitude towards a nemesis is important, says psychotherapist Claire Goodwin-Fee. Some people thrive when faced with a professional rival,she explains. But its important that we keep sight of our own goals, and dont focus on outdoing someone else just for the sake of it. If we are coming from a place of passion, where we believe in what we are doing, a competitor or rival can push us forward to do more good. But over focusing on a rival professionally can lead to missing other opportunities and creation of an unhealthy imbalance in your working life.

Feeling that twinge of frustration or annoyance at someone elses success can be a helpful indicator of what you really want, she explains. After all, were rarely jealous over things we dont care about.

Jealousy is a fairly negative state of being, psychologically speaking, and that is telling us something on its own,says Goodwin-Fee. Its about a lack of something within us.She recommends journalling as a way of figuring out why someone rattles us and how we can turn that feeling into something positive. Physically writing down how you feel helps us have clarity about why we may feel this way. Brain dump without censor – I really hate Jackie because she is always successful and I am so fed up with feeling this way. You will learn a huge amount about why you feel this way and can use this to inform your next steps.

Frustrated that they get more recognition than you? Work on networking and building your profile. Bummed at everyone congratulating them on a fancy new job title? Set out a plan for getting a promotion or apply for a new role. And when you get it? You never know, they might be secretly seething, too.

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Sara Vaughan on why she turned saving the planet into a career

Sara Vaughan on why she turned saving the planet into a career

At Marie Claire, we’ve always been committed to creating global change. Here, Sara Vaughan, our first – ever chief purpose and sustainability advisor, explains her hopes for our new Start Somewhere campaign

Sara Vaughan

It took me a while to Start Somewhere on my purpose journey. Working on the launch of Forevermark, the ethical diamond brand was a turning point in my life, when I realised I wanted to create powerful brands and movements for positive change that addressed and solved the worlds most pressing issues. That led to a role at The Body Shop, where I worked on the Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People campaign. Then, I went to Unilever, where I looked after such brands as Dove. Today, I have my own consultancy, working with companies wanting to be purpose-led. I also (partnering with truly amazing people) create and/or catalyse positive global movements for change, such as stopping single-use plastic with A Plastic Planet.

I am inspired on a daily basis by the incredible people I am fortunate enough to meet or come into contact with- mend and women, in person or through social media, well-known, like the amazing Greta Thunberg, or unknown like my sponsored sister Maboba, a survivor of war from Afghanistan bravely rebuilding her life. The common theme between them is their passion, purpose, courage and care for others. Qualities I greatly admire. I look forward to introducing you to some of these special people in my Start Somewhere podcast, which will launch later this year.

The one person who has undoubtedly inspired me most is my mother, who died just over a year ago. She always encouraged me to be courageous and inspired me with her extraordinary love, generosity, warmth , kindness and compassion. She continues to be my guiding light, and I am incredibly grateful to her.

Marie Claire has been a trailblazer in the purpose space for over 30 years. My role here, in the Start Somewhere campaign, is to help give you lots of fresh ideas and inspiration for making positive environmental and social changes; for you to know just how influential you are.

Small collective actions can become very powerful global movements- The Body Shop’s sex trafficking campaign generated more than seven million signatures and effected real change in trafficking legislation and the lives of those trafficked in over 20 countries. This is people power in practice.

Together, we, the Marie Claire community, can make a very big, positive difference in this world. Just think, if all of us gave up single-use coffee cups and switched to reusable ones. As Anna Lappé, the writer and activist reminds us, ‘Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.’

We also wish to celebrate the many of you who are already taking a stand. So, if you are actively campaigning for a cause- thank you for doing this- we would like to hear from you about what you are doing. Please email me at svaughan@gmc.tm.fr

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Why are 30-something reunions rammed with ‘Made Its’ and ‘Smug Marrieds’

Why are 30-something reunions rammed with ‘Made Its’ and ‘Smug Marrieds’

Author Lucy Foley on the unique pressure to have ‘Achieved Things’ by our mid thirties and why everyone’s hiding their anxieties

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Recently I was invited to a university friend’s engagement drinks, a friend who’d been much better at keeping in touch with a load of people I wouldn’t have seen for a decade. This realisation prompted a Romy-and-Michele-style panic about what to wear, which was really a superficial symptom of a bigger concern: how to present myself to people I’d last seen when I was twenty-two.

It wasn’t as though we’d all completely fallen out of contact. Because we live in the twenty-first century, we’re ostensibly ‘in touch’ via social media. Even though I hadn’t spoken to a large number of them in years I knew the names of their babies and where they’d most recently been on holiday. And they might well have been able to produce a similar level of detail about me. That’s the world we live in. But a real-life meeting is very different from the sort of contact we have via Instagram or Facebook. It’s a well-documented fact that on our profiles we can present a carefully-curated version of ourselves, selecting all the best bits and leaving anything less flattering behind. This meet-up would be exposing. In real life, there’s no flattering filter to hide behind.

There they were at the party – the people who had ‘Made It’ according to society’s barometer of success: becoming youngest-ever partner at their law firm, showing off bellies rounded by pregnancy, new engagement rings, talking about the completion dates for their new houses. People I’d last seen doing body shots or snogging in dark corners or receiving police cautions for running naked down the street at 2am. And perhaps I myself was being grouped by others into the ‘Smug Marrieds’ category – having been with my husband for thirteen years, and married for the last four, even if our childless status was something that had begun to be openly questioned by family members, parents’ friends and Uber drivers. And I found I had to remind myself of how much I love my work as I spoke to one guy who couldn’t understand how I could sleep at night with such a lack of job security: ‘but what happens if your next book doesn’t sell any copies?’ he’d asked, and ‘do you have a pension plan?’


Photography: Philippa Gedge

The experience got me thinking about the unique pressure of the thirty-something reunion – as opposed to the twenty-something one. Our twenties, it seems to be universally accepted, are for messing around, trying new things – countries, jobs, partners – making mistakes. But suddenly, in our thirties, as at perhaps no other stage in our lives, it feels as though there is a new, sudden demand for us to have ‘Achieved Things’. To be sensible, adult, settled. To have made significant headway in the career of our choosing — even if it took us most of the previous decade to decide what it was we actually wanted to do. We should have a mortgage, found a partner, have or be about to have children. And arguably this pressure is amplified for women, thanks to the biological sell-by-date the world seems so keen to remind us is stamped on our wombs. But it’s definitely not exclusive to women, as a straw poll of my thirty-something male friends attests. They’re worried about falling behind their peer group in terms of life achievements, the direction their career is going in and, particularly among the single ones, about their own biological clocks, now that there’s been more research into the health implications of being an older father.

The whole experience at that drinks was also, in part, inspiration for my novel, The Hunting Party. On the surface the book is a murder mystery ‘whodunit’ puzzle. But on another level it’s also about thirty-something angst. The characters, who have met up in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands to celebrate New Year’s Eve, have been friends since they were at university together more than a decade ago. On the surface they all have fairly enviable lives (and are pretty over-entitled to boot). But in reality, they’re all hiding their own anxieties— whether they’re related to fertility struggles, career disappointments, money troubles or concerns that they’re too wedded to their work at the expense of everything else. None of them are really ‘winning’ at their thirties in the way they appear to be. And part of this is because of the way in which they are measuring their own lives against those of their peers.

Because it’s exhausting, comparing yourself to others. Life isn’t a race… because (not to be morbid or anything) if it is, then what’s the finish line? In 2019, when there are so many choices available to us in terms of how we love and work and live. And when we know what makes one person happy may be very different from the next, why are we still so obsessed with measuring up to some standard that’s really a throwback to an earlier age? We need to let go and allow ourselves to do our own thing, in our own time. Don’t be like the characters in The Hunting Party. Because – spoiler alert – it doesn’t work out so well for them.

*The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley, £8.99, HarperFiction, is available in paperback, ebook and audio now.

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Could #VANLIFE be the right life for you?

Could #VANLIFE be the right life for you?

Instagram is full of life hacks and #goals, but there is one particular hashtag redefining the idea of a home and inspiring a new generation of nomads

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Words by Claire McCrory

With over six million tags #VANLIFE sees people sharing images of their kitted-out vans- think a VSCO version of ‘Pimp My Ride’.

There are also many YouTube channels dedicated to documenting the van lifestyle, one of the most notable is Jennelle Eliana, a twenty-year-old boasting nearly two million subscribers, despite having only posted her first video three months ago. Jennelle posts van tours and everyday life, such as the practicalities of showering whilst living in a van.

Although a house on wheels is not a foreign concept for Brits, with VW camper vans  and caravans being a traditional summertime favourite for many- with 550,000 touring caravans in use in the UK. Moving a step beyond holiday home and taking up permanent residence in a converted van is becoming an ever-growing trend.

The Office of National Statistics suspects that half the UK workforce will be working remotely by 2020, so by that logic, it makes sense that one might choose the added flexibility that comes with #vanlife.

Simon Doran, 29 and Dee Barber, 28, from Hampshire hit headlines recently with their #VANLIFE . They spent £14,000 transforming a builder’s van into their home. They say living in the van full time saves them £900 a month and have subsequently started a business converting vans for other people. In fact, Simon claims he’ll never go back to a 9-5 job,’ I wouldn’t give up the freedom this gives us’.


In the age of ‘insta-envy’  some people are constantly inspired to break out of their daily routine online. Maybe the modern nomadic, #VANLIFE is the most practical way to get out of the rut of a daily routine, and get a few good Insta pics along the way.


Getty Images


story by Claire McCrory



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Looking for a new job? These are the best companies to work for

Looking for a new job? These are the best companies to work for

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Credit: Rawpixel / Getty

With 2020 just around the corner, the ‘new year new me’ mantra will start cropping up once again. Whether you hate the saying with a passion or are guilty of making an endless list of promises every time, the new decade (!) is a chance to reflect on the year and, if you so wish, make some life changes.

One of those might be work related. You could be interested in a career change, and if you are we recommend reading about the mistakes people make in their first week at a new job.

But before you quit your job and jump into the unknown, it’s worth doing your research to find out which companies offer the most in terms of employee satisfaction.

So where do you start?

Well, the annual Employees’ Choice Awards for 2019 by employee review site Glassdoor is here to help you navigate the world of work.

If you’re looking for something new but aren’t sure where to go, the awards base their results on perks and benefits, work-life balance, career opportunities, culture and values, and salary of companies throughout the UK.

Whether you’re tempted by the free food at Google, or you like the sound of the IKEA benefit scheme, here are the 30 best companies to work for in the UK…

Best companies to work for UK

  1. Anglican Water – Water industry
  2. Bain & Company – Management consulting
  3. XPO Logistics – Logistical services
  4. Bromford – Construction
  5. Salesforce – Software
  6. Sky Betting & Gaming – Gambling
  7. Hiscox – Insurance
  8. SAP – Software
  9. Taylor Wimpey – Construction
  10. Royal London – Insurance
  11. Microsoft – Technology
  12. Gartner – IT service management
  13. Google – Technology
  14. Sytner – Motor dealership
  15. Capital One – Bank holding
  16. IKEA – Retail
  17. Arnold Clark – Motor dealership
  18. HomeServe UK – Insurance
  19. Nando’s – Restaurant and Hospitality
  20. AppDynamics – Performance management/IT operations
  21. Metro Bank – Retail bank
  22. Arcadis – Global design, engineering and management consulting
  23. InterContinental Hotels Group – Hospitality
  24. Screwfix – Retailer
  25. Civica – Software
  26. Shell –  Oil and gas
  27. GlaxoSmithKline – Pharmaceutical
  28. REED – Employment agency
  29. O2 – Telecommunications
  30. J.P. Morgan – Investment banking

Inspired to update your CV and make the change?

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Tiffany Sorya: 'The more we see women in positions of power, the more we’ll progress'

Tiffany Sorya: 'The more we see women in positions of power, the more we’ll progress'

Female founder and education influencer Tiffany Sorya is next in our Women Who Win series, giving us some insight into how tough you have to be to start your own business…

You may not have heard of Tiffany Sorya, but you’re about to, undoubtedly being the first education influencer of her time.

Tiffany Sorya, founder of Novel Education Group, is on a mission: #MakingSmartStylishAgain.

Yes, the education influencer is taking her elite homeschooling agency-to-the-stars (we’re talking clients from Kylie to Kendall) to the next level. But how?

Novel Education’s global partnership with premier college consultant, Command Education, sets the stage for The Newest Wave of Education – by providing customized courses and enrichment programs for students to pursue their passions at any age, they achieve academic success and stand out from other applicants at top universities, all while doing what they love and emphasizing their individual strengths.

In short – Tiffany is revolutionising our education systems and getting people to take note.

‘I wish women were taken more seriously’, Tiffany explained before recalling how she set up her own business which is now going global.

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

Jenny Proudfoot sat down with Tiffany to find out how tough you have to be to survive as a female founder nowadays and why we shouldn’t be complacent…

Talk us through your journey…

I moved to LA just after graduating from college with a degree in Organismal Biology and French. My diverse educational background – having both STEM and language/liberal arts – made me a very strong candidate for tutoring. Having one person be multi-disciplinary adds value and versatility to tutoring agencies, and I quickly picked up private tutoring work through one of these agencies a few months after I moved. As I started working with high profile clients, I noticed a void in the private education space. Students struggled to have both a legitimate schooling (i.e. strong academic) experience coupled with a blossoming career. I initially started Novel Education Group to provide full-service, accredited, customized curriculum for students and families with unconventional lifestyles – whether in entertainment, sports, or those who require flexibility to travel for work because they run multinational corporations. As the business grew, I found myself not only servicing the entertainment industry but business men and women alike who aren’t necessarily happy with the rigidity and lack of personalized support that comes with much of the traditional school system.

What does a typical working day entail?

A typical working day is constantly checking on the progress of our student roster. We run the business by matching closely vetted and highly qualified tutors specifically to students and families – personality-wise and credentials-wise. Even so, I remain highly involved, particularly regarding tailoring curriculum and program-design needs — and of course always finding ways to make our service better.

What is the boldest thing you’ve ever done?

I moved to Los Angeles by myself with no plan.

What decision changed your life?

Starting Novel Education Group

What has been your proudest moment?

The moment I realized I was running a fully functional business, doing something I believed in, all by myself was a great moment.

What do you refuse to compromise on?

Integrity regarding self-worth and image

What has stopped you progressing further?

Fear of failure and running out of funds

What is your superpower?

My ability to make strangers instantly feel comfortable around me

What is your mantra?

Learning how to educate yourself is the most valuable tool in life. And of course, #MakingSmartStylishAgain

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

In order to build a successful and dependable business, you need a strong #2. Don’t be afraid to share your success in return for a strong partnership and more ideas. Anyone would rather own 50% of a $10 million business rather than 100% of a $3 million business. You can’t do everything by yourself.

What has been your biggest mistake?

Not taking more risks the first few years of starting Novel. Looking back, I think I was comfortable, complacent, and didn’t think big enough.

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

I wish women were taken more seriously

How can we all ask for more?

Be up front, confident and show that you are capable of handling the responsibilities that come with a pay raise/promotion

How do you celebrate success?

I treat myself to a couple days away from LA or have a really nice meal

What should women always do?

Women should SHOW the world that we are as capable as men rather than just talk about it. Actions always speak louder than words and the more we see women in positions of power, the more we’ll progress

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Meet Sabrina Cohen-Hatton – One of the UK's top female firefighters

Meet Sabrina Cohen-Hatton – One of the UK's top female firefighters

One of our ten Future Shapers of 2019, the 36-year-old’s research into firefighters’ safety has landed her ten international science awards. Her book, The Heat Of The Moment: Life And Death Decision-Making From A Firefighter, is out now

Sabrina Cohen-Hatton

Being brave doesn’t mean not being afraid. It means doing something despite being afraid. When I was 15, I was homeless after my father died and family communications broke down. I sold the Big Issue and slept rough, then at 18, I joined the fire service. Now I’m a Big Issue ambassador, helping to give people on the fringes of society a voice. Because I’d spent so long trying to hide the fact I’d been homeless, the thought of speaking about it publicly made me nervous, but your circumstances don’t define you. I’ve been overwhelmed by the response from other women in similar situations, saying they now have hope.

The worst experiences shape you in incredible ways. A few years into my career, 
I responded to an incident in which my husband – also a firefighter – was nearly killed. It was the most difficult experience because I was torn between the role of a loved one and the role of a responder. He was fine, but our colleague was badly burned. In order to cope, I studied ways of reducing human error to make firefighters safer, studying all the way to PhD while working. Our research – exploring how brains work under pressure – changed national policy and was adopted by all UK emergency services.

My goal is to challenge stereotypes. This industry is just five per cent women, and 
I want the role of a firefighter to appeal to more of us. This isn’t because I believe in arbitrary quotas, but because being a firefighter is hard and we need the very best. Being different freed me from the constraints of a stereotype, allowing me to not only push the boundaries but also to create my own and make a real impact.

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Having a work wife is making you less productive, apparently

Having a work wife is making you less productive, apparently

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Credit: Anchiy / Getty

If you have a work wife, you’ll know how important they are to your wellbeing at work. You might spend your mornings catching up on the night before, or telling them about every detail of a recent break up, or spending every lunchtime together.

You spend almost 40 hours a week with your work wife, compared to the handful of hours you’ll spend with your friends when you can finally pin them down for brunch or a drink (and if you live in London you probably have to book them in five weeks in advance).

So it makes sense to have a work BFF.

But according to new research, having a work wife is actually hindering your career.

Who knew that spending half an hour nattering at the water cooler every morning was affecting your productivity? Hmm?

Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Hong Kong, Dr Sangyoon Park, studied workers at a seafood processing plant in Vietnam to assess how productive they were.

He noted which employees were friends and how they interacted outside of working hours, then gave them each different workstations, some with friends closer to others and each with four people per station.

And the results? Those workers who were situated close to their friends were 6% less productive than their co-workers. However, when the friends were separated their productivity went up.

But apparently, Dr Park also found that employees who have work friends are more likely to stay later and ultimately pick up more skills as a result.

So while having a work wife reduces productivity, it will also encourage you to learn more.

What we’re taking from this is that having a work BFF is actually good for you and you can’t convince us otherwise.

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Jo Malone reveals her top five tips to being a success in business

Jo Malone reveals her top five tips to being a success in business

Jo Malone CBE left school with no qualifications and severe dyslexia, before building her empire Jo Malone London (which she sold to Estée Lauder in 1999). After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003, she made a triumphant return in 2011 with Jo Loves. Celebrating 25 years at the top of the beauty industry, Malone reveals what it takes to succeed

Jo Malone

1 Resilience is the key

Nothing ever goes 100 per cent anyone’s way, so when tough times come, resilience allows you to dig deep. I needed more resilience building Jo Loves than anything I’ve ever done. I wanted to quit every day, but now I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I was in Marbella recently where I was a guest speaker alongside Barack Obama. How did I get there, a girl 
from the council estate? Resilience.

2 A weakness can be an asset

My dyslexia wasn’t diagnosed until I was in my teens and, in many ways, I’m glad. 
I struggled to tell the time and even now when I read certain letters they run around the page. Dyslexia has helped with my entrepreneurial way of thinking. It makes me think logistically and strategically. When you lose your fear, over say dyslexia or anxiety, it stops having a hold on you.

3 Don’t be defined by others

I know I rub people up the wrong way, but I can’t change someone’s opinion of me. Be who you want to be and define yourself and your dreams by your opinions of yourself. There will always be someone who doesn’t like you for whatever reason.

4 Silence is a great negotiator

Both in business and in a relationship – I’ve been married for 34 years so I should know. Sometimes, when you have a situation where people are at each other’s throats, silence is a great negotiator. Calm the situation down. Leave it 24 hours then go back to it. Silence can cause uncertainty on the other side and lead them to move towards you first.

5 It’s OK to make mistakes

I guarantee you will make mistakes. They will take you where the landscape is different and your perspective can be challenged. When I left Jo Malone London, 
I thought I had made the biggest mistake of my life. But if I hadn’t done that I’d never have launched Jo Loves. If you make a mistake, never blame someone else. It’s your responsibility, take it on the chin and learn from it.

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