Client profile: Less-Stress London

For the third in my series of posts about my small business clients, I’m profiling Less-Stress London, a digital wellbeing hub for the capital, founded and edited by James Langton.

James first approached me in 2015, after reading my article for Vice on the declining effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). It took a while before we managed to sit down together and talk about his project (thanks for your patience, James!) but I instantly loved the idea of Less-Stress London. James is really passionate about promoting holistic health and wellbeing solutions to Londoners, and exploring the many and varied stresses of urban life. Less-Stress London combines a directory of practitioners, events, services, and green spaces, with an online magazine full of news, features and reviews.

So far, for Less-Stress London, I’ve covered a fantastic range of issues – the health impacts of working night shifts, anti-pollution skincare solutions, the impact of urban stress on babies, road rage and anxiety on public transport, and lots more. I’ve also had the privilege of working on LSL’s behalf with some fantastic wellbeing charities, including the Mental Health Foundation, Freedom from Torture, and the Phoenix Prison Trust.

I sat down with James for a chat about how Less-Stress London came to be, and how my writing services are helping to create his editorial vision for the site.

SG: What’s Less-Stress London all about, and where did the idea come from?

JL: Less-Stress London takes a holistic approach to keeping healthy in the city. A directory of mind-body services, weekend workshops and events, all wrapped up with London news and a genuine sense of the city’s local landscape. Is London a more stressful place to live than other parts of the UK and beyond? Quite the opposite. Because, however lonely we are in the big city, there are choices, neighbourhoods, communities and, crucially, other Londoners to bond with over an evening or a weekend activity and shared interest.


SG: Who and what are your personal inspirations and motivations?

JL: As a native Londoner, I feel proud and grateful to live in one of the safest and most tolerant cities in the world. The changes I’ve seen since growing up in the north-west suburbs as a child have been vast – not only the buildings and infrastructure, but also the incredible diversity of people who have made London their home over the years. The pace of life in the city means that most of us are so time poor it’s difficult to slow down and look around, to find the beauty that’s everywhere in the city, especially in the scruffier corners.


SG: What do you look for in the practitioners and services you feature?

JL: At different times, when I’ve received counselling or psychotherapy, I’ve instinctively felt that my body very much needed the same levels of attention that I was giving to my mind. I could process insights and reflection mentally, but my body often felt like it needed its own catharsis, or at the very least direction toward self-care. I think that whether therapist or practitioner, teacher or coach, it’s absolutely critical to encourage clients to explore complementary ways of working with different therapeutic ideas and techniques in between sessions.


SG: What do you see as the biggest issues impacting on Londoners’ everyday mental and physical wellbeing?


JL: Expectation – whether that comes from others or, more likely, ourselves. A fear that we may fall behind socially and economically unless we drive ourselves, and often our loved ones, to the absolute limit Cramped housing that often means it’s a struggle to find private space to unwind. Loneliness and lack of connection.


SG: What do you ultimately hope Less-Stress London can achieve?

JL: If our Less-Stress websites could have half as much influence as Mumsnet in the heads of politicians I’d be very happy. A better understanding that a holistic health agenda is not just an airy fairy ideal but a realistic solution to so many of society’s social and economic problems. Not just mind-body practicesm but also spreading the word about educational initiatives from organisations such as Young Happy Minds, who understand that a holistic education system is just as important as holistic health.


SG: How does the editorial content, contributed by myself and others, help you to stand out?

JL: There’s a huge amount of health advice available online right now, but it can get a bit shouty: ‘I’ve got a wonderful life, how can I make it better?’ That’s ok, but the wellness movement would do well to remember to build from the bottom-up as well as top-down.

Information about back care and posture is a bit lacking generally. A healthy spine is a critical component of wellness and we’re particularly interested in articles about the crossover point between therapeutic movement and therapeutic bodywork. Also clarity and understanding regarding the many different therapeutic techniques available.

London’s a big city and advances in technology are going to leave more of us struggling to find meaning and purpose from our lives, as the things we take for granted slowly become more and more automated. I hope the articles we commission at least nod in that direction once in a while.

We are a commercial organisation but I hope that the advertising partners we are able to attract complement the articles and features rather than detract.


You can find out more about Less-Stress London and the range of holistic health services available across the city at:

Could my writing services also benefit your business? Click here for information about working with me, check out some examples of my work for Less-Stress London, or click here to see what other clients have said about my writing.

Client profile: Ayesha Giselle Life Coach

Last month I profiled Rachael Cunningham, founder of Sebastian & Millicent, as the first in a series of posts about my small business clients.

Today I want to share some of the work I’ve been doing with Ayesha Giselle, a success and accountability coach based in Hackney.

Ayesha and I met through a networking group for east London freelancers and entrepreneurs, and I knew she was exactly the kind of person I love working with. Ayesha is a driven, ambitious woman, with a passion for supporting and empowering other women. She’s also a fellow east Londoner, so that was a big tick in my ‘supporting local small business owners’ box. And her work is all about self-development, and helping people – particularly young women – get the best out of their lives and careers.

When Ayesha and I got chatting, we realised that our skills complemented each other perfectly. She had the courage and self-confidence to put herself out there, but lacked the writing skills to really make an impact; while I had those writing skills but felt certain that I regularly held myself back from being as successful as I could be. Well, working together has been really quite special for both of us! Since last summer I’ve been writing blog posts, PR pitches and e-books for Ayesha. I’ve learnt so much from her, both through the briefs that she sends me for her content, and from the coaching I’ve received through our brilliant skill sharing agreement.

I sat down with Ayesha for a chat about what coaching means to her and her clients, and how my writing services are helping her to get her messages out there.


SG: What does being a coach mean to you, and how did you get started?

AG: Being a coach means being a source of inspiration, guidance, support and wisdom. Leading by example to inspire and encourage my clients. Using my wisdom and insight to help guide my clients to making the best choices for where they are at on their journey. And to be a support system who is completely in their corner. My client’s success is my success; we win together.

Being a coach allows me to be the person I needed when I was going up, starting my business, and finding myself and my way through life. I always wished I had someone I could talk to who was a bit wiser than me, had more insight into life than me, who would support and encourage me 100% when I found it hard to do so myself. Someone who could push me out of my comfort zone, provide a safe place to explore ideas, and believe in me. Not really having that kind of support growing up made realise what was missing, and who I could be to help others. Funnily enough, I think I decide to become a coach when I was a teenager, after reading one of my mum’s self-help books and thinking to myself ‘this is what I want to become’. At the time I was studying performing arts, which I loved. I initially planned to pursue a performing arts career until I was 30-35, and then I thought I’d have enough life experience to become a coach.

Later I was in university studying Arts Management, which I didn’t really enjoy, and I decided to drop out in year 3. By that stage, I was living life thinking ‘time is too precious to spend it being miserable and doing what you don’t enjoy’. So I made my decision with no plan, just knowing that I no longer enjoyed my course at all, and that it wasn’t for me. However, there was still this strong desire to become a coach as I felt it fit perfectly with who I am – a bold action taker who loves to learn about herself, and always looking forward to growing, teaching, and supporting others. The only thing stopping me was the fact I thought I was way too young to be a coach; I thought I need to be an older person with lots of life experience. In spite of my fears, I took a leap of faith and enrolled myself on a life coaching course, invested in some of the best coaches and mentors, and have never looked back since.


SG: Who and what are your personal inspirations and motivations?

AG: My inspiration to become a coach was Fiona Harold, who I had the pleasure to be coached and mentored by, and Iyanla Vanzant. Both women inspired me through their work and love for what they do.

My main motivation for coaching is making a difference in individual people’s lives, and knowing that I’m having a massive positive impact on them and their future. Nothing can beat the feeling of your client’s success. My clients’ success is my happiness. It brings me pure joy knowing that I played a part in their amazing journey.


SG: What unique experience and perspectives do you bring to your work with clients?

AG: I am able to pass on my resilience to my clients – helping them to keep their eye on the goal, remain consistent, enjoy the process and be willing to challenge themselves, whether that challenge is a self-limiting belief or a fear. I see opportunities within the problems. I help my clients to track, track and track some more, so that they can see the progress they have made. If they want certain results then they need become that person who can get the results they want. Lastly, I know that your thoughts create your reality, and by changing the way you think about yourself or a situation, you can change your reality or an outcome.


SG: Like me, you’re obviously passionate about working with ambitious and driven women – what issues do you see coming up again and again?

AG: I see clients using excuses to hide behind their fears which literally holds them back from becoming their full potential. I see women not believing that they are good enough, and lacking confidence in their ability, which stops them from going after what they really want. And then being scared to ask for what they want. Another thing I  have noticed is that many women know, and deep down really want, what it is they desire; they just don’t how to get it – which is where I come in.


SG: How has hiring me as a writer helped you as a small business owner?

AG: It has helped me a lot. Writing is not my strength, however I have so much wisdom and expertise in my area that I want and need to share with the world. Sometimes it can be so hard to explain what is in my head in a clear succinct way. Hiring you to help write my blogs and pitches has helped me to articulate my thoughts and message in a coherent way. You always deliver on time, with material that surpasses my expectations. You really get exactly what I am trying to convey. It has also saved me a lot of time. Instead of wasting time stressing over trying to produce content, I am now able to focus that time on the things I enjoy and am good at, which is coaching and teaching.


SG: What do you feel the blog and e-book content I’ve written add to your brand?

AG: It has allowed my message to be clear, and really show my expertise and wisdom in my area. It allows my brand to be more polished and professional. It’s a really good investment as what you put out is what you get back in return. If you put out quality work, you attract the right clients and the business that you want. The content you put out represents you, and you always want to put your best foot forward, and the blogs and e-book have allowed me to do just that.


You can find out more about Ayesha Giselle’s range of coaching programmes and services at:

Could my writing services also benefit your business? Click here for information about working with me, check out some examples of my work for Ayesha Giselle, or click here to see what other clients have said about my writing.

Client profile: Sebastian and Millicent

Welcome to the first in a series of profiles, featuring some of the most important people in my business – my clients! I’m really excited to share some more of the behind-the-scenes bits of the work I do. And, of course, to show off some of the brilliant small business owners I get to write for.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve probably already seen my blog posts for Sebastian and Millicent. This boutique lingerie and erotic toy retailer launched online in October 2016, and I’m excited to watch it grow.

I’ve been working with founder Rachael Cunningham since she got in touch with me back in July. As soon as we had our initial consultation, over Skype, I knew she was exactly the kind of client I enjoy working with. I loved her punky, feminist spirit; her big passion for her small business; and her purple hair! When she later sent through the list of blog topics she wanted me to work on, they were right up my street – a combination of feminism, health, sex and relationships, wellbeing, and politics.

What I love about Rachael as a business woman is that she really knows her target audience, and she knows they want more from Seb & Millie than just a faceless shop. As a brand, Seb & Millie is gorgeous, stylish, and independently minded – and it speaks to its customers in a real, authentic way. The fact that the products and designers they stock are incredible is an added bonus! I genuinely adore the Ottoline sleepwear range by Hesper Fox – and they’re not even paying me to say that.

I sat down with Rachael for a chat about Sebastian & Millicent’s raison d’être, and how my writing services are helping her build a brand voice that her customers can relate to.


SG: What’s Sebastian and Millicent all about, and where did the idea come from?

RC: Sebastian and Millicent is about two things: discovering the vanguard of fashion and accepting yourself.

The idea was in my head for about 15 years before I finally did something with it in 2016. Most of my friends thought I was mad! The recession was still proving an issue for businesses, banks were reluctant to accept anyone who sold adult themed products, and I wanted to retain my full-time job.

However – spurred on by the trends for natural beauty and women’s empowerment, the fact that sex is now accepted in mainstream society thanks to the Fifty Shades trilogy, and a pinch of stubbornness – I ignored the naysayers and opened the business.


SG: Who and what are your personal inspirations and motivations?

RC: I’ve always been driven by success, experimentation and the desire to help people. In school, I was the quiet girl who listened and handed in homework on time, so that I could then help the kids who were struggling with abstract science concepts. The business provides a platform for me to help really talented individuals get their names out there and show others what they can do.

My love of fashion, by the likes of Vivienne Westwood and Iris Van Herpen, is a constant inspiration for shaping the direction of the business. They really push boundaries with their designs, and I want to emulate that confidence in Sebastian and Millicent. I’m extending this concept with the new demi-couture and haute couture sections of the business, coming in March 2017, whereby garments can be made to individual measurements, for specific clients, and they can book private trunkshows to view the collections.


SG: What do you look for in the designers you stock?

RC: The designers are the most important part of the business; their talent allows Sebastian and Millicent to continue growing. The key attributes I look for are:

  • Impeccable construction and quality – lingerie and erotic toys are a very personal choice; they not only serve a practical purpose, but also improve self-confidence, mental and spiritual health
  • A unique point of view or meeting a unique need – such as our specialist ostomy lingerie by Jasmine Stacey
  • A collection that isn’t too widely available – many of our designers hand-make the items, so they aren’t available in vast quantities
  • Innovative silhouettes and fabrics – such as leavers lace, charmeuse silk, and leather for lingerie; and steel, precious metals, and blown glass on the erotic toys


SG: You’re obviously passionate about more than just selling underwear and erotic toys. What do you hope your customers will get out of Seb & Millie?

RC: The one thing I would like clients to get is the desire to discover, both in terms of discovering new designers and a personal discovery within themselves. Opening your eyes to new things is exciting, and people can be so enriched if they let themselves go on that journey of discovery!


SG: Seb & Millie is currently a side project you’re running alongside full-time work. How do you find the time to fit it all in?

RC: It is difficult at times, particularly when I need to visit a designer to view their collection, or take a phone call during the day. (If you’ve ever tried talking quietly about adult toys, or a new type of bra that prevents ‘quad boob’, in the work toilet then you’ll know how difficult it is!)

I’m lucky to have collaborated with some wonderfully helpful people, who not only assist with the day-to-day jobs – like updating something on the website that I’m finding tricky to do myself – but also bounce ideas around with me to improve things, like you do with my blog.


SG: I love the range of topics you’ve commissioned me to write about for the blog. What do you feel that content adds to your brand?

RC: It is so easy to open a lingerie and sex toy store and leave it at that. But people don’t work in such a compartmentalised fashion. People now seek these personal items to help them with sexual dysfunction, to heal mental or spiritual wounds, and to increase confidence either in themselves or with a partner. The blog helps people talk about these wellness concepts, and works to link the products with the person. Ultimately, Sebastian and Millicent is about people and their experiences, and I want to showcase this in the blog.


You can view Sebastian & Millicent’s full range at:

Could my writing services also benefit your business? Click here for information about working with me, check out some examples of my work for Sebastian & Millicent, or click here to see what other clients have said about my writing.