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Life in a day: Josephine Fairley


Life in a day: Josephine Fairley
We share a day in the busy life of Jo Fairley – co-founder of pioneering organic and fair trade chocolate brand Green & Black’s, and one of the world’s leading beauty writers. Fairley is co-author of the successful Beauty Bible series of books – including 'The Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible'.

Today I woke up in my shoebox of a flat in Soho, London (a home away from home), at the unusually (and blissfully) late time of 7 a.m., without an alarm. I just went to see Arianna Huffington talk about her book Thrive and last night didn’t look at any of my ‘devices’ after 9 p.m. I slept so much better than usual, and for almost seven-and-a-half hours – which is also much longer than I normally do. She’s definitely onto something with her advice to ‘unplug’ in the evenings – I know it, but from now on I’m going to stick to it!

This month is a very busy month for me, doing a lot of motivational speaking events, based around the story of Green & Black’s and my own business journey from leaving school at sixteen to becoming the youngest-ever magazine editor at the age of 23, and then creating G&B’s with my husband, in 1991. So this week I’m in Winchester, Bournemouth, Birmingham – and I won’t be home till Friday night.  But I get a HUGE amount done on trains – much more than in the office. (I’m on one
right now!)

I set myself up for the day by walking two and a half miles through London’s Green Park and Belgravia to my breakfast meeting with the PR agency for The Perfume Society. Then a meeting with Jo Malone about her Jo Loves… perfume brand. Then nipped to The Perfume Society office just off Oxford Street for a meeting with some students from the London College of Fashion who wanted advice on costings for a hypothetical fragrance launch, as a project in their first year.  Next up, lunch with make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury for the launch of her matte lipsticks, at her house in Notting Hill. And then a train to Winchester where I’m speaking at an event for entrepreneurs called the Vistaprint Night School, and networking with small and medium-sized business owners. It is never, ever dull…

I just finished [writing] a book called The Perfume Bible which is to be published in September. I write for women’s magazines and I’ve a business blog on The Telegraph Online’s Wonder Women section. Sometimes when I read a list of everything I work on it makes me want to go and have a nice lie-down, but honestly, I love it.

I generally do a bit of yoga before bedtime – a few stretches. I love one of the sayings from a yoga teacher whose class I go to, who says, ‘flexible spine, flexible mind’.  I’m sure yoga keeps me not just physically flexible but mentally so.

Given the choice (roll on the weekend!) I’ll eat dinner outdoors with my husband – who’s a fantastic cook – walk around the garden at twilight, slip into my incredibly comfortable bed with a stack of magazines and a novel (currently Elizabeth Jane Howard’s Casting Off). I rarely watch TV although we did just binge-watch House of Cards. Kevin Spacey is extraordinary, but I was glad to get my life back after Series II finished.

I like that I never know quite what I’m going to be doing next – there’s a structure, but room for absolute flexibility.  I hate the e-mail, and I simply can’t stay on top of the e-swamp.  It’s a broken tool, and I’ve rediscovered the good old-fashioned telephone.  I’m telling everyone, ‘it’s the new e-mail’!


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