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The morning rituals and routines of Britain's most successful career women


We'd love to be one of those super-efficient people who serenely down a smoothie at 6.30am before popping by a Pilates class and arriving at the office half an hour early to get ahead on emails. In reality, you're more likely to find us frantically tussling with the hairdryer and pouring coffee down our newly ironed blouse as we make a dash - and miss - the last late bus.

But if you're the CEO of a multinational company or head up a global social enterprise that deals with hundreds of clients every day, you can't afford to live your life like a Manic Monday lyric.

The women we profile here all hold down high-pressure, demanding jobs and have their morning routines down to a tee. Factoring in breakfast, exercise, overnight emails - and often the demands of their children - these business leaders and owners methodically arrange their time to minimise the potential for chaos and set themselves up for the day ahead. Everything is planned, nothing is left to chance and we have to admit, it seems to involve a lot of early starts. None of these people are roll-out-of-bed-at-10am folk.

Read on to find out more about their morning routine tips and tricks, from Victoria Beckham's double espresso breakfast to Karen Blackett's workout sessions in her garage-converted gym and Anya Hindmarch's wake-up call with five children.

Victoria Beckham, founder and creative director of the Victoria Beckham fashion line

Ex-Spice Girl Victoria Beckham launched the Victoria Beckham womenswear empire in spring/summer 2009 and the brand has gone from strength to strength ever since, attracting serious fashion plaudits and an A-list celebrity following. She lives with her husband David and four children Brooklyn, Romeo, Cruz and Harper and divides her time between London and LA. This account of her daily routine comes from an interview in Harper's Bazaar.

"I wake up between 6:15 and 6:30. Because I have, you know, four kids, I'm quite an early riser! So I naturally wake up at that time, but I always have an alarm as a safety net - in case I have something really important going on and I sleep in for the first time in 20 years. Then I get in the shower, and because I wake the children up at 7 o'clock, that gives me half an hour to get myself ready. So that half an hour in the morning while I'm getting ready, between showering and washing my face, I'm checking e-mails that have come in overnight, from America. I usually eat fruit for breakfast. I'll have peppermint tea and then a double espresso. And I'm just nibbling while giving the kids all their breakfasts. And while that's all happening, they'll have a spelling test or a times table test. We have times tables on Post-its all over the fridge. So we're quizzing each other in the morning, and we make it into, like, a little bit of a game.

At 7.50am, we leave the house. The boys go to three different schools. I do one or two of the drops because they all start around the same time. David does the other, so we go in totally different directions. I head in to work at 8.50am. My studio is in Battersea. The first thing I do is check in with my team. I have about 80 people in the studio, including seamstresses, an e-commerce team, everyone. I'm hands-on, you could say!"

Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO of Virgin Money

Jayne-Ann Gadhia has been CEO of Virgin Money since 2007. In 2008 she was chosen by Richard Branson to lead the bid to take over Northern Rock, and secured the £747 million takeover in 2012. Her motto is "never give up". She lives in Edinburgh with her husband Ashok and daughter Amy. This account of her morning routine comes from the Guardian.

"Left to my own devices, which means assuming I don't have to travel, I get up every day at 6.20am. No alarm. That's just when I wake up every morning, weekends too. First thing I do is look at my emails and answer any outstanding. I can't stand having any not done! Then I look at the BBC news website, then Twitter. If that counts as an early start, I do it because I always like to be on top of work so I can enjoy the non-work stuff, like having breakfast with the family and talking to my daughter on the way to school, rather than being distracted by work. So it sort of helps me have a normal life."

Sacha Mascolo–Tarbuck, global creative director at Toni&Guy

Sacha Mascolo–Tarbuck is the global creative director at Toni&Guy. She is responsible for the way everything associated with the brand looks in its 420 salons across 42 countries, whether it’s the design of a salon, an item of packaging for its haircare range, or huge global advertising campaigns. She lives in Effingham, Surrey, with her husband James, Toni&Guy’s global brand director, and their children Vito, Saffina and Rico.

"I’m normally woken up at 5.30am by Rico. I’ll see to him and then jump straight in the shower – I’ve got my morning routine down to 10 minutes. I’ll do the school run in a coat and flats, then come home and change into something smarter like Sophia Webster heels and a Victoria Beckham dress. I also love pieces by Giles Deacon and Alexander McQueen. I work from our head office in Waterloo three days a week, otherwise I’m at home in our six-bedroom house. It has a swimming pool and 97 acres of land that we’re planning to build our ‘forever home’ on – including converted stables for the children to live in when they’re older. James and I drive into work together, picking up coffee and croissants before arriving at the office at 10.15am. I’ll usually be in back-to-back meetings all day with our production teams, in-house architects and salon management teams, or I’ll be researching photographers, models, make-up artists and stylists for our lookbook and salon window shoots."

Karen Blackett, CEO, MediaCom UK

Karen Blackett is the chief executive of MediaCom, one of the UK's biggest media-buying and planning agencies. Her company looks after clients such as Sky, Audi and GSK and employs around 900 people in the UK. She lives with her son Isaac and has three homes in London, the Cotswolds and Barbados. This account of her morning routine comes from the Guardian and the Independent.

"I get up at 5.45am three times a week to spend 45 minutes in my garage, which I have turned into a gym. Otherwise, I wake when my son comes into my room – any time between 6.30 and 7am. I quickly scan my emails while my son is taking over my bed and having his milk. Urgent ones I reply to there and then. I flag others to follow up on my commute into work. My early start is due to the need to exercise more to keep fit as I get older, and due to my three-year-old kick-starting my day (literally). If I don't have a client breakfast meeting close to my London home I take the train to Waterloo and walk to my office near the British Museum. "

Anya Hindmarch, fashion designer

Anya Hindmarch MBE, is the founder of the Anya Hindmarch fashion label, one of the world's leading accessories brands. She lives with with her husband James Seymour (and her company's financial director) and their five children aged between 22 and seven. This account of her morning routine comes from the Telegraph and Momfilter.

"I usually get up when James goes for a run at 6.30 or when the children thunder upstairs around 7. I join the kids at breakfast and then go to the gym or sometimes do the school run. Breakfast is a soya latte on the way to work. I do circuit training three times a week - head therapy as well as body therapy. There is nothing typical when it comes to my weekday schedule for the children, as there is a range of ages and stages of the year. Sometimes it is a full house and other times there can be one child home. I have two children at university and one on a gap year, one in boarding school and one at day school in London. My husband and I work full-time together and we have a live in nanny who holds the fort!"

Kanya King, CEO and founder of the MOBO awards

Kanya King, MBE, is CEO and founder of the Music of Black Origin Awards (MOBOs), now in its 19th year. She lives in east London with her partner and spends her working day dealing with everything from press launches for the annual award show to meetings with advertising agencies.

"A typical day starts at 7am. I put the news on, grab my skipping rope and do a mini-workout while I’m watching TV. Exercise helps me get ready for the day, mentally and physically. Then it’s a quick soak in the bath before my other half drives me to our swish new offices in Soho for 9am. It’s the perfect time for us to catch up and have a chat. I’m currently off coffee, thanks to my fantastic nutritionist, so I’m always lugging around a shopping bag packed with bananas, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and milk for my morning smoothie. I’m militant about getting my five a day. My handbag’s always brimming with the day’s essentials – everything from sponsorship contracts to a spare pair of shoes in case I need to change for a last-minute party."

Katy Friedman, director of global resourcing at Robert Walters

Katy Friedman is director of global resourcing at international recruitment consultancy, Robert Walters. She's in charge of recruiting all the company's internal staff – she headhunts the headhunters - so she spends her days scouring through CVs or reviewing applications online. She lives in Chelsea with her husband, Dan, who works in finance, and their dog Barclay.

"The very first thing I do when I wake up at 6.45am is check my BlackBerry. I do a lot of work with recruiters overseas, in Asia and Australia, so I’ll check for updates from them before they close for the day. Then, I head downstairs to feed my Schnoodle, Barclay, his breakfast. I’ll be showered and dressed by 7.30am. My work wardrobe has always been a mix of high street and designer – dresses by Zara teamed with my trusty Burberry Prorsum mac. I’m currently four months pregnant though, so I’m relying on Lanvin flats and maxi dresses these days. My Mulberry handbag is also crucial. It needs to be big enough to carry my iPad, BlackBerry, iPhone, spare Louboutins and hundreds of CVs. I walk the 30 minutes to the office in Covent Garden. On the way I’ll pick up some fresh juice, fruit, yoghurt and a decaf latte before arriving at the office at about 8.15am."

Diana Verde Nieto, founder and CEO of Positive Luxury

Diana Verde Nieto is the founder and CEO of Positive Luxury, a trust mark for brands that have a positive impact on society and the environment. Her company assesses and certifies brands such as Benefit, Aveda, Gucci and John Lewis, and she also chair panels on sustainability and spends two days a year as a young global leader at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. She lives in Notting Hill, London.

"My alarm goes off at 6am. I have a coffee then run 9.5km to Shoreditch in 50 minutes, listening to everything from Arctic Monkeys to Whitesnake. I shower at the Shoreditch House gym and put on a dress, leather jacket and boots. I love Alexander McQueen, another of our positive brands. My office is just around the corner in an old sofa factory and I arrive at 8.30am so I can work through my emails. Brands pay an annual fee for our blue butterfly trust mark and I manage all accounts so I often hold business meetings throughout the morning at Cecconi’s in Mayfair or Shoreditch House before popping to Whitecross Street Market to pick up some lunch to take back to the office."

Belinda Parmar, CEO of Lady Geek

Belinda Parmar is the CEO of Lady Geek, a social enterprise company campaigning to make technology more accessible to women. She lives in Muswell Hill with her husband Sal, a technology developer, and their children Jedd and Rocca.

"I wake up at 6.30am and sneak in some Twitter time before the children come and bounce on our bed. I then get dressed into jeans and a smart top – usually Ted Baker or LK Bennett – and help the children with their reading and spelling. My husband and I have a deal that if he makes breakfast – porridge or a fry up – then I walk the children to school. Afterwards I cycle to the office in Kentish Town, checking my smartwatch at traffic lights, which pulls in all my calls and emails via Bluetooth. I’m constantly switching between new mobile phones so I’m up-to-date with the latest technology. At the moment I have five."

Helen Grant, MP, Minister for Sport and Tourism

Helen Grant is minister for sport and tourism and Conservative MP for Maidstone and The Weald. Before being sports and tourism minister, she was the UK's first ever justice and victims minister and worked as a family lawyer for 23 years before getting into politics. She lives in Surrey with her husband Simon, a solicitor, and their sons Benjamin and Joel.

"My alarm usually goes off at about 6.30am. Although, sometimes I’ll get up as early as 4.45am to head into a TV news studio where I’ll be on the sofa on current affairs shows such as Daybreak and Sky News. In the morning, I’ll take a bath, put on a Hobbs dress and high heels, have a bowl of cereal and watch the BBC news. Then I’ll get the train and the Tube into Westminster. I don’t work from a laptop or BlackBerry on my commute. Instead, I have what MPs call ‘the box’. This is essentially a briefcase filled with papers – drafts for proposals, letters to sign, documents to proofread – that we are given to work on most nights. It’s like homework, really. I’ll arrive at the office at about 9am and catch up with my team on what needs to be done that day – we have to be prepared to respond to any news story or press announcement at a moment’s notice."

Camilla Deakin, joint MD at Lupus Films

Camilla Deakin is joint managing director of animation company Lupus Films, which she set up with her friend Ruth in 2002. Before that, both women worked at Channel 4 as part of the commissioning team for animations.. She lives in Crouch End with her husband Gary, a film lighting technician, and their two sons Stanley and Billy.

"Mornings are a rush. I wake the children up at 7am, get them dressed and fed and make sure they’ve got everything for school. I’m constantly checking they’ve got their homework, PE kits, packed lunches and musical instruments, before Stanley takes himself to school and I sit down with Billy for a bowl of porridge with fruit. I sometimes ride my Vespa into the office in London’s Islington, which means Converse and jeans are a wardrobe staple (I almost never wear skirts), but now I sometimes drop Billy off at his primary school en route, so I’ll take the train. I’ve yet to find a helmet small enough so he can sit on the back of the scooter! I arrive at the office, which has had a festive feel to it all year, at 9.30am. We'll always have a production meeting first thing with all the heads of department to discuss any issues. I’ll spend most of my morning in meetings. These can include anything from chatting with the line producer and production coordinator to meeting a new member of staff or visiting our composer’s studio."



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