Let’s be mindful

September 2021 blog let's be mindful

With the kids back at school, we’re pleased to welcome a more structured working day here at Life In… Magazines!

And although we’ve had a few downs this month (namely our website getting hacked and our floor stand disappearing from Sainsbury’s Locksbottom), there’s still plenty to smile about – and it starts with the lovely Simone Curry from Sublime Beauty.

Things to smile about

We first met Simone a couple of years ago at a local networking event, warming to her infectious laughter and warmth. The wonderful thing about Simone (apart from being a genuinely lovely person!) is that she’s launched a charitable arm of her business to offer women who have had cancer the opportunity to have free semi-permanent makeup treatments.

Simone does this every month – and offers everything from semi-permanent eyeliner and lip-blush effect, to micro-blading, which is what she is doing for my mother-in-law in the main blog picture above. Quite rightly, Simone was nominated as a Local Hero by a few women she’s helped and featured in our July 2021 issue.

Do you know a Local Hero like Simone? Someone who puts the needs of the community into consideration and does what they can to help? We’d love to hear about them – you can write to us at hello@lifeinmagazines.co.uk

We also had the pleasure of joining a discussion for Bromley’s new podcast, Bromley Buzz. The monthly release is a collaboration between local residents Darren Weale of In Tune PR and co-presenter and mindset coach Zeenat Noorani. It offers interesting and insightful news and views on all things local – we love it and we think you will too.

If you fancy a listen to us (on episode 4), it’s right here!

Being mindful in the office

Although at Life In… magazines our ethos is to report on positive, encouraging news to inspire the community, we couldn’t help but notice a recent report by BreatheHR which said that nearly a third of employees are willing to leave their jobs due to poor workplace culture.

I’m sure that most of us have, at one time or another, worked in an environment where any number of factors were at play – office politics, lack of teamwork, office gossip, interpersonal conflicts, exclusive cliques/social groups, poor management, demotivated workers, high turnover rate, stifled career progression or lack of work-life balance…te list goes on.

However much our company grows, we’re determined to keep toxicity out of our company’s culture. We’ve worked, in large part, for toxic companies in the past – and it’s not something we want to replicate. So for jobseekers, here’s how you can research a brand’s track record to get a feel for the type of culture they foster:

  • Look at company reviews from present and past employees on reputable platforms like Glassdoor.
  • Monitor their turnover rate over a period of several months and see how it compares to the industry average.
  • Research how diverse the company is. Find out how many people in senior positions are women or from a BAME background.
  • Pay attention to how they communicate with you and with each other.

And for employers, once a toxic trend is spotted, it’s important to address it as soon as possible, so it can be stopped. The team at Instant Offices have provided the following tips:

  • Lead by example – behave the way you want to see your employees behave. That includes maintaining a positive attitude, and holding yourself accountable for mistakes the same as you would a subordinate.
  • Treat every employee with dignity and respect, regardless of their position or seniority.
  • Don’t play favourites, and don’t scapegoat or alienate any employee or group of employees.
  • Make sure all management is properly trained on what makes a diverse and inclusive workplace.
  • Ensure that all employees are properly trained on what constitutes bullying, harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
  • Provide training that empowers managers to handle internal conflicts.
  • Keep communication channels open for mutual feedback between employees and management.
  • Encourage constructive feedback and create an environment where criticism can be shared without fear of “punishment”.
  • Make sure your employees know that it’s safe to speak up.
  • Recognise and reward your employees’ efforts.
  • Promote employees based on skill, not just on likeability.
  • Foster an environment of open, constructive communication.

In this month’s issue….

We’ve got a cracking issue for you this month that highlights a number of interesting reads – from ‘feeding your mind to boost your brain power’ and ‘working smarter, not harder’; to ‘reducing your living costs’ and ‘championing small businesses’. Not to mention the local heroes we’re applauding, what’s on locally and the community noticeboard – we hope you enjoy the read!

We’re also delighted to welcome some new advertisers this month – Smart Switch Utilities, which offers competitive utility rates for both residential and commercial properties; Brightwater Memorial Park, an above-ground burial facility located in stunning, landscaped gardens in Orpington; Sports Star Images, which offers personalised sports posters – a great gift idea for birthdays, celebrational wins and of course Christmas! Phil Kitchenside, a local maths tutor for GCSE and A-Level years 10-13; and (drum roll please!)…with theatres now fully open, Bromley Churchill Theatre is OPEN! Coming up they’ve got a great range of shows – we’ve already purchased Stewart Lee tickets for March 2022 – they sell out fast apparently, so make sure you don’t miss out on the show you really want to see.

As usual, we’ll leave you with an inspirational quote to ponder…

‘The power of community to create health is far greater than any physician, clinic or hospital.’

– Mark Hyman –

Until next month!

The new normal

September 2020 blog

The kids are back and the ‘new normal’ (whatever that is!) has resumed. We can’t quite believe that the mince pies are on the shops ready for Crimbo – it only seemed like yesterday we were having lockdown.

And talking of lockdown, does anyone else feel like this year has been the year that was put on ‘pause’? It’s almost like 2020 never really happened. One thing is for sure, it’s a year that none of us will ever forget.

But there’s so much to be positive about – the new creative businesses and ideas borne out of lockdown, the rallying round and camaraderie of the community to help support those most in need and finding new ways to entertain ourselves (LEGO building, Netflix and quizzes with friends and family) while stuck at home.

Our working life

And even though we’re not yet back to how things were prior to lockdown, it certainly feels like we’ve come on leaps and bounds.

Here at Life In Magazines we’ve been coming up with new ideas for the magazine, spurred on by your letters, emails, social media tags and texts – thank you to everyone who engages with us with their comments, suggestions or generally just telling us to keep up the good work. We’ve managed to include new ‘Behind The Scenes’ and ‘Meet The Locals’ features this month which I think will go down a storm with readers.

Getting our heads down and focused, we’ve welcomed a few new advertisers this month, including Bubbly Nursery, Magnetic Health, THL Coaching and OTS – Oriental Turkish Supermarket.

And it’s also been great to reflect on the future of the business; all businesses should plan for growth if it seems fitting to do so – and although an expansion plan was scheduled for June, Covid-19 meant that this couldn’t go ahead. Let’s hope 2021 presents more opportunity for all of us.

And on that note, here’s a thought for the day…

“Do not let the memories of your past limit the potential of your future. There are no limits to what you can achieve on your journey through life, except in your mind.”
― Roy T. Bennet

Until next month, enjoy the rest of your September!

Nicky & Lauretta

September: Back to business

September blog post

September has been a bit of a welcome relief if we’re honest, as it meant that the kids went back at school, meaning that we have been able to get back on track.

But we have to say, we’ve thoroughly enjoyed a bit of downtime over the summer holidays. Since we launched in March, working on Life In Orpington has been full on.

Like any small business, it’s hard to fit everything in – writing the magazine, designing it and delivering it. And then there’s the sales calls, community events to attend, accounts to do (and invoices to chase), photos to take, research on local events to cover, social media, emails to respond to, newsletters, blog posts, the website, attending networking events…the list doesn’t end. Not that we’re complaining of course – we love doing it!

New introductions

Since we launched our ‘Write It, Say It, Message It’ page last month, the messages have continued to come in, which has been great. We’re planning on launching of new features as we go along – and keep the most popular ones of course. If you have any suggestions – we’d love to hear them: hello@lifeinmagazines.co.uk

This month we welcome six new advertisers to the magazine – Doves Funeral Directors, Storeys Ltd, The Orpington Band, Coopers School, Harris Academy Orpington and One One Seven.

We also decided to publish a special feature for parents on School Open Days – general information and the type of questions to ask when choosing a new school. It seems to have been popular as we received a few likes and comments on social when we posted about it. We might look to include more special features to tie in with events and areas of interest. Watch this space!

Mixing business with pleasure

They say never mix business with pleasure, but we couldn’t help but enjoy a bit of bleisure time this month when we were invited to VUE Bromley to do a review (showcased in the October issue of Life In Orpington!)

We chose to watch The Informer which was an interesting film – if a little gory – but it was great to enjoy the whole cinema experience – including testing out the concessions!

Talking of business, we managed to get along to a few business networking events this month. In fact, just before the kids went back to school we sampled a BNI event in Orpington.

We both really enjoyed it and we could see that it’s great for local businesses to support one another. The other great thing is that it started at 7am and by 8.30am it was all finished, meaning that we had the rest of the day free to work as usual.

The downside is that with dependent children, we can’t make it while the kids are at school. Still, it’s definitely one for the future when the kids become much more independent.

We also attended the regular monthly PIB meeting – held the first week of every month. We decided to join PIB a couple of months ago (at the moment it’s only £5 a month – very affordable for us as a small start-up business) and haven’t looked back.

It’s a small group but is growing rapidly all the time and we like the fact that it’s a supportive group. We’ve already used a few people from the group ourselves including Indigo Art Club, Eco Domestics and Our Technician and have got a couple more we’re looking at using. For more information see https://www.pib-network.co.uk/

The ‘thank yous’

We’ve got a couple of people to thank this month when it comes to either offering us advice, inspiring us or showing us little acts of kindness. We never realised just how supportive the local community was going to be when we launched Life In Orpington, but it has totally surpassed all our expectations.

A special thanks goes to Suren Suku – who hosted a charity golf day to raise money and awareness of prostate cancer earlier this year. Suren took us out for a lovely meal in Petts Wood to thank us for our support and catch up on what he’s been up to. He’s a very generous man with a kind heart – and plenty of chatter!

September Blog Post

Thanks also to Michelle Harvey – another person with a kind heart and clearly someone who is always thinking of others. Michelle has inspired us in many ways since we’ve got to know her – both on a professional level as well as a personal level – thanks Michelle….you’re a star!

That’s about it for what we’ve been up to this month, but we’ll leave you with this little inspirational quote that we think perfectly sums up how we feel about our community:

“Quality of life actually begins at home – it’s in your street, around your community.”
– Charles Kennedy.

To us it suggests that if you invest in your community by supporting local businesses, shopping local, donating to schools and charities and perhaps even offering your skills or time to help promote community events – you’ll reap the rewards. Always look for the good in your community – be part of that ‘good’ and watch your quality of life improve.