REAL HEALTH & BEAUTY FOR GROWN-UPS BY JO FAIRLEY & SARAH STACEY
7 Secrets of Beauty & Wellbeing: Suzanne Duckett, founder of Onolla
Suzanne Duckett has been a beauty journalist colleague for more years than any of us care to count, at Good Housekeeping and Cosmopolitan, as well as editing Tatlerâ€™s spa guides and contributing to The Telegraph. A spa expert, author, with a deep knowledge of complementary therapies, natural beauty products and wellbeing, weâ€™re always thrilled when our paths cross. Bottom line: Suzanne knows her stuff.
Suzanne most recently founded Onolla (â€˜Online Now, Offline Laterâ€™), where she will coach anyone in need of a personal health, wellbeing or beauty blueprint for living, linking you to expert practitioners, recommending global spa and health clinics or steering you towards practitioners to help with specific problems. Following a successful pop-up in Barnes, sheâ€™s also offering curated Seasonal Self-Care Sets , showcasing only products Suzanne truly rates.
Having tried pretty much everything out there in her quest for wellbeing and balance, who better to be the latest contributor in this seriesâ€¦? Over to Suzanne, to share what helps her stay balanced, healthy and (our words) gorgeous!
I nature surf. Itâ€™s the only way I can describe it! It is akin to learning how to catch nature's wave and embrace the energy of the time of year guiding you to make better decisions in all areas of your life helping you enjoy the ride more, using less effort and going with the flow. After interviewing so many guruâ€™s and health experts for getting on for three decades I needed some more down to earth, practical doable guidance in my life from someone I could totally depend on and trust, someone consistent and honest. So I turned to mother nature. Tuning in to natureâ€™s rhythm and adapting your routine to sync with the seasons is a game changer because by being aware of the ebb and flow of energy and therefore mood (yours and others) and behaviour really helps shape how you plan your life. Every season has a reason and it makes the year a natural balancing act which is why I decided to launch a membership programme ( onolla.com ) to support myself and others following nature's lead.
I get up with the larks to access the Ambrosial hours. In relation to my nature surfing, catching the early morning wave of energy is another transformer. It is hard and many a day especially in Winter which is totally natural, I want to pull the duvet above my head and stay in my cosy bed longer. But many holistic health practitioners from a variety of modalities in particular Vedic meditation and the yoga world talk about â€˜The Ambrosial Hours, and the period of every night closest to the morning, beginning around 90 minutes before sunrise and ending 48 minutes before dawn and said to be the best time to meditate, practice yoga or do any other sacred practice, because the mind is naturally very still at that time and that your connection to Source, Spirit. God, Mother Nature in my case is more intense during this morning hour than at any other time of day. It is also said that the electromagnetic energy of the earth is at its optimum level for more introspective practices (that includes planning, writing, problem solving). I am truly at my calmest and creative at this time of the day and get more done in 2 hours at dawn than an entire afternoon (I roll on a little drop of grounding, inspiring and beautifulÂ e11even Unisex Fragrance Oil because I love it and also to lasso my mood to the moment). Of course this all means I need to go to bed early every night though, a constant work in progress and harder as we move into Spring/Summer but so worth it.Â
I bathe regularly (the hot and cold varieties). Water is one of the most precious elements in nature and is a central building block of life. Modern maladies can be remedied in the tub if you immerse yourself in a bath brimming with natural ingredients like mud ( Hungary Mineral Mud Mask and Soak is extraordinary glow giver), salts ( Therapie Himalayan Detox Bath Salts are a pampering purge) and oils ( Olverum transports me to a magic pine forest) to support internal and external cleansing. A hot bath brimming with oils and steam followed by a good dry off and wrapping up warm in a towelling dressing gown and a spell outside in the garden in cool fresh air is an unknown and underrated, affordable tonic. You feel like you have been to a spa, body feels more nimble mind calmer. Thatâ€™s the secret combo in my book. (Literally. See my book Bathe )
I also love wild swimming, the most immersive bathing in nature in every sense. It is a freeing feeling and natural high and a time-honoured cure for depression, promotes superior physical health as well as sparking joy and creativity. If you know a daily wild swimmer they really do have a life force that is palpable and they are super jolly souls to be around..
I meditate twice a day, every day - itâ€™s better than a nap! After many years of searching for a meditation that worked for me, I landed on Vedic Meditation practice.Nothing complicated, simply sitting in a chair with your eyes closed for about 20 minutes in the morning and again in the early evening repeating a mantra internally (a meaningless sound). The mantra quiets the mind and takes you to a settled state and I feel like I am having a half awake half asleep nap. As your mind settles, your body top to toe, begins to rest more deeply than sleep and itâ€™s amazing how much tension held in your face you thought was permanent starts to dissipate too. Vanity as well as sanity boost! I now match, via my Concierge Service , the right practice and practitioners for people who want to learn things like meditation, but need help finding the right fit for them.Â
I elevate my walks regularly with Forest Bathing. Shinrin-Yoku or â€˜forest bathingâ€™ is a Japanese practice of contemplative walking in the forest and soaking up the sights, sounds and smells of the natural setting. Developed in the 1980s, it requires walkers to be mindful, appreciating the forest. What it is not is rushing through the park with your phone glued to your ear on a Zoom or taking pictures constantly to post on Instagram! A discipline muscle worth exercising. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
I ground myself regularly with a bit of barefoot in the park action. On those days when I actually feel digitally toxic (too many for my liking but Iâ€™m working on it) I counteract that mental and physical screen fug feeling by spending a few minutes walking barefoot on grass. Evidence is building saying that it helps harmonise our electromagnetic energy, allowing it to vibrate at the same frequency as the earthâ€™s surface. What better feeling is there than wiggling your bare feet in the sand, surf of the sea, warm grass on a sunny day. You literally feel the bliss running up through you while concurrently, the stress is being absorbed by the ground.Â So simple yet so effective.
I continuously cultivate a loving community. Of all the wellbeing experts I have met â€“ other than nature being the main thread running through all their advice on living a healthier, happier and hopefully longer life â€“ the other main wellbeing booster is people. We call it community and a word being used (overused Iâ€™d say in the wrong places) a lot at the moment. Having a lot of love and friendship in your life in whatever and as many forms as you can really is the antidote to so many of our troubles which is why I have also launched Onolla Members Club . We are conditioned to think that we have to have the perfect partner and family and cool school friends we have known since we were at kindergarten to achieve this level of love and camaraderie. This is not the case. I have had to find mine through work, through the local farmers market, through a book club, through talking to people on a dog walk. I have turned friends into non-bio family as I call them powerful understudies for relationships I didnâ€™t inherently have that have become starring roles in my life. If you really embrace them, those initialÂ â€˜strangersâ€™ can become the most important people to you. Which is also why Onolla is an acronym for Online Now Offline Later because I want to help connect people via Zooms to IRL supper clubs and have as much fun together along the way.