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The Muse Series

The Muse Series: With Joke Adejumo of Bodied

The Muse Series: With  Joke Adejumo of Bodied
I’m delighted to launch the next in our series with Bodied – a truly inclusive massage space based in East London – founder, Joke. After using human touch and massage therapy to heal her own chronic injuries and pain, Joke set about to create a welcoming, safe therapy space that would provide a community to all, in particular minority ethnic communities who are under-represented and under-served in the massage and wellness therapy industries. You can learn more about Joke and the Bodied Studio on their website and instagram

One of the core pillars of Bodied is creating inclusivity within the massage and wellness space – encouraging everyone to take care of themselves. Why is this so important to you?

I think the wellness industry and even allied health services can be (in some places) extremely whitewashed. It can be daunting as a woman of colour walking into a space, expecting to begin a process of healing and not identifying with or recognising myself in said space. If anything the pandemic has really shown us just how vulnerable minority ethnic communities can be and we all have a responsibility to ensure that health and wellbeing (on all levels) remains inclusive and accessible.

Massage is a practice steeped in a rich history. How much of the ancient traditions influence you and your work today?

For me, heritage and tradition are focal points that can decolonise the wellness industry. We forget that so much influence and inspiration has been drawn from ancient practices, remedies and recipes, so I'm constantly researching for the next phase of Bodied – how best to stay true to, and most importantly, honour those origins.

As someone who spends a lot of time taking care of others, how do you nurture yourself?

There is nothing remotely inspiring or glamourous about my process. I think just recognising...'I need a minute' has been enough to keep me going. I'm a great walker and London is a beautiful city at night, so it'll remain a past-time of mine to cross the bridges on foot and just take it all in. I stretch and strength train, play my digital piano (not very well), go to performances alone and try to keep it light-hearted.

Are there any small, simple self-massage practices that you would encourage people to implement in their everyday self-care rituals?

More so than self-massage, taking a few moments to breathe from the diaphragm and potentially trigger a release in serotonin is something I think everyone can afford themselves, as well as strengthening and mobilising their frames. The human body is the greatest example of biomechanics; we've been designed to move and whether parkour or tai chi is your gig, 30 minutes each day would probably shave millions off our nation's tax bill each year. Leave the bodywork and massage to us at Bodied!

What have you been inspired by in the small business and wellness space?

Honestly, the camaraderie and support of women in business. The likes of female founders such as Katie at Re:lax London, Sam at Curate Beauty and of course yourself here at Palm of Feronia among many others, have been a great support and constant reminder that allyship is everything!

Is there anything you're reading, watching, or listening to that you're finding particularly inspiring or helpful right now?

I recently saw Yuja Wang perform at the Southbank Centre this past April. Her rendition of Ligeti's Etude No.13 (L'escalier du diable) was honestly breathtaking. You could see the physical toll this piece was taking on her, a lifelong pianist. Again, it served as a reminder to stay consistent with my own practice and find new pieces to keep me uncomfortable. That's where the growth is right?

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The Muse Series: With Marina South of Then & Now Studio

The Muse Series: With Marina South of Then & Now Studio
Marina South is the founder of Then & Now Studio – a multi-disciplinary creative studio rooted in eco-conscious, soul-aligning brand development and sustainability consultancy. 
Marina’s work focuses on connecting us, with slower living and mindful action – something that can be increasingly difficult in the modern world. As an extension of this, Then & Now have developed a Creative Soul Deck - a set of beautiful, minimal and thoughtful cards to further develop your intuition and to help tune into your own internal guidance.

Tell us a little more about Then & Now Studio. How did the idea come about?

I’d worked in the fashion industry for over a decade and it became clear that I wasn’t able to align with the natural rhythms of life. I felt a strong calling to share the knowledge I had accumulated around sustainability with other creatives and brands on a journey to cultivate ethically responsible offerings. What initially began as a space to communicate this knowledge has organically evolved into its own entity. Then & Now Studio has grown to become a space that explores the intersection of art, nature and soul. Offering tools and inspiration that encourage one to return to the natural self by tuning into cyclical living and sensory activation. The objects we create are not only conscious in their conception and production, they also open up a conversation [about the relationship] between ourselves as organic human beings and cyclical living. I feel in many ways I have come full-circle in life – nature, alchemy and art have always been innate. It feels good to now create from this place and share the experience with our community.

Your work marries creativity, mindfulness and ritual. What do you see as the connection between these three practices?

For me the connection between these practices is the conscious act of creating. When we connect creativity, mindful action and ritual, we have the power to cultivate the world we want to live in. Even though our everyday actions can feel small, when we act from a mindful space – whether it’s a conversation or creating a piece of art – we choose what this looks like and how it shapes the world. I believe creativity is born from necessity, growing up in rural Wales with very little money, creativity was the only way to experience what we wanted. Imagining, making and mending was the sustenance we needed to cultivate the environment we wanted to live in. Our kitchen was the hub of our home and where so much of the magic happened; making herbal potions, oil blends and patchworking clothes with my mum and sisters whilst Pink Floyd played from my Dad’s garage, these were all acts of creativity, mindfulness and ritual. In modern times the term mindfulness can be easily used to bypass the root of what it really means to be mindful or conscious. I always return to the idea of creating a world that works for everyone and when we give intention to even our smallest everyday rituals we begin to act from a place of awareness and purpose, we take these energies and we distil them into something real and tangible. 

What are your daily self-care rituals? What nurtures you?

For many years I tried to force myself into structured societal ways of living and had so many imbalances and stressors arise from this which resulted in feeling misaligned. When I took the step to create my own path that felt more natural it was a process of complete deconditioning, almost a death and rebirth into a new way of living. My research and work in natural health and sustainability have led me to deep studies of ecology and cyclical living. Whether that’s thinking about the balance of my endocrine system or my everyday rituals for self care, it is about looking to nature and mirroring the cycles there. We have separated ourselves from nature, we often talk about reconnecting with nature when what we really need to do is remember we are nature. It's easy for us to accept that during autumn the tree's leaves change colour and fall to the ground, that in winter the tree stands bare until spring arrives and blossom appears. We are interconnected and experience the same patterns as the tree, accepting this relieves so much pressure, it allows for dialogue with ourselves and our needs.

Cyclical living is where I always start – as we move into Spring I am dry body brushing everyday to drain my lymphatic system, releasing stagnant energy and blockages. Sound is an innate part of my self care – I make playlists to evoke certain energies then dance, stretch and move my body intuitively. I love to make my own oil blends, even the simplicity of rubbing my body, hair and skin in olive oil feels so nourishing. Self-care rituals are not just about the physical body but the mind and soul as well. For me. it’s always about returning to the simplicity of nature, art and expression to nourish the soul. 

What nurtures me the most is complete simplicity; home cooking, growing herbs, being with my cats…Cats are always my mentors. Just witnessing them, they’re completely present in the moment, whether they’re in the deepest nap or experiencing pure joy through play they always bring me back to the present moment and what is real. I love good food too, and I’m forever over my cauldron creating herbal blends and tonics – it feels like an alchemical process to me and it’s something I’ve done for as long as I can remember.

Do you have any words that you live by?

The words I forever come back to, especially in modern times when there is so much uncertainty and global trauma is “In chaos, there is fertility”, by Anaïs Nin. It always brings me back to a place of creativity as an act of necessity, of expression as a form of problem solving and to look at what is around me to create something beautiful and nourishing from it.

When thinking of how to live, create and work consciously I always return to the words, ‘that instead of finding solutions to help us continue the way we currently live, we ultimately need to change the way we are living.’ I return to these words often whilst growing a space and a brand that advocates for a more connected, authentic life. We must return to a more natural, cyclical way of living – less is always more.

What have you been inspired by in the small business and wellness space?

For me, I think that independent business is a way to rebalance the landscape and ensure we’re not all only focused on working for, and consuming from, a few global conglomerate companies. Through independent creativity we can cultivate local economies which serve communities directly in a more connected and transparent way. 

I’ve worked in the fashion industry for 15 years in high street, mid-level and luxury labels, and have experienced first-hand the challenges when larger established brands try to transition to more sustainable models – it really is complex. Larger businesses are rooted in systems that are well established and vast, making it challenging for them to create anything authentically sustainable. As an independent business you get to build your foundations from the ground up. I can see this happening and even though certain elements will always be a work in progress, by default, small businesses are always more sustainable and create a lower impact. 

For me wellness has always been part of my life through my connection to nature. It has always been something innate so I often don’t really see myself as part of the wellness industry. By tuning into the environment that surrounds me, and listening to my mind, body and soul, I integrate practices, rituals and recipes that serve me in a holistic and cyclical way.

Sustainability is a huge part of your philosophy. How do you ensure you’re being a conscious consumer?

One of the biggest shifts for me was changing the structure of my life to have a deeper sense of autonomy over my actions and, as a result, gaining more control over my time. Sustainability doesn’t work when you are time-poor and now the cost of living is so high leaving us all more time-poor than ever. When I grew up it was normal to buy local, take care of what you have, repurpose and pass items on. With the heightened cost of living, and the obsession with upgrading one's physical life we all stepped into a world of convenience. It’s now apparent to witness the effects of these choices and quite clear to see that in our quest to cut corners the planet and collective is suffering. We can have our heart and soul in the right place, but without enough time our intentions can often fall away and we rely on convenience solutions instead.

For me, it’s about looking at everything from a holistic perspective, giving myself the time to do the research, finding the places and people I want to buy from – that’s been a huge part of becoming more conscious in what I consume. I grew up working-class and sustainability was a normal part of life. We would use everything to its maximum capacity; hand-me-downs would be shared between us and then used for art projects after that. Neighbours shared car trips and home-grown goods. That was just the way we lived, as a community supporting each other. Being in the fashion industry for so long, I know product inside out so I’m very critical and can see through the ‘sustainable’ marketing strategies immediately. I tend to buy locally whenever I can. I research all the produce I consume, wear army surplus, vintage and old clothes on repeat. My indulgences are jewellery and scent – they’re a life-long love affair.

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The Muse Series: With Kara Rose Marshall of Tuftluck Studio

The Muse Series: With Kara Rose Marshall of Tuftluck Studio
Up next in the Muse Series we have Kara Rose Marshall – the founder and artist behind Tuftluck Studio, an art and homeware brand that takes inspiration from the earthy tones and fluid shapes of the Wild West.
The themes behind Kara’s range of beautifully textural, hand-tufted rugs and fluffy watercolours are a perfect example of how creating a sanctuary within your home can inspire and encourage little moments of sensorial self-care. 
You can shop Tuftluck here and visit the Tuftluck instagram here

Tuftluck Studio is loved for its handcrafted rug art inspired by old Western films and Seventies pop culture. How did the idea come about? How did marrying these two themes come about?

I think I naturally design things that I’ve seen and have fallen in love with. For example, I love the movie Gummo and thought the Bunny Boy would be amazing to tuft. I’ve always been drawn to the whole Western, rodeo, Texas-living image so I think I just design things that stand out to me.

For many, a creative outlet brings them peace and tranquility. When and where do you find your creativity flows best – is there a certain time of day or a place that you love to create?

Honestly it’s so meditative – I light a candle and create a calming space. I love painting before bed in particular. When you create something you’re super happy with you get a real fulfilling, happy feeling before you sleep.

You run Tuftluck Studio alongside being a mum. How do you make time for self care and what does that look like for you?

It’s so important to get my self-care time locked in – I put Duke, my son, down around 7pm, and then I always go run a bubble bath and totally switch off from the day. I am obsessed with candles, intense and oil burners – I feel aromas can totally change your mood. I also have a skin care routine that I do every evening.

What makes your home your sanctuary? What is it about homeware as an artform that appeals to you?

As I work from home, I feel like it’s a calming space, so I have lots of hand-knotted rugs and good lighting. I find lighting makes such a difference – it can really make a space uplifting or feel super calm. I love textures and anything shaggy and warm, so having art implied into something with texture gives me such joy.

What’s something you’ve learnt about yourself as an adult that you wish you could share with your younger self?

Just go for it and don’t worry about what anyone thinks. Always be truthful to yourself – if you have a dream just go for it.

Is there anything you're reading, watching or listening to that you're finding particularly inspiring or helpful right now?

I’m reading Manifest by Roxie Nafousi – I’ve always been into manifesting even at a young age and it’s always worked for me. This is a refresh from the book The Secret. I’m also loving a band called Wet Leg, and Fontaine’s DC.

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The Muse Series: With Emma Marigold of Lady Apothecary

The Muse Series: With Emma Marigold of Lady Apothecary
Introducing the Muse Series – a bi-weekly post that celebrates the incredible women in the small business and wellness space who inspire me.
I’m delighted to launch the series with the founder of a brand that’s a daily staple for me – Emma Marigold from LADY apothecary. Her beautiful, comforting powder blends are a staple in my morning self-care rituals (if you try any – make it HARMONIA). Just like our namesake – Feronia – Emma has a wealth of knowledge to share around health and healing, as well as a nourishing recipe for Tomato & White Bean Stew!
You can learn more about Emma’s Health Consultations and browse her store here. You can find LADY Apothecary on Instagram here.

 

Tell us a little more about LADY apothecary. How did the brand come about?

I started LADY apothecary as a project to share all that I knew about health and how plant medicine can support us. I felt really compelled to share this because it seemed like hardly anyone around me knew the powers of herbs and everyone was sick. I knew that my destiny here on earth was to break taboos – to talk about the unspoken, as a vedic astrologer once told me.

I originally used my Instagram account as a tool whilst studying at university, sharing what I was up to – back then I believe it was known as ‘Emma and Plants’, I didn’t intend for it to turn into a business. LADY apothecary was truly born in September 2020 while living in Sicily. I had graduated from university that summer and was planning my second big trip to India, where I wanted to deepen my practice with Ayurveda and meet farmers to source herbs. Because of the pandemic, India was no longer feasible, so I tuned in and asked my spirit guides where to go and I saw lots of white, blue, ceramics and temples. I thought Greece was the projected place because of its link to traditional Western herbal medicine (which I studied), but I had a sense of going to Italy, which I had never been before. I chose Sicilia because it was the most Southern point and it just felt easy to get there. When something is easy with minimal obstacles, it's usually the right path. It wasn't until I started exploring the land that I realised Sicily used to be part of Greece – there were ancient temples everywhere and I suddenly felt very at home. Exploring the land I became so inspired and knew I needed to start a business, teaching people how to get well and it had to have Ancient Greek influence.

I started LADY apothecary in January 2021. I began taking clients working one to one – which I still do today – and over time I found my flow and began specialising in Female Reproductive Health, Fertility and Hormone balance. I expanded from just taking clients to opening a small batch apothecary shop, and now working on an online platform to teach courses and workshops.

LADY apothecary seeks inspiration from ancient cultures such as Ancient Greece and Ayurveda. How do these cultures and communities lead the way in terms of wellness and what do you think it is about their practices that hold such longevity?

These ancient cultures lead the way in wellness because they’re about getting the body back into balance and finding the root cause of disease. Something I believe we’re heading back to. None of this ‘putting a plaster’ on symptoms so you feel better temporarily and then they come back. I think people are getting sick and tired of taking medications that do not ‘fix’ the problem, or they ‘fix’ the problem but then have to rely on these medications for the rest of their lives. The ancients knew this – and probably experienced this over the thousands of years they were developing medicine. Traditional Western herbal medicine that was developed in ancient Greece, known as humoural theory, is very similar to Ayurveda and I have studied both. In both these medical systems there is a very strong sense of prescribing herbs for the person, not the disease or symptoms.

Hippocrates said ‘I would rather know what sort of person has a disease, than what sort of disease a person has’. This refers to the elemental side of things and treating people as individuals and how we are all made up of a combination of the elements, like everything is. If someone has more fire in their system (Pitta in Ayurveda), then they will have tendencies to certain symptoms, such as acne, acid reflux, heavier periods, migraines etc so we treat the fire to rid all these symptoms, not just treating the migraine. I think this is why the practices hold such longevity, because they treat the person, not the disease.

Just to be clear, I’m not against modern medicine – it has its place, especially emergency medicine – but with regards to chronic illness, I do feel a holistic approach is more beneficial.

Here is an example of the difference between modern and ancient medicine…

Modern.

Patient: ‘I have a headache’ Practitioner: ‘Take this medication’

Ancient.

Patient: ‘I have a headache.’
Practitioner: ‘Is it in the temples or back of head?’
Patient: ‘Temples.’
Practitioner: ‘When did it start?’ 
Patient: ‘Yesterday.’
Practitioner: ‘What was different about yesterday, did you drink enough water? Have coffee? Have chilli? Work out a lot?
Patient: ‘I had more coffee than usual’ and a spicy curry for dinner and have started HIIT training again this week.’
Practitioner: ‘Any reflux?’ 
Patient: ‘Yes.’
Practitioner: ‘So it appears you might have some fire type tendencies – do you ever get rashes or suffer from acne?’
Patient: ‘ Yes, I do. I have acne on my back and had eczema as a child.’
Practitioner: ‘So I will prescribe some ‘fire’, ‘pitta reducing’ herbs which will aim to clear all your symptoms – be careful not to overdo too many heating activities.’

 

What are your self-care rituals?

Going at my own rhythm, honouring my body and taking slow days when I need to. I’ve always been terrible at working for someone else – I always used to call in sick and was very unreliable – but I realised that it was because I like to work in my own rhythm. Now I work for myself, I work harder than ever and am extremely reliable, I show up for myself and my clients. One week I may work 50 hours, the next 10. I work with my cycles and tend to work more when I’m about to ovulate in the ‘spring/summer’ phase of the cycle, and slow down in the build up to my period, the ‘autumn’ phase. That’s something that I teach my clients and that I’m currently writing as part of an online course.

I also have ritual baths. I could spend hours in the bath. I think I must have been a Greek goddess in a past life. If I could bathe myself in olive oil and honey and nibble on grapes all day, I would be a very happy woman. I have candles everywhere, I bathe in sea salt, epsom salts, flowers, loads of herbs – to be honest, often blocking the drain haha – and sing a lot to my body in the bath, offering healing and rest.

I practise Abhyanga, covering myself in oil before I get into the bath as well. This helps the oil penetrate the skin deeply – it’s very hydrating.

How does food come into your self-care space? Can you share your favourite nourishing recipe?

Making slow nourishing meals is definitely a part of my self-care space. It’s a beautiful mindfulness practice and digestion starts with cooking. We start to prepare the gut by just thinking about food, releasing the digestive enzymes and acids before we have even taken our first bite. The aromas dance up the nostrils making us salivate, releasing amylase (enzyme) in our mouth. This allows us to break down our food better, so we take in more nutrients. Most of us are quite busy and don’t make time to cook every night, but if we can at least 3 times a week and make big batches then I believe this can make a huge difference to our gut health.

My favourite nourishing recipe? Oo that’s hard, there's so many! I have lots on my journal on my website. At the moment I’ve been making a Tomato & White Bean Stew – it’s so delicious and healing as I infuse it with lots of herbs. Sometimes I eat it on a bed of couscous.

See the recipe here

If you could share one herbal health tip, what would that be?

My herbal health tip would be to make a herbal tea infusion for at least 15 minutes, or overnight if you can! It's meant to be an infusion. So many people make herbal teas with a tea bag and dip it in for less than a minute and then see very little medicinal effects from the herbs. Herbs need time to infuse to release their medicinal content. I make a flask of herbal tea at night, let it infuse all night whilst I’m asleep and drink all throughout the next day.

Personally and professionally speaking, what woman in history has taught you the most?

Malala Yousafzai on speaking out on women’s rights to education. I was really inspired by her story. I named my business ‘LADY apothecary’ to represent women at work. Apothecaries in the UK were the gateway for women into medical education.

In the 17th Century Apothecary’s (original chemists) were typically run by wives or women of the family.

Physicians gave medical advice, however, they did not make the medicine, so they typically sent their patients to local independent apothecaries who also provided some medical advice in healing and remedies. Women were not allowed to be educated in universities at this time, so this allowed them a chance to be trained in medical knowledge and healing, learning the art of medicine second-hand. There is a painting from the 19th century called ‘The Lady apothecary’ of women working and making medicine. It just felt like the perfect name.

Is there anything you're reading, watching or listening to that you're finding particularly inspiring or helpful right now?

I am part of the ‘to be magnetic’ community, which has been tremendous in my emotional healing journey. It’s a great platform with a lot of support. The podcasts are amazing too and really expanding. 

I recently read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert which reawakened the creativity in me when I was going through some stagnant times. I also just reread Sidhartha by Herman Hesse – my favourite book of all time. I’ve read that over and over again.

I cried all the way through My Octopus Teacher on Netflix. It's so beautiful to watch their connection grow and to have that connection with another living being is so special, especially when it isn’t human. It’s a reminder of connection and patience.

Follow Emma's journey over at the LADY Apothecary website and instagram for more! 
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