Need to carve out some quiet time? Ex-beauty PR, Founder of Scamp & Dude and mum of two, Jo Tutchener Sharp shares her secrets on winding down, plus the sleep elixir that helps keep her sane…
The Wind Down
Before I had children I used to have a bath every single night if I wasn’t out socialising. I had a busy, stressful job running a PR agency, so spending hours in the bath using various lotions and potions was a really important part of my day and a way to keep on top of the stress. Once you have kids these moments are more of a luxury, and my beloved soak and ‘me time’ now happens just once a week (I do shower on the other days I might add!). I don’t start winding down until the boys have gone to bed. I finish answering my emails, have dinner and then make my way upstairs to run the bath around 9.30pm. I light a candle — Diptyque Baies Scented Candle is a favourite — and remove all of the kids’ toys from the tub (it’s usually full of sharks, boats and submarines). I really love bath oils like Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath Oil, because I like how they make my skin feel, but I also love being enveloped in a gorgeous fragrance while soaking.
My bathroom is one of my favourite rooms in the house. It’s one of the only rooms that hasn’t been taken over by the kids or Scamp & Dude, so it’s the perfect place to switch off and relax. I understand the importance of having down time more than most after I suffered a brain haemorrhage two years ago, which was brought on by stress. It was being apart from my children when recovering from brain surgery that inspired the creation of my new brand, a collection of special superpower infused clothing for kids and grown-ups. Our slogan is ‘a Superhero has my back’ and we aim to make kids feel more confident when apart from their loved ones.
I like to feel like I am looking after myself and making sure I look and feel the best I can, but with my week as chaotic as it is, Sunday evening really is the only day I can justify spending time on myself. It’s so easy to stop looking after yourself when you have small children, especially when you are trying to run a business at the same time, but I feel so much better if I take the time make the most of myself, and it doesn’t have to take long. An hour spent in the bath on a Sunday night giving my face, body and mind some much-needed TLC makes me feel more prepared physically and mentally for the week ahead.
Since having kids, my 7-step skincare regime has gone out of the window. Sundays are really important as it’s when I get to give my skin a little more attention to set it up for the crazy week ahead. I always start with a deep cleanse using Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm, then I use an exfoliator such as Oskia Micro Exfoliating Scrub (it’s quite vigorous but my skin feels so clean and soft afterwards) to get rid of the cleanser residue and to make sure I have removed all of my makeup. Then I apply a mask like Glamglow Supermud Clearing Treatment or Eve Lom Rescue Mask, both of which are great for making your skin feel ridiculously clean. Both help with blemishes, too. I finish with Sarah Chapman 3D Moisture Infusion Mask which helps to calm my skin and is also really great for hydration, leaving my skin plump and glowing. I love discovering new products, the en-suite in our bedroom is obscene but I find beauty products intoxicating, the magic of those little bottles that promise so much. At the moment I am desperate to try the Sarah Chapman Skinesis Morning Facial, Sisley Black Rose Precious Face Oil and Sunday Riley CEO Rapid Flash Brightening Serum — the list is endless! I use a REN body exfoliator in the bath, it feels so good to have a really good scrub once a week after a proper soak. Then I use either Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Balm or Nuxe Dry Oil Huile Prodigieuse all over my body. I use Ameliorate Transforming Body Lotion on my upper arms which really helps with those awful little chicken skin bumps. If I have an event to go to that week, I will also use the Vita Liberata Tan, which I find to be the most natural tan for my skin.
I always give my hair a really deep clean on a Sunday night. The mid-week mayhem of juggling my business and two boys means I often end up using dry shampoo a lot during the week which means my hair ends up really chalky. Sunday is the time for a really, really good clean. I love Malin + Goetz Shampoo and Conditioner; I got hooked on the brand after visiting a hotel in Puglia which had them in the bathroom. I think as long as I have a great cut and colour (I have been going to the same hairdresser, Mathew Alexander for over 15 years) I can leave my hair to dry naturally. I prefer it to have a beach-like wave and not look too polished, so styling wise I love Oribe Dry Texturising Spray and Ouai Wave Spray, Texturising Spray and Hair Oil. They smell great.
I have some Bloom and Blossom Sleep Night-Time Pillow Spray which I spray over my pillow when I suffer with bouts of insomnia. I only get insomnia when I am stressed and it drives me utterly bonkers because it wipes out the following day, and then being exhausted just adds to the stress. Other than that I like to use Nuxe oil all over my body, Aurelia Probiotic Aromatic Brighten & Repair Hand Cream for my hands and if I am not too exhausted an eye mask, I particularly like Shiseido ones. I get into bed around 10pm. My kids wake between 6-7am so to get my desired 8 hours sleep I have to try and be sleep by 10-11pm (which rarely happens). Once I am in bed, I do exactly what you are told not to do — I check my work emails, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn before putting my phone down. I usually fall straight to sleep as I won’t have stopped all day, but a little screen time before bed doesn’t seem to harm me.
I haven’t needed an alarm for the past 5 1/2 years because my boys are my alarm. I am not a morning person so I never feel good when I first wake up; it takes me a good half an hour and a strong cup of tea to come around. The first thing I do is to take the kids downstairs to get their milk and breakfast, make myself a very strong cup of tea and start to answer my emails. I do love the start of the week when you have no idea what exciting opportunities may come your way, and I count myself very lucky to be doing something I love so much. I will never take that for granted.