How our That Girls get up in the morning
Smoothies. Meditation. Yoga. SPF. A meaningful and productive morning routine is something that we can all but hope to achieve as our alarm sounds, but how many of us manage to do more than run a brush through our hair and put on week-old jeans?
Research shows that ‘morning people are more proactive than evening types,’ so to put a little pep in your step, we asked these super successful women (and former Sassy ‘That Girls!’) to share their morning routines with us and prove that we can make time for ourselves. Trust us, these aspirational routines will inspire you to blend and moisturise like a pro…
The morning is my favourite part of the day. I enjoy some alone time and the quiet before the day properly starts. I make the most of this time and use it to nourish my mind and body with healthy habits.
I am an early riser and my day usually starts at 6:30am. My cat is my natural alarm clock and wakes me up with a lot of cuddles… I stay in bed to read the news for 20 minutes, scrolling on my favourite apps Quartz, Flipboard, Le Monde…, and then 10 more minutes on the usual suspects – Facebook, Instagram, WeChat and Snapchat. After refreshing my face with a splash of water, I take to my yoga mat for a short yoga session, my favourite is “Yoga with Adriene,” her online classes are always fun and an excellent way to gently awaken my body. As well as yoga, I also make time twice a week to play badminton or go for a run along the harbour.
I enjoy eating my breakfast in front of the TV to catch up on the latest news in France, back home. My winning breakfast usually consists of scrambled eggs, cereals and a homemade smoothie. Then I jump in the shower and get ready for work in around 30 minutes. I am quite methodical and time-efficient when getting ready – I always moisturise all over, but I keep my makeup minimal, I do not have an extensive wardrobe which makes choosing an outfit easy and I don’t need to brush my curly hair.
Headphones in, I walk to the office listening to my favourite podcasts, which include TED talks, The Science of Social Media by Buffer and Girlboss Radio with Sophia Amoruso … now it is 8:30 and I feel full of energy!
I like to give myself an hour before I have to head to work, so the first thing I do is check my emails and quickly browse through Instagram. Most of the time I’ll find a few inspiring images that give me ideas or goals for my next shoot.
I drink aloe vera juice first thing to help with my PH levels, but I’ve also found it’s been amazing for my skin. I then try and down a ton of water. I wash my face and apply moisturiser with SPF, I’m loving Skin Laundry products at the moment. I’ll blend up a smoothie that I’ve pre-made and frozen for the week so that it takes no longer than three minutes to prepare. It usually consists of: apple, cucumber, celery, lemon, ginger and whatever seeds I have on hand. I multitask and do my makeup while I drink my smoothie – probably not the best idea but sometimes it makes drinking health in a cup a bit more bearable. I’ll go over my checklist for the day and that’s it, I’m off!
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My day begins every day at 6am, even on weekends. Most of the time, I wake up right before my alarm goes off, and I get straight out of bed. I’ve always been an early bird. I’ve now made it a rule to not have my phone with me in my bedroom. My phone is no longer the first thing I see in the morning, nor is it the last thing I see at night.
Once I’ve made my green tea, I sit down on my terrace and close my eyes for three minutes to either listen to some music or focus on my breathing. Michael Jackson’s ‘Break of Dawn’ or a medley of classical music are some of my favourites to listen to in the morning. Three minutes is all I need to feel ready for my day. Then I check my emails to see all the new Sponge appointments for the day, and to see if there is any email that needs my urgent attention.
My focus then shifts to taking a shower, and to cleansing and moisturising my skin before the Sponge experts come around 7:30am to do my hair and makeup for the day. I’ve been using Avène Gentle Cleanser and Clinique’s moisturiser for years. I use coconut oil on days my skin feels extra dry. A Sponge lash technician will sometimes come in the morning if I need a top-up on my lash extensions.
While I’m getting my hair and makeup done, that’s when the real work commences and I get started on all the emails. I work out around lunchtime. It’s like pressing the reset button after a stressful morning. And I always look forward to my walk to the gym (read ‘run’ to the gym as I’m always late) because that’s when I get to blast music in my headphones again. Always something motivating and with a killer beat.
I would love to be that person that starts off the day surrounded by tranquility, sipping a soothing hot tea followed by a calming meditation session; however, that scenario would be the furthest from the truth…
In reality, I snooze until the very last possible minute before I make a beeline for the bathroom and simultaneously check my emails. The longest part of my morning routine is what I call the “creaming” process, which is what normal people would call their skincare routine.
After cleansing my face using Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser, the “creaming” process commences with RVB Skinlab’s Tonico Illuminante Toner, followed by Sulwhasoo’s Essential Balancing Emulsion and then Clarins’ Extra Firming Day and Eye cream. My attention is then directed to my hair as I’m waiting for the creams to settle and dry. If it’s second day hair (or let’s be honest, third day), it usually requires a generous and liberal spritz of Batiste Dry Shampoo. And finally, but most importantly, it’s on to sunscreen. I like Shiseido’s Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Aqua Booster because I hate sunscreens that leave an oily sheen and this one mattifies and dries smooth. I’m an eyeliner girl and I’m currently lovin’ the TONYMOLY Gel Eyeliner in #01 (Black). Now that my eyeliner is on, I’m ready to take on the world.
I get dressed and fly out the door, shaking out the last remnants of the dry shampoo from my hair and chugging a 500mL bottle of water en route to the MTR station. If it’s a work from home day, then the morning routine is relatively the same but unfolds at a drastically slower pace. The eyeliner is skipped, a onesie is donned, and either a green (green apple, lemon and cucumber) or orange (ginger and carrot) juice is made with my NutriBullet.
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I wake up at 7.25am to my husband’s alarm and reach for the phone to turn my airplane mode off, letting the barrage of emails, phone messages and social media interaction flood in. As I always wake up slightly confused and delusion – this reminds me of who I am, where I am and what I need to do for the day.
I catapult myself to Pure Yoga at 8am and if I don’t make this I’ll be really annoyed and reluctantly drag myself to the gym, hit some weights and do some cardio. My beauty regime is quick and easy – I religiously use Chanel beauty products and makeup. I love it, because it is so light.
One day a week I go to a Chinese acupuncturist – this helps me align my body for the week and if not, I just head into work, grabbing a take-away lunch on the way in where I can. Meetings that I might have in town are also scheduled in the mornings, so when I get in my Wong Chuk Hang office – I can stay put.
My journey by MTR to work is ‘nose-dived-in-phone’ (yep I’m one of those annoying walking-zombie’s you constantly trip over). The first thing I do when I get in is make a tall Nespresso, and let the day unfold…
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My goal every morning is to get out the door, as I usually have back-to-back yoga lessons first thing. I need an alarm to wake up, otherwise I could easily sleep for 10 hours straight. My top priority is to hydrate so, upon waking, I drink a big glass of water and, if I’m feeling fancy, I’ll throw in some BodyAwakening Co. probiotics or Natural Calm magnesium. Then I’ll make a nice cup of tea.
I like to have simple breakfasts, such as a bowl of berries or oatmeal. I always eat a second breakfast after I’ve taught a few lessons. If I have the morning off and I’m able to stay at home, I make a bigger breakfast. My go to is gluten-free toast with fried eggs and prosciutto, with an arugula salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic. Yum! I love salads and olive oil.
Next, I take a cold shower to wake up my body. I spent some time in India studying yoga and learned that cold showers are used to metaphorically wash off any bad dreams, to start the day fresh – I really like this idea. Occasionally, I’ll take a hot shower if my body is sore, but I usually save these for night time.
I’m a low maintenance kinda girl, so I put my hair up in a high bun. For skin care, I love the ayurvedic face creams and blended oils by Pratima. Finally, I pack my bag with two yoga outfits and my Chinese books, (I’m learning Mandarin) and I’m ready to go.
My alarm usually wakes me up, but this year, I have made it a rule to not check my phone for messages first thing after waking up. My bag and outfit for the day are prepared the night before, so I brush my teeth and get changed. I always start my day with a glass of water with lime juice and some pink Himalayan salt which has benefits to gut health and adrenal glands.
My breakfast is either eggs or grilled red meat with avocado and greens, as red meat raises dopamine (think of it as the motivation hormone) and the fats from the egg and avocado keep me satiated during a busy morning ahead. What you eat for breakfast determines not just what you eat for the rest of the day but also your energy levels, mental and physical state. At breakfast, I practice the 5/10/15 principle to maintain good gut health: 5 breaths before starting your meal, 10 seconds between every mouthful, and making meals last 15 minutes. After breakfast, I finally allow myself to check my emails and messages – and this signifies the start of my hectic work day.
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