Focus on youBy Leigh Mencarini
September 24, 2008
In these busy days of modern living, stepping off the treadmill for some ’me time’ is a real rarity.
But two sisters-in-law from Emmer Green hope to change that by offering a range of motivational courses through their new venture – It’s All About... Me, LEIGH MENCARINI reports.
Work, home, children, family – so many things to juggle, with so little time.
Hectic 21st century living means it’s a real rarity to find time to indulge ourselves; to learn a new skill or focus on our well-being, mind, body and soul.
Two sisters-in-law plan to change that.
Having both been on the proverbial treadmill themselves, they’ve launched It’s All About... Me, an Emmer Green-based venture offering a range of motivational breaks for people who want to dedicate themselves to something new – but feel that all too often, life keeps getting in the way.
Working mums Evie Alexander, 43, and Rachelle Cousineau, 38, are no strangers to the pressures of working life.
“You end up feeling so disconnected from yourself,” says Evie, who had previously worked in IT, business and marketing for a number of large firms.
“You get stuck into a routine with work, shopping, and you end up losing sight of what fun is.
“There are so many pressures on people nowadays, what with the credit crunch and financial pressures, and you lose touch with your well-being.”
Rachelle explains their motivational breaks will go much further than the average beach holiday which, traditionally, people may have relied on to wind down.
“We’re really focusing on women aged between 25 to 45, those women who work really hard, perhaps they’re management upwards – people who have really structured time who instead of taking a vacation to laze around on a beach, would actually want to learn something or do something different. It’s a break from the norm.”
Rachelle, who is married to Evie’s brother Martin, relocated to Caversham 18 months ago. She had been a London-based freelance set dresser for film and TV, before heading to San Francisco where she worked in event design, helping create A-list parties for the likes of George Lucas and Elton John.
She says the difference in the way people in the UK spend their time is stark.
“In this country we work such long hours, the longest in Europe, and although we get more holiday here, I think we work harder than the Americans.
“San Francisco was so outdoorsy, you had the mountains and the skiing, everyone’s fit and healthy... so when I came back to Britain it felt very different.
“We work so hard to pay our mortgages and have our nice cars and it takes over our lives, but it doesn’t have to be that way.”
For the last six months the pair have been brainstorming ideas for the breaks at Evie’s home – and there are no limits to the experiences they can organise.
The key is to help people take time out to focus on themselves – whether that be to lose weight, learn a new skill, or reconnect with themselves spiritually or artistically. It’s All About... Me “focuses on the individual”.
Their first pilot course is a bespoke fitness bootcamp, run by marines at a 17th Century manor house in Hereford. It runs from October 31, to November 7, and guarantees participants will drop a dress size.
Plans are also shaping up for a mind-and-body well-being course, where you can learn anything from watercolour painting to belly dancing, horseback riding to camping out in the wilderness. There really are no limits.
And Rachelle says they hope the benefits of focusing on the individual will have a knock-on effect on the community. Not only do they want their course ’experts’ to be local, so people who take up a new hobby or skill can carry it on, but the skills learned will also bring people together.
“It’s important to reconnect with family and friends,” says Evie. “We live in such a closed community nowadays and we’ve kind of lost the link within family generations. I’m 43 and I remember when I was young that we used to do so much more together as a family. We’d giving our Dad a hand with things like digging over the garden... but kids don’t do that anymore.
“Even when we keep in touch with friends it’s through the likes of Facebook. But we want people to be face-to-face, enjoying time together or with their families.”
- For more information on It’s All About... Me, or to book a place at a significant discount for the bespoke fitness bootcamp (normal price £600 for training, accommodation and food) call Evie and Rachelle on (0118) 901 9023.