Some of the FOCUS team took in Stylist Live recently, where we were greeted with a can of Gordon’s Pink Gin & Tonic and a room overflowing with well-known and upcoming brands.

For those who haven’t attended Stylist Live, Stylist magazine hosts an annual three-day convention filled with hundreds of UK brand pop-ups across food and drink, beauty, fashion and more, including a catwalk show and complimentary beauty treatments.

What makes it most special is the line-up of workshops, talks and interviews with inspirational women from a range of industries and backgrounds.

It’s a weekend which celebrates women and tackles some topical social issues that affect us all.

Armed with our RTDs, we headed upstairs to the ‘farmers’ market’ and a chance to sample and buy from some of the UK’s tastiest food & drink brands, such as Oppo, Strong Roots, PERK!ER and Pukka.

Stylist self-care sessions: mental health

We moved on to an important talk on mental health and self-care by broadcaster, activist and writer Natasha Devon MBE. Natasha talked about how everyday language, such as ‘mental’ and ‘crazy’ is damaging our understanding of mental health. Although many of us do not suffer from mental illness, everyone’s minds need to be nurtured. The words ‘self-care’ may seem over-used, but its meaning is as important as ever.

Mental health & me

After looking at language in a different way, we headed to an interview with Col. Dame Kelly Holmes and Stylist’s editor-in-chief Lisa Smosarski. During the head to head, Kelly, one of our most celebrated athletes, opened up about her struggle with depression. It was a stark reminder that success does not always equate to happiness. She spoke about the benefits of starting to talk about her mental health issues with her family and friends, and the difference that had made to her life.

Confidence 101: the ultimate masterclass…

We ended on a high with a confidence workshop from Deborah Frances-Whites. Low confidence is an issue many of us face: it’s not easy to get up on stage, mingle with a new group of people or try out a new activity.

During the ‘Confidence 101: ultimate masterclass’, Deborah taught us how to walk the walk and talk the talk, like Michelle Obama. She explained the word ‘confidence’ comes from the Latin confidere, which means trust. The first step towards feeling and appearing confident is to trust your own abilities. As Deborah Frances-Whites says, “Never make ‘them’ include you. You include yourself – and then you include them.”

Our day at Stylist Live left us inspired, with incredibly soft hands thanks to a cocoa butter hand massage from Palmer’s. We loved discovering new brands and taking the time to reinforce our self-confidence and to feel connected to brilliant British women.

Roll on Stylist Live 2019!

By Sharnece Bent & Leonie Hyman