1. Where did you grow up?
I was lucky enough to grow up in the beautiful countryside just outside of Bath. I lived opposite a farm, and although growing up I didn’t appreciate the beauty of living in the middle of nowhere, I adore the peacefulness of it now, and love the pace of life there.
2. When you were growing up, what was your dream job and why?
I always wanted to work with dolphins. What is it that’s so cool about dolphins when you’re young?
3. When you were in school, were part of your studies about food and nutrition?
No, not at all. I remember picking up a lot from my food tech lessons, but that mainly included taking home the print-outs of pasrty recipes and re-creating them over and over again as an after school snack. My interest in food and nutrition only really developed a couple of years ago, and personally, I think there is a severe lack of nutritional education in schools. You don’t get taught about wheat intolerances and no one tells you to sprinkle superfoods on your breakfast. That’s why I’m so keen to help re-educate the nation and undo years of damage caused as a result of inaccurate and biased marketing campaigns. People need to know the reality of how preventable illnesses and health complications can be if we just omit unnecessary ingredients and get back to nature – as cheesy as that sounds!
4. You've been modelling for five years. How have your experiences within an industry so concentrated on image shaped the way you think, and the way you live your life?
My experiences in modeling have definitely impacted the diet and lifestyle choices I make. I have been constantly aware of what I eat and how certain foods will benefit or negatively affect my body image, not only in terms of weight management, but also things like having healthier skin and hair, and keeping energized - which is important when you work long hours or travel a lot. My interest in nutrition actually developed as a result of modeling. I was always drawn to low fat foods and went through a vicious cycle of eating nothing but granola and plain salads, seeing absolutely no results, and feeling miserable. I felt tired and rundown, because I had no idea how beneficial real, natural, wholesome homemade food could be, and my body wasn’t getting enough of what it needed. I began to research a lot and eventually taught myself an A Level in Biology, before studying for a diploma in diet and nutrition. This led to me start my blog, which was a way to record everything I’d learnt, as well as recipes I was experimenting with.
5. Where were you when you dreamed up the idea for Qnola? What sparked your inspiration?
In all honestly, I never dreamed up Qnola. When I cut out processed foods and all wheat, grains, dairy and refined sugars from my diet, this meant I had to say goodbye to my dear friend, Granola. I searched for alternatives but most cereals are high in sugar or made with oats, which are often associated with inflammation. With very little to choose from on the market, I played around with a few things in my kitchen and came up with Qnola. I began making it for myself and was encouraged by friends and family to release it to the masses. I had immense response to my blog and in particular a post I wrote revealing the hidden ingredients involved in mainstream cereals. People were thanking me and turning to me for advice on how to make their first and most important meal of the day the best it could be. The feedback was overwhelming and the thought that I was genuinely helping people was enough to encourage me. I feel like educating people, rather than just giving them a product and telling them it’s good for them, is a much more successful way to encourage people to look after their bodies and make more conscious decisions.
6. Describe your morning routine, and what happens afterwards during an ideal day?
Every morning I wake up with a hot drink – either hot water with fresh lemon juice and ginger, or a spoonful of super food powder and fresh turmeric juice. I feel like this helps my body make up its mind in the morning. If I’m in a rush, I’ll make a quick smoothie. If I have a bit of time, I’ll make some coconut scrambled eggs with avocado, or if I’ve been organized, I’ll grab some leftovers from the day before. During an ideal day, I’d enjoy this all from the comfort of my own bed, do some yoga or go to the gym, see some friends or family, work on my blog or experiment with new recipes.
7. What is the reality of a day in your shoes?
In reality, I wake up around 8 and answer emails whilst I prepare my breakfast. Some days I will be in the kitchen making Qnola and organizing orders from the website and from my stockists. Others, I will have meetings, deliveries to drop off, castings or a modeling job. Sometimes I’ll fit in a little bit of everything. Earlier this week, for example, I had a shoot in the morning, was in the kitchen processing online orders and baking Qnola by midday and ended with a meeting on the way home. I hate doing the same thing continuously and have always been lucky to work in jobs where each day is different, but the variation of my days is sometimes hard to keep up with. It’s hard to switch off, so I make sure to have time without my phone, time to chat with my parents, and time to fit in at least ten minutes of yoga, sprinting or stretching each day.
8. How has your life changed as Qnola has grown?
I have gone from pretty much polar opposites – from making a good living doing a relatively stress-free job, to a more modestly paid job for something that requires a lot more work. I love it though. I have so many job titles now and am constantly learning. The jobs are very closely linked. I am my own boss, I meet amazing people in both lines of work and my days are different everyday. I have become considerably busier though, and there is a lot of stress attached to starting your own business, which at times I struggle to cope with. But its all worthwhile.
9. For people who skip breakfast altogether believing it is good for them to eat less. What advice would you give them?
I believe that starting the morning well really impacts the outcome of your day. Even if you start the day with just a hot drink or a smoothie, pack as many nutrients into it as possible. Time, or lack there of, is not a valid excuse. Even a handful of nuts will do you good, as the protein will provide you with energy and the fiber and healthy fats will kick-start your metabolism and optimize the vitamins and nutrients you can absorb from food you eat throughout the day. My advice would be to take time over breakfast whenever you can, or to prepare food or leftovers the night before, so you can always be prepared. Your first meal of the day has incredible effects on your mental and physical output for the day ahead, including energy levels, motivation, positivity and concentration.
10. You’ve had great press and celebrities such as Daisy Lowe and Millie Mackintosh writing about Qnola, has this played a part in the growth of Qnola and what after effects do you see?
Yes it definitely helps build the brand having the support of influential women and publications. I think both Daisy and Millie genuinely care about promoting a healthy lifestyle, and Qnola just happens to be a part of that, which is great. Not only are they gorgeous, they are two of the most grounded people I’ve met. They are really inspirational, and young girls completely idolize them, so when they see them eating a healthily, it’s bound to have a great knock on effect. Other press I have received has been incredible too because it is so real. I don’t have a PR company and the fact that people genuinely love Qnola and want to write about it is amazing. I never set out to make Qnola a proper business, and now its in my favourite magazines and I’m pretty much devoting my life to it!
11. What are your dreams for the future, and the future of Qnola?
Right now I want to focus on growing the brand quite slowly. At the moment I do everything myself - from baking the Qnola to packaging it and handwriting the compliment notes before dispatching it across the country. Eventually, I want to grow the company and develop more of a team. The next step for Qnola is finalizing some really exciting new Stockists, and I’m also in the process of making plans for worldwide distribution and overseas Stockists. I then want to focus more on events and developing my product range, and am looking forward to working on a series of food and travel magazines with a close friend of mine. Health and nutrition has become such a passion of mine and I feel like there is so much I want to do, I just need to prioritize.
12. What are your favourite products on The-Acey.com, and describe how you might style them?
I love the Matt & Nat Brave pewter rucksack and the Lucy hand bag and would style them with some of my favourite winter jumpers or a duster coat. I think they’re both versatile products and would easily work them into my evening outfits too.