by Camilla Ridley
Spring's finally here and our naturopathic friend & women's health expert Nikki Hill has some great tips to get you in shape and feeling great for summer.
With Spring finally in the air, now is the perfect time to start thinking about new wardrobes, perhaps getting out and taking more exercise and getting ready for a summer which promises to be a hot one. But we all know looking and feeling great isn't purely about fashion, cutting the carbs, or pounding out a few extra miles. In our ever increasingly frenetic lives it’s easy to look for quick fixes while prioritising everything and everyone else. And if like me you’re on the wrong side of 40, this approach perhaps isn’t as effective as it once was and can lay the foundations for problems ahead. But fear not ladies help is on hand in the shape of my fabulous friend Nikki, founder and consultant at Nikki Hill Apothecary with some easy tips to help you to look and feel fabulous this summer.
Nikki, please can you briefly explain what you do and how this can benefit our Ridley customers?
I’m a naturopath, clinical nutritionist and medical herbalist with a practice specialising in women’s hormonal health. I work with women struggling with their periods and hormones who are looking for a natural solution to help ease their symptoms and improve their overall health. I have just developed a range of herbal teas, tinctures and body oils to help alleviate the most commonly experienced hormonal complaints I see in my clinic: Heavy bleeding, PMS, sleep disturbances, anxiety, irregular cycles, period pain and menopausal symptoms.
Nikki wears Ridley London honor top in pink silk and the new mid blue floral symphony silk maxi skirt
Have you seen a growth in referrals? And what do you think is driving this?
Yes very much so, which is great for my business but not so great for women and society as a whole. The biggest factor I have found in clinic and seeing women for more than a decade is chronic stress. Stress is so powerful that it can even be the only cause of your hormonal imbalance. This is because when your body enters into a state of chronic stress (through years of yo-yo dieting, work and family pressures, unresolved conflicts, poor sleep and lifestyle habits, etc.) your body starts using up your progesterone (anti-stress, feel good hormone and necessary for fertility) and transforms it into cortisol, the stress hormone. Your stress-system is literally “stealing” from your sex hormone system, throwing off your healthy oestrogen-progesterone ratio and causing hormonal issues.
What are the main stressors women are facing today?
We’re all simply juggling far too much and losing touch with our bodies and ourselves in the process. Society says to be fulfilled as women we have to be magazine beautiful, have successful careers, happy families, perfect homes, be supportive friends, and be brilliant dinner party hosts while preparing gourmet meals, attending yoga classes, answering e-mails and constantly posting on Instagram. It’s impossible. And if like us you’re also running a business with all the pressures that entails it can really affect your health, the way you feel as well as how you look.
Nikki wears the new Ridley London bespoke Alissya silk maxi dress in carnival print
Simply having a regular slot where we can switch off and just be ourselves is vital to our health and wellbeing
Can you recommend any immediate strategies to help any of our customers who may be suffering?
I think the most important thing we can all do is reclaim a little time for ourselves. As women we’re natural multi-taskers and our inclination tends to be to do more. Simply having a regular slot where we can switch off and just be with ourselves is vital to our health and wellbeing. Incorporating herbal and/or nutritional support, meditation, massage, yoga, pilates, walking in nature, having a bath are all wonderful remedies to off-set times of stress and prevent ill-health. Good quality sleep is also vital for our heath and I encourage all women to go to bed earlier and have a really good sleep routine - switching off mobile phones/ computers by 8.30pm, having a bath with Epsom salts, reading a book and drinking a cup of herbal tea before bed can help. My sleep time tea is brilliant for helping to unwind at night and aid sleep. It contains herbs such a valerian root, hops and lemon balm that have all shown in clinical trials to decrease the time it takes to fall asleep and improve the quality of sleep during the night without causing drowsiness the next day. It also tastes really nice too!
Are there any other teas you would recommend we could drink during the day to help offset all this stress we’re under?
My best selling tea (and my personal favourite) is Female Harmony Tea. It contains Rose petals, which smell gorgeous and has a hormone balancing effect on the female reproductive system, regulating periods and lessening premenstrual and menopausal irritability. It also contains Chamomile and lemon balm, which both help calm the stress response and support the nervous system; Lady’s mantle which has been traditionally used for women’s complaints of all ages – from adolescence to menopause and helps to regulate the menstrual cycle, decrease period pain and heavy menstrual bleeding. It also contains Dandelion leaf, which is highly nutritious and helps decrease fluid retention associated with PMS. All in all this is a really nourishing herbal tea all women would benefit from drinking (especially as a replacement for regular tea and coffee!).
Nikki wears Ridley London Zoe silk midi dress in lime small artists print
Why is now the right time to think about making positive changes?
The days of Spring bring longer, warmer days, where new growth and regeneration is abundant. At this time of year, our bodies emerge from this dormant winter state, calling us to rejuvenate and revitalize our overall sense of being — making Spring the perfect time of year for cleansing and detoxing the body. Eating lighter seasonal fresh produce helps the cleansing process and getting outside and moving more helps too. But even doing a spring clean in your home and throwing out (or giving away/ donating) items and clothes that are cluttering up your space can also be really therapeutic for the mind and body!
Do you think fashion can play a positive role in women’s wellbeing?
Absolutely. But I would argue that feeling great is less about religiously following fashion, which is just another pressure and more about dressing in a way that enhances you as an individual. There's a real synergy in Ridley’s personal approach with beautiful silk dresses and the way we treat our patients. Both are about really understanding the individual and finding the right solution for each of them and then using the best quality raw materials and real care to deliver positive results. Whether it’s a diet or a dress, I think so many of our issues lie in the fact that marketeers love to sell a one size fits all solution and reduce quality to increase profits. Trying to conform to someone else’s ideals adds greater stress and that can cause a great deal of harm. At the end of the day to look and feel really great we need to better understand ourselves and work in greater harmony with our bodies.
What clothes do you love to wear?
The older I get the more simplified my wardrobe has become. I now like to consciously source really good quality clothes that I know will last and haven’t been mass-produced overseas. Ridley dresses and tops are absolutely stunning. The amazing silks just feel incredible to wear and the tailored approach means they are incredibly flattering and make me look and feel fabulous.
Thanks so much for this interview Nikki! I’m sure so many of our clients would love to know more about you and where they can buy these delicious sounding teas! And we’re excited to start stocking some in our shop in Barnes.
Thanks Camilla, my website is www.nikkihillapothecary.com and I am also on IG @nikkihillapothecary
Photography by Jane Burkinshaw www.loveyourlens.co.uk and instagram: @love_your_lens