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Bouquets as hot as a designer handbag: They’re the ‘it’ accessory

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bouquets as hot as a designer handbag theyre the it accessory

Cries of ‘Oh, that’s gorgeous! Who’s it by?’ are once again ringing through the tiled halls of wellheeled homes. But it’s not a blingy designer bag or a pair of

Chanel sunglasses sparking envy — it’s the floral bouquets on display, with prominent labels bearing the names of their famous creators.

Today’s globe-trotting, rock-star florists are hired for their own distinctive styles. ‘People are moving away from the traditional, formal look,’ says florist Larry Walshe, who has worked for A-listers including Rihanna and Adele

‘They’re pushing the boundaries, they want flowers to be personalised and meaningful, and there’s a lot more freedom to make a statement.’

THE MASTER OF DRAMA

LARRY WALSHE STUDIO

Flic Everett spoke to celebrity florists for advice on recreating their signature displays. Pictured: Larry Walshe Studio

Flic Everett spoke to celebrity florists for advice on recreating their signature displays. Pictured: Larry Walshe Studio

Flic Everett spoke to celebrity florists for advice on recreating their signature displays. Pictured: Larry Walshe Studio 

With a client list that reads like Who’s Who — we’re talking Royals as well as pop and fashion royalty, including Rihanna, Adele, Stella McCartney and Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful — Larry’s been described as a ‘floral alchemist’ due to his jawdroppingly huge designs.

Larry Walshe created a dress entirely made from flowers (pictured)

Larry Walshe created a dress entirely made from flowers (pictured)

Larry Walshe created a dress entirely made from flowers (pictured)

From creating a dress entirely made from flowers (right) for the Chelsea Flower Show to full scale art installations, he says, ‘We love a challenge! We have created forest enclaves for the exchange of vows, covered hotel ceilings in flowers, wired 60,000 fresh delphiniums by hand to create the largest tree made of flowers that we ever saw.’

Steal his style: Go for tightly packed blooms in dramatic colours. Think peonies, roses, dahlias and minimal foliage. Keep heads of the flowers close together, and present your bouquet in a tall, plain vase for maximum impact.

Bouquets from £50, larrywalshe.com

THE GREEN ROMANTIC

SHANE CONNOLLY

Shane Connolly who was born in Belfast, is best known for romantic, English countryside flowers with a wild, fairytale twist (pictured)

Shane Connolly who was born in Belfast, is best known for romantic, English countryside flowers with a wild, fairytale twist (pictured)

Shane Connolly who was born in Belfast, is best known for romantic, English countryside flowers with a wild, fairytale twist (pictured)

Shane was responsible for Kate's (pictured) wedding bouquet

Shane was responsible for Kate's (pictured) wedding bouquet

Shane was responsible for Kate’s (pictured) wedding bouquet 

The Belfast-born, sustainable floral designer is a hit with the senior royals. ‘I was given the rather extraordinary title of Artistic Director of Flowers for the wedding of the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge,’ he laughs. 

‘Everything was made the night before the wedding. Then, we were up again at 4am to check it all.’ In Kate’s bouquet (right) was ‘Lily of the Valley, a little touch of hyacinth, and some Sweet William, which was a bit of fun’. Not to mention the trees. ‘To add intimacy in the Abbey, the obvious answer to me was to use trees.’

Steal his style: Romantic, English countryside flowers with a wild, fairytale twist. He adds ‘find flowers you love by visiting gardens, not flower shops.’ No non-recyclable foam or flown-in flowers. For floristry courses with Shane, go to:

learningwithexperts.com

THE MODERN ROCK STAR

ORLANDO HAMILTON

Orlando has worked for Madonna, Kylie, Elton John, Mariah Carey, Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Martin, Prince Charles and Robbie Williams. In the flower business for more than 20 years, he is known for his modern, clean designs. A familiar face at celebrity gatherings, when Guy Ritchie was married to Madonna, he asked Orlando to make a dramatic, all-white bouquet for her.

‘I have done many things in my career that I’m proud of — arranging flowers for our royal family, and pop stars, as well as designing stunning weddings in wonderful locations,’ he says. He also appears regularly on TV and is ‘very keen to shake up the image of what a modern florist looks like.’

Orlando Hamilton who is known for big, colourful and modern displays, said it's important there is some kind of dialogue when you decorate your home with flowers

Orlando Hamilton who is known for big, colourful and modern displays, said it's important there is some kind of dialogue when you decorate your home with flowers

Orlando Hamilton who is known for big, colourful and modern displays, said it’s important there is some kind of dialogue when you decorate your home with flowers 

Steal his style: When using flowers to decorate your home, he says, ‘make sure there’s some kind of dialogue. I can’t bear to see someone who’s got a very country-house interior, with galvanised pots of aloe vera. It looks disjointed.’

His signature style is big, colourful, stylish and modern, incorporating quirky elements such as giant artichokes, or flowers sprouting from pumpkin shells. ‘Flowers with large heads, such as hydrangeas and lilies, work well in a big room. I’m a big fan of dramatic eremurus or foxtail lilies — they look like fireworks in large displays.’ But if you haven’t got a giant space, he adds, ‘keep it simple. That’s the secret to a clean, modern look.’

orlandohamilton.com

THE SOCIETY KING

ROB VAN HELDEN

Rob Van Helden who is florist to Elton John, the Beckhams and Liz Hurley, said you achieve most impact if you go with a larger quantity of one flower

Rob Van Helden who is florist to Elton John, the Beckhams and Liz Hurley, said you achieve most impact if you go with a larger quantity of one flower

Rob Van Helden who is florist to Elton John, the Beckhams and Liz Hurley, said you achieve most impact if you go with a larger quantity of one flower 

Society florist to the late Princess Margaret, Elton John, the Beckhams, Claudia Schiffer, Liz Hurley, and Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, Rob is the maestro responsible for Bea’s glorious flower arch. ‘We tried to create a vintage garden feel, with seasonal flowers including pale peach and pink roses, hydrangeas, jasmine and astilbe,’ he says.

The Dutch-born celebrity florist began his career with a holiday job at the local flower shop. After moving to the UK, he worked for Selfridges’ flower department, and 34 years ago, set up his own business which was kicked into the stratosphere when he designed the flowers for the lavish three-day wedding of Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece.

He now works ‘seven days a week’ with his sister Patrice. ‘We have travelled the world, weddings in India, Mexico, LA, NYC, the Bahamas… But I have a great team — every time I’ve gone “This is not going to happen!” three hours later, you’ve never seen a wedding like it.’

Steal his style: Dramatic, sculptural bouquets bursting from tall, thin vases. Van Helden flowers tend to be big, beautiful and symmetrical, with hydrangeas, fluttering sweet peas, hyacinths, soft roses and peonies creating a classic bouquet. Use huge hydrangeas for shape and tightly-packed roses to add delicacy, and go easy on the foliage. ‘You achieve most impact if you go with a larger quantity of one flower — it gives a feeling of volume,’ he says. Hidden secret? Cable ties!

rvhfloraldesign.com

THE ENGLISH ROSE

NIKKI TIBBLES

Nikki Tibbles who is the go-to for Chanel, Christian Dior and Kensington Palace, recommends gathering similar shapes in home floral displays

Nikki Tibbles who is the go-to for Chanel, Christian Dior and Kensington Palace, recommends gathering similar shapes in home floral displays

Nikki Tibbles who is the go-to for Chanel, Christian Dior and Kensington Palace, recommends gathering similar shapes in home floral displays

Nikki has become the go-to girl for British glamour, and counts Poppy Delevingne, Chanel, Christian Dior, Claridge’s, Kensington Palace, milliner Philip Treacy and hotel heiress Nicky Hilton among her clients. For Hilton’s wedding at Kensington Palace in 2015, she created a huge floral arch and table décor using Lily of the Valley, roses, hydrangeas, sweet peas, pink peonies, delphinium and stocks.

Nikki says she loves ‘generosity in colour, texture, scent and scale’ and specialises in an English aesthetic which is all about huge blowsy flowers in hand-tied groupings. She insists flowers be displayed in full bloom ‘that’s what’s sadly lacking in a lot of companies that sell flowers — they send them still in bud, so you don’t get that wonderful scent and colour and texture.’ 

The company has adapted, post-lockdown, and now offers hand tied bouquets and even ‘tablescapes’ where the vases and candlesticks come along with the flowers.

Steal her style: Gather similar shapes; placing spherical blooms like big roses and peonies, or tall flowers like stocks and delphiniums together. ‘Start with foliage,’ she says. ‘Then add each flower at a right angle to the last, and twist the bouquet in your hand. As you add flowers, tie together with garden string.’

Bouquets from £40, wildatheart.com

THE FASHIONISTA FAVE

FJURA

Founded by Simone Gooch, Fjura has clients including Hermes, Louis Vuitton and London Fashion Week

Founded by Simone Gooch, Fjura has clients including Hermes, Louis Vuitton and London Fashion Week

Founded by Simone Gooch, Fjura has clients including Hermes, Louis Vuitton and London Fashion Week 

Fashionistas adore founder Simone Gooch’s minimalist style. Clients include Soho Farmhouse, London Fashion Week, Hermes, Gucci, Dior, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Burberry and Dolce & Gabbana, (not forgetting Nicole Kidman’s wedding bouquet).

Simone came from Sydney in 2015, bringing her floristry brand with her, and specialises in ‘impromptu freestyle arrangements’ — a typical display has a base of smaller flowers, such as pansies and grape hyacinths, with vivid poppies, orchids, peonies and ranunculus amid curling stems and clouds of meadowsweet.

Stand-out moments include a huge tablescape for a Sotheby’s annual dinner, where two long tables were dressed with red orchids, pink peonies and apricot sweet peas.

Fjura arrangements are sculptural and embrace less-is-more

Fjura arrangements are sculptural and embrace less-is-more

Fjura arrangements are sculptural and embrace less-is-more

Steal her style: Sculptural and less-is-more, a Fjura arrangement brings together the unexpected — think red roses and pink orchids. Go for simple shapes, different heights, and asymmetrical arrangements.

Simone recommends starting with the container, and basing your arrangement on its shape and colour. ‘Choose a vase with a smaller neck so you don’t need a lot to fill it,’ she says. ‘With a beautiful container, you just need one stem and it looks gorgeous.’

Gift flowers from £100, fjura.com

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Coronavirus screening results take up to 15 days to come back for care homes

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coronavirus screening results take up to 15 days to come back for care homes

Care homes are having to wait up to 15 days for Covid test results, the Daily Mail can reveal.

Managers say the system is so ‘shambolic’ they fear further fatal outbreaks.

With Health Secretary Matt Hancock warning that a virus ‘tipping point’ is approaching, the care bosses demanded a much quicker turnaround.

The Mail spoke to 19 providers which together run 393 homes. Staff or residents tested positive at a third of the chains over the past fortnight and in most cases results came late.

Nine said they had to throw away tests after couriers did not turn up on time. One had to ditch 250 swabs in a week.

Care homes are having to wait up to 15 days for Covid test results, with bosses fearing fatal outbreaks. Above, workers at Ashwood Court residential care home in Lowton, Warrington

Care homes are having to wait up to 15 days for Covid test results, with bosses fearing fatal outbreaks. Above, workers at Ashwood Court residential care home in Lowton, Warrington

Care homes are having to wait up to 15 days for Covid test results, with bosses fearing fatal outbreaks. Above, workers at Ashwood Court residential care home in Lowton, Warrington

Homes need quick results if they are to halt an outbreak.

Several providers had to wait as long as 15 days and in some cases heard nothing back from laboratories. Results should be processed within 24 hours but the supposedly ‘world- beating’ system has been overwhelmed.

In other developments:

  • Downing Street warned that Britain was ‘in the last-chance saloon’ with fresh restrictions coming in days if existing rules are not followed;
  • Chief medical officer Chris Whitty is to give a televised address declaring the UK is ‘heading in the wrong direction’;
  • Overcrowded pubs and restaurants will be shut down on the spot, with police encouraged to carry out checks;
  • Mr Hancock suggested that millions of Londoners could be told to work from home this week in a toughening up of restrictions in the capital;
  • Experts warned that lockdown-style restrictions that discourage eating out and returning to the office would cost the economy up to £250million a day;
  • A further 3,899 cases were confirmed in the UK yesterday, taking the seven-day average to a four-month high

Nadra Ahmed, who is executive chairman of the National Care Association, said the testing chaos was ‘one of the Government’s greatest failings’.

She added: ‘I can’t believe they didn’t envisage that there would be an increase in demand for tests and results in a timely manner as lockdown was eased.

‘We can’t deal with a postcode lottery at this critical time. As it stands, it is utterly chaotic, shambolic and a disgrace.’

Care home boss Mark Ellison, who owns Temple Grove care home in East Sussex with his wife Joanne (both above), said another 57 carefully administered swabs had to be thrown away

Care home boss Mark Ellison, who owns Temple Grove care home in East Sussex with his wife Joanne (both above), said another 57 carefully administered swabs had to be thrown away

Care home boss Mark Ellison, who owns Temple Grove care home in East Sussex with his wife Joanne (both above), said another 57 carefully administered swabs had to be thrown away

Liz Kendall, Labour’s health spokesman, said: ‘Ministers need to take urgent action to guarantee weekly testing with swift results to ensure care homes are properly prepared and keep all elderly and disabled people safe.’

It is three months since Mr Hancock promised ‘every care home’ in England would receive regular testing for the virus. 

Home with one in four batches going to waste 

A care home boss has hit out at the Government’s ‘inadequate’ testing system which has seen one in four batches of tests go to waste because couriers have not turned up.

Mark Ellison, 46, owner of Temple Grove care home in East Sussex, said his manager was almost in tears this week after another 57 carefully administered swabs had to be thrown away. 

He said he had expected ‘teething problems’ but it is ‘unacceptable’ that at least 25 per cent of the time the couriers do not turn up to collect the home’s samples.

When tests are collected, the results are often delayed with some coming back weeks later.

Mr Ellison, who owns the home with his wife Joanne, said: ‘At the moment our staff are agreeing to be swabbed, but we can’t force them to and I worry if this continues to be such a shambles they will be less inclined.’ 

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Weekly for staff and every 28 days for residents, this allows managers to catch asymptomatic infections and stop the virus from spreading. But the scramble for swabs has led to lengthy delays.

Around 19,000 care home residents have died since the pandemic began – at its the height Covid-19 was killing 400 a day.

A Department of Health report circulated last week warned that the virus is now spreading through care homes again, with cases quadrupling since the start of the month.

Testing tsar Baroness Harding says that demand for tests is three or four times higher than the daily capacity of around 240,000.

Judith Stockton, manager of Woodlands Care Centre in Macclesfield, Cheshire, said: ‘Even two days is too long. If there was a positive, in two days’ time the whole home would be infected if we weren’t isolating. I’m very scared. The answer back in April was testing. The answer is we need tests back and we need them quicker. It’s the only hope we’ve got.’

Boris Johnson last week announced measures to ‘toughen up rules’ surrounding staff movements in care homes. Ministers are also agonising over whether to impose restrictions on family visits.

Care homes have begun locking down to visitors in coronavirus hotspots or in homes where a member of staff or resident has tested positive. Britain’s biggest care chain, HC-One, is restricting visitors in 99 homes because of local lockdowns or high community infection rates.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: ‘Every day we make sure care homes across the country receive 100,000 test kits with the vast majority reporting no problems. 

‘We are providing every care home with free PPE until the end of March, ring-fencing £1.1billion to prevent infections and making a further £3.7billion available to councils to address pressures caused by the pandemic.’

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You CAN find two extra hours a day to devote to yourself…thanks to ingenious time-saving technique

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you can find two extra hours a day to devote to yourself thanks to ingenious time saving technique

When my first marriage ended, my two boys were four and 18 months old and the challenges felt huge. Suddenly, I had to sell a house, rent a new one and work out how to cope financially on my own.

At first, I struggled — I remember phoning the solicitor and crying down the line because I couldn’t get the word ‘divorce’ out. I didn’t eat properly for months.

But I was still a mum, so I couldn’t totally sink. I had to take Tom to the park and get him ready to start primary school. I had to change Jonny’s nappy and make sure they were both happy, well-fed and loved. And I had to find time for me, too.

That was when I decided I needed a plan of action, a way to organise my life that would stop me feeling permanently frazzled and help me fulfil my ambitions. Today, I call it The Organised Time Technique (TOTT).

For women who feel their time is overstretched Gemma Bray provides five easy 'time bootcamp' steps to follow (stock)

For women who feel their time is overstretched Gemma Bray provides five easy 'time bootcamp' steps to follow (stock)

For women who feel their time is overstretched Gemma Bray provides five easy ‘time bootcamp’ steps to follow (stock)

Some of you will already know me from my first book, The Organised Mum Method, which I devised to help me manage the housework. That built me an online following of more than 200,000 on Instagram and social media.

But TOTT is bigger. It’s a master plan, a way of keeping the whole show on the road for all women, not just mothers.

Today, I am happily remarried, a mum to three boys — Ben arrived five years ago — and a stepmum, too. And TOTT is how I manage all the calls on my time while keeping enough of it aside for me. My time plan is an antidote to the craziness of modern women’s lives.

THE RULES:

Ignore the ‘time cuckoos’ that try to steal your new nest-eggs of time. They will see you doing nice things and try to use up your time to lighten their own load.

For example, your other half spots you reading and, because you’re ‘not doing anything’, asks you to help with the washing up (even though you cooked dinner). ‘Oh, come on,’ they say. ‘It’ll only take ten minutes.’ But they are not entitled to your time!

Ditch the guilt. When you start to add in chunks of relaxation time it may feel, at first, as if you are rebelling. One reason for this is that you’re planning your levelthree time on a regular basis now, not just once in a blue moon.

But all you’re doing is breaking the habit of self-neglect. 

Just do it. It may well be that your five spare units a day don’t come in a neatly packaged single chunk of time — but all those bits and pieces add up. 

Spend 30 minutes a day doing marketing calls for your new business, or de-cluttering the garage, or learning the guitar — and by Christmas you’ll have put in 45 hours, enough to really get to grips with something new.

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Too many of us, in thrall to the never-ending to-do list, feel ground down by responsibilities — taking care of our family, running a household, succeeding in our career — all of which is made harder by the pandemic. What we need is a framework for life that takes the stress out of all that plate-spinning.

TOTT will give you the tools and the headspace you need.

After you have followed my ‘time bootcamp’, you will always know where you are supposed to be, what you are supposed to be doing and when.

Most importantly, you will carve out time to start fulfilling those dreams you put on hold when adult life got in the way.

So let’s get to it! Simply follow this step-by-step guide…

1. TIME BOOT CAMP

Over the next week, I want you to write down everything you spend your time on.

That means how much sleep you’re getting, how long it takes you to shower, to get to the office, to take the kids to after-school club, to do the laundry, right down to how long you spend scrolling on your phone.

Be honest and accurate. And track your emotions, as well — this will be crucial information later on. If you feel stressed because you’re late for work or didn’t have time to cook dinner from scratch, note it down.

2. THE CULL

In this step, I want you to start thinking of your day, not in terms of minutes and hours but as a series of half-hour units — so 48 units in each day.

Now take a good look at your boot camp notes and, next to each entry, write down the number of units it takes.

So, sleeping might be 15 units, looking at social media two units, and so on. By creating a clear list, you can start to cull or change anything that looks wasteful.

Gemma tells women struggling for time to 'be ruthless' and put themselves first over 'unit-sapping' tasks (stock)

Gemma tells women struggling for time to 'be ruthless' and put themselves first over 'unit-sapping' tasks (stock)

Gemma tells women struggling for time to ‘be ruthless’ and put themselves first over ‘unit-sapping’ tasks (stock)

Say you spent two units going to the shops every day after work. By doing a weekly online shop instead, you’re saving 14 units a week or 728 units a year, which is an annual time saving of 364 hours. Fifteen days a year wasted on ‘popping to the shop’!

TAKE OUR EXPERT QUIZ AND DISCOVER YOUR TIME TYPE: 

1. At the end of the day you climb into bed feeling:

A. A failure for not getting through your to-do list.

B. Optimistic — tomorrow will be a better day, thanks to the detailed plans you’ve made.

C. Puzzled. You have no idea where the day went.

2. You’re asked to help with the parent–teacher association (PTA) at your teenager’s school. Do you:

A. Say yes and offer to chair it. You’ll make the time.

B. Say yes and start to plan an amazing Christmas Fair, with rides as well as a celebrity Santa.

C. Panic! You’re never quite sure what’s happening in your own house, let alone school.

3. WHEN it comes to work, you live for:

A. A promotion. They must notice the hours you put in.

B. Strategy meetings. You love a coloured mind map.

C. Lunchtime, as you never have time for breakfast.

4. You love a weekend lie-in. How often do you get one?

A. Never. You’re up at dawn to make pancakes and smoothies for the children.

B. Rarely, but it would be nice.

C. Regularly — and, ahem, quite often during the week, too.

5. You’ve made time for a weekend lunch with friends. Do you spend the morning:

A. Doing housework, rushing to the shops for your self-isolating neighbour and checking your work emails.

B. Planning a new outfit but, at the last minute, slinging on your old tea dress anyway.

C. Failing to get the children off to football training. Again.

6You’ve decided you need to go on a diet. Do you:

A. Vow to cook low-fat vegan meals from scratch for all the family, even if it takes hours.

B. Browse through hundreds of online diets, eating crisps.

C. Realise at 9pm you’re out of veg so order a Deliveroo.

Mostly As: You’re an Overachiever.

You are competitive and would hate anyone to think you were lazy. You find it impossible to say no and pride yourself on being busy, yet find yourself overwhelmed at times. Be careful as you are at risk of burnout.

You need to slow down and value your health as highly as you value what other people think of you. Make time for lie-ins, baths and book-reading.

Mostly Bs : You’re a Dreamer.

You love to plan but rarely have time to actually do the things you’ve planned.

You’re fond of stationery and bullet journals, but never keep a new diary up for more than a fortnight. You love strategy meetings at work but rarely get down to the details. Take TOTT step-by-step. To achieve the things you dream of, keep your focus.

Mostly Cs: You’re a Spendthrift.

You tend to leave everything to the last minute, have little patience and find it hard to concentrate. You’re never sure where the kids’ clean school shirts are.

Taking control of your time will revolutionise your life and that of others around you. It’s so much easier than you think.

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For each unit-sapping task, ask yourself the question: What would happen if I didn’t do it?

If you didn’t visit your elderly mother twice a week (six units), for example, she would feel lonely. However, if you didn’t volunteer at a charity shop on a Tuesday afternoon (three units), you would cause a minor inconvenience until they found someone else. Cull the latter, not the former.

Be ruthless!

3. CHORE DUMP

On the social media channels I run, on the subjects of household management and cleaning, 98 per cent of my followers are female. I wish there were more men.

Why do women carry so much of the weight? No wonder resentment starts to creep in and affect other areas of the relationship.

Big hint: the average woman finds it hard to get into the sexy vibe when she has spent all evening tidying up and he is sitting on the sofa.

This is where the boot camp comes in handy — and even handier if he does the same exercise, as the evidence of what you both do around the house will be there in black and white.

When you talk to him about how your time is disappearing into housework and his isn’t, it will take away the ‘I think’ and ‘I feel’ part of the conversation. The facts will be there.

Or, if you’re really feeling underappreciated, you could do what one of my followers did and stick a Post-it note on every item relating to a household job you do in a day. ‘At the end of the day the house was full of Post-its!’ she told me. ‘There was one stuck on the TV saying, ‘I dusted this’. There was one next to the slow cooker, which had dinner in it, saying, ‘I cooked this’. There was one on the fridge saying, ‘I filled this with food’. And so on …’

Once you have the evidence, have the conversation and ask him to step up.

4. LEVEL UP

At last! This is where you start to find that precious me-time.

Take all the jobs you’ve identified in your notes and divide them into three levels.

Level-one jobs you need to do every day to keep yourself and your dependents healthy — bathing, eating, cooking for children, caring for an elderly relative, sleeping.

Level-two jobs are important but can wait if need be — doing your tax return, cleaning the house, doing laundry, going to work (because if you take a sick day, the world won’t stop).

And level-three jobs (cue chorus of angels) are those activities you want to do but never quite manage to fit in — having a long bath, taking up a hobby, reading a book, setting up a side-business, getting to Pilates, going to the spa.

Think of your level-one and level-two jobs as the legs of the swan working hard under the surface, while the level threes will make it appear that you are gliding effortlessly to hot yoga sessions three times a week.

5. BUILD YOUR DAY

Put in your level-one jobs first. They are the scaffolding that will hold up the rest of your TOTT plan and your life.

Don’t be shocked at how much time they take up, just move on to adding in your level twos. When that is done, we can work out how much time you have left for the longed-for level-three treats.

Here’s an example:

  • Sleep: 16 units (level one).
  • Work: 14 units (level two).
  • Housework: 1.5 units (level two).
  • Getting yourself and the kids ready in the morning (including breakfast): 2 units (level one).
  • School run and/or commute: 2 units (level two).
  • School pick-up and/or home commute: 2 units (level two).
  • Dinner prep and evening meal: 3 units (level one).
  • Bath/bedtime with kids: 2 units (level two). Total: 43.5 units.

This leaves you with 4.5 units for your level-three ‘me time’. That’s two hours 15 minutes — which is a fair bit, don’t you think?

Gemma tells how one follower of her strategy stuck post-it notes throughout the house, highlighting the chores she had done so that her partner could appreciate the time she spent

Gemma tells how one follower of her strategy stuck post-it notes throughout the house, highlighting the chores she had done so that her partner could appreciate the time she spent

Gemma tells how one follower of her strategy stuck post-it notes throughout the house, highlighting the chores she had done so that her partner could appreciate the time she spent

  • Adapted by ALISON ROBERTS from The Organised Time Technique, by Gemma Bray (£12.99, Little, Brown). © 2020 Gemma Bray. To order a copy for £11.04 go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3308 9193. Free UK delivery on orders over £15. Promotional price valid until 05/10/2020. 

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After years of bitterness, how have Ryan O’Neal and his daughter Tatum reconciled, asks TOM LEONARD

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after years of bitterness how have ryan oneal and his daughter tatum reconciled asks tom leonard

 Even though it was Farrah Fawcett’s funeral, her long-time boyfriend Ryan O’Neal was not so grief-stricken that he couldn’t notice a pretty face among the fellow mourners waiting to offer their condolences.

Grabbing the young blonde around the waist and pulling her towards him in an intimate embrace, the notorious Hollywood ladykiller whispered: ‘Hey baby, got a drink on you? Want to get out of here?’

She certainly didn’t, for it was his daughter, Tatum O’Neal.

Admittedly, by the time of Charlie’s Angels star Fawcett’s death in 2009, father and daughter had been estranged for nearly 25 years. But, as she wrote in her autobiography two years later, she was still taken aback. ‘Was it possible that my own father did not recognise me? It had been a pretty long time.’

Certainly it has been a long time since any family in the entertainment world has come close to challenging the O’Neals for the crown of Hollywood’s most troubled, dysfunctional clan. The usual metaphor of ‘car crash’ hardly does justice to a disaster-plagued dynasty where the carnage is more comparable to that caused by an atomic bomb.  

Tatum has claimed that alcoholism and drug addiction are in her DNA, and it’s certainly true that three generations of her family have been ravaged by a pitiful weakness for addictive substances, not to mention a self-absorbed but highly destructive hedonism.

Farrah Fawcett and her long-time boyfriend Ryan O'Neal

Farrah Fawcett and her long-time boyfriend Ryan O'Neal

Farrah Fawcett and her long-time boyfriend Ryan O’Neal

The precocious Tatum was ten years old when she became the youngest actor to win an Oscar, acting alongside her father in Paper Moon.

 By 40, she was a crack and heroin addict, laying most of the blame, in two memoirs and a string of interviews, on a man she claims was a brutal, neglectful and permanently stoned father who introduced his children to hard drugs before they were even in their teens. For his part, Ryan, who has acknowledged his chronic drug use, has called her a ‘devil’ and ‘b****’, while her children have condemned him as a ‘monster’ and a ‘vulture’.

Then, this week, Sean McEnroe, Tatum’s son by tennis star John McEnroe, posted online a family photo that looked so unlikely it could only have been a tasteless prank knocked up on Photoshop. It showed him, his mother, his siblings, Kevin and Emily, and his 79-year-old grandfather — all in the same room, all smiling and nobody with their hands around anyone else’s throat.

‘This is one of the most memorable photos in my life,’ Sean wrote in the caption. ‘The last time we were all together was at the 30-year Paper Moon Anniversary in 2003. I could cry tears of gratitude that everyone in this photo is still alive and that we were all able to come together again after so many years of hardship.’   

 Sean, who is also an actor, said later: ‘It really was an ‘anything is possible’ moment. It’s really rare to have a family have this much chaos and drama over such a long span, and I think that’s actually the thing most families can relate to. That really kind of fractured, scarred family that’s having a very hard time reconciling and forging a good relationship later in life.’

His sentiments are clearly heartfelt, and a reunion that looked nigh on impossible is certainly something to cheer. However, one has to wonder how many families really can relate to the tortured saga of Ryan and Tatum O’Neal.

‘My family is fractured,’ she once wrote. ‘A stew of drama, drugs, violence and tragedy.’ And the person on whom she heaped nearly all the blame was her father.

Hand in hand: (From left) Sean McEnroe with his 79-year-old grandfather Ryan, mother Tatum, 56, and siblings Emily and Kevin

Hand in hand: (From left) Sean McEnroe with his 79-year-old grandfather Ryan, mother Tatum, 56, and siblings Emily and Kevin

Hand in hand: (From left) Sean McEnroe with his 79-year-old grandfather Ryan, mother Tatum, 56, and siblings Emily and Kevin

 Once regarded as far and away Hollywood’s best looking man, Ryan O’Neal has proved a perfect embodiment of Shakespeare’s dictum that ‘all that glisters is not gold’.

 The actor, whose own mother became addicted to painkillers she took for migraines, got married for the first time in 1963, to the beautiful actress Joanna Moore. It lasted only three years but produced Tatum, now 56, and her younger brother Griffin.  

Tatum was two when her manic, pill-popping, alcoholic mother moved her and her brother to a decrepit ranch. ‘[She] virtually abandoned me and Griffin, leaving us in squalor — starving, shoeless and ragged, as well as beaten and abused by the men in her life,’ Tatum has said.

‘My mother had a 16-year-old boyfriend who beat us with switches cut from the fig tree. We were locked in the garage so long that we ate dog food to quell our hunger. We were unsupervised and wild.’

Tatum first got drunk aged six and passed out in the bathroom. By then, she says, she had already been sexually molested twice.

‘I think their fame gave them a sort of permission to deny their role as parents,’ Tatum once said.

When her mother — who died of cancer 23 years ago — was arrested for drink-driving in 1970, the children went to live with Ryan.

Unfortunately, he had just shot to mega-stardom with Love Story, the tearjerker romantic drama with Ali MacGraw, and, as he put it: ‘I didn’t take anybody with me; I went alone.’ He had little time for children, and packed his off to boarding school where Tatum got into trouble for compulsive stealing.

Tatum has said her father continually tried to humiliate her as a child and she attempted suicide three times, but he has insisted this wasn't true. Pictured Ryan with Tatum as a baby

Tatum has said her father continually tried to humiliate her as a child and she attempted suicide three times, but he has insisted this wasn't true. Pictured Ryan with Tatum as a baby

Tatum has said her father continually tried to humiliate her as a child and she attempted suicide three times, but he has insisted this wasn’t true. Pictured Ryan with Tatum as a baby

 But when her father heard of a film script calling for a little girl, he pushed his daughter to audition and she won the role.

Paper Moon — in which Ryan played a conman who takes on the feisty orphaned daughter of a prostitute, played by Tatum — earned her a Best Supporting Actress award. She remains the youngest winner in Oscars history but, astonishingly, neither of her parents attended the ceremony.

Tatum has agreed with those who said her father was jealous, adding he was also ‘really selfish’.

Ryan, who had received a Best Actor nomination but no gong for Love Story, has agreed her sudden stardom created resentment in the family, saying: ‘Everybody hated everybody because of that Academy Award.’

Tatum says she felt enormous pressure to repeat it, but never did, although at 11 she became the highest paid child actor ever, earning $350,000 for The Bad News Bears.

In her teens, she starred in horse drama International Velvet (losing her virginity aged 14 to a stuntman on the set in Britain) and later posed topless, aged 16, in Circle Of Two with Richard Burton. Her adult career was fairly forgettable but by then she was in thrall to drugs.

She has claimed her father wanted nothing more to do with her once she hit puberty, and she lived for months at a time at the family home of one of her best friends, Vivian Kubrick, daughter of film director Stanley.

Tatum’s brother Griffin claims their father made him try cocaine when he was just 11. Ryan has insisted he didn’t. Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Tatum’s son Kevin said Ryan once urged his mother to use cocaine to lose weight.

Tatum has confirmed she was smoking cannabis at 12 (the same age, she says, at which she was molested by her father’s drug dealer) and regularly taking cocaine by 15.

She has said her father continually tried to humiliate her as a child and she attempted suicide three times, but he has insisted this wasn’t true.

Ryan has also disputed her claims that she started taking drugs and drinking so young, saying: ‘This is not true. Eleven years, nine years old. She’s crazy. Why would she say that about herself like that?

‘I never saw her do a drug, I never saw her get drunk, I never saw her smoke or do anything.’

He told CNN: ‘She had a wonderful childhood. She met Queen Elizabeth. She travelled the world. She was a millionairess by the time she was 12.’ In the same interview, he admitted he had a temper but claimed his ‘wild’ children provoked him. (Tatum has admitted she too has a temper.)

Ryan insisted it was Tatum who deserted him, partly out of jealousy that Fawcett was monopolising his attention. He said: ‘She has made my life hard. And Farrah’s. Because I was never complete again when she left.’

Ryan has conceded he was a ‘hopeless father’, weakly complaining he was never ‘trained’ for the role.

He spent much of his time being a world-class womaniser, with lovers reportedly including Diana Ross, Anjelica Huston, Bianca Jagger, Ursula Andress, Cher and much to Tatum’s horror, her friend Melanie Griffith.

Tatum complained that her father made no attempt to be discreet and she often had to listen to their lovemaking.

In her shocking 2004 memoir, A Paper Life, she claimed she often slept in her father’s bed, even when he had women over. That included the time when, aged 12 or 13, she and Griffith, then 18, went to Paris with Ryan and she caught her friend and father in bed together.

Tatum has also claimed her hot-tempered father — who is a trained boxer — frequently hit his children, alleging he ‘socked’ her when she won an Oscar and again when The Bad News Bears beat his latest film at the box office. Ryan has admitted he fought with Fawcett but has never commented on claims he hit his children.

He dismissed Tatum’s book, saying: ‘It is a sad day when malicious lies are told in order to become a best seller.’

Ryan had two more children —Patrick by his second wife, actress Leigh Taylor-Young, and Redmond with Fawcett (whom he seduced despite her being married to his friend Lee Majors).

The pin-up pair — who have been described as the Brad and Angelina of their day — had a stormy relationship from 1979 until 1997, when she discovered him in bed with a much younger actress.

They reunited in 2001 after Ryan was diagnosed with leukaemia.

Tatum was 16 when Ryan left her and her brother to move in with Farrah Fawcett, and then saw him only periodically. She went out with Michael Jackson in her teens but married tennis star John McEnroe in 1986, aged 22.

They had three children, Kevin, Sean and Emily, but, in a depressing repetition of her own early years, their marriage collapsed acrimoniously in 1994 and, due to Tatum’s addictions, McEnroe was awarded custody of the children.

Kevin has recalled how his mother got a boyfriend and started on heroin, her weight dropping to just 6 st. In 2008, her life hit its lowest point when she was arrested in a Manhattan street buying crack cocaine.

Six years later, her son Kevin was arrested in almost the same place as he bought six bags of cocaine (which turned out to be baking powder) and dozens of prescription pills. He later admitted he had started taking drugs at 11 — much like Mum. Griffin and Redmond, have also struggled with addiction and served jail time.

Tatum, who in 2015 revealed she was now ‘mostly dating women’, claims she made repeated attempts to reconcile with her father, only for him to let her down. (At their last reunion in 2003, Ryan was reportedly ‘horrible’ to her and she cried all night.)

But they started to repair their shattered relationship in 2011 after Fawcett’s death, letting cameras record it in a reality TV series, Ryan And Tatum: The O’Neals.

‘He told me he’s sorry,’ she said of Ryan, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012. ‘He’s all I have in terms of family, and I needed him in my life.’

Even so, given last weekend’s get-together was the first for 17 years, it doesn’t sound like the O’Neals have suddenly become The Waltons.

Only five years ago Ryan ranted about Tatum on an Irish TV show: ‘I’m mad at her. She just irritates me. I don’t hate her . . . but life is a lot easier when Tatum isn’t around. She’s a devil.’

This is one love story that may still have a few more plot twists.

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