Ella Mills - author of Deliciously Ella blog and multiple cookbooks - is one hell of a lady. Working in business, and specifically food business, we're honoured to work with and alongside so many inspiring, supportive and entrepeneurial women, and Ella, of course, is one of them. You're all probably familiar with the story of how Ella healed a rare illness by giving her lifestyle an overhaul (which impressively began to fix her problems more effectively than medicine had been), so we'll fast-forward past the bit about how she got to where is now, and focus on how she exists where she is now, and how she does so healthily, happily and as easily as possible. For us, it's not about things being easy all of the time, because things never are (nope - not even when you work in wellness). Instead, it's about making things easier. It's not about having the best routines and rituals, it's about having better ones. It's a forever journey. Here's what works for Ella, and how she wakes up well to make long days of busy schedules as managable as possible.
"I started Deliciously Ella almost five years ago as a simple blog. Since then it’s grown and I’ve written four cookbooks, released an app, opened two delis (third one coming soon) and a catering business, launched a line of products into over 2,500 shops and have worked on so many other projects. I run the business with my husband, Matt, and I absolutely love it, although it’s pretty intense! Entering into so many areas so quickly has been a huge learning curve.
I’m a real morning person so I tend to wake up early most days, around 6.30am. I do yoga or spin a few times a week and take my dog for a walk before starting the day. My day starts in so many different ways, as we’re working on so many different projects – some mornings it’s recipe testing, food photography and social media; others it’s a trip to see a supplier that we work with or a manufacturer; and often it’s a meeting with our team, time developing ideas with our head chef or planning at the delis. I work late most evenings, but I’m definitely way more productive first thing, so I like to get as much done as I can then.
I have to admit that the first thing I do every morning is check my phone! I know the answer should probably be meditate or drink green juice, but the reality is I read my emails, check my social media, reply to comments, send off a few ideas to the team and cuddle my dog before I do anything else. This year one of my goals was to give myself a bit more time to get ready in the morning. I’ve realised how much better I feel when I give myself a few minutes to put on some make up and choose an empowering outfit, so I am trying to build that into my routine more. I used to just be run out of the house as quickly as possible to get to work, but I’m really enjoying this new element to my morning.
Breakfast during the week usually consists of something quick and easy. My five most essential breakfast ingredients are oats, banana, berries, avocado and peanut butter. In the mornings, I really love smoothies, as you can just throw things in a blender and go, I normally do a blend of frozen banana, frozen berries, spinach, oats, nut butter and almond milk. I’m a huge porridge fan and will often do quick-cook oats with peanut butter, or a piece of rye toast with smashed avocado, chilli, lemon, black pepper and salt. I also love Qnola as it's so delicious! When I have it I enjoy it most with coconut yoghurt, peanut butter and a drizzle of honey.
My healthiest breakfast is anything with greens in it! I like sneaking a handful of spinach into smoothies for this reason, they taste fruity from the banana and berries but I know I’m getting some veggies too.
On the weekend, breakfast is blueberry pancakes are a real favourite, or sweet potato rosti with homemade baked beans and herby guacamole. Basically anything with a lot of maple syrup – one of my favourite foods! I love having breakfast at home, so that I can stay in my PJ’s and eat it in bed! Some weekends I love doing nothing, just hanging out at home with Matt, my husband and watching X Factor and Strictly! Other weekends I love going out for dinner and cocktails with friends and exploring new places. It varies depending on what the week has been like!
The best place I’ve ever woken up is in a bed looking out at dolphins in the Indian Ocean on our honeymoon. We were staying in a bedroom on stilts in the sea in the Maldives and it was just unbelievable! Aside from this, my idea of an ideal morning would be a long lazy lie-in with Matt, Austin, a good TV show, room service breakfast and no phone.
In terms of waking up well, I think this is something I'm constantly working on! I find I wake up feeling well when I’ve done things the night before that make me feel good; I think this is something I’m still working on! I have a notepad by my bed, so that I can write down any to-do lists or thoughts, which helps me sleep better as it stops my mind from going round in circles, I also like taking time to wash my face, moisturise, doing a facemask etc so that I wake up feeling fresh. One thing I need to do more of in the mornings is yoga. I always feel so good when I do it. One thing I need to do less of in the mornings is spending hours on Instagram!
This morning I sat in bed drinking tea, eating toast and chatting about plans for the week. It’s a rainy Sunday and I don’t plan on moving anytime soon. Tomorrow morning I will get excited about a new week and spend the morning photographing and developing new recipes for a project I’m working on."