As part of our new At Work With series, we asked Alice Vincent, journalist at The Telegraph and author of ‘How To Grow Stuff’ – a no-stress gardening guide for beginners – to give us an exclusive look at her working life. Here’s her one-day diary…
My alarm usually goes off somewhere between half-past five and 6am, depending on how many times I succumb to the snooze button. I’ll grab a shower and breakfast – usually cereal like Shreddies – in order to get to my desk at 7am.
I’m fortunate that I don’t have to be too smart for work. My outfit is usually based around whether I’m cycling or not – If I am, I’ll either opt for comfortable, slim-leg trousers with some stretch or leggings. I’m a huge fan of shirts, which take up a disproportionately large portion of my wardrobe, especially white ones. I just think they can be classic and versatile, and you can get a lot of wear out of them.
My morning is immeasurably improved if I manage to grab a few minutes on the balcony, just taking in the view and the weather and checking on how the plants are doing. It’s a moment of calm that sets me up for the day.
I do all of my gardening writing out of the office, and tend to work best earlier in the day. By 10am I will have thrashed through my inbox and maybe done some work on one of my features, such as research or setting up interviews, and will be trying to crack on with writing.
I usually write from home, sitting at the end of my dining table-cum-desk that faces the balcony so that I can look at the plants as I work. But often I’ll have a few hours to spare between meetings, so I’ll make the most of that time by writing in a cafe, especially if it collides with lunchtime.
Almost every handbag I own is some kind of rucksack, because I so often find myself needing to have my hands free – for instance, if I head down to the local plant nursery and have to take plants home on the bus. I’d much rather carry my stuff on my back while cycling than in a pannier. This one is the perfect size to fit a MacBook Air in and my yoga kit, plus a bottle of water. I try to carry the bare minimum, and just take with me what I need.
In The Afternoon
I ride my bike wherever I can, and have cycled in London since I moved here six years ago. It makes a big, daunting city seem smaller and gives me space to think things through when I’m not staring at a screen.
It also gives me vital inspiration: cycling around London’s less-well-trodden streets opens up gardens and other examples of urban nature in that I would never normally see. This can become the bread-and-butter of what I write about, as well as allowing me the mental space that helps my best writing.
I do yoga a couple times a week and while I’m far more productive with a teacher, I do try to keep my practice up at home – especially if I find myself procrastinating. I always change into leggings for ease and comfort, and prefer a loose-fitting top unless I’m having a particularly intense session.
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