Me And My Home: Green tea and Ganesh

Alice Hart-Davis meets a yoga fan who turned her passion for the Far East into a thriving firm


Lucy Wakefield owns Calmia, a holistic lifestyle store in Marylebone High Street. She lives in Islington with her husband Nick and two cats, and is expecting her first child

Lucy Wakefield owns Calmia, a holistic lifestyle store in Marylebone High Street. She lives in Islington with her husband Nick and two cats, and is expecting her first child

Our flat is in a big Victorian house in Islington and we have been there for nearly seven years. Nick lived there before I moved in with him. It's spacious, over three floors, so it's more like a house. There's plenty of room for our cats, and for the baby that is on the way. The cats are Russian Blues - they're very special and tiptoe around in an elegant way, but they make it very homey. We got two because we're out of the house so much we decided they needed company.

We've kept the décor very simple but used vivid colours. The kitchen is blue, the bedroom is green and pink, the living room is pink and green and blue - I guess you can tell my favourites.

There is a big living room off the entrance hall, with floor-to-ceiling doors that open up through to the kitchen-dining area, then there are two bedrooms above that and the bathroom above them. It's Victorian so there are many original features like the high ceilings and the coving.

We have travelled a lot throughout the Far East and I love their use of colour. It is so beautiful, particularly the way it is juxtaposed. It's so dreary in London. At home, we try not to use colours that are too bright, but deep colours that look slightly muted, so it looks very lived-in and less startling. I'd love to do the décor myself, but I still work six or seven days a week.

We always collect lots of things on our travels, from old candlesticks to a shrine to Ganesh, the Indian god of prosperity. We don't worship it, but it makes a great centre-piece in the living room. There are old Indian tables and fabrics and an old Indian bed from Zanzibar, which we found there on our honeymoon. It's a four-poster, draped with a silk sari. We are out of the house so much that when we get home we want a cocoon.

I practice yoga a lot - I've been doing it for about six years. My first job was on Health & Fitness magazine. That was my passion, but as I learned more, I could see that when people are stressed and working flat-out to deadlines, going to the gym just fuelled their adrenaline, and that people needed balance in their lives.

I tried stretching and Pilates, but it was yoga that really hooked me. It's more a philosophy than an exercise regime. Through my magazine job - I became editor of Shape magazine - I was able to go to spas in the East and that opened my eyes to the health benefits of yoga and filled a bit of a gap in my life. It's not a religion but it does take you deeper within yourself.

I wondered if I could introduce others to it - it doesn't matter how flexible you are, anyone can benefit from yoga. I used to find I was stuck for anything to wear that went with the lifestyle I aspired to. Everything seemed to be bright, branded sports clothes. I said to Nick: "If only I could find nice track pants in muted colours." He was a fashion designer then, and he said: "Why don't you do some?" So I started with a small range of clothing that sold to shops like The Cross, and to New York. We thought we were on to something - it went with the downshifting trend and we wondered what else a woman who wanted this would want - a yoga mat, massage oil, a scented candle - and Calmia was the result.

Nick works with me in the business now, and we don't go out that much because we work such long hours. It's going really well. A Calmia has just opened in Selfridges and we've launched another collection of own-brand products, including a room-mist, and a body polish. I do have a workstation at home, but I'd rather stay at work a bit longer, then finish and turn off the computer, than bring work home.

Home is a real sanctuary. It's calm and peaceful. There's a big kitchen with a long wooden table, very old and knobbly, which we found at Newark antiques fair.

We always cook at home - we never, ever have takeaways or processed food. I enjoy cooking. I find it quite relaxing. Nutrition is important to me - not least for the demands of the job. Along with sleeping and exercising, eating properly is vital for taking care of yourself and recharging your batteries.

We have a sofa and lots of cushions in the living room, so it's cosy and informal. When I get home, I want to eat, do yoga, read the papers. If I'm a bit bothered, one of the easiest things to do is have a shower and wash the day away. I drink a lot of green tea, so I'll sit down quietly and have a cup. I meditate, too, usually in the evening. It really helps to quieten my mind.

Calmia, 52-54 Marylebone High Street, London W1 (020-7224 3585)

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