Primrose Matheson struggled with chronic fatigue, M.E and poor digestion in her youth, so set out to understand her body and what was needed to maintain it in perfect health. She founded Primrose Kitchen with muesli, as breakfast is (as a nation) our favourite meal of the day. Her museli and granolas include ingredients you might associate more with lunch or dinner, such as beetroot and carrot, and they are ideal for getting more fruit and vegetables than grains into your diet.
I alternate between 5.30am and 8.30am wake ups, I hate alarm clocks so just wake up by the morning light and the cacophony of the dawn chorus as I live in a sleepy village with very little noise pollution. I let out my hungry whippet and make a cup of fresh ginger tea to take back to bed for 10 minutes of quiet reflection before the day really begins. I usually do 5 minutes of pigeon pose to stretch out my lower back and get dressed and have breakfast.
I start work anytime between 7.30 and 9am depending on what time I got up. My commute is 20 minutes of country lanes in the car listening to Chris Evans on radio 2 or to a podcast. I arrive at the Kitchen, which is surrounded by fields and sheep close to the cerne abbas giant. It’s pretty dreamy as there is so much lovely wildlife on route. I find this time really important for thinking about my priorities for the day.
When I started Primrose Kitchen I wanted to get people excited about health food through the use of novel flavours and bright colours. As someone who is naturally impatient probably the best advice I have been given was that you can get more done sitting in your armchair than running around like a headless chicken. If you stand back from apparent problems and contemplate them you can be proactive rather than reactive. There is a real difference between being busy and being effective and over the last 4 years I have learnt this lesson time and time again. I try and work effectively and efficiently for a few hours a day, then get out in the fresh air to see or do things that will inspire me rather than staring at the office wall because of a sense that I should be there. We have such a “should do” culture and a 9-5 mentality but when you create something for yourself you need to build it to suit you, so you get the best out of you. My favourite part of my job is creating a new product and then seeing it on the shelf and receiving lovely cards and emails from customers who are enjoying it. My least favourite part is managing people. Although there are people who can do a lot of jobs better than you, and it’s important to learn the art of delegation, this is not easy with a young business. My role model is my father. He always said that no matter what life throws at you, you will only ever be given what you can cope with and we all come out the other side of tough times better off. If you can’t enjoy every bit of the process, the good and the bad, then you miss a great chunk of your life. We need to continue to strengthen the muscle of gratitude, focusing on where we are and where we have come from to find peace.
I’ve done all sorts of different jobs. At the age of 18 I managed my brother’s boat tourism business in Guernsey, sometimes filling in for the guide aboard and talking about the wildlife and history of the islands. I trained as a naturopath after school and did my degree in homeopathy, whilst working for various health food shops as an assistant and cook. In the holidays I worked for my parents who both had their own businesses, in jewellery and antiques. So I saw lots of people running their own companies and my major push to set up Primrose Kitchen was the desire not to work for anyone other than myself. I think that desire coupled with a vision is all you need to create a business. There are lots of people who can advise you on the numbers or technical bits. If you are willing to work hard to get momentum going the rest will grow and evolve. If I could change anything it would be to have a business partner. Having someone to share the burdens with and act as a sounding board for decision-making is really helpful.
I’m terrible with lunch and rarely bring it in with me. I usually just eat endless fruit and a bag of nuts, as there are plenty of them at work! Our favourite snack is our orange and cashew granola and I’m addicted to peanuts! I generally finish at 4pm and go straight out for a dog walk or run in the Dorset countryside, or pop in to see friends on the way home. I run pretty much every other day. In the summer I run and then swim in the sea at Burton Bradstock or go surfing at the weekends in Devon. If I’m in London I will go to my favourite yoga studio in Kensal or run around Wormwood Scrubs. I love working from cafes around Portobello as there is so much creativity there. I don’t cook a lot for myself. In the summer I live off huge salads and a lot of quinoa and smoothies. In the winter, roasted vegetables and soups and short grain brown rice are my staples.
Strangely my dream job when I was very young was to be an archaeologist, which I still find fascinating as I think discovering and creating are very similar things. But now if I were to do anything else I would love to work as a retreat and holiday reviewer for someone like Conde Naste and (at the other end of the spectrum) I have dreamed of spending 6 months in Europe picking apples!
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