In 2012, Ella Mills (née Woodward) began writing what would soon become a worldwide phenomenon: Deliciously Ella. The blog, which recorded her clean-eating food journey to combat her struggle with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome, began as a hobby that would also push her to learn more; now, with millions of visits each month and two best-selling cookbooks to her name – the first was the fastest-selling debut cookbook of all time – it’s safe to say she’s become the e-generation’s icon for healthy living. As the milestones keep rolling in – a skincare collaboration with Neal’s Yard Remedies, the hugely successful MaE Deli – Mills takes a moment to share her reflections and tips with BAZAAR.
What has been the biggest takeaway from your wellness journey?
I think the resounding takeaway from across the board is to be an optimist. When life throws you a challenge, which it did with my illness, and then in a different way with my business, you have to truly believe you can do it and see the solutions. It’s all about trying to turn a negative into a positive and learn from your experiences, letting them shape you in a good way, rather than letting them drag you down.
What advice can you give people who are looking to start building a business out of their own health journeys?
When you’re starting out, it’s important to figure out what you’re doing that’s different; you need to find an edge on everyone else. You’ll have to love what you do because you don’t want it to feel like a sacrifice, because it will inevitably affect other aspects of your life; be prepared to work seven days a week and live and breathe what you do. If you’re looking to start a blog, don’t spend money on it to begin with – try Instagram or a free Word Press blog until you know what works for you.
Tell us about your latest collaboration with Neal’s Yard Remedies.
They have been my go-to brand for years now; I worked with them to develop recipes for their superfoods, and the more we worked together the more I learnt and understood the importance of choosing organic when it comes to skincare. Our values are so aligned, making them the natural choice for a collaboration. When I visited their headquarters in Dorset, I loved seeing organic ingredients being grown in their gardens for their products – it was inspiring. Spending time with the formulators mixing up products felt like I was in the kitchen but on a bigger scale.
Why did you choose rose, lime and cucumber as the main ingredients?
I wanted my range to smell beautiful and feel great, while radiance and a natural glow were key. The ingredients that I chose are all my favourite beauty foods – I use them when cooking for their internal benefits but they also have amazing effects on the skin when used topically. As for the scent, I’m obsessed with rose; if you open my bathroom cabinet it’s rose everything – I just find it the prettiest smell in the world.
What are your top 5 essential beauty products?
1) Coconut Oil – it’s my desert island product!
2) RMS Beauty Master Mixer and Concealer – I use them every day.
3) Neal’s Yard Remedies Rose Lime and Cucumber Facial Wash – I love the scent and it’s my favourite way to start the day.
4) Neal’s Yard Remedies Rehydrating Facial Oil – I love to add a couple of drops to my moisturiser for an extra boost of moisture.
5) Essential oils – I have some great roll-on ones, which I love before bed and first thing in the morning.
Can you describe your daily skin routine?
My routine is simple – I use the moisturiser and facial wash from my range with Neal’s Yard Remedies, then I use their Argan Oil at night, which is amazing. I use coconut oil to take off my make-up; for makeup, I love brands like RMS Beauty, Ilia and W3ll People.
What are your homemade skincare tricks?
I love exfoliating, so a couple of times throughout the week I exfoliate with a homemade brown sugar scrub. I try to use all natural products, so I use organic coconut oil as a make-up remover (it’s great for taking off mascara), as a hair mask (I put a dollop on the ends once every few weeks, leave it overnight and wash it off the next morning) and even as an after sun treatment.
What’s your go-to breakfast?
Smoothies are fantastic. I love things like frozen banana with spinach, oats, almond butter, almond milk and blueberries – it’s the easiest on-the-go breakfast.
What was the driving concept behind the MaE deli, and what are your favourite dishes?
I wanted to create a place to share the food that I love, and show that it can be delicious, abundant and vibrant. I have so many favourites, but I especially love the peanut chocolate slice, the smashed avocado on rye toast and our lentil, apricot and cauliflower dahl.
What is next for your brand?
There are so many projects! I’m launching a line of my energy balls for supermarkets, we’re opening our next deli in London next month and I’ve got two more books coming out over the next few months. I’m loving the challenge of it all and watching the business grow.
Why Don’t You…
Do one thing a day that helps you feel your best – a delicious meal, a great yoga class, lunch with a friend, a dog walk – and makes you feel happier?