Dawn Russell on Kissing the Butler, the Secret to Perfect Skin and Making Brownies Healthier
Last time we chatted with American-born Lady Dawn Russell (yes, she’s married to an English lord, but too down to earth to be fussy about titles), she told us all about her road to health and recovery and how that led to inventing the effervescent, nutrient-packed 8G Essential Greens Booster. Now, she’s giving us a peek into life at the family estate, Woburn Abbey, her expert travel and skincare tips plus how to make any brownie recipe better for you.
People Magazine profiled you earlier this year and said your life and visits at Woburn are like a real-life Downton Abbey. What do you think about that?
It’s a family at the end of the day, just like any other family. So yes, there is formality and titles and a beautiful home, but there are also the same dynamics and daily routines of any other family.
What’s the biggest unexpected adjustment you had to make transitioning from living in the states to living in England?
I quickly learned that being punctual is imperative, the UK is the most punctual country and one always has to be on time. I also learned that the more you pick on someone, the closer you are as friends. And to never kiss the family butler. The first time I met Roger (the family butler) I gave him a kiss goodbye and quickly learned to tone down my American affections.
We’ve heard through the grapevine that you typically wear little to no makeup. And you have such beautiful skin! What’s your secret?
It’s greens, no joke. I have the world’s most sensitive skin as a result of having half my lymph nodes removed, so anything and everything I try to use topically completely causes a breakout. For me, greens have much more of an impact on keeping my skin clear with a glow rather than any external cream.
What are your summer plans and what are you looking forward to?
We are expanding 8G in the UK and in America, so that will be a big focus for me this summer. That, sleeping, and of course time with my boys.
As a self-described queen of the carry-on for a week trip, how do you do it?
Never pack light colors, you can only wear them once and then they’re done. I always find that I wear a lot of layers on the plane, because then you have extra clothing when you’re at your destination. If I’m going to a new city, I always throw in an extra tote bag, because you always end up buying something in a new place.
Travel can be exhausting and throw off your schedule. What do you do to feel your best while traveling?
I normally have 8G twice a day, but when I travel I increase to three times a day. Jogging is the best jetlag cure….when you’re being healthy. And the biggest thing I’ve learned is that if travel is for four days or less, stay on your hometown time zone. It’ll make readjusting that much easier when you get home.
Where haven’t you been that you’d still love to go?
There is a prison in Istanbul that’s now a hotel (Istanbul at Sultanahmet), and I have wanted to go for some time, but it’s not exactly child friendly. Another place would be Burma, now that Aung San Suu Kyi is free.
What would a perfect stay-cation look like for you?
The perfect stay-cation includes yoga, Nutella crepes on Portobello road with my 2-year-old son, skateboarding with my older son, a massage at the local Thai salon and a very long sushi dinner with my husband.
You encourage people to get as many greens as possible. In addition to 8G, what are some of your favorite ways to get greens into your diet?
When you steam vegetables, there’s a broth that gets released as they cook off. I save that broth and add it to brownie mix or smoothies. It’s healthy and the chocolate from the brownie and the other ingredients in the smoothie camouflage the taste of the vegetable broth.