Tag: UIO

UIO: A Lasting Resource

There is something about coming to the end of a story that is satisfying yet bittersweet. You see, the thing about a timeless story is that it continues spreading joy and serving as a resource for generation after generation.

Good books have that power and nowadays a timeless podcast can do a similar thing. That is my hope for UIO podcast—that its 37 podcasts will continue to be there for teenage girls and their guardians and supporters, as and when they need them.

Though I have taped and aired my last official podcast as far as I know, ending with the U Matter campaign, comprising four podcasts, it gives me great joy to see the stats continue to rise on podcasts as far back as 2017.

My first podcast ever, Your Confidence Inside Out with celebrated businesswoman and coach Cheryl Grace, continues to serve as a great resource to girls until this day. It is our third most popular podcast ever.

The second most listened to podcast taped in November 2019 with bestselling author Claire Eastham covers the ageless issue, social anxiety.

And the top podcast in our changing world was taped in October 2020, a few months into the global pandemic. Dealing With Grief with Kristi Hugstad came at a time when so many people needed it and continues to work for many UIO listeners.

That’s the idea behind all our podcasts—that they are there when you need them. Like many wonderful podcasts, ours are available on most podcasting platforms, including Apple, Google Play, Spotify and all the rest. And of course, here on my website, too!

May our podcasts continue to be a great inspiration and resource to teen girls the world over because as UIO guest Anj Handa points out, the only thing we can really be certain of is change.

So even though the subject matters are timeless and ageless, each generation will face challenges through the lens of their time, which feels like a lot of change. To this end, good resources are invaluable.

As for me, though it’s a wrap for podcasting for now, I expect my work on behalf of teenage girls to continue to manifest in varied ways. Watch this space.

In the meantime, keep listening and taking care of yourself inside out. And do feel free to drop in anytime here or on any social platform. And remember, it is U I Owe.





The Spirit of Identity

Identity is one of those things that is always there from birth–we get many tags if you will–a gender, a race and nationality, a weight, a health check and eventually a name and all sorts of abilities and so on. Still, as if it has never been there before identity, as a huge concept, pops up on the teenage radar screen with blinking red lights: Warning! Warning! This is your gender, your sexuality, your race, your ability and here is what it means.

The pressure is on to identify with different parts of you and if there is an internal clash or negative connotations about something you identify with, this can cause problems.

More on this coming in our UIO: On Undiagnosed Mental Illness podcast with Eleanor Segall.  In the meantime, however, it is important to make the point that identity and mental health are linked, if only because clashes and negativity can cause anxiety, worries and so on.

In some instances, anxiety and stress can escalate into depression, even self-harm. And even in the majority of instances when it doesn’t escalate, the stress over identity is to be taken seriously. At the very least, bad moods and low self-esteem can set in.

And though it is easy to say don’t worry about it, that is easier said than done. It has taken me many years to really understand this and even now I have my moments. Rachita Saraogi and Rebecca Thomson, in our upcoming UIO: Your Identity Inside Out podcast, advise not owning the negativity, leaving it with the people who perpetuate it. You might not be able to change them, but you can change your views on how you view yourself, who you are.

That’s the spirit!

Reflecting on my teenage years, I remember obsessing a lot about hair— its length, its texture and so on. While I can’t say that I have ever consciously disliked my hair for its texture or length, I was not immune to beliefs about Afro hair, if you will, the talk about good hair and bad hair.

Admittedly, there were times in my life when I wanted a certain hairstyle because it was popular and considered the highest mark of beauty. For example, long straight hair was the in thing but as I wasn’t in charge of my hair, my mother was, I didn’t get it.

I doubt if it had anything to do with the political belief that relaxed hair is somehow symbolic of a European standard of beauty. Her reasoning more or less had to do with growing up too fast and economics.

Nowadays, many teen girls have returned to natural hair, as part of a resurgence of the natural hair movement in black communities around the globe, which proposes that hair is healthier for the individual physically and mentally in its natural state.  Furthermore, some believe that natural hair suggests a stronger sense of identity with one’s heritage and straight hair suggests the opposite.

Though I don’t agree with the line of thinking, I think it is wonderful to see teen girls and women with Afro hair in its natural state—the ponytails, the braids, the Afros, but just the same I love seeing hair in all of its versatility as long as it is healthy and well maintained.  That is what is key for me and mainly why I continue to relax my hair—it is either for me to maintain, though I have worn braids over the years, returning my hair to its natural state and in high school, I sported an Afro.

Regardless of style, I identify strongly with my hair and what I have learned about this over the years is that it is mine, part of my beauty, part of my health, and rightly or wrongly it is a big, big, big part of my self-esteem. Thus, regardless of trends, movements, beliefs, politics, I need to be happy with my hair—not the world.

And nowadays, I don’t make any excuses or apologies for that. End of story. Underneath the hair is where my real identity lies and it is up to me to embody that. That’s the spirit!


Stay tuned for UIO: Your Identity Inside Out podcast coming soon.

Opening Up About Mind Matters: Tips for Teen Girls

More than half-way through the UIO series of ten, the new podcast for teenage girls, Episode 6: Your Mind Inside Out was released today.

Timely indeed as the notion of dealing with mental and emotional health becomes more apparent in society.  Back in April, for example, Prince Harry admitted seeking grief counselling twenty years after his mother’s death to avoid emotional collapse.

Other well-known people have talked about the issue, too. But it’s not just the famous who face emotional and mental well-being issues; it’s everyone. And all too often, mind matters are swept under the carpet, owing to stigmas.

Helping to reduce stigmas and speak openly about mind matters are New York Psychoanalyst Dr Jane Goldberg and her daughter Molly. Special guests for the sixth episode of UIO, the duo talk about the importance of communicating feelings and concerns and also shared personal experiences and challenges that have not only brought them closer together, but also helped Molly to navigate her teen years.

Now 23, Molly is studying to become a psychoanalyst, also, while Jane practices in New York and writes books. Author of eight titles, her latest My Mother, My Daughter, My Self is published by Free Association Books.

Check out the podcast here via Souncloud or listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Tunein, Libsyn or sign-up for my rss feed. Meanwhile, stayed tuned for Episode 7: Your Values Inside Out with Jenny Garrett, author of Rocking Your Role.



Expert Advice On What Lifestyle Has To Do With Skincare

What’s sugar got to do with it? Apparently a whole lot when it comes to skincare. According to Jenny Hawkins, owner of The Skin Retreat, Fulham, London, having too much sugar can increase hormones that stimulate sebum (oil) production.

Something to note for all of us, especially teenage girls whose hormones don’t need help stimulating anything, okay.

For more on what eating and drinking sugar and other lifestyle choices have to do with skincare, check out episode 3, UIO: Your Skin Inside out right here via Soundcloud or listen on your preferred device via iTunes, Stitcher or Tunein. UIO can also be found on social media, including Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

In the meantime, we’ve got our first Q&A with Jenny Hawkins, guest on episode three. How very exciting. Answering the questions from two mom’s of 13-year-old daughters, Jenny clears up much common confusion about blackheads and eczema. Here is what she had to say:


M: My daughter has stubborn black heads on her nose, including the crease.

J: This is very common especially at this age. 

M: She has tried Biore strips to no avail. And she seems to watch a lot of youtube videos on skincare, so now she has a face mask in hope this will help out (because it advertises that it “removes impurities”). 

J: Skin masks that are clay based or for oily skin are used to remove impurities; please make sure they are only used on the area of concern for example the ‘T ZONE’ forehead, nose and chin, most common oily areas. 

M: I just tell her to wash her face twice a day and put on lotion so it doesn’t dry out too much and get more black heads. 

J: This is great advice, make sure the products used are for her skin type/concern and are organic and will balance the skin.

M: To squeeze or not to squeeze, that is the question!  I think the answer is no, but what about those things that have been around forever.

J:  Squeezing…I would recommend adding into her routine a gentle exfoliator (once a week, after cleansing before mask) just for the nose/blackhead area. This will help to ease away dead skin cells over the blackheads allowing them to be ‘gently’ squeezed (used hot mitt/towel beforehand to open pores). If no luck or need to be forced too much then go to a skin clinic or beauty salon for a 25min booster facial. This should not cost too much. They will be able to prepare the skin properly for extraction (removal of blackheads). 

M: Also, my mom gave her one of those little exfoliating face brushes (like a Sonicare).  I think she tried it on her face once.  She has a gentle brush.  Should she use it? How often? 

J: These can be great way of deep cleaning the skin. These types of implements tend to also act as an exfoliator in replacement for an actual exfoliating product so I would only recommend they are used 2-3 times a week max.


M: My daughter has had great skin until about four months ago; she has eczema on her face in patches. Her auntie recommended an organic product, which she has been washing with but only consistently at night. 

J: Great advice for eczema as products that are not organic have nasty chemicals in them that can aggravate and dry the skin out more. Use a creamy cleanser that will hydrate the skin NOT foamy as this is used for oily skins. Evening is fine to cleanse at the moment but if any congestion appears then also cleanse in the morning as this removes sweat and dirt from sleeping. 

M: We haven’t really moisturised afterwards though.

J: Moisturising is essential for dry skin or eczema so please use an organic one that is light for her young skin, not too thick and heavy. Your nearest skin clinic or beauty salon may help recommend one for you. 

M: She is an athlete and we live in a hot climate, she sweats a lot, too. 

J: Heat will also dry the skin out so again make sure she is using a moisturiser and SPF sun factor to protect her skin from sun damage. Cleanse the skin after exercise to remove sweat and dirt build up then moisturise again. 

M: Also, I tell her not to eat too many sugary things or drink soft drinks but I know she eats more than she is supposed to. What can we do to clear up the eczema? 

J: I cannot say anything will definitely clear up her eczema as I cannot see the severity of it or even if it has been diagnosed as eczema. But I hope these simple steps will help to hydrate and nourish her skin. Just ensure you have spoken to a dermatologist first or skin expert in a salon for advice on products and clarification that she has eczema, as it could just be hormonal dry skin patches.

UIO: Your Body Image Inside Out coming up in two weeks. Send your questions for Laura Miles, who talks to me from both personal and professional experience on the topic. Watch this space!



Treating Your Body As A Temple

By the time you reach your teenage years, you might have heard the quote your body is your temple… hence, the emphasis of taking care of it as such.

Likely this quote originated from the Bible, 1 Corinthians 6:19: What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (KJV).

Makes sense, certainly for those of Christian faith, but even for those who are not,  the concept of the body being a temple just might be good enough reason to treat it as the precious entity it is, regardless of who you believe it belongs to—you or God.

On that note, I am excited to release the second episode of UIO: Your Body Inside Out, featuring my former personal trainer Judit Ressinka, who gives endless advice on making lifestyle changes that will serve you now and later.

Judit taking care of business

That’s right; there are no gimmicks here, just straight talk about the importance of taking care of your body for the purpose of living life now to the fullest while setting up for the best possible future, too.

Although there is something to be said about the avocado, for example, its healthy benefits and all,  Judit points out much to my relief that there is nothing wrong with a good burger or a slice of pizza either, as long as they have the right ingredients. That is key—all ingredients aren’t equal. Surprise! Surprise!

Listen now on Soundcloud, Stitcher or TuneIn or subscribe to my RSS feed (see sidebar). And if you have an Apple device, go straight to the iTunes store and search UIO: Your Body Inside Out.  It is all good stuff and v timely, too.

Enjoy and remember to send your questions, feedback and suggestions to info@sonjalewis.com. Remember it is UIO.


New Survey Out: Feedback Invaluable To Improve Podcast

The feedback for the UIO: You Inside Out podcast for teenage girls continues to be invaluable for its development and improvement. Thanks to each and every girl who completed the UIO survey.

Overwhelmingly you confirmed that a podcast for teenage girls just might be a good thing. Phew! Thank you for that. And the topic that you most wanted to hear about was family. That’s great news, too.

To this end, the Your Family Inside Out episode will come out in June. More on that later and the other subjects coming up, including Body Image, Mind and Peer Pressure!

For now, I want to tell you about a new survey, designed for feedback on the episodes. Only ten questions long, the UIO survey for episodes is designed to get your feedback so that I can improve the podcast episodes as we go along.

How cool is that! So if you have listened to Your Confidence Inside Out, check out the survey on the podcast webpage and also on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

In the meantime, wishing you a Happy (Healthy) Easter.


First Episode of UIO Is Out

The first episode of UIO is out. Your Confidence Inside Out is an exciting interview with Cheryl Grace, most recently named one of the top 50 Women in Business in 2017 by Black Enterprise.

Aside from being a successful business woman, Cheryl is also a longstanding friend who happens to be one of the most confident women I know. Shown here with two other longstanding friends, Cheryl and I were celebrating my 50th birthday in sunny Florida. Was it really that long ago? Even longer since we first meet years ago as young PR directors and had a holiday together in Florida on the tail of a business meeting.

When we were young

In the podcast, which is available in the iTunes store for free, Cheryl offers invaluable information to today’s girls via enthralling personal stories and hot tips on the subject of self-confidence and self-esteem.

When asked why girls need self-confidence in the first place, Cheryl fluently points out that it is necessary to face the day, just as gloves and scarves are to face inclement weather.

To listen to the podcast, click here  and subscribe to my RSS feed or listen on Soundcloud or head over to iTunes. And do watch this space for the second episode, coming April 28.  Your Body Inside Out is a talk with Judit Ressinka, personal trainer and nutritionist. It’s going to be a good one, too.

Aside from iTunes, the podcast will eventually be available on Google Play, Stitcher and Tunein.

What a way to start UIO. Stay tuned!

Real Talk About The Human Condition

The excitement is building for the launch of UIO: You Inside Out, my new podcast for teenage girls. Not only have I had the chance to interview some friends I have known for years, also I have had the opportunity to meet some new fantastic women to talk about real issues that have to do with being a teenage girl.

For years now I have been talking and writing about what is often referred to as the human condition and to be honest it has never occurred to me to that the phrase sounds a bit like the dreaded lurgy or something. No wonder folks don’t want to talk about anything human when it comes to them personally.

And if adults shy away from doing so, I suspect teenage girls will run. So this week, in Prelude Two of UIO, I get a little salty. if you will, not explicit or anything like that,  but I am so over sugar coating issues that are just human. Check out the audio here.

And in the meantime, do watch this space for some real talk about what it means to be a teenage girl today. The first episode is UIO: Your Confidence, a talk with Cheryl Grace, most recently named one of the 50 Most Powerful Women In Business by Black Enterprise.  And following closely is  UIO: Your Body, a talk with Judit Ressinka, my personal trainer of about three years. It’s all real talk.



Upon launching the new webpage and survey for my new podcast for teenage girls, UIO: You Inside Out, I’ve  talked a lot about what it is and why I’m broadcasting a podcast in the first place.

In hindsight, however, I haven’t said much about the podcast’s origins. Of course, I mentioned the idea for its name, having occurred to me during a run. But what is its anchor, its foundation–unequivocally my Christian faith.

Though I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a Christian, for about eighteen months now, I have been reading the Bible In One Year (BIOY), a really cool app through my church, Holy Trinity Brompton. Not only the handbook, if you will of Christianity, the Bible is a fascinating read unto itself. I can highly recommend it.

Having said that, UIO is not exclusively a Christian project and in the first of the podcast’s preludes, leading up to the big launch, I tell you why. Available on my webpage and also on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus, the short piece gets to the heart of UIO.

In the meantime, calling all teenage girls to fill out the UIO Survey, also on my webpage and on social media. It’s all about you. For comments, questions, email me at info@myname.com Looking forward to hearing from you.


New Podcast for Teenage Girls Coming Soon!

A new project is a bit like a new relationship in that it is top priority. It comes first and all too often other things that matter equally as much happen last or they don’t happen at all.

At least that it is the it way has been for me lately, having been silent on the blogging, writing front for a few months now, not to mention other bits of life that takeover one’s world.

Still today, I return with the announcement of a new development: a podcast, of all things, for teenage girls! And though it doesn’t come to life fully until mid-April, not that long from now, need I remind myself, it has sort of been the apple of my eye. No offence to my dear husband but UIO, You Inside Out, the new podcast for teenage girls, has been all I have managed to string a decent sentence together about over the last several months. Worse yet, it is pretty much what I have talked about, thought about, even dreamt about. And might I add, tossed and turned about, too.

Heck I have just about roped everyone in that I know to help me get this thing out there, but there is still plenty of roping to do. You haven’t escaped yet – my lovely connections. Though it all sounds a bit obsessive, I find it of extreme importance and a bit urgent, too.

I say this because as the world turns, youth in particular, are on the firing lines of what I call a new world disorder. And to my mind corroborated by a few stats, girls are feeling the pressure in certain areas of life at a disproportionate rate to boys. No I haven’t quite gotten my head around Brexit, or the outcome of the US Presidential election, and the smudges such events have imprinted in history (I don’t have to go into detail here – all you have to do is read the papers, watch the news, go on Twitter to see what I mean).

But here is the thing, history is history and we are meant to learn from it, make lemonade out of lemons and so on, rather than wasting time wallowing in it and worrying about it. Admittedly, I haven’t whacked the worry yet and but I’m pressing on all the same.

But why a podcast for girls: It all started long before the two big events mention with a desire to be a part of my niece’s upbringing, who was then just shy of a teen. The idea was just to serve her in any way I could and that I did successfully, quite frankly sometimes overbearingly I am sure she would agree, as reported in my Huff Post blog.  And having worked with plenty of girl orgs, I kind of think girls really are my business, like it or not. Hey, I owe it to you. Don’t we all.

Anyhow, I toyed with the idea of a blog, a book, a business and then one morning on a slow run by the river, the words you I owe, a play on I owe you, appeared to me as bright as the morning sunshine. And as I soaked it up, I forgot I was even running and by the time I made it home, I had it, UIO, You Inside Out, the podcast for teenage girls.

For months I told people about the idea and recruited women for interviews but it was only after the two aforementioned events that I knew UIO was relevant and timely. So there you have it, UIO, the new podcast for teenage girls.

What more can I say? Listen to the podcast in mid-April. In the meantime, for more information, check out the webpage right here and do have a listen to the Intro Episode, posted there.

And if you think you can help don’t wait for me to call you, though I might. Do connect with me via social media or email info@sonjalewis.com. Oh and yes, if you have a teenage daughter, or you are a teenage girl reading this, complete the UIO survey on the UIO webpage and also on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. If nothing else, you’ll get to have your say.

Well, that’s a wrap, at least for now. Back to the grindstone, anticipating stellar results.