My morning routine: Gabrielle Mirkin, co-founder of Activist raw manuka honey

18 June 2019
By Fashion Quarterly

Follow along as Gabrielle tracks us through her dreamy morning.

Los Angeles-based Kiwi Gabrielle Mirkin is the co-founder of New Zealand raw manuka honey company Activist with her husband, Luke Harwood.

With their two-year-old son, Francisco River, they live an idyllic lifestyle in the mountains of California – complete with daily ocean swims and as many moments of calm as they can achieve amid the demands of growing your own start-up.

Here, Gabrielle shares what her typical weekday mornings entail.

“I usually sleep really well and wake up naturally with the sun coming into our bedroom around 6am, and immediately look outside at the view from the window. It looks out over Topanga Canyon, nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains. We live in such a special place and I’m always grateful to wake up here.

I then go straight to the bathroom and use a copper tongue scraper. I’ve done this every morning for years as it’s said to help clear toxins from the body. If my little boy Cisco River isn’t awake yet, I’ll sneak downstairs and make a warm lemon drink with our Activist 850+ MGO manuka honey. It’s the perfect immune and digestive boost first thing in the morning.

I make coffee for me and my husband, Luke, which I drink with homemade nut milk. I make a variation of nut milks; almond and cashew is a favourite, as well as hemp.

I take Luke’s coffee upstairs, then come back down to have some quiet time. I usually sit on my yoga mat or some cushions and look at the mountains and sun rising; I’ll meditate and do some pranayama for 10-20 minutes. If Cisco still isn’t awake, I often make celery juice in my Omega juicer. I used to juice religiously every single morning, but now I find it much harder
to fit in.

When I hear Cisco chirping from his crib, I go and get him and we’ll have a cuddle in bed. This doesn’t last long as he likes to head straight downstairs for breakfast. We turn on some music, I light my favourite Bodha incense and then I make him one of three things: soaked overnight oats with chia seeds, almond butter and nut milk; a green smoothie made with fruit, vegetables, spirulina and hemp seeds; or banana and coconut pancakes. We all have breakfast together, then Cisco plays outside or with his toys and drum kit while I start replying to emails and packing online honey orders that have come in from the night before, as well as any wholesale orders. There’s always a lot of honey packing going on in the morning!

After that, if I don’t have meetings first thing, we all head down the canyon to the beach. Luke surfs, Cisco and I swim and I’ll sometimes surf if the waves are small. On other mornings, we go on a hike from our house down to a small ranch and watch the animals – alpacas, horses, goats and donkeys.

Or I head to my favourite yoga class at Bhakti Yoga Shala. Most of the time, though, we have a super jam-packed day, so after the admin I head upstairs and get ready to go out. I always dry-brush my skin before showering, which is something I’ve done for years. I have a quick shower and wash my face with Activist 850+ MGO manuka honey, then use Maryse face oil and body oil, get dressed and apply my favourite fragrance, Bodha LA Woman, which gets me in the right headspace. It’s the quintessential LA scent – trees heavy with citrus, jasmine in bloom and a hint of spiritual smoke.

I then head out the door and drive down Topanga Canyon to the Pacific Coast Highway and into town.

Each day varies a lot but will usually consist of delivering Activist honey to our beautiful retailers, such as Erewhon Organic Grocer, Moon Juice, CAP Beauty and General Store. We often do in-store demos and tastings so we can educate customers about our products. Sometimes I’ll have meetings with new stockists and people we’re working on special projects with.

I like to head home before late afternoon as the traffic starts to get jammed.”

This article originally appeared in Fashion Quarterly Issue 1, 2019.

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