Andrea McLean column: How to Live, Learn and Thrive in Surrey

PUBLISHED: 13:42 08 April 2020 | UPDATED: 13:42 08 April 2020

Andrea and Nick

Andrea and Nick


Our new columnists Andrea McLean and Nick Feeney on loving their Surrey life and encouraging others to do the same | Photo credit: Andy Newbold

They say never work with children and animals, but some would add ‘spouses’ to that list!

It can be tricky getting that work/life balance right when you are not only joined at the hip sorting out a blended family with four teenagers, one dog, a home and work – plus trying to squeeze ‘couple’ time into the mix – but our business is something we are equally passionate about, which massively helps.

Nick and I have been working since our teens, so between us we have 68 years of experience in grafting in various different fields.

All that came together almost two years ago when we set up our female empowerment website This Girl Is On Fire, an idea with small origins which has organically grown in size and ambition.

The idea was always the same – I wanted to help women feel better about themselves – but we realised over time that women of all ages and stages were coming to us for support and encouragement, so we had to broaden our ability to give them what they wanted.

Thus, our marketplace was born, and now it is a one-stop-shop for every woman who wants to find new and exciting ways to Live, Learn and Thrive.

In this social media age of everyone appearing to live the perfect life and have it all, it was really important to us that women are encouraged to love the life they have rather than constantly looking for the things they feel are wrong in their world.

Women are incredible but very often they don’t feel like they are ‘enough’; clever enough, capable enough, pretty enough, thin enough, perfect enough.

So, we wanted to give them the encouragement to show them that they are but also the tools they need to make any changes they feel like they need to make their lives even better and reach their full, amazing potential. That’s where the Live, Learn and Thrive comes in.

Each month, we will be showing you ways that you can do the same, right here in Surrey. We will be bringing you examples of things to do and places to go that will help all of you – men as well as women – to Live, Learn and Thrive in a life you love.

They will be simple things that all of us can do and are guaranteed to make you feel good in some way. After all, isn’t that what all of us want in this one life we are given? We hope you’ll love what we bring you and we can’t wait to get started!


We discovered the Prince of Wales pub in Esher recently. I was drawn to it by the twinkling fairy lights brightening a blustery evening.

Once inside we discovered it is a dog and family-friendly pub that comes complete with dog menu (who knew?!), good wines and beers, a strong menu including vegan options and friendly staff who gave our Cavapoo Teddy a tickle on the chin and a cheeky treat as a starter before his sausage main. The teens loved it too. We will be back.


We have always wanted to learn how to dance, but lack of co-ordination (Nick) combined with an abundance of embarrassment (me) has held us back.

So this year we have decided to jump in, (two left) feet first and see what happens and are heading to Richmond for salsa classes by Mundo Latino. They’ve come highly recommended by our neighbours who are regulars, so watch this space!


The best way to thrive is to do things that make us feel and look our best. We all know how much better we feel after a walk in the fresh air, have a massage or even treat ourselves to the perfect cup of coffee – it doesn’t have to be something extravagant.

We both use planners to map out our working week, and the ones we use also have sections to plan how you are going to reward yourself for achieving your weekly or monthly goals. (We got them from Amazon, they are from Clever Fox and cost £19.99 for a six-month planner).

My reward this month was to book a facial at Harley Street Skin Clinic in Reigate. Not only is it a beautiful building, but the team are friendly and knowledgeable – perfect for a pick-me-up.

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