Cosmetic surgeon Angelica Kavouni has her own practice, Cosmetic Solutions, in Harley Street
2010, The TimesView PDF
Angelica Kavouni, 43, has her own practice, Cosmetic Solutions, in Harley Street. Originally from Greece, she lives in London with her husband Lucian Ion, a plastic surgeon, and their children Julian, 7 and Sebastian, 5.
Mornings have to run like a military operation if we want to proceed. I wake up at 5am, grab yoghurt and a cup of tea and check which hospital I'm working at that day, before waking the boys. There is a job to do every ten minutes from the moment we get up to when we get out of the door, but the boys are well-trained, by 8am they are washed, fed and ready to go. For most of the week I do the run, as the boys's school isn't far from the places where I work.
It would be impossible to run a family and to have a job with such long hours, so I have a housekeeper. I couldn't live without her now. She does the cleaning, shopping and she doubles as a nanny, too. If one of the boys is ill, she looks after him - that is a life-saver.
Each week I spend one day in an NHS hospital, two days in my office, two days operating and one Saturday at my clinic. I might have as many as five operations day, which las between one and three hours each. With cosmetic surgery what is on surface - the scar - is very important, so I can't rush. The hours are long and doctors don't get lunch, that was one of the first lessons I learnt. You get 15 minutes between patients, so I grab a sandwich on my way from one place to another.
Because I'm a cosmetic surgeon, I do feel pressure to look good. Women are judged differently from men in my profession - I'll put in that way. For example, if a man had grey hair and lines, he would look distinguished. That wouldn't necessarily apply to me. The way I see it, the aesthetic I build for myself is translated into my work as well. One of the luxuries I have allowed myself since working in Harley Street is a stylist, who visits me in my office twice a week. When you wear a surgeon's cap, you have a permanent bad hair day- the stylist helps me to battle that.
Over the years I've had some cosmetic surgery myself- nothing too dramatic, just a bit of liposuction, rhinoplasty, acid peel and Botox. Otherwise I try to live as healthily as possible: I exercise, I try not to eat my children's leftover food too often and I look after my skin.
Being a stay-at-home mother wasn't an option for me because doctors are at their best ten years into their career, when they have knowledge and experience. It was hard to go out to work when the boys were younger and I couldn't explain that to them, but now they know all about the joys and responsibilities of working in medicine. Having my own practice affords me some flexibility: I can start a bit later one day, or be away for an hour if needs be.
A lot of the patients I see are professional women who are mothers. They feel that there are a lot of expectations on them: to have a career, children, to be slim and to live life as normal, while wearing stylish clothes.
I make an effort to leave work by 5pm; of course, it doesn't always work out that way. Once a week I pick the boys up from school; they cherish that day. I'll try to cook that night as well - Greek food, of course. Moussaka doesn't go down well, but they eat pastitsio, which is like macaroni, with béchamel sauce on top.
The best part of my day is when I get through the door and the children jump on me and scream "Mummy1 Mummy!". I get my quality time with them until they go to bed. On a good day they're asleep by 7:30pm; on a bad day, 8:30pm.
My husband gets home an hour later, so before that I squeeze in admin and studying. For the past two years I have been working on a part-time postgraduate degree in cosmetic surgery. You see there's more to a doctor's life than seeing patients - you have to keep your learning up to fate too.
My husband's schedule is even busier than my own, but we try to spend time together without the kids once a week.
On weekdays, we will share a light dinner - a salad, perhaps - when he gets through the door, and then I'm in bed by 10pm.
Interview by Fiona Wilson.