Welcome! Before you get comfortable - I have moved! Please come over to my new place, Do What You Love

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Look what dropped through my letter box...

This one-of-a-kind stitched postcard, handmade with love all for me winged its way from the US across oceans and land to arrive today, safely, in my letterbox. 

Thank you so much Susan Vincent Molinaro, for the care your took in designing something so thoughtful.  I love the phrase on the back:

"like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives".

I need a REALLY big hourglass to have time for all of life's adventures!!


I have put it up in The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap Flickr Group, where a few others have started to arrive - go and have a look.  It's so interesting to see how everyone has interpreted the theme 'time' differently.

Life has got in the way for a few people (which is of course as it should be!), so the postcards will be drifting in slowly over the next couple of weeks.  I will feature some of them on here, but do keep an eye on the Flickr Group for updates, and don't forget to upload yours when it arrives, and leave your link in the comments below! 

Note to participants: If you aren't a member of Flickr and/or don't have a blog, please do send a photo of the card you receive to me, and I will share it here

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Back to basics

Imagine the scene.  Ten people sketching furiously to a strict time limit of ten seconds, one life model pose after another, papers flying everywhere, tossed to the floor on each ring of the bell for a new pose, new piece of paper, new sketch.  A veritable storm of drawing paper and charcoal dust...

10 second sketch
(10s is seriously quick!
I'm not sure I even looked at the paper in that time)

I spent most of Saturday at the Northern Film School taking a fascinating workshop on Drawing Figures for Animation.  Five solid hours of live drawing, with the longest sitting at 20 minutes - exhausting but exhilarating.  And seriously good practice.  We did a mixture of contour drawings, gesture drawings and charicatures with charcoal, pencil and marker pens.  I came away with about eighty sketches, and a whole lot more confidence in figure drawing. 

30 second sketch

Sometimes it is worth putting a time limit on your work to focus your attention and really make you look.  Then it's up to you whether you stick to the rules, break the rules or abandon the rules altogether!

(2 minute sketch)

When was the last time you played around in your sketchbook?

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Do What You Love interview: Dimitri Kolioussis

Today's Do What You Love interview isn't really an interview.  It is more of a conversation, with one of the last real professional Icon Painters in Greece.  I dropped in to visit Dimitri Kolioussis in his studio on the beautiful island of Santorini when I was there on holiday recently.  Dimitri learnt all the important things he knows about painting from the elders in his village. 

His work is so revered that he has been commissioned to paint 14 icons for the legendary Panagia Episkopi Church on Santorini, a church which has existed on the island for over 1000 years.

He is the first artist I have ever met who expects his work to last 'for hundreds of years'.  That in itself is a lesson to us all to have confidence in the longevity of what we produce (and use archival quality materials!)

Dimitri's cave studio

Dimitri's studio is inside one of the white caves set in the cliffs of the volcanic island of Santorini.  He spends hours in this vaulted space, swishing his long white hair and his horse-hair brushes, recreating visions from religious stories of old. He has been painting his whole life, and here are some of the pearls of wisdom he offered me as I sat quietly with him in his studio, observing him paint with oil and gold leaf on stunning old doors:
  • "Art school is valuable for the techniques it teaches you, but after that it is up to you.  It is like learning to speak a language - you need to know the words in order to write the poetry.  But too much technique and you end up with a politician's speech that is of no value to anyone, with no truth in it."

  • "Although all artists need their creative freedom, commissions actually help you develop and grow, as they force you to think about something you might not ever have imagined yourself"

  • (Commenting on the fact that the public can wander in to his workshop at any time, which I thought was quite generous)  "For some people art is a gift from nature, and artists who receive such a gift have a responsibility to share it, not keep it to themselves."
This is a very interesting way of looking at talent.  For all those artists among you who are facing fears of rejection, are nervous about being accepted, or don't having the courage to put yourself out there, perhaps it would be different if you thought about it as your responsibility to society to share what you have been given, and do what you love!


For more inspirational Do What You Love interviews see here

Friday, 25 June 2010

Love is all around

When I sat down at my computer this morning
I noticed a heart-shaped tangle
in the wire of my mouse

Have you seen much love in the world around you today?

See here for the latest on The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

It's time...

... to get The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap show on the road! All around the world busy bees have been buzzing away at their sewing machines, with their hand embroidery needles, with paper, fabric, ribbon, words, images and anything else they can think of, stitching up a storm. And we are about to find out just how much loveliness has been created, inspired by the theme 'time'.

When I launched this just a few weeks ago, soon after getting a shiny new sewing machine for my birthday and in celebration of getting over my fear of breaking it, I had no idea that so many people from nine countries on three continents would sign up and join in. I cannot tell you how much this has made me smile.

And now the stitching is done, the bobbins tidied away, the machines unplugged, the stamps stuck on and the postcards in the post (and if they aren't they should be, come on girls!!)

Here's a sneak peek of my Stitched Postcard which is winging its way to someone in... Australia! Who could it be?...


You can watch this little project unfold over on our Flickr group, where participants will be uploading photos of their postcards as they arrive. Louise in the US has already posted a sneak peak of hers here.

Note to all lovely participants - THANK YOU for making this so much fun. You should have received an individual email from me outlining next steps but if not, please let me know. Once you have uploaded the photo of the card you receive in the Flickr group, please leave a comment below so we can go and check it out. Let us know about your experience of making your card, and and what you thought when another one dropped through your door. If you blog about it, please be sure to share the link in the comments below, and then go and check out the others!

I hope you all had fun. I'll be sharing some of the postcards on this blog over the coming fortnight - watch this space

 PS thanks again to Tinnie Girl and Stella for their advice on logistic-y things!

UPDATE JULY 2010: The Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap has now closed. Thanks to everyone who joined in and made it so much fun! See our Flickr Group here for everyone's gorgeous creations! Check back in October when the project will open again

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

doing nothing

Doing nothing does not come easily to me, but island hopping in Greece was the perfect opportunity to take a step back, get some much needed rest, soak up the sun and have no schedule for over two weeks (except 'swim time', 'ice cream time', 'dinner time' etc - you get the picture). 

It has been a time for...

... ice cold watermelon

... cool swims in sparkling seas

... dancing in the sand 

... long chats over dinner as the sun set

... and a time to wander and explore tradition and modernity

It has also been a time for clearing out my head, which arrived in the baking heat of Athens jumbled and full, noisy and impatient. 

The gentle breeze, clear skies and luxurious sun have calmed it, and made space for new ideas, plans and adventures.  I have made real progress on two exciting projects I am working on (more on this soon) - baby steps towards a big dream. 

 I feel healthier, energised and ready to play. 

It's funny how quite a few of us have been talking about rest recently, as Louise pointed out. 

It's half way through a big year, spring is turning into summer, and we all need to take time to replenish our energy reserves every now and then. 

Are you taking care of yourself?

Sunday, 20 June 2010

On fear and permission

(sign at Athens International Airport)

Just had to share this awesome TED talk by Chris Guillebeau on tackling fear and giving ourselves permission to choose the life we want to live, and to do what we love

Did that resonate with you?


Back soon with more photos from Greece, where I spent lots of time lying in the sun thinking about these things!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Barefoot in Greece

Just back from a blissful couple of weeks island hopping round Greece with my man. A wonderful sunny break after too much rain in Yorkshire, and I watched in delight as my toes got slowly browner...

 Have you gone barefoot lately?

Monday, 14 June 2010

Waste not, want not: creative business tips from a leading social entrepreneur

Do What You Love interview: Kresse Wesling
Meet Kresse Wesling, young sparky British creator of unique accessories for Hollywood superstars. Kresse is not your average fashion designer. She is one half of the very cool ‘Elvis and Kresse’ brand which took London Fashion Week by storm and has recently announced a collaboration with apple. She is one of the British Prime Minister’s Ambassadors for Social Entrepreneurship and a champion of responsible business practices. And the belt she made for Cameron Diaz to model in a Mario Testino shoot for American Vogue used to be a piece of fire hose.

Kresse takes what others throw away and makes beautiful high end fashion goods from them – handbags and belts from hose discarded by the London Fire Brigade, purse linings from parachute silk rejected by the military, and eco-friendly shopping bags for a major UK supermarket chain from old coffee bean sacks. Not only does she reuse and recycle what would otherwise go to landfill, she ploughs a chunk of her profits back into charities which support the people who have contributed the ‘waste’ in the first place, so 50% of the profits from her fire hose line (see picture below) go to The Firefighters’ Charity. Although the company is still quite young (launched in 2007), it has already taken London Fashion Week by storm, and unveiled the 2010 collection at legendary auction house Sotheby's.

I had the good fortune of being invited to do a job swap with Kresse as part of the Social Entrepreneurship programme, and was so inspired by what I saw and heard, I wanted to share her story with you.

Tell us a bit more about how you came to be up to your elbows in old fire hose?
I have always had a keen interest in the environment in general and waste in particular. I met the London Fire Brigade over a year before we launched the business in 2007 but I knew immediately that I wanted to tackle the hose problem. Running a company that makes honest, quality, practical pieces is the best way that James (my business partner) and I can help to solve the hose problem.

How would you describe yourself?
Mostly I call myself an environmental entrepreneur – or an environmentalist – or waste obsessed…

What is your advice for a successful creative business partnership?
James and I work very well together because we tackle different aspects of the business. James is our designer and logistical mastermind, I focus on finding new wastes, collaborators and business opportunities. Because he focuses on the internal aspects and I focus on the external and we trust and respect each others’ judgement things run fairly smoothly. That said, when there is chaos, and in our business there is a lot of chaos, we both immediately drop everything and roll up our sleeves; no one is left to deal with problems on their own.

Kresse and her business partner James
What are you most proud of?
That we have reclaimed around 100 tonnes of waste.
What you are doing is pushing boundaries and accepted wisdom about fashion. What do you do when you come up against obstacles?
This depends on the obstacle. Most of our hurdles have been technical, so there is a lot of research, trial and error and innovation. When we stay focused on the core mission of the business, reclaiming waste, we can overcome most of what is thrown at us.

You have had some awesome PR coverage for your products. Do you have any tips for people trying to promote their creative business in creative ways? We love what we do, if we didn’t I don’t think the press would be as keen to cover us. We love that our work is messy, complicated and that the end products and all of our packaging have an incredible history. Some people love our design, others that we are committed to reclamation on a grand scale and probably everyone loves firemen. Having so much to talk about is why we love doing this and why lots of people want to talk about it. We are also incredibly lucky in that we have stakeholders, like the London Fire Brigade and the Fire Fighters Charity, that are also constantly promoting what we do. Working closely with your stakeholders and making your passion for the business as obvious as possible to everyone else is the best advice I can give.

What is your favourite part of your working day?There is no real repetition in what we do, no two days are the same, so my favourite bit is that I wouldn’t be able to answer this question!

What is your big dream for Elvis & Kresse?That we can scale up – take on more waste, donate more to charity and start to really challenge the idea of waste.

Elvis + Kresse has recently launched ‘The Elvis + Kresse Arts line’, a joint venture between Elvis + Kresse and ISSI, dedicated to bringing together creativity and care for the environment. They have produced a range of products in collaboration with award-winning artists who have accepted the challenge to create beauty from waste. The Elvis + Kresse Arts Collection is a collaboration with an international group of outstanding artists – Lothar Götz, Olivier Millagou, Paul Morrison and Simon Periton. They worked together to explore the possibilities of new materials, innovating in both design and manufacturing, to create bags and accessories.

For more information check out their beautiful products here.

To be inspired by more Do What You Love interviews see here

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Are you living your best life?

Friends are so precious, and losing one is so painful.  An old university friend of mine was killed in a hit and run accident on holiday last week.  I wanted to take a moment and use this space to honour his memory.  Part of me feels this is too personal to share, part of me thinks it is too important not to.  I hope you don't mind.

Matt was one of life's good people.  I hate it that I have written that in the past tense. He should have had much much more time.

He was a big strong rugby player with a heart to match.  I have been reminiscing about a big adventure we shared several years ago when I joined him and two other guys on a crazy road trip around New Zealand.  We were three strapping lads and a wandering girl with a rucksack bigger than herself packed into a tiny car.  We got stuck (in a ford), got drunk (on cheap beer), got lost (in the mountains), and I even got a shoulder ride into town.  Those boys gave me the courage to do my first terrifying bungee jump, and wisely advised me not to look down as we sped around narrow mountain paths.  We traversed a glacier, ate mooncake at a stranger's party and hung out on a kiwi farm.  But more than anything, we laughed.  A lot.

Along with the gripping shock and hollow sadness of losing a friend to a freak accident comes a deep questioning and reflection on our own lives.  Do we tell those we love that we love them enough (and do we love them enough?)  Do we really spend our precious moments doing what we love, making ourselves happier and bringing more happiness to others as a result?  Do we pick up the phone, write that letter, get on that plane, live that adventure, follow that dream? As Oprah would say, are we living our best lives?  I've been here before (in my very first post on this blog), but I am back again.

It shouldn't take a tragedy for us to do just that, but often, sadly, it does.  There is nothing anyone can do or say to make loss any easier to handle or understand.  There is no fairness, and no reason.  Three are many questions, but no answers. 

To honour and celebrate the big life of my friend, I want to revisit that question and commit to making a few small changes (and maybe a couple of big ones) that will allow me to completely and absolutely say YES, I am living my best life, every day, every hour, every minute.  Won't you join me?

Goodbye MD, you will be missed so very much

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Childhood dreams

Imagine having NINE children... That is the joy and sunny chaos that fills the daily life of the lovely (and incredibly patient!) Debi Bouffard (and her childhood sweetheart Russ).  Debi asked me to write a guest post about my time spent travelling the world with UNICEF, the world's biggest organisation working for children and children's rights.  It's about childhood dreams, and you can read it here (scroll down past 'Baby Picture Sunday'). 

Thank you for this opportunity Debi.  It's good to sometimes reflect on what has gone before,  think about what we have taken from it to bring us to where we are today, and consider our place in the world

***Post no longer accessible on Debi's site so full text below***

Childhood dreams

When I was six I thought I wanted to be a ballerina. Plump, rosy cheeked, and more interested in the after-performance snack than the fancy footwork, it was never going to happen, but at the time it seemed like a good idea. By the time I was 12, I had realised khaki was more my colour than pink, and set my sights on becoming a war correspondent. The danger-girl tomboy I had become wanted to go to dusty, scary foreign lands, to seek out adventure, dodge bullets, play hide-and-seek and tell people’s stories to the world. I had some odd notion that it was glamorous, exciting, fun even, and if anything went wrong, my two brothers could step in and help. A slightly outrageous dream, but it was mine. I may not have become a war correspondent after all, but pieces of that childhood dream have shown up in different places on my journey to here – as traveller, linguist, UNICEF worker, TV presenter.

Every child has a dream about what they want to be when they grow up, no matter what family, tribe, faith or skin they are born into. For some children fulfilling that dream is more of an uphill struggle than for others. But the remarkable thing is that often, the greater the struggle, the more they hold onto that dream. And that can be an incredibly powerful thing.

This is one of the many things I learnt during my time at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the world’s biggest organisation working for children and children’s rights.
Strangely for a global organisation of its size, its ultimate vision is for us to live in a world where its services are no longer required. My travels with UNICEF took me far and wide, beyond the city lights to desert sands and lush rice fields, up mountains, down rivers, into schools, into homes, into other people’s lives.

In rural West Bengal in India, the stunningly beautiful countryside around Kolkata, I met Deepu*. At seven-years old he spent five hours a day picking up coal from the edge of a mine, and selling it to a local tinker to put food on his family’s table. He dreamt of being a teacher ‘to make people clever’, even though he regularly skipped school himself to go to work.

In a coastal province of Thailand I met Muk*, a nine-year old girl who had lost 18 members of her family in the devastating Asian tsunami. Daughter of a fisherman, she had had to leave her father in the remains of their family home and move inland to live with her uncle as she had become scared of the sound of the sea. That’s like someone in New York being scared of the sound of cars. She dreamt of becoming a nurse ‘to make people well’.

In Zambia I met Mwenzi*, who at 15 was the head of her household, responsible for four siblings after her parents had both died from HIV/AIDS related complications. She dreamt of becoming a DJ ‘to make people happy’.

These were their dreams, and they clung on tightly to them.

Each of them was being supported by UNICEF in some way, whether with psychosocial help, access to healthcare, clean water and sanitation or better schooling. Each one of them knew that there was someone who believed in them, who cared enough to do something, who saw through the situation to the person they could become.

UNICEF was established as the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund after World War II, and is known by my parents' generation as an organisation that delivered emergency supplies. Now simply the United Nations Children's Fund, it still plays a vital role in emergencies, is the world's biggest purchaser of vaccines, and works with partner organisations on the ground to improve the quality of education, health, and other key services. But a lot of UNICEF's work is about the bigger picture, less tangible but perhaps even more important in the grand scheme of things. It is about influencing govenment policies and national budgets in favour of children, about fighting for their rights, and changing attitudes towards them. It is also about giving them a voice, and a role in their own future and that of the society they live in.

I have lost count of the number of times I have mulled over how different my life might have been if I had been born in a different place or time, to a different family or society. But I always come back to wondering whether the difference would just be the situation, and fundamentally I would be the same person, with the same values, as now. The situation we find ourselves in can make life harder or easier, but in the end, life is what we make it (with a little bit of help from our friends).

The same goes for the children in our lives. I believe we have a responsibility to help them reach their full potential, in the same way others have helped us. And for those children like Deepu, Muk and Mwenzi who don’t necessarily have the support system every child deserves to help them get there, there is always UNICEF. At least for as long as it’s needed.

*Names have been changed

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Making your creative business fly (part 2)

This is the second part of the Do What You Love interview with Kathy Heslop (see here for part 1).  Kathy is an incredible woman who has lived many lives already, as professional musician, nautical globetrotter and serial entrepreneur who has seen multi-million dollar success for her creative businesses. We share a love of good wine, good food and good chat. She also happens to be one of the funniest women I know.

What spontaneous thing have you done that seemed random at the time but made sense later, or was instrumental in putting you on the path you are on today?

Moving to New York. The opportunity came about suddenly at what was actually a blissfully happy time in my life and made no personal sense whatsoever. Only three months earlier we had bought our first apartment and I was enjoying creating my brand new home. But off we went to set up the US office of our UK business, ultimately to live in one room above that first office for over two years! People tell us we were brave. I say more naive and gung ho. We knew no one out there. That we survived and went on to create a successful business is testament to the tremendous capacity New Yorkers have for welcoming and encouraging young entrepreneurs. It lead to eight incredible years of living in Manhattan and a raft of amazing experiences; building the business, working with some truly wonderful people, meeting others, travelling, learning new skills. We acquired an archive of global business experience from investment raising, to recruiting, running an interactive production team, negotiating licensing deals, dealing with approvals processes, organising manufacturing in different continents, dealing with shipping logistics and running three offices worldwide, all of which has lead us to the point we are at now - operating our little boutique management consultancy and helping clients who are trying to achieve results in similar disciplines. We also learned how to really order coffee. “I’ll take a skinny, wet, single shot, soya, decaff latte to go, with extra foam on the top. And make that extra hot please.”

What is the most insightful or inspiring thing anyone has ever said to you, and who said it?
There have been several…
• I was once described as “talented but needs taming” by a contemporary British composer who shall remain unnamed. This comment was fed back to me by one of his highly amused fellow panellists after they had been judging my final recital towards my degree. I had performed the dazzling E major Bach violin Partita (fun), the ethereal Debussy violin sonata (gorgeous) and the maddeningly fiendish Saint-Saëns’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, (do not try this at home!) all dressed in, well let’s just say my own inimitable (flea market) student style and for my piece de résistance had I transcribed a beautiful Pat Metheny composition to play with a Jazz pianist. Evidently my technicolour musical ‘cabaret’ was perceived as the Classical equivalent of having red wine with chicken! Nonetheless his comment provided great amusement and I have to confess it only fuelled my creative spirit more. I was flattered. Follow the herd? I think not.

• Always make time for silly,” Humphrey Lyttleton. (Humph was another of life’s polymaths – Jazz trumpeter, cartoonist, BBC broadcaster, calligrapher... and utterly hilarious guy).

• A business owner once told me “your troubles start once you have staff.” I couldn’t relate at the time, but for some reason it struck a chord and I never forgot it. Nowadays I know that with strategic hiring and a good company ethos, your workplace should be a happy and rewarding place for staff to be. However in spite of a kind and nurturing culture at her company, she had some incredible horror stories. So don’t be naive in business and especially now. We are living in exceptional ‘get rich quick’ times, (fuelled by the economic downturn and especially endorsed by the popular media). There are people in business who will try to fast track their careers via unethical methods, rather than cultivate a path and enjoy the process of gaining valuable business acumen and skills along the way, people who think kindness is a weakness in business and presume that you’ve had it easy. They don’t see or comprehend the hard work and sacrifice that has lead a business up to the point of actually being able to create their employment. So warning! If you do recruit, mine for diamonds.

• “You won’t recognise your business in 12 months time” – my husband. The message being - be open to change. Revenue can come from sectors that you don’t always anticipate. You will be amazed how you can unveil hidden profits in previously untapped markets. (He is one of those entrepreneurs who has the phenomenal ability to zoom out and take a 35,000ft view of a business).

How do you keep believing in yourself when things go wrong, or don't turn out how you wanted them to?
I’ve always been self employed, so I’m used to having to ‘eat what I kill’ and therefore have no other point of reference. But I’ve also had to learn to toughen up along the way too. In my experience, when the chips are down there’s always a solution, you just have to get into a good head space, ideally surround yourself with positive, smart people and then get problem solving! Employing other people is also massively motivating - if you’ve got to make pay roll, you have no choice but to crack on! (We had a million dollars of overheads a month before we even switched a light bulb on in New York...)

I do have a personal point of reference though that gives me a sobering context when things have gone wrong. And that is 9/11. I was in Manhattan that day and those horrific events have gone on to amplify just how lucky I am and they can always be used to trivialise any kind of work headaches. Nothing can ever compare. And after the shocking attacks, no waaay were we going to abandon New York or fail! I’m proud that we dug in and went on to raise over $60M in investment and create jobs during our time there. So my advice would be to find some similar point of reference that is close to your heart and that works as a motivating reality check whenever you need a jumpstart. Or feel free to borrow mine.

When you believe in what you do, real failure isn’t an option. Instead position yourself to succeed, persist and to quote Winston Churchill; “never never quit.” Maybe this concept was indoctrinated in me as a by-product of a rather intense musical training from a young age, because actually you never ever stop learning a instrument, even when you get to a professional level. So keep sharpening that pencil. Create change. Never stagnate. Be resilient. Reinvent. And embrace the process, “the journey is the reward...” (Tao saying).

If you had no fear, and if money was no object, what would you do?
I play the piano and if I had no fear I would be *brazen* enough to ask Diana Krall to teach me and if money was no object, I’d be *rich* enough to pay for the lessons! With financial freedom I would also love to have a gîte in southern France and divide my time between it and London. I speak decent French, but it would be great to get so fluent that I can actually dream in it! Then plenty more of the nice stuff: cooking and feasting with friends, travel, going out and about in London, reading, surfing (web), Yoga, silver smithing, (my latest challenge!) I love stimulation. People who sit back and miss out on their lives baffle me. Oh and I’d love to work part time, and be able to have a dog, but currently there isn't a self sufficent breed that can cook, clean and walk itself.

Where is your favourite place in London for sitting and dreaming about stuff?
I have a few…
• My roof garden. Specifically at night with candles, a glass of wine and Tony Bennett’s album, (one of the ones with the incredible Bill Evans accompanying) drifting on the night time air. If you get chance to see him perform live just do it, it’s an incredible honour. I have never known a performer radiate such tremendous warmth and sincerity, (as well as world class musicianship) from the stage. Tony has a really neat foundation too that works to transform the lives of young people through arts education. He’s truly one of life’s wonderfuls on so many levels, including being an exquisite painter as well! Also check out his gorgeous album: Playin' with My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues and I defy you not to be impressed when you learn who the other worldly voice belongs to on track four. Whilst we’re on it, here’s another breathtakingly album whose delicacy just knocks me out and I would like to also evangelise about: Sandrine Piau - Debussy Mélodies
in the roof garden

• Tom Toms cafe my friendly local which makes THE best coffee outside of Milan. It has a rustic communal table where neighbours can sit around helping themselves from a gargantuan bowl full of enormous pillowy croissants, dogs at their feet. The cafe also hosts book club meets and dinner party nights, when locals pile over and one of them plays chef in the kitchen. The owner Tom (go figure), is another of life’s wonderfuls. (Wonderfuls: {noun} - people who make the world a sweeter place to be. Just for the hell of it).

• The rose bushed and lanterned churchyard of the Actor’s church in Covent Garden, with its fabulous park benches and deliciously worded tributes to long-gone luvvies. A beautiful space for relaxing and people watching. It’s just a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of the crowds and the street performers in the Apple Market, but you’d never know it.

• Any of the Royal Parks. A staggering 25% of London is made up of parks, (the city’s lungs). And they are all beautiful. Green outdoor space is so important to me. When we were in New York, we rescued the neglected backyard at our first office, decked it, put a lovely water feature in and planted it. It became a little garden oasis in the hub of noisy, concrete Manhattan, a place where our staff could lunch and we held some magical candlelit parties too. I think we were also the only office in Manhattan to have eccentric ‘English country garden’ floral hanging baskets dangling outside our front door!

Spitalfields Market- colourful, creative, vibrant and Dickensian. You can just sense the history here, (it’s also in the heart of Jack the Ripper territory) and it’s a fabulous seed bed for exciting, young, design talent and fun community activities. There are a few neat restaurants and bars there too.

l’m evidently rather loud and proud of my soulful city, with its many diverse neighbourhoods, their bewitching nooks and crannies, and its eclectic arts scene. London is such an exciting, creative melting pot to live in!
Thank you Beth for this opportunity to meet your ever-expanding tribe of wonderfuls. I hope I’ve helped a little. Good luck everyone.

Check out Kathy's companies: Knowledge MGI and VE Interactive 

Be inspired by more Do What You Love interviews here
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