An Interview With Life Purpose Tutor Sue Fletcher

Experiencing a midlife crisis? Feeling that life is passing you by? Want to find out what your purpose in life is?  My guest this week, Sue Fletcher, has a passion for life direction  and has been a life purpose tutor for over 23 years.  Combining traditional life coaching with the art of astrology, Sue’s programmes aim to help get life back on track.  Being fellow Geminis (Sue has a moon in Gemini) , we both share a common curiosity about everything and both enjoy talking… so let the interview commence …. Hi Sue…

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Hello, my name is Sue Fletcher and I have been married to John for almost fourteen years. It is a second marriage for us both and the week I met him back in 1997 I had two dreams on the Tuesday and the Wednesday of that week telling me I was going to meet someone special. I did my astrology chart and sure enough it indicated a major new love affair and one that would last! That was 19 years ago when I was 51. I will leave you to work out how old I am! I have two amazing children who live in Thailand and six grandchildren and another due this August. John has five children two live abroad one in France and one in Iceland. We get to travel to these countries and with my work I can now work online.

You are a professional life coach and astrologer. What was the inspiration behind your Life Purpose programmes, which combines traditional life coaching with the art of astrology?

There are quite a few coaches offering life purpose coaching as I researched it before I started putting the programme together. However there doesn’t seem to be an astrological life purpose coach. As an astrologer I can see what talents, gifts, skills and passion the client has and also what is at the heart and soul of the person. The client’s birth chart gives me a lot of information that other coaches cannot see. This is powerful and once the client has this revealed to them it gives them the confidence to go ahead and make changes in their life.

Find Your Passion card with beach background

How old were you when you started to get interested in astrology? Did you guess people’s star signs correctly just by observing their traits? (I’m Taurus/Gemini cusp, Aquarius moon, Libra rising, if you haven’t guessed already!) What’s your sign?

I can see from your photo the Libra rising as you have the look of Libra. I think you can tell that you have a certain amount of air in your birth chart too. Aquarius, Gemini and Libra are all air signs.I was in my early forties when I started learning astrology, although I had always had an interest in alternative ways of living and thinking and even in my twenties I was surrounded by healers and spiritual mediums. I was a bit scared of this kind of thing and now understanding my own astrology chart I realise it was part of my life path to be involved in alternative ways of helping and healing others. With regard to guessing what signs people are by observing their traits. Sometimes I am right and other times I pick up on their rising sign or a strongly placed planet they have in their birth chart. For instance your rising sign which is to do with your time of birth is all about how you project your personality & what you outwardly show to the world. Sometimes this is easy to pick up on; other times I pick up on another part of the chart like the Moon sign or a strong planet. My Sun sign is Taurus, Moon is in Gemini and I have Virgo as my rising sign. Both the Moon and rising sign are connected to Mercury the “Messenger of the Gods” so I love to communicate with everyone I meet. I am told I am a great networker! This is very Gemini so we both have the ability for communicating!!

Words Design your life written in the notepad.

You run the Life Purpose Revealed Programmes about four times a year – next one starts 6 September 2016 – what are the aims of the programme?

This programme is for anyone who is at a crossroads in their life and is not sure what direction to take  – someone who wants to make a difference and experience a more meaningful life. During the programme they will have the opportunity to find out about themselves on a deeper level and learn what needs to be in place to make them happy and fulfilled. As part of the programme they will receive a one to one astrology birth chart consultation which will highlight their strengths and talents and what makes them who they are. They will be coached to access and activate this part of them. The aim of the programme  is for them to understand themselves from their own perspective, which they learn throughout the program along with the understanding of their astrology birth chart which together becomes very powerful knowledge that is ongoing and that they can use for ever.

Have you got a target audience that you feel would benefit from life purpose coaching? 

Yes, my target audience are women who are experiencing their “Uranius opposition” which can be between the ages of 40 to 45 depending on the year and month of birth. Put in simplistic terms it is the time of the mid life crisis. It could be that they are not happy in their career, relationship or the children have just started school or gone to university. We experience astrological challenges throughout our lives and it maybe that someone aged about 58 who will be going through their “Saturn Return” may need to change their life too. Everyone experiences these changes throughout their life. We are given the opportunity at these times in our life to make any changes that are necessary. I am there to guide them through the process.

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The Life Purpose Revealed Programmes are run online – do you run other workshops or consultations, either life purpose or astrology based? How would somebody go about booking a coaching consultation with yourself?

I teach astrology classes from time to time and I have clients who come regularly for an astrological consultation. I also coach clients too. I will always look at their birth chart as it gives me so much information about the client. It is just how I work. Anyone can send me a message by email or on my contact page and my contact numbers are also available on both my websites.

Life Direction & astrology are your passions – but who has been an inspiration to you in your life? Have you got a favourite inspirational quote?

Oprah Winfrey, Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay & Marianne Williamson have all inspired me although Oprah has inspired me the most, mainly because she had such a rough start in life and has won through against all odds. I love what she stands for and identify with some of her life struggles. I loved her TV programme. I think if I met her we would never stop talking. Oprah has many quotes but I particularly love this one mainly due to the fact that it aligns with what my programme is all about:

“The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be”.

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When you are not coaching, what do you do to relax? Any hobbies?

I love to sing and I am a huge fan of the “Great American Song Book” big band and all those old songs from “Fly me to the Moon” to “Girl from Ipanema”.  I sang at both my children’s weddings and I belong to two choirs. I love musicals & theatre and go whenever I have the opportunity. I love interior design and renovating old bits of furniture. It’s the Taurus in me as Venus my ruler is connected to anything artistic.

Hypothetically speaking, if you were given the chance to visit/work in any location in the world, what destination would be number one on your list and why?

I love to travel and as I mentioned earlier I have travelled a lot and have been lucky to be able to work in Thailand, France & Spain. One place I haven’t been is Hawaii and I would love to visit and work there. I feel that Hawaii is a mystical place and apparently the call to visit there is stronger than any other single place in the world. It has a long indigenous spiritual history which offers lots of ancient wisdom. My astro cartography map for Hawaii suggests it would be a great place for meeting people who would have a positive influence on my life. So who knows I may even get the opportunity to travel there. I must put it on my wish list!

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I love anything that is unusual & usually brightly coloured. I prefer trousers and tops to dresses as I think they suit me better. I’ve always loved shoes and boots that again, are different. I love animal prints too. I wear funky & unusual jewellery. I do like to match my shoes/boots to my clothes. I recently bought a knee length faux fur coat which is black and white like a snow leopard. I always like to be presentable and ready for any occasion. I always have my make up on.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

The on-line shop I like is Joe Browns and I like TK Max as they do have individual designer labels.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I am looking for a top to go with some black & cream silk trousers that I have just bought. I do want some new summer clothes and maybe a maxi dress.

Boots or Shoes? 

I have been trying to find a stockist in the UK that sells “Alegra” shoes. It is an American brand and you can buy them on-line but mainly from Ebay or America. I would like to be able to try them on first as they cost around £100.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/face book/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can follow you and your words of wisdom.

My websites are:

www.lifepurposetutor.com

www.astrologysue.com

Blog: http://www.lifepurposetutor.com/blog/

On Facebook too – Life purpose tutor and
Astrologer Sue Fletcher

Thank you Sue for delightful presence on the blog this week and I love your fashion taste  – Joe Browns is one of my favourite online sites too 🙂  Astrology fascinates me as a topic (not a surprise really !) so dear readers, do let me know what star sign you are and what is your favourite personality trait connected with that sign? Are you a chatty Gemini, a neat & tidy Virgo, a majestic Leo, homebody Cancer? Do you think your fashion/footwear tastes are influenced in any way by your star sign? 

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Sue Fletcher.

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An Interview With Designer Linda Blissett

Endeavouring to create unique pieces of wearable art, no  two pieces being identical – although themes do flow from one piece to another – my guest this week, textile/fashion designer Linda Blissett, tells me about her passion for textiles and her inspirations which has led to some of the most stunning creations I’ve seen in a long time….

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Hi Linda!  What inspired you to set up Bliss Studio Textiles in 2013?

I always wanted to have my own fashion/textiles business since I started studying fashion when I left school and went on to study various courses in fashion, art and textiles. I did a combined fashion and textile course while studying at Basingstoke College of Art which was part of Portsmouth University, where I learnt to weave on a loom. I went on to study Constructed  Textiles at Middlesex University, which probably heavily influences my work today with textures and colours which are prominent in my designs.  After that went on into retail management to learn how to run a team and a business before starting up in 2013.

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Have you always had a passion for textiles/art/fashion from a young age?

Yes,  the youngest I can remember was when I was about five when seeing all the new romantics on TV and thinking how interesting the clothes looked and tried to recreate it for my dolls. I guess I had cool dolls !:) Also all the punk influences and music of the time inspired me to Vivienne Westwood was just starting to get known and I guess all those influences have stuck with me today.

Your show stopping collections are definitely unique. From where do you draw inspiration for your collections?

I look to the Pre-Raphaelites, and mainly Celtic mythology and art movements like Art nouveau which was also heavily influenced by that time as well and put my own interpretation on it all.

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You love experimenting with different textiles, including silks, luxury wool fibres, cashmere, mohair, metallic yarns, ribbons, vintage lace, velvety, stains etc. Have you got a favourite textile that you really enjoy using?

I just love using textures and colour and like to mix and entwine them together to create a fluidity to my designs. I guess I just love working with them all to give that luxury and unique feel.

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What has been your favourite outfit/accessory you’ve designed and why?

I like them all .. but I guess I have two so far that are my absolute favourites: one from my last collection Belisama, which I named after the collection, of a red dress with crystals flowing down the dress and one from my current collection,  DisarBlot in Iona, which looks to the opposites of Celtic and Nordic deities of good and bad, a dress inspired by Helium, goddess of the underworld.

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If it was possible, who would you pick to be the “Face” of Bliss Studio Textiles?

I’ve worked with so many wonderful creatives over the last three years it’s hard to pick ‘ONE’. In my mind they are all the faces of my work, they make my designs become a reality when they walk the catwalks and when in shoots, all a team effort.

Looking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2016, what colours and designs do you hope to feature on your mood board/collection?

I’m looking for my next collection to have a 1920’s /1930’s feel with more of my classic drapes and textures  featured and less cutting into, more simplified I guess, with a muted colourway offset with bolder tones.

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If you could visit any place in the world for design inspiration, where would you go?

I’m heavily influenced by nature and Art Nouveau so anywhere with dramatic landscapes, like islands of Scotland. I would love to learn more about Celtic mythology and to see how it influences art and design in the past and today.

Have you any plans to launch your designs online at all or do you aim to remain bespoke?

It’s something I’m looking into for the very near future. Future collaborations are coming up soon as well.

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Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I tend to be more casual now, but I like to mix it with colour and textures and wear my own designs now and then at events, much different to my younger days as a student.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I don’t really have any favourites as such, although I do admire Vivienne Westwood greatly also John Galliano, McQueen and Lacroix I do admire

Bliss Studio Textiles 05-09-15

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I like to rummage in antique stores and vintage fairs so if I see something I love I grab it!

Boots or Shoes?

I love both for different reasons… but shoes for versatility I guess and an excuse to have more of them as well…

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/Twitter etc so that my readers can learn more about you.

https://www.facebook.com/blissstudiotextiles

http://www.blissstudiotextiles.co.uk/

https://twitter.com/blisstextiles   

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It was fabulous having you as guest on the blog Linda and I look forward to seeing your collaborations in the months ahead. I do love clothes (& footwear) in fabrics such as lace and velvet – dear readers,  have you got a favourite textile or two that you’re drawn to?  Do tell, I’d love to know….

Linda x

Photo Credits:  All photographs have been published with kind permission of Linda Blissett. The photographers: Mike Blissett Photography of Canterbury; James Alexander Lyon; Tim Copsey; K Anthony Photography.

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An Interview With Art2Arts

Online art galleries are fast becoming a popular alternative to selling and buying art in a traditional gallery.  My guest this week, Michelle Gibbs, established  Art2Arts online gallery in 2006 and I caught up with her recently to find out more about the business and the art itself.  Welcome Michelle…

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Hi! My name is Michelle Gibbs. I’m an artist, online gallery owner and art tutor.

What inspired you set up the Art2Arts online gallery?

I started the gallery when I began selling my own artwork. I then started to admire the work of other artists and asked them if they would like to appear on the site as a ‘guest artist’ and the gallery grew from there.

Online art galleries are gaining popularity – what are the advantages for the artist showing their paintings online?  What are the advantages for the customer?

The advantage for the artist is that they are showing their work to a much wider audience, including giving the artist the opportunity to sell their artwork abroad. The customer can access a much broader variety of artists, without having to pay the much higher gallery high-street prices.

Art2Arts prides itself on its policy of not selling mass produced prints & having only original artwork on offer. How important was it to you that you instilled that policy?

This has been our policy from day one and will never change. In a world of mass-produced things, with places like Ikea, we all wind up with the same things and I think it’s important to be unique and it’s more rewarding knowing you have an original hanging on your wall.

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You are a full time artist as well as a part time art tutor.  I do love your paintings – the “Deep Blue Mountain” painting of yours really caught my eye on your site. Do you have a favourite theme that you enjoy to paint?

I am inspired by the sky, I love cloud formations and I don’t think we look enough and appreciate the world around us. I love seeing the world through artist’s eyes. I enjoy painting landscapes in oils but equally love the freedom and spontaneity of creating my more abstract themes.

It is obvious looking at your paintings that you are inspired by your travels. What place/country has given you most inspiration?  If you could visit any place in the world to get inspiration for a set of paintings, where would you go?

I have been lucky enough to travel a lot and you’re right, it’s evident in my work, however I’m also inspired a lot by the English countryside. I live right near the beach and am always heading over when I see a beautiful sunset or a moody sky to capture it to paint, so you don’t always have to go far to seek inspiration.

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When buying art for yourself or when you visit art galleries, what sort of paintings attract your attention? Any favourite artists, past or present?

I have a few paintings from artists from Art2Arts. I also like to buy paintings from local artists when I travel. I recently visited Venice and watched an artist draw a scene of Venice in Charcoal which I couldn’t resist buying. I’m inspired by many artists both past and present, the obvious ones being Turner, Constable and I particularly admire the impressionist painters.

I’m sure every artist has some form of art theme that they just cannot master as well as other themes – some avoid drawing people, others animals etc.  What theme are you not so keen on painting?

I’ve never really painted animals, they don’t appeal to me at all. I did paint my dog as an exercise recently but I would never want to start taking commissions for pets. I enjoy doing the odd portrait painting, but more for me than from a selling point of view.

There are many fabulous art museums/galleries throughout the world – I personally love the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam – have you got a favourite?  Is there any that you haven’t visited yet but is on your bucket list to do so?

Where do I start…..so many! I recently travelled around Italy so we went to so many art galleries and saw some amazing work. I really enjoyed the Penny Guggenheim in Venice and Florence.

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Apart from yourself, you have many fabulous painters showing in your gallery.  Are there any painters excelling in a particular theme? Any unusual artwork?

We always have our really popular artists that are always selling a lot of artwork. The two that stand out the most are:
Caroline Ashwood – Abstract artwork
CK Wood – Poppy paintings

Art2Arts is based in the UK – are the paintings available to be bought/shipped overseas?

Yes, we offer international shipping so most of the artist can be sent anywhere in the world.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I like to dress up when I go out, however despite owning a variety of heels, it’s like watching bambi walk! I do prefer my flats lol! But I will suffer in the name of fashion.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)

I have a book fetish, in fact I really need a bigger bookshelf, so I am on Amazon a lot and it’s dangerous because you only have to click one button and it’s on it’s way. I’m always buying art books.

Oh Michelle… I’ve a book fetish too and that Amazon click button is fatal!!

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Well I’m pregnant at the moment so sadly it’s going to be flat comfortable shoes and big baggy clothes. Not very exciting.

Boots or Shoes?

Boots, more comfortable and I’m always cold so they keep your feel warm.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about Art2Arts

www.twitter.com/art2arts
www.facebook.com/art2artsonline
http://www.art2arts.co.uk/magazine/

Congratulations on the forthcoming birth, Michelle and thank you for sharing your art with us.  Well, dear readers, do you love visiting art galleries?  What about street art?  I saw some stunning street art scenes in South France …and the artists around the steps of Montmartre in Paris.  What galleries/places can you recommend?

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Michelle Gibbs

Deep Blue Mountains – Michelle Gibbs

Patchwork Landscape – Caroline Ashwood

Ethereal Poppies – CK Wood

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5 Reasons To Wear Wedges

The humble wedge shoe has been around since 1935, when Italian designer Salvatore Ferragamo designed the orthopaedic wedge; followed by the wedge heel in 1936. 2016 sees its return to our closets and here are 5 reasons why you should consider wearing wedges….

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The first wedges didn’t have a distinct heel and had cellophane straps. Salvatore Ferragamo used cork and wood when creating his shoe because in 1936 there was a leather and rubber shortage. Cork was more popular than wood because it is lighter and the cork sole was also sturdy and durable. Cork heels and soles are still popular today as they are hard wearing and are hard to scuff. The shoes never look scruffy and look presentable, whatever the occasion.

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During World War 2, wedges grew in popularity in the USA. Wedges offered height and easier walk in than skinny heels. During the war, wedge heels got up to 5″ high and were often worn with jackets that sported shoulder pads adding to the illusion of height. A fashion we saw repeated in the 1980s with power dressing – shoulder pads, wedges and big hair! Wearing a heel that you can walk in goes with this year’s Summer fashion of floaty palazzo trousers, culottes – although the shoulder pads haven’t appeared!

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In the 1970s both men and women wore platform wedges – in outrageous designs. Once again it was the illusion of height that made the shoes popular. Wedges help to give the illusion of longer legs and give a slimming effect body silhouette.

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Wedges provide stability. Like the stiletto heel, weight distribution in the wedge heel is still primarily on the balls of the feet and toes. The higher the heel, the more weight the wearer carries on the front of the foot. However, with the soles in 2016 being stacked too, the weight is distributed more evenly – making the shoe easier to walk in, especially when encountering uneven surfaces or grass. If you are a bride, walking down the aisle in wedges, may give you the height and confidence you need!

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Wedges come in a variety of heel heights and encompass all age groups. In the 1990s wedge sneakers made an appearance, being the preferred footwear of the iconic girl band of the day, the Spice Girls. Designers like Natacha Marro have created “heel-less” shoes which work along the same principal as traditional wedges. Lower heeled espadrilles wedges are ideal for holidays; as well as boot companies such as Fly London making the most of a lower wedge for their range of biker style boots.

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Ah, the humble wedge. Make sure you have a pair or two in your shoe closet (or 6 like me!) – they’ll be your best friends this year.

Linda x

Photos by Linda Hobden.

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An Interview With Photographer Michel Haddi

Global celebrity photographer, Michel Haddi, is on my blog this week.  Michel has photographed many high profile celebrities including David Bowie, Johnny Depp, Keanu Reeves, Angelina Jolie, Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez.  He has published a few photographic coffee table books … And his latest is “David Bowie The Legend”.  Seeing as David Bowie was my all time favourite performer,  I just couldn’t wait to ask Michel about his book, his photography, and what it is like meeting these iconic celebrities…. Welcome Michel…

What made you want to pursue a career as a photographer?

I always wanted to be an artist. My first love is movie making/films but I didn’t know anyone in the film industry, but I did in photography – I suppose it was a short cut!

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Your current “David Bowie The Legend” book of unseen David Bowie pictures has aroused a lot of interest – he was my favourite musician – what was the background to the book & the reason behind creating the book?

I have a publishing house too and I thought it was a good idea to do a book on David Bowie , like I will do one on Blondie or Liza Minelli. I decided to launch a new collection called The Legend.

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Your work has appeared in many famous magazines such as the British, French & Italian editions of Vogue America as well as I lived there for 14 years and many advertising campaigns for companies such as Saks New York, Armani, Yves Saint Laurent, etc. What has been the most unusual photoshoot request you’ve had ?

Maybe a shoot I did for American Esquire in the desert in Las Vegas having a trapeze artist from the Cirque du Soleil flying in the middle of nowhere.

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What has been your favourite photoshoot to date?

All of them. I don’t have a special one, always the last one. I worked with Emmanuelle Seigne,  the wife of Roman Polanski for a magazine called The Collective (it’s a magazine from the London designer Osman). I really loved that shoot as Emmanuelle is a great actor and a great looking girl.

You have photographed many high profile celebrities, including David Bowie, Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie etc among others. If you were given the chance, who would you love to photograph that you haven’t already?

I did a shoot at Paisley Park – I was supposed to work with Prince and his band. I worked with the band but Prince didn’t show up. This is a regret.

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You’ve published a quite a few fashion & beauty books – have you got a preferred location for fashion shoots?

Not really, depends what I have in mind. The new one is called The Blue Hour – it was shot in Paris and it’s all about Paris.

I’ve seen & admired your fashion shots, model shots, and celebrity shots, so, what style of photography is your absolute favourite? When you are not working, do you do photography for fun?

Thank you! I only like it when images look like snips of a film. In fact when I tell a story now, if I don’t shoot I write screen plays.

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Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I have a tailor in London,  Anthony Sinclair,  so everything comes from my tailor.  I wear a Crombie with maybe a tight fit sweate,  pin stripe trousers, black gloves and black Adidas footwear.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

None  –  my only pleasure is to see my tailor and be pampered.

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What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Maybe another 3 piece suit – dark blue pinstripe – very 70s! Anthony Sinclair used to make the suits for Sean Connery in the James Bond films. I like this flavour, as being tall the style does suit me perfectly.

Boots or Shoes?

I used to wear boots like bikers boots but I am much more into the Adidas black label to cut the strict look of a suit nowadays.

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 Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc for more information about you and your book “David Bowie The Legend”.

http://davidbowiethelegend.co.uk/

www.michelhaddistudio.com

www.mhspublishing.com

Oh wow Michel, Blondie is also another favourite of mine – as a teenager in the 80s I tried to style myself on Debbie Harry’s look – just wish I had her voice to go with the ensemble! 🙂 Well, dear readers,  who in your eyes was or is a “Legend”?  Who was your style icon as a teen?  As always, do tell, I love reading your comments!

Linda x

All photos have been published with the kind permission of Michel Haddi. 

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An Interview With Club Hub UK

If you have children and live in the UK then you may be interested in a free app that has just been launched in July 2016 – Club Hub UK.  This app helps to locate children’s clubs and activities around the UK, covering a wide range of interests, ages and locations. I caught up with founder, Tessa Robinson, to find out more … Hi Tessa…

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Hiya!  I’m Tessa and I’ve created an app called Club Hub UK – a free app to locate children’s clubs and activities around the UK.

What was the inspiration behind the setting up of Club Hub UK?

What inspired me to create Club Hub U.K ? Well I guess it was creating my own kids club. I found it difficult to advertise it in the local community as local magazines had high rates of publishing and I just didn’t have the income at the time to pay for it.

There are quite a few websites about advertising various children’s activities, so what makes the Club Hub UK app so appealing?

Yes I know there are lots of competition in this area but I have heard from parents that it can still be a confusing and long process that can be made a lot simpler. Also is available to the whole of the U.K rather than just London.

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So how can a company or club register their interest in appearing on the app?

A company or club is able to simply enter their details into the app and with admin permission become live on the app within 24 hours.

What type of clubs/activities are featured?

All clubs and activities are featured – anything that will help people to venture their children away from their tablets and gaming devices.

As you are based in the UK, have you any plans to extend globally in the future?

Yes I am based in the U.K but I really do hope the app will become successful and help people around the world in the future.

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You run your own club – “Tessa’s Jazz Hands” – what was the inspiration behind setting up your own club? What do you enjoy most about running a children’s club?

I trained at a drama school in Beckenham studying musical theatre. When I graduated I found I had a lot of time on my hands, not getting as much acting work as I had hoped for. I always loved working with kids so when I turned twenty one,  I was able to hire a local hall out and start my musical theatre club. I enjoy helping children gain confidence: many of the children that come are very timid and shy but after about a month they are able to sing a solo and perform to their parents without feeling self conscious.

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Personal now –  what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Outfits ummmm something comfortable as I do end up dancing if I hear music. Probably leggings and a flowing top with high top trainers.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Favourite shop would have to be H&M, although I do like to get a nice top or dress from Miss Selfridge or River Island.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wishlist?

Dresses, every time! I had to get a new wardrobe recently as I was buying too many dresses. Oops!

Boots or Shoes?

Shoes, definitely!  High tops trainers are my favourite though, as they are the easiest to dance in. Although I do have a lovely pair of high heel boots I wear out to every party.

Links you would like to share so that readers can find out more about Club Hub UK

E-mail: tessarobinson@club-hub-app.co.uk
Twitter: www.twitter.com/clubhubuk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/clubhubapp/
Instagram: www.instagram.com/clubhubuk
Website: http://clubhubuk.co.uk

Thank you for chatting to us and I wish you much success with the app – it’s a fab idea and I’m sure it will be popular.  Dear readers, what activities do your children/ grandchildren enjoy away from the computer/gaming world?  My young sons enjoy den building, skateboarding, cycling – and recently my youngest son has been enjoying the delights of rock climbing/climbing walls/abseiling …. his hero is Bear Grylls.

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Tessa Robinson.

 

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An Interview With Motus3 Personal Training

Personal training with a twist – personal trainer & fitness expert Paul Yates and his company, Motus 3, are licensed to conduct personal training sessions in London’s picturesque Royal Parks – not only that, Paul can act as chauffeur and collect you from your front door in his own black taxi to the park! I caught up with the former Chelsea professional footballer apprentice recently  to find out all about his personal training style…. Welcome to the blog, Paul ….

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Hi! My name is Paul Yates and I’m the founder of Motus3 Personal Training. I’ve been involved in the fitness industry for over 15 years and launched the Motus3 concept in 2010.

Where did you get the inspiration from to start Motus3?

The genesis for Motus3 was born while managing a popular gym in Covent Garden. Apart from the hardcore regulars I knew that most people overestimate how often they’ll go the gym by about 70%. It was apparent to me that by offering to bring the gym to a clients home or uniquely pick them up in a black taxi to train at one of London’s Royal Parks, I could provide a service that overcame the biggest hurdle to successful fitness: namely going to the gym and doing the training on a consistent basis that is necessary to achieve results. By combining a complete mobile personal training service with a style of training that keeps people both motivated and engaged with the process, I knew I could greatly enhance the chances of a client reaching their health and fitness goals.

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Motus3 is a personal training brand – how does Motus3 provide a real alternative to traditional personal trainers and mundane workouts in the gym?

The Motus3 philosophy is all about the discovering of movement. A client can expect everything from swinging kettlebells, punching boxing pads,parachute sprints, going to war with battle ropes to animal inspired movement patterns and flows but where Motus3 differs to most training methods is that we don’t adopt a one sized fits all approach. We are not concerned with what works for any of our other clients but only what is going to give the person in front of us the greatest chance of transformation and success. Although we’re obviously serious about getting real results we never loose sight of the fact that the process should be fun as well.

So what do you enjoy most about being a personal trainer and fitness expert? Have you a favourite exercise?

I really enjoy connecting with people and showing that you can achieve real results while having fun at the same time. It’s so gratifying to work with people that may have become disillusioned and frustrated with previous attempts at getting fit and see them embrace and enjoy the process of discovering movement again. If I had to choose a favourite exercise it would have to be the kettlebell swing. It’s a great conditioning exercise and is the perfect antidote to the amount of sitting we do in the modern world.

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What exercises or aspects of your personal training programme seem to be the most popular with your clients?

There must be something “primal” about boxing because everyone loves hitting the pads. It really gives you a lot of “bang for your buck” in terms of fitness benefits and apart from being a lot of fun It has great cathartic value as well – plus my clients know I’m not going to hit them back!

What exercise(s) seem to yield most results? What seems to be the least popular – or gets the most groans when you suggest it? (I hate push ups personally!)

I’m a big fan of High Intensity Interval Training which means short bursts of intense effort followed by brief rest periods and repeated a number of times. It’s a great training method for blasting away at stubborn body fat and any fitness tool and series of exercises can be used to achieve this. In general people groan about push ups and squats the most but I’ve become very good at distracting clients from realising they’re actually doing them.

Being a former apprentice professional footballer of Chelsea FC, you must have come across many famous names. Which famous lady or gent would you love to do a spot of personal training with?

Wow…that’s a tough question but I think a double training session with Adele and Jamie Oliver would be a lot of fun. I enjoy training real people and although they are both massive celebrities I admire the fact that they’ve remained authentic and stayed true to themselves in spite of their fame. After our training session I could drive them out to Jamie’s cottage in my taxi where he would prepare a healthy post exercise meal and Adele could literally sing for her dinner.

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Have you had any funny moments that you can tell us about whilst conducting a personal training session?

I once had a Russian lady come up to me while I was training a client in Kensington Gardens and ask me if I could train her 3 year old daughter. She was deadly serious but I was literally looking for a camera to see if this was some kind of Candid Camera practical joke. I’ve also lost count of the times someone has stopped my client and I after training and said “let me get this straight, he picks you up in the taxi, trains you in the park and then drops you off home?”- it always make me chuckle when I see the look on their face as they process the information.

Motus3 is currently based in the London area. Have you any expansion plans?

I’ve had a number of discussions in regards to training other PT’s in the Motus3 style but without sounding conceited my training is very personalised and my clients want me. A lot of the people I train in London are American and Brazilian so I’m in the process of developing an online platform so I can better serve them when they are travelling.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I live in fitness clothing so I enjoy putting on a pair of Harrys of London shoes with Paul Smith or Diesel jeans and a smart blazer at the weekends.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I enjoy visiting the Bicester Village shopping outlet a couple of times of year to bag myself some bargains.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

A trip to South Audley Street to visit Harrys of London is imminent as I’ve got my eye on another pair of the Mr Jones 2 sneaker/shoe – they look great with either jeans or trousers.

Boots or Shoes?

I prefer shoes as they’re more versatile. I did purchase some boots recently but they make me feel like an oversized golf club.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about Motus3

www.motus3.co.uk

https://twitter.com/Motus3Pt

Wow Paul – I don’t know what is more appealing – exercising in the open air in the beautiful London parks OR being chauffeur driven after a session!  I’m not sure how you can make push ups more appealing but I’ll take your word for it but I must say the kettleball swing sounds fun!  Dear readers, have you any favourite exercises or any exercises that you loathe? Do share your views, I’d love to know…

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission from Paul Yates.

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An Interview With KIKI Clothing

I’m pleased to welcome on the blog this week the gorgeous fashion designer, Titi Ademola,  whose brand KIKI Clothing  has graced the Red Carpet and has been exhibited in  various cities around the world including Accra, Lagos, Mauritius, Johannesburg, London and Rome. I caught up with Titi recently to find out what it was like to be an intern with renowned designer Betsey Johnson in New York City, and to find out more about her vibrant designs that are creating waves in the fashion world….Welcome Titi…

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 Hi, I’m Titi Ademola and the founder and creative director of KIKI Clothing.

What inspired you to set up your fashion brand KIKI Clothing?

My late father was Nigerian and my mother is Ghanaian. Although born in London, I’ve always been passionate about where I’m from and Africa as a whole. 50 plus countries are found on this continent with rich cultures, traditions and a wealth of creativity. It used to really disturb me when observing how the media portrayed Africa as a “dark continent” I so wanted to see both sides shown on television or in magazines. The Africa I know is full of colour, vibrancy, flavour and amazing, contagious energy. In a small humble way, I wanted to show a positive side of where I am from, through fashion.

Have you always had a background in, and a passion for, fashion?

I’ve always had a passion for fashion. The familiar stories of dressing up dolls as a child and playing dress up in my mother’s clothes and accessories, was part of growing up for me. As I got older, in my teens, I wasn’t sure I could actually pursue fashion design as career and be taken seriously. I’m grateful my family and peers were very supportive. I undertook a Bachelors degree in Fashion Design and interned after graduation with Betsy Johnson in New York. It has been very rewarding being able to enjoy my work day to day and earn a living also.

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I love the Two Tone Dress – it’s gorgeous! What styles are proving popular already amongst your customers so far this season?

Thank you Linda. Yes,the Two Tone dress appeals to a wide range of clients, along with the Pencil Dress with wing sleeves and the Bell Sleeve Peplum Top.

Out of all the outfits in your collection, do you have a favourite?

I’m very keen on the Kimono Drape. We’ve done different variations of it over the years and it’s extremely flattering on too.

You spent time being an intern for one of my favourite designers, Betsey Johnson, and for Burberry in New York City and now your own brand is exhibited in cities such as Accra, Lagos, Mauritius, Johannesburg, London & Rome – and although your brand is influenced by the West African love of colour/patterns, if you could go anywhere in the world to get inspiration for a new collection, where would you go?

Brazil, definitely Brazil. It reminds me of West Africa. The food, the music…I’m always so happy when I hear Bossa Nova…there’s a lot of joy in their culture and I find it infectious. I was privileged to travel there a few years ago and would love to go back and explore, as it’s such a big country.

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The KIKI brand has already had dresses that have graced the Red Carpet – namely actress Nicole Ari Parker & reality star Tiffany Jones. However, which famous lady would you love to see as the “face” of KIKI Clothing?

Yes, it was quite an honour seeing these well-known reputable women wearing our designs on the red carpet. Amazingly enough, they both are the ideal KIKI woman. They’re beautiful inside and out, hard working and ambitious, they have fantastic drive and determination and love to have fun in life. Other famous ladies that comes to mind would be, Lupita Nyong’o or someone quirky like Paloma Faith.

Looking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2016 – will you be adding more styles and/or colours?

Yes, we’re looking forward to introducing new silhouettes and fabrics for the next season, so keep an eye out for updates.

As you are based in Ghana, are your outfits available to purchase overseas?

We found that although we are based in Accra, we have clients coming into our shops from other parts of Africa, North and South America, Europe, Asia and really all over. These are business travellers, expats living and working in Ghana and tourists. This encouraged us to launch an online shop, www.kikiclothing.com/shop because we wanted to make KIKI Clothing more accessible, globally.

When designing outfits to add to your collection, do you take into account your own tastes, your customer base, current fashion trends, requests, or bits of all those?

I try to factor in all the above, but ultimately it really comes down to what the customer wants and listening to them.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I wear a lot of trousers, either loose and long in length or fitted and slightly cropped and I tend to wear pretty sandals and slippers, some with a bit of a heel and usually from KIKI, as we make footwear also.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)

I love Zara!

 Boots or Shoes?

Because of my location in sunny Accra, it would have to be shoes 🙂

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about KIKI Clothing.

www.kikiclothing.com/shop -Online Shop
https://www.facebook.com/KIKI-Clothing-226374854092469/ -Facebook
http://instagram.com/kikiclothing/ -Instagram
@KIKIClothingGH -Twitter

It was lovely talking to you Titi.  I really do love bright colours – wearing bright colours make me feel happy and confident – especially red, yellow, green and turquoise! What colours leave you with a smile on your face?  Do tell! 🙂

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Titi Ademola/KIKI clothing.

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An Interview With The Changing Factor

We do like talking bags on the blog and this week’s guest is no exception!  Inspired by Alexander McQueen & architecture – Magda Daniloaia founded & launched The Changing Factor in March 2016, providing cutting edge handbags and accessories for the sophisticated individual.  Coming into the arena with some fun designs, I am sure that The Changing Factor will be featuring in all our closets before too long.  I caught up with Magda to find out more… Hi Magda…

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Hi! My name is Magda Daniloaia. I am the founder and creative director of luxury leather goods brand “The Changing Factor”.

What inspired you to launch your company? What was behind the naming of your company “The Changing Factor”?

I’d always imagined I would have my own company. I decided to go forward with The Changing Factor because, from my point of view,  at the time no one was really innovating in terms of design in the industry. I felt I could bring a fresher, stronger and more relevant perspective on accessories design – one that would really be compatible with the ever more sophisticated, more powerful and more complex modern women from all over the globe. The name  “The Changing Factor” came from our desire to always be changing, always reinventing. We want to not only constantly be changing ourselves, but also everything around us. We also want to support our clients in changing and being the best version of themselves!

Who is The Changing Factor woman?

She is a global citizen. She is always in a quest to improve herself, to reach her full potential. No matter if she is girly or a tomboy, if she is an entrepreneur or works in a corporation – she’ll  certainly be unstoppable.

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When designing products to include in your range, do you go for uniqueness, current trends, previous popular styles, your own personal tastes or bits of all of those?

The initial inspiration – the aesthetic concept – will always come from architecture or nature – looking at volumes and shapes, at the different ways things are constructed – but afterwards when developing each product, I will look to create styles for different women, all this whilst maintaining an artistic approach. For example – in the current collection you will find many references to the work of architect Santiago Calatrava, especially when looking at all the angles and the volumes, but I took a more artistic approach when designing the details, almost leaving the elements to discover and define each other – if you look at the way the chain is simply left to fall and it goes through the rivets which are mounted not in a straight line but go up and down forming a rhythm, almost like a metaphor for an untamed spirit, or the musical notes of a song, or a poem. This will always be in The Changing Factor DNA – reserving some space and time for an artistic approach, for the design to take its course – quite the opposite of what is happening in the fashion industry today. At the same time, I have designed the launch collection to be very practical and usable by different women and for different occasions. The two Alien briefcases are very practical and can be used by women who often carry documents or technology, from entrepreneurs to PR executives: the Alien Mini is perfect for an afternoon stroll around town and the Alien Clutch, the ultra versatile bag, can be easily worn either in the day or night and can be carried in three completely different ways.  I have also made the minimalistic Alien Tablet Cover and Alien Laptop Cover that double as clutches and are total life savers… they go with
absolutely any outfit – I think they are amazing!! You can carry your tablet during the day and then carry all your evening essentials for after work cocktails! Day-to-night perfection!

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Your bags are certainly very sophisticated – I do like the look of the Alien clutch. So,you are based in London. Are your bags available to purchase & ship worldwide?

I am based in London but all our products are available on our website and we do ship worldwide! Standard and express delivery are both available.

If you had the chance, who would you pick (dead or alive) to be the “Face” of The Changing Factor and why?

Oh, this is the hardest question of all!! I find so many women inspiring for so many different reasons. I will give you my top three (not necessarily in this order): Rihanna, Emma Watson, Rooney Mara?! Or even better: all of them in the same campaign !  In general, women with strong personalities.

If you could visit any place in the world to get inspiration for your next collection, where would you go and why?

I would do an expedition in the Arctic to see the astonishing ice formations and enjoy the incredible wilderness. It would certainly be awe-inspiring and that is what I want my products to be.

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Looking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2016, are there any plans to expand your range of products at all? What colours feature in your A/W mood board?

As we have just started we will be keeping the same shapes and silhouettes but introduce very different colours! New colours will be revealed soon! Stay tuned!

Have you always wanted to be in the leather bag industry? What do you enjoy most about what you do?

When I was very little I was convinced I would be a business woman. But then I was also very creative, constantly drawing different things, including fashion silhouettes and all sorts of garments and accessories. To combine both my practical and creative sides, I studied architecture which I then renounced to take on Accessories Design at London College of Fashion. Now I have my own company – so the little me was right all along… haha! My father did have a small leather studio when I was very young, making bespoke leather jackets and leather bags, so funnily enough I ended up doing what he was doing – only in a different place, in a different way! I could not feel more fulfilled.What I enjoy the most is helping women create the best version of themselves. My designs help many women feel more bold and powerful and that is definitely my favourite part!

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Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I used to have a very varied wardrobe but now I am moving more towards blocks of colours and strong, daring tailoring. I currently banished all florals from my wardrobe. Sounds extreme, I know… (laughs) … it might be just a phase. In terms of shoes I love wearing lots of trainers/high-sole flat shoes, but I probably feel at my best when I wear pumps.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)

I think The Row and Dover Street Market are great! I also love pretty much everything on www.serax.com – I still remember discovering Roos Van de Velde’s ‘Perfect Imperfection’ in a NY restaurant and being in complete awe.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe/bag wish list?

Lots of interesting white shirts – still looking for the perfect shop to buy them – and more high sole flat shoes!

Boots or Shoes?

Definitely shoes! Cannot find many boots I like – I hope to make my own in a few years!!

Links you would like to share e.g. Website/Facebook/Twitter etc so that readers can find out more about The Changing Factor.

http://www.thechangingfactor.com

https://www.facebook.com/THECHANGINGFACTORluxuryleathergoods

https://www.instagram.com/thechangingfactor/

Thank you Magda – I find the idea of architecture influencing  your designs very interesting – even the thought of nature’s architecture through its  ice features – stalactites, etc.  Can you imagine bags curved like the Sydney Opera House? the Eiffel Tower?  Which landmark do you think could be replicated as a handbag design?  Do share your thoughts, dear readers, I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photos published with kind permission from The Changing Factor.

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An Interview With Tony Porter

I am honoured to have on the blog this week one of the people who spearheaded British Fashion Week – now known as London Fashion Week – the gallant gentleman, Tony Porter.  I caught up with Tony recently to find out more about his unique life spent at the forefront of fashion, the swinging ’60s scene in London, the high fashion Kensington store Biba, and his gripping new memoir “Whatever Next?”….. Welcome Tony …

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Hello, I’m Tony Porter. Born 12/6/35

You certainly have lived a fascinating and unique life in the forefront of fashion – but, what was the inspiration behind picking up your pen and writing your gripping memoir, “Whatever Next?” What’s the story behind the title?

In 1986 B and I left the world of Fashion and bought tiny Burgh Island with its tired but lovely Art Deco Hotel. After spending 16 years on its restoration, we moved on, and I immediately wrote our story in “The Great White Palace”, published in 2002. Since then, it has sold 23,700 copies, and very many readers have asked me how I spent the rest of my life. I was finally persuaded, and the book was finally published on 28 February 2016. I spoke about it at my 80th Birthday party, after which I was approached by two guests, suggesting that, following my seven careers, I should make a film about them. That was when I collapsed in an arm chair muttering ‘Whatever next?’. These are the last two words of the book, but seemed an obvious title as well.

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You started your career selling paint for ICI – spending many years with ICI in Africa – before returning to London to sell high fashion for the Kensington store, Biba, founded by your sister-in-law, Barbara Hulanicki. Did you have an interest in fashion at that time, or was it something that grew on you as you sold the outfits?

No, it grew on me. Till then a dress was a dress and a skirt a skirt, but Barbara’s were different. As I became steeped in the selling and even the manufacture of her unique and inexpensive designs, I came to love the look, especially on those ’60s “Dolly Birds”  who daily thronged the Biba shop in Kensington.

The scene in London during the swinging 60s must have been exciting – especially as many famous starlets flocked to Biba – Twiggy, Marianne Faithful, Mia Farrow, Cilla Black & Yoko Ono to name just a few. I’m sure you kept a cool head when you served them – but did anyone actually make you go weak at the knees (starstruck mode)? Who would have made you go a-quiver if they had entered Biba?

That has to be Bardot, although she doesn’t exactly answer your question, because she actually walked in one day to go shopping. She was prepared to try things on in the communal changing room, but Barbara’s husband, Fitz, offered her the passageway outside his office. I did glimpse her as she made her way there with an armful of clothes. She did make me weak at the knees, but that was all. Fitz did better though, by standing on a chair, so that he could peep through the glass over his office door!

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T427 IM 4CBW 26-18

You were one of the people who spearheaded British Fashion Week – now known as London Fashion Week. What was the inspiration and original aims of the Week? Are you surprised the idea is still going strong and is one of the most important dates in the Fashion calendar?

When I left Biba and started my own Fashion PR business, I did really well getting lots of coverage for the twelve accounts I came to represent. It was so frustrating though that twice a year the whole of our Press corps disappeared to Paris, then Milan, to report on their designs for the coming season. We had wonderful designers, some established and others fresh out of our marvellous colleges. I couldn’t see why there was no such event here, and resolved to do something about it. That was exactly forty years ago, and in the book I relate how I went about it with such success that it became established on the world fashion stage. Obviously I am thrilled that our Fashion Week has long since become known as one of the big three in Europe, but cannot help thinking that the numbers are now too big, and the organisation is not so special as in my day.

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T310 IM 5-9

After leaving Biba, you ran your own successful fashion PR business in London’s West End, helped by your wife Beatrice. What made you decide to go from sales to PR?

As I’ve said already, I came to love fashion and the way it evolved, but I knew I would never aspire to being a designer, and I tired of selling. However, I had come to meet and help a few influential journalists, and came to realise that, in return for showing them the right selection, they were able to feature photographs of certain items which fitted their fashion story of the day. Obviously I didn’t have the name of Biba with which to conjure, but I chose well and quickly gained the confidence of most of the major writers. I also found that I could make much more doing this, so the decision to move on proved right in many ways.

Can you tell us about the beautiful Burgh Island and the Art Deco hotel you lovingly restored (and have since sold)? What attracted you to buy the island & its hotel? What was your favourite feature of the island/hotel?

When we bought our second hand yacht and cruised along the south coast of Devon and Cornwall, we fell in love with their rivers and little harbours, so, when we decided on another change, it was there that we looked. After several possibilities fell through, we heard that this tiny (26 acres) island was for sale, complete with its ART DECO hotel, we went for it. The huge risk and years of scary experiences are described in detail in my first book ( it is also included more briefly in this new one. How could I leave 16 whole years out of my autobiography!) We finally sold it to a couple who claimed to love art deco as much as us, in 2001. Without doubt our favourite feature was, and still is (except we are banned !) the Palm Court, with its original stained glass ceiling, which we restored.

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You are now concentrating on your new career as a writer – your gripping memoir, “Whatever Next?” was published in Feb 2016. Have you got any other plans to write other works? Is there any other writing genre you would like to dabble in?

Yes. Children’s  books. I have written them before for my grandchildren who did the illustrations for me, and they loved them.

When you are not writing, what hobbies or past times do you enjoy?

Sailing (other people’s yachts), opera (Hearing, not singing!) golf (badly), walking the Devon lanes, travel (but not long haul now).

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about you and where to buy your memoir “Whatever Next?”

Website: tonyporter.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Whatever-Next-748983758567899/?=ts

Twitter: @TPorterAuthor

It has been an absolute pleasure to have you on my blog, Tony, and I haven’t yet stopped giggling at the picture you’ve given of Barbara’s husband Fitz trying to glimpse Bardot! Must admit, Bardot is one of my style icons from those days.  The other being Debbie Harry of Blondie in the 70s/80s.  Dear readers, have you got a favourite style icon? Do tell, I’d love to know…

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Tony Porter.

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