An Interview With ByNina

East meets West this week on my blog as my guest is Nina Paul who grew up in India but has spent her adult life in England.  Nina is founder and director of ByNina, a fabulous clothing and jewellery range with Indian influence but tailored to western trends.  I caught up with Nina recently to find out more….hi Nina!


Hi! I’m Nina .. and I have just launched a luxury, ethical clothing and jewellery range. My aim is to provide “pieces of art” that shows off the beauty and craftsmanship that can come for materials produced and made out of India.

What inspired you to set up your brand, ByNina?

I’ve been working in the corporate space for over 15 years but despite launching several innovative products, I lacked a sense of satisfaction. I was helping myself, but really.. was I making a difference to the world? NO. So when I went back to India and realised that my one true love,which is handmade fashion, was declining rapidly, it became my mission and goal to help revitalise this and give people back their faith.


Have you always had a passion for fashion, or did you have other career aspirations when you were younger?

To be honest is what you make it. My passion as always been about finding pieces that mean something. Of course I love looking at all the amazing shoes, clothes and jewellery out there, but recently I’ve come to realise these are just material things. When you buy something that has an impact (no matter how small) on helping an entire economy and combined with the fact that it it is a piece of art.. no matter how small or big the art is, it just makes you feel all the more precious. Every piece in my collection comes from loving hands and made with pride and care.

I love the Peach Flower Dress, the Sheer chiffon kaftan dress & the Silk Chiffon contrast kaftan dress! The colours of all the items in your clothing collection are gorgeous. Have you got a favourite item from your collection?

My favourite from the collection is the sunshine dress… but I love them all. We worked so hard to create each piece it would be like picking your favourite from your own kids, Impossible! The best part is seeing the artisans go from “What is a cuff??” to actually coming up with their own designs.. it doesn’t matter how weird or wonderful, they each have a special place in my heart as I know the care that has gone in to them, and the fact that it is bringing back FAITH and HOPE.


Although you love travelling, India is your 2nd home as well as being the place you spent your childhood in. What is it particularly about India that has captured your heart?

India is a land of colour. I was inspired by this but also by the hospitality of the people. When you first land to when you leave, you will realise you can’t forget India 🙂 There are people that either love or hate it, but hey. that’s fashion right?

Apart from fashion, you also design some exquisite jewellery using gemstones sourced from mines all over India & crafted by artisans in the “city of gems”, Jaipur. Do you have a favourite personal gemstone? What gemstone is popular at the moment amongst your customers?

As I said .. that would be like asking to pick a favourite child. I love them all, but I would have to say the sapphire range and the sunshine dress are my babies. The sunshine dress was the hardest to create as it was one of the first in my range and we went through several versions, till they finally got it right. You truly do feel like a princess. The sapphire range.. well sapphires stand for themselves, beauty, strength, purity, sparkle, colour. And a whole lot of people involved in every piece 🙂


Your company is based in England – are your designs available to purchase worldwide?

Everywhere, and everyone. The more you buy the more I can keep the artisans at work. But it’s not just me, you only have to visit India and find out for youselves.

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

Well… shy as they may be, my artisans have a mind of their own, While I did take in to account what I liked, I also let them run riot. Why not… let creativity flow 🙂

Your outfits have been tailored to western tastes for ready-to-wear looks. When discussing your ideas & designs with the artisans, was it easy to get your ideas across? Is there an east/west fashion taste difference?

Well.. yes, the funny part now looking back, although it definitely was not funny at the time, was teaching them that short is OK, see-through is OK, frills NOT ok:) So many stories and adventures, I hope one day I can put them all down in writing. For now I am storing them in my memories.


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

I LOVE clothes, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE shoes even more. But, then again I’ve had time to reflect.. now that I have put everything in to the business, I actually wear my own stuff ..not so much to show off but it just reminds me of the care that went in and how proud I am of the people behind each piece.

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

Everlane, people tree, independent boutiques round London (So many it’s hard to pick!)

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

My wishlist .. I “wish” … that will be a long time to come. My next list is to have a jewellery range that is based around star signs and birthstones, but I’m going to let the artisans come up with their own ideas and name each piece after them.

Boots or Shoes? 

Both.. boots for walking, and shoes (in my world these are slippers or heels) for flaunting 🙂

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

It was great to chat to you Nina and I hope you do put a book together detailing the many stories and adventures involved in setting up your fashion business. It is fascinating how different cultures approach fashion, eg the Indians liking frills, the French smart dress sense etc Dear readers, have you ever bought an outfit from a different country than your own?  What differences in style did you find? Do tell, I’d love to know,

Linda x

All photos published with kind permission from ByNina/Nina Paul

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An Interview With Goldgenie

I’m going for gold this week as my guest on the blog is Laban Roomes, founder of high-end brand Goldgenie.  Specialising in luxury personalised gifts and items using pure 24K gold, Rose Gold, Platinum and Diamonds… in fact, they are best known for their decadent designs and blingworthy materials. From 24K gold shoes and embellished Apple watches to a 24K gold bike worth more than a Ferrari, there’s hardly anything in the world that can not be given the Midas touch.  I caught up with Laban recently and used the golden opportunity to ask a few questions…. Hi Laban !


Hello 🙂 My name is Laban Roomes, founder of Luxury Gift and customisation services company, Goldgenie. I developed an innovative portable plating device that can gold plate pretty much any item that is conductive. Our clients include The Oscars and Emmy awards in Los Angeles, HTC, Samsung, BlackBerry, AMEX and our flagship client Lexus as well as iconic retail outlets like Harrods and Selfridges, plus a host of Celebrities including the Beckhams, Elton John, P. Diddy, Denzel Washington, Rhianna and Mark Wahlberg to name just a few.

What inspired you to launch your business venture, Goldgenie?

The business suited my character as someone that always had a keen interest in luxury goods and services. I thought better to develop something that I can do and live with a passion then just do something for the money… It just so happened that money came anyway. I also believe that the self development that occurs mentally and spiritually for oneself can be profound if approached in a certain way.


Goldgenie featured on BBC television’s programme “Dragons Den” and received backing from James Caan. Was it a nerve racking experience? What surprised you most about the experience?

Yes it was a nerve racking experience and as time went on and I was losing the support of the Dragons something switched on inside of me, the fighting extinct came alive as there was no way I was going home without the investment! What this confirmed to me is that people really do buy into people and the more you let your light shine the more powerful you are and the more you radiate and exude confidence,which everyone wants a piece of. The biggest shock was that the stairs I walked up on the Dragons Den was on a set 2 miles away from the actual studio that I appeared on and got my investment.


What products are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season for embellishing with pure 24K gold, rose gold, platinum & diamonds?

The iPhone 6s remains triumphant so far and close second is the Apple Watch and iPad. Ever since we customised the first ever iPhone way back in 2007 this has without a doubt been our best performing product to date. Finishes available are 24k Gold, Platinum, Rose Gold and Diamonds.

Out of all the products you’ve decorated, do you have a favourite item?

Not really as everything is still so fascinating to watch and see the total transformation a product undergoes during our processes – but the two I have been most proud of to date is the Neasden Temple in London and the range of Swarovski crystal encrusted iPods I personally designed for Elton John to raise funds for his EJAF charity.


Adding the Midas touch to everything from new technology to footwear, what has been the most unusual item you’ve decorated in 24K gold?

This has to be the Sultan Of Brunei’s toilet.. Or maybe a top of the range vibrator Ann Summers commissioned us to do for a well known celebrity I’m not at liberty to mention.

Your collaboration with designer shoe maker Deeasjer has resulted in an awesome limited “Pure Gold” capsule collection of Deeasjer shoes each incorporating 24K gold embellished heels & featuring Deeasjer’s signature brand symbol – the Rose. How did the collaboration first come about?

Goldgenie sponsored a fashion show for Deeasjer many moons ago, when the owner Charlene Beckett was designing the “Pure Gold” Capsule collection she asked me to be involved in the designs – I just had to,of course, feature 24k Gold heels.


You have expanded from the UK into the UAE … Have you any plans to expand elsewhere globally in the future?

Yes we have expanded recently to the UAE with our first retail store opening in the first week of July and have plans to open a shop in Los Angeles or Puerto Banus in Spain next year – hopefully we will be able to do both.

As you are based in the UK, do you offer embellished products or services overseas too?

Yes we do and have an award winning service that can pick up your item anywhere in the world with our secure and trackable courier service, have your item customised and returned within 14 days of pick up.


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

I am fortunate that whatever I put on because of my build I look good in (not bragging, of course) but I do like brands like Sisley and Paul Smith or I will get my suits made. In saying that, I also buy clothes for the fit more than the brand behind it. For footwear I love Clarkes and Cruyff shoes, brogues without a doubt are a key part of my wardrobe and Adidas.. keeping it simple.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Yes, I have a passion for watches and do like online watch sites like Rolex, Patek Philipe and Brietling – I have great admiration for the Apple brand including their online and retail stores. Steve Jobs is one of my all time favourite entrepreneurs and his success to me has really made a positive impact on the world, anyone that starts their business with little or no money from a garage and grows it to be one of the richest and most cutting edge companies in the world, you just have to admire.

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

I intend to buy myself some fresh tracksuits and trainers – you can never have enough trainers.

Boots or Shoes?

That will be more Cruyff shoes – they suit me down to a T.

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

Twitter: @Goldgenie
Instagram: goldgenie_uk

Thank you Laban for joining me on the blog and giving the blog a touch of golden glamour.  So, dear readers, have you any items that could benefit from the golden touch?  I do love the golden heels and I’m sure even my trainers would benefit from a lick of gold! Wouldn’t a golden Harley Davidson look cool too?!? always, share your ideas, I’d love to know what you think!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Laban Roomes/ Goldgenie

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An Interview With Grannies Inc

My granny loved to knit! My cousins, sister and I all had some rather colourful pieces every year in our Christmas stocking.  My two boy cousins had fetching tank tops in colours trending at the time – burgundy was a big favourite.  For my cousin Jane, my sister and I, well, we had bright turquoise & white ponchos and white roll neck “ski” jumpers with multicoloured stripes.  My husband’s granny knits pullovers and blankets for our children.  My guest this week, Kai Poldoja of Grannies Inc has a vision of spreading the love of granny-made knitwear throughout the world and by employing talented knitting grannies to produce a range of bespoke knitwear,  they are endeavouring to do just that. Intrigued? I was! So, I caught up with Kai to find out more….


Hi! Grannies, Inc. was launched in 2009 .Grannies, Inc. strives to connect people who love wearing unique, quality handmade garment with knitters who love knitting. Our knitters are passionate, experienced and most importantly, they love knitting.

What inspired the launch of Grannies Inc?

My grandma was a passionate knitter and I remember all the warm socks she knitted for everyone in the family. Most of the time she knitted more than we could wear and all my friends loved  my grandma’s socks. That made me think that it would be great to establish a website that connects all those grannies like my grandma with all those people that don’t have a grandma like mine.


If I wanted a particular knitted item design, how do I go about ordering the bespoke item?

Ordering bespoke items is very simple. Just go to and send us some photos of what you want knitted. Our grannies can replicate almost anything from a photo, or they can make your sketch or drawing come to life.

What’s the most unusual or strangest knitted item that has been requested?

We are often asked to knit miniature garments for objects, like bottles. We had a season where we knitted more items for objects than people due to some corporate orders. We once knitted giant socks for a massive statue in the US. But the strangest requests are usually the ones our grannies are asked to knit up: some “special occasion” garments. I won’t share any more details 🙂


To date, what has been your most popular knitted item ordered?

It’s our fingerless gloves, especially the Norwegian Selbu fingerless gloves. People love them, because they keep their hands warm, yet the fingers free to use their smartphones or type. They are super cute too.

Out of your knitted items, has any item been a bit of a challenge for your knitters?

I remember a 5XL jumper. It was knitted to a very complicated pattern. It was quite heavy due to the size and the knitter was struggling to hold the weight of it whilst knitting. In the end it was so big that when we laid it out flat we had to climb on ladders to take a photo of it as the whole jumper wouldn’t fit on the photo. It was a truly beautiful item however. The customer was over the moon.

Your knitters only use 100% merino wool that has been sourced ethically in South Africa and spun in a yarn mill in Devon. Why did you pick merino wool over other types?

Merino wool is one of the highest quality yarns. It’s suitable for various types of garments as it is very robust, yet warm. Whilst keeping you warm it doesn’t overheat. It’s an absolutely gorgeous fabric, all natural with nothing synthetic. It is sustainable and doesn’t damage the environment. We love it.


Your company is based in the UK – are your knitted items able to be made to ship to customers overseas?

Yes, we often have orders around the world. We sold to more than 100 countries, from Greenland all the way to the other side of the world, with one item having made it to a South Pole expedition.

The talent of your workforce is clear to see – and they obviously have a passion for knitting. What do you look for when hiring your knitters? 

We look for passion and skill. Our items aren’t the cheapest around, but we like to think they are the best hand knitted items one can buy online.


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

On cold days I like wearing my merino base layer and a nice woollen jumper on top. In my view wool is the best fabric one can choose for clothing.

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





So, dear readers, do you or did you have a granny who loves to knit? What was your favourite knitted item that they made?  Or, perhaps you are a grandma who knits? If so, what do you like knitting? Do tell, I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Grannies Inc.

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Hidden Mind

I came across an interesting book recently talking about the connection between the sub conscious and the mind/body, known as “bio energy”. It was called Hidden Mind: A Journey of Reconnection by Tom Griffin and Dr Nuala Bent.  Bio-energy therapy treatment is used in the special needs area of health, such as dyslexia, ADHD, ADD and Autistic Spectrum Disorder; and in some cases, for depression and anxiety too.  Tom Griffin developed the Hidden Mind/Bio- Energy and Corrective Sound Programme  – which is included in its entirety in the book; and Dr Nuala Bent is a Senior Research Fellow (Rehab Medicine) at the University of Leeds, a Plexus Bio Energy Therapist, Registered Reflexologist & Reiki Master.  I was lucky enough to catch up with Dr Nuala Bent to find out more ….and we talked about clothes too…. Hi Nuala!


Hello. My name is Nuala and my passion is to inform people about the body’s natural ability to heal itself given the right circumstances and environment. I am originally from Ireland but have lived in Lancashire, UK for the past thirty years. My background was in Academia where most of my work was research based.

Congratulations on publishing your book, “Hidden Mind: A Journey of Reconnection” – a powerful collaboration between yourself and Tom Griffin – a book that invites readers to re-ignite their mind/body connection and thrive. What inspired you to put pen to paper?

I have always been a people person and realised a long time ago that we are not islands in our ability to communicate with one another. While maintaining our uniqueness we all have an integral part to play which impacts on the whole of humanity. Working on long term research projects gave me an insight into people’s lives which went way beyond the masks we all tend to wear in the public arena. I became aware of the possibility of a connection between health state, lifestyle and the outer and immediate personal environments. I also became aware of the importance of personal responsibility in a world which seemed to be dominated by pockets of control. This of course is down to conditioning and the set-up of the institutions which we encounter in our daily living. I realised that there was a need to remind people that they have an innate knowledge which needs to be accessed which is a powerhouse of information as to what the body needs to maintain optimal health. The meaning of the word ’education’ is ‘to lead out’. This implies that knowledge is already present to be accessed.


The book includes the entire programme, as well as its foundation, of the Hidden Mind/Bio-Energy and Corrective Sound Programme as developed by Tom Griffin. As a qualified Bio-Energy therapist yourself, in what circumstances would you recommend bio-energy therapy?

Bio-energy is a rebalancing of the body’s own energy system by removing blockages which contribute to illness. It can be used in all circumstances, from the very young to the very old. It is about looking beyond the symptoms to try and establish the cause of the problems. Within our clinics, the primary aim of the therapist is to rebalance the energy system which in turn will unlock the natural healing process within the patient’s body. Only when the energy has been balanced can the body begin the process of returning to full health. Treatment is carried out over four consecutive days for approximately an hour a day. On the fourth day of treatment the therapist will go through an educational programme explaining any changes that need to be made regarding visualisation, diet, exercise, rest etc. This is an essential part of the programme and together with the balancing of the energy the correct environment is being created which will allow the body return to better health. The aim is to engage clients in a process that gives them an element of control over their own health. These treatments are the first steps on the journey to better health and patients must be willing to give the therapy time to work

What attracted you to start studying and practising complementary and natural healthcare?

A natural curiosity as to how I might help people to cope with life’s traumas and where possible to help people to look beyond life’s knocks and realise their own potential. I was also influenced by the many eminent people I met who had stood out against the established opinion and practically sacrificed career opportunities in order to tell the truth. I refer in particular to the late Professor Jan deVries whose commitment to the people in his care was awe inspiring. However, the final steps towards bio- energy training came as a result of ill health and surgery for a brain tumour after which I was much depleted of my usual zest for life and a friend suggested I go to Ireland for bio-energy treatment. I had not heard of it previously but after treatment over four consecutive days I was so impressed with how I felt that I began to enquire and read up more about all aspects of energy medicine. However, I did return on two other occasions for bio-energy over a period of several months after which I decided to train in the Plexus system. It was during this time that I met Tom Griffin, Co-founder of the Plexus system with Michael O’Doherty and current founder of the HiddenMind and Corrective sound and Bio-energy training Programme.Tom’s work inspired me towards the many discussions related to my passion to raise awareness for a new model of medicine which resulted in Tom giving me the opportunity to begin by writing our book so that the message would get out to the wider world.


Although you live in the UK, is your book available to purchase overseas?

The book is available in Ireland through Tom’s website and people in the UK can contact myself. It is available on Amazon (kindle edition only) and it has also been recently translated into German because of the interest from Tom’s clinics in Germany.It is currently being translated into Polish. Tom runs clinics in Ireland, Canada, Germany, Poland, and recently in South Africa.

Are you looking at writing other books in the future? What topics would you like to cover?

I did a lot of research for our current book and therefore realised what a fount of knowledge I have gathered for this work. I have a big interest in the symptoms of heavy metal toxicity in the body which is an area of medicine which is virtually unknown and is seldom looked at as the possible basis of unexplained symptoms. There is also the complication that blood tests will only show toxicity if it is present and happening on the day of the test, but it remains in the tissues and takes a long time to remove. I also have a huge interest in ‘bodymind’ medicine and the new science of Epigenetics.

What sort of book genre do you like reading? Favourite books or authors?

In contrast to my work and my associated reading I like to have a novel on the go. I don’t like to travel without a book in my luggage. In particular authors who seem to have an insight into human relationships. I have a few favourites. Not surprisingly they include the late Maeve Binchy, Santa Montifiore, Kathy Kelly, Lesley Pearse, Barbara Kingsolver and others of a similar ilk.

You have worked many years as Panel Manager of a longitudinal study researching into cognitive ageing at the University of Manchester; and later as Senior Research Fellow (Rehab Medicine) at the University of Leeds. You are also a Plexus Bio Energy Therapist, Registered Reflexologist and Reiki Master. Growing up though, did you inspire to go into the medical/research field or did you have other ambitions?

Growing up I had many ambitions all of which presented themselves in accordance with what was the dominant theme of the time. However I was very lucky to find myself in a small boarding school in Southern Ireland with the Killeshandra Sisters who were an order of nuns who worked abroad on many of the world’s mission fields. I got to know many of these amazing woman who worked in situations which demanded courage and commitment to help people less fortunate. The friendships built up over the years in ‘CastleShanahan’ as the school was called were very important to me and gave me a confidence which supported me throughout my life’s journey. I still have contact with some of them to this day. I realised early on in my academic learning that I was drawn to research which probably fitted in with my curiosity about people and the life situations which impinged on them.


Your passion is to raise awareness of the need for an integrated model of healthcare. What specific areas of healthcare do you feel is most in need of this integrated model? What hurdles are you coming across to prevent that happening?

Mostly related to the status quo opinion that health is an area that needs to be managed by a body of Professionals and that the ‘ordinary’ person has no control over how health manifests for them. A person needs to be central to the working out of the best possible way to deal with illness/disease. People need to be reminded or informed that there is a capacity for healing within each of us that needs input from ourselves as well as from our Physicians. The body knows, and often tells us but is just as often ignored in favour of lifestyle choices. If we are present to the needs of our bodies, this remind the cells to switch on the mechanism of healing. Good health is not about alternative medicine, rather it is about complementary medicine which can work alongside the medical physicians to bring about the homeostasis required to maintain a state of wellness. The dominant model of medicine does not take into account social factors or individual differences and so also excludes prevention of disease as a role in healthcare. In fact it has been described in the literature as a relationship of compliance based on prescribing.

When you’re not working, what hobbies/past times do you enjoy?

I love to travel. I also enjoy sharing a meal with friends and eating out from time to time. I also have a large network of friends whom I keep in contact with. My friends are important to me and many of them live in Ireland. I have a friend Anne from my school days who also lives in Bolton with whom I meet up to discuss old and new interests. I enjoy being with like-minded people.I also travel to Ireland several times a year to catch up with my family. I have a son and daughter and three grandchildren who live in Southern Ireland. I did my Bio training in Ireland and I enjoy networking with my colleagues. I hope to help Tom with teaching ‘HiddenMind Bio’ in the UK later this year.


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

I have a love of clothes but they need to suit how I like to look. I like outfits to flow rather than the eye having to stop and start – I suppose I would describe it as all seen in one photo rather than needing to fit many photos together to get the picture, if you know what I mean. If I am wearing a skirt or trousers the top / tunic needs to be longer than waist level.I also am a jacket person but again, I don’t like short jackets on myself. And I like to include a gilet as part of an outfit (everyday wear).I like to have a mixture of shoes which include a basic flat pair for colder weather, casualtrainer type pairs, dressy heels and sandals to wear with more dressy outfits.My main problem is trying to make a decision not to bring more than two pairs with me when travelling.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I prefer to shop in person and I like to look around several shops until an item ‘speaks’ to me.

Boots or Shoes?

I am a shoe person. I only wear boots when the weather dictates as I feel confined in boots and I always tend to notice nice shoes on people.

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

I have a website ‘’ and Tom’s website is ‘’.
I am also listed on the website (Bio-energy) as a Therapist.

Thanks so much for coming onto the blog today, Nuala.  It is such an interesting therapy and I hope my readers found it of interest too.  I must pick on your shoe thought though – it amused me to find that when travelling you find it hard to limit yourself to packing less than two pairs of shoes.  I have the same problem … BUT do you find after packing say 3 pairs of footwear, that you ended up just wearing only the one pair for the fortnight after all? Or is it just me?  Dear readers, what are your thoughts? I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Dr Nuala Bent. 

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An Interview With Maison De Marrakech

I’m being inspired by all things Morocco this week as I explore a London-based interior and fashion design online shop specialising in Bohemian lifestyles and Moroccan charm.  Think kaftans, Argan Oil beauty products, leather poufs, gorgeous colour palettes ..the list is endless!  It was with great excitement that I caught up with  Reina Hagen-Cherquaoui, founder of this paradise online shop – Maison De Marrakech.  Hi Reina!


Please introduce Maison de Marrakech …

Maison de Marrakech is a bohemian lifestyle company. Our motto is to bring that beautiful, peaceful, elegant, yet simple lifestyle of Morocco into the lives of every woman (or man, of course!). I initially started by creating small numbers of kaftans or tunics that I thought would bring exotic-ness and beauty into the everyday lives of women around the world. Marrakech has a uniqueness that enriches your life, and awakens all your senses, and Maison de Marrakech is a place where you can find products that re-creates that beautiful ambience. Therefore, although we are known for our kaftans, our ultimate goal is to introduce the bohemian ‘lifestyle products’ into people’s lives. Also, as most items are handmade, it creates that feeling of directness, and you can feel the history in each product. Each product of ours has a history, not just anonymous.


What inspired you to set up Maison de Marrakech?

It was definitely love at first sight. I felt my passion and enthusiasm come alive the moment I stepped into the Medina of Marrakech.
Marrakech, to me, was very mysterious, rustic, elegant, simple, rich, colourful, bohemian, deep, new & old, so much diversity and depth. To me, it felt like, “I had found what I was looking for all my life”. Moroccan design/art/crafts, had every element I looked for in beauty, and gave me that peace of harmony & happiness in life. For me, looking at beauty is pleasing to the eyes, and being surrounded, living in that space, creates happiness. It’s exactly this blissful moment, this happiness and richness that I wanted to share with everyone. This is how I started my company. It’s simply to share what brought me happiness, and to visually share this with the world; as well as to help women feel absolutely beautiful and exotic about themselves, to encourage their self esteem, and to bring out their inner beauty.


As you were born in Japan, what attracted you to Marrakech?

Marrakech gave me every element I was looking for in beauty. Its richness, simplicity, complexity, colours, passion, harmony, and elegance was hard to resist. What’s really surprising is that, Marrakech (or Morocco in general) could have 2 completely different elements, but they blend so well together, eg.  rich, yet simple; passionate yet calming. I loved the Japanese traditional arts, and have seen much beauty around the world, but for me, Moroccan art gave me a feeling of ‘coming home’. This is what attracted me to Marrakech, and still does.


I love the Turquoise Leather Pouf – it’s gorgeous! What items are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?

Our popular items are definitely the ‘one size’ Marrakech Resort Kaftan series, the tan Moroccan poufs, and some more trendy kaftans we are creating such as the ‘zigzag Zahara kaftan’.

Out of all the outfits, accessories, beauty & boho interior products in your collection, do you have any favourites?

I must say, I do agree with my clients, in that my favourite will be the same as my customers: the one size Marrakech kaftans, our new boho style kaftans & the Moroccan leather poufs.


Your travels around the world have left you with a profound appreciation of arts & culture – this is evident through your love of Marrakech. So, what place is now on the top of your travel bucket list?

I love travelling to places where the ambience is beautiful and peaceful – somewhere you could have gone 100 years ago and would have still been the same as today. For this reason, I’d love to travel to places like: Florence in Italy and Rajasthan in India.

Your shop specialises in promoting Bohemian lifestyles – which famous lady and man would you love to see as the “faces” of Maison de Marrakech?

It would have to be a type of person who has the gorgeous exotic look that could pull off a simple kaftan and make it look absolutely stunning, and also lives a kind of bohemian lifestyle: Kate Moss.


Looking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2016, what new items will you be introducing?

AW2016 will be quite exciting for us, as we will be creating new boho-style Moro inspired jackets, and create a new look, where we’ll be creating new tunics, that you can layer with a turtle neck, or with any winter clothing. We will also introduce more of the accessories, bags and Beni Ouirain types of rugs to keep your home nice and cosy for the coming winter season.

As you are based in London (& Morocco), are your products available to purchase overseas?

Yes, we are an online based company. All products could be purchased via online , shipped to anywhere around the world.

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

I do incorporate a bit of the trend, customers taste, but I always am loyal to what I believe and use the Moro traditional charm as my base of design.


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

I used to wear only high heels from Karen Miller, Anne Klein and Jimmy Choo, but now with raising children and juggling work, I tend to wear sandals from Tory Burch (they do have beautiful elegant sandals!)

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

Yes. I love the boho vibe of Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie.

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

I’d love to get one of those gladiator sandals, they look fab and bring a flair of glamour to any outfit but especially with short skirts/shorts. Or a pair of tan boots (with heels ). I would also love a golden bling Jimmy Choo type of party high heels, just to keep myself feeling feminine!

Boots or Shoes?

Boots are always great for a walk in the woods or for picking up kids –  you could wear them anytime, anywhere (except for holiday beaches). You just pop them on, and they’re so practical. So, I love boots!

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

You can find us on :

Thank you Reina for chatting on the blog today and I absolutely adore your products – oh the colours!  I love your travel ideas of going to  places virtually untouched by the modern world…. I visited once a village called Greffeil in  the foothills of the French Pyrenees … some houses still had hay in the basement/ground floor to house their goats overnight, the goat herders still shepherded as they had always done for years … It was like stepping back 100 years.  Have any of you, dear readers, visited places that have remained virtually unchanged? Do tell, I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Reina Hagen – Cherquaoui / Maison De Marrakech

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An Interview With Pure Tatts

Noticing a lack of originality in the tattoo fashion industry, my guest this week – Jason Alabaster, co -founder of Pure Tatts – made it a mission to create intricate and unique tattoo fashion.  Introducing white fashion tattoos as an alternative to standard black is just one way “Pure Tatts” is making its mark…. I caught up with Jason recently to find out more…. hi Jason!…


Hi, my name is Jason Alabaster. I am the co-founder of Pure Tatts. I was born and raised in Memphis, TN. I played collegiate tennis at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL and graduated with a degree in Economics in 2014.

What was the inspiration behind setting up Pure Tatts?

The idea of Pure Tatts came about as my friend and I were just chatting one evening. We were browsing our Instagram feeds and came across some really amazing artists. We wanted to figure out a way to bring this art to life, and that is exactly what we did. Pure Tatts teams up with artists across the world by transforming visual art into wearable art in the form of temporary tattoos.


The white tattoo designs are stunning! How easy are the tattoos to apply?

Thank you! The tattoos are super easy to apply. They are applied with water just like the old school tattoos that you use to get in Cracker Jacks.

I love the “Dreamer” and “Free Spirit” tattoos. What’s the most popular tattoo design at the moment? What’s your favourite?

To be honest, it is almost impossible to designate one collection as the most popular. It is really interesting to see who buys which collection in relation to where they live. For instance, in the winter in the US, it is the summer in Australia and we saw more beach themed designs being ordered in Australia during this time. My personal favorite designs are the new designs that we are about to launch which are drawn by two artists named Christina Seng and Emily Deechaleune.


Have you always been interested in a career in the art/fashion world or did you have other aspirations whilst at school?

I was very lucky that I grew up in a family full of artists. My grandfather was a skilled oil painter who taught me how to paint at a young age, my mother is artistic in ways that I cannot even fathom, and my sister won awards for her artwork growing up as well. I was always fascinated in art but rarely had time to pursue it full time due to my tennis schedule. Luckily I was able to take several art classes in college. After I finished school I was inspired to create a business that revolves around art and was so excited when Pure Tatts came to life.

Why do you think body art & temporary tattoos have grown in global popularity?

I think that body art and temporary tattoos have grown so much is due to the fact that my  generation loves to find new ways to express themselves. Temporary tattoos have become so detailed and original that it is literally an art form.


Where can people buy your tattoos and are you able to ship outside the USA?

All of our tattoos are available online at as well as the stores listed on the retail section of our website. We do ship internationally!

Your company donates 10% of its proceeds to a carefully chosen charity each month. That’s commendable. How do you choose your featured charity? Have you any favourite charities or type of charities that you tend to favour?

We chose Sgt. Pepper’s Friends because I recently rescued my dog Koda from the kill shelter. This sweet puppy would have been killed if it were not rescued. We wanted to raise awareness to adopt and not shop as well as help raise money for Sgt. Pepper’s Friends.


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

During the you can find me in athletic shorts, a tee shirt, and tennis shoes. At night you will find me wearing boots, jeans, and a white t-shirt most likely. 🙂

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I am a big fan of Levi’s, Zara, and Asos.  I also have just launched my own clothing brand Vibrational Warrior so I am a bit biased to say that is one of my favorite shops as well! It is a clothing line inspired by High Vibe living. You can check it out at

Boots or Shoes?

I am a big fan of boots. I think they are just so cool to wear with jeans and a t-shirt. They pretty much make any outfit look twice as cool.

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

Great to talk to you Jason and I do so love the name of your clothing brand too  – Vibrational Warrior – it really flows off the tongue! The temporary tattoos are exquisite and being in white makes them stand out from the crowd.  My younger self probably would have sported one around my pierced navel, a sort of Celtic ring pattern – I do have a permanent tattoo on my lower back though.  Dear readers, do you have any permanent tattoos? If you were to wear one of these temporary white tattoos – what style & location on your body would you choose? I’d love to know your thoughts, so don’t be shy….

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Jason Alabaster & Pure Tatts.

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An Interview With Merrimaking

I’m feeling playful this week – and it is just as well as I’m going to be talking about clothes inspired by playful ideas! Grabbing attention at festivals from 2009 with their handmade animal hoods, my guest this week – Meg from Merrimaking – has since branched out to include a playful range of glittery jumpers, tropical bumbags and gender-free slogan t-shirts.  I caught up with Meg recently to find out more about this fun loving brand…. Hi Meg….

Hi, I’m Meg, co-founder of Merrimaking. I live in Brighton with my wife, 4 dogs and a hamster called Sally. And I love to rollerskate.

What inspired you to set up your clothing company, Merrimaking?

Being self employed and running a creative company was always going to suit me, but setting Merrimaking up was actually a bit of a happy accident! It was nearing the end of summer, Harri and I had just graduated and we really wanted to go to the Green Man Festival to see Bon Iver, but we’d spent the summer going to various festivals and we’d run out of money! At uni I’d been making Animal Hoods for parties and just generally life, and that summer at Secret Garden Party they started to get a lot of attention. Harri and I thought that if we made some extra, we could take them to sell them on site at the Green Man Festival and cover costs of being there plus a train home. So we made 30, cycled to Wales and we sold them all! They even had their on stage debut with Molotov Jukebox. So, with Bestival left to go, we decided to try it again… and then we started getting invited to make them at various events (including at the Tate, which was so exciting!). It wasn’t long before Selfridges bought 200, and then it really kicked off! What started as a label that hand-made faux fur Animal Hoods, Merrimaking now hosts an entire wardrobe of playful ideas.

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

I’ve always been making things, ever since I was young. I think my brain very much works in 3D, so creating pattern pieces, for example, comes quite naturally. My degree was in Fine Art, and my practice involved a lot of costume-making, and the hoods led on from that really… I’m very visual and I think looking back through photos, I experimented a lot with my clothing! Identity really interests me, and clothing plays a big part in that.


I love the cake sweatshirt and the woven patches! What styles are proving popular amongst your customers this season?

The ‘cake sweatshirt’ is one of my favourites! Popular this season… Watermelons have been selling well, the Cloud Jumpers/tees and the Bumbags too, and our ‘Over It’ Rainbow Beanies.

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

The hoods will always have their place, just because that’s where it all started. And obviously our ‘Dog Party’ sweatshirt because it features my 4 dogs! Saying that, I most often wear the ‘Cake’ sweatshirt, or the ‘Disco’.


Your brand is influenced by playful ideas and the festival scene – have you a favourite festival? If you could go to any festival anywhere in the world to get inspiration for a new collection, where would you go?

I grew up at festivals, and having revolved pretty much every summer of my life around them, I’m actually taking a year off! I know… though I did say this last year and then I found myself at Secret Garden Party! (…and I did go to Love Saves The Day festival a few weekends ago…). For inspiration… I’d probably hop between Dreamland in Margate, and Ocean Drive / Miami Beach. I watched The Birdcage recently and I loved it! All the architecture and the rollerskates and the queens!

Your clothes have already been worn by celebrities such as Ellie Goulding, Zoe Ball, Rizzle Kicks and Rob Da Bank. However, which famous lady/ gent would you love to see as the “face(s)” of Merrimaking?

I’ve always really liked Lily Allen, M.I.A and Sia, in fact I met Sia and gave her a hood, but in the end her drummer wore it. Still made my night though, it was one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen. Also, can I go back in time to the 90’s and say a spice girl?


Your Summer 2016 collection included the themes of clouds, glitter, fruit, and a clear love of pastels. Looking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2016 – will you be adding more styles and/or colours?

The short answer is yes! I’ve lots in the pipeline…. but whether I can wait to launch them in Autumn is another question! I get excited once they’re complete, and I really want to put them out there! I can never force myself to come up with new work, so I have to seize the moment when I’m feeling inspired, meaning I create new collections on a very adhoc basis and they’re often very current. Fortunately, because all of our pieces are made in the UK, and mostly made/assembled by us, it does mean that once we have a new design, it can be finalised and added to our website within just a few weeks (sometimes even less). This isn’t very helpful when press releases often need to be sent out 6 months in advance!

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

Yes absolutely! I love sending our pieces far and wide. For the first few years we plotted on a map each time we sent a parcel to a new country, and we’ve spread ourselves pretty far now 🙂


When designing and making 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 design pieces that either I, or a specific couple of my friends would want to wear. I never sit and trawl through the internet, or look at fashion forecasting, it never holds my attention. My own personal interests come into it hugely, I’m noticing that the clothes I’m drawn to are increasingly more camp and I’m enjoying exploring that through Merrimaking. If a design goes down really well, I try to give our audience more of what they like by creating variations or working with the same theme.

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

Right now I’m wearing leggings, a t-shirt with a high neck and a ridiculously good pendant that Harri made me, which features my dogs Tomboy and Dexter!I have this pink fluffy bomber jacket that I made out of a huge teddy bear, it has a dogs head instead of a hood and I literally love wearing it! But that one only comes out for flamboyant occasions… and when I can be bothered to spend the evening being stroked by passers by!


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

I struggle with Etsy as I can’t quite shake-off finding it a bit too craft-based and ‘twee’ over all, but I’m starting to find it more exciting and there are some really great finds on there by amazingly talented, independent designers! I shop in American Apparel a lot too. I love that you can tell one of their pieces a mile off, but it’s never smothered in their logo. I’m not always opposed to brands,for instance,  I love the three stripes on Adidas Originals!

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

I have fallen completely in love with an Alexander Mcqueen fur-trimmed bomber jacket, but it’s real fur and I won’t go anywhere near real fur. I’m so gutted though!

Boots or Shoes? 

… do Rollerboots count? 🙂 I otherwise only ever wear trainers. Even wore them on my wedding day with my dress!

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






Thank you Meg for chatting to us on the blog today and I really do love your fun attitude!  So dear readers, a bit of a fun question for you – Meg does a variety of animal hoods but if she did a hood of an animal or other mythical creature that depicts you, your personality or just your favourite beast – what would it be?  I love the book, The Girl  With A Dragon Tattoo – I wanted a dragon tattoo but have got a sort of lightening bird pattern instead – so I would pick a dragon 🙂 I look forward to finding out what beasts you all are!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Merrimaking.

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White Sorrow

This week’s guest has an amazing tale to tell – of one woman’s mistake, downfall, abuse and subsequent strength.  My guest is the lovely Andrea Aviet, author of the book “White Sorrow”  … her story about domestic violence, emotional and mental abuse, starvation and what amounts to modern day slavery …  Andrea has published her book and spoken out  in an effort to motivate women stuck in similar positions to get out and to get their lives back on track. I caught up with this brave lady recently to talk about her book and her life now…. Hi Andrea….


Hi! I am Andrea Aviet, I am 34, a mum to two girls and have written a book called White Sorrow.

“White Sorrow” is a true story of 5 years abuse you endured at the hands of your 20 stone husband & his family. What inspired you to open up and write about your experience?

I felt I must have endured the nightmare for a reason and wanted to make something positive out of it – I thought if I could inspire others to understand that domestic abuse of any form is not right, and should not be endured, then I would have put my nightmare to good use.

It must have been quite an emotional rollercoaster to write about your experiences – from being estranged from your own kin, forced into sexual encounters, suffering from emotional & physical abuse. What was the hardest part, you feel, about recalling/writing your experiences?

Writing the bits about my children. When recalling those parts of the books, even from being pregnant the first time, it often reduced me to tears. Even now I can’t read out the parts about my children without cracking a little. I recently did a reading that was being recorded for a video, and I had to stop, regroup and start again  – I was so overtaken by emotion.

Your subsequent strength shown after managing to leave your abusive relationship behind is commendable – managing to take control of your own life and making sure your two daughters are having a life filled with hobbies, laughter & love. What advice would you be giving to your own daughters when they grow up and have relationships of their own?

Have your eyes open. Don’t get swept along by romantic notion. Always have some financial independence. And if at any point you aren’t being treated right, get out.

You travelled the world a lot as a child – including time spent in India. What country impressed you most? What place is number one on your travel bucket list?

I absolutely love Australia – it was where I wanted to go when I met Mark and married him instead of going. That is still on my bucket list. I also recently visited the North East of England on business. I am determined to take my children there for a family holiday now as the coast is so beautiful.

As a child what books did you enjoy reading? What genre of books do you enjoy reading now?

I loved reading as a child and still do. I would read anything. I then studied political science at university so my reading was around my studies. Now I read good books, with strong stories. And novels, but only when I get chance around working, promoting my book and being a single mum.


Hypothethically speaking, if “White Sorrow” was made into a film, which actress would portray you?

I would love to play myself to be honest – not because I aspire to be an actress but because it is about me. I think a young, dark haired actress would be good….someone like Selena Gomez. She would be good because she would act well but she would also appeal to younger generations and they would heed the warnings the book talks about.

The charity Refuge is close to your heart and you have spent a lot of time fund raising. There are many ways to fund raise -what is the wackiest fundraiser idea you’ve come across? Have you any favourite fundraising ideas?

To be honest my fundraising will all be done through book sales. I read about people doing crazy things all the time, and whilst I admire them, that is just not me! I wouldn’t want to ski down a mountain in a bikini or jump out of a plane. I have survived my own challenge already and am happy just donating proceeds.

Is your book, “White Sorrow”, available to purchase worldwide?

Yes, online. It is available on Amazon and other platforms.

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

I usually wear smart casual. Maybe jeans or leggings but with nice tops and jackets. Things that go from day into night, but that I am comfortable in for travelling or playing with my children. I usually wear boots but sandals come out in the summer. I am only small so heels are good, but I can’t walk far in them!!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Not really. For so long I didn’t have a disposable income or even money for food, so fashion took a backseat. I wore hand me downs that didn’t fit. Previous to my marriage I wore a lot of designer clothing and good makes of shoes. I don’t think I have quite got the bug back yet, and am too busy promoting the book and looking after my kids to do much personal shopping!

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

I want to take my children on holiday, and the summer seems to be coming, so I will be investing in a sun wardrobe!

Boots or Shoes? 

Boots – I don’t drive so I walk a lot. Boots just protect your feet more, are more comfortable and practical yet can look stylish and trendy.

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

My website is and you can find me on

Thank you so much for coming on the blog and telling us about your book and life.  Your book has a powerful message – whether male or female – domestic abuse of this nature is just unacceptable.  I wish you every success with your book, and all the best in life from now on.  

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Andrea Aviet.

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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…


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.

question and motivational phrases

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”.

sol y playa

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:


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….


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.   


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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