Category Archives: Interview

Interview: True Business School

Head or Heart? When it comes to business, things tend to orientate around the head and gut with decisions made from the heart often dismissed as being over-emotional. However, founder of True Business School Kat Byles disagrees – she feels that following your heart within your business can transform your success. I caught up with Kat recently to find out more …. Hi Kat and welcome…

Hello I’m Kat, founder of the True Business School for creative leaders, entrepreneurs, teachers, healers, artists who want to do business differently – business aligned with Source, your purpose and creativity, because this creates a happier, healthier, wealthier life, business and world. A few years ago, I followed my heart to the Caribbean Island of Antigua from Bath in the UK, and it has now become a home, in a village on the beach, with the sea as divine inspiration. 

What was the inspiration behind the setting up of the True Business School?

As a global communications director working with the biggest names in Sport I burnt out. I left with a desire to fulfil my purpose, make a contribution AND enjoy wellness, and time with my family and friends. 

My intuition guided me to Antigua, for a holiday or so I thought and, on the last day, I heard the words loud and clear: ‘You are not done. You need to come back for a month and float in this sea every day.’ I listened and went back 5 weeks later, walked barefoot on the sand, ate mangoes from the tree and floated in the sea every day. Nature restored my wellness and then began to feed me with inspiration. 

While swimming I clearly saw the True Business model in my mind’s eye – blending Source energy with the practical business structure – to create a business that is a full expression of who you are and what you came here for. The Caribbean Sea was the divine inspiration. 

What are the main differences between your approach to business and traditional business ideas? 

True Business leads with your creative spirit and orientates around the heart to fulfil your purpose and creative expression. 

Traditional business leads with profit and orientates around the head and gut, fulfilling shareholder returns. The heart is typically dismissed as airy-fairy, woo-woo, over-emotional, misguided, dangerous, weak. It is none of these things. 

The heart transcends the egoic mind, power struggles and agendas bringing connection, inspiration, vitality and wellness. The heart opens us to our higher nature of wisdom, compassion, understanding; into deep listening, intuition, receptivity and appreciation, which creates different outcomes. The heart liberates our true self, purpose, creativity, contribution and legacy. The heart is also a gateway to Source, universal energy and a world of possibility. 

By following the wisdom of our heart, we direct our energy and resources towards business structures that are expansive and yet regenerate and support flourishing and wellness. We create deep, authentic relationships. My experience is that the heart is deeply transformative and we build businesses more in harmony with our true nature, in harmony with the earth. 

You do run a business retreat in Antigua.  I know Antigua is a beautiful island, but why did you decide to base your school retreat in Antigua? 

My intuition guided me here. It’s the perfect place to immerse in nature, relax and receive pure source inspiration. It’s also relatively easy to reach with a relaxed, go-with-the-flow vibe. 

So, as we are talking Antigua, what would budding business entrepreneurs expect from your retreat if they attended ?

The space and time to relax, let go, and reconnect with Source, universal energy that delights in creating and dive deeply into your heart to explore what you are called to create now in your business – when we let the creative lead it is full of vitality, expansion and growth, personally and professionally. The retreat is guided by the needs of the people there but can include morning meditations, swimming in secluded bays, creative immersion sessions on shady beaches, walks to hilltops and sea horizons, yoga, kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding, massages, supporting local businesses and immersing in the natural local environment. 

Apart from your retreat in Antigua, can you give us some details about the courses offered online?

PR with Heart is an online course to grow your audience, visibility and impact for a thriving business and world.

Your True Business is an online course to align with Source, your purpose and creativity for a happier, healthier, wealthier business and world.

The Creative Leader is a year-long program for established business leaders to amplify their impact and visibility, leading transformation from the heart.

I also work one-to-one with a few clients each year via Zoom and in person in Antigua. 

As you have had vast experience working with entrepreneurs, pioneers and global brand, what projects gave you a real buzz? 

So many!

I love seeing creative and spiritual entrepreneurs, leaders, teachers, healers, artists, writers and coaches arrive at PR with Heart, daunted by visibility, frozen by overwhelm, repelled by marketing and then, after just 6 weeks, opening up to inspiration, flow and a simple structure that allows them to fulfil their purpose, make a contribution and an income with joy and ease. Witnessing this transformation, the creativityand inspiration will never get old. 

A shout out to the Homeless World Cup because of the transformation it created in the lives of people who were homeless coming off drugs and alcohol, reuniting with families, finding homes, setting up businesses, becoming leaders in their community. And for the magic we created, the people it attracted, the countries we visited, the magnitude of it. I got to work with high calibre creatives at Nike, UEFA, international film makers, media, designers and event producers. 

Commissioning a documentary narrated by Colin Farrell that made it to Sundance Film Festival and commissioning a feature film that, 14 years later, has just been made for Netflix, creating magical events with the likes of Desmond Tutu, Eric Cantona, Lewis Hamilton were highlights. But I’m always left with the memory of a man in Chile who had spent 8 years living in a doorway taking drugs, now standing in the doorway of his home next to his pregnant wife, telling his story to national TV, as a leader of the football program inspiring other homeless people off the streets. Powerful. This was also the burn out project! But it inspired me to a new experience of being in business and life in Antigua.

 In general, what reasons do your “students” give for wanting to learn or improve their business strategy and find their calling by following their heart when it comes to business?

They have a sense of, or are already connected, to a higher calling, a desire to express their creative potential, and make a contribution. They are not primarily motivated by the sport of profit-making, are repelled by greed, corruption, destruction of the environment excused as ‘just business’ and may have experienced burn out. They are also repelled and overwhelmed by pushy, sales, formulaic traditional marketing as a betrayal of their integrity and authenticity. 
So, they are looking for a different way to be in business, a new pathway. They want a business that fulfils their purpose, makes a contribution, provides them with a great income, plenty of time and space to be with their family and to be creative, and enjoy a life they love. True Business does that – by listening to your heart, you create a business that builds a structure that meets all your needs for a prosperous life. 

 As a child, what was your dream career?

I always felt I’d make a contribution to business but never had an idea of a particular career. Guidance at school was unimaginative nonsense with options of being an accountant, doctor, accountant, lawyer or a teacher. I still remember a careers test that recommended a career as a car park attendant or prison officer.

I grew up on a cul-de-sac where all the kids played on the street together. We organised dance performances and fetes that brought all the kids, parents, grandparents together. We loved organising it all, making up different stalls, drawing up the signage and promotional leaflets. My 10-year-old niece is doing it now – last year it was a cake business, this year it’s a jewellery business. And I love this creativity and life experience as a kid that blends into a business as an adult.

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

Bikinis, shorts, the odd shirt to throw over, maxi dresses with beautiful prints and flip flops.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I love independent shops and online sites set up by people who are passionate about sourcing beautiful pieces and pay attention to sustainability like Tribe + Fable, established by Julia Watson. My Boutique in my Mum and Dad’s UK village in the UK, a family business is a wonderful part of the village community. And Portobello Boutique in English Harbour in Antigua run by Choy are my regulars

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

Bikinis – can’t get enough, mix and match.

Boots or Shoes?

Barefoot or flip flops!

Boots after a year of barefoot for the funny heavy clodhopping sensation!

For Pinning Later

Links you wish to share:

http://Katbyles.com

True-business-school.com

https://www.instagram.com/katbyles

What a picturesque place! Thank you for the chat Kat and long may the heart rule the Head!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Kat Byles.

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Waterbury Winter Book Tour

I’m so pleased to be part of the ”Waterbury Winter” book tour to celebrate the latest novel by author Linda Stewart Henley. Definitely a heart warming story that draws you in with its array of lovable characters – a story of friendship,and real life. This delightful story is a great book to pack in your holiday suitcase or download on your kindle to read whilst lying prone on the sunbed! I loved it!

BOOK SUMMARY

Barnaby Brown has had enough of freezing winters, insurmountable debt, a dead-end job, and his solitary life as a young widower with no one but his beloved parrot Popsicle. He yearns to move to California and reawaken his long-lost early life as an artist. But new troubles come in threes. His ancient car crashes into a snowbank. Popsicle escapes through a window carelessly left open. 

A New York gallery owner offers to represent Barnaby’s paintings—but is he on the up-and-up? All of it serves to shock Barnaby into confronting how low he has sunk, and he vows—again and again—to change. He has a few obstacles, starting with his heavy drinking and long-term neglect of his ancestral home. As he takes steps toward a better life, he re-discovers the value of old friendships and latent talents seen in new light, and finds the courage to consider a second chance at love. Rejoining the mainstream of life presents several startling mysteries he must unravel, with a few mortifying but enlightening stumbles.

A heart-warming novel about ordinary people reclaiming their dormant potential, Waterbury Winter celebrates the restorative value of art and the joy to be found in keeping promises.

Find out more about Waterbury Winter by visiting GoodReads or the author’s website. You can also purchase it on AmazonBarnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org.

MY INTERVIEW

It is with great pleasure to welcome Linda Stewart Henley onto the blog! Hi Linda!

Hello 😊 I’m Linda Stewart Henley , author of Estelle: A Novel. (Among other honors, it won Silver in the Independent Publisher Book Awards for Historical Fiction and was a finalist for The Eric Hoffer Book Awards as well as for the 2021 Nancy Pearl Award). Waterbury Winter is my second novel. I live in Anacortes, Washington, with my husband.

I’m an English-born American and I choose settings for my novels in places I have lived. These include New Orleans (Estelle) and Connecticut (Waterbury Winter)

Who or what inspired you to write “Waterbury Winter”?

During  a visit to see family for Christmas one year in a snowy part of the country, my husband and I stopped by a drugstore. It was December 26th. We were the only people in the store except for the cashier at the checkout counter.  He asked us how our Christmas was. Fine, we said, and asked him the same question. “Well, I was here, and my car broke down.” That man, unknown to him, became the model for Barnaby Brown, a lonely man who doesn’t celebrate Christmas and whose car breaks down.

I really enjoyed reading your book, “Waterbury Winter ” and I particularly enjoyed the characters of Barnaby, Julia, Lisa & Sean. What character did you particularly enjoy writing about? What character was the hardest to portray?

Julia was the hardest. I had to make her relationship with Barnaby believable. I think it worked because they were both lost, haunted by their past, and stuck when they met.

Researching for your novel must have been quite interesting…for example, the brass button collections, the social work aspect, ice fishing … did you discover anything that shocked you or uncover some nugget of information that was unexpected? 

I didn’t know anything about Waterbury when I started the novel, so yes, everything surprised me. More about that in the next question.

The novel is based in New England and yet you live across the continent in Washington State. What made you pick that location for the novel?  

I wanted a location that had seen better days, just like Barnaby. Waterbury seemed right because its once famous brass industry had disappeared. It seemed like the perfect setting for the story of a man who struggles to redeem himself.

Growing up, did you envisage yourself as a writer or did you have other career aspirations?

I never saw myself as a writer until my first novel was accepted for publication in 2020. Until then, I was just playing with words, trying to learn how to write fiction. I spent my entire career working as an administrator at institutions of higher education.

Is “Waterbury Winter ” available to purchase worldwide?

I’m not sure if it’s available worldwide, but it’s for sale through Amazon in the USA, Canada, Europe, and the UK.

If you could visit any place in the world to inspire your next novel, where would you go and why? 

My next novel is set in the UK at the start of WWII. I’d love to go there to confirm that I’ve accurately represented the places I write about there. I haven’t lived in England since I was sixteen. 

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

I’m not working, and most people in my part of Washington State prefer casual clothes. The rainy climate doesn’t allow for stylish shoes and many people enjoy hiking. So we wear a lot of hiking gear, even when we’re not on the trail. Having spent time in the Southern United States, where people tend to dress up more, I sometimes wish we had opportunities to wear more interesting clothes. I do have a few nice dresses, mostly summer ones. 

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I miss the big department stores like Nordstrom’s. I like clothing boutiques, places where the sales people want to help you find suitable clothes. The personal service is much more fun for me than online shopping. 

Boots or Shoes?

Both! I can’t imagine wearing street shoes in the mud and snow. I had to learn about this. When I first moved to Washington, I went on a hike in the Cascade Mountains. It was early spring, and the creeks were overflowing. It was impossible to keep to the trail without wading through the water. I wore hiking boots that I’d bought in California, and they weren’t waterproof. I walked all day with wet feet. After that, I went to REI and bought a sturdy pair of waterproof boots. 

For Pinning Later

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc

              www.lindastewarthenleyauthor.com

              www.facebook.com/lindastewarthenley

THE BOOK TOUR DATES

Great to chat to you Linda! Thank you so much for the advance copy of your book and inviting me onto your book tour! I’ve had a blast!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Linda Stewart Henley.

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Interview: Brit Punk Artist Mark Sloper

My guest on the blog this week is Brit Punk Artist, Mark Sloper, whose artwork is collected by celebrities such as Sir Elton John, Sting, Boy George and Sex Pistol drummer Paul Cook, to name but a few. Probably most famous for his image of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with blue hair, nose ring and tattoo; Mark’s new collection is based on antique flags of the world that played a part in military history. The new launch has been dedicated to the people of Ukraine facing the horrors of war with a warning that history can so easily repeat itself. I caught up with Mark to find out about his new art collection and about his love with punk too…. Hi Mark!

I’m Mark, illuminati, I’m a punk artist that uses fine art techniques. I like to use neon to finish my pieces. I’m Cornish by birth, from a long line of artists, I’m now based in Shepherds Bush, where the almighty Sex Pistols hail from.

After a career as a cameraman, director of photography for bands, documentary maker; what inspired you to become a Brit Punk artist at the age of 45?

I was always good at art – I went to art school in Sheffield, but having grown up skint in a council house, I thought that art would continue my life of nothingness, so I did extra studies in TV and fell into the BBC in my 20s and never really left. When I got to my 40s, I thought is that it?? So I learnt to fly a helicopter and took up art seriously overnight. I overload everything!

You celebrate the punk era & lifestyle  – what is it about punk that inspires you?

I got into punk at 12 years old and ran away from home with the then punk band Adam and the Ants. I still wear Westwood clothes, still see bands live and have never changed. I still have a questioning punk attitude which many find aggressive, but we grew up angry. I’ve had to kick down a lot of doors to keep a roof over my head

Your latest art collection is based on antique flags of the world that played a part in military history. What is the history and inspiration behind this collection?

I didn’t have parents as a kid, my grandad dragged me up. He incessantly rattled on about the war, jumping out of planes and killing the enemy with his bare hands. He was a champion bare knuckle prize fighter and a huge bear of a man. He would get out all his flags on royal occasions and the damp smell and raggedy feel of them has stayed with me. In my new flag collection, I’ve sourced flags from the Dunkirk rescue, French partisan freedom fighter flags, Italian fascist flags, WW1 German trench flags and some Victorian suffragettes flags. A whole load of history brought back to life.

You are probably most famous for the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II with a nose ring, blue hair and a tattoo! But do you have a particular favourite image that you have created?

I love “queen in residence”. I have one at home, they’re really special 1900s royal palace flags that are up when queenie is at home.

Your paintings are collected by many famous celebrities, and I am sure you have met many famous celebrities through your work as a cameraman, band photographer and documentary maker. Have you ever been starstruck or in awe of a celebrity?  If so, who?

Frank Sinatra. I spent a week backstage with him at the Albert Hall. He said I was a stupid punk and over the week tried to change me into a worldly gentleman. Didn’t work!


Do you paint in situ or do you take photos and illustrate from there?

Everything is from my imagination.

There are obviously topics that you can paint very well but is there anything that you find really difficult to depict?

Nope, there’s a technique to cover all aspects of art, however, you won’t find me painting animals, landscapes or the flipping sea!

Mark with Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook

Have you always wanted to be an artist or did your career aspirations lay elsewhere?

Its always been in the back of my mind, but you need a lifetime of experience to get out what’s in your head, to translate it into art.

When you are not painting, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I love Soho, I love good restaurants and great wines. I’m lucky to have a beach shack in Spain so you’ll find me there a lot. I’m a mad keen biker so I love tearing around on my Triumph.

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

I’m head to toe in Vivienne Westwood and have been since I was 12! I also wear Lewis Leathers jackets and for special occasions I wear bespoke Mark Powell suits – he calls me the punk soho mp

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Yes, Mark Powell on Carnaby St, and Lewis Leathers on Goodge Street.

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

Anything from Westwood new collections, the clothes fit me perfectly and make me look smart.

Boots or Shoes?

Always boots, just bought a third pair of Grensons, really comfy and hardwearing. Everything I own doesn’t last long as it gets covered in paint.

For Pinning Later

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc 

@mark_illuminati.  Insta

Brill to talk to you Mark – my personal favourite is the Sid Vicious painting ( the one I used as the Pinterest photo). 😊

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Mark Sloper.



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An Interview With WAySTEaD

All the way from Japan, my guest this week is Japanese photographer, Hideyuki Hayashi, and designer/founder of Japanese fashion label WAySTEaD. By upcycling hot air balloons, seatbelts, air bags and plastic bottles into trendy coats, jackets and t – shirts, Hideyuki’s mission is to transform waste all over the world into treasures through fashion design. Hi Hideyuki and welcome 😊

Hello. This is Hideyuki Hayashi, the director of WAySTEaD and photographer from Tokyo, Japan.

What inspired the launch of WAySTEaD?

Firstly I launched my own small web media called TELLERS which represents the mixture of journalism and creativity. But I noticed that it was really tough to make profit out of it and will take quite long time to make it happen. So I decided to run another small business that related to the concept of media as a part of it. Since the concept of the media is something related to social issues and my background is fashion (my first career was as a fashion stylist) so the idea of up-cycling fashion popped up into my mind.

Have you always had an interest in fashion designing or did you have other career plans whilst growing up?

My first career was as a fashion stylist for around 10 years. Then I became a photographer but I kept my passion for fashion by taking fashion photos mainly. But I never imagined that I would be launching my own fashion label at that point.

I’m interested in your brand name – WAySTEaD – why did you specifically pick that name? Were there any other contenders?

The word is a mixture of Wasted and Way and Stead. I really can’t remember the process to deciding the brand name, but I do remember that I didn’t want to make it that clean and beautiful, so I decided to use the word “Waste”. I’m quite an intuitive person and the idea came suddenly and I decided to go with it quickly so I guess there weren’t other contenders.

I love the ideas of upcycling Hot Air Balloons, seatbelts, airbags and plastic bottles into wearable items!  How difficult is it to upcycle these products ready to wear as clothing?  What processes are involved?

It was absolutely tough to make it happen. There are lots of brands that make bags or shoes and other accessories, but making clothing is completely different. Basically these materials are really hard to be transformed. Sometimes they are stiff and unprintable. And clothing is basically composed of very complicated patterns (especially our brand’s one is crazy). So it was like sewing complicated clothing using leather bag machines. Also, they are not organised in rolls like ordinary fabrics sold in stores so it’s not suitable for mass production and it’s more like the couture process. So, some people might think that the price of our products is not reasonable but actually our cost ratio is higher than ordinary fashion labels.


Do you have a favourite item from your collection?

It is too hard to select which is my favourite, which is like selecting my favourite out of my kids. All of them were really hard to give birth to and I love all of them.

As you are based in Japan,  are your items available to purchase overseas?

Yes we are going to be taking pre-orders from international markets on our website soon. I also want to distribute them in retail stores overseas, so am looking for sales agency as well.

You are also a photographer. What or who inspired you to take up photography? What genre of photography do you prefer to indulge in?

I always been fascinated by fashion photography. I especially love producing and being inspired by something unseen. When I was working as a fashion stylist in Dubai, the owner of my rep, who was a photographer, suggested to me to start photography and lent me his camera. At that point I used to be working like creative director rather than stylist, so he thought that it would be better that I utilised my perspective into photography directly.

If you could visit any place in the world to do a photography shoot, where would you go and why?

I don’t have a certain place that I want to visit taking photos at this moment, but I guess I want nature to play a part.


WAySTEaD’s mission is to transform waste all over the world into treasures through fashion design. So, you already have upcycled hot air balloons, seatbelts, airbags and plastic bottles –  what other items do you hope to upcycle in the future?

Yes, I think I need to keep finding other wasted materials and creating new products. Now I’m trying to develop new stuff with LAN cables that has been carved out in production and more ideas to come. But the most crucial thing at this point is selling the products that I’ve already produced because inventing new products costs a lot and is time consuming.

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

I mostly wear vintage or second hand clothing these days. I used to wear only black outfits before, but after I started to tackle this project, I found the joy of wearing colour, logos and graphics.

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

Not really, currently. I find American vintage stuff on ebay sometimes. I found an amazing Jeff Hamilton stadium jacket with a Mountain Dew logo patch on there recently.

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

Vintage painter pants which are incredibly wide.

Boots or Shoes?

I used to be pretty much a boots person, but now I’m shoes person for these last few years. Simply because when I moved to Dubai, boots were too hot (I’ve still put on boots sometimes though).

For Pinning Later

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

https://way-stead.com/

https://www.instagram.com/waystead_official/

https://www.hideyukihayashi.com/

https://www.teller-s.com/

Thank you Hideyuki !


Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Hideyuki Hayashi

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An Interview With The Mindful Baker

Do you find baking or cooking in general therapeutic? Did you find solace in baking during the covid lockdown periods? Then you will be interested in my guest this week – Tim Leach is The Mindful Baker and his company teaches mindfulness through the art of baking! Yes, that’s what I said – he teaches meditation techniques as well as how to bake artisan sourdough bread and pizza. Hi Tim and welcome!

Hi! I’m Tim Leach and I am a mindful baker. I teach people life skills through the art of baking by utilising the process of baking sourdough with mindfulness.

What made you decide to launch “The Mindful Baker”?

I  had decided to get into mindfulness and consequently qualified as a teacher in order to spread the word of it but I found that people, in general, unless they specifically want to learn about it,  don’t have much interest in just learning about mindfulness because they assume it’s very wishy washy and don’t want to get bogged down by meditating and breathing in sweet nothings, so don’t really want to get know much about it. It’s not at all like that but that’s certainly what I used to think so I don’t blame anyone else for thinking the same way. Anyway, a few years ago I had a Christmas party and my cousin brought along a loaf of sourdough. I was delighted to not be given a bottle of cheap wine and said that I would love to learn how to bake it. I eventually learned and then saw a correlation between baking sourdough and mindfulness. It wasn’t an instant thing but over time I developed it into a class and then started giving free classes to neighbours when I lived in London. It grew from there. 

Talk me through a typical workshop – what would I expect?

There are a set number of stages that need to be carried out to create a loaf of sourdough, and in between each one, which I call ‘down time’ I explain the correlations between what is happening to the bread and how by following a similar method within your own life, you can start to see it making a difference. I also use these times to explain the concept of mindfulness, give techniques to help people integrate it into their lives; along with my life story and case studies, all the while making it easier for them to understand through the tangible process of baking. 

What level of cookery skill would you need to attend a workshop?

None at all, I teach total beginners to pros who want to learn about mindfulness.

What is it about your job as the Mindful Baker do you enjoy or gives you the most satisfaction? The downside?

I love seeing people’s joy when they create bread. I love seeing the ‘aha’ moments in people’s eyes when I explain how something so simple could revolutionise their lives. I love hearing their life stories and I love explaining how I got into it and the shit I went through before being where I am now. The downside is the process of finding new clients which will hopefully get easier over time.

You also hold pizza parties for children. What are the most popular toppings? Do you have a favourite topping?

Kids love pineapple which I do not agree with because pineapple is a sweet fruit which doesn’t belong on a pizza. Once they get over their weird topping ideas they generally love simple margaritas. Kids are easy to please with pizza. My favourite toppings would be chorizo and silly hot chilli, which my wife does not agree with but I love it.

Growing up, did you always want a  “People related” career or be a chef or did you want to pursue a completely different direction?

Yes, completely different. I studied Law at university and was going to become a city lawyer. After university I did a ski season before hitting the city and becoming, my then idea, rich and happy. Half way through the season, though, I skied off a cliff and tore my cruciate ligament, broke my back and my neck, shattered my ankle and hit my head so hard I was induced into a coma for 3 weeks. The recovery was very long and arduous which culminated in me hitting my lowest ever point where I was left with the decision to either let it cripple me or to rise above it. I obviously chose to rise above it and after many years of trial and error, I am finally where I want to be. I have since written a book about my life and how I managed to get myself back on track, up until I became the Mindful Baker, which is called ‘Timinology’. 

I know you are passionate about your baking – what is your favourite creation to make?

I actually made my first ever wedding cake the other day after someone messaged me to ask whether I, being a mindful baker, make them. I told her that I didn’t but I’d happily give it a go. She agreed and her wedding is today. Her reaction when she saw the cake was amazement – as was mine. I probably won’t continue with wedding cakes but my cooking love is for bbqing. I love sourcing the best meats and the best vegetables and then creating magic. Not forgetting my trusted sourdough bread to go with it.

Sometimes a recipe doesn’t go to plan – I made a cardamom cake that took me about 3 goes from scratch before it turned out perfect ! Have you tried to bake or cook anything that just didn’t go your way or that you avoid cooking?

The only issue I’ve ever had was with the wedding cake. I had to bake 6 different cakes of different sizes in order to make the tiers – the first one was fine and then the second one just completely deflated and then split apart leaking a load of uncooked cake mixture everywhere. It was very demoralizing but it actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it made me vigilantly keep checking the cooking times of every cake after that and making sure they were perfect before allowing them to rest. A technique that I would have garnered from my mindful baking classes which otherwise would have seen me throwing it away and quitting; lucky I didn’t do that.  

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

Before I set up the mindful baker I launched another company designing (telling someone what I wanted ) and manufacturing shirts. They were for men and women and were city/casual shirts – something you can wear to the office or just in the countryside. Anyway, I have a lot of shirts now so you will very rarely not see me wearing one of my own shirts. I then normally wear them with jeans, a jumper, a gilet (when it’s cold) and my trusted RM Williams riding boots. 

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I hate shopping – my wife knows what I wear so when she thinks I need something new she orders it for me online. I hate any sort of label so if it’s labelled I won’t wear it. Nobody knows what RM WIlliams is (unless you’re in Australia) and it’s also of incredible quality so my last pair lasted me 15 years.

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

No more shoes for 10 years or so (unless they’re running shoes as I am an avid runner of which I only buy a brand (again noone has ever heard of) called HOKA, which I only wear because I wasn’t able to run for 10 years after the accident until I found these shoes which transformed my life)

Boots or Shoes?

Boots because that is what my RM Williams are and they will last a long time.

For Pinning Later

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc.

www.themindfulbaker.com  

facebook.com/timthemindfulbaker.

youtube tim – the mindful baker.

Instagram @tim_themindfulbaker

Here is a link for people to buy my book if they want to…. https://www.themindfulbaker.com/shop  

Thank you very much for chatting with us today Tim! What a fun business!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission from Tim (The Mindful Baker) apart from the Pinterest photo which is by Linda Hobden.


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Author Interview: Andreas F Clenow

What do you get when a Zurich -based financier/best selling investment guide author decides to write a novel? A thoroughly entertaining crime mystery set amongst the world of secretive private banks in Switzerland. A Most Private Bank is the debut novel by Andreas F Clenow, a fictional story but one based on a world that does exist – the world of financial empires, rich kids, private banks and criminal empires. The novel oozes charisma, mystery, seduction, romance and enough twists and turns to keep you hooked. The characters you can visualise in your mind … Sandra (the faithful secretary/lifesaver); Jim Dixon – the middle aged dealmaker with a fallen past; Christina Rosenbaum – the young , rich, stunning & flirtatious client; …. the sidekick, police officer, spy, bank manager, gun slingers… Oh, and Jim’s knowledge and addiction to the finest Swiss watches. Add a pinch of passion. Definitely fast paced, definitely page turning and in a setting that gives it that added wow factor. Highly recommended.

I caught up with author Andreas F Clenow to find out more about his writing, his finance career and ….cows! Hi Andreas!

Hi Linda, and thank you for having me! I am quite possibly the only Swiss financier in the world who can brag about having grown up in a place with the tourist slogan “Cow Densest Town of Sweden.” I left my native country some twenty years ago after going on a business trip to Geneva that turned out to be a little longer than planned. Rather than going back North, I found a wife, moved to Zurich, founded a hedge fund, got a son and bought a house. It’s been an interesting ride.

“A Most Private Bank” is your debut novel – a fictional crime mystery set among the world of secretive private banks.   What inspired you to write a novel ? 

I have wanted to write a novel for decades but I wasn’t sure if I had anything really interesting to say.  I believe that, at least for most of us, it takes life experience to craft a vivid world and to tell a meaningful story. This story plays out in the secretive and amoral world of hidden money, a world that I know well, perhaps too well. 

We’re now all starting to get used to regular data leaks, again and again showing that so many banks and bankers are little more than highly paid grifters. I wanted to show my take on this, to tell stories from the inside without actually exposing real people to legal or physical danger. Most of all, myself.

And of course, now that finance, hedge funds and banks are getting a bad rep, and deservedly so, I thought perhaps we could get #notallhedgefundmanagers trending on twitter… 

You are a Zurich-based financier – so are your characters based on observations of people you’ve come across in the past and incidents you’ve experienced ? Who were the hardest characters to portray?

This was overall a very tough call. My book takes place in Zurich over a single week, and it involves only a handful of key characters. In reality, almost all people and scenes are based on real events, experienced by myself or people close to me. Of course, all characters are combined, based on multiple real people and the actual events involved far more people over a far longer time. My own role in these events vary just as widely. While my main character’s place is always front and centre, mine may have been anything from a key participant to an unwilling observer. 

It may be surprising to the readers of the book, but if anything, I have toned things down for the book. Sometimes reality simply isn’t believable. 

The hardest character to write was without a doubt Christina. I believe that it’s always tricky for a man to write a female character, but even more so if you need a manipulative Femme Fatale who won’t hesitate to use any means available to get what she wants. As a man writing such a character, you’re walking a fine line and you take the risk of the reader mistaking your male characters’ misogyny for your own.  

Were there any aspects of writing your novel that surprised you, either by being harder or easier to write about than you expected (considering you have written 3 non fiction books) ? 

Writing a work of fiction was orders of magnitude harder than writing finance books. At the same time, it was also far more fun.

What truly surprised me though was the publishing process. My first three books, all non-fiction, have hit all the top of the best-seller lists, achieved sales ranks in the top one percent globally and got translated into eight languages. Non-fiction publishers from all over the world have called me to ask if I’m writing another and if they can have it. 

In the fiction space, nobody cares. Publishers don’t take calls from authors and after fifty requests, only twenty agents got back to me with a copy/pasted ‘no thanks’. The rest didn’t bother replying to emails or returning phone calls. A large number of literary agents, quite oddly, state on their websites that they don’t deal with people of my race or background. I found the process rather absurd, but thanks to my previous work and contacts I found a way of getting the book out there and making it a success anyhow. 

Hypothetically speaking, if “ A Most Private Bank” was made into a film, who would you love to see portraying the characters, especially Jim Dixon and Christina Rosenbaum? 

I thought Matthew McConaughey would make a good Jim! A cynical fallen hedge fund manager, hiding out in Europe and playing the big fish in a small pond. The amoral leading man, concealing his true feelings and motives from the readers and playing the game on his terms.

Do you think we could get away with Keira Knightley for Christina? I know, she’s a few years older than my character but I think she’d pull it off! Would you mind giving her a call for me, Linda?

Have you always wanted to have a career in the financial field or writing or did you have other aspirations? 

My first week at the University of Gothenburg I found myself sitting on a couch with a beer, a guy from the computer club and a girl from the trading club. They were both trying to recruit me as a new member. I’d like to say that I turned the trading club down, but the truth is that I applied to both and got rejected from that one. That’s probably why I started my first IT company, back in the mid 90s, before I started my first finance company.

I always enjoyed the intersection of finance and computers, which is why quant finance appealed to me. But if you’re asking about earlier days, I have a dirty confession. In my teens, I was a… politician. Don’t tell anyone.

 Are you a bookworm? What is your favourite genre and/or authors? Kindle or actual book? 

Absolutely! I carry my Kindle everywhere. When I was younger, I read only non-fiction. That flipped upside down some 15-20 years ago and now I devour fiction. In particular, I love the classic hard boiled masters, and I hope that shines through in my own work. Hammett and Chandler are of course at the top of my list.

I made the mistake of reading the brilliant World War Z by Max Brooks during the first wave of the pandemic. It’s such an amazing book, written with such realism, that I started to blur the real pandemic outside the door with the zombie pandemic that he crafted! 

Another author which gives me somewhat mixed feelings is Brett Easton Ellis, and in particular Less Than Zero. It’s the kind of book which makes me both impressed and depressed. The latter, because of the fact that he produced such a masterpiece at the age of 21 and that there is no way that I could ever learn to be that good if I had a hundred years.

 Is A Most Private Bank  available to purchase worldwide?

If you find a country where they don’t sell it, let me know!

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

I like to dress well, but prefer to mix styles for a bit of personal touch. At the moment, I’m wearing a grey pinstripe Ermenegildo Zegna jacket with a crimson pocket square, matching the short sleeve Boggi Milano polo of the same shade of crimson which I have on under it. 

At the risk of becoming a brand spokesperson, my blue jeans are also from Boggi Milano, secured by a brown spotted ostrich belt. The shoes are black On sneakers, the up and coming Swiss brand of comfortable sports footwear. A discrete steel Rolex Submariner on a black-and-silver NATO strap rounds off the picture.

For leaving the office, I have a black Hugo Boss overcoat, a grey cashmere baseball cap, naturally without any text or logo, and gold plated square aviators from Randolph Engineering.

For Pinning Later

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

In terms of fashion, I very much prefer the old brick and mortar experience. Perhaps that is at least in part due to not fitting the regular molds, and the difficulties of finding anything that fits off-the-rack. I have the nation’s most prolific shopping street right outside the office, but quite honestly I would rather take the car for an hour to the many excellent brand outlets in Switzerland and Germany. High fashion designer quality at half the price, what’s not to like!

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

Spring is approaching rapidly and a new pair of Bally loafers would be nice.

Boots or Shoes?

Unless I’m hiking the Alps, I’d go for shoes, either comfortable sneakers or oxfords. 

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc


My novel, A Most Private Bank is available here: https://smarturl.it/amostprivatebank And of course, you can read more about the book, and get in contact with me through my author website, https://www.clenow.com/.

All photographs are by Linda Hobden (apart from the author pic, published with kind permission of Andreas F Clenow).

My thanks to Andreas and to Ben Cameron of Cameron Publicity for the copy of ”A Most Private Bank” for review purposes.

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An Interview With Ace of Skunk Anansie

Design-led streetwear meets rock music this week on the blog as my guest is the uber talented Ace, guitarist with the UK rock band Skunk Anansie , who has just designed and launched his ”Muzzled” range of eco friendly streetwear on the new ethical marketplace, Beyond Bamboo. Hi Ace and welcome….

Hi! My name is Ace, I am the original founder member of Skunk Anansie, playing guitar and song writing for the past 28 years. I’m also an educator, author and entrepreneur. I have a love of illustration and graphic design, and a history of working with merchandising. 

People know you as Ace, the guitarist with UK rock band Skunk Anansie; so what inspired the launch of “Muzzled”, your new range of streetwear?

I was inspired by the fact that I’ve already been running the Skunk Anansie merchandising for the last 15 years, and I studied graphic design and art college when I was young, so decided to bring out my own brand that would display my own creativity and voice for fun. 

Music and graphic designing has shaped your working life, but did you have other career plans whilst growing up? 

From the attending of my first concert at the age 12, I acquired a strong and persistent desire to become a rock musician! I had no other career plans apart from wanting to go to art college and do art. I actually ended up doing graphic design at college and working in an art studio until I gave that up to become a professional musician. 

I’m interested in your brand name – Muzzled – why did you specifically pick that name? Were there any other contenders?

The name really came about from a conversation with one of my road crew when I was on tour thinking about a cool T-shirt brand… I can’t really remember the concept to be honest it just popped up out of the conversation! Then it was just about Googling it and seeing if it was already used. 

I love the Muzzled skull & serpents tee –  what items from your collection are proving most popular amongst your customers?

The Skull and serpents is based on my re-drawing interpretation of an old 14th century would cut that just seemed to catch my eye, as I am really into mediaeval history and iconography. Other popular T-shirts seem to be, the Swallow,  Sk8ter Dumbskull, Dead on Time and Tree of Knowledge

Do you have a favourite item from your collection? 

I think the one that I presently wear the most is probably ‘Dead on Time, but my favourite always changes when I release a new one!

Your range is available via the new ethical marketplace, Beyond Bamboo.  What are your reasons that you picked Beyond Bamboo to launch your collection?  Are the products available worldwide? 

I chose Beyond Bamboo for a couple reasons: 1. My whole brand is ethically sourced and climate friendly, and 2. it is because of the people behind it, their reasons and their morals and ethics. 

Music also plays a big part in your life. What or who inspired you to take up playing the guitar? 

At the age of 12, I went to a Motorhead concert with my big brother. As soon as the show ended, I just decided that that was my direction in life. The Next step was to make it a reality and go out and buy a guitar and teach myself!

There have been many memorable musical moments – Skunk Anansie has headlined at Glastonbury; toured with bands such as U2, Bon Jovi, Rammstein, Muse, Lenny Kravitz … as well as selling over 6 million physical LPs.   What moments have personally stood out for you in your musical career with Skunk Anansie?

There are so many, and we are still lucky enough to be making more! Milestone moments probably include playing for Nelson Mandela for his gift to Nation concerts, playing for the Dalai Lama for his charity concert, headlining Glastonbury, and more recently headlining Polish Woodstock to 700,000 people!  

I hear that in your “spare” time you are Global Change Ambassador for Roundtable Global Charity and Ambassador for The Music For All Charity.  Busy man!  What do those roles entail?

This basically sees me being involved with the Global Youth Awards. From actually presenting at the awards to working behind the scenes and arranging acts and artists to play, as well as volunteers to work there. 

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

Currently, I’m just getting into a new brand called No Fixed Abode London which was founded by a lady called Emma Man who found herself homeless many years ago and brought herself out of it to create this brand. I also wear my Muzzled T-shirts all the time… Ha, ha, and you’ll probably see me lounging out in Skunk Anansie Hoodies too.

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

I tend to just go with how I’m feeling, what catches my eye and most of the time recommendations from other people. I’m not sure if I have a particular favourite, apart from No Fixed Abode (NFA) at the moment. 

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

Some shoes for the tour from NFA. 

Boots or Shoes?

I like both to be honest, but I tend to like hi top sneaker boots as they’re great to jump around in on stage, and leather boots as they are hardy against the cold! 

For Pinning Later

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Muzzled, Beyond Bamboo and Skunk Anansie 

https://beyondbamboo.life/collections/vendors?q=Muzzled%20Streetwear

@officialskunkanansie

Thanks Ace for the chat ! Love your artwork, tees and music!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with the kind permission of Ace/Skunk Anansie.

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An Interview With Empire Copper

Talking all about copper this week! Copper is the traditional gift for the 7th, 9th and 22nd wedding anniversaries and my guest has certainly lots of copper based gift ideas (and brass) from homewares to clocks, art to jewellery. Copper is the first metal to be worked with by man alongside gold and meteoritic iron. Working their magic with copper are my blog guests, Cam and Beth Hayes, makers & owners of Empire Copper based in Perth ,Western Australia. Hi and welcome!

Hi everyone, we are Cam and Beth Hayes, the husband and wife duo behind Empire Copper. We have been married for seven months and live in Perth, Western Australia.  We both still work full-time jobs as well as running our small business. I (Beth) come from a huge, Irish family, I am one of seven. Cam’s family isn’t as large but they’re definitely as crazy. Cliche as it may be, we are truly each other’s best friends and for our second Valentine’s Day together, got matching doughnut tattoos!

What inspired the setting up of your company, Empire Copper?

Cam was working for an architectural roofing company that specialised in copper, brass, zinc and slate from 2017 – 2021. As he is a sheet metal worker by trade, he spent many days manufacturing copper gutters, rainheads and downpipes. Cam’s interest in copper grew each time he would visit a site and see a piece that he had made or recently installed, had begun to change in colour and texture, in a process known as patination. Soon after, in early 2019 Cam began experimenting at home. Reading every book or resource he could find on copper and copper patination. Not wanting to bombard his friends on social media with his experiments, Cam decided to set up a second Instagram account to be more like a blog. We needed a name and had always said anything we ever owned would be Empire ‘X’ and so, Empire Copper was born. After many experiments, Cam decided to make a couple of household copper pieces. These were a serving tray and a set of coasters. The coasters were the first item we ever sold!

I have a fondness for the “Copper Wall Clock Halftime Blue Patina ” – it is gorgeous!  What copper & brass items are your most popular sellers?

Our Copper Wall Clock ‘Half-time’ Blue Patina is BY FAR our most popular product of all time. We sell at least 5 of these a week on average. Brass is pretty new to us however, our brass trinket/candle tray has been quite popular! 

Have you got a favourite item from your collection?

My favourite item would have to be our Brushed Copper Clock, I am a less is more kind of girl and I think it is so simple and stunning. Cam’s is the Blowtorch (or flame) patina clock as it is the first all copper clock he ever made and he has a great fondness for that.

I never realised that copper can be available in blue/green colour due to patination. What exactly is patination?

Love this question! We spend a lot of time educating our customer’s on patination so that they can know the true value and individualised nature of their piece. A patina, patination or oxidation is a thin layer that forms on the surface of copper, brass and other metals. This happens naturally, when copper is exposed to the elements. For example, the Statue of Liberty which, many years ago was copper, bronze and brown in colour. Now, she is green. This is known as a patina or due to it’s green colour, verdigris. For us to achieve colours like blue, green and gold we undertake a process known as a controlled or forced patination. We can use many mediums to alter the appearance of copper. This may include natural products or chemicals, salt, rain, wood, soil or fire. There are many contributing factors to creating a good patina with time and temperature playing a huge role in the final outcome of the colour. 

As you are based in Australia, are your products available to purchase internationally?

We handcraft everything in our workshop in Perth, Western Australia but we do ship worldwide. We ship for free to Australia, New Zealand and the United States on orders over $100AUD

You have recently introduced a brass collection to add to the copper collection.  Is brass more fiddly to work with than copper?

Brass is not fiddly but it is a harder and stronger metal than copper. This in itself poses a new set of challenges. Brass can be harder to cut, mark and stamp. Also, with our polished brass pieces, we spend A LOT of time perfecting them. 

Have you always wanted a career in design/metalware  or did your career plans lie elsewhere?

We kind of just fell into this, Cam especially. We are both very ambitious so I think I knew one day we would be doing our own thing. I am working in my field of study at the moment whilst also doing most of our administration, social media, marketing and networking. I leave all the manufacturing to Cam. However, even though it wasn’t entirely planned, there’s never been a moment that we’ve not been grateful. We’ve loved every second of it.

You have done a few custom orders in the past – what has been the most unusual or favourite bespoke item you have undertaken?

 A  few pieces that come to mind are: a copper bird bath, a huge 2 metre long copper tray, to act as a bar top on a wine bar and a wall art piece of Kokopelli. 

Your copperware encompasses a lot of products – homeware, art pieces & jewellery – where do you draw inspiration from when deciding to make items for sale? Do you go by customer requests, current trends, old favourites, items you personally would use or a mixture of them all?

 A mixture of all of this. Some new products have started out as a special request from a customer and then we’ve drawn inspiration from that. Other times, its other creators, or family and friends who make suggestions. We always have a huge list of things we want to do and try. We kind of run our business on the motto that ‘we will try EVERYTHING once’ and if it doesn’t work out, at least we can say we tried and we’ve never regretted anything with that mindset.

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

Beth: If I’m not at work, I’m in my pyjamas which I change into almost immediately after I get home. 
Cam: I can be found wearing expensive sneakers and shirts full of holes!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Cam is a Bunnings fanatic which is basically a huge tool and hardware warehouse. We really like them because although they are a market leader, they’re not trying to take advantage of people and still offer a premium service. I have a love for skincare and make up. I love MECCA in Australia as their in store customer service is unparalleled. They also have a great online presence and experience. Also, I love the ICONIC too for fashion. They are a huge company but still doing customer service so well! 

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

Can I say a bag? Because if yes, I’ve been eyeing off Chloe Woody Large Leather-Trimmed Cotton-Canvas Tote! Hopefully I will be able to treat myself to one later this year. Cam said he’d like more space so he can get more shoes… he’s a sneakers kind of guy.

Boots or Shoes?

Shoes for us both! I love a pair of converse ballet flats. They’re cute, they go with everything and they’re super comfortable. Cam wears work boots 40 hours a week so loathes being in boots outside of work hours.

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

Thanks again so much for this, we’d like to give all Boots, Shoes and Fashion readers a little something for coming along on this journey. 
Enter the code: bootsshoesandfashion for $10 AUS off. (valid until 31/12/2022)

If you’d like to visit our website here is the link: www.empirecopper.com 
If you’d like to connect with us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/empirecopper/?hl=en

Or, if you prefer Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Empirecopper/

PHOTOGRAPHS: All photographs are by Caitlin Ruth. Her Instagram is: @caitlinruthcreative and her website is: https://www.caitlinruth.com.au/

Linda x

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An Interview With Floco

As International Women’s Week comes to a close, my topic tonight on the blog affects all women at some point in their lives – periods. Fed up with period inequality, my guest this week Mhairi, co founder of Floco, explains her products and why it is important to increase access to period products in countries where availability isn’t wonderful as well as to introduce an education programme closer to home to help young people tear apart the stigma surrounding periods and learn the facts. Sounds good to me! Welcome Mhairi!

Hi! My name is Mhairi. I am one of the co-founders of Floco. I am passionate about using innovation and education with compassion to try and make the world more equal and kind. I love dogs, going for a pint with friends and eating tasty food. 

What inspired the setting up of your company, Floco?

We set up Floco after Alison (my co-founder) conducted her dissertation research in rural Kenya. This  revealed the devastating impact of period poverty on young students. The fact young students were being forced to give up school, risk their wellbeing and even their lives just to access period products completely horrified and angered us. We became committed to finding a solution that would actually work for these students and help increase access to period products for the long term. After both visiting Kenya we set up Floco (previously Lilypads). We trained local women to run their own “pad projects” increasing access to safe and affordable period products. Returning to the UK we recognised that the scale and complexity of period poverty meant we would need to create something that could expand and be flexible. We started brainstorming solutions and recognised an opportunity to start designing and selling high quality and innovative reusable period products that would help support and fund the international organisation to keep operating as effectively as possible. 

Our UK business stemmed from our social mission to help fight period poverty and it remains at the heart of our organisation. 

Floco is on a mission to help everyone have the best period they can. We do this in 3 ways. First we design revolutionary reusable pads that are more discreet and comfy to help people who flow live sustainably without having to compromise on quality. Next, we are fighting period poverty with every pack sold by increasing access to period products in communities around the globe that don’t have access. Finally, we deliver fun and inclusive educational workshops across UK schools that is smashing stereotypes and inequalities.

 I love that the reusable pads come in 6 different styles  – What are your most popular sellers?

I love the 6 styles too (keep your eyes peeled as we increase this even further soon!). 

Floco’s best sellers are the Superstar. The Superstar is named after what it will make you feel like. It is our standard day pad but there is nothing standard about it. The technical materials we use have allowed us to create a pad that is ultra-absorbent yet thin. It feels as soft as your undies and looks great in them! Whether you use it as your sole product or as a backup to something else we know it will make you feel confident and secure- because let’s be honest, periods are hard enough without a pad that feels like crap! 

The Sleepy Pad is our next best seller. This is our night pad. It is soft and comfy and provides you with full coverage to save your sheets and give you a great night sleep.  

What are the key benefits of Floco reusable pads compared to disposable pads? 

A key benefit of reusable pads is environmental impact. As it says in the name, reusable pads are reusable! The average person who flows can use more than 11000 disposable products in their lifetime, these can be made of up to 90% plastic taking hundreds of years to degrade in landfills or washing up on beaches across the world. Swapping to reusable pads can save you 64kg of plastic and 316kg of CO₂E.  

Reusable pads have other benefits too, they feel super soft so tend to be more comfortable than disposables. They can save you money in the long run (our pads last between 2 and 5 years). Some other slightly more specific benefits; the toilet bin will fill up slower so less emptying! They are always in your room so no more running to the shops last minute if you forget! 

As you are based in the UK, are your products available to purchase internationally?

Currently we are only able to ship to the UK. However, our not for profit organisation works internationally across 8 different communities including in Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Cambodia.

As a brand, Floco, is committed to stopping period inequality and to encourage education surrounding periods and puberty.   What does that entail? 

Every pack of pads we sell supports our not for profit organisation. 

This organisation partners with communities around the globe either to donate products or to support women to set up pad projects increasing access to pads to the entire community. We have donated thousands of pads in the past year and have big targets for 2022. 

As well as increasing access to period products we have developed an education programme of workshops that is delivered to people across the UK. Our workshops range from topics such as periods and puberty to gender stereotypes and sexual harassment. There are different workshops aimed at school students, young adults and parents. The aim of our workshops is to combat the stigma and inequality that often surrounds these topics. We focus in on the social side of these topics and deliver them to all genders in a fun, inclusive and interactive environment. By creating environments of laughter we believe we can combat the misconceptions, shame and stereotypes that can often surround them. 

Changing habits of a lifetime to have a low impact on the environment isn’t easy but it is possible – for example, through changing to reusable period pads. What other changes do you recommend or have undertaken yourselves? 

I think making small changes can often be the best way for people to stick with them. Personally I have focussed on understanding the environmental impact of fashion and clothing. I have focussed on learning more about the environmental impact of fast fashion which has prompted me to start questioning my consumption habits (asking do I actually need something new?). I now try to shop second hand at stores and using apps such as Vinted and Depop and using rental apps for big occasions such as By rotation. 

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

A usual day for me will look like me in either my second hand dungarees with a comfy jumper or top underneath or my staple long black skirt with a fun button up cardigan. (I love a cardigan!) I live in my Vegan Platform Doc Martens so I will most definitely be wearing them! I love accessories, in particular chunky colourful resin rings. 

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

By rotation is a super cool App that allows you to rent designer clothing. I love fashion and so I think it is fab to think I can still shop for something exciting and nice to wear to big occasions without relying on fast fashion or feeling guilty for only wearing it once! 

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

I would love a new mid length skirt or a new denim oversized jacket as we head into spring!

Boots or Shoes?

Boots! I love a chunky platform boot. Doc Martens are my absolute favourite. I think they are just so comfy, they are appropriate for all seasons (vital when we live in Scotland) – perfect for cold winters but also look so cute with summery dresses. I love that they give me a bit more height without having to wear heels. 


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

www.flocowear.com

@floco.period https://www.instagram.com/floco.period/ = Instagram 

@floco.period www.facebook.com/floco.period = Facebook 

Thank you for chatting to us Mhairi. I love Doc Martens too – height without heels – love it! Seriously though, I love your product and your determination to spread period equality and to educate young women on the facts. Let’s break the stigma! 😊

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Floco.

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Interview: Food Addiction Coach, Dr Bunmi Aboaba

There is strong medical research and evidence that certain foods, along with other factors, can trigger Food Addiction. My guest, Dr Bunmi Aboaba is a Food Addiction coach and her work covers a full spectrum of food addictions including overeating, compulsive eating and emotional eating. I caught up with the lovely doctor recently to find out more about food addiction and how she helps people to build a healthy relationship with food. Hi Bunmi!

Hello! My name is Dr Bunmi Aboaba. I help men and women overhaul their unhealthy relationship with food, reach their goal weight and improve their mental wellbeing through a compassionate, holistic and non-diet approach

  • What made you decide to launch your career as a food addiction coach?

I had my own struggles with food; bulimia when I was in my teens, then I switched to alcohol and then, in recovery from alcohol addiction, straight back to food. My eating was out of control and particularly with foods that were unhealthy: pizza, cake, fried chicken that kind of thing. It was ferocious and, in many ways, worse than the alcohol addiction. It came with a lot of guilt and shame and feelings of failure. I knew it was an addiction because I had the same feelings of obsession around food as I had with alcohol. Cravings, denial, compulsion and withdrawal were all the same.  

  • What sort of food problems do people come to you for help? 

There is a lot of stress eating at the moment. Food has become a primary coping mechanism for many, meaning binge eating and food addiction. People are experiencing feelings of unmanageability around food, feeling anxious if they don’t binge and guilty when the binge has finished. This all can impact daily life, relationships and mental health, where many report lower self-esteem and self-worth and poor body image. The list goes on.

  • For helping clients achieve a healthy relationship with food, what approach(es) do you tend to use?

The R4 method is a simple and effective road map that will steer the client in the direction of healthy eating, that is not a diet and doesn’t need willpower.

The steps taken along the way looks at the root cause of our food issues –  which is R1. R2 is reframing a person’s beliefs and attitudes around themselves and also the food. R3 is building the resilience needed to diminish cravings and R4 is pulling it all together with a nutritious food plan which is not restrictive but nutritious and filling; along with lots of kindness, compassion and support along the way.

It is not a linear process, its constantly in flow but it a framework that allows the person to feel a sense of safety in the process.

  • As you have had many years experience in this field, what is it about your job do you enjoy or gives you the most satisfaction? The downside?

I love the wide eyes when I explain what they are struggling with and the realisation that they are not lazy or greedy or lacking in willpower. They have a disease and it’s called food addiction. Once the client gets this it’s like an epiphany or them and they are ready and willing to start the process. 

Also, I love how they start to find themselves and get to know who they are, what makes them tick, what they want and don’t want in their lives. I suppose that’s empowerment at work.  Seeing them blossom, increase in confidence, and every aspect of their lives starting to improve.

The weight loss is kind of a by-product of the process, That we get to realise it’s a “Me” problem and not a weight problem.

© LindaHobden
  • Do you offer one to one coaching or do you operate online?

I offer one-to-one, as well as group coaching and it’s all online which suits many.

  • Growing up, did you always want a medical career, or did you want to pursue a completely different direction?

I wanted to be a criminal lawyer but my Father said no. Back in the day there weren’t really any black lawyers and my Dad wanted me to do medicine, where I stood a better chance of gaining positions. I grumbled at the time but looking back he was right and I am deeply grateful for his guidance. It stood me in good stead.

  • You are creator of the The R4 Method – a Food Addiction Certification. Who would benefit from the certification and what does the R4 Method cover? 

It benefits any health and wellness professional wanting to help any of their clients with issues around the relationship with food. It’s also good for people who may want to help family members or friends.

  • As you are based in the UK, are your services available just for UK or is it also available worldwide?

I am based in London but work worldwide.

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

Oh Goodness! Since the pandemic, my style has gone to pot. I need a stylist to revamp/resurrect me!

To go out, jeans, boho shirts, leather /suede jackets – I usually shop in Selfridges. I used to be a converse fan until my knee operation and now I’m into Fitflop, which are stylish and great for comfort walking.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Yes, Fitflop, Selfridges, Asos, ME+EM, Om & Ah, AllSaints , Sweaty Betty, Moncler.

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

Khaki leather biker jacket; Misty lounge set

Boots or Shoes?

BOOTS BOOTS BOOTS – all the way

For Pinning Later .

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc

Web: www.thefoodaddictioncoach.co.uk

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bunmiaboaba/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thefoodaddictioncoach/

Twitter: @FoodAddicti2  

Instagram @thefoodaddictioncoach

Great to talk to you Bunmi and I am so pleased that you love a leather biker jacket and boots! You rock!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission from Dr Bunmi Aboaba (apart from the header pic, pin photo & the cheese platter photo – © LindaHobden)

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