Category Archives: Interview

An Interview With Elaine Robertson North

I’m an avid bookworm. I make no apologies for that. I read all sorts of genres – I do have my favourites such as thrillers, mysteries, travel based – I like the occasional romcom, autobiography, historical drama, English literature classics, classics from non English writers, fantasy. I like to read out of my comfort zone at times and when an author comes along whose debut novel just hooks me in on the first page, spins me along on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, makes me feel the characters inside out and upside down, each page a revelation that it is hard to put the book down and turn off the light to sleep – that’s when you know you have to spread the news far and wide to fellow bookworms that this is a book and author you need to check out. I was sent a complimentary copy of “I Can’t Tell You Why” by Elaine Robertson North to read and review. Apart from reviewing the book and leaving my 5 star review on Amazon, I couldn’t resist being cheeky and asking for a chance to interview Elaine herself….. Hi Elaine!

Hi, I’m Elaine. I’m originally from Scotland but spent most of my childhood in Berkshire. After three years in Bournemouth studying for a degree in Media and Communications, I couldn’t get to London quick enough to get my career underway and have basically been here ever since. I enjoyed an exciting career spanning all corners of the media but always wanted to write. There were sporadic attempts along the way but it wasn’t until I drew a line under my career and my youngest son started school, that I was able to make it my focus. Today, I’m happily married with two beautiful boys. I’m proud to call myself a wife, a mother, and finally, an author!

After working for 25 years in the marketing & communications field in the media & entertainment industries, including several years in a variety of senior executive roles in TV, radio & film; who or what inspired you to write a novel?

The need to write has always been there. It was just something I always felt I would do so I don’t think there was ever one person or event that inspired me. I think I’ve just been subconsciously soaking up the many characters, situations and events I’ve experienced over the years, waiting for the moment when I could put it all to good use!

“I Can’t Tell You Why” is your debut novel – and what a debut novel – I enjoyed reading the book from start to finish. Definitely a page turner, I got sucked into the novel straightaway.  My feelings towards the characters changed with each chapter – like a rollercoaster! Which character did you enjoy writing about the most?  Which character was the hardest?

Thank you! That really is lovely to hear. I’d have to go with the main character, Dani, as the one I most enjoyed writing about. I love the fact that she is strong and gutsy and able to handle tough work situations with a cool head. But personally, she’s massively flawed and getting that balance right was a real challenge, which also made her the hardest character to write. She’s a good person who makes some very bad decisions. It was tough, therefore, to make sure she was always believable and was someone who readers would still root for.

Were there any aspects of writing a novel that surprised you, pleasantly or otherwise?

I’m constantly surprised at how long it all takes! In many respects, writing the book is the easy part. It’s the endless rounds of editing that are obviously essential, but hideously time-consuming for someone annoying like me who likes everything done yesterday! I do love, however, when after days of struggling with an element of the plot, everything suddenly falls into place. That is very satisfying!

“Most people believe that affairs are wrong. That they lead to heartbreak and suffering for everyone involved and never end well. Most people think they know better. Yet they do it anyway….” Your book is about a powerful subject – love affairs – and the characters are all totally believable. Why did you pick this topic for your first novel and did your own personal opinions and thoughts about the subject material change as the novel developed?

I’m one of those people who has pretty black and white views about things so I love a moral dilemma when I’m forced into the grey! I was hooked on the idea that a perfectly reasonable and likeable person, can cheat and lie, even when objectively speaking, they know it makes no sense. Once I had that as a starting point, a compelling love triangle seemed like the most effective way to explore this. As for my opinions and thoughts, my starting point would always be that affairs are wrong. Simple! The reality is that of course, they rarely are, so it was great to explore why people have affairs, whether it’s ever possible to say that good can come from an affair, and also how our childhood experiences can have a massive impact on our own approach to relationships. 

Are there any new novel ideas or writing plans in the pipeline?

I’m about two thirds of the way through book number two. The central theme is about taking control of your own destiny and having the confidence to just be yourself, whatever life throws in the way. The tension comes from a ruthless desire for revenge and the backdrop this time is a newspaper. 

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

Yes to the bookworm! I’m probably a contemporary women’s fiction fan first and foremost, but I also like the odd thriller thrown in for good measure. As for authors, I recently discovered Sally Hepworth and immediately read every book she’s written, and also Kathryn Hughes. Read all of her books back to back too! I’m a big fan of Liane Moriarty and Lisa Jewell, and also Clare Mackintosh and Fiona Barton. The key thing for me is a book that has me hooked from the very beginning. I love actual books but have to confess I do most of my reading on a Kindle or my phone. I spend lots of time hanging around while my sons enjoy various activities, so being able to read while I wait is a massive plus for me!

Is “I Can’t Tell You Why” available to purchase worldwide?

The paperback and ebook are on Amazon in all key territories, so wherever Amazon is available, you should be able to buy it! 

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

I’m tempted to say anywhere hot and quiet! Just having uninterrupted time to think would be a joy! That said, I’m a people-watcher and love bustle and noise, and as it’s likely I’ll be sticking with the worlds of media and entertainment for the time being at least, I’d probably go for somewhere like New York or Los Angeles.

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

At this time of year, it’s all about coats and boots for me! I walk my boys to and from school so am normally in jeans, a jumper and then it’s the coat that makes the outfit. I have a long padded coat, a slightly lighter-weight quilted coat, a parka, a raincoat that I love, a fur-lined bomber jacket – basically, a coat for every mood or weather condition imaginable! Ankle boots or trainers and that’s me sorted! 

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I tend to do most of my clothes shopping online. I’m a big fan of ME+EM and Finery when I fancy something different that I know I’ll feel really great wearing. I love an oversized jumper and have a couple from Baukjen that I would hate to be without. If I’m looking for a really great pair of boots, Penelope Chilvers would be the first place I look, but I’ll also happily browse M&S for everyday stuff.

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

I have a favourite pair of wedge heel ankle boots that are definitely past their best, so top of my list at the moment is finding a replacement. 

Boots or Shoes?

Definitely boots! Unless I’m going somewhere that requires a posh frock and heels (which is very rare!), I’ll always opt for boots. Whether I’m wearing jeans, a skirt or a dress, the appropriate ankle boot always works for me!

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

Facebook: @elainerobertsonnorth
Instagram: @elaine_robertson_north
Twitter: @RobbieNorth

Thank you very much Elaine for agreeing to be interviewed. I’m so looking forward to reading your 2nd book! My thanks also goes to Ben Cameron of Cameron Publicity & Marketing for sending me a preview copy of Elaine’s book in the first place.

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Elaine Robertson North (apart from the Pinterest picture which is by Linda Hobden)

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An Interview With Deyongs Ltd

Deyongs Limited has been trading in household textiles since 1876, producing luxury bathroom towels, beautiful bed linen and throws. The company is now under the guidance of the 7th generation of Deyongs in Daniel and Oliver Deyong. I caught up with Daniel Deyong to find out more about this long standing family business…. Hi Daniel….

Hello. My name is  Daniel Deyong and I am the joint Managing Director for Deyongs Ltd. I am 46 years old, married with 2 teenage boys, our cavapoo Hudson and our cat Jazz.

Your family company, Deyongs Ltd has been trading in home textiles since 1846 … you are the 7th generation of Deyongs … growing up did you automatically want to follow in the family footsteps or did you inspire to follow a different career path?

Growing up was always spending summers coming to work with “dad” seeing other members of the family involved at the time, the warehouse was a great place for hide and seek! My initial career choice was always design and leaving school I pursued that course and found a great company who did exhibition design and display and also a graphic design studio. However in the late 80’s when the recession hit, Design studios went inhouse and the company I worked for collapsed and I found myself working the summer months in the family business doing all sorts to earn some money to pay for a holiday. I returned from the Mediterranean refreshed and eager to continue working for the family where I decided my creative flair could spark something new.

I am particularly fond of the Freewheel Beach Towel, The Egyptian Cotton Mudeford Beach Towel; luxurious bed linen, especially the Lyndon Company Printed Duvet Bed Linen; and your very warm looking throws. To date, what has been the most popular items/products/brands ?

Deyongs have always been known for their towels. I guess you can only judge success by numbers, our plain dyed Bliss Pima Cotton towels are very well known and popular not just in the UK but abroad. Very close behind that would be our throws, we sell out every winter, maybe next year we will sell more throws than towels!

What’s your most favourite item in your collection?

My personal favourite is The Lyndon Company 400 Thread Count Sateen Cotton bedding. It says Hotel, it feels silky soft, keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Technically I haven’t felt a sheet on the market like it and I am always in the stores comparing.

When picking items to add to your collections, do you select by what has proved popular in the past, current trends, customer requests, personal preferences or all of those things?

We have certain briefs from our store group buyers that we work from. We also pay attention to the trends and forecasts coming through making sure not to miss out on the colour or style of the season and of course certain qualities that have proven successful over the years can always be enhanced with a new colour and twist. At the moment we are all about the environment and well being, constantly striving to bring new innovation into textiles.

As you also supply to retail shops in the UK, Europe, Middle East and Australia – is there a colour that is universally popular at the moment in textiles, or is there a marked difference in colour demand between the 4 different areas?

Ha, white will never go out of fashion! it works in every quarter of the world, but when it comes to colour, then yes different countries certainly have different colours and styles, right now the UK is huge with silver and grey tones

As Deyongs is based in the UK, are your products on the website available to purchase worldwide?

Yes all our products can be bought on our website and we ship internationally worldwide, only last week shipping to New Zealand, Japan and Singapore! We also ship next day to anywhere in the UK and only 2 days to anywhere in the USA.

Hypothetically speaking, if you were able to visit any place in the world to feature a new brand/collection to your website, where would you go and why?

I have always wanted to photograph our beach towels in Mauritius, some of the best beaches in the world, the heritage of the island and the changes of its independence are fascinating, to the food and extremely friendly population makes its a place you just want to visit again and again.

Are there any new products in the pipeline for 2019?

Yes we always have new ranges, not only in towels, we will release our winter 19 throw collection at the end of the summer and new additions to our bedlinen collections. Right now we are working on products that give Well Being, kind to your body and kind to the environment.

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

Since I spend a lot of time in the gym I do live in jogging pants, t-shirts and trainers during the weekend, if out over the weekend I am very much dark jeans, black polos, keeping it classic and not an embarrassing dad!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I do shop at urban outfitters and banana republic, Timberland and Ralph are my go too brands that fit me well. My kids are constantly giving me fashion advice!

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

New trainers! I do seem to go through them! Also a smarter pair of shoes for the summer for going out, something suede I think.

Boots or Shoes?

Timberlands in the winter, my north face boots for trekking, they have been all over the world with me when trekking.

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

www.deyongs.com is our website https://www.facebook.com/Deyongs1846/ for our Facebook; our Instagram is @deyongs1846

Thanks Daniel! I must admit shades of grey are my favourite home colour palette with bright colours co ordinating – yellows, turquoise, lilacs, black, silver …. and the colours and styles you offer are simply stunning! I hope Daniel’s products have given you food for thought too, dear reader!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission from Daniel Deyong.

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An Interview With Stools Online

Stools. I didn’t realise there could be so many types of stools from bog standard kitchen stools to bar stools, adjustable stools to swivel stools, stools with arms to stools with back rests…. Family run company, Net Furniture Ltd, obviously did as they run a sister website alongside their main furniture business, called appropriately enough, Stools Online! I spoke to company founder Zed, about his company’s stool range….

Hello. My name is Zed. I am the founder of netfurniture.co.uk and stoolsonline.co.uk which I founded 15 years ago in 2004 with just £400 and have built it up to become a leading online furniture retailers with turnover in excess of £3 million over that time period!

Stools Online is part of your family run business, Net Furniture. What inspired the setting up of the predominantly stools website in addition to your main site?

Stools were the first item that I sold on NetFurniture so stools have a special meaning to me, which explains why we have nearly 900 stools more than any other item! Once I saw we were doing well with the stools, I wanted to set up a separate site devoted just to bar stools and related bar tables, as I saw there was a demand for these items. By devoting a site to bar stools enabled the customer to find what they were looking for quicker.

You sell around 20 types of stools from kitchen & bar stools to acrylic perspex stools and brushed satin stools.  What type of stool seems to be the most popular? Do you have a favourite style of stool?

We sell a lot from all categories – the brushed steel stools seem popular at the moment as they fit in with a lot of brushed appliances that people have in their kitchens. I don’t have a favourite – I love all stools equally!

On your main website, Netfurniture, what type of products are most in demand? 

We sell a lot of tables, especially the made to measure ones, as they cannot be found in regular shops and are unique to us. From our bedroom furniture range we sell a lot of ready assembled bedroom chest of drawers and others assembled furniture, as it saves the customer having to assemble it themselves

Your clients include the BBC, Sky Sports & several celebrities as well as the general public.  When sourcing products, do you go for  past popularity, current trends, customer requests, your own tastes or bits of all those?

We attend the trade shows so we get a good idea of popular trends and we try to give our customers what they want. We try to also look for products that are not available in regular furniture shops to give our customers more choice and options.

As you are based in the UK, are your products available to customers abroad?

We are UK based. We do ship to Europe – Germany , France, Italy, Spain etc. Generally we ship the smaller items abroad such as the flat packed chairs, tables, bar stools, and other related bedroom furniture.

 What do enjoy most about having a career in the furniture industry?

Helping people make their homes beautiful – it is a place where we spend a lot of time, so if I can help make their homes more comfortable then I have done my job. 

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

I am a boring dresser – you are better off asking my wife! I normally just wear a plain white shirt, trousers and black shoes – I do wear a suit on special occasions eg a wedding.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? 

I enjoy the news sites such as the BBC and the sport sites such as Sky Sports as I am a huge sports fan.

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

A trip to Saville Row to have a hand made suit made for me.

Boots or Shoes?

Boots in snow; shoes the rest of the time – easy to put on and take off!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Stools Online & Net Furniture.

Sure! We are redoing our site which should be live in a few weeks – it will be very user friendly and have a lot of cool things on it. In the meantime we can we found on www.netfurniture.co.uk and www.stoolsonline.co.uk and www.modernbarstools.co.uk

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NetFurniture
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mynetfurniture

Blog: http://netfurniture.wordpress.com/

Quidco: http://www.quidco.com/netfurniture-co-uk/

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Great to chat to you Zed! You have some great pieces of furniture and a mind boggling range of stools to suit all decors, tastes and pockets!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Net Furniture Ltd; apart from the Pinterest picture which was taken by Linda Hobden.

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An Interview With Aurora Pets

Husband and wife team, Jonathan & Ashton Rose, along with their dogs Yianni and Yoko are my guests this week. They are the founders and owners of Aurora Pets, a UK luxury retail pet site celebrating only the most luxurious and premium brands available – the ultimate Designer Dog Shop. I caught up with them to find out more about their delightful shop….. Hi Ashton, Hi Jonathan…

Hi! We are husband and wife team Ashton and Jonathan plus our two little Frenchies Yianni and Yoko. Jonathan comes from a background of international distribution for luxury products and Ashton is an expert in customer experience. We wanted to create a place where you could not only find the best quality products for your dog but also enjoy the best experience at the same time. We are head over heels in love with our dogs and they are part of our journey no matter what we are doing. Aside from the weekly walks, we travel to different places every weekend to adventure and explore with the dogs. 

What was the inspiration behind your designer dog shop, Aurora Pets?

Yianni and Yoko were our entire inspiration for Aurora Pets. When we first got Yianni we had a lot of difficulties finding quality products that were not made with cheap materials or looked tacky. We ended up shipping products from all over the world which is when the inspiration for our business occurred, with both of our experiences combined we launched Aurora Pets. Yianni and Yoko of course are our chief testers for all products which we road test fully to ensure our customers get the best.

Only the most luxury and premium dog brands are featured on your site from dog fashions to luxury dog treats. I really love the unique Modern Beast vintage t-shirts for dogs! Which brands and/or dog products are proving most popular with dog owners so far? 

Thank you, Modern Beast are awesome and we love their ethical values, one of the many reasons we stock them at Aurora Pets. Generally, our customers love our entire collection of brands and products, each brand has its own unique quality and values which makes them loved by many and us. From Cloud7 and their extremely clean and stylish approach to design, or Max-Bone and Mister Woof with their playful designs with prints and fabrics. Most important to us and our customers we think is the product being functional, that it will survive 100 washes in the washing machine or that they work out on walks or at home. This is always at the forefront of our mind before anything else.

As a company, you strive to ensure that all your packaging does not contain plastic & is 100 % recyclable.Your company also strive to collaborate with brands who are contributing to improving lives of unfortunate dogs.  Such a worthwhile cause – have you got a particular animal charity that you support?

We work with many different charities selecting different companies to receive donations of beautiful joes and products from our collections. We worked quite closely with the Last Chance Animal Rescue Shelter to document their charity and meet the dogs at their rescue, it was incredibly sad to see all the dogs in the rescue but also reassuring to know they at least have somewhere they are being cared for and loved whilst they wait for their forever home.

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

Yes we ship internationally and many of our customers are based in the USA, Japan, Australia and Europe

Being passionate dog owners yourself, you also write blogposts on your website which are of interest to other dog owners. What themed posts create the most interest?

We see a lot of interest in our dog walk blogs, we try to make it a little different using a drone to document the landscape whilst walking, currently, we are documenting the UK, we hope to cover other parts of the world to find the absolute best places to adventure with your dogs. Yianni and Yoko’s second love is being outside exploring, their first love is and always will be food. 

Going on long dog walks is one of your favourite things to do…. where are your favourite places to go dog walking? 

Jonathan: The Devil’s Punch Bowl in Hindhead was absolutely incredible for me, it had so many different aspects for a good dog walk, great vista’s, forest, marsh areas and a little stream for the dogs to play in. We were exploring there for more than 4 hours and loved every minute of it.

 Ashton: Epping Forest because it’s such a vast area to explore, you can visit 10 times and each time walk can be different, it is also extremely quiet and peaceful with dog-friendly restaurants to visit once the walk is done to relax in.

Obviously your products have been tested by your adorable dogs, Yianni and Yoko.  Have you ever come across a product that for some reason they took an instant dislike to it?

We have to say balls, Yianni and Yoko are not huge fans of chasing or returning a ball, unless it has treats in it, Yianni is a heavy chewer and destroys most toys we give him within minutes, the rope toys are great for him to sit and chew on as they also clean his teeth while he is chewing. Yoko wants anything Yianni has got despite her always having one for herself she will ignore it and wait for Yianni to finish with his.

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

Both of our looks can vary day to day, classy street style would be a good way to describe our daily looks as we have to fit in working plus the chance of getting muddy whilst out walking the dogs. when we are going out for events or a night out, we both like to look smart.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

Ashton: Zara, Ted Baker, and Gucci are my favourites

Jonathan: I love Zara and Farfetch 

Boots or Shoes?

Ashton: Boots – comfortable, versatile and they look great with most outfits.

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

Website: https://www.aurorapets.co.uk

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/aurorapets/

Thank you Ashton and Jonathan. I’m so glad that Epping Forest is one of your favourite places to visit when dog walking. I grew up in East London and I had Epping Forest on my doorstep. I spent many happy summer holidays climbing trees, getting lost, nature spotting, having picnics in Epping Forest. It certainly is a special place.

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Ashton & Jonathan Rose (Aurora Pets)

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An Interview With The Vegan Society

Living the Vegan Lifestyle has been in the news a lot recently – January was “veganuary” and the spotlight was on all things Vegan. The reactions from various people have been mixed when the word “vegan” has been mentioned – most people I’ve spoken to hadn’t really got a clue what the Vegan lifestyle entailed; some guessed that it was a more extreme form of being a vegetarian; some have embraced the ethics of being a Vegan wholeheartedly; some were interested and some were not. Personally I am not a Vegan – I do eat meat but I do embrace vegetarian and vegan dishes too. There are a few Vegan restaurants springing up and with thousands of products being granted the coveted Vegan trademark on a daily basis, embracing a Vegan lifestyle is not as daunting as you may think. I caught up with the lovely Dominika of The Vegan Society to find out more about The Vegan Society and living the Vegan lifestyle. Hi Dominika….

Hello! My name is Dominika and I work as media and PR officer at The Vegan Society. We are the world’s oldest vegan society whose co-founder, Donald Watson, came up with the word ‘vegan’ back in 1944. Everything we do is to help people go vegan and remain vegan! 

The Vegan Society has produced an app – Veguide App – that covers the basics of transitioning to a vegan lifestyle with 30 short daily videos. What inspired the creation of the app? 

We wanted to bring vegan pledges into the 21st century – we know that most new vegans are young people, and this demographic is also the one most likely to use mobile apps and social media. VeGuide features two mentors in the similar age group to our target audience which we thought would help its users to relate to them.

VeGuide is free to download on Android and iOS devices. Its users receive a combination of daily informational videos, motivational quotes, quizzes, recipes and discounts, all of which aim to help them ease into vegan living.


The Vegan Trademark – sunflower symbol – guarantees that products are free from animal ingredients and animal testing.  There are now over 30,000 products and services registered with the Vegan Trademark.  How does a brand go about registering their products? 

Brands can contact our Vegan Trademark team at trademark@vegansociety.com, which will be followed up by some questions that include the number of products a company wants to register, their turnover and size, so that my colleagues can provide them with a quote. After this, the Trademark team carefully checks all the ingredients in the products about to be Trademarked to make sure they’re animal-free. We can also help brands veganise products and suggest alternatives to any animal products their items contain. 

From curries to cakes, virtually any recipe could be made suitable for a vegan lifestyle, as long as they are made from plant-based ingredients. Have you got a personal favourite vegan dish or recipe?

I’m all for quick and easy recipes that don’t require tens of ingredients! I’m personally very much into Korean and East Asian cuisine, so I love dishes like kimchi jjigae, ddeokbokki, jjajangmyeon, Japanese curry, mapo tofu, bibimbap, and various side dishes, called muchim in Korean cuisine. For those with a less oriental preferences, I find that making vegan versions of easy classics like lasagne, chilli con carne, shepherd’s pie, enchiladas or roast dinner is best! 

I read on your website that honey was the product probably most frequently mistaken as vegan -friendly.  I must admit I thought it was! Why is honey excluded? What other foodstuffs are also mistaken as being vegan friendly?

Honey is a product made by animals, so for the sake of consistency is excluded from a vegan diet. Veganism opposes the use and killing of all animals. Other foods that sometimes may not be vegan are alcohol (beer and wine mainly).

What are the nutritional  and other benefits of becoming vegan?

You can get everything your body needs on a vegan diet – vegans actually tend to eat much more fruit and vegetables than the rest of the population which has amazing health benefits. The British Dietetic Association, an independent UK authority on nutrition, states that a vegan diet is suitable at any age or life stage, including infancy, childhood and pregnancy

Eating a balanced vegan diet helps to limit saturated fat and get plenty of fibre, vitamins and minerals. Research shows vegans have lower blood pressure, lower chances of getting heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. This is partly because animal products, unlike vegan food, contain a significant amount of cholesterol.


In the UK all medicines are required to be tested on animals before being deemed as safe for human use.  Obviously, if you are a vegan how are you able to get the medication needed without compromising your beliefs? What are The Vegan Society’s recommendations?

Vegans avoid using animals as far as is practicable and possible. When choosing cosmetics, vegans can pick products that have not been tested on animals but unfortunately we don’t currently have such a choice with medicines or vaccinations. The Vegan Society never advises anyone to stop taking prescribed medicines but we do encourage patients to speak to their doctors to see if a vegan-friendly alternative is available.

What is the hardest part, or the hardest thing to forgo, did you find, of transitioning to follow a vegan lifestyle?  

Many people find it difficult to avoid cheese. However, the human tastebuds have a wonderful ability to adapt, so if you resign from cheese for a month or two and then try vegan cheese, you’re very like to enjoy the flavour. Most vegans say the hardest part of going vegan was simply making the decision to do it.P

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?  

I shop online a lot, on websites like Asos, EMP and Yesstyle which features East Asian fashion. When I go to a shopping mall, I often wander around all the different stores in search of a thing I’m looking for at that moment. It’s amazing how easy it is to find vegan clothes and footwear on the high street!

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

I’ve been looking at Luxe Derbys from Will’s Vegan Shoes for a while now. They’re beautiful but pricier because they’re made of eco-friendly, durable vegan leather. I’m just waiting for the right moment to get them!  

Boots Or Shoes? 

Boots – I get cold very easily so I like footwear that covers my ankles! However, I’m 6ft tall which is a lot for a girl, so I’m not at all interested in adding any more inches which makes it tricky with boots!

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

Website: www.vegansociety.com

FB: www.facebook.com/TheVeganSociety

Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheVeganSociety

Instagram: www.instagram.com/theoriginalvegansociety 

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Thank you for the chat Dominika – those Japanese and Asian dishes really do sound interesting (and no doubt delicious!) I really hope, dear readers, that Dominika has helped to dispel any myths and if you do want to follow the Vegan route, then Dominika has given you some inspiration to go ahead and take that leap!

Linda x

Photo Credits: Pinned Photo by Linda Hobden. The other photos in the article have been published with kind permission from The Vegan Society & Dominika Piasecka

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An Interview With Global Sound Group

The world of music, live music and promoting music is changing. As a musician you want to be getting yourself into venues, perhaps wanting to broaden your horizons by stepping out of your comfort zone of the local pub circuit, perhaps wanting somebody who could help promote and guide you. As a promoter you want to find the latest star. As a venue, you want to attract the musicians that will attract audiences and keep music live. Global Sound Group are a London based music and sound company specialising in music promotion. They’ve just launched the ground breaking virtual booking agent …. online musicians (and booking agents) can get in touch directly with over 20,000 venues & promoters worldwide, allowing them to submit their music directly for consideration. The virtual booking agent is just one highlight on their peer-to-peer website, Sound Finder. I caught up with MD James Dyble to find out more…. Hi James…

Hi! My name is James Dyble and I am the managing director at London based music company Global Sound Group. 

What was the inspiration behind launching the peer-to-peer website, Sound Finder?

We have recently created our peer-to-peer website, Sound Finder with the intention of connecting musicians with professionals worldwide. It was inspired by many years of noticing that musicians struggle to find the best professionals to work with on their projects. 

 What benefits can the musician have by logging onto Sound Finder?  

The musician will benefit from a FREE membership and also the ability to work with the best professionals worldwide from as little as $5 ranging from graphic designers to mixing engineers. Also the website is completely secure and we offer a 100% money back guarantee on all services. 

One of the latest additions to the website is the ground breaking virtual booking agent. In a nutshell, what does the service provide?

The virtual Booking Agent enables musicians to submit their music to more than 20000 music venues and promoters worldwide for gig consideration. It is an extremely powerful tool for musicians to get more gigs and get paid more for their shows. 

What were your musical influences growing up?

I have always been influenced by the major record labels, I have always been interested in how they work. 

Have you always wanted to be in the music industry or did you have any other career in mind?

Since I can remember, I have always wanted to work in the music industry. 

Are you a musician yourself?

I am indeed a musician and I can play various instruments although I do not play in a band and just play at home in my free time. 

What genre of music do you personally listen to? What was the last concert you attended?

I listen to a broad range of genres, however the genre you would most likely catch me listening to is Indie/ Rock. The last concert I attended was The 1975, in Yorkshire. 

Imagine you are driving – what song would be top of your list to croon to whilst playing car karaoke?

Most probably The Killers – Mr Brightside. 

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

Formal clothing, suits and formal shoes. 

Do you have any favourite websites? (Apart from your own!)

I am a big fan of YouTube and spend time listening to new music on there. 

Boots or Shoes?

Boots. 

For Pinning Later…

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

Main website – www.theoutsourcer.cohttp://www.theoutsourcer.co

Virtual booking agent – www.virtualbookingagent.co

www.facebook.com/soundfinder1

www.instagram.com/soundfinder1

www.twitter.com/soundfinder1

If any of my readers are musicians, then check out the Soundfinder website today! There may be a venue just waiting for you!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of the Global Sound Group

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An Interview With Mom Transparenting

There are many “Mommy/Mummy” blogs out in the World Wide Web – some I read as they are teenage based (my children are now in their teens and twenties) so I can relate; and a few I read as I find them interesting on many levels even though I have no real affiliation with them, but occasionally I can comment with a few words of my own experience in bringing up a family. I find it interesting to read about family life in other countries other than your own too. One such favourite “Mommy” blog I read falls squarely into my latter category… Nicole of Mom Transparenting has a gem of a blog and I was over the moon when she agreed to be interviewed! Come and meet Nicole… Hi Nicole!

Hi! My name is Nicole. I’m a divorced/single mom of three and a realtor in a suburb of Chicago. I have a Master’s Degree in Counseling although I have never worked  in the field. I’m very intrigued by psychology and passionate about mental health. 

What made you decide to set up your blog, Mom Transparenting?  

I started my blog about 6 months after my (then) 4 year old son came out to me as transgender. For years I have been posting on my personal FB page about various parts of life in short story form and had been told I should start a blog. It took me a long time to figure out what that even meant! (LOL!) After divorcing, custody battles, and then my son coming out I decided it was time to curate a space to share my personal experiences and stop bombarding my friends and family with it all. It’s much more socially acceptable to put it in an “article” and call it writing than it is to vent on social media about a screaming toddler 😉

As with many parent bloggers I know, blogging about family is often very difficult.  However, I do feel that reading parenting blogs helps the parent realise that they are not alone, especially when a blog tackles a particular subject. What has been the general reaction about your blog from family/friends and from readers?  How have your children reacted?

If I am being completely honest, the staggering majority of my readers and  followers are NOT my family. Most of my family doesn’t even know this blog even exists. I have some very conservative family members and I just don’t want to deal with the backlash of their opinion about how I raise my child. If I didn’t have a transgender child, that wouldn’t be the case. But this is the reality of the world we live in. When you share something like that with people that think they “know” you, they feel like they have the right to tell you how to raise and handle issues that arise with your children. Even if you aren’t asking for advice. Personally, I prefer my followers and readers be those that sought me out because they were looking for someone to relate to. I know many of my experiences seem mind-blowing to me as they happen, but I also know I am very much NOT alone and many women (and men) have similar struggles. My goal in all of this was to some how connect with other parents like me, speak from the parent perspective and not of that of a trans person, because I’m not trans. I don’t know what it is like to be trans. But I do know what it is like to have a trans child and what it’s like to be the parent under the microscope. That was reason number one I decided to share our journey in an open and raw way. 

I personally know of two people who are “transparenting” and their children, like your son, were determined at a young age to follow the gender they feel they are. How did your son approach the subject with you & what was your initial reaction?    

I have an article that was recently published on Motherly that answers this exact question: https://www.mother.ly/life/raising-4-year-old-   transgender-child

What advice do you give other parents – both in the same position as yourself as well as those who are not?

Whenever I post an article about my trans son, struggles with divorce, or custody I get numerous messages from various people telling me their similar experiences. Many ask me about their own children or want to vent about their own divorce/ex. When it comes to divorce single-motherhood I am empathetic to their situation and urge them to find someone they can connect with to help them get through this tough time. It’s an all around shit show having to juggle kids, homes, pets, work, splitting up, and financials of divorce. I wish that on NO ONE. When someone messages me regarding questions about their children’s comments about their own gender I tell them what everyone told me in the beginning. Let them lead the way, if they want to change their clothes, let them. If they ask to make a name change, do it. Give them the chance to live the way they are asking to and let them decide if this is truly them “coming out” or if it’s a phase. Because at a young age you can’t know for sure. The key (according to professionals) is consistence, insistence, and persistence. And that’s over a period of time. Considering my son has been living this way and insistent on his feelings that HE. IS. A. BOY. for at least 9 months now tells me that we are likely past any chance that this could be a phase that will pass. But, even if that were the case, my reaction and how I continue to let him lead the way would not change. 

I have found that, generally, children are often matter-of-fact and accepting.  How did your son’s siblings react? 

My youngest was only 3 and she was very quick to make the language changes my son requested and made a conscious effort to call him her brother. She has probably been the one with the least questions and the most acceptance and I find her innocence and pure view of the world so truly beautiful. If only everyone could be like that. My oldest was 7 and he was confused and sad at first. He flat out didn’t like it. But I explained to him that as family, we support each other. Even if we sometimes don’t like it. And that was enough for him to get on board and make the changes he needed to. We have conversations about it from time to time (more at first, they’ve become less and less over time) and I usually just frame it around “this is just the way it is.” You can’t change who someone is fundamentally adamant so why try? Just be loving, supportive, and accepting and be the good people I know I raised. As far as friends go, it’s interesting. My son is “stealth” at school, but I use that term loosely because he really isn’t quiet about it we just don’t go around screaming it from the rooftops. There are plenty of classmates and families that know he is trans, and just as many that only know him as a little boy. I urge my son to share when/if he’s ready and don’t ever want him to feel like he has a secret to hide or something to be ashamed of because of this. But when he does share with friends, their typical response is either “huh?” and that’s it. Like they think he’s joking. Or my favorite has been, “Oh, I used to be a girl” and his friend said, “oh, yea? Me too!” LOL

 Let’s talk about your blog & blogging in general!  What do you enjoy most about blogging?  What is your least favourite “blogging job”?

I love having an outlet to share our journey. I love being able to connect with other writer and content creators that I idolize and look up to. The inspire me to do better and be better in every interaction I have with them. I’ve met so many wonderful people that I am so grateful to know. I appreciate the feedback I get and I find that (for the most part) between my followers and the community of fellow bloggers I’ve met everyone has welcomed me with open arms and has become a great resource in times of need. My least favorite part is rejection. I submit a lot of guest posts and even though I know not everything I write is amazing and not every post I submit will be accepted, it still stings. 

Where do you find inspiration for posts? 

In my kids, my family, my work, basically my every day life. If my kid does something funny, I can usually find a story to write around it. When something bad/sad happens it is therapeutic for me to write about it, even if I may not share that post on my blog, it gets my feelings out and moves me forward to a place where I can be a better writer in general. 

What is your favourite social media for (a) blog networking and (b) personal browsing? 

I tend to shine on Instagram. I write memes and the majority of my followers are there. I use Facebook, twitter, and pinterest as well, but IG is really my baby. 

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

Oh, GAWD! Black leggings, a t-shirt or sweater (I LOVE big, comfy sweaters!) and this time of year Sorel boots. During the summer it’s flip flops, all day, every day. I wish I were more fashion forward, but as a busy mom I’m more of a function and comfort addict than I am for brands and style. Personally, I have a fun/trendy style when I can afford it! But when you’re a single mom sometimes your closet and shoe fetish takes a back seat to your kids sports and after school activities. Gotta make those hard choices, and us moms tend to make sacrifices for our kids from our own wants/needs. 

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? 

I’m not a trendsetter. I shop at Target and on Amazon to keep me from leaving the house at all costs.

Boots or Shoes?

Boots. All day. I loved when skinny jeans came back in style so I could show off my boots again ALL THE TIME! 

For pinning later

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

Blog: http://momtransparenting.com

Instagram: https://instagram.com/momtransparenting

Facebook: https://facebook.com/momtransparenting

Twitter: https://twitter.com/momtransparenting

Thank you very much for chatting to me today Nicole! I wish your blog continued success as you make your way through the jungle that is parenting 🙂

Linda x

Photographs of Nicole & her son have been published with kind permission of Nicole (Mom Transparenting) 

Pinned Photo is by Linda Hobden.


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An Interview With Bright Corner

Messages to cut down on packaging, reduce the use of plastics and to help halt the severity of global warning, among others, are repeated every day on our news. I’m pleased, therefore, to interview a company that is totally eco friendly – even down to the packaging.  Bright Corner is a company that specialises in pretty interior wooden LED lights for the home that brighten up even the dullest corner. Good lighting in your home is important emotionally for making you, your family and your abode happy.  I caught up with founder Chloe Harrison to find out more… Hi Chloe!

Hello, I am Chloe,  founder and owner of Bright Corner, where I design and make wooden LED lights to create and inspire a happy, cosy home.

Your company designs and makes simple wooden LED lights. What inspired you to start your company?
I left my job in London a few years ago, to start something myself that gave me a better work / life balance. I spent a while volunteering and doing some courses but before I had figured out what I wanted to do, I became pregnant. This obviously took over for a while, but I knew I wanted to start a small creative business. Bright Corner came to me when I couldn’t find a simple wooden light for my little girl’s bedroom. So, I decided to design one and it grew from there.
Bringing a little bit of nature indoors, it makes a refreshing change to use natural wood. When it comes to packaging etc though, does your company maintain its eco friendly ethos by avoiding plastic?   
Yes definitely, I aim to be as environmentally friendly as possible. My products are packaged with no plastic, in simple brown boxes, protected with loose fill paper packaging – all recyclable. My parcel bags are Eco friendly made from Coex, a 100% natural product.
There are 3 designs to choose from: Star Tent, Townhouse & Woodland; as well as a choice of 3 fabric cable colours: natural jute, olive green, mustard yellow – which design and colour cable seems to be the most popular amongst your customers? Do you have a favourite design?
It is still early days, and all designs have been well received but the Star Tent seems to be the most popular for children’s rooms and the Townhouse, Woodland for adults. The cable colour favourite is mustard but I think that’s a top colour this winter. My personal favourite is the Townhouse with mustard but ask me in 6 months and I would have probably changed my mind.
Are there any new additions to your range of lights in the pipeline for 2019?
Yes I am working on a few new designs for the Spring / Summer and maybe even some new products, but they will have the same simple, wooden feel to them as my lights do.
As you are based in the UK, are your products available to customers abroad?
At the moment I only supply a UK plug but also send to Europe. I am hoping as my company grows, I can offer different plugs and expand to America / Canada.
Have you always had an interest in design or did you have other aspirations growing up? 
My sister was the creative one growing up and I was obsessed with films. I ended up working in the film industry, so still a creative world but I wasn’t creative myself. I felt a gap in my life for creativity, so I started to paint and had that as my outlet until I decided to leave my career and start a new adventure.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
I prefer winter clothes to summer, I love tights with skirts / dresses, boots and jumpers, cosy clothes.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? 

I love a charity shop bargain, I once bought a COS T-shirt for £3 and wear it all the time. I am trying to buy more independent and recently got an amazing moon/ star jumper from Alphabet Sweats. For a treat I love Finisterre and Toast –  gorgeous brands, beautiful clothes.

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

I have always wanted a pair of Swedish Clogs, maybe I will treat myself for the Spring.

Boots or Shoes?

Boots, they are much more practical and there are better designs out there. I am a mum, so love a slip-on boot, so much easier when you are carrying a little one in and out of the house.

For pinning later

 

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

https://www.brightcorner-shop.com/

https://www.instagram.com/brightcornershop/

https://www.facebook.com/brightcornershop/

Lovely designs Chloe!  Although I do so love the minimalist interior home designs that are trending –  your lights are simply stylish and versatile – looking good in a new build or in a rustic old style country cottage.  I look forward to seeing your new creative designs in 2019.

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Chloe Harrison of Bright Corner.

 

 

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An Interview With Spark

This week I’m talking about kitchen gadgets, utensils and gizmos – those gadgets that  you think you don’t have a need for, then you get one and you realise it is an absolute godsend for making your life easier! I bet every household has got at least one  kitchen gadget that may not be a necessity but its versatility renders it one of your favourite kitchen items. If you haven’t got such a gadget, then perhaps my guest this week will tempt you with one of his creations. I’m talking with Billy Dulay, co founder of “Products By Spark” – a small company that has big ideas – its Splatter Catcher and Infinity Mat are just two items worth looking at. Hi Billy & welcome!

Hello & welcome to “Spark”, a small but growing company specializing in “The newest kitchen gadgets/utensils and beyond”. We believe passionately in innovation and first-rate service, which is why we commit ourselves to giving you the best of both. If you’re looking for something new, you’re in the right place. We strive to be industrious and inventive, offering our customers something they need but with an innovative twist, putting their desires at the top of our priority list.

What was the inspiration behind the introduction of the Splatter Catcher and the Infinity Mat?

The Splatter Catcher, this idea was made after cooking a rather splattery chicken thigh for dinner. Covered in grease, we wanted to develop a product that wouldn’t affect the food in any way but keeps stoves clean, behold the Splatter Catcher.

The Infinity Mat was a bi-product of our creative juices after creating the Splatter Catcher, “What multi-use tool can we create which will be a must in any kitchen?” thus sparking into life the Infinity Mat.

There are similar items on sale from other brands – so what are the main selling points of your products?

The Splatter Catcher is the first product of its kind to the hit the UK market, the main selling points are as follows:-

Fits 28cm pans (Diameter)
BPA free – Made from fully compliant 100% food grade silicone 
Heat resistant up to 230 Celsius
Dishwasher Safe – Place on to two racks of the dishwasher, leave out to dry.
Easy roll up storage
Seamless application – Tab system allows for the Splatter catcher to be applied with ease, ensuring it has been applied securely.
Allows all steam to escape the pan
Blocks fine oil from escaping – rest assured that your cooking surface and clothes will be free of any fine oil splatters.
Prevents Spills – freely overfill the pan without the fear of food contents dropping out of the pan. Perfect for large stirfries

The Infinity Mat not only has uses for indoor and outdoor application:-

Trivet
Food Cover
Placemat
Jar Opener
Oven Glove
Grip for your chopping board
And Many More!

It is also available in 4 different colours.

The Splatter Catcher and the Infinity Mat come in array of lovely bright colours – which colour seems to be the most popular amongst your customers?
Yellow and Red – These colours can brighten up the dullest of kitchens.
Are there any new additions to your range of products in the pipeline for 2019?

Yes! Yes! Yes! There’s definitely more in store for 2019 we haven’t even got started.

As you are based in the UK, are your products available to customers abroad?

Yes, we ship all over the world.

Working in the field of kitchen products, as you do, do you enjoy spending time in the kitchen cooking? If so, do you have a signature dish?

When I can get time I love cooking. I’m not the best chef in the world however I’d like to say I’d hold my own in the “Chicken Stir Fry Arena” which is my signature dish.

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

Jeans, open collar shirt and blazer – smart casual and definitely a nice pair of shoes.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? 

Definitely Asos.

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

Has to be a nice winter coat, I’m dreading winter.

Boots or Shoes?

Shoes – Look smarter.


Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about the Splatter Catcher & The Infinity Mat.

Website (www.productsbyspark.com)

Instagram – (_sparkproducts)

Thank you Billy for chatting to us about your kitchen gadgets.  I can just imagine you cooking your stir fry and pondering over how you can make sure the oil doesn’t splatter everywhere…. 🙂 I didn’t realise just how many different ways you can use the Infinity Mat – definitely  a useful item to have in the kitchen.

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Products By Spark (Billy Dulay).

 

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Introducing Alphabetville

I’m pleased to introduce onto my blog this week illustrator Mary-Louise Hussey.  I have followed Mary on Twitter for a while now – her little creature drawings that make up Alphabetville, remind me of illustrations that used to be in my fairytale books as a child.  Her illustrations and the animal characters are delightful –  such a lovely way to introduce ABC.  I caught up with Mary-Louise recently to talk about her illustrations, Alphabetville and  life in the 1970s! Hi Mary-Louise!

Hello, my name is Mary-Louise Hussey and I was brought up in West Sussex in the UK.  I had an unusual childhood living in the wing of a grand old Victorian mansion, a preparatory school for boys.  I don’t remember being lonely, but looking back it was an insular existence to begin with spending long days in the nursery, or playing in the garden under the Old Lime Tree with imaginary friends, mostly of the wildlife kind.

When I left school I was sent off to various ‘courses for young ladies’ in London preparing me for life! One of these was Lucy Clayton modelling school, which taught me how to glide down a ‘cat walk’, and though tall and lanky apparently ‘my neck was too short for modelling’, something I am still self conscious about! Luckily this led me to look down other avenues.  Working in a glamorous fashion shop in Knightsbridge, the ‘heart of smart’ in London, gave me a lust for the latest fashions.  Mary Quant, Biba, miniskirts, hot pants, buckets of makeup and Beatles music were all the rage.  Inspired by this experience and with a small legacy from my grandmother I opened ‘Sheba’, my clothes ‘Boutique’ and fashion mecca in a charming little country village.  The 1970s were dizzy days and my confidence blossomed.

Later married and with two young daughters, we moved away to rural Herefordshire. Glorious countryside and friendly people, I took up painting once again.  With an urge to set up another business I fell into my new career.  Sheba Designs, a mail order catalogue selling ‘Personalised Gifts for Children’, most notably ‘Illustrated Name Pictures’.

What was the inspiration behind ‘Animals at Work’ who live in Alphabetville?

I’m so glad you asked me this as the memories are still quite deep. You remember the Old Lime Tree I was telling you about in our garden – I loved that tree?  Sadly in 1987 there was a hurricane which ravaged the countryside in the South of England.  We went down from Herefordshire to my old home, and I wept when I saw my Old Lime Tree had been whipped up and flung down, broken. Right then and there I determined that the memory of this beautiful old lime tree and the happy times spent under it with my imaginary friends should not be lost. On returning home I immediately set about designing my little animal alphabet ‘Animals at Work’ who now live in Alphabetville.  The design was a huge success in my business and when a Japanese wholesaler asked me at my trade stand at an exhibition if I had written stories around the characters, I crossed all fingers and said ‘YES’.  At home I feverishly created characters for my little animals and gave them the village of Alphabetville to make their home.  And that is where they are to this day making children everywhere happy.

You have written and illustrated 2 children’s picture books based on the antics of the animals of Alphabetville.  Can you describe Alphabetville in a nutshell and how the books can help young children in mastering their alphabet?

I love this question, but how to fit Alphabetville into a nutshell, and how to crack it without shattering the illusion? I’ll do my best.

The village is down in a little dell….not far from you actually!  Tarquin and Tarqueena the slightly eccentric Royals who live in ‘The Royal Oak Palace,’ leave all the essential running of the busy village to ‘The Animals at Work’.  From the School, the thriving Gift Factory and the Railway Station and Farm, to the Corner Shop and Church all is run fairly smoothly.  It’s not always a tight ship, but it’s fairly average really except that it is run by ANIMALS. Oh and did I say that they get into quite a pickle sometimes, well who doesn’t?

Our plan is at this early stage of learning the alphabet, for The ‘Animals at Work’ to become your children’s best friends – simple.  You see each animal’s name cleverly starts with a different letter of the alphabet. Ie.  Albert Mole head teacher of the village school, Boris Bear the chef who loves hot and spicy food,  Clarrie the caring nurse,  ‘Dodge’ Dougal the village policeman etc. So while the child becomes familiar with the characters and their names they soon begin to recognise the accompanying letters…. Here is the first tentative and enjoyable step towards learning their ABC.

I love the Alphabetville animals – my favourite is Gloria Gussey – a stunning lizard who is a super model with brains who hopes to become a doctor!  Have you got a fondness for any particular character?

I just have to say Emmie the talented faMouse artist or she would clobber me – because she is ME and my alto ego.  One major difference being that she has 12 little ‘mouselings’…. and I don’t!  I blame Emmie (Emeraldine) for the painting of all the pictures in my books, which sort of lets me off the hook a bit. Furthermore In a corridor in the Alphabetville village school you can find ‘Rogues Gallery’ where Emmie’s portraits of each of the pupils hang on their leaving.  She is now proud to have over 10,000 followers on her Twitter account. Have a peek @AnimalsatWork

When did you start designing and hand painting illustrated name pictures?

Both my daughters had started school and I took up painting again in earnest.  But one day trying something new, I illustrated a name picture with wildflowers for my goddaughter Amanda. It seemed to be a hit with those who saw it and I capitalised on that by taking a few orders from friends, then from coffee mornings, charity fairs, school functions and so on until I brought out my Mail Order catalogue and started advertising and even ventured into the wholesale market.

I can tell you are an animal lover – but are you scared or wary of any particular animal in real life? (I’m wary of cows and ants)

Yes, I love animals but I have to admit to being nervous of horses.  I was ‘plonked’ on a pony at the age of about 7 years and told to hold on tight.  The novice teacher led four of us off across a field at a trot.  Soon out of control I tumbled off and was promptly ‘plonked’ on again, whereupon the pony took off back to the stables with me hanging on for dear life. I love them but I have never trusted a horse since.

Growing up, did you always hope to have a career connected with art or were your dreams directed elsewhere?

I rather fancied myself as a pop star when I was in my teens.  I used to strum along on my guitar with friends and we spent hours recording ourselves on a big old fashioned recording machine, we were pretty awful but had lots of fun. I will soon be recording the songs I have composed for The Animals at Work.

Where do you prefer to read – in bed, in a comfy chair, in a library surrounded by books or elsewhere?  Do you prefer hardback, paperback or Kindle? Favourite genre?

In a deckchair in the garden with the sound of birds singing in the trees, however that’s nearly impossible unless on holiday.  So as my husband goes to bed before me I crawl in to my side of the bed with my Kindle under the bedclothes and read till my eyes close. One of my historical novels will keep me awake like this for a short time but I usually find the Kindle still there when I wake up early the next morning.

Where can people purchase your Illustrated Name Pictures and books?  Is there worldwide availability?

Both through my website www.alphabetville.net                                                                                                                              The books and (eBook to come) –  self publishing at  https://www.blurb.co.uk/b/862c                                                                                                   Twitter @AnimalsatWork                                                                                              Facebook  –  Alphabetville

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

With long legs but rather thick ankles I normally wear trousers to flatter/hide my shape.  Colour is my thing, so my tops are many and varied.  Well cut shirts for style in linen or cotton, or silk skimming the hips, printed over tops, often with a matching scarf. Casual but neat flat shoes mainly or boots in the winter.  I’d be more wacky if I could find fun clothes for my age group.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

That’s a bit difficult really because I pick up clothes wherever I find them.  I used to be very fussy having had my own shop in days gone by, but now I seem to find clothes are all too classical for me and not adventurous enough.  It’s not fun anymore and after shopping in shops or online I seem to end up with the same dull old things.

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

I am now a blond haired person in a previously dark haired person’s clothing!  So I need to reassess my wardrobe completely really and go for subtle colours and soft flowing materials with drapes to hide unwanted lumps and bumps.  Flattering warm brown and light caramel colours with splashes of burnt coral. Short donkey brown boots and a large cashmere shawl to dashingly fling round your neck.  That doesn’t sound at all like ‘old me’, but then I’m not the ‘old me’ any more.

Boots or Shoes?

A good pair of stylish boots… or two, will take you anywhere and hide the thick ankles.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc. so that readers can find out more about you and the Animals at Work in Alphabetville.

Website: www.alphabetville.net

Facebook: Alphabetville

Twitter: @AnimalsatWork

Books:  1.  Animals at Work in Alphabetville,  2. Albert’s Birthday Surprise

Ahh…the hurricane of 1987..I remember it well as I had moved to my first house away from my parents who lived in London, to a small village in coastal Essex that very day the hurricane struck. We had a tree hang precariously over the bungalow but it was safely removed and thankfully, no other lasting damage! Sorry to hear of the demise of the Old Lime Tree, though.

Thank you for taking the time to chat to us about your beautiful illustrations and  Alphabetville – it has been a real treat! 🙂

Linda x

All illustrations/photos have been published with the very kind permission of Mary-Louise Hussey

 

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