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Craft, pets, chocolate and wine – my life essentials!

I was born in Kent - the “Garden of England” in the 1960s and I have never moved away. Located perfectly for a commute to London, a trip to the coast and handily just ten minutes away from Bluewater Shopping Centre.

I was blessed to have a very happy childhood with parents who lived by ‘make it yourself’ so from a very young age I thought it was natural to only ever wear handmade dresses and knitted cardigans.  New kitchen – Dad made it.  I think this provided me with a mind set of ‘have a go’, everything is achievable.  Well, not always everything...the hand built dinghy boat wasn’t the biggest success!

I left school at 16 and went to work in London for NatWest Bank, rather fancily in the NatWest Tower, back then the tallest building in the city.  My office was on level 36 - British Aerospace and I was in awe of being given an electric typewriter (only ever having used a manual one before).  I wasn’t busy, I perhaps typed one or two letters a day so my bosses allowed me to sit, read and sew!  Incredibe to believe that now. 

By the age of 18 I was working in my hometown of Gravesend for a firm of Solicitors.  Different to banking but the opportunity presented itself literally overnight.  I remember winging the interview and saying ‘oh yes I know how to do audio typing’ – I didn’t but I learned very quickly!   And I still work for a law firm, I'm back in London two days a week.  I’ve just celebrated my 20 year work anniversary and I’m delighted I've managed to get some of my colleagues crafting!

In my 20's while working and attempting every creative hobby on the planet... crochet, knitting, cross-stitch, tapestry, painting to name a few, I acquired two sons and a houseful of pets!  (Not necessarily in that order).   Being a single Mum creates a special bond and my sons, now in their twenties, still think it is normal that Mum is always busy doing ‘something’.  When they were very young, I ran a bead jewellery business, Busy Beads, which meant every weekend I would visit homes and host jewellery making parties.  Afterwards, we would have to sort the beads, trays and trays of them – I still think my sons are scarred from that!

My biggest creative discovery, about 10 years ago was die cutting.  I saw an advert in Hobbycraft for a scrapbooking class and had no idea what I was about to be introduced to.  Scrapbooking back then, to my mind, meant gluing pictures of David Bowie onto coloured paper in a flimsy book but no, this was something far more impressive.  Taking a photo and creating a 12 x 12 page with tons of die cuts and embellishments – wow!   Within two weeks I had signed up to go on a Scrapbooking Retreat – a whole weekend of playing with pretty paper.  I arrived with a shoe box full of items that I had managed to purchase beforehand – oh how they laughed.  There happened to be a pop up shop at the retreat, let’s just say I was their biggest customer – I came home with a car full of crafting goodies.  I was hooked.  I scoured the internet for information but scrapbooking wasn’t so popular in the UK but in the US it was massive!  And that is how I discovered Spellbinders.  Timing is everything and in 2011 I was very fortunate to see Spellbinders were advertising for international crafters to join their design team, I applied. Three projects and some sleepless nights later, I was recruited and flying to their offices in Phoenix, Arizona – I still pinch myself.

Now, fast forward to today, I’m still thrilled to be working with Spellbinders as an Ambassador.  My role means that I visit retailers, trade shows, teach workshops, appear on TV and I spend every available minute indulging in my passion…crafting.  I am also a designer for Scrapbook Adhesives by 3L.  Discovering their product in Arizona in 2011, I still believe it is the most superior and reliable craft adhesive on the market.  Where do I create? I've gone from dining table, conservatory, office space, high street shop and now I create in a woodland cabin in my parents’ beautiful garden. I spend endless hours playing with pretty paper and die cutting. While locked away in my cabin, I always have a DVD playing, a diverse collection from period dramas - Downton Abbey, Jane Austen to series like Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones.  I’m also known for saying a glass of red wine and chocolate helps with creativity!