I was bought up in London in the 70's with a bright and privileged childhood. At home we painted murals on walls, built dens at the bottom of our garden, stuck up patchwork wallpaper out of pages of Sunday supplements and had music lessons. Every Summer we went to our Grandparents in Lancashire. We spent long Summers skipping down country lanes, climbing fells and damning rivers. Life was peachy.
When I was 10 my parents separated and my life took a different turn. I left London with my Mum and sister and moved up North. Like the great North South divide my life was split in two incongruous parts. A generous dollop of authentic and down to earth nurturing love from my Mum that still sustains me today. An intense but elusive sliver of high jinx and adventure served up by my Dad that shaped my dreams - a road trip from London to Lisbon in his 1964 Daimler, soirees in stucco houses in Notting Hill, friends' gallery openings and classical concerts. It was a childhood full of contradiction and yearning that left me searching for my own identity.
By the time I was 17 I couldn't wait to leave Yorkshire and get back to the big smoke. I didn't have a plan but I was in search of the elusive. I worked in a jazz club in the Kings Road in the early 80's, in the mid 80's I ran my own jewellery label and in the 90's I ran an infamous restaurant in West London. Life was fast, furious and sometimes dangerous. I almost paid the price until a stranger reached out to me in the dark. That magical and timely meeting was a catalyst for change.
At 29 I went to college and began to see a different kind future. I graduated in shoe design, landed a dream job and travelled the world with my work. I fell in love several times over and was blessed with adventure, abundant opportunity and a beautiful daughter. I built a successful kids concept store Olive Loves Alfie in London and worked as an international stylist and art director. I wrote 2 best selling interior books - Creative Family Home and Creative Children’s Spaces. I renovated an East London factory that became my home and HQ.
On the flip side I have been heartbroken more than once, l became a single parent when my daughter was under 2 and was made redundant 6 months later. I lost my Dad to Alzheimers. I had to learn how to navigate the mental health act, the social justice system and alternative provision within the education system. I have lived through a life-threatening illness myself.
Bless is a reflection of my journey.
Thank you for being here.
Photography Jules Rogers
Styling Ashlyn Gibson
Location the Bless Retreat West Norfolk