ESTILA e m po w e ri n g t hrough style and colour
VOLUME 5/ ISSUE 26
THE DAYDREAMER ESTILA is a British lifestyle publication on a mission to inspire and empower through sophisticated style and colour. We believe that style is about who you are. Itâ€™s a way of living. Therefore, we focus on telling powerful stories of self-discovery, creativity and fulfilment. From interiors, art, fashion, shopping to beauty and travel you can get inspired by beautiful imagery, inspirational interviews and helpful advice from our expert editors and writers.
ÂŠCopyright 2017 ESTILA ESTILA magazine is created and published by Palantti Ltd. The entire content of this magazine is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced without written consent from the publisher. The views expressed in this publication are those of the respective contributors and are not necessarily shared by the publisher. Original work and photography is copyrighted by its owner. ISSN 2398-9041 Designed and printed in the United Kingdom.
editorâ€™s note Welcome to the fifth print edition of ESTILA magazine. I'm always guided and inspired by unconventional creativity and design, which makes you stop and think. From the interviews with Abigail Ahern, Zoe Pocock from Muck N Brass to Maleka Dattu from Merumaya, you will learn how to find confidence and embrace who you are. All three women are great examples of celebrating authenticity and originality. My starting point for the DAYDREAMER volume was the stunning, specially designed, artwork on the front cover. Created by a London-based illustrator and collagist Onome Otite, it catches the mood of this edition very well. Movement, freedom and happiness. Inspired by these elements, we explore interiors designed by Stanza ID, whose signature style is about bridging practicality with effortless design, and we look into the modern and colourful home designed by a British interior design studio - Kia Designs. In fashion we find out who the Vetiver woman is and showcase emerging designers and brands that run meaningful businesses built upon sustainable approach to living. Our business mindset section focuses on finding your passion and how to keep your social media branding cohesive and strategic. Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Karolina Barnes / editor-in-chief
EDITORS Karolina Barnes Anouska Lancaster / noushkadesign.com Emilia Vespoli Flavia Young / luxe-layers.com Nicola McCullough / strawberryblondebeauty.com Ellen Stanton / paleblueplate.com
STYLISTS Louise Ives-Wilkinson / iwinteriors.co.uk Karolina Barnes
PROOF READER Claire Smith / eclairesva.com
FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHERS Louise Ives-Wilkinson Karolina Barnes Chris White Anna Stathaki Nick Huggins Ellen Stanton
CONTACT estila.co / IG @estilamag For advertising and collaborations, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org Website: estila.co
COVER: by Onome Otite Page 40
content INTERIORS Case Study: Graphic Contrast
Home Tour: Clean Lines 12 Five Minutes With: Abigail Ahern
Business with Purpose: Jonathan Charles Furniture
Design Brand: Muck N Brass - Chimiracles Do Happen
Shopping: Boho Glam 34 Styling: Textural Healing 36 ART Cover story: Daydreamer - Interview with Onome Otite
FASHION Business: Jewelled Buddha 48 Designer: Vetiver 56 Shopping: Bag Investment 62 Discovered: Emerging Designers 64 BEAUTY Fragrance and Emotion 68 Business: Interview with Maleka Dattu from Merumaya
TRAVEL & FOOD Magical Scotland 76 Food Business: Interview with James Bhardwaj from Box'd Fresh
BUSINESS MINDSET Snapshot of your life - Part 4. with Sarah Jones
The Social Media Branding Strategy
EDITORâ€™S BLACK BOOK 88
INTERIORS “Where practicality meets effortless design.”
i n teriors Âˇ c ase study
Graphic Contrast written by Laura Allnatt, styling by Keziah Powell, photography by Chris White
The places we live in can have a profound effect on our state of mind. With the right combination of vision and creative precision, those spaces can be transformed into whatever you want. Working with the right teams in creating such space that works for you and your individuality will give you a truly wonderful home you'll be happy to come back to after a hard day's work. This particular family home was designed by Stanza Interior Design, who specialises in delivering beautiful and effortless design combined with practical solutions. The concept for this home was to create a graphic contrast, using understated bold elements but retaining a light and spacious feel. The chosen materials played a vital role in achieving just that. The custom kitchen features polished concrete worktop and integrated down-draft extractor. The two-tone paint effect and the seamless Metropolis stone resin flooring create a sleek and contemporary finish.
i n teriors Âˇ c ase study
i n teriors Âˇ c ase study
i n teriors · c ase study
The contemporary notes of this project contrast beautifully with the ‘live edge’ table design, lovingly crafted from sweet chestnut. This piece was specially commissioned and brings a unique character to the space. Create Bespoke’s team showed great care and consideration in the design process of the table, focusing not just on the design but also size, colour and texture. The result is a piece of furniture that is high quality and something truly individual. The timber was sourced from the Mill, where a single piece of sweet chestnut was chosen for its pale colour, interesting features and beautiful grain. As well as being incredibly beautiful, it is also very durable and practical for family living. Another important element of this project was the lighting. Contemporary designer lighting throughout creates a unique and dramatic ambience from day through to evening. Beautiful mosaic tiling in the downstairs hallway brings the space to life and a newly installed underfloor heating system throughout the rear ground floor adds warmth whilst maintaining the spacious feel. Credits: Interior Design by Stanza ID, Keziah Powell from Parker Powell Design, Concrete Flooring by Metropolis_Ivas, Design & Build by Create Bespoke Beauty
i n teriors Âˇ home tour
Clean Lines interview by Karolina Barnes, photography by Anna Stathaki
Sometimes designing a dream home is not an easy task. Design gives us the opportunity to push the boundaries of our creativity. Having someone to guides us and shows a world, which we didn't know exists, has many benefits. It saves time and enriches our knowledge. Going through projects like these also helps you with boosting your confidence. Kia Stanford from Kia Designs takes us through one such design project in London. This home is full of clean lines but big surprises too. It's one of those homes where everywhere you look, there is something interesting to take in. Whether that's the fabric on the back of an armchair, graphic curtains or geometric art, each element is surprising and impactful at the same time.
i n teriors Âˇ home tour
What inspired the design for this property and what was the design concept? To transform a new build three bedroom flat into a modern, interesting, warm and characterful home. Having lived all over the world, the clients had become accustomed to large, spacious and light-filled apartments. With London homes being more on the cosy side, they really wanted some help to create a home they both felt comfortable in. The overall colour scheme includes a mixture of sandy tones with pops of colour. This will contrast nicely with the walnut flooring and white walls. Complimentary clean lines in muted textiles with accented colour will bring warmth and depth to the design and provide character and atmosphere to each individual room. Was there anything challenging during this project? A plain space can be extremely difficult as it doesn't have many features so we need to create them ourselves. Creating focus in box rooms is a challenge and requires good proportions to be able to pull it off.
i n teriors Âˇ home tour
How important colours are in your design work? Colours are often what drive a design project. Clients have very strong feelings towards colours that they do and definitely don't like. With that in mind, we can't help but be driven by them. What's always wonderful is combining colours that clients find delightful with ones that they may never have lived with before. What are your 5 tips on injecting personality into a space? My number one tip for creating personality in a space is artwork. Nothing helps to show you more about what a person is like than what you put on your walls and don't limit this to personal photos. It can be everything and anything that has shaped your world. Don't be afraid of colours that you like even if you don't see them every day in magazines or high street stores. Do you! If you have something you're passionate about, don't be afraid to make it an important part of your home. Cooking, shopping, guitar - show it off.
i n teriors Âˇ home tour
Remember you can go slow. Don't feel you have to get every accessory you need on day one. If you are struggling, pick things up as you holiday or while you're out at places that mean a lot to you. This part should be fun and don't be afraid to show off things that make you smile. What is your favourite homeware item which everyone should have? An occasional chair! They are comfortable and can add a fun injection of colour or pattern in without dominating a space. I have two in my lounge and they often have people gravitating towards them as they have such vibrant personality.
i n t e ri ors Âˇ fiv e minutes with
Interview with Abigail Ahern words by Rachel Edmonds, photography provided by Abigail Ahern
Known for her dark inky hues and fabulous faux flowers Abigail Ahern is a master at pushing the boundaries of interior design. The high priestess of interiors encourages us to rip up the design rule book and embrace our own style. Abigail founded her business in 2003 and her London boutique is now regarded as one of the coolest places to shop by none other than Elle Decoration. Today, Abigail has amassed followers from all over the globe who love her eclectic interior accessories, faux plants (you really canâ€™t tell the difference from the real thing), bestselling books and highly regarded blog (a great read for insider tips). 1.You have been asked this probably a thousand times before but how would you describe your style? In a nutshell, a bit of grit and a dollop of glamour. Iâ€™m obsessed with interiors and push the boundaries to totally reinvent spaces to inspire. Dark colours have transformed my home (and my life!) forever. They're cocooning, glamorous, flattering, masculine and edgy. Once you convert to the dark side, there's no going back. 2. Dark colours feature heavily in your signature style, has that always been the case? What first inspired you to use a darker palette? Dark colours are certainly my thing. However, moody hues were not always my first colours of choice. I was instantly hooked when I painted one of the walls in my office space, and I haven't looked back.
i n t e ri ors · fiv e minutes with
“Once you convert to the dark side, there's no going back.”
i n t e ri ors Âˇ fiv e minutes with
i n t e ri ors Âˇ fiv e minutes with 3. Many people are nervous of dark colours. Do you have any hints or tips for the decorator who is thinking of moving over to the dark side of interiors? Colour is so very personal. So, if you have no idea where to start on your colour scheme, the best, simplest advice I can give you is to follow your gut. My advice would be to paint out a whole wall, and live with that for a few days to see how you feel about it, and how it looks in every light. 4. How did Abigail Ahern the person become Abigail Ahern the brand? It kind of grew organically. The AA brand is all me - it's all the things I love in one, and then I got these amazing followers who gave me the chance to grow the business. 5. Where do you draw inspiration from for your collections? Lots of my inspiration comes from everything around me. Mostly, I would say it comes from my travels. 6. What has been your proudest moment so far? Tough one. I think one of them was certainly me when I opened my first ever store such a proud moment. October 2017 was also a big month of change here at AA. Weâ€™ve opened in Shanghai and both London stores have had massive revamps and now look cooler and more enticing than ever. 7. What can we expect to see from Abigail Ahern in the future? Lots! We have SO much going on at the moment. We are opening a new store in China and have lots of exciting new ideas for our fabulous faux botanicals range. Watch this space. 8. Finally, as 2017 draws to a close, what's your biggest interior trend prediction for 2018? I've never been one to follow trends, but I think there is going to be a lot more focus on how interior design makes you feel, rather than exactly what it looks like. You donâ€™t necessarily have to follow trends or worry about what is hot or not just follow your heart. I think that pushing the boundaries will totally reinvent your pad, turning it into a space you will never want to leave. abigailahern.com
i nteriors Âˇ business
Building A Business With Purpose interview by Karolina Barnes
On my recent visit to the Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, I stumbled upon a hidden gem of the Kings Road, London. Among designer showrooms I came across the beautiful interiors of Jonathan Charles. British craftsman, Jonathan Sowter, founded Jonathan Charles Fine Furniture in 2004. Born in Yorkshire, his childhood was spent tinkering around with pieces of wood. After graduating from university where he qualified as a cabinet maker, he worked abroad for a renowned global furniture brand. Powered by a passion for antiques, art history and a desire to explore the traditions of marquetry, Jonathan decided to setup his own workshop where he made a small collection of handmade pieces. The designs were promptly shipped to the UK to be exhibited at a furniture fair by his mother. The labour-intensive items sold quickly, inspiring Jonathan to build the business to what it is today. What started as a small initiative then, with just six artisans, has grown to a powerhouse that employs over 2000 people.
i nteriors · business
I talked to Yannick Aubinais, the showroom's manager, about the business and its mission. Tell us more about the showroom? The showroom stands as a melange of different cultures, periods and nostalgia, teaming with elegant items and inspiring pieces that won’t tire over time. Created to last and to be handed down through generations, Jonathan still makes furniture himself, because “making” is key to his design process. His hands-on approach has facilitated much of the brands’ boundary pushing in technique and manufacturing, all while reviving an ancient craft. Jonathan Charles Fine Furniture has since evolved to incorporate JC Modern and JC Edited, as well as a successful manufacturing arm for a significant number of luxury brands in the global designer furniture market. Jonathan’s initial vision to create future heritage products and reworks of timeless pieces remain rooted in the brands’ DNA. Seamlessly integrated into the large showroom is the designers corner that showcases under-the-radar artisans who produce radical and exciting work. For Jonathan, it is like giving back, providing other designers a platform where they can display their work.
i nteriors · business
What else is different about Jonathan Charles as a brand? Here in the showroom we provide a very personal customer service. We want visitors to feel welcome and at ease. Understanding our clients in detail; their backgrounds, culture and project requirements, is something which is very important to us. Our vast experience, knowledge and high quality of our products is what makes us stand out. Jonathan describes himself as ‘detail obsessed’, and as part of that obsession, every element of the furniture design is made in-house. We make our own hardware in an in-house brass foundry, so that one-of-a-kind pulls, hinges, locks and even keys are specifically created along with the pieces. The making of each individual piece reflects Jonathan’s training as a cabinetmaker as well as homage to traditional manufacturing traditions that have been used throughout the centuries. Jonathan has pursued the magic of designing and making – of restoring and repairing – all his working life, embracing ancient techniques and making them relevant for today’s world. Our mission is to continue this concept while helping others on the way.
i n t eriors · design brand
Chimiracles do happen words and styling by Anouska Lancaster, photography by Nick Huggins
Zoe Pocock’s Muck n Brass has come a long way since a throwaway suggestion only a few years ago, “You should try upcycling, you’d be good at that”, sewed the seed which has grown from an experiment with a chest of drawers on the dining table, (an experiment which soon took over and outgrew her Bermondsey flat), to a small shop with a side-room for a workshop. One year on, this small shop has now been converted into a standalone showroom, servicing an additional purpose built studio in Honor Oak Park, South East London. As well as continuing to upcycle one-off pieces of furniture and accessories for the shop and online, Zoe has a huge demand for commissions for private clients, and now for interior designers and corporate clients; supplying offices and workspaces. Zoe is evangelical about upcycling and she becomes animated when she talks about it, “It’s not just the benefit to the environment and the quality of the finished piece, but the sense of achievement derived from taking a tired item and transforming it into something beautiful, personal and unique.” Zoe wants to spread the word and get everyone doing their own upcycling. To this end, she teaches regular workshops at her base in London, emphasising the importance of design in the process, as well as teaching the skills and techniques to achieve a great finish. Zoe’s master classes have been such a phenomenal success that she is taking her classes to the UK’s leading school of modern upholstery, ‘The Ministry of Upholstery’. Collaborating with the Ministry’s creative director, Anthony Devine, was a natural step for Zoe, and the creative duo have already planned two weekend courses in late November at the school in Manchester. As if this wasn’t enough, Zoe is excited to exclusively reveal to Estila that she is adding wallpaper and fabric to the brand’s portfolio.
Whilst it’s not upcycling, it still has an ethical dimension, realising that there’s a lot of unfair exploitation of artists and designers with some of the most popular and most expensive wallpaper designs and brands. Muck n Brass’ first wallpaper is collaboration with Sutton Coldfield print designer Laura Hyden. Laura has taken Zoe’s initial idea of a flamingo with human legs and has run with it to create ‘Chimiracle’, a fantastical wallpaper showcasing scenes of Laura’s hand-painted and mixed up Chimera creatures in a magical forest. The papers are all designed and made in the UK, and this was something that was very important to Zoe when she began to explore this process. Zoe is proud and passionate about being a British brand through and through. Also to only use materials of premium quality to create her non-woven, paste the wall designer wallpaper. Chimiracle is available in two colour ways from mucknbrass.com Zoe and I have been working together on projects since we met during an interview for Estila in 2016. The two of us are totally on the same wavelength when it comes to ‘out there interiors’, creating spaces that are not only original, but are brimming with personality and joy. Needless to say, I was utterly delighted to be given the honour of designing a room around Zoe’s debut wallpaper ahead of the launch.
i n t eriors · design brand What made you decide to launch your own wallpaper? I’ve been using loads of different wallpapers at Muck n Brass for upcycling for some time. I’ve acquired a real feeling for various wallpapers – what works and what doesn’t - a real knowledge of what sells, and an appreciation of good quality. I’ve also come into contact with artists who have created some of my favourite designs. It made me so angry to realise that they’re not being credited or properly rewarded for their work. I felt I could use my skills to collaborate with artists who I admire, which is always a joy, and structure it in such a way as to give them the credit and financial reward they deserve, throughout the life of the design. I think artists should be treated more like songwriters than session musicians. Just like a song, a design can become a hit and be exploited over many years. And the artists, just like the songwriter, should benefit from it every time and in whatever form it is used. I believe that wallpaper designers should receive royalties in the same way that song writers do. How did the collaboration with Laura Hyden come about? Laura is one of those artists that I mentioned earlier whose work I’d seen and loved. I am a fan of her work and have always been drawn to her style and her colour palettes. We found each other on social media and it became obvious that we were the perfect fit to collaborate.
interiors Âˇ design
i n t eriors · design brand
Why did you choose the name Chimiracle? It’s a combination of chimera and miracle and I like the way it sounds. Are you planning on launching more wallpapers? Will you be using different artists for future collections? Chimiracle fabrics are also on the way, which we are really excited about. This will be a fabulous addition to the Chimiracle range and will give people an opportunity to mix the different colours and textures in a design scheme. As for the future, Laura is already well underway with her next design, which I can tell you is beautiful. It’s been a really natural progression for the two of us. We totally understand one another and what we are trying to achieve with the finished product. It’s essential that the content and colour complement each other, the result of which is a wallpaper that has real ‘wow factor’. I have other artists working on new designs, which is really exciting. I’m always actively looking for more artists who want the possibility of more than an hourly wage, or a one-off fee, as well as the right to be credited for their work. It’s empowering to know that I’m an ambassador for discovering new talent and supporting new comers into this tough industry. For more information please visit mucknbrass.com. Follow @mucknbrass.
â€œBoho Glam for the timeless look.â€?
research and graphics by Emilia Vespoli
HOUSEOLOGY - CHELSOM Louis XV Wall Light
AMARA Aubergine Tibetan Sheepskin Cushion AMARA - BLOOMINGVILLE Grey Tassel Cotton Cushion
MY THERESA - YEEZY Velvet Ankle Boots
M'ODA 'OPERANDI - ALEXIS Felice Velvet Embroidered Dress M'ODA 'OPERANDI OSCAR DE LA RENTA Beaded Circle with Tassel Earrings
HOUSEOLOGY Distressed 2-Seater Sofa
HOUSEOLOGY - DUCHBONE
Moulin Side Table
i nteriors Âˇ styling
Textural Healing words, styling and photography by Louise Ives-Wilkinson
As we move into the hibernation phase of the year, we can't be blamed for wanting to dig out our candles and throws, and hunker down for winter. So as the days get shorter and we spend more time inside, in this edition I want to talk about improving well being through interior design. As humans we have an innate connection with nature, reaching back to the days long before buildings, where we lived in natural habitats. Our affinity with wood is the strongest connection we have to a natural material, as for many years it was our lifeline. Keeping us alive by providing us with shelter, tools, sustenance, safety and oxygen. Slowly as time has progressed, we have removed ourselves from nature with the rise of urbanisation and the need for more housing. Our lifestyles have become more insular, with more time spent at work and inside buildings, leaving us little down time to get outside. Biophillic design encourages us to re-connect with nature by looking at the inherent design of buildings and interiors to incorporate more natural environments, which have been proven to improve well being and increase productivity. As we spend around 45 percent of our time in our homes, it makes sense that they should not just provide a place of shelter but also help to nourish our souls. Here are three tips to help improve your interior and in turn your well being: Natural Textures: The more texture you can incorporate into an interior, the better. You only need to look at the large scale knitted wool blanket to get that cosy feeling of contentment. Tactile textures in fabrics and wall coverings work well. Natural Forms: From the intricate patterns of fossils to the geometric structure of honeycomb, the forms in nature can be echoed in everything from furniture design to Biomorphic sculpture. These forms are pleasing and familiar to the eye and can provide a real focal point. Natural Materials: Any wood furniture, such as the solid tree trunk stool with its tactile nature, encourages interaction with the material, while also providing function and an extra space for guests to sit. Wood brings a warmth to an interior no other material can. Personally for me the more raw and untreated the wood, the better.
i nteriors Â· styling
BRASS PLANTERS, MARBLE BOWL AND CUBE TERRARIUM, Sass & Belle (sassandbelle.co.uk) | LARGE MOSS STITCH BLANKET, Lauren Aston (laurenastondesigns.com) | FERN AND CRISPY WAVE PLANTS, Minnikin (minnikin.co.uk) |LEE BROOM CRESCENT TABLE LAMP, Houseology (houseology.com) | WOOD STOOL, Railis Design from Decor.A.List, (decoralist.com) | HESPERA FABRIC F683-02, OSBORNE & LITTLE (osborneandlittle.com) | DEAD FLAT EMULSION PITCH BLACK, Farrow & Ball (farrow-ball.com)
interiors Âˇ styling
Every picture tells a story...
THE ACCESSORIES STORY Sass & Belle: Founded in 2009, their tagline is 'For the little things in life'. They aim to provide affordable homeware with a quirky twist with a goal to make customers smile with original designs. Perfect for stocking fillers and gifts for Christmas.
i nteriors Âˇ styling
THE PLANT STORY MINNIKIN - 'Gifts that Grow': Kate and Melissa founded MINNIKIN with the belief that gift giving should be more than just a passing gesture. Their unique approach to gifting plants is both thoughtful and symbolic. Each plant is chosen specifically for its historical meaning, so you can choose the best fit for the receiver. The plant comes in a beautifully minimal drawstring bag inside an equally beautiful box, both of which are encouraged to be re-used and repurposed, creating no packaging waste. A truly elegant and thoughtful experience.
THE STOOL STORY Railis Design: Handmade furniture designed and created in Iceland. The array of beautiful furniture incorporates wood and metal in a variety of innovative ways. My favourite is the stunning Sarma dining table, which has inlaid copper within the natural cracks of the oak. Each piece is unique and could almost be viewed as a work of art. To see all the designs available go to www.railisdesign.com and you can purchase via their Etsy shop. If you would like to learn more about incorporating Biophilic Design into your in home, please contact us via our website at www.iwinteriors.co.uk.
ART â€œThe manipulation of pattern and the prints vibrancy adds to the evocative mood of my illustrations.â€?
art Âˇ c ov er stor y
Daydreamer interview by Karolina Barnes
While visiting the Cockpits Art open day, I came across an interesting artwork. I'm mostly drawn to art that is different in a way that is created. After seeing the oversized, almost lifesize art piece of an African inspired Daydreamer (see the next page), I spoke to Onome Otite about the way she is using textiles and illustration techniques to create such unusual work of art. Onome is a London-based contemporary artist. Her work is inspired by collage and uses mixed materials to produce three-dimensional artworks that are sophisticated and stylish. Influenced by elements from dance, fashion and world cultures, Onome uses her drawing skills first before she decorates her figures with textiles and recycled materials that have been manipulated with by hand.
art · c ov er stor y
When did you realise you have a passion for art? Art and design has always been a subject I enjoyed throughout my education. I graduated from London College of Communication with a BA Hons Degree in Film and Video. This led to a career in art direction and interior styling; assisting on shoots across a variety of mediums including Stills, Editorial and Film; building reputable work relations with international design magazines such as Wallpaper* and World of Interiors. Working on a project for a client and preparing a moodboard, I experimented with textiles and mixed materials to create figurative artworks. I liked the process and so continued to dedicate more time learning new handcraft techniques. I had my first exhibition in 2015 at Service Point Print Studio in Covent Garden. After much interest from visitors in purchasing my artwork, I was encouraged to apply for The Prince’s Trust Business Enterprise Programme to learn about running a business and explore my options as a self-employed artist. As a young creative I have participated in 7 group shows and 2 solo shows in Europe and Canada; and have won several awards, including the 2016 – 2018 Cockpit Arts Creative Careers Awards and the Evening Standard ‘Progress 1000’ Mentorship Programme 2017. I was recently selected as a finalist at the Evening Standard’s Young Progress Awards 2017, which included pitching ideas to a Dragons’ Den-style panel and live audience of 500 people. The opportunity has helped to improve my confidence and presentation skills, and has encouraged me to participate in public speaking and lecturing programmes at the Arts Society. I have built my profile exhibiting and selling in specialised art and craft markets in the UK. I have also reached an international audience through the Hotel Bloom! Art Residency in Brussels and exhibiting at the ‘Artist Project Contemporary Art Fair’ in Toronto, Canada (images from which have been used as promotional material for the Ted Talks – TedxEuston Conference in London). How would you describe your style in life and your work? Inspired by world cultures, my style of work reflects textiles in relation to societies and customs; and to a further extent examines how costume is adopted and adapted by its Diaspora. The use of wax print (colourful cotton cloth - that is hot waxed and dyed) pays homage to my Nigerian ancestry; and designs inspired by the traditional West African textiles I have encountered. Each figure reflects the many characters of the styled West African woman!
art Âˇ c ov er stor y
On special occasions I love to reflect my artwork in my clothing and enjoy wearing bright colours and patterns. I also like to wear big shapes to exhibitions and artist events as it helps when demonstrating to viewers how fabric moves around the body whilst in motion; a recurring theme throughout my artwork. At some point I do get compared to the women in my designs but these works are not self-portraits!
art · c ov er stor y
How important are colour, texture and pattern in your artwork? Using African textiles and recycled materials helps to weave a cultural narrative into my work. Traditionally the colours, patterns and symbols of the fabric design suggest stories and emotion. I like to experiment with collage and create various textural combinations. The manipulation of pattern and the prints vibrancy also adds to the evocative mood of the illustrations. The importance of colour and pattern has introduced artists’ talks and textile workshops to my practice - exploring the versatility of collage to tell stories and communicate ideas. To a further extent I document this process and will use these ideas and materials in my new body of work for 2018. You have a very unique way of creating your art? Can you describe the process? By applying handcraft practices, which include sculpting, moulding and stitching materials to decorate hand-drawn figures, I create the illusion of depth and movement. Craft methods and techniques are self-taught, for example I have learnt embroidery and sewing practices from books and social media. The forming of shapes is the organic part of my process and depends on the type of material being used. Harder materials produce a sculptural effect when moulded and so extensive research goes into sculpture and three-dimensional art. Softer materials, on the other hand, are malleable and easy to manipulate. I create folds and pleating details to suggest movement and flow. I sketch my ideas and designs beforehand and attend life-drawing classes to practice drawing the human form. To familiarise myself with the body in motion I have also attended dance performances. Finally all artworks are created from recycled materials and textiles, such as off-cut fabrics, old clothes and donated materials and makes use of textiles that would otherwise be put to waste. At the moment I outsource my patterned materials, however I plan to learn wax print techniques and create my own original designs. Where do you find inspiration? I explore dance in relation to textiles; how human beings occupy space while in motion and the shapes they create. I’ve looked into the relationship between costume and dance – in particular the movement of fabric whilst in motion and how costume influences the dancer’s routine. The inspiration behind this particular series is contemporary dance and performance art.
art Âˇ c ov er stor y
art · c ov er stor y
I have an interest in dance improvisation, particularly the integration of techniques from ballet and modern dance. For example, the tranquil pattern affect of Vamp is a reflection of modern dancers who use their body weight to enhance long and fluid movement. These illustrations are also a response to fashion imagery, seen at exhibitions, fashion shows and editorials. I am inspired by fashion designers whom are visionaries of their craft – using clothes as a form of expression. I also studied how fashion models use body language to sell clothes to consumers and my images reference western clothing in traditional fabrics. Have you got mentors or other artists you look up to? Since launching as a business with the Prince’s Trust Business Enterprise Programme in 2016 I have benefited from one-to-one mentorship from the charity’s business development team. This has enabled me to build a business plan and earn a studio workspace at Cockpit Arts - a social enterprise for craft and designer makers, where I am provided with further creative career development and design direction from the business advisory team. Having the support has helped me focus on my creative practice and growth. Recently I met the iconic Grayson Perry, Victor Ehikhamenor and Camille Walala; artists with very different styles of work but they all have a strong creative identity in common. I love how they have each built their profile from collaboration projects, which includes fashion and accessories, interior design and murals. As an emerging artist in business it is important to explore the commercial potential of my artwork to improve my craft and reach new audiences, and these artists prove it's possible to commercialise your brand without sacrificing artistic integrity. If there is anyone considering using their ideas and creativity to start their own business, I would say go for it 100%! There are so many initiatives and schemes in London to support emerging creatives and I tend to focus on these opportunities rather than let doubt hold me back.
FASHION “A touch of wanderlust.”
fashion · business
Jewelled Buddha interview with Harjit Sohotey-Khan by Karolina Barnes, photography by Cleveland Aaron, model Farida
What inspired you to come up with the idea of a brand that offers handcrafted luxury accessories?
It was sheer wanderlust! It all began a few years ago, when I left my corporate job and along with my husband, embarked on a yearlong adventure around Asia. I was tired of the monotony of work and I felt there just had to be more to life. One day I thought to myself - is this really what my life is going to be like until I retire! So I quit my job, took a huge leap of faith and several months later I found myself sat on a plane heading for Nepal! There’s a huge sense of freedom that comes with experiencing different places and people. It was both exhilarating and the joy I felt witnessing breathtaking landscapes and places was like no other. Over time, I felt liberated. I learned to love my backpack, which had everything I needed. It taught me a great lesson in appreciating my clothes and realising I didn’t need so much stuff in my life.
This appreciation ran deeper as we came across artisans from all over Asia. From the foothills of the Himalayas, to the back streets of Lhasa, women handcrafted beautiful things using skills handed down through generations. I wanted to share this beauty with the world. For me, handmade textiles had always been a part of growing up and as an Indian; I guess it was normal to have a wardrobe bursting with beautifully crafted silk saris. So creating a business that combined my passion for global, handcrafted textiles, consciously created, seemed the right step to take. What is your mission with Jewelled Buddha? Ultimately my mission is to inspire women through our beautifully crafted collections and empower through our values of fair trade, ethical fashion. Our collections embody the cultures of faraway places, are made using age-old craft techniques and translate into timeless pieces that withstand fashion trends. Our accessories are unique and empower individuality. They tell a story of the journey of a product, where it came from, who made it and how. Each one has some unique characteristic about it. For example, our Kantha sari scarves all bear the embroidered name of the artisan who stitched it. Itâ€™s a way for them to say thank you as each purchase empowers artisans to earn a fair and sustainable income. Itâ€™s also a way for us to remember who made our scarf. Our accessories are made to last and reignite an appreciation and connection to artisans.
I really feel that having this knowledge and connection is empowering. It makes us ask questions about why big retailers are profiting from those working in adequate working conditions in developing countries. It’s an uncomfortable subject - after all shopping is meant to be fun, right? But I do believe that if an item of clothing was made that contributed to the suffering of another human being, then we should at least empower ourselves with the knowledge of how, why and what we can do about it. Having a choice to buy clothing not manufactured in this way is important. How important is handmade and fair trade to your brand? They are both inherent to the identity of the brand. It’s what we do and what makes our products so special. There’s a joy to handmade products. They’re authentic, support local economies and keep global craft cultures alive. Even high-street brands have introduced some sort of “handmade” element to fashion in an attempt to offer customers something a bit more bespoke. But it’s done on a mass-produced scale, which lowers prices and negatively impacts workers. More than often it’s machine made. I think shopping for handmade is much more experiential. It’s the joy of finding something you love and hearing stories of its creation that makes it something to treasure. What’s more, the handcraft industry is one of the most sustainable and green economies.
fashion · business
Fair trade is all part of this. We work only with innovative social businesses, which have a strong sense of integrity and transparency in their fair trade practices and environmental impact. It’s ensuring that those who create our products are empowered by a fair and sustainable income, safe working conditions and the opportunity to develop. With the majority of women working in the garment industry, fair trade not only supports them, but also has a positive effect on the health and education of children, families and communities. Travel inspired you to start Jewelled Buddha. How has running a business changed your life? Not having the routine of a nine-to-five job anymore, has allowed me the freedom to work flexibly and make my own decisions. It’s enabled me to create something that has my own personal stamp on it. I’ve met some amazing people on the journey – whether it’s the social enterprises I partner with, the artisans or those in my business community. There are women out there doing some amazing things and they’re just like you and me. I think the biggest change is my perspective and mindset. You need to be resilient when you run a business. It’s not easy and there are times when you question a lot of things. But it’s made me a stronger, more positive person and really pushed me to achieve things I never thought I would have. What are your tips for buying more consciously? There are so many social and environmental issues associated with fast fashion. The key is to figure out what’s important to you. We can’t solve all problems, so if it’s child labour or working conditions, research brands that help solve this problem and take it from there. I’d start with your own wardrobe. Take a look at what you wear the most and plan to buy an ethical alternative when the time comes for you to replace it. Choose quality over quantity and try to recycle as much as you can. Slow down on your purchases instead of heading out on a shopping trip each week and ask yourself do you really need, would it last and is it good quality. Knowing where to look is so important – the ethical community is constantly growing and there are some great ethical bloggers who highlight great brands. In fact it’s probably a good idea to have a go-to list of brands, so it’s always there when you need it. Building up a wardrobe of timeless, quality clothing is something to be treasured and will always outlive the whimsical trends of fast fashion.
fashion Âˇ designer
fashion Âˇ designer
The Vetiver Woman words by Karolina Barnes, photography provided by Laura Bonnell
In an age of fast fashion, it is refreshing to come across fashion labels that are trying to create collections that are not contributing to this kind of movement. Through our regular features we are trying to bring attention to, and tell the stories of, such labels. And Vetiver is no exception. The Vetiver Collection represents a timeless voice amidst expendable offerings. Versatile garments are open to reinterpretation, with each piece limited only by the imagination of the wearer. This is a collection that is not bound by the confines of age and season, but one that is worn today, loved tomorrow, and held forever. With the concept of casual luxury, the colour palette of this collection effortlessly unfolds into neutral, sun bleached tones, soft blue stripes, and pops of olive green. Each piece has been designed to be worn with effortless ease, creating a timeless, yet edgy look. What's different about Vetiver as a brand? Vetiver was launched in 2016 by owner and creative director Elizabeth Lewis. Elizabeth grew up between California and Australia before moving to New York to pursue her career in fashion. It was after Elizabeth returned to California that she took the decision to launch Vetiver, a womenswear brand that reflects her well-travelled lifestyle and her love of vintage. Last year my husband and I decided the time was right to pursue our long held dream of moving our family from London to California. After selling our London flat, we packed our worldly possessions into a 20ft shipping container and headed to sunny Southern California to start our new adventure. A chance meeting with Elizabeth led to a long chat over coffee about our shared love of vintage and fashion, and shortly afterwards I came on board to work on developing Vetiver.
fashion Âˇ business
fashion Âˇ business
fashion Âˇ business How do you define style? Style is an extension of your personality, your lifestyle, your loves and your interests. Who is your ideal customer? The Vetiver girl is well-travelled, her wardrobe moves freely between the beaches of Byron Bay to the downtown streets of New York. The Vetiver woman can pull from our collection to create her own unique story, and includes staples that transcend hours of the day, taking her from weekday to weekend.
BAG: The Minisaddle by Alexandra de Curtis, SCARF: The Beans by Bianca Elgar, EARRINGS: Havana Chandelier earrings by Victoria von Stein
fashion Âˇ shopping
The bag investment words by Flavia Young
At this time of the year, when Christmas is fast approaching, it is only natural to start thinking about those investments that at any other time of the year would seem far too indulgent and quite frankly, frivolous. And because frivolity has never equated to elegance, it is the classic handbags category that comes to mind. In the handbag department of my perfectly defined and somewhat rigorous style's dos and don'ts, I have some style finickinesses that I am not ready to compromise on. I am also not under any delusion that my picks work for every lifestyle and budget, but there are some rules that can be adopted and adapted by just about any woman wishing to create a stylish wardrobe that works for HER. Trendy sizes and shapes come and go, so stick to the ones that suit what YOU drag along with you in your everyday life. Unless you can afford more than one investment handbag per season, stick to neutral or slightly off the beaten track colours like burgundy, orange, dark green. Tans, browns, greys, navy blues, reds and the likes are the sure-fire choices, but please never black - nothing shouts boring louder, the only exception being for an evening handbag or a classic Chanel. Choose your materials wisely, for instance, light-coloured suede is the kiss of death for practicality. As is a woven leather Bottega Veneta, if you wear a lot of knitwear - they are my absolute favourite handbags but I am talking from personal experience here as I have destroyed many cashmere jumpers by wearing them with my under arm, Bottega handbag rubbing them all day. Always choose a handbag with proper closure - for obvious reasons. The half-open handbag with contents spilling out look is very early 2000's. Composure and streetwiseness are very sexy. When it comes to the hardware, less is definitely more, if not for the undeniable allure of understated luxury, at the very least for minimising the weight you will be carrying around all day. Lastly, but not least, never follow the herds. Overly-Instagrammed handbag brands such as Chloe and JW Anderson will immediately set you out as a fashion victim with no intrinsic style of your own - avoid at all costs. luxe-layers.com
fashi on Âˇ emer ging designers
fashi o n Âˇ emer ging designers
Little treasures discovered words, styling and photography by Karolina Barnes
One of our missions is to go deep underground in order to search for the next lifestyle and fashion label that will be big in the future. If you are uninspired by the high street, or are looking for something unique and handmade with love and care, we have something here for you. Inspired by the colours of natural materials and pastels, I curated a small collection of wardrobe and lifestyle pieces, which not only are made with great imagination and creativity but also have amazing stories behind them.
fashi on Âˇ emer ging designers
Every picture tells a story....
THE JEWELLERY STORY The Tiana Jewel London is a London-based jewellery brand that embraces the powers of gemstones. The Amethyst quartz oversized earrings are not only a great statement accessory but also the stone is said to be helping to protect against negative energy. It is often used to beat addictions and to help to cure insomnia. The dazzling druzy coated rings are a beautiful stone that shimmers and shines. A druzy is made up of tiny crystals of minerals that form on the surface of a stone. Druzys promote positivity and remove the stresses and tensions of our mind, replacing them with serenity and calmness. Available at www.tianajewel.com
THE SHOE STORY The Kim Cork shoes are vegan trainers by Bourgeois Boheme, an independent London-based footwear brand, making state of the art luxury shoes completely free from animal-derived materials.
fashi o n · emer ging designers
Kim is their first unisex style - a longed for vegan take on the classic Stan Smith sneakers with a sleek upper and luxurious finish for the smart athleisure look. With a recycled sole, organic cotton laces, cork upper and linings made from plant-based polymers, Kim marks the birth of a new conscious classic! This shoe is ethically produced in Portugal. Available at www.bboheme.com
THE BOWL STORY This stunning Handwoven Bowl makes a striking centrepiece and is also perfect as a fruit bowl, breadbasket or even for household knick knacks. The bowl is weaved from a local ndiorokh grass, in a village near Thiès in Senegal, intertwined with long strips of plastic. It has a wipe clean surface. Its unique handcrafted nature means that no two bowls are exactly the same. Available at www.artisanne.co.uk
THE SCARF STORY Created by Luna Amani who has been designing women’s accessories for more than 20 years. Inspired by her rich Persian heritage Luna has created a debut signature collection that reflects a childhood of memories in Iran and the 21st-century sensibilities of a designer committed to giving something back. The collection is about celebrating the freedom that comes from exploring your own creativity, the freedom of travel and the freedom, Luna believes, all women should experience as a right, not a luxury. Available at www.lunaamani.com
THE COSMETIC CASE STORY Crafted using 100% British wool, this Cosmetic Case from Hettie is ideal for keeping your cosmetics and other essentials together in one place. Whether you are on the go or at home, this case is not only the perfect size but also it's ethically made in the UK. Available at www.hettie.co.uk
THE CANDLE STORY The Autumn Kiss candle is lovingly made in Devon. Each of the candles have been named after unique “beach moments.” They are all hand poured, using natural soy wax. Designed to “take you there” every time they are lit. Available at www.decoralist.com
BEAUTY “Our sense of smell is a gateway to the emotions.”
be auty · business stor y
Fragrance & Emotion words by Karen Quinn, image by Wellness Stock Shop
You know that moment where you might be fighting your way through crowds, juggling your phone, bag and coffee, feeling a bit stressed out, and you catch a whiff of something, and you are INSTANTLY transported to another time and place so completely that it feels like you're actually there? For a moment, time stands still and you feel the change in temperature, the different quality of light, the emotions you felt. If there was a hug involved, you felt those arms around you, or maybe you felt your hand in someone else's hand... THAT is the power of fragrance and it happens because the olfactory bulb, where we process smell, is right at the centre of the Limbic region of the brain, where we store memories and process emotion. Our sense of smell is a gateway to the emotions and therefore fragrance is key to how we feel. I don't just design fragrances for how they smell, I involve myself with how that smell makes me, and others, FEEL. I did not come to perfumery via a straight line. I left school at 16 with only ‘O’ levels to my name and struggled with that feeling of not fulfilling my potential as I worked my way through a number of jobs from trainee hairdresser to secretary. I eventually secured a job as a legal secretary in a firm whose offices were right behind Selfridges. My mum thought it made me “uppity” but I loved the glamour of it all and, in classic Mills and Boon romance style, I met my husband there! After moving to a new city and having a career break to raise our children, I finally followed my childhood dream of becoming a nurse. Sadly, I found that my natural empathy made me too emotional to be “the rock” that patients and their family needed, and I had to acknowledge I was in the wrong job. However, my desire to help people get better remained so I researched complementary therapies. The first available class was an aromatherapy workshop and the first time I smelled my first drop of undiluted essential oil was like coming home for me. I was instantly, and thoroughly, hooked. I went on to study clinical aromatherapy at the professional level and have subsequently refined my knowledge over years of practice.
be auty · business stor y I’m hugely interested in the vibrational properties of essential oils and how they, in turn, affect our energy. I was exploring this as a possibility for a line of products when I came across a chemistry issue I didn’t have the knowledge to deal with. As I was looking for ways to get that knowledge, a professional perfumery course came to my awareness and one of the modules covered exactly what I needed to know. I’d already attended a natural perfumery class some months earlier and my attention had been piqued, so I took a deep breath and went for it! I didn’t think I would ever become a perfumer. In fact, shortly after I first qualified as a clinical aromatherapist, I bought a website domain with a very fancy name on a whim and the sales guy asked me if I was a perfumer. I actually told him not to be silly! I didn’t think “people like me” could ever do something so rare and beautiful for a living. However, once I was on the course and fully immersed every day in this whole new world, I discovered a talent! Of course, I had been blending essential oils for 12 years by this point, so I had a head start on understanding what works, but the precise and refined nature of perfumery ingredients made it possible to bring incredibly subtle nuances to any fragrance. I was enchanted because it’s almost like they can speak. I was working with around 90 different essential oils already, but in the perfumery workshop there were around 800 different ingredients. Many were naturals or derivatives of them, some smelled awful and some made no sense at all, until you combined them with something else and created a completely new smell. I was in heaven! It turned out I have a talent for telling stories with fragrance and, for the second time in my life, I had found something that made my soul feel it had “come home” and the best thing was, it was an extension to what I was already doing so I wasn’t starting from scratch. The twists and turns of my own life path serve only to strengthen my empathic understanding of other people’s stories and needs. So when I work with people to design a perfume, my intention is to give them a connection to their highest and best self, that part of them that recognises the strength in their own story, forgiving the hurts of the past, but keeping the lessons learned. Having that fragrant connection to oneself means that, no matter the situation, an inward breath generates an immediate reminder of the light within them. This sense of self provides two things; firstly it promotes confidence, which we all know is priceless in generating a “don’t mess with me” aura, and secondly it gives them the courage and power not to step into someone else's drama, ultimately breaking the cycle of toxicity that comes from allowing another person's mood to affect their own. Bespoke perfume also tells your story to others. They won’t consciously know they’re doing it, but people will ‘read’ your scent and ‘know’ you better because your scent is conveying all the bits you love about yourself and your life.
be auty · business stor y You could say bespoke perfume is like a perfectly curated Instagram feed for your soul! I consider myself very lucky that my work is also my passion. I am passionate about both aromatherapy and perfumery, and am currently on a mission to build a bridge between the two and marry the amazing healing qualities of essential oils with refined perfumery to create extraordinarily beautiful aroma-therapeutic scents. It makes my heart sing to know I’m creating scents that make people feel amazing and I want to do this for as many people as possible. Making a bespoke perfume is an intensive and time consuming process. Not everyone can afford the luxury of a bespoke perfume, and I have a finite number of spaces in my diary, so it seemed time to make my fragrances more accessible. I have a range of aromatherapy rollerballs coming out in near future, which utilise the power of subtle aromatherapy to help you feel the way you want to feel. They are called “Pocket Potions”, and are your friendly emotional support team, and I’m extremely proud of them. Furthermore, I'm planning to release Aura Mists, which will be the first of my aromatherapeutic fragrances and a perfume, helping as many people feel good about themselves as possible.
ABOUT KAREN Karen Quinn is a clinical aromatherapist and perfumer, with a particular interest in the link between fragrance and emotions. To find out more about Karen's work, please visit www.karen-quinn.com, and keep up to date with product launches by signing up to her email list.
beauty · inter vie w
Interview with Maleka Dattu words and product photography by Nicola McCullough
MERUMAYA® founder, Maleka Dattu, is as passionate about empowering women and building beauty confidence as she is about her own clinically proven products. Her award winning skincare line calms, uplifts and adds radiance - inside and out. We caught up with Maleka to talk positivity, business success and no frills beauty. What excites you about skincare... how did your love affair with it begin? The innovation. That we make an immediate physical and longer term biological difference to skin. It feels like a bit of a secret that skincare can (if you chose the right brand), achieve much more than the cosmetic claim. It can be ritualistic (if you have time) and in the case of MERUMAYA®, a sensorial, pleasurable experience. I’ve spent all of my career in beauty and most of it in skincare. Part of my love affair that led me to create MERUMAYA® developed from seeing things in large corporates that dismayed me, that I did not identify with, that I did not like to have my name and reputation associated with. Then there is the challenge to create more effective products - that don’t wildly over-claim, that delight the user - and present them at an accessible price. Finally, there is the opportunity to use this as a platform to help women to feel more confident and happy. What did you aim to do differently when establishing Merumaya in 2012? I was really adamant that MERUMAYA® be free from BS, ‘miracles’, judgement, free-from statements, over claiming, over packaging and over pricing.
beauty · inter vie w
Our mission is that you feel confident, included, beautiful and relevant, at every age. We love that we are all perfectly imperfect women (and men).While others seek to correct your ‘flaws’ and ‘imperfections’, we strive to build your beauty confidence, in an industry that is often accused of breeding insecurity and low self-esteem. Tell us about your #beautyhasnoage campaign. #beautyhasnoage is our message to unite every woman in support of one another, in achieving beauty confidence. In the western world in particular, there is pressure from everywhere (including that we put on ourselves) to remain young. We see older men with vastly younger girlfriends; 23 year old models in adverts for ‘anti-ageing’ (gosh I hate that term as much as the word ugly!) creams; celebrities opting for invasive methods of staying young, then advertising creams as though the results were due to the moisturiser… which we then aspire to. Beauty companies touting ‘miracles’. And now there is the Insta-perfect life. ‘Young’ has become the yardstick by which the world measures the worth of a woman and if we are honest, we do it to ourselves too. It’s pants and it's got to stop. Your career didn't take a traditional route... what was your biggest challenge in the early days? I had lots of challenges and had to learn an awful lot very quickly…and I am still learning a lot very quickly, which is the best. Here are just a few from the early days: • Studying Hairdressing & Beauty Therapy when my father wanted me to be a doctor. • My first job was in an independent company founded and run by a strong woman. Convincing her to let me take the training sessions all around the company and then getting her to convince my (strict) Dad that he should let me travel round the country which involved staying in hotels. • Going from reporting, to an owner, to joining Clinique. I had to learn to put things in a more politically correct way. I had to adapt from being a big cog in a small wheel to a small cog in a big wheel... learning the intense discipline and attention to detail Clinique had at the time.
beauty · inter vie w What's the most significant business lesson you've learned to date? It will do, will never do! "Tis better to have tried and failed, than never to have tried at all" - the Old English Proverb on the toilet roll holder we had when I was a child growing up. "You can’t clap with one hand, you need two to make a noise." My father, who explained that it takes a team. What does success look like to you? That has changed now, I am past the half way point in my life and have a child. Achieving while giving. Pulling the woman behind me up the ladder. Helping women to get comfortable with themselves, feel confident and happier much earlier than I did - and of course I want that for my daughter. Being kinder to myself - I am very hard on myself. Being a positive influence on my daughter and other young women. Making a huge success of MERUMAYA®. Leaving footprints that help others. Which Merumaya product will work for every woman? Iconic Youth Serum - the heartbeat of the brand - the first product created and right from my heart. Beyond great skincare, what are your essentials for a healthy, glowing complexion? Happiness, laughter, love, dancing, the sun, exercising, helping others, eating well but not fanatically, doing a bit of what you fancy, engaging with life while you can. What's the highlight of your working day? That I woke up to enjoy another day of life.
Use the code ESTILA for a one off 15% discount code on first time purchases at www.merumaya.com (excludes already discounted products and sets). We're big fans of the Melting Cleansing Balm and Iconic Youth Serum in particular. IG & Twitter: @merumaya
TRAVEL / FOOD “Dramatic landscapes, textures and colours of magical Scotland.”
words and photography by Mairi Helena 76
trav el · sc otland
Scotland’s dramatic landscapes, textures and colours are fantastically spectacular and memorably captivating. In particular, Scotland’s West Coastlines where the colours of the clear blue seas, the crispness of fresh air and unspoilt far-reaching beaches are something very special. For any creative this environment can be stimulating and very inspiring. If an opportunity heads your way to visit Scotland and in particular Scotland’s West Coast then grasp it with both hands. Whether it’s an opportunity to spend several days, a fortnight or simply just a weekend, I can guarantee it will leave you refreshed, inspired and enthralled. Whether you jump on the Caledonian MacBrae ferry from Oban to Craignure on the Isle of Mull, head to the turquoise seas of Iona, search the boundless beaches of the Outer Hebrides or enjoy the enchanting landscapes of Luing, a few days spent on Scotland’s charming islands are days never forgotten. And when you’re there, perhaps you’ll paddle the waters and let the sand slip through your toes. Perhaps you’ll bike a bit, walk a bit and cycle off the beaten paths. Whatever activity you choose to absorb the sights and smells of Scottish island life, I can guarantee you’ll be creating colourful memories.
trav el Âˇ sc otland
trav el Âˇ sc otland
STAY For the perfect stay in Scotland head over to G & V Royal Mile Hotel in Edinburgh. Situated at the intersection of some of the city's most historic streets, this five-star boutique hotel invokes the vibrant, creative and charismatic appeal of the city. With striking views of the city, the classic Scottish design, attentive service and premium facilities make the G&V the perfect hotel for a romantic break in Edinburgh. Its central location allows you to step out onto the world-famous cobbles of the Scottish capital and discover centuries of history intertwined with stunning scenery and memorable attractions. Within walking distance you can visit Edinburgh Castle, St Gilesâ€™ Cathedral, Greyfriars Kirkyard and the National Museum of Scotland, to name just a few. And for lovers of contemporary elegance, the New Town is only a short walk away, too. For bookings, please visit https://www.quorvuscollection.com/en/gandv-hotel-edinburgh
food · business
Interview with James Bhardwaj words and recipe photography by Ellen Stanton
If you haven't noticed there is something happening in the food industry. We're talking Food Revolution, which makes us think more about what we eat. Healthy eating is becoming part of our daily routine. But what if you don't have time to source out good quality ingredients? Now that's where recipe boxes come in. I talked to James Bhardwaj from Box'd Fresh about his vision and what makes his company different. What is Box’d Fresh and how does it work? Box’d Fresh is a recipe box subscription. We deliver all the fresh, pre-measured ingredients you need with delicious and wholesome recipes to subscribers weekly. Our customers choose their favourite recipes from our weekly menu which includes dishes inspired by global cuisines. At the moment, we deliver every Friday and use cooling elements in our boxes so you don’t need to be in when it arrives. We are passionate about creating recipes that our customers would not ordinarily enjoy and introducing them to new spices and ingredients so that they can expand their culinary repertoire. By offering lots of variety each week we believe we are making healthy eating fun and something everyone can enjoy. We are also proud to be one of the only recipe box companies in the UK to offer vegan options and an individual subscription.
food · business What was the inspiration behind Box’d Fresh? Box’d Fresh grew out of a previous idea. My best friend, Demani, and I wanted to share our passion for leading a healthy lifestyle through a subscription service that educated people about the benefits of superfoods. But, after receiving feedback from our families and friends, we came to realise that simply eating healthier was something that most people aspired to do. So we wanted to offer a service where people could receive fresh, organic ingredients rather than pre-cooked meals that were either frozen or mass produced. Thus, Box’d Fresh was born and we’ve now shipped 5k+ recipes since we launched a couple of months ago. How do you wish to help your customers? We wish to help our customers on many different levels. The most important one to us is to create recipes that inspire our subscribers so that every time they open one of our boxes they get a thrill from seeing what they are going to be cooking up that week. Second, is helping our customers to lead healthier lifestyles especially because there is so much misinformation out there due to social media. We want to show people that there is an enjoyable way to lead a healthy, balanced life. Finally, we want every Box’d Fresh Chef as we call our subscribers to be a better chef than when they started. We do this by introducing them to new cooking techniques and getting them familiar with new flavour and spice combinations! What sets Box’d Fresh apart from other companies similar to it? As a small company, our customers constantly remain at the centre of our innovation and development as a company. A lot of millennials have become disengaged with home cooking and cook on average just five recipes in an entire year. Here at Box'd Fresh, we are changing this by our focus on creating the same excitement someone would get if there were eating out at their favourite restaurant. We also understand the importance of balance to people’s lives, unlike other companies in our category, and that’s why we always have some indulgent home comforts on our menu because who wants to be healthy all the time? Where do you source all of your ingredients from? We source all of our ingredients from British farmers, fishmongers and producers. We are proud of our partners!
food · business
Our fish from Wing of St. Mawes down in Cornwall, for example, is used in Michelin star restaurants across the UK and by chefs including Rick Stein, Marco Pierre-White, and Nathan Outlaw in their restaurants. We're also passionate about sourcing organically for our fruit, vegetables and herbs. From our cherry tomatoes grown by Andrew Ward in Kent to our sweet potatoes harvested in Yorkshire we LOVE veg! We often head into New Covent Garden Market on a Wednesday morning at 4am to pick up our produce ourselves, which means we know exactly what’s on the market at any given time so that we can organise our menu accordingly. If we need to source a unique ingredient like a particular wild mushroom, then we know the man to go to! Do you have any exciting plans ahead for Box’d Fresh? Over the next 12 months we will look to scale up our operations and continue to create exciting, healthy recipes that people enjoy. Also, we are looking forward to growing our team and bringing all aspects of our recipe development in-house. It means a lot more recipe testing and tasting too (we aren’t complaining)! We are looking forward to being able to partner with leading, national brands and chefs to bring their recipes to people nationwide. We are super-excited to be able to reveal all very soon! Can you tell us a bit about this dish you have chosen to share with us? Sweet potatoes are a fabulous choice of slow-release carbs, which will keep you full for longer and will also be of great comfort in this transitional weather. It’s a no-fuss, simple recipe full of interesting flavour combinations. After our interview I went ahead and tried out the Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potato recipe, using the high quality ingredients that Box’d Fresh provided me with. Like all their other recipes, they gave me simple step by step instructions and I ended up with a delicious meal that looked fantastic too (see my shot on the next page). Having received my third box, I can honestly call myself a Box’d Fresh fan. Healthy ingredients alongside complementary recipe cards that are delivered directly to your door – what more could someone want?
To find out more about Box’d Fresh subscriptions please visit www.boxdfresh.co.uk.
easy rec ipe
Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potatoes
READY IN 30 MIN
METHOD 1. Prepare potatoes: Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line a large baking sheet with foil. Rinse and scrub potatoes and cut in half length wise. This will speed up cooking time. 2. Place in oven: Toss rinsed and drained chickpeas with olive oil and cumin, cinnamon and paprika and place on a foil- lined baking sheet. Rub the sweet potatoes with a bit of olive oil and place face down on the same baking sheet (or another baking sheet depending on size). Place in the oven for roughly 25 minutes. 3. Prepare sauce: Whilst the sweet potatoes and chickpeas are roasting, prepare your sauce by adding hummus, dill and garlic to a mixing bowl, and whisking to combine, only adding enough water so it is pourable. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed. 4. Make topping: Prepare the parsleytomato topping by tossing tomato and parsley with lemon juice and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Set aside to marinate. 5. Remove from oven: Once sweet potatoes are fork tender and the chickpeas are golden brown- roughly 25 minutesremove from oven.
INGREDIENTS 2 medium sweet potatoes ½ tin chickpeas ½ tsp ground cumin ½ tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp smoked paprika 30g hummus
½ lemon ½ tsp dried dill 1 ½ clove garlic, crushed 1 medium tomato, roughly chopped ½ bunch flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
6. Serve: For serving, flip potatoes fleshside up and smash down the insides a little bit. Top with chickpeas, sauce and parsley- tomato garnish. Serve immediately.
business · mindset
BUSINESS: Snapshot of your life written by Sarah Jones
PART 4. “Finding your passion.” Over the past couple of years, I keep hearing young professionals and millennials around me they feel frustrated because they can’t figure out where to take their lives. Why is finding your passion so hard? It actually isn’t that hard. As the matter of fact, most of the problem is not even in finding your passion. Most of it is actually us. Quick question: You spend a lot of time in getting to know other people but, how often do you invest the time to get to know yourselves? Once you sit down, it’s all about yourself, which can be very awkward if you have never tried it before. And believe it or not, most people haven’t. But in order to find out what your passion is, you will need to self-reflect. You will need to go through a process of self-discovery and look into your life from an external perspective. As scary as it may sound, it actually feels great as you begin to learn about yourself. With each step, you will feel your self-awareness skills improve and therefore, your emotional intelligence and finally your empathetic skills will follow. Learning from experience. Throughout life, crossroads will come and go, each will take you through new and exciting experiences you could have never imagined. They will be very rewarding, pushing you to grow and get out of your comfort zone, and it’s only with time that they begin to get easier. Only as you get to know yourself, making these choices becomes easier. That is why as for now, the best is to prepare yourself by making an action plan that will get you ahead. By focusing on where you want to go, this will give you a plan of action that will allow you to evaluate your options. Does doing this take me closer to my overall goal? The problem is that many times we don’t have a clue what our main goal is. Quick question: Life will throw opportunities at you all the time, so how will you evaluate them if you don’t know where you want to go?
business · mindset
At university, your goal was to graduate and that made it easy to make decisions and being motivated as well. You knew what classes to take in order to get your degree. And, your biggest incentive was not the degree as such, but the IDEA of what you can do with that degree later in your professional life. So even if you didn’t like it, you just made sure to deliver. Once you graduated, your goal was to get experience so you look for jobs. And now? I’m not saying you need to plan everything because you will change, things will change and plans will have to be changed. But, you do need a rough sketch to guide yourself. Hitting the jackpot. Finding your passion is the result of looking into yourself. Of asking yourself what are the things you love to learn and talk about? What are those things you find yourself reading about at 2 am? What are those things you do because you “want” and not because you “have” to? What is it about these things that make you feel so fulfilled? Would you like to do them more often? Can you actually do them on a daily basis? I’m sure you will be able to make quite a list of things, if you were taking the time to reflect on these questions right now. As you can see, once you find a process that guides your thoughts, it gets easier and easier to come to the answers you are looking for.
ABOUT SARAH Sarah Jones is the UK’s leading holistic lifestyle expert. Her clients include Lorraine Kelly and Anthea Turner among many others. Her motto is: “What consumes your mind controls your life.” For more information, please visit the official website at sarahjonesuk.com. Follow Sarah on Instagram @sarahjonesuk
business · branding
The social media branding strategy written by Rachel Edmonds
Not so very long ago the only way to make a purchase was on the high street or via a catalogue. And then boom! Along came the World Wide Web. I remember spending hours at the time connecting to the internet via dial up to upload my days work. Little did any of us know back then what the internet would become, or for that matter how powerful. Back then the high street giants dominated and the cautious buying public didn’t give much thought to the smaller brands. It was, and still is, all about confidence and trust, which is easy to create when you have a bricks and mortar shop, but so much harder when the shop is a virtual one. Back then branding was all about your logo and social media was in its infancy. But now branding is the buzzword. It’s a set of techniques, that when done well, creates relevancy for your business and encourages people to justify spending their hard earned cash with you. And when done badly, it can be very costly, not only to your pocket but your credibility, too. Creating a strategy on how to communicate your brand on social media is absolutely crucial in today’s ever more competitive marketplace. When you walk into a small boutique for the first time you instinctively know within seconds if this is the place for you. And, you either engage with the staff and your surroundings or quickly have a look around to be polite before leaving never to return. Well, at least you were polite. With a website you just bounce off the page back to your search results, not having even clicked through to a second page. You don’t have to even think about being polite, you just leave. So what if your site is that shop, the one where you have some fabulous things to showcase, but you just aren’t getting the engagement. This is where branding comes in and if you have a higher than average bounce rate, perhaps it’s time to rethink things. One important way to engage with your customers, and to keep them coming back to you again and again, is by using social media. I know it can be time consuming and I know it takes a level of commitment, but social media is great for connecting with new people and keeping older customers engaged. But why is engagement so important? Firstly, this is the nearest a customer will get to having that in shop experience. They will be able to decide if they like you or not. Secondly, Google wants you to engage with your customers. Part of its algorithm even looks at just how engaged your customers are, particularly with Twitter and Facebook. In terms of branding, and how to communicate your brand on social media, this is not as hard as you would think. Every post, comment you make, like or reply should always have your brand in mind. Before even setting up your accounts think about your brand: What is your tone of voice? Are there words that you would use in real life but your brand doesn’t? What colours reflect your brand?
business · branding
Everything about your social media channels should reflect your brand. It’s no good waking up one morning and thinking: today I’m going on Instagram and post pictures of my boyfriend/girlfriend or beloved pet to make myself more authentic. That’s the quickest way to disengage your customer. They want to know you but they want to know the ‘brand’ you and not the ‘real’ you. The first thing to think about when you embark on a social media branding strategy is: What are your goals? Think beyond just likes, comments and retweets (though these are important) and start thinking about converting your followers into customers. As you create these goals have in the back of your mind who your customer actually is and what they would like to see in your feed. Make your goals attainable, you don’t have to sign up to all the social media channels all at once. Start with one or two accounts, get those going and then move onto another. As an example, a goal for Instagram could be: "We will share a picture 3 times a week that communicate the company ethos and would like a minimum of 30 likes and 5 comments per post." If you already have social media accounts, it’s also a good idea at this point to take a step back and take stock of them. Are you achieving what you would like to achieve? Are your followers matching up with your ideal virtual customers that you created? Who are your followers and how do your channels compare to those of your competitors? Are there things your competitors do that you like and could do better? What do you dislike about their feeds to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes? TIP: It’s a great idea to visit this task throughout the year to make sure you are still on track. Once you have all this information to hand what next? Well, you now know who your customer is, so it’s just a case of deciding which social media channels they frequent. Whilst in an ideal world it would be great to be seen everywhere, there is little point putting time and energy on a channel that is likely to give you little return. Write down a short description or even just a sentence that sums up your specific goal. For instance, Facebook will be used to share ideas and content that relates to our industry. Think about your brand as a whole and use each channel to highlight the individual strengths of your business. Whatever you decide on ensure that although they highlight individual strengths, they come together to reflect your brand in its entirety. If you are a little stumped for inspiration, and you’re not quite sure what kind of content and information will get you the most engagement, take a look at your competitors and see what they are taking about. Strive to mimic your ideal customer’s style whilst reflecting your brand and learn their habits. Finally, remember to have fun. After all, it’s all about being social, engaging with your audience long term, as part of your overall branding strategy to convert them into loyal customers.
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Published on Dec 11, 2017
Published on Dec 11, 2017
A lifestyle and business magazine from real women to real women. Get inspired by stylish interiors, art, timeless fashion, beauty and life s...