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ESTILA inspiring resource for creatives in business



EDITORS Karolina Barnes Emilia Vespoli Flavia Young / Nicola McCullough / GUEST CONTRIBUTORS Suzanne Selvester Erica Wolfe-Murray

STYLISTS Karolina Barnes Louise Ives-Wilkinson / Laura Kidd COVER IMAGE PROOF READER Claire Smith /

Rachael Burn, the story on p. 20 A big thank you to all our editors, contributors and


everyone who continues to support ESTILA.

Nathalie Priem

ESTILA bookazine is created and published by

Jen Kay Nicola McCullough Karolina Barnes Anna Stathaki

Palantti Ltd. The entire content of this publication 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 are copyrighted by its owner. / IG @estilamag Tell us your story:

ISSN 2398-9041


Designed and printed in the United Kingdom. 3 MIN

ŠCopyright 2018 ESTILA

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Collaboration is multiplication.

Designed by creatives for creatives, ESTILA is about telling inspirational and informative stories of creative business owners, emerging artists, designers and independent brands. Business is not easy and so we want to share experiences, tips, lessons learnt and challenges that have been overcome to spark ideas and help you to progress. Our fast growing community extends beyond the content. We heavily encourage collaborations and creating long-lasting working relationships between the designers, artists and brands we feature and our readers. Join us on

editor’s note Welcome to the eight print edition of ESTILA bookazine. I must admit that this is a bit of an experiment. You will notice that this edition has two covers. As you're reading this side, the bookazine's content follows our usual format. We feature amazing interviews and stories of creatives, starting with Joanna Beavan, the founder of Aube Interiors, followed by artists' stories Rachael Burn and Paloma King, and over to Ex Idolo's fascinating journey and inspiration for their perfumes. We also interviewed a highly successful chocolate business, Amelia Rope, and I've written a case study on Puro Hotels, a great example of a business concept based around design, culture and community. As always, I would recommend reading the business mindset section, and the great tips for creatives from Erica Wolfe-Murray, a UK leading business expert in the creative industries. Then, flip it over and find a special brand focus content, all about positive luxury, featuring brands that put sustainability at the forefront of their ethos. Thank you so much for your continuous support. I hope you will enjoy reading it. Please feel free to connect with the brands and creatives we feature in this edition. With love, Karolina Barnes / editor-in-chief





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INTERIORS “Taking clients on a journey.”

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i n t e riors ¡ designer stor y 7 MIN

Aube Interiors introduction by Karolina Barnes, words by Joanna Beavan, photography by Nathalie Priem

After working for 15 years in the London property market, Joanna Beavan was ready for a change and to finally follow her passion for design. As a well-respected and successful luxury property agent, over the years Joanna honed her creative skills while advising property developers and liaising with architects on property development projects her clients wanted to achieve. To further expand her knowledge, in 2012 she enrolled for the highly respected KLC interior design diploma, which led her to a partnership with architects and property developers - Mackenzie and Temple, and three years later she founded Aube Interiors in order to focus on her design passion full time. I spotted Joanna's work at Grand Designs and immediately was drawn to her practical yet very creative and personal style. Here she shares with us her designer story.

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i n t e riors · designer stor y

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN Following an art foundation year at Loughborough University I spent most of my early twenties traveling and trying to figure out who I was and what I really wanted to do with my life - a couple of ski seasons, a year in Australia and just under three years on and off in the Canary Islands. I decided that London was where I needed to be, if I didn't want to end up a surf bum forever. The problem was I still had no idea what my talents were or what I really wanted to do. I enjoyed a brief stint assisting in film production but my passion really didn't reside there. Following a job offer in advertising sales and actually dreading my first day, I caught a glimpse of an advert in the Metro to be an estate agent, not really a career choice I thought, but the advert made the job sound perfect for me. I was given a company car, my office was in Marylebone and I spent my days basically showing an array of mainly interesting people around beautiful London homes. It was a dream! And so, for the next 8 years, I made a great living and lived a fantastic life doing a job I loved. During this time, I was exposed to some incredible properties, the type you normally only ever see in magazines, plus I have to say some pretty horrendous places too. I became educated on what designs, layouts and styles worked for people in their homes, what ideas buyers had about design choices my vendors had made. I remember thinking how I could see potential in properties that others didn’t seem to see. I would also advise property developers on layouts from the experience I had gained, and I loved this part of the job. I started to develop quite strong opinions on what would work and what wouldn't.  It was during this time I became friends with a property developer starting out in his career. We became great friends and I would help him with interior choices for his projects. During that year, when I was working for myself as a buying agent, I sourced a property for development, gave my vision for the property to the developer/ friend who purchased it and then found a buyer. It was amazing to see the full process through from conception to the final sale. It was then that I realised my real passion was in design of the properties. Being able to see the potential and realise it. With some encouragement I enrolled in the KLC interior design diploma.  Taking the leap from a well-paid, enjoyable job that I had been doing for years wasn't the easiest, but I knew I had to do it. I was fortunate to be offered work with Mackenzie and Temple who had just secured a fund to buy four development projects. Two flats in Marylebone, a house in Chelsea and a two-bedroom flat in South Kensington. And that was the start of Aube Interiors. I now partner with other developers as well as take on work for private clients wanting to renovate their homes.

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i n t e riors · designer stor y

MY MISSION Aube Interiors was created out of a passion for interior design and I want that to come across in our work. I want our clients to be able to express their own personality in the designs we create for them. I think when you employ a designer, you are looking for someone to extract your personal style and taste and make your home feel like you. I am fascinated by taste, how it is subjective and what influences us. I'm sure that where and how we grow up and what we are exposed to form our view on objects we relate to. Why we like a certain colour or a particular shape of a chair may lie deep in our subconsciousness. A colour could have been in our grandmother’s house and makes us feel secure and homely. We may never directly identify this relationship, but it could well be there. I think the psychology of design is so interesting. Being able to control how we feel by creating our environment is incredibly powerful. I think we are in an increasing danger of being too influenced by trends, as we are exposed to design through various media. I want to be able to help clients express their individuality in their homes and to understand why they are drawn to a particular object. I strongly believe this process should be fun, I see it as my job to take the client on a journey of discovery. My wish is to keep the studio small to maintain direct relationships with our clients, using partnerships with talented designers of fabrics, furniture and lighting. I love sourcing and enjoy finding new products, I especially enjoy the “Salone de Mobile” which always shows how incredibly huge and diverse the interiors market really is. Keeping an up-todate little black book of suppliers and exciting new products is key to the business. MY STYLE My style is forever evolving but to try and summarise I would say it's relaxed and feminine. I don't tend to use bold colours, but I do love colour, it has to be subtle and create a harmonised balance in each room, nothing too overpowering. When I do use a pop of colour it tends to be on fabrics or small objects. I do, however, love bold shapes such as a solid raw wood bench or tables. I like natural materials and like to see what pieces are made of, be it stone, glass, wood or metals. Structure to me is the most important part of a design and once I have that right, I add layers. Layers of fabric, light and colours. Nature is my sanctuary and I take inspiration from my daily dog walks in the park. The ethos of my business is simple - to create beautiful living spaces that enhance the occupier's experience. Of course, being a nature lover, sourcing ecologically friendly products and materials is high on my priority list. I would like to be known as an environmentally sensitive brand.

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i n t e riors · designer stor y

However, the production of many products still has a long way to go in terms of reducing environmental impact. I think the key is being aware of what choices we have and where possible choosing less damaging products. Paint, for example, has some great eco alternatives that don’t cost a fortune, so depending on its usage, it can be a great place to swap in an environmentally friendly product. As consumers demand changes and we become more educated, the manufacturers will follow, eventually! SOLVING PROBLEMS Having gained years of practical knowledge, I feel confident in advising my clients on what ideas will work and which ones to steer clear of because I've usually seen it in reality. It's great having certain ideas but if they don't translate to practical living, then don't do it. Most of my clients have a strong sense of what they like and what they don’t. My job is to help them put what they like into their space and make it work in terms of the mood they wish to create and the practical usage the interior needs to offer. Just because you may like something doesn’t mean it will work well in your home, it’s about curating a space, so it’s about adding and taking away until you have reached a well-balanced edited look. Obviously, this could be expensive if you were to do it in reality, so working it out on a design board before you put your hands in our pocket is incredibly helpful and valuable. A lot of my clients are time short but not all of them, even my clients that have time on their hands still need someone to guide them and help implement the actual scheme. I am now, in addition to the full interior design service, offering a consultancy service for those wishing to do a lot of the work themselves but need that guidance. It is very satisfying for a client to come to me with a problem they can’t solve and be able to help them. This can also be a much easier and affordable approach to interior design. I think a lot of clients are scared off of employing a designer as they are unsure what the costs will be. I want to make this much more transparent and simple process, so clients get exactly the service they need. FIND YOUR PASSION My advice to others is to find your passion. It may not be what you think it is. Take time discovering yourself. Travel, explore and always be willing to learn. “Live for the moment but plan for your future” was always my guide in life, since I first heard it. However, I think it translates nicely into designing interiors. Live for the moment, be spontaneous in your choices, instinctively you know what you like what will work. Don't dwell on it, trust your first reaction. But also plan! Plan your layouts, plan your construction, plan your lighting, plan your furniture layouts. Always plan your structure, then you can afford to be whimsical with the rest!

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i n t e riors ¡ designer stor y

POSITIVE LUXURY In all the design work we do at Aube Interiors we try, where we can, to choose the least environmentally damaging product or solution. It is not always immediately obvious what this is, I would normally assume that natural materials would have the least impact. However, it is also really important to understand the process a material goes through, in order to be usable. This can be far more damaging than you might first assume, transport and farming processes are also just two of the major factors to take into account along with sustainability. Cost is a major factor and mostly the environmentally friendly products are more labour intensive and produced on a smaller scale. I think along with the fashion industry, the interior design industry is waking up to the growing demand as well as the need for sustainable and ethical products, but I do worry it is not happening fast enough. In a recent project, we installed a Suar wood dining table with cast iron legs, the great thing with Suar wood is although it is native to South America and is now grown across Indonesia. It actually grows at a very fast rate, so it is easy to sustain. My only worry with this is the transport impact as the wood is shipped from Indonesia. However, majority of the wood used for furniture building here in the UK is imported and nearly 80% of sawn softwood used in UK construction is imported. I would like to be buying a much higher rate of sustainable home grown timber but at the moment this represents a very small part of what is available on the market. Of course, recycling, vintage and antique pieces are a guaranteed way to know you are having the least impact, and where possible and suitable, I try to fit these into our projects. I encourage my clients to buy investment pieces that might have a larger initial outlay but, if looked after and maintained, they can last a lifetime. A well-loved item can be so much more rewarding than a fashionable mass produced piece. I also happen to think a slightly worn item takes on a character and with a little wear and tear becomes part of the family.

For more information or enquiries, please call 020 8242 41456 or email to

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IG @aube_interiors

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research and graphics by Emilia Vespoli, photography by Jen Kay

IG @via_san_vito

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i n t e ri o rs ¡ styling stor y

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i n t eriors ¡ styling stor y 3 MIN

Kitchen Focus: Autumnal feel words and photography provided by Louise Ives-Wilkinson and Laura Kidd

Traditionally, our kitchens are often associated as being a highly functional area of the home, where meals are prepared, food is stored and dishes are left unwashed. Whilst basic requirements of a kitchen such as the working triangle of the refrigerator, stove and sink, inventive storage solutions and sufficient surface space are paramount to any performing kitchen, it is important to integrate the textural comforts necessary to form a relaxed, informal environment that practices an inviting experience for both internal members of the family and visitors. Contemporary kitchens have become the hive of activity and the focal point of a gathering space in the home, whether it be to catch up over a coffee (or a glass of red) or finding valuable time to cook together. An island or peninsular unit is particularly successful at encouraging interaction, naturally capturing the curious attention of those who gravitate towards it as a central reservation. Despite most of us having ultra modern kitchens with state-of-the-art appliances, juxtaposing these contemporary elements with classic, aged accessories strengthens character and increases the overall warmth and welcoming embrace one should encounter upon entering a hospitable kitchen. Contradicting urban arrangements with earthenware, aged wood and an abundance of textural finishes has composed a harmonious relationship between traditional and trendy kitchen associations that incite timeless capability. The unifying blend of neutral, deep purple hues and earthy tones generates a cosy, autumnal ambience we've unknowingly longed for over the Mediterranean summer we had.

“Whilst basic requirements of a kitchen are paramount, it is important to integrate a few textural comforts too.�

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Independent brands for your black book: AMARA Tall Blush Spray Vase Dorit Stoneware Vase - Set of 3 Marble Chopping Board Pure Cereal Bowl Organic Capiz Bowl The DEN & NOW Stone Grey Ceramic Vase Seagrass Artisan Woven Baskets in Zig Zag WOOLIGHTS Aiko Mini Shade in Cappuccino STOOL - by Valdivian ROMO fabric - Lorcan Sunbury fabric - Aquaclean Laguna

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i n t e riors · styling stor y LAMP STORY Woolights promote their products as ‘wooden lamps with a modern twist’, emphasising the importance of their philosophy using both meticulous hand-crafted and digital technologies to form bespoke shades that accentuate the cosiness of an interior. Inspiration is derived from locally sourced materials and well-being of the community, reflected in the natural fragility of the Gingko tree leaves that symbolise rest and peace. Elegant, ultra-thin birch plywood allows artificial light to subtly glow through, however, it remains durable for a long lasting impression in the home. If you're looking for quality light fittings that epitomise the intricate beauty of the elements that advocate mellow ambience, Woolights is the perfect choice for you.

DINING STORY Founded in 2005 by husband and wife partnership Andrew and Sam Wood, Amara has grown from strength to strength as an online distributor of luxurious homeware. From being run in a small office to housing over 35,000 products, the company prides itself on striving for exceptional customer service standards as well as characterising homes that radiate opulent and decadent quirks that you wouldn't find on the high street. A relentless array of designer vases, jugs and dining ware contribute to the visual interest in a utilised kitchen as well as strengthening the 'lived-in’ day to day experiences we share together. Check out their room by room collections to cater for all of your homeware needs and desires, as well as their house tours to get inspired.

VASE STORY The DEN & NOW is home to 'all things style related’, mixing vintage, industrial and Scandinavian design to help customers create unique living spaces. Having worked in the fashion industry for over a decade, company director Charlie BeeBee decided to combine her passion for the industry with interior design to form her own ‘den’, sourcing products that are conditional to being a little out of the ordinary. The baskets and jug featured endorse the thematic textural identity as familiar home comforts that appeal to a wider audience. You can't help but feel a satisfying sense of contentment when shopping with The DEN & NOW, where they go the extra mile to provide a personal shopping service to make every customer feel a little more valued and their experience even more memorable.

If you would like to learn more about incorporating Biophilic Design into your home, please contact Louise via her website at

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IG @louise_ives_wilkinson_design


“As an artist, you really never stop learning and improving yourself.�

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art ¡ c ov er stor y 4 MIN

Using illustration as a language introduction by Karolina Barnes, words and art provided by Rachael Burn

What initially started as an idea to highlight emerging art talent, and to bridge the gap between all creative disciplines, after all, as creatives, we all get inspired and energised by art, has over the past few ESTILA issues evolved into much more. The more artists I meet and learn about their talent, the more I'm discovering about the value they can provide to brands in their marketing and communication. While many think that illustrators in the commercial space are the thing of the past, I have noticed that more and more brands across many industries are bringing it back, using illustration as a language. Compared to photography, a bespoke illustration guarantees a standout effect, whether it's on a website, packaging or a store shelf. It also communicates that you care about the attention to detail. If well executed, it also reinforces your brand's values, its uniqueness and innovation, which are communicated on an emotional level. Your brand is seen as forward-thinking, collaborative, creative and artistic. And that to me is priceless. Coming across Rachael Burn's work on social media was very exciting for me. I was drawn to Rachael's use of depth, colour, sharpness and clarity which each art piece offers the viewer. Here she talks about her style, process and inspiration. Can you spot an opportunity for collaboration or a project?

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art ¡ c ov er stor y

My trigger For as long as I can remember I have always had a creative flare, I was always happiest with a paintbrush in hand. From an early age, I knew I wanted to someday turn my hobby into a career and put my illustration skills to use. I graduated university with a degree in Textiles & Surface Design, which allowed me to take my illustration skills to the next level and create prints and patterns for both fashion and interiors. I now create printed fabrics for the fashion industry, using my illustrations of all mediums. To create fabrics is something that has really taken my illustrations to the next level. Being part of this industry is what got me into fashion illustration, I loved the idea of painting prints directly onto a fashion illustration. For a lot of designers this is one of the first steps of designing a collection, however, I have always seen fashion illustrations as a piece of art, and art alone. My style When it comes down to my work and illustrations, detail is very important to me. I love spending time really working into something creating layers and depth to the page using complimentary colours. My style of work is quite feminine and intricate, and I love to combine both bold and soft textures and colours together to really make the illustration pop. I guess my style in life is really reflected in my work. I've been told a fair few times that I'm a bit of a perfectionist. The use of colour is just as important as the illustration itself. Before I create my illustrations, I create inspiration and colour boards to really set a mood for the artwork and how I want it to look and feel. For me, the use of colour can be kept to an absolute minimum as long as those colours work together and set the right mood. My process My illustrations always begin from being inspired by either someone or something. I collect imagery to create mood boards, this imagery can range from fashion pieces and landscapes to something that has an element of colour that I love. After I collect my imagery, I decide on what mood my illustration will have and what colours will reflect that mood. I take facial features from different fashion editorials and combine them together to create the right expression and vibe. A lot of artists tend to have stories behind their work, but for me, the majority of the time I create something is simply because I want to and I had an urge to create that specific piece, it’s almost like a craving to be creative.

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art ¡ c ov er stor y

My inspiration My inspiration can come from spotting graffiti on the streets of London to a piece of art in a gallery, the smallest of things can really trigger my imagination. I spent a week in Italy this summer and was amazed at all of the hand-painted ceramics dotted around the towns, all of the intricate details and stunning bold colours carefully applied to plates and vases, it really hit my creative spot and I couldn’t wait to get back to create my next piece of work. A lot of my inspiration can come from other artists and designers work, I can get lost online looking at blogs and creative portfolios ranging from students to designers and artists. I think as an artist you can really never stop learning and never stop improving on your skills and techniques, you can always be better than you were yesterday.

For commission work and project enquiries, please contact Rachael on

IG @rachaelelizabeth_design

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Interviews with: Holly Tucker, Jasmine de Silva,

Interviews with: Abigail Ahern, Muck N Brass,

Interviews with: Julie Kouamo, Peggy Wolf,

Joanna Maitland-Hudson, Bozena Jankowska, Neom

Onome Otite, Vetiver, Meramaya, Box'd Fresh

Dolce Roopa, Caroline Hirons, Celso Fadelli




Interviews with: Diana Hill, Georgie St Clair,

Interviews with: Sophie Thompson, Aiveen Daly,

Interviews with: Matthew Williamson, Nicola Taylor,

Deborah Campbell, Karen Radley, Oskia

Sarah Bond, Grace Fodor

Kim Winser OBE, Grace Bonney

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art ¡ artist stor y 5 MIN

Interview with Paloma King interview and images provided by Nicola McCullough

Paloma King is an Irish painter who specialises in large-scale abstract works that hang in public spaces and homes throughout Ireland and the UK. For Paloma, paintings are not inanimate objects, but are infused with the energy of the person making them: 'It's important to me to bring a sense of harmony and balance to the spaces where my works are hanging.'

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Tell us about your journey so far and how you reached this point. When I was young I was so into music. I took lessons in piano, French Horn, oboe, guitar, congas, singing...and I learnt so much from that - how to really open to the music and let it flow through you - very similar to my painting process now. I worked as a professional photographer before moving into the fashion industry, initially as a model and ultimately as a designer. I was a fabric buyer at trade shows in Paris, New York and Florence, where I had the chance to visit some of the world's most important museums and galleries. I'm still very influenced and inspired by fashion. I had always painted at home in my converted stone barn and over time, realised that I wanted to follow my heart and take art seriously, so I gave up the travel and glamour and went to study Fine Art at University. That was twenty years ago and I've been painting full time ever since. Where do you find inspiration? It's hard not to find inspiration in such a beautiful world; I also find it in the inner world. I am interested in the core essence of things, of people, of myself‌ I'm really interested in the things that we find difficult to say - and in many cases, don't ever say. The partly written words that appear and disappear in my work reflect this. I also love the look of handwritten notes and letters - a line of poetry, a thought remembered. Many of my paintings have this look about them, with instinctive marks etched and carved into their surface. Has painting always been your first love or have you worked in other mediums? Painting has always been my first love, I have tried other mediums, but for me, painting is the hardest, and most elusive. Every time I begin a new work is like the first time... I just begin and make a few marks, then slowly it gathers momentum and before long it is almost painting itself.

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art ¡ artist stor y

Your painting style and processes are quite distinctive... tell us a little about them. My painting processes are many and complex. I love discovering new ways of working with the paint and getting different finishes. There is a lot of paint on each of my canvases. I put it on and scrape it off again, leaving remnants and traces that eventually build up. I like the surfaces to look imperfect and worn, to have a quality of slow time embedded in the physicality of the paintings.

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art ¡ artist stor y

How do you find the balance between creative expression and running a business? I don't think I have this balance totally worked out. Once I go into my studio, it is difficult for me to do anything except research and paint. I do run my business, but in a very simple way. My passion is the painting, the making. There is so much work to do, ordering and getting the canvases, keeping up the supplies of paint and brushes, getting works to the framer and back, organising delivery, hanging of works, there is a lot of lugging large canvases around the place! It's heavy work getting the paint onto large canvases also. It keeps me fit! If your work could adorn the walls of any home, whose would you choose? Miuccia Prada would be one, maybe Tricia Guild... Talk us through the creative process from client brief to a finished piece of work. I enjoy working with the clients of some great designers such as Thompson Clarke Interiors ...and I also work on direct commissions. The first step is to spend time with a client and get a true feeling for who they are and their vision. I will be aware of the colours in the space and sometimes of pieces of furniture. For example, one client was buying some lovely old cabinets from Tibet, so I spent time looking at Tibetan pottery, fabrics, art, furniture, jewellery, clothing and had these aesthetics in my mind when I was working on her painting. Another client was moving beside the sea, so I spent time at their part of the coast to get a sense of the colours and energy of the landscape in that area, which stayed with me as I was working on their pieces. Some people call by my studio and fall for a piece on the spot while others will be guided by their interior designer. What sets your work apart from other artists? There are many great painters... if I had to think of something that sets my painting apart, perhaps it would be the quality of energy they have.

“I run my business in a simple way. I'm still trying to work out the balance between creative expression and running my business.�

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art ¡ artist stor y

A GP who bought a piece from me said that if she could, she would put my paintings on prescription as she found the work so calming in her room. Another man who lives alone bought a large painting from me and said it had changed his life - because it cheered him up every time he came home and seemed to fill the house with its happiness! Your personal environment is clearly very important to you? I am deeply passionate about interiors, because I know that a beautiful room can improve one's quality of life. A room that works and flows is so nurturing... I think that investing in your home to create an environment that nourishes and supports you is both healthy and life-enhancing.

Paloma King is based at Portview Trade Centre in Belfast, Northern Ireland email: FB: @PalomaKingArtist

IG @paloma_king_artist

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fashion · insight stor y 5 MIN

Luxury & sustainability - Intrinsic partners? words by Flavia Young

“When something is beautifully and consciously made and is of the highest quality, it is not meant to be thrown away and will not be destined to end up in a landfill.” - TOM FORD

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fashion ¡ insight stor y

Every now and then I stop and question how the quest for sustainability in fashion is playing out in the real world, is it actually in practice or is it simply another fashionable social media born bandwagon? Because, it doesn't take a deep look into the life stories displayed on Instagram to notice the inherent dissonance among fashion consumers who on paper share a concern for the environment, but who in practice continue to indulge in fast fashion's infamously unethical practices. Are fashion consumers really prepared to buy less in exchange for buying longevity? This is a question as complex as the fashion world itself. Think about this: with the rise and rise of social media and new ways to covet and acquire fashion pieces, dressing with the latest, readily available trends has become the norm for the new and older generation alike. So how does one marry our desire for new trends with the ethos behind responsible fashion? I have a feeling that the answer isn't a one dimensional one. In some cultures, there have always been layers of society that were taught from an early age to buy less and to buy well, when it comes to fashion. The French woman being this line of thought's poster girl. Although not French, I was always an adept of the buy well rationale. It would be hypocritical of me to say it was because I was ahead of the curve in terms of concern for sustainability in fashion - I am well over the millennial age bracket after all, but I did always appreciate a well-made garment that made me want to wear it over and over again. Yet I fully understand how irresistible the thrill of buying new, cheaper fashion items has in the last few decades slowly taken over the less thrilling idea of owning one single luxury piece. Furthermore, I'm of course not oblivious to the fact that it was only a very small percentage of the world population that until very recently could afford an ethical garment made of luxurious, long-lasting fabrics and cut to flatter any figure. However, such pieces are infinitely more accessible nowadays, one just has to literally look outside the box. Allow me to explain....giant luxury brands owned by wealthy conglomerates or a team of investors are first and foremost a business, and as such, its main focus is on creating large returns for those who own it. In order to create large returns, a brand has to create an ever larger number of sales. In order to achieve that, it has to cover the costs of their largescale marketing campaigns, fashion shows and/or presentations, flashy storefronts with accompanying websites, gifts and event invitations to celebrities, influencers, fashion editors and so on...all these expenses come over and above the actual cost of designing, sourcing, manufacturing, transporting and merchandising those luxury pieces.

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fashion · insight stor y

Chunky high polo neck jumper grey, London W11, £280

Chunky rib with polo neck jumper beige, London W11, £290

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fashion ¡ insight stor y

So what you are paying at the end for that big brand garment is made up of roughly 70% frills, 30% is what the garment would actually retail at - with company profits included! Back to my point, I am starting to question where is the sustainability in this old fashioned way of doing things? Consumers and designers alike seem guilty of a lot of talk but little action. So in order to do my part in helping we fashion lovers, keep the choices available to us as wide as possible, I am on a mission to further adjust my shopping habits. Slowly switching from luxury big brands to luxury independent brands, before fashion's creativity and independent new talent is swallowed up by the giant brands and our environment reaches the point of no return. With this anti-consumerism objective in mind, you can then imagine my delight when an opportunity arose for me to meet up with the founder of a quaint little Notting Hill-based luxury cashmere designer. When I say luxury cashmere, I don't mean the word luxury lightly, I very specifically mean cashmere sweaters that are designed and made from 100% Italian and Scottish cashmere from anything between 2-ply to an incredibly indulgent 12ply. The difference, not always easily translated in photographs, is on the touch to the skin and of course, in its way out of my washing machine's hand wash cycle. Over and over again, these exquisite sweaters come out looking like new - not a bobble in sight. The new LW11's story is not an unusual one, originated from pure passion for its products and the desire to fill a gap on the market by offering exceptional cashmere at accessible price points. That's when the lovely Eva-Maria decided that after gaining many years experience with this tricky fabric (LW11 started as a wholesale business supplying independent retailers in the US, Germany, Japan and the UK), she would turn the business direction around by cutting off the middleman, and to start offering her exquisite sweaters directly to the sophisticated woman who is in search for that perfect cashmere not found amongst the mass production offerings. You can nowadays explore their work on: Judge it for yourself, you can thank me later. Enjoy. Flavia.

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IG @luxe_layers

fashi on ¡ emer ging brands 3 MIN

The art of versatility styling, photography and words by Karolina Barnes

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fashion · emer ging brands

Our mission is to go deep underground in order to search for the next lifestyle and fashion brand that will be big in the future. Here we share product stories of three such brands.

HANDBAG STORY - SARAH HARAN Beautiful, practical and buttery soft, yet incredibly durable. Sarah Haran's bags are designed with modern women in mind, offering a timeless piece of luxury built to last a lifetime. Carried by some of the world’s leading minds, from FTSE CEOs to fashion editors, each bag embodies Sarah Haran’s philosophy of practical and multi-purpose functionality that doesn't compromise style. This Daisy bag features 2-in-1 concept with a removable clutch / crossbody bag and a tote. Available at

EARRINGS STORY - SCREAM PRETTY Scream Pretty is a British brand creating stylish, high quality, versatile and affordable pieces of jewellery. From sets of mismatched single earrings, skinny stacking bangles, daggered chokers to rock up a look, and on-trend threader earrings, Scream Pretty’s mission is to introduce the latest jewellery trends in an accessible, wearable way. Their collection of minimal, contemporary jewellery is so versatile you’ll be able to wear one piece, or layer it on to compliment your own style. Rest assured, they use the best quality materials in all jewellery, so you can be confident in your purchase. They use 925 sterling silver and gold plated brass, precious and semi-precious stones. Available at

NOTEBOOK STORY - TOBIAS DESIGN This notebook was created by Tobias Hodson, an artist and illustrator who spent fifteen years designing and building gardens. In his current work, he focuses on exploring flower painting - the choice of subject, its layout, and representation in two dimensions have architectural roots. His work is influenced by many artists, mostly long gone. These include 17th century Maria Sybilla Merian for her fabulous composition and wit, the 19th century French birds of Barraband for depth of colour and consistency and Edward Lear for whom in the most serious studies there is often a lurking humour. In each of Tobias's paintings he is seeking to explore the strangeness of our existence. Apart from beautifully illustrated and designed notebooks, Tobias Design also offers homeware, textiles, cards and illustrations. Available at

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BEAUTY “I want Ex Idolo to always be an outlet for creativity.”

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be auty¡ business stor y 5 MIN

Interview with Tanya Zhuk, Ex Idolo interview and product photography by Nicola McCullough

Ex Idolo's niche collection of elegant fragrances are each a labour of love, made with the world's finest and rarest aroma materials. The independent brand's debut, Thirty-three - a rose oud, 33 years in the making - was recently awarded four stars in Perfumes: The Guide 2018 by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez. Ex Idolo launched two new fragrances at Fenwick Bond Street in October 2018: Lucid Dream and Love and Crime. The latter was inspired by a daring 1906 Boston prison escape orchestrated by a young woman to free her fiancĂŠe by smuggling saws inside a wedding cake, leading to escape. Her bravery was translated into Love and Crime, a deep gourmand floral with notes of chocolate and red mandarin. I caught up with Ex Idolo co-founder, Tanya Zhuk, to find out the brand's journey to date. We fell in love with Ex Idolo's charming backstory way before even trying your scents... tell us about the inspiration behind your brand. Thank you, a lot of the qualities you could ascribe to the brand are a reflection of our personal aesthetics; there is definitely a focus on quality and craftsmanship. I don't think about the 'branding' too much; I prefer for it to evolve naturally. This being said, I always try to stay true to those core values.

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be auty· business stor y

Tell us about your journey to Ex Idolo. A Russian-born Londoner, I have lived all around the world and am especially fond of my time spent studying in Paris. My career in politics began in London with a human rights angle, an area I’m still passionate about as I care deeply about the world. When Ex Idolo was a couple of years old, I naturally started to give it a lot more focus. It allowed me to express my creativity and vision, which made me happy, so I made the decision to fully dedicate myself to it. What sparked your passion for perfume and what is your earliest fragrant memory? From a young age, I would notice and consider all the scents around me... in the same way anyone would consider colours and tastes, I would think about scents. Even to this day, I always attach a colour and texture to anything I smell. I lived in a country house with pine and fruit trees on the property. I cherish my childhood memories of the earthy scent of the forest floor in the autumn and of the traditional wooden sauna (Russian Banya) my father built for us. I often followed my mum to her work as an accountant at a pastry shop. By the time I reached my teenage years, I was experimenting by creating accords in solid perfumes. I spent a lot of time at my Grandma’s house where she had a little bottle of Krasnaya Moskva (the classic Soviet perfume originally created for the mother of Russia’s last Tsar Nicholas II, Maria Feodorovna) stashed away in her secretaire which I would sniff for inspiration. Ex Idolo scents seem stoked in tradition and yet utterly unique. How would you describe them to someone you had just met? Two words best describe them - modern and classic at the same time. I think they are beautiful. Tell us about the team behind Ex Idolo and how you came up with the name. The name originates in Latin and is meant to evoke the idea of a spectre or apparition and is linked to the way we create. This applies to each of the four fragrances in a slightly different way. For Thirty-three, the aged oud we use in the formula is like a ghost of the past; with Lucid Dream, the concept is commenting on the ability to visit and be in control of a world which is not material but amorphous. I’m driving the creative and do the strategic planning as well as manage the business side, while Matt looks after our materials sourcing.

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be auty · business stor y

Your quality vs quantity ethos is very much in line with ours at ESTILA. What was behind this approach? 'Too much of a good thing' can be very real - we love perfume but the niche side of the fragrance industry has exploded with so many new releases it’s become hard to keep track. I didn’t ever want to feel the pressure of having to create just for the sake of competing. The way I work, it’s very important for me to give the right time and attention to each release. I’m also a perfectionist and I look at every single detail with the same level of care, I have rules. Describe the challenges you have faced to date in building an independent fragrance brand in a mass market? Balancing growth while keeping the brand fully independent has been the most difficult and the most important for me. It’s the independence that gives me the ability to do what I really want to do. This job is very multi-faceted and challenges a broad spectrum of skills, it’s the constant growth, you have to dedicate yourself to it completely. Your two new launches are distinctly different. Tell us about Love & Crime and Lucid Dream. Lucid Dream is a smoky, woody-floral. It’s on the dry side and has a multidimensional complexity that represents the depth of lucid dreaming. It’s both dynamic and serene at once. Love and Crime is a special one for me, inspired by a daring 1906 Boston prison escape orchestrated by a young woman to free her fiancée. I was really taken by her bravery; she smuggled the saws they used to escape hidden in a wedding cake. She was a maverick in her era; you've got to be a very special person to pull off what she did... I think we could have been friends. May made me think of Chagall and Bakst, and also Jules Verne, and I made a collage which subsequently became an illustration accompanying the fragrance. The fragrance is a deep gourmand floral with chocolate and red mandarin notes. It’s delicious. How do you hope people will feel while wearing your scents? People wear fragrance for so many different reasons and I totally respect that. I encourage anyone to wear fragrance for any reason that makes them feel good.

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be auty ¡ business stor y

Love and Crime illustration

Are all of your fragrances unisex? All I can say about this is that we’re constantly surprised at how diverse the scope of opinions about the gender anchors of our fragrances are. I don't think you can divide fragrances along gender lines and everyone should feel free to wear what they like. I personally wear a number of 'men's' fragrances. Which Ex Idolo scent is your personal favourite? Ryder. This question made me smile because it’s the first time I ever had to sit down and truly decide on one. Whenever I spritz it I have a hard time breaking free and will wear it for weeks at a time. What are your hopes for the future of Ex Idolo? Ex Idolo was not originally set up as a commercial concern and I want to make sure to preserve it as an outlet for creativity as it grows. | @exidolo

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IG @strawbryblonde

FOOD “It's time to re-educate the market and us all.�

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food¡ brand stor y 4 MIN

Interview with Amelia Rope

interview by Karolina Barnes and photography kindly provided by Amelia Rope

An award-winning chocolate company, Amelia Rope, is not only passionate about high quality chocolate but also supporting communities and striving for fair trade across the supply chain. I caught up with its founder, Amelia Rope, to discuss the inspiring journey she's been on; from her NHS and Masterchef days to running a successful food company. What has been your journey so far? How did you get to where you are now and founding Amelia Rope? It's been a long one - 11 years! The longest I have committed to anything in my life. Whilst daydreaming one day, in my role as Practice Manager of a NHS/Private Practice, I found myself applying for 'Masterchef ' and to my total astonishment I got picked. I competed on 2006 and 2007 shows and from this amazing and terrifying experience along with a 5-day chocolate course at Valrhona I fell into founding my business. The products appeared first, the business followed. I quickly discovered that if you have an eye for something different, the press will adorn you with mentions. Crystallised flora dipped in chocolate with a speck of gold leaf had this 'whip in a frenzy' SA factor. The learning curve has been and continues to be vast and relentless. I am 100% self-taught (the only qualifications are school exams and as an Aromatherapist). I have expanded my business knowledge and industry knowledge way beyond what I thought I had inside me. It has been lonely, infuriating, funny, mind-blowing, fun, challenging and more. I am intrigued to see how and where it evolves.

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food ¡ brand stor y

“Sustainability is extremely important. There is still a very long way to go with sustainability, but given time and resources, we can achieve it.� How important are sustainability and ethical trading to you and your brand? My brand is my name, which means it's extremely important. I want to know that everyone in our chain is well provided for. I switched my chocolate supplier last year after a revisit of the supply chain - making it more focused (one country - Colombia) but also to help maximise the revenue for a developing country. Not only the cocoa beans farmers we are also helping milk, soya and vanilla farmers too. All the ingredients in the chocolate are created by Colombians. And to top that, the couverture (the base we go on to flavour and create our bars from) is made in Bogota, too. Before signing up to them, I went out there to explore for myself. The family-owned company opened their doors to me. What I experienced meant it was a no-brainer for me to switch. I met cocoa farmers and saw their plantations, visited and stayed on their trial sustainability plantation and a training school, visited some of the schools they provide for the children and saw the beans made into chocolate at their factory in Bogota. Totally transparent and remains family owned since 1906. There is still a very long way to go with sustainability and a lot more for us all to learn about it but every ounce helps. Given time and resources, we can achieve it. We must crack it, however challenging it is to do. It's time for a mass re-education for us all. Have you managed to work out a supply chain which fits your ethos? What is something hard to do? It's been very challenging for sure. It would be fantastic to see a circular economy within the industry. Hopefully, we are all working together to get there. What does positive luxury mean to you? It gives back to its roots and it gives the lucky recipient a huge smile and makes them feel as if they have been sprinkled with fairy dust.

IG @ameliaropechocolate

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TRAVEL “Capturing the essence through the creative spirit.”

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trav el ¡ hotel c ase study 3 MIN

More than just a place to stay words by Karolina Barnes and photography by Anna Stathaki

As many brands increasingly struggle to capture audiences in the digital world, the real world opens up creative opportunities that can engage and leave an impression on customers that no digital space can offer. Most people still yearn to belong to something great, to be part of a great community (in the physical world). If we can provide that kind of platform, our customers, in turn, will become loyal to our brand. And brand loyalty is one of the biggest brand's assets. These days, quality measures higher than quantity. In a very competitive hospitality market, this couldn't be truer and more important. Hence, I think, Puro Hotels in Poland, are a great case study to explore. The concept is very simple: to deliver an experience like no other. It's not only about a place to stay, the hotels are social and cultural hubs to "call home while away", bringing people together. It's a place where new ideas can be sparked and connections to be made. So how do they do it? Well, firstly, I think it's about the decor and design of the space. Each hotel has its unique and stylish interior with curated art collections reflecting its local community and culture. Each piece of furniture tells a story and each artwork has its own meaning. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, putting guests and visitors in a good mood and helping them to feel more relaxed. Paying attention to every detail is key. Secondly, culture is one of their keywords and part of their brand's DNA. They care about delivering a cultural experience beyond the hotel's walls and therefore are on hand when it comes to exploring the city. They can advise guests on all sorts of cultural events happening at that time and can recommend exhibitions, literary evenings, but also design shops and boutiques, restaurants, cafĂŠs, and festivals. They are passionate about design, places and creative people. They are the experts and educators for any curious soul.

Opposite: Artwork by Kit Miles Studio - a luxury wallpaper and textile design brand renowned for dynamic use of colour and lavishly drawn imagery | | IG @kitmiles

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t rav el ¡ hotel c ase study

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trav el ¡ hotel c ase study

And thirdly, it's about the community. They create a space for social events, educational evenings and panel discussions to take place. They partner with and invite creatives from the local art and design scene to get together and explore topics which are relevant to its audience. Visitors and guests have the opportunity to join in the conversation and therefore engage more. In conclusion, Puro Hotels are about creating an experience, touching all senses - visually through design, sound, smell and taste through the service they provide and touch through not only a physical but also an emotional connection. Images are showcasing Puro Gdansk. Stagiewna 26, 80-750 Gdansk, tel: +48 563 50 00 For more information about Puro Hotels, please visit

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business · mindset

Living your best life written by Suzanne Selvester

PART 1. “Taking responsibility” As a motivational speaker, I’m often inspired by how much people genuinely want to live their best life. They listen avidly as I discuss ways to make that possible but tell me that their biggest challenge is often silencing their overactive mind and overcoming a lack of belief in who they are. A belief that says you can’t do it or that achieving the life you want is impossible, but that’s where they’re wrong. Each and every person on this planet has the right to live their best life. A CEO, a cleaner, a prince or a postman all have the same destiny and that’s to be happy. Most of us, however, is so distracted by the voice in our head that we often overlook our own happiness, usually focusing on the happiness of others and compromising who we are. The voice in our head will always tell us that we’re not enough, or that they don’t like us or that we’re fat or stupid. The voice that is powerful enough to convince us to live in a constant state of emergency, our fight or flight mode on high alert resulting in excruciating anxiety. We all know the difference between a bear eating us in our mind and a bear actually eating us, but our thoughts are so psychosomatic that they have a dramatic effect on our body and our health. Ask any mother whose lost a toddler for twenty minutes what happens to her body, or someone whose had a broken heart to explain the physical impact it’s had on them. The decision to live your best life comes from you. Self-development is a journey that requires dedication and work but here’s the best news. Everything you need is already within you and by using these four daily practices, I’m going to show you how to access it, enabling you to make the changes you need to achieve the life of your dreams. These four daily practices will allow you to ignore the voice in your head, identify limiting beliefs and expand your perception, allowing you to see your life from a different point of view. Your belief system is holding you back, it’s called your paradigm and this is how it works. Your view of the world is usually the result of your childhood program. Your parent passed their beliefs to you, as is expected and normal. Then your schooling, the society and environment you were raised in had an impact on how you look at the world. By the time you reached adulthood, you had a set of beliefs that weren't your own, they were given to you by society and can often be limiting, preventing you living your best life. Shifting your paradigm is vital to expanding your perception, allowing you to consider another point of view. Disagreeing with the beliefs of others doesn't mean they’re wrong, it just means they're different, and the same applies to your own beliefs.

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business · mindset

It seems obvious to me when people talk about being personally responsible for their own life. Of course, we’re responsible for our life, we’re responsible for everything that’s happening in our lives, so why is it that when things go wrong, we blame? When life is flowing, we take full responsibility, usually holding our hand high, we say yes, that was me, I did that, but when things go wrong the first question we ask is, whose fault is it? We blame to avoid discomfort, we blame to avoid accountability and we blame to hurt our partners during a disagreement, using blame as a tool when we’re in an attack mode. If things are not going well at work or at home, it’s easier to blame than to talk it through which allows us to avoid discomfort. If we can’t lose weight, it’s easier to find someone or something to blame - work is too busy or the kids take up my time - we then avoid being accountable. An argument with our partner is a wonderful opportunity to use blame as a tool, it helps us feel more in control. I was a blamer. I spent most of my life blaming others for my own inadequacies. My parents, my ex-husband, my kids, my slow metabolism, my childhood program, my bad time management. Using every excuse I could find meant I avoided being responsible for what was happening in my own life. If I was overweight, I usually blamed it on having children. My lack of purpose was my parents' fault, they should have guided me toward something fulfilling. The end of my marriage was obviously my exhusband's fault, I couldn’t live up to such expectations. Then one day, I became blame aware and my life changed forever. Learning to accept that I, and I alone, was responsible for everything happening to me was one of the most liberating days of my life. I no longer had to blame others, which meant I was free. I no longer had to depend on the actions of others to determine my own happiness. I was in charge and got to make whatever decision I needed to live my best life. You are responsible for your life, you are responsible for your happiness. You are responsible for whatever is happening today, tomorrow, next week or next year. Good and bad. Taking responsibility for your life gives you the freedom to change it and to reclaim the power you unwittingly gave to others when you used blame to avoid accountability. People often say that traumatic events are not their fault and while that may be true, it’s still their responsibility to do something about it. During these times of crisis, knowing it’s not your fault offers comfort, but it’s up to you to change it. Losing your job might not be your fault, but it’s your responsibility to find another one. Your relationship falling apart or your partner leaving you is not your fault, but it’s your responsibility to find a way to survive and keep going. You or someone close to you getting sick is not your fault or theirs, but it’s both your responsibility to find a way to get through it.

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business · mindset When you take responsibility for your life, it doesn’t matter whose fault it is. When you take responsibility for your day, it gets better. When you take responsibility for your happiness, you're free and in charge, you get to decide what makes you happy. Knowing the difference between fault and responsibility is a vital part of self-realisation. People can enhance your happiness, earning more money can make life easier, having a better job or doing what you love, offers more fulfilment, but if you can’t find the happiness that lives within you, if you can’t appreciate what you already have, you’ll always need more. I’m deaf, I lost 70% of my hearing in my late 30s while trying to raise my three young sons and going through a divorce. It wasn’t my fault, a genetic mutation passed through my heritage caused it, but it was my responsibility to make the best of it. Fully accepting the situation, I had to do whatever I needed to get on with my life. I’ve since learned to use British Sign Language, allowing me to communicate with the deaf community and help deaf people with their self-awareness. My divorce was one the most frightening and traumatic experiences of my life and in retrospect, no one was to blame, these things happen and people’s feelings change, but it was my responsibility to somehow find a way to survive it, to learn from it and to grow for the experience. Blaming and complaining leads to a victim mentality. As Eckhart Tolle, author of The Power of Now so gracefully put it: "When you complain, you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation, change the situation or accept it. All else is madness." Step one is taking personal responsibility for your life. Set yourself a goal of not blaming for one day and see the difference it makes. The blame list might be endless but becoming blame aware allows you to observe your blaming and change it. It also allows you to observe how others unfairly blame you - because it’s a two-way street - but the first step to changing both sides is taking responsibility for your own life and putting a stop to your own blaming. Quitting The Blame Game Take full responsibility for whatever is happening in your life today and don’t blame. Communicate calmly to others, clearly ask what you require of them, asking them to do the same of you. If someone is unfairly blaming you, don’t take it personally, don’t react and don’t blame them back. Ask for time to consider your response, a great way to disarm any uncomfortable situation. Be willing to consider another point of view in every aspect of your life. Be humble. Accepting that we’re sometimes wrong and apologising is one of the hardest but most gratifying experiences in life. Go within. When challenges arise, seek peace within you. Meditate or walk or listen to music. Reaching a calm state of mind allows more rational decisions to be made.

Suzanne is a motivational speaker, corporate lifecoach, writer and author |

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business · mindset

Four biggest mistakes you might be making written by Erica Wolfe-Murray

Mistake 1 : Allowing yourself to be put into a ‘parent/child’ relationship where you are the child… Your client employs you because you are talented. You offer a unique skill, amazing creative perspective or a service they just don’t have. So why then do so many within the creative sector allow themselves to be pushed into a ‘parent/child’ relationship by that same client? This can be damaging to your self-belief, your contractual position, and your financial reward. I see it time and again with freelancers, award-winning design companies and big ad agencies. Sometimes the way clients treat them beggars belief. Always try to take the position as a creative partner at the table, with shared respect, understanding the real value each brings to the project, with a contract fair to both parties. Mistake 2 : Becoming too reliant on one client Having a big client that gives you oodles of work is wonderful and can prove deeply fulfilling as you deliver a rich vibrant range of solutions across numerous projects for them. But it is also so dangerous for your business… Just as one client can give you lots of work, they can take it away too. A personnel change, a new procurement methodology, a desire for the new… none of which you can foresee can destroy your business overnight. Aim to build a range of projects both large and small in value, from a spread of different clients. This builds greater safety into your workflow, should one decide to head for the door. Mistake 3 : Not having control of the money If I had £10 for every time a creative person proudly told me they ‘don’t do money’, I’d be a rich woman. If you run a business of any type, it is vital to have a really clear understanding of where you are financially, otherwise, your livelihood is in danger. And let’s be clear, the finances of a freelancer/small company are no more complicated than your household finances. The basic principles are simple – firstly you need to understand how much it costs to run the business each day. Then, you have to ensure you earn more from sales/client work than it costs to run the business. Each and every day, reviewing it regularly to check you are on track. A good bookkeeper and accountant will help, but you cannot abrogate responsibility to them. They work for you, not the other way round. Mistake 4 : Agreeing to work for ‘loss leaders’ So many times I hear clients referring to a project they are working on as a ‘loss leader’. If you are unfamiliar with this term – it refers to work that a client will ask you to do for free, or at a severely reduced fee, in the belief that if you do a great job on this, it is likely to lead to other work from them. It doesn’t and it won’t. ‘Loss leaders’ don’t lead anywhere… except to losses. Don’t ever take them on. Erica is UK's leading business and innovation expert in creative industries and founder of Lola Media |

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Profile for Estila Magazine


This edition is a little bit of an experiment. Instead of one cover, it has two. All stories and interviews with the brands we chose for thi...


This edition is a little bit of an experiment. Instead of one cover, it has two. All stories and interviews with the brands we chose for thi...