I first came into the design industry through fashion. I had my own fashion designing company called Lemon Tree, although I later changed the name to White Swans. I ran the company from my bedroom and my main customers were my parents and my pet rabbit. Mind you, I was only eleven years old at the time.
Although I secretly harboured a desire to be a fashion designer, my "proper" career was already mapped out for me as I had known from the age of seven that I wanted to be a teacher. Unfortunately, I realised I'd made a terrible mistake on just about my first day in the job. I stayed in education long after I probably should have done, leaving only when ill health finally forced me to look for a new career that I could do from home. Because I was good at English and had always loved writing, I decided to become a freelance journalist.
Considering that I had never had a day's journalism training in my life or been a staff journalist first, I was surprisingly successful and went on to write many articles and features for some very prestigious newspapers and magazines. However, like most journalists, I really wanted to write books, particularly books for children. I assumed that with my track record, I would easily get an agent and a book deal. How wrong I was. Then my mother, who had always been the great champion of my writing, died and I experienced the worst case of "writer's block" that I had ever had. Every time I tried to write, I would just burst into tears.
When it became clear that this particular block was not going to go away any time soon, I started to look round for what I could do instead of writing and that was when I discovered the crafting industry. I had always loved crafting as a child but hadn't really done any for years. I was particularly thrilled to discover digital crafting, especially digital scrapbooking, as it opened up a whole new, wonderful world to me. I had always been frustrated by the fact that I can't draw very well and suddenly I had all this incredible artwork to play with.
I then discovered, much to my amazement, that I had a talent for designing. (Are you getting a sense of things coming full circle here?) Not only that, but the great passion and excitement I used to have for writing and thought that I had lost for ever, was now being rekindled by designing.
So here I am, almost fifty years later, embarking on an exciting new career as a designer (as well as still being a crafter and a writer) and trying to finally make that childhood dream become a reality. And it might not escape your notice that many of my designs are fashion based!
Five things you might like to know about me
I love watching sport especially football, cricket and snooker.
I used to play the double bass.
I changed my entire name by deed poll when I became a writer.
I like cheese and peanut butter. Together.
I try not to let anything beat me although the menopause has run me pretty close!