At the end of 2014 I opened The Canvas; a café and creative venue that serves homemade, ethically sourced food, hosts live performances and workshops in self-esteem and confidence, and where you can write on the walls! Our walls are a blank canvas for our customers’ thoughts, ideas, secrets and stories, and they’re open to everyone. I had the idea way back in 2009, spent five years dreaming about it, then one year plotting it, and two months building it. In August I took over a desperately neglected premises at 42 Hanbury Street in Shoreditch, just off Brick Lane. I spent two months living in overalls, covered in paint, and learning how to be a project manager. The hard work has paid off – I’m so excited with how bright, warm and welcoming The Canvas is. And in just over a week, the walls were covered in some amazing comments from our customers!
I founded Body Gossip, a positive body image charity, in 2006. I wanted to get people talking about their bodies so I took my white living room sofa to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2007 and invited passers-by to write one sentence about their body on the sofa. I was overwhelmed by the honesty, passion and bravery of people’s comments. That’s what gave me the idea for The Canvas – people are so articulate, and honest, when invited to write on an unusual canvas. It brings people together, it opens people up, and it provides some incredible insights into how we all think and feel.
Anita Roddick. She did so much with her life. She was constantly pushing herself to tackle new issues, break more boundaries, help more people, and change perceptions.
Riding my motorbike in the Alps with my boyfriend Dan on the back.
I have big ideas, but I can’t make them happen on my own. Surrounding myself with experts who can turn my ideas into reality has been invaluable to me, and I only just recently learnt to do it.
Ooh, I find relaxing really difficult! I love walking around Peckham Common, and seeing my friends for drinks in South East London near where I live. It sounds soppy but watching a film with my fella and my cat is so lovely.
I will allow myself to completely switch off from thinking about work. I’ll turn my phone off, go for a walk, see my friends, speak to my parents, and try and live completely in the moment. That’s something that is so hard to do these days, and yet it’s so important.
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