Entries in interview (4)

Saturday
Jun032017

q&a with makeup artist and Curvy Chic Bridal owner Rebecca Bryson

Rebecca Bryson is one of the most talented people I know she is an artist in the truest sense of the word.  The way she looks you in the face and the using magic from her box of tricks brings out all your natural beauty when she paints your face with her makeup is remarkable.  Rebecca is an incredible professional makeup artist and I recommend her constantly to brides and others needing their face done for any occasion.  She is also an entreprenuer and recently opened Curvy Chic bridal and the dresses there are heavenly.  You can connect with Rebecca on Facebook, Twitter, Insta and on her website. Or Curvy Chic Bridal on their website, Facebook, Insta and Twitter.

Who are you, what’s it like being you ...

I’m Rebecca, I am a hair and make up artist and own the only plus size bridal boutique in NI. It’s very busy being me! lol

Where are you from, where are you based ...

I’m based in Belfast, I was born in Northern Ireland, but grew up in New Zealand, returning to NI 10 years ago now.

Talk about your work ...

Primarily, I am a hair and make up artist specializing in Bridal and Editorial. I spend most of my days with brides helping them create their perfect wedding look or, working with other creatives coming up with exciting fashion looks. Secondarily, I run the only Plus Size exclusive bridal boutique in NI, Curvy Chic Bridal, helping curvy brides size 16+ find their dream wedding dress and the joyous experience of trying them all on! 


What are your future plans ... 

I’m building my empire! Lol. I love working in the bridal industry and fashion, and I want to keep building both my businesses, then retire with Colum and our dog Holly somewhere warm! In the meantime, I’ll keep my head down and keep working, I’ve recently been invited along with 39 others, for a masterclass with world renowned fashion make up artist Pat McGrath, so hopefully that will be a huge boost to my career!

How do you find inspiration, who you are inspired by ...  

Colour, I’m a huge colour fan, I love seeing how colours mix, how they go together, even how they clash! I often find inspiration in the colours of flowers or raw pigments. I also love instagram for finding great make up inspiration as so many leading artists share their work.

Describe your space ... 

I have a studio space in my house, I think it’s meant to be a living room, but I lived the carpet and painted the floorboards a soft grey, which goes perfectly with my black and pewter chandelier and crystal wall lamps, and as I love colour so much, I have a big multicoloured art deco rug to bring in a gorgeous range of rich colours. 

How are you feeling today ... 

I feel great! I have just finished with a make up trial and I’m waiting now for my next Bride, who is coming to try on dresses, all the while planning make up for Ruth McGinely for the BBC proms. 

A non-negotiable in your life is ...

Family time. I absolutely must have time with Colum and our dog Holly, it fills me back up!

Most encouraging words you have ever heard ... 

I don’t know that I can pin point a certain quote or saying, but, I find others careers very encouraging, I think, if they can do it, then why can’t I? 


Your work life philosophy is ...

You reap what you sow. I work hard now, so one day I won’t have to!

What is your favourite smell ...  

Fresh flowers, particularly roses, I always have at least one vase of fresh flowers in the house. The popcorn smell Holly gets when she’s been sleeping. Colums beard oil. The last two bring me such comfort.

Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ... 

At the minute I’m listening to Adele! I have a hugely eclectic musical taste, so it could be anything from Rage Against the Machine to Debussy just depending on the day!


Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ... 

Probably quite a simple meal, but Colum makes the best fried rice I’ve ever tasted. I love fresh vegetables, Sesame Oil and Avocado.

Three things or products that have changed your life... 

My MacBook and iPhone, as terrible as that sounds, it has given me the ability to work on the go.  Our dog Holly, she brings so much joy to our life, she’s an absolute rascal but has such a huge personality. 

 

How do you relax ... 

Spending time with family, taking Holly for walks, and going out for yummy meals!

What makes you happy, where’s your happy place ... 

My family, spending time with friends. I love being wrapped up in a bunch of blankets all cozy with Colum and Holly!


What is your favourite journey, where in the world would you like to visit ...  

A few years ago, I drove from San Franciso to LA, down highway 101, it was beautiful, the California coast is really stunning! Colum and I would love to visit South America, somewhere neither of us have ever visited. 

What do you most value in your friends ...  

Honesty and reliability. I have learnt, epically with running two businesses, that your friends can be such an amazing support structure, so it’s vital that my friends are open and honest and reliable. 

What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now ..

I’m ready a make up book at the minute! It’s called Face Paint: The Story of Makeup, by Lisa Eldridge. It’s fascinating for a makeup junky like myself! My favourite quote is “ I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you”, we have it on our living room wall.

Share some words of wisdom ...

Oh Gosh, I don’t feel qualified enough to give any words of wisdom! Lol. I would probably say, don’t give up. It’s cliché I know, but there is nothing more true. You will come up against challenges, some easy, some desperately hard, ask for help, there are people out there that WILL help you and get you on the path you want to be in. But whatever you do, don’t give up. Keep pushing!

 

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Rebecca, thank you for joining us at our place.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle - Life Remarkable 

 

 

 

Tuesday
Nov082016

q&a with writer and journalist Fiona McKenzie Johnston 

It is such a joy to welcome my friend and University of St Andrews pal the fabulous writer and journalist Fiona McKenzie Johnston to the Salt and Sparkle Q&A.  Fiona has always had a superb sense of style both on and off the page.  I remember the most beautiful embroidered antique silk shawl she used to wear on nights out at St Andrews that always makes me smile. A fount of knowledge on Russian literature my conversations with her would always send me to the library to try to get to grips with this great genre. Fiona is a wonderful writer and her pieces have been featured in all the best places such as Vogue, Tatler, The Sunday Times and Russian Vogue among others.  You can find out more on her website or email her to commission a piece, or follow her on Instagram (trust me its a beautifully curated account).  Fiona it is such a pleasure to have you here today.

 

Who are you, what’s it like being you ...   

I’m a mother, a wife, and a writer – not necessarily in that order – indeed they are each roles that are re-ordered and re-prioritised, often hourly.

Where are you from, where are you based ...

I grew up all over the place – my father was in the army, we moved every year or two - but am now based in Notting Hill, in London, at least during term time. 

Talk about your work ...

I write for publications such as Tatler and Vogue Russia, on a variety of subjects.  Over the course of a fortnight I might be researching how single sex schools are dealing with transgender pupils, interviewing a major artist, actor or fashion designer, and finding out about a new scent or line of make-up and how it was made. I love that I’m always learning something new, and most of all appreciate that writing is something that has allowed me to be at home with my children when they’re little, to do the school run, and to travel, a lot (though I did more before I had children.)

What are your future plans ... 

A novel. 


How do you find inspiration, who you are inspired by ...  

Because of the topics I write about, and because I’m interested anyway, going to exhibitions, art and design fairs, the theatre and the cinema are all regular appointments, and I often come away with new ideas.  But talking to my friends and the exchange of ideas is vital.   Mostly I’m fascinated by human behaviour.  The writers I return to most often – Evelyn Waugh, Edith Wharton, Graham Greene, Thomas Hardy, George Elliot, Laurence Durrell, Nancy Mitford – they write about people, and I love that.  

Describe your space ... 

I write anywhere – at the hairdresser, in the café at the gym, the departure lounge of an airport – but at home I write either propped up in bed, or at the kitchen table.  There’s stuff: stacks of books, jugs of flowers, ceramics, and pattern on all the curtains and chair covers and cushions – but it’s ordered. And I like a view: our flat is the top floor, so my view is of the tops of trees, and sky.  

How are you feeling today ...  

Happy. Busy.  The two are related.

A non-negotiable in your life is ... 

Exercise – most often running. It’s how I order my thoughts.


Most encouraging words you have ever heard ... 

I read them, rather than heard them.  It’s Dostoevsky, from The Idiot: “Beauty, though, will save the world.” 

Your work life philosophy is ... 

Don’t procrastinate, on either.  In the words of Marvell, “But at my back I always hear/ Time’s winged chariot hurrying near . .  “

What is your favourite smell ...  

Hyacinth, hoof oil and horse on a hot day, the heather on the Yorkshire moors just after it’s been burned, fresh bread (we have a breadmaker), Mitsouku by Guerlain.

Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ...  

Leonard Cohen. I wrote my Masters dissertation to him, the first dance at our wedding was Dance Me to the End of Love, and he was who was playing when both my children were born. I saw him the year he played at Glastonbury:  the sun was going down, birds were circling overhead, I was with someone I thought I was in love with – it was perfect.  But right now, nothing is playing.  I quite like silence.


Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ... 

Lobster thermidor, spinach and sweet potato chips followed by something exceptionally decadent with a lot of cream.  As for my favourite ingredients, I really only make cakes – my husband is a brilliant cook and does everything else.

Three things or products that have changed your life... 

It transpires that I owe a lot to social media: my husband and I were at school together but had lost touch – he found me through Facebook. 

My iPhone enables me go to the beach all day with the children and still answer emails.

Finally, a little girl called Margot Martini who was almost the exact same age as my daughter, Esmeralda, but who developed leukaemia just after her first birthday.  Not only has she made me realise the enormous value of the time I spend with my own children, but her parents – who are amazing – founded a charity called Team Margot, which encourages everyone to join the Stem Cell register and then encourage just one more person to do the same, so that, in the future, other people with leukaemia will be able to find a match more easily, and have a greater chance of survival. It can be so easy to save a life.  You can go to www.teammargot.com to find out more.

How do you relax ... 

Swimming.  Or a hot bath and a good thriller.  

What makes you happy, where’s your happy place ... 

The place is less important than the people – I’m happiest when I’m with my family.  But I’m absolutely at my happiest when I’m with my family on the north coast of Cornwall, which is where I holidayed as a child, and where we were this summer.  It was heaven.


What is your favourite journey, where in the world would you like to visit ...  

I’m not sure I have a favourite, but there are certainly memorable journeys that I have undertaken, such as the Trans Siberian Railway from Moscow to Ulaan Baatar, and possibly every train I’ve ever taken in India.  It feels as though time is suspended – on the Trans Siberian because one is going through different time zones and yet the train stays on Moscow time throughout, and it’s a five day journey - and in India because one never really knows what time the train might arrive.   And also because the landscape that one passes through is so spectacularly beautiful that one almost doesn’t want the experience to end.  The East Coast line, from London to Aberdeen, has moments of staggering beauty, but because I know what lies at either end it seems less exciting.  I have more patience for journeys into the unknown; with familiar routes, the longing to arrive eclipses the enjoyment of the scenery.

What do you most value in your friends ...  

Reliability. It’s one of the most underrated virtues. 

What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now ... 

I love all words.  I’m currently reading about three books and five magazines and today’s newspaper, which is standard, but the books I’ve read this summer that I’d recommend are Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun, which is set in 1960s Nigeria during the Biafran war and is brilliant, Emma Cline’s The Girls which is set in 1960s California and centres around a Charles Manson-like cult and is brilliant, and James Hilton’s Goodbye Mr. Chips which is very short and is the story of a school teacher and his 43 year tenure at an all boys boarding school, and which is essentially perfect.

Share some words of wisdom ...

My father used to tell me that ‘the day is made, won or lost, before seven’.  My grandmother insisted every day should have a plan and an aim.  Their words echo in my ears. Thinking about it, it’s Marvell re-phrased. 

 

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Fiona it was a joy to have you at our place, thank you for hanging out with us.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

 

 

 

Wednesday
Oct072015

q&a with Karen Daly founder of WOW Foods - 31 Days of Eating, Day 7

It is a pleasure to welcome entrepreneur and founder of WOW Karen Daly to the Salt and Sparkle Q&A.  I met the glamourous,  fabulous, friendly and fun Karen lastweek at Cast and Crew in Belfast, where she launched WOW (which stands for ‘war on weight’)  her new range of high protein, low sugar and gluten-free meat products.  Karen's journey to create these products began when she lost four stone, but still wanted to enjoy the odd burger or sausage.  The WOW range includes delicious sausages, burgers and meatballs as well as chicken dishes.


Karen told me, 'The range includes succulent pork sausages made from extra lean pork with only 2% fat and 46 calories.  Already incredibly popular are the sweet chilli and garlic sausages which come in both pork and turkey varieties.  Everyone loves a burger, and with only 122 calories and 3% fat, ours can be enjoyed guilt-free. Included in the fresh meat offering the Meatballs Italiano are proving incredibly popular as they’re made with extra lean steak mince, herbs and spices in a tomato and basil sauce.'

You can connect with Karen and WOW on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and buy the WOW products from Asda and other supermarkets.

Who are you, what’s it like being you ...

Hi I’m Karen Daly 39, wife to Frank and mum to the most adorable little boys Aaron 7 & Jamie 4 – I love life and love having fun times with all the family – 

Where are you from, where are you based ...

I’m from Mullaghbawn the most beautiful village set at the foot of Slieve Gullion Mountain! I’ve lived their my whole life and lucky to wake up their every morning!

Talk about your work ...

I joined Karro Food Group in June this year having owned my own healthy food brand for over 5 years.  Working with Karro has brought so many exciting opportunities…we recently launched our WOW brand which stands for War on Weight…bringing delicious high protein, gluten free, low sugar meat options to the market.  In the same way that I wanted to make changes to my own lifestyle and have reaped countless health and well-being benefits from doing so, I would love to help others do the same. Being healthy can be easy, and even fun, so if we can empower people to lead healthier lifestyles by making food convenient and tasty, then perhaps we can start to win the war on weight.

What are your future plans ...

My focus for the immediate future is making WOW a success here at home and abroad whilst enjoying lots of family time along the way.

How do you find inspiration, who you are inspired by ...  

I’m inspired by lots of people, I love people who are positive and are living their dreams…My Dad was my biggest inspiration he’s the first entrepreneur I knew.  Having lost him at only 54 I try to remember to take time off too and live the life I want now not in the future…..I love other female success stories; Marissa Carter and Carrie Green.

Describe your space ….

my space is organised chaos which is the one thing I have to work to change. I’d love to be more organised and my hubby would love it too.


How are you feeling today ... 

Today I’m feeling great, sun is shining and our WOW story is middle pages of the Belfast Telegraph.

A non-negotiable in your life is ...

my family 

Most encouraging words you have ever heard ...

Dream, believe, achieve.

Your work life philosophy is ...

dream big, work smart 

What is your favourite smell ...

I love perfumes, my favourite at the minute is Michael Kors Sexy Amber

Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ...

Anything on the radio.

Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ...

Iove making my own Thai red curry – couldn’t live without, ginger, garlic and chillies. 

Three things or products that have changed your life...


WOW sausages, The power of now (book) and my curling wand

How do you relax ...

Getting out for a walk or up the mountain with hubby and kids every weekend, talking a bath and or a facial

What makes you happy, where’s your happy place ...

Home nothing better that coming home to all my boys every day..

What is your favourite journey, where in the world would you like to visit ...  

 I love travelling especially the US and I’m heading to Vegas in October and cannot wait.

What do you most value in your friends ...

Simply their friendship for many years and all the fun times.   Picking up where we left off no matter how often we meet

What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now ...

I love, I can, I will – I love all things happy –book at the minute The Happiness Hypothesis! 

Share some words of wisdom ...

I believe in dreaming big and never letting dream bashers get you down!  Dream, believe, achieve….Dreams do come true if we have the courage to pursue them!  (Walt Disney!)

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Karen it was wonderful to interview you for the Salt and Sparkle q&a thank you for spending time at our place.

You have just read the day six in the series 31 Days of Eating, read Day One Vegan Chocolate mousse and day two Leek and Potato Soup, day three Saturday Reading, day four, Brownies for a tenderheart, day five Birthday Cake and day six Vegan Tagine

 

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

 

 

 

Thursday
Sep172015

q&a with Seán Maxwell environmentalist and founder of Fir Beard and Body

It is wonderful to welcome environmentalist and founder of Fir Beard and Body Seán Maxwell to the Salt and Sparkle q&a.  Fir Beard and Body is Ireland's first eco-centric men's grooming brand - these products smell beautiful, I particularly like Driftwood which feels to me like a comforting hug in a bottle.  I was introduced to Seán by Sara O'Neill.  Seán's passion for nature and our environment is infectious, and delightful, not to mention inspiring. He believes in organic, local and sustainable.  A visionary and leader in his field, Seán's creativity and synesthesia is exciting, his artistic ability to blend scents and oils into products is wonderful.  He believes deeply in the conservation of our landscape.  You can follow Fir Beard and Body on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, and purchase their products, and follow Seán on Twitter and Instagram.

 

Who are you, what’s it like being you ...

Seán Maxwell, 34. Nature lover, wilderness explorer and budding entrepreneur. Younger brother to a bunch of misfits and son to two very ‘young at heart’ parents.  Being me is pretty tiring, I’m a handful - ask anyone. I’m in a constant state of exploration and I really like getting my hands dirty (and I don’t just mean metaphorically). 

Where are you from, where are you based …

I’m from the fair city of Armagh. As small a metropolis as it may be it’s a great place to call home although I’ve lived more years in other people’s backyards than I have in my own it never turns me away and having recently returned from a short stint in Europe via the Pacific coast of America I am already feeling like a son of the city again.

Talk about your work ...

Up until a year ago I was heavily entrenched in the corporate world, then without very little warning along came a perfect storm of change which gave me the inspiration to ditch the workstations and the conference rooms for something more.

Scent and more specifically, how a scent plays a huge part in memory has always fascinated me so my work is very much based around that.

Right now I’m cataloguing a portfolio of scents and aromas that are from and/or evocative of this great island we live on and along the way trying to incorporate these into various products, keeping the heart of it clean and organic.

Just a few months ago I launched Fir Beard and Body – an alternative men’s grooming brand, they always say ‘start with what you know’ and having had a beard aka face forest since I was old enough to shave I thought that was a good enough place to start. I like to consider my work as a bit of nature therapy for men.

As well as Fir I am working on other products behind the scenes on a daily basis; mixing, testing, batching, looking for the perfect blends not just for beard care products but for a whole other range of everyday items. Earlier today I was pouring a batch of candles which are now happily curing and smelling intensely autumnal.

As well as being an entrepreneur I am also a student of environmental management and policy and a regular conservation volunteer for Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership andMourne Heritage. These areas of outstanding natural beauty rely on the work of volunteers to maintain and protect the wildlife and landscape.


What are your future plans ... 

Branching out into different areas bringing evocative scents to different people.

My own grand vision for the future is to have a national park to manage and a small batch organic kitchen to experiment in. Simple really ;)

How do you find inspiration, who you are inspired by ...  

I don’t have to look far for inspiration, this land is steeped in history, myth and legend and not just from stories of people, nature has a huge part to play. I’m lucky enough to live within a few hours drive of some of the most spectacular vistas, coastlines and forests in the world.

I get to meet inspiring people all the time in my volunteer work, people whose passion greets you like an old friend and who are committed to conservation and education so that future generations can be just as inspired.

An amazing community group that inspires me is ROGHA who have the creative talent to channel their passion into craft and art and each of the artists and craftsperson’s work has its own unique take on the landscape that surrounds them and the history it is steeped in.

Describe your space ... 

That depends on what I’m doing. Research is done amongst trees and old stone all year round in the rain and in the sun, there is always something new to see and to experience so I’m outside a lot.

Blend trials and batch production is done in my converted attic with plenty of light and large windows, fresh air and natural light are really important to me wherever I am.

It’s a little clinical but the worktops have some occasional knickknacks - driftwood art I whittled during moments of procrastination with study, unusual rocks and stones I’ve found on my travels.

Old NI tourist board ads that I’ve picked up in craft fairs and landscape photography that I particularly love adorn the “study” section of room. 

How are you feeling today ... 

Organised with a little hint of crazy.  Planning Christmas this far in advance is not something I’m used to but with a number of new items ready for release and a new term of study just around the corner there is a lot to do and I’m yearning to go for a walk in the rain.


A non-negotiable in your life is ...

Nature. I have found that when my access to green things and having a clear sight of the sky is restricted I don’t function well at all. 

Most encouraging words you have ever heard ... 

Don’t learn to be happy, put your time into finding happiness instead.

Your work life philosophy is ...

Put in the effort and you’ll get it back ten-fold.

What is your favourite smell ...  

Wow that’s a loaded question for me it could be any number of things at any given time but my all-time favourite smell is hawthorn blossom. The intense aromatic woods aroma that you get in those few short weeks of annual bloom is incredible, perhaps it is because it is such a fleeting scent that it is so captivating to me.

Who do you like to listen to, what’s playing just now ... 

Murmuring in the background at the moment is the Nature podcast, but just an hour ago I was listening to some Joni Mitchell. My music tastes are varied but I always gravitate to songs with meaning. Artists like Nina Simone, John Martyn and Eurythmics are regulars in my home.

Best meal and your favourite three ingredients ... 

By far my favourite meal is my mum’s coddle, if you don’t know what that is I implore you to find a recipe and give it a try, its a pretty traditional irish dish so there is nothing fancy to it at all but you cannot beat it on a cold Autumn evening when the nights are drawing in.

Tomatoes, peppercorns and cinnamon – if I’m cooking or baking something that doesn’t have at least one of these things in it I’m doing so under duress. 

Three things or products that have changed your life... 

Solar powered portable battery charger, it’s a literal life saver.

Backpack reservoirs

Downloadable OS maps 

How do you relax ... 

Gardening and spending time outdoors on a trek or camping. Time well spent with friends and family.


What makes you happy, where’s your happy place ... 

Finding incredible vistas or scrambling through tree lines are my definitive happy place. When I can’t access these I take a mental journey to the shores of Llyn Idwal, a lake high up in the Glyderau mountains in Wales. 

What is your favourite journey, where in the world would you like to visit ...  

I love getting out and about in Ireland and the UK, I really think there are few places in the world that offer such diversity as our own plot of land, the landscapes, the wildlife and the people are all incredibly different and it’s something I embrace.

What do you most value in your friends ...  

Honesty and a sense of humour. Everything else is negotiable. 

What are your favourite words, what are you reading, just now ... 

“The mountains are calling, and I must go.” – a quote from John Muir, Scottish born American conservationist.

Currently I am re-reading a collection of poems from Robert Frost.  My favourite piece being The Road Not Takenthe last verse reads - 

‘’I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I – I took the one less travelled by and that has made all the difference”


Share some words of wisdom ...

If you don’t try, you’ll never know.

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Seán it was great to have you at our place, thank you for taking part in the Salt and Sparkle Q&A.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable