Born in central London to parents who had lived through the Second World War and rationing, I grew up in an environment of make do and mend amidst the chaos and confusion of a capital city still recovering from the ravages of the blitz. My father was best known for being a Court and Social photographer for several major newspapers including The Times. He taught photography at the Royal Academy and co-authored The Traveller’s Book of Colour Photography with fellow photographer and musician, Van Phillips. My mother, also a photographer, was resourceful and hated to see anything wasted. Even in the days before Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, she understood the importance of reducing waste and found novel uses for many spent household objects.

Following my father’s death when I was 14, my mother worked hard to make a life for us. I learned to sew and how to make and alter clothes. I particularly enjoyed embroidery and patchwork. My parents had been caretakers to a small, public garden in an old bomb site in Covent Garden and I soon learnt the joy of gardening when I bought my first house. I also developed a passion for old houses and have renovated several, including a grade 2* listed, 16th century farmhouse near Bristol.

I trained as an accountant, qualifying at just 23 and eventually set up home in Swindon, Wiltshire where I tend a 1/3rd acre garden with two cats and a small flock of rescued hens.

In February 2016, I discovered that I have Coeliac Disease and now volunteer with the charity, Coeliac UK, helping to organise local events to support other Coeliacs as they come to terms with the major lifestyle changes required to live without gluten.

In my 40’s I took an Open University degree: Design for a Sustainable Future, which combined elements of design practice with environmental studies. The course looked at materials lifecycles and the impact of industry on the environment alongside developing skills that could be used in the design of both objects and systems.

In my working life as an accountant, I have tended towards roles that include an element of design. Whether that is working with professional designers to produce the Annual Report and Accounts of a listed plc or designing new systems to solve a problem.

Outside of work I am often found tinkering in my workshop to adapt or reuse something within my home or garden. Rescued fence panels have been repurposed to repair a broken greenhouse and the polycarbonate panels of conservatory roof now provide shelter for my hens from the weather. Other times, I will be in my craft room making gifts from old clothes and re-used fabrics or making cards or decorations from post-consumer paper and card. Having developed these skills and techniques, I now teach art and crafts in the local area.

As a keen environmentalist, I try to garden organically and work with nature. Logs are left to dry in piles providing a habitat for insects and small mammals before being used on the fire. Wildlife is encouraged into the garden with a varied diet of seeds, fruits and pollen producing flowers and a wildlife pond provides a habitat for a wide variety of insects and amphibians.

Not content with writing reports, financial statements and prospectuses at work, I also enjoy writing as a hobby. My first novel, Mule, written under the pen name of Maze Shoot is a crime novel, based in Swindon, but challenges the readers’ preconceptions of gender and honesty. I am currently working on a second novel about the challenges of living with Coeliac Disease.

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