Tell us a bit about your work and how it all started
I’ve always enjoyed being creative. I did art for both GCSE and A level, and I knew I wanted to go to Art School. I did my foundation at Central Saint Martins and from there went on to do a BA in Ceramic Design. It was a fantastic course covering all aspects of ceramic design and pottery. My favourite area was printing and decorating. After I graduated I interned at several companies. I did 5 months at Asprey, a luxury British brand on Bond Street, London. This led to me working there for 6 years with the Silver and Home department designing luxury products and bespoke projects in china, crystal, silver and leather goods. I started to miss making, so I decided to buy a kiln and design my own tableware patterns in my spare time. I set up my Etsy shop in 2011 not realising how much work goes into creating an online shop. After a few years of bumbling along, I started to do regular makers markets at the weekends, meeting a wonderful community of designers and makers. I now also have my own online shop, which was my first task when my maternity leave ended.
Tell us about Ham and how he came into your life
I’ve always wanted a dog. I grew up with cats, but neighbours had dogs. One neighbour had a beautiful Doberman who I loved to play with. The idea of getting a dog became more realistic when me and my boyfriend (now husband) decided we wanted to buy a house together, but our schedules were very busy with work and I was worried about leaving a dog at home when we were working. In 2012 I was made redundant and by coincidence a good friend of mine told me her lovely Border Terrier Pudding was going to have a litter. I took this as a sign and we put our name down for one of the puppies. The puppies were born the day we got back from our honeymoon. We got to meet the puppies when they were 4 weeks old, there were 2 girls and 2 boys (almost topped my wedding day). Ham was the fattest and slept the whole time and we decided he was the one for us.
How does having a Ham fit into your general working day?
Ham has always come to work with me as I’ve been lucky that my freelance work has either been from home or at dog friendly offices. Ham is the perfect office dog, once he’s said hello to everyone and had a bit of a play he spends most of his time napping under someone’s desk, occasionally waking up to look for a treat. He’s also very quiet and rarely barks, unless there’s a pesky cat or squirrel about. At the moment I’m working 2 days a week at my studio and Ham comes with me. He spends most of his time having a nap, if there’s no-one else to seek attention from. We have a stroll around Hackney Wick at lunchtime and he always manages to find someone to fawn over him.
Life has really changed for Ham since we had Olivia and Serena. He was my only baby for 4 years and then suddenly he has to share his home with 2 small humans that make a lot of noise and steal his attention. During lockdown giving Ham a proper walk was difficult with both the girls at home and James working solidly upstairs. Our neighbours kindly offered to take him out when they did their daily exercise, and give him a break from the girls.
When you’re not working where do you like to head out to with the dog?
We are very fortunate where we live in London to have access to so many green spaces. I love walking around Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, where Ham can explore and sniff to his heart's content. We’re also very close to Victoria Park and the Olympic Park which are both great to take the girls and Ham. Ham also enjoys going to the pub!
What essentials do you always have on you when heading out for a dog walk, and what do you carry them in?
A roll of poo bags attached to the lead, hand sanitiser (even before the pandemic) and if he’s lucky his favourite little Chuckit ball stuffed under the buggy. I have just treated myself to a beautiful hands free lead from Hiro and Wolf as I was struggling when I had Ham and the girls on my own. I used it for the first time the other day and it was lovely to be able to push the buggy, have Ham by my side and have a hand free for a hot chocolate whilst walking around the park.
What adventures do you have planned with Ham for later this year?
Since having Ham we have always made sure to have at least one holiday in the UK with him. Now we have 2 small children, going away is more of a military operation and the endless stuff we need can put me off planning anything. But it’s always worth it once we go. We love going to the Norfolk coast, because of the beautiful beaches and being so dog friendly. Ham has also enjoyed the Lake District and the Quantock Hills in Somerset. We haven’t made any plans at the moment due to the pandemic but hopefully in the new year we will take Ham on some new adventures around the UK.