I stumbled into beading by accident. Back in 2002, I had been working for a Strategy Consultancy firm in London (UK) when I gradually fell ill. I became so ill that I was signed off work in November of that year and, a few months later I was diagnosed with ME, or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I had always had a strong interest in all different types of craft and ‘creating things’ as I was growing up. During my time at University (Cambridge, reading History), I dabbled a little in beads after stumbling across a local bead shop, but I had no idea what I was doing and no thoughts of making this into a career.

The first flower I made after receiving Arlene Baker's book
The first flower I made after receiving Arlene Baker’s book

In 2003 a fantastic bead shop, based in Cornwall (GJ Beads), sent me a brochure – I’m not even sure how I got onto their mailing list! – and it included a promotion for a newly published book, ‘Beads in Bloom’ by Arlene Baker. I was simply amazed by the three-dimensional beaded rose on the front cover of this book and I just HAD to find out how it was made. It turns out, this was a French Beaded Rose and, to cut a long story short, I bought the book, taught myself French Beading, then discovered the whole wide world of beads and the rest, as they say, is history!

Back in those early days, the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome meant that it was a serious struggle to find the energy

'My Little Cake Shop'
‘My Little Cake Shop’

to bead at all, but the act of creating something, however small, gave my life back some of the meaning it had lost when I became ill. I suddenly had something that I could do for a short amount of time, when I had a little energy, but which gave me concrete results, so I felt as if I had achieved something. The beads also speak to my innate creativity and my imagination was, back then, and still is today, constantly fired up with new ideas and endless possibilities.

My progression from those early beginnings to where I am today can be charted in these biography pages where, year by year, you can see how I entered competitions, achieved some successes, then was invited to create designs for magazines and eventually went on to write and publish my own books, then work with professional publishers. I also discovered a love for teaching the craft about which I am passionate.

Sweet Treats CoverLife takes some funny twists and turns. I never set out to be working freelance in the beading world, but actually, I can’t think of a more perfect job that combines the professional skills I learned early on in my career with my natural love of writing and creating. I have no idea how many new twists and turns will follow, but as long as I remain passionate about beads and it allows me to manage the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, I’m sure I will be following this path. So I hope you enjoy my work and if you are reading this, a huge thank you for your support which has made all of this possible!