I worked for Yahoo for 7 years and left the corporate world to found Cool Mummy Studios (www.coolmummy.co.uk). With the help of freelance artists, I ran art workshops for children across London to help them express themselves through art. I worked with many types of children and of all age groups, including children on the autism spectre. I was appointed artist in residence at a South London School to help children with an unprivileged background build their self-esteem and deal with behavioural issues.
I also started DeeMoi Art and completed exciting art projects around London (190 square meter mural at the famous Jazz club called the Hideaway), a 100 square meter mural at a children centre and various commissions to architects in the Middle East: I had found an interesting way to layer graffiti with fine art. In 2012 I gave all my projects up and decided to embark on the study of the Yoga Philosophy. I had been practising Yoga for 10 years but had a desire to learn the history of the tradition. I studies with Carlos Pomeda for two years and got my YTT accreditation with the British Wheel of Yoga. This journey opened up many painful doors for me and coincided with lots of challenging life changes (a painful separation, Breast cancer diagnosis) and I used my personal experience to help and inspire others through Social Media. My Instagram (45,000 followers) provides me with a platform for self expression and a way to raise awareness for Breast cancer. I am currently writing a book and teaching workshops around the world.
What do you do best?
I am good with my pen and my brush. I have a way with words which helps me distill my own confused thoughts and bring more clarity to often very difficult questions. I paint my emotions and often use my painful experiences to create visual pieces. I am very passionate about precious gemstones and I travel the world collecting them and meeting interesting stone cutters who can turn raw amethysts and aquamarines into beautiful pendants which I use to construct my own Malas (meditation necklaces).
Although I am a very forgetful person and frightfully disorganised, I never forget my class plan when I am teaching and have a knack for creative sequencing.
What makes you the best?
What a strange question. I do not like the idea of being the best at anything. I would much rather be real.
However, I am a good listener, genuinely awed by people’s journeys.
I celebrate my own imperfections and find that this makes it easier for me to find compassion towards others and to accept people as they are without finding the need to change them or judge them, or at least I try.
What are your aspirations?
I wish to never forget that everyone I meet is my teacher, however much I instinctively lean towards painting them with a brush of conditioning and past experiences.
I wish to raise Breast cancer awareness and use my own survival story to help empower and inspire women and men. My dream is to someday speak at TED, to have an opportunity to say something which will matter to some and will hopefully ignite the spark for positive change (very ambitious, I know ;)
I watched my first TED talk over 15 years ago and I knew that my dream (you know those dreams that you know might never happen?) is to stand up there and say something kind and good and positive.
My first thought is my 16 year old daughter. She is a brilliant human being and continues to be my greatest teacher and the best thing I have ever made.
However, my biggest success is climbing a grade V - 400 meter frozen icefall on the edge of the arctic circle in Norway. I had been a serious ice climber for over a decade and I knew that I wanted to give it up soon, so I spent 4 years with my eyes on this route which I ended up climbing as a first ascent with two famous (and infamous) Scottish mountaineers. It was the hardest thing I had ever done. 16 hours of hell: sub zero temperatures, dodgy gullies and petrifying vertical ice, drops as far as the eyes can see and no turning back. I had frostnip that took 9 months to heal and I lost all feelings in my toes. I threw up twice on the route and when we summited, I thought I was doing to die. I always think back at this experience as the biggest improbability and a reminder that anything is possible.
Most challenging moments?
When I was told I had cancer and I thought I was going to die and leave my daughter behind. In the lead up to the tests and operations, and before my radiotherapy, I was petrified. The greatest challenge and the biggest lesson I learned is that to stop being afraid of dying, I had to accept the idea of death and make peace with it. Once I did, I used a very negative and deadly thing (cancer) to help me grow and learn what it really takes to overcome fear and make peace with life.
“It is what it is”. I have it tattooed on my left rib.
Life is what it is and everything that happens to me which is out of my control is what it is. I cannot change that but I can change my reaction to it, my perception of it and how I handle it (if I have to, like cancer) or walk away from it (like negative influences).
My mum (Samira) and dad (Maurice). They are my role models. the most beautiful human beings I have ever met. kindness and compassion at its best.
My daughter (Sacha) and my partner (Matt) who challenges me and inspires me in equal measures.
Rumi and Shams Tabriz, the sufi scholar and the dervish in the year 1200 whose teachings of love have changed my life.
India. As cliche as it may seem, India is my spiritual home.
I love Venice Beach, LA, especially the boardwalk and Abbot Kinney.
I love Beirut and all its contradictions.
I am completely in love with Japan, Kyoto in particular.
London will always feel like home to me.
Clinique 7 day face scrub.
Organic Pharmacy lip balm.
My Mini Cooper (it makes me happy when I drive it)
Travelling, I am forever unpacking to pack again.
music, my daughter is teaching me the Ukulele (I don’t have a musical bone in my body).