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Suzie is a creative soul; she likes nothing more than to volunteer for her local Butterfly Conservation Trust, cook up a storm in her kitchen and explore the Areas of Outstanding National Beauty that surround Basingstoke.

“I love the great outdoors. I have begun to appreciate the wildlife on my doorstep more and work on my species identification whilst giving more consideration to the quality of local infrastructure in relation to supporting biodiversity engagement, enrichment and recovery. As a creative person, I understand the value of engagement with the arts, and we have a lot to thank nature, wildlife and the outdoors for; You could say it’s the inspiration behind my business. I was also lucky enough to receive a grant from the Arts Council to fund the beginnings of my project’ Wilderness or Wonderland’ - making a wilderness a wonderland! It’s currently underway, and I am excited to share the result in the near future!

“We came to Basingstoke purely on a nursery recommendation, and we’re so glad we did. Our daughter has built strong bonds with friends and has grown up in such a caring setting; we couldn’t consider being anywhere else.”

“When I’m not crafting or volunteering, I love nothing more than taking my children to one of our local chalk streams and teaching them about their associated wildlife. Making learning fun is so important, and if I can enjoy teaching it, through crafting or just being surrounded by nature, everyone’s happy."

Learning new skills comes quite easily to Suzie. She previously worked in Trend Prediction and has carried that experience over into starting her own business. With a vibe for trends, she finds it easy to hone in on the skills people want to master, learn them herself and teach.
My favourite thing about my business is when I can help people learn and to keep open minded about their creativity. Running a business around being a mum was extremely important to me; it needed to be flexible, provide a good income and be something I enjoy doing; I’m pleased to be where I am today.”

Being an independent business owner in lockdown had its moments. Luckily, with the support of Love Basingstoke, she, like other business owners in the locality, took to The Borough Basket, a community website set up in lockdown to help local retailers during the pandemic to sell their goods. When the supermarket shelves were empty, their basket was full.

“I love to illustrate, and I also made a range of home and fashion accessories which I sold on The Borough Basket. I really feel like our local council did a great job at trying to support independent business owners, during such hard times, and I am truly grateful.” 

Outside of being a devoted mother and business owner, Suzie loves to collaborate with other creative practitioners in the area, offering a friendly ear to discuss projects or conservation volunteering on community projects organised by the Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust Watercress and Winterbournes Team. 

“Developing a connection to nature is very restorative for people, and at the same time, we are also working on ways to resolve the climate crisis,” she says before discussing how she
has started a 'Gardening For Nature' Club at her local secondary school and would love to establish an artists studio for residencies with a wildlife friendly garden open to visitors for pleasure and as an education facility. Suzie is completing an RHS Certificate in Practical Horticulture to improve the range of activities she can offer at the club.

In her downtime, she loves good food and practising wellness, something she grew a huge appreciation for during lockdown. The ways in which local food businesses were able to adapt their offerings was a huge boost, and being able to find produce for more experimental cooking from her 'Yoga Kitchen' cookbook really helped.

“I was introduced to the notion of building a 'Resilience Toolkit' during lockdown via a series of online sessions introducing different therapies I would otherwise not have tried. I was able to experience sound bathing the Solfeggio Frequencies and their benefits and nutrition for well-being using Ayurveda.

Suzie, September 2021