The Joy of Colour – Mother Nature leads the way

The Joy of Colour – Mother Nature leads the way

Perhaps it’s autumn and the colours that are in the trees, but I absolutely LOVE this time of year! It’s a time when Mother Nature burns with delight, turning leaves to many shades of gold, orange, red, burnt umber, maroon, pink, yellow… there are so many colours to mention. It’s also a time when she lets go of the dead leaves that glowed a luscious green all summer, realising it’s time to transform and return the leaves to the earth where they re-join the soil. For me, autumn is a time to take a rest after a busy fun filled summer, to re-coop and recharge my batteries throughout the winter season that follows, to ensure I have energy for spring and the year ahead. In contrast to letting go, there’s a natural colourful harvest to gather, pumpkins to pick, squashes to stew, cook and enjoy. Maybe turning fruits and vegetables into pickles to gift to neighbours is your thing, or to dollop it generously on a piece of cheese when dining with friends at home, there are so many things that spark joy.

Nature and colour  

Now, why am I rambling about Autumn…? I believe it’s a time to be still, reflect on what’s been, enjoy what’s around us, and to be present in nature; it has so much to teach us about living, being in the now, and transforming from one form to another – season by season. Effortlessly, quietly, Mother Nature gets on with her business every day, 24-7, not asking for praise or recognition, she quietly does her thing.

In recent years I’ve come to understand more about nature and how it relates to colour. And how colour impacts how we feel, how we behave, and how it can be used to raise our vibration to bring comfort and tranquillity, or at the opposite end of the scale to create a sense of discomfort, even anger. Subconsciously we all relate and connect with colour in many ways, it influences our decision making when we choose clothes to purchase, our choices in the way we dress every day, and how we choose to decorate our spaces – be that an office, café, hotel, or home environment. Discovering how I relate to colour has made a huge difference in my life, my wardrobe, and in my home. Before gaining this awareness, I often felt a disconnect with some colours but not others, and now I understand why. Understanding my colour personality and how it relates too nature has been a guiding principle in all my choices and purchasing decisions when it comes to colour – and I’m keen to share this with you so you can apply it in your life.

Colour in motion: Thoughts, feelings, actions, behaviour

Just as colour has the ability to influence and change our behaviour, so do our thoughts. Have you noticed that patterns and behaviours have emerged over your lifetime? But where do these patterns and behaviours come from? Following my natural curiosity and passion for personal development I’ve discovered that thoughts become things – thoughts create feelings, feelings drive action, and a repeated action becomes a behaviour – and thus over time a pattern is created. Of course, life experiences drive and influence our thoughts and I have to constantly remind myself that thoughts and feelings are not real. It’s not to say I didn’t experience them, I did, but they do not represent reality. They are my individual experience – it’s my lens, my focus, and my thoughts that create my reality. Your thoughts and your focus creates yours too.

So, what do you want to consciously create? As I was recently reminded, if we fill our bodies with excessive calories and food that is not nutritious, we generally start to carry additional weight. Just as if we fill our minds with thoughts that aren’t helpful, true, and don’t reflect reality, then our mind can get cluttered and heavy, and our focus gets distracted. From a colour perspective, the colours we surround ourselves with subconsciously influence our thoughts, feelings, actions and resulting behaviour. It may seem obvious, but it’s incredible how the influence of colour can and does influence all aspects and areas of our lives.

Colourful conversations in everyday life 

November is my birth month and what better way to celebrate than to share my joy of colour with a host of ladies at The Women’s Institute. I was invited some months ago to speak and I’m excited to be able to spread love. In my talk I’ll share a little bit about where my love of colour started, share some insights on how we relate to colour, how we communicate with colour – with a lens on well-known household brands, colour in nature – with a lens on the seasons, plus some discussion about inspiration being all round us.

If you are curious to discover more about how you personally relate to colour and the possibilities it brings, do get in touch. I’m passionate about understanding more about you, sharing the joy of colour, and helping you make it applicable in your everyday life.

Header image from Pexels – Pixabay

Creative Conversations – a big Thank You… So, what’s next?

Creative Conversations – a big Thank You… So, what’s next?

On Sunday Adeline and I concluded the first 14 week ‘Creative Conversations’ programme. For me, bringing together a group of amazing people to discover and rediscover their creative self has been a truly magical journey. It’s not the first time I’ve hosted an online group coaching programme, but it is the first time we’ve created one based on the book ‘The Artist Way’ by Julia Cameron. It’s been a real highlight of my year so far and I’ve truly looked forward to our Sunday evenings together.

Finding your tribe

With people from England, France, Slovenia and Lanzarote, including native South African and Australians, each participant has had their own journey and their own individual, unique experience. Having observed the group, the transformation and growth week-on-week has been beautiful to see. From the first week on Sunday 6th February where we made initial introductions, talked everyone through the programme, provided some insight into how the following weeks would unfold, and what was expected of them – to the final completion on Sunday 8th May – it’s been magical.

For these programmes to flourish it’s important to create a solid foundation of trust and confidentiality. Our aim is to build an environment and safe space where people are fully seen and heard, and are happy to express what’s showing up for them each week. Therefore, at the start of each call we remind everyone of our guiding principles, to be of service to themselves and others, to share openly and succinctly as this benefits the group, and to observe confidentiality at all times. We find this approach encourages everyone to be open and creates a platform of mutual trust and respect.

From a quiet, often timid start, the calls develop to express a full range of emotions – including happiness, sadness, anger, fear, resentment, love, compassion, and much more. From tears to laughter, what’s incredible about these emotions is if we are able to sit with them, and not resolve our tension, they create a map. When we pause, get curious, take time to play and listen to our internal whisper, we are able to raise our awareness, notice synchronicities that have previously gone by unnoticed, and step into a more creative way of being. Fore we are of course Human Beings, not Human Doings.

Thank you for being you

It is of course possible to undertake this programme solo, but what I do wholeheartedly believe is that participating in these programmes as a group, and having the courage to show up – and share experiences with others, takes our learning and awareness to levels not felt or known before. Some weeks we feel great, some weeks we feel tension, some weeks we don’t want to show up, and some weeks we’re emotional – what I want to convey is we welcome everyone and encourage everyone to show up as they are.

To everyone who joined us – I would like to send you all a big heartfelt THANK YOU – as it’s you who have made this possible.

So what’s next?

Introducing The Four Agreements

Several people in our group mentioned that they would miss our Sunday evening Creative Conversations and in truth, I will miss them too. In response to their question – ‘So, what’s next?’ we have devised a short 6-week programme that will start on Sunday 22nd May and finish on Sunday 26th June. In the weeks approaching summer we will introduce a book called ‘The Four Agreements’ by author Don Miguel Ruiz. Coupled with the four agreements noted in the book, you will participate in group meditations, discuss what’s landed and triggered you, take away a piece of homework each week, feel the benefit of experimenting with a variety of experiential tools we will introduce along the way – each of which you’ll be able to take into your life once the programme is complete. Plus, you’ll meet other like-minded people who have an interest in personal development and living a more creative, intuitive life.

To ask questions and discover more about how to get involved, do drop me or Adeline an email. Spaces are limited as we want to ensure everyone has the opportunity to participate and benefit fully.

To find out more email:

Let’s get started – the next step on your journey

The four agreements provide a powerful code of conduct that can help you transform rapidly. If you’re looking to get curious, develop your awareness, challenge yourself, and how you think, this course will most likely interest you. There’s real joy in sharing experiences and learning together.

⭐️ Weekly check-in

⭐️ Sunday evenings, 6-7pm GMT (online / Zoom)

⭐️ 6 weeks, one check-in a week

⭐️ Starts Sunday 22nd May

⭐️ Finishes Sunday 26th June

⭐️ To find out more message me or Adeline.

The book ‘The Four Agreements’, by Don Miguel Ruiz, is available to purchase in many book stores, online and on the high street.

With freedom, true happiness and love,
Emma and Adeline

Photo from Pexels

The Three Amigas – Laughter, Love, Life

The Three Amigas – Laughter, Love, Life

There is nothing finer in life than finding your tribe and meeting people that just make your heart sing.

The term The Three Amigas was born on Friday 13th in 2020, when me, Claire and Zoe arrived in Barcelona for a long weekend. Initially the group was more but due to the uncertainty around ‘you know what’ and travel restrictions coming into play, understandably some decided not to travel and to stay at home. However, even with all the daily changes happening at the time, I’m still so happy I made the decision to go as we had the best, most crazy, laughter fuelled 48 hours ever!

I travelled to Barcelona the week after International Women’s Day. That year I was training for a long-distance cycling event, due to take place on Good Friday called the York Arrow (440km, from London to York, inside 29 hours). As part of my training plan my cycling coach Jasmijn Muller, had put the Amesbury Amble in our diaries to ride Sunday 8th March – International Women’s Day. For her it was a walk in the park as she’s super-sonic, for me it was a fun, incredible and super hard day in the saddle. At 315km, and just shy of 3,000 metres of climbing, it was a long day – made harder by the headwind! So, after that, I was really looking forward to chilling and relaxing with my girlfriends in a city I’d never travelled to or explored before.

And as for pedal adventuress this year, I won’t be cycling 315km, but I will be joining an International Women’s Day Zwift session at 6pm (GMT) hosted by Natalie Cresswick, where there will be many Bella Velo ladies joining.

Soul bowl

So why am I writing about Barcelona? Well, in truth, I’m not. But if that trip hadn’t happened, it’s very unlikely that Claire, Zoe and I would have got together two years later for a week in Lanzarote. And it’s fair to say, as expected, we laughed, cried, walked, talked, danced, drank, ate and hit repeat – for a full seven days!

Old school friends, we’ve known each-other for over 30 years having been to middle school together. It’s strange to realise a few decades on, that from the worst school years of my life, I gained two of the most amazing friends. There’s a saying about friendship – ‘Reason, Season, Lifetime’ – these wonderful ladies are most certainly ‘Lifetime’.

Having been together on Friday 13th March 2020 – yes, the day before Barcelona went into lockdown – two years on and with the travel restrictions easing, it was great to BE together once again.

Making memories in Lanzarote was brilliant… we threw ourselves into an Afro Dance class (I won’t be taking to the stage any time soon as my body doesn’t want to do what my mind is telling it), went to some really incredible beaches for walks with Zoe’s dog Jax, relaxed at the spa (I’ve not been to one of those for as long as I can remember), and generally had a really relaxing, fun time BEING together. We crowned Wednesday the new party night, dancing and singing like loons until 3am – I’ve not let rip like that in such a long time. Doing some weird and wonky dance moves and singing at the top of our voices… it felt fantastic!!

The three amigas

This year, for me, the three amigas has a second meaning as it captures three wonderful international women in my life. Meet Claire, Zoe and Adeline.

• Claire, native English, living in France
• Zoe, native English, living in Lanzarote
• Adeline, native French, living in England

Creativity, caring, compassionate – Claire

Claire I’ve known since I was 5 years old. We have some really cute photos of when we were little dressed up as sunflowers – wearing green tights and a long sleeve top with giant yellow petals surrounding our faces. From amateur dramatics as little ones, to middle school, art college, then university in Nottingham where we both studied Textile Design – our paths continued to cross. So much so, I’m godmother to her youngest son Erwan, who’s one of the most adorable, handsome young men you’ll ever meet. I feel truly blessed to have Claire in my life. Always there unconditionally. During good times and tough ones too, we scoop each-other up, give each other strength, and laugh A LOT along the way.

Zeal, zest, zealous – Zoe

Zoe and I met at middle school and we were in the same group of friends. Growing up, the main thing I remember about Zoe was how funny she was and that she was always laughing, always up to mischief and having a giggle. In our late teens there were crazy fancy dress parties with the most incredible outfits made from what we had at home. Her life took her to Lanzarote and our paths drifted – for anyone reading this, if you’re in the land of Lava, do take the time to visit her restaurants – La Cantina (serves the most amazing food and wine) and Esquina (100% Vegan, serves delicious Soul Bowls). You can see Zoe’s creative flair in the styling of both restaurants, in the interior and the menu as she created both. Thankfully our paths reconnected in Barcelona, and more recently we spent a week together in Lanzarote – me, Claire and Zoe.

Audacious, amazing, adventurous – Adeline

Otherwise known to her friends as Adelicious, Adeline and I met about six years ago through coaching at Natural Success and from that point on our paths have continued to merge. We share a love of being arty and creative, plus have a passion for adventure and personal growth. Last summer, with a group of friends, we celebrated her 40th birthday in France where we enjoyed incredible local food, swimming in the pool, sounding in 11th century abbeys, singing in carpool karaoke (minus the celeb), and many other special moments. Bringing our passions together, we are now hosting a group called ‘Creative Conversations’, a 14-week programme to support people who are looking to discover and recover their creative self, following the book The Artist Way, authored by Julia Cameron. Both Claire and Zoe, along with 12 others are participating in the programme.

Adeline & Emma, Ferring Beach, August 2021

Celebrating friendship and magic

Why am I’m celebrating these three beautiful women? Well, that is easy, it’s because they are incredible women and incredible friends. It amazes me how many years can pass in a friendship where sometimes there is little and in some cases no contact, yet the bond is still there. Perhaps it’s because we’ve shared some pivotal moments together, or maybe it’s because there’s an invisible thread that’s never going to break – whatever happens – or how far apart we are geographically in the world. I think it’s magic, in all senses of the word. Magical that we bring out the best in each other, magical that we challenge each other, magical that we listen to each other, magical that we are there for each other unconditionally, and that when together, we talk, laugh, dance and sing like no one is watching.

On this International Women’s Day, I’m wishing all the amazing women in my life much love and magic.

Header photo taken in Lanzarote, February 2022 – Emma, Claire and Zoe

In article image, Ferring Beach, August 2021 – Adeline & Emma

Creative Conversations – Discovering and recovering your creative self

Creative Conversations – Discovering and recovering your creative self

It was 15 or possibly more years ago that I first became aware of the book ‘The Artist Way’ by Julia Cameron. Designed as a 12-week programme, The Artist Way is a course in discovering and recovering your creative self.

The first time I read this book and actively participated in the programme I was in my early 30’s and for some reason I recall feeling a little embarrassed about talking about it. Why? I have no idea… perhaps because of what I thought people may think of me. First time round I read the book solo, diligently reading the chapters week-on-week, and doing the suggested tasks and exercises. Flicking back through the pages, I recall enjoying the process but understand now that I wasn’t fully involved or truly committed to the process.

Fast forward to September 2021 and I get the ‘whisper’ to check my bookshelf, look for this book again, and flick through the pages – I guess hoping for inspiration to strike and it did.

On reflection, I’m sure reading this book and doing the programme solo did create some shifts in me and in how I did things back then. Yet I recall wondering about the power of sharing the experience with a friend or with a like-minded buddy, creating a group with whom I’d be able to bounce ideas around with, share synchronicities, highlight and discuss resistance to certain exercises, and what ‘doing the work’ was creating for me.

Moments of synchronicity

It’s funny that I now spot moments of synchronicity every day. It’s actually strange to think there were so many before but I was blissfully unaware of them. Having heard and acknowledged the ‘whisper’ and found the book in my lounge, I messaged my friend Adeline who I’d been on holiday with in August – the ‘All of you is welcome retreat – and asked her if she’d heard of the book, and if she had, would she consider doing The Artist Way together.

I love the way the book is described on the back cover…

The Artist’s Way helps to demystify the creative process by making it part of your daily life. It tackles your self-doubts, self-criticism and worries about time, money and the support to pursue your creative dream. It has already helped thousands of people to uncover their hidden talents – it can help you, too.

This was back at the end of September, and in the first weeks of October she’d ordered the book, felt similarly inspired to dive into the programme, and so our joint adventure of ‘The Artist Way’ commenced.

Moments of inspiration

Throughout the book, in every chapter, Julia Cameron highlights several quotes. Some resonated more than others. Here’s a selection of those that really caught my attention.

“No amount of skilful invention can replace the essential element of imagination.” – Edward Hopper

“Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.” – Edgar Degas

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anais Nin

“Satisfaction of one’s curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life.” – Linus Pauling

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” – Albert Einstein

“With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity.” – Keshavan Nair

“Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish.” – Ovid

The power of sharing

If you’re reading this article, you may be wondering ‘Why is she sharing all of this?’. And the answer to that is having gained so much from doing The Artist’s Way a second time, and sharing the experience with Adeline, some of our friends have been asking about what we’re doing as they’ve recognised changes in us, a transformation if you will, in the past few months.

Many people in my friendship groups are interested in personal development, in challenging the norm, experimenting with new structures, and like to try on new behaviours that serve them better than previously held patterns, learnt from years of unconscious conditioning from those around us.

The Artist’s Way gives a fresh perspective. So, in response to friends asking if we’d do the programme again with then, we – myself and Adeline, will join them in supporting and exploring their journey as the new year unfolds.

In real terms, what this means is we’ll host a weekly check-in for those interested in doing The Artist’s Way and are looking to gain from the support and energy working in a group brings. We won’t be offering any advice, but we will hold the space for you to explore and discuss what you’re learning so that what you take away, truly lands and makes a difference in your daily life.

Join our weekly check-in

If you’re keen to find out more drop me and Adeline an email. We plan to start the weekly check-ins on Sunday 6th February, 60 minutes in duration online, 6-7pm GMT, and we’ll host them for 14 weeks. Why 14 weeks? We’ll use week 1 to frame up and make introductions so everyone feels comfortable in the group, weeks 2 – 13 will be for the 12-week programme – each week has a theme and topic as you’ll discover when you purchase and start reading The Artist Way, and in week 14 we’ll do a completion – a process we’ve learnt from our coaching endeavours at Natural Success. This process helps to concretise what’s been learnt and what you want to carry forwards.

A new adventure and refreshed creative ‘you’ await in the wings – take a leap of faith and join us on a journey of creative discovery and recovery.

To find out more email:
– Emma – emma@emmapotter.com
– Adeline – adelinesegaux@gmail.com

Getting started – Sunday 6th Feb 2022

If you’re looking to do things differently in 2022 and have a desire to be more creative in all areas of your life, we would love you to join us! There’s real joy in sharing experiences and learning together.

⭐️ The Artist Way, weekly check-in

⭐️ Sunday evenings, 6-7pm GMT (online / Zoom)

⭐️ 14 weeks, one check-in a week

⭐️ Starts Sunday 6th February 2022

⭐️ Finished Sunday 8th May 2022

⭐️ Find out more by messaging me or Adeline Segaux

⭐️ In return for participating we would ask you to make a donation to Mind – the mental health charity.

The book, The Artists Way, by Julia Cameron, is available to purchase in many book stores, online and on the high street.

With love and creativity,
Emma and Adeline

Photo taken at Goring, West Ferring, Summer 2021

Cornish Creations – Me, myself and I

Cornish Creations – Me, myself and I

For years I’ve wanted to go away on a multi-day solo adventure but for some reason I’ve never plucked up the courage. I don’t know why as I’ve travelled around the world to hundreds of amazing destinations with friends and joined several group cycling holidays to many a mountain range, yet a proper ‘solo, on my own’ trip has eluded me.

Why? I don’t know as I’m very happy in my own company. In the back of my mind perhaps I’ve always wondered what if I get bored or lonely, and “Will people think I’m strange?” so that’s stopped me from putting any ideas into action. However, in September 2020 (the crazy year when it all went a bit bonkers), I brought a VW campervan who I’ve named ‘Vinnie’. 12 months ago, I made a promise to myself that by the close of September 2021 I’d have gone on a solo multi-day trip with me, myself and I in Vinnie.

Initially I had planned to drive down to the South of France for my friend Adeline’s 40th birthday celebrations, followed by a few days in the Southern Alps enjoying the mountain air before I drove back to home. But all the travel restrictions put me off, so my van adventure across France will have to happen sometime in 2022. Having been gifted a rather fabulous book authored by Martin Dorey titled ‘TAKE THE SLOW ROAD’ which talks about inspirational journeys round France by Camper Van and Motorhome, the world is my shrimp (as my mother would say).

For now, the Cornish coast was calling! And I discovered a place called Mylor Harbour… not only was it stunning, the campsite was wonderful and the village had one of the most incredible seafood restaurants right on the harbour where I met a friend for a drink and watched the sunset. It was here I decided to treat myself so some local seafood delights and I wasn’t disappointed.

On a pedal adventure – taken just outside Mevagissey

Sculpture and art beckon

The inspiration for me taking a trip to Cornwall stems from 25 years ago when I was at Uni in Nottingham studying Textile Design. In my third and final year I discovered and felt rather spell bound by the work of Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, so much so my drawing and painting were driven by their genius.

For those that don’t know, the Barbara Hepworth Museum is located in St. Ives, way down the peninsula in Cornwall where the mining industry thrived many moons ago. Upon the arrival of Hepworth in St. Ives the town really began to transform into an artist mecca. Over the years she was heavily involved in championing the creative industries which attracted huge talent to the area. Now in St. Ives there’s a thriving community of artists, potters, painters, jewellers and other creatives who get their inspiration from nature – just as Hepworth herself did.

Barbara Hepworth Museum, St. Ives, Cornwall

Traditionally when I think of a museum a big, grand, and cavernous building is conjured up in my head, however the museum in Cornwall was quite the opposite. On arrival I discovered a small building, a tiny house in fact, with a fantastic studio space and perfectly formed garden where many of her sculptures are now homed. It felt quite special to be in the space where she spent many years creating some of her most well-known, world-famous sculptures. In the garden the pieces are preserved loving by a team of specialists who honour the material the pieces are created from, with the aim of maintaining them for art lovers to enjoy and admire for decades to come.

Nature is the inspiration

I’ve always been inspired by nature. The contours of the land, edges of lakes, curves of pebbles on the beach, the sculptural nature of flowers and petals, rugged spikes in the mountains, and the vast majesty of the Stawamus Chief which is located along highway 101 British Columbia, Canada between Vancouver and Whistler Village, at 700m in height it overlooks the nearby waters of Howe Sound. A little fact – second to Ayres Rock, the Stawamus Chief is second biggest monolith in the world.

In the garden of the museum there are many sculptures and what I love about them most is how they change in the light. The day I was there it was a feast between grey skies, showers and a sneaky peak of sunshine. But when the sun comes out it creates some wonderful contrasting light and the sculptures kind of frame each other as you walk around them and see them from a different perspective.

Barbara Hepworth Musem, St. Ives, Cornwall

When I first discovered Hepworth some 20 years ago, I didn’t appreciate just how big an impact she had made on me, and so many people before me. She really was quite a formidable woman – leading the charge, striking forward and carving new ground, no pun intended, yet years on her sculptures are still utterly mesmerising. Her creations are timeless, sensuous, and beautifully modern.

Discovering Cornish Ports – Making it up as I go along

Whilst down in Cornwall I look the opportunity to explore some coastal paths on foot which was stunning, but ended up covering more ground by bike. One thing I remember from my childhood from visiting St. Agnes, Perranporth, and many other beaches is how pretty the coast is and how typically Cornish the coves and tiny ports are. After a long night of rain, I’d decided to check into an AirBnB in Portscatho where a met a lovely couple and their family. And once again I fell in love with the Cornish coastline. When bathed in sunshine it shines even brighter. Whilst keeping the sea on my right I made up a route as I went along… turning left, turning right, going down wonky narrow lanes to be greeted by curvaceous cove after cove, beautiful village after beautiful village, the rugged landscape just rolled on and on.

Cycling down into Mevagissey

My ride took me from Portscatho across the Roseland Heritage coast to Portloe, Portholland, Penare, Gorran Haven, Portmellon, Mevigissey (where I had the most amazing piece of cod for lunch and chatted to some lovely ladies on their holiday), through Tregiskey, Pentewan and up to St. Austell before I meandered through some more 17% and 1:5 hills en route back to Portscatho. Next time I’m down there I’ll have to make up some more routes and see where I end up.

The cycle ride I discovered when heading out of Mylor was pretty stunning too and it was definitely a novel thing to do to have to catch a ferry from Flushing to Falmouth only 3km in. I do like the sense of surprise when doing something unplanned and new, and also chatting to the people I meet en route, always lots of interesting characters with often funny and entertaining stories to share.

One of the many ports… Portloe I think!

New adventures on the horizon

My next opportunity to embrace a solo adventure is in mid-November. As much as I’d love some winter sun, I’m also feeling myself drawn to staying nearer to home – perhaps the Lake District or the Brecon Beacons… time will tell but the ideas are flowing. Wherever I choose to go I know mountains will be a feature, and hopefully some blue skies and sunshine.

Portscatho Beach just before sunset

Precious Days – words arrive in my sleep

Precious Days – words arrive in my sleep

Tears of sadness fill my heart,
For when does one decide it’s time to depart,
Not making a call to have a conversation and chat,
To talk about what’s worrying you under your hat.

This evening my heart feels heavy and sad,
For young lives that end before they start,
What sorrow, pain and sadness must mist their view,
If only they knew how much they were loved – if only they knew.

I don’t even know this young man,
But I know he’s left a hole,
Friends and family will unimaginably miss,
Such a beautiful young soul.

May he sleep now in peace,
No more troubles to bare,
No worry and doubts to carry,
That he feels unable to share.

It’s at time like this I realise how precious life is,
To wake in the morning with a smile and a kiss,
To breathe in and out with zest for the day,
Even when frustrating and AAAAGHHHH,
I know to breathe in and breathe out – and let go to clear the way.

I offer you my heart to know that I care,
In the hope it will bring comfort to ease your despair,
A hole has been left in many lives,
But you have good memories and when the time is right – to cherish and share.

With love, Emma x

Image from Unsplash by Simon Wilkes
@simonfromengland

A colourful return to nature creates a sense of wellbeing

A colourful return to nature creates a sense of wellbeing

The pandemic has created a seismic shift in human behaviour. We have adapted well to new ways of working and new ways of communicating with our friends and family, but how will the hospitality industry use colour to connect with the new type of customer that is emerging?

Reassuring the post-corona consumer

Colour is a powerful tool and it has ability to control the emotional noise that surrounds us. I think it’s fair to say that the last year has been a rollercoaster of emotions from worry and anxiety with the announcement of the first lockdown in March 2020 to frustration and confusion with the ongoing uncertainty as we enter a new year.

Like many other sectors, the hospitality industry has been hit exceptionally hard all over the world but I’m sure the appetite that many humans have to travel, see and experience other parts of the world remains. Having been cooped up in our homes and restricted to our local areas (in some cases only a 5km radius from our front-door) – as human beings we are craving a change of scene, to get away from our daily routine, and to have shared experiences with loved ones that help us reset, recharge and refocus.

Beach - reflect, recharge, refocus
Image by Thomas Lipke

The new meaning of colour in hotel design

As we continue to move through 2021, I believe colour will play an increasingly significant part in hotel design. Whilst the world is undergoing one of the biggest global ‘resets’ in decades – with many people re-evaluating their lives, how they use their homes, where they want to live, their choice of career, right down to the way they wish to show-up and be present in the world – this is also a tremendous opportunity for hotels to ‘reset’, refresh and reinvent themselves ready for the new customer that will emerge post pandemic.

In some instances that may be a guest that’s looking for a high-end, luxury and high-tech experience that gives them the power to control and operate everything in their room or suite from an electronic device, to the more environmentally values based guest who’s seeking to immerse themselves in nature and to find a destination that has focused on bring the outdoors in and adopted a more ‘biophilic’ style to their architecture and design that enables humans to reconnect with nature. Moreover, perhaps where a hotelier has sourced all their products locally and from sustainable sources – the two types of customer are very different and demand a different colour scheme and design style. Given the fact we’ve had so much screen time in the past 12 months post pandemic it’s likely we will see a surge of the environmentally values based consumer.

In addition, just as colour has the ability to create an effective and productive workplace, it also has the ability to evoke an emotion and a positive memorable experience at a hotel. Remember your guest’s make decisions based on their emotions and colour has the ability to influence our emotions and change our behaviour – so it’s imperative for a hotel to get their colour scheme right to establish true, meaningful connections with their guests.

Common pitfalls to avoid when choosing colour

Choosing a colour scheme for a hotel is hugely complex and an expensive decision to get wrong. It’s important to think about what the hotel brand stands for, who their ideal guest is (who do they want to appeal to), what do they want their hotel to offer that others don’t, what behaviours do they want to elicit, what feeling’s do they want to evoke, what memories do they want their guests to take away with them – all of these elements and more need a huge amount of consideration.

“Choosing a colour scheme because it’s ‘on trend’ means you’re following someone else’s version of ‘good’ or ‘great’.”

Emma Potter

So, when choosing a colour scheme, consider this:

Brilliant white

I would recommend that you avoid choosing brilliant white to paint a space, whether it’s big or small. From a psychological stand-point white may be perceived as perfection to bring a sense of calm and quite; yet on the flip side it makes a space feel sterile, cold and lifeless. It reminds me of stark, clinical hospitals which is not a vibe or experience a hotelier wishes their guests to experience whilst on vacation. However, I do appreciate that some architects may be a fan of using white as it shows off the lines in the design and construction of a space, or the sculptural fluid curves that may be been employed as part of the design – but it does nothing to invigorate and comfort the human spirit in post-Covid times.

- Over satiation

Just as it’s important not to saturate a space with brilliant white, it’s equally not advisable to saturate a space with any ‘one’ colour. All colours, with the exception of pure greys, have positive and negative psychological aspects. Of course, grey may make us feel safe because it has the capacity to help us blend in with the background but for me it’s quite nondescript and when surrounded by it for too long depletes my energy levels, resulting in me feeling drained and lethargic. Equally if I was immersed in a red space initially, I may feel energised and excited but if I remain in a red room for a long period of time, I’m likely to become agitated and annoyed because I’ve been over stimulated by the colour.

Think about the space as a whole

When designing for a space it’s easy to get carried away with the colour scheme on the walls, but it’s important to think about the space as a whole. There are many elements to consider, from the walls, carpets, and cabinetry, to soft furnishings (including fabric type and textures as well as the construction of and / or print pattern), to lighting, glassware and the many accessories that adorn and embellish an environment. Think about the design journey and space as ‘one’ and the experience you with so take your guests on will flow.

Tonal harmony

A colour scheme will always come together and be a success when the colours chosen relate and come from the same tonal group. When colours don’t harmonise it generally creates a sense of confusion or disharmony which guests will pick up on innately, but what they won’t always be able to identify or articulate is ‘why’ they feel this sense of discomfort. In essence it all comes down to selecting a colour palette that has tonal harmony.

Choosing a colour because it’s on trend

I imagine opting for a colour scheme because it’s ‘on trend’ is more common than we realise. Yet to help us choose the right colour scheme it would be good to understand how, as humans, we relate to colour – be that psychologically, personally and symbolically. Additionally, it makes senses to understand the influence of both the positive and negative traits, plus the application and proportion of colour used to create the desired results. Choosing a colour scheme because it’s ‘on trend’ means you’re following someone else’s version of ‘good’ or ‘great’, and not tuning into your intuition to discover your own. There are many well-respected paint-manufactures who make trend predictions at the beginning of every year like Pantone, Dulux, Farrow and Ball or Benjamin Moore – these are great places to go for inspiration, but in the end, make sure you select a colour palette and design style that’s right for your brand and the experience you wish to create – in the end it’s all about creating an immersive and memorable customer journey.

Clever ways of injecting colour to enhance your wellbeing

The idea of connecting hotel design and hospitality with nature is not new, yet in response to the pandemic there has been some discussion of the re-emergence and rise of biophilic design – which builds on the idea that as humans we have an innate attraction to, and love of, the nature world. This would possibly explain why people will happily pay more for a room with a view of never-ending mountain ranges or the expansive horizon of the sea – as these vistas will most likely deliver an incredible glowing sunrise to start your day whilst sipping on a delicious cup of freshly brewed coffee or tea, or to end your day with a mesmerising sunset whilst enjoying a chilled glass of rose or perhaps a gin and tonic as a sundowner.

Sunset
Image by Pixabay

In essence ‘Biophilia’ means ‘love of life’, however, when it comes to biophilic design this does not mean putting in a few plants as a token gesture. It means embracing all elements of biophilic design, a true engagement of all our senses – sight, taste, hearing, touch and smell – to help us understand and absorb what’s going on around us. This means using natural materials such as wood, maximising natural light, making organic shapes a priority, and using a range of plants to create a sense of the great outdoors – all of which helps to balance our emotions and support our emotional wellbeing whilst introducing a natural range of tones, shapes and colours. In this way, not only do we create a space where guests feel safe and secure, we enable them to better connect with themselves by creating a peaceful, tranquil environment, making it a memorable meaningful experience that they’ll want to come back for, time and time again, year in, year out.

Feature image by David Clode on Unsplash

Inspiration is all around us – where do you find yours?

Inspiration is all around us – where do you find yours?

There’s nothing like waking up in the morning and feeling inspired. Sometimes there’s clarity, and sometimes there are so many inspiring ideas buzzing around in my head I don’t know where to start – either way, I always welcome ideas and inspiration that influence my decisions and help me make better choices. 

Sources of inspiration are all around us – from reading news in the media, attending conferences and industry events where you’re presented with new technology and platforms that are pitched to automate and solve today’s marketing challenges, to listening to music and reading a good book… Personally I always find it beneficial to speak with my network, take a wider look at the challenge at hand and let inspiration arrive through participating in a mixture of activities.

For me being outside and connecting with nature, taking a walk in the woods or by the beach is particularly good for clearing my head and mulling over challenges faced in my working life; moreover I find exercising, mostly cycling, yoga or swimming, a great way to let ideas roll in and out. Being on the bike also provides a great networking opportunity as lots of people in my network have a passion for technology and all things digital, as well as a passion for this beautiful sport. 

That’s one of the most incredible things about working with entrepreneurs – they see the world differently, they’re passionate about what they do, they’re open to new ideas, they’re innovative and they’re always looking for creative ways to solve a problem.

Pearls of wisdom

Here are some of my favourite inspirational quotes that I refer to when I feel like I’ve hit a bit of a brick wall – they help to get me in the right mindset for creativity, curiosity and conscious creating.

Impossible is nothing…

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. 

Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion.

Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare.

Impossible is potential. 

Impossible is temporary.

Impossible is nothing.”

Muhammad Ali

Creativity…

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them for a while.” 

Steve Jobs

Follow your heart…

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Steve Jobs

Failure…

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

Henry Ford

Change…

“It’s not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change.”

Charles Darwin

“The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”`ins

Socrates

Knowledge…

“The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive.”

“It’s our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

K J Rowling

Respect…

“Brands that respect you as a person and make you feel like you are you, and that you, rather than they, have control over you, will be the ones who are successful.”

Martha Lane Fox

Take a risk…

“The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”

Mark Zuckerberg

Imagination…

“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

Albert Einstein

On Purpose – Consciously Creating with Colour

On Purpose – Consciously Creating with Colour

For as long as I can remember I’ve been drawn to colour, perhaps as a means to express my individuality and personality, perhaps it also reflects how I’m feeling as I do believe colour has an energy, a flow, and the power to change how we’re feeling: Just as listening to music has the ability to influence our state of mind, because of the rhythm, beat and lyrics, colour has the ability to change our mood and influence how we feel in an environment – both natural and man-made.

Texture also has the ability to alter our state of mind – from rugged, rough, and spikey to smooth and soft – when our fingertips and flesh come into contact with different textures it will react in a mixture of ways. For example, from a pleasurable sensation if the texture is soft and sensual, which would make me want to lean in and get cosy – to painful if the texture is hard and angular, which would make me want to lean out and move away. It really all depends on what you’re aiming to create. 

We all have the ability to consciously create with colour – to make us feel confident, comfortable and charismatic when the need arises, and marvellously mellow when we’re at the end of a long week and we’re looking to relax, re-cooperate and refresh our senses. 

Colour yourself – brand me 

The way we dress and present ourselves also has in instant visual impact on the people we meet – this doesn’t mean that their interpretation is right or wrong, it just means a bigger picture of who they think we are (or may be) has been instantly formed in their minds, quite literally in a matter of milliseconds. One stereotype being the freshly pressed suit and tie wearer representing a serious corporate city type; another being the Diesel jean, fitted shirt and brogue wearer being a London Westend Agency type. Whatever you choose to wear, you’re reflecting ‘brand me’. 

As for my choice of attire, be it smart or casual, for some reason I just don’t feel like me when I wear black. I have a couple of select items that are black, for example a leather jacket, a knitted roll neck, and several pairs of lycra cycling shorts (it’s the most flattering colour when you have curves). However, I’m more drawn to colours that are warm, are evocative of an emotion, stir memories of times gone by, or locations and environments visited – usually the colours I choose reflect how I feel or how I want to feel on any given day. 

Moreover, I like individuality and items that have a history, like silk scarves from second hand shops – their distinctive colours are rarely seen in more modern, mass-produced clothing lines. My niece Issy thinks I have a somewhat eclectic taste – her saying being “That’s very you Em” – I take her comment as a compliment that I choose and select items that are unique, both to wear and to have in my home. 

I also enjoy wearing colours that are opposites on the colour wheel – such as orange and blue, and pink and green – they fuel me with good energy, yet other opposite pairings like yellow and purple don’t feel good on me at all, so I avoid them. Our skin tone has an influence on the colours we choose to wear – yellow makes me looked washed out and I associate purple with Cadbury (I don’t wish to walk around looking like a chocolate bar). What colours are you drawn to? How do they make you feel?

Colour your environment – home and office

As an adult, the two places we spend the majority of our time is either at home with our families and friends, therefore an environment where we want to create comfort, stability, nurturing, and warmth – and our office space – where hopefully our employers wish to create something similar, only with a commercial, collaborative brand lead influence. 

For me my home is my sanctuary and it’s very much a reflection of myself. I have objects that are IOU (Interesting, Old and Unusual) that I’ve lovingly sourced from my travels, brocantes and car boots sales (I love finding a hidden gem). Each room has a different purpose – my lounge is painted a dark grey neutral green called Treron, houses a pair of mid-century modern 1950s Italian chairs, and has a hint of pink and silver in the soft furnishing and accessories; my bedroom is painted an exotic and adventurous pink called Rangwali and houses a gorgeous 1930s haberdashery unit purchased from the Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair held in Battersea twice yearly; and my kitchen / dining room is painted a calm and serene protective olive green called Bancha, which connects the inside with the outside (an extension of my garden), and also lets the orange accessories stand out and sing. Yes, in my kitchen I have an orange fridge, a beautifully ornate orange glass vase from a brocante in France, chunky orange candles on the fireplace, an orange and green glass light fitting on a lamp featuring a semi-naked reclining lady found in a car boot sale about 15 years ago, and the curtains that dress the French doors into the garden have a bold orange, pink and silver leaf print – combined together, the choice of colours and objects in my home radiate my unique taste and personality.

In addition, each room has two walls painted a colour, and two walls painted white – I do this because I want the colour to be reflected by the natural light on the white walls, and because I want each room to give me, and those that visit, a welcoming hug.  

With regards to our work life, the office environment and space we spend up to 40+ hours a week at is vitally important to supporting a thriving company culture and mindset. I recently talked about the importance of brand power, and the values that are driving your company and your competitor advantage. Your brand extends to all areas where there’s human and virtual interaction with employees, partners, agencies, sponsors, investors, and each touchpoint is an opportunity to deliver a memorable, engaging brand experience. How do you reflect your brand in your environment?

Colour your business – brand DNA 

Some business ideas evolve over time, some out of passion, some out of necessity, some from a light bulb moment experienced in the shower, some from a need to use a product that’s not yet been created, therefore the desire to create this product or service becomes your focus, and as such, a new market with a new audience is created. Who knew we all needed a smartphone – yet where would we, and many businesses be, without it now?? We use it communicate with friends and family, collaborate with colleagues, connect with industry leaders and influencers on social networks, purchase products on the move using the plethora of apps that are readily available at our fingertips – the list is endless. 

Speaking of smartphones, there’s still a battle between Apple and Android for market share – I’m not sure who’s winning that currently. But the brand that stands out as a brand that’s recognised globally is Apple, I view it as head and shoulders above Android on various levels. For me, the Apple brand represents sleek and beautiful design, forward thinking technology, secure products, excellent customer service, seamless simplicity, and an iconic, inspirational, detail orientated, fastidious founder in Steve Jobs. When thinking of my own or someone else’s transformational change, I regularly reflect on one of his many quotes…

“Follow your heart and intuition. Somehow they already know what you truly want to become.”

Steve Jobs

At any stage of your journey, you have the opportunity to set new goals, launch new services and target new markets to build revenue, become a unicorn even – all of these businesses have a few things in common – a core brand DNA and huge brand value – they incorporate their brand experience into every marketing and communications touchpoint, both on and off line. 

The business of applied colour psychology – let’s explore

The business of applied colour psychology – let’s explore

All my life I’ve been consciously creating with colour – as a student and artist studying textile design 25+ years ago, and latterly as a marketing and brand strategist. The colours we choose to wear, to dress our environment such as our home and office space, and those we choose to brand our business with, have a huge impact on human behaviour, and how we are perceived by others. It’s a subject I’m really passionate about. 

So last September I was hugely flattered and honoured to be invited by Debbie Pinder, the Programme Leader and Senior Teaching Fellow for the MA Luxury Brand Management course at Winchester School of Art, to be a guest speaker, to present to her international students. Debbie had read an article I had published in Hotel Designs Magazine titled ‘The psychology between colour in interior design and wellbeing’, so the remit for my talk was to expand on the piece, share my industry experience and real case studies on brand development, and guide the students on the key stages to develop a brand strategy.  

Arriving on the campus was pretty daunting but also exciting. Having not stepped inside a university building for many years, I found the smell of turps and paint oozing from the print rooms strangely comforting, and the sight of all the sculptures and pieces of clothing being made utterly beautiful. It definitely stirred many wonderful memories of being a student and appealed to my creative spirit. 

Luxury hotel design

When drafting an article titled ‘The psychology between colour in interior design and wellbeing’ for Hotel Designs magazine, I was asked by the editor Hamish Kilburn to checkout and review three luxury hotels from around the world, namely Plaza 18 in Andalucia, Spain; the Riveria Hotel and Spa in Mykonos, Greece and Nhow in London, UK. For now, I’m going to further explore the luxury elements of Plaza 18.

In many ways, luxury is in the eye of the beholder but for me there are some key ingredients that make something stand out as ‘luxury’. When I think about hotels, it’s a combination of the richness, depth and tone of the colours chosen, and the textures of the fabrics applied to the soft furnishings, to the reception and welcome experience, the dining lounge and bar, to the hotel rooms and suites. It’s also about the art, sculptures and artefacts that have been added to spaces to embellish the atmosphere and create a sense of mystery and intrigue. 

When I look at the design and colour applied to Plaza 18, this hotel showcases discreet, understated luxury with a hint of history and heritage. The choice of monochrome design and classic style, demonstrated in the chequered black and white floor tiles is bold and classic, and creates wonderful geometric lines. There’s also a splash of vibrant red that pops out in the artwork featured on the wall, in contrast to the soft green foliage that brings a hint of nature, softness and balance to the space. 

Black as a colour portrays glamour, elegance and sophistication and for many gives a sense of allure and mystery. In this room it adds gravitas and presence. However, if used excessively it will create an experience of heaviness and oppression. 

White as a colour suggests clean and quiet, and helps us keep our emotions in check. In other environments white can feel stark and cold, therefore it’s important to use colour with context and purpose. Here the white creates contrast next to the black, and the ­sharp lines draw a guest into the space.  

It’s worth remembering that all colours have psychological duality in how they can change and influence our behaviour, both positively ­and negatively (with the exception of grey – it has no positive traits). Also, we never see colour in isolation so it’s always a combination of colours that evokes an experience, feeling or behaviour.

Developing a brand – Workshop framework 

Whilst the students at Winchester University learn the theoretical knowledge and practical skills required to succeed in the management of complex luxury brands, they were keen to hear about some case studies of how a brand is created and developed outside the luxury space, and to identify where there are synergies. So, it was fantastic to share my experience of 20+ years of building brands in the agency and technology space, and to give them guidance on a workshop framework to kick-start conversations when building a brand from the bottom up. 

The business of applied colour psychology 

To expand my knowledge and to better understand the behavioural science of colour and its impact on us as human beings, I’m studying a course aimed at professionals in applied colour psychology. It’s funny going from guest speaker to student, but I’m a firm believer in paying it forward, giving back when I’m able, and in continuing to grow ­– personally and professionally – to better serve myself and those around me. 

In this course I’ve been recapping on colour terminology, debunking colour myths that exist in the colour industry, understanding more about the psychological properties of the 11 main colours and much, much more. As the months progress I’ll be learning about colour physics with colour psychology and how, when brought together, they can evoke predictable psychological responses, to how to apply specific colour combinations to create positive behavioural effects in any given situation and space – from building a brand, to creating a home, an office, and every other environment or building space you can think of. 

It’s time to get creative and consciously create with colour 

So, this is where you come in… If you’re curious about colour and how you can better apply it in your life, your home and your business, I’d love to hear from you. I’m keen to put what I’m learning into practice so I’m inviting friends and family to experience a little of this journey with me – we will grow together. 

Initially this will take the form of us meeting (most likely virtually for 30 minutes) and us exploring your thoughts around colour. Over the duration of the course, the end result for me will be me embedding my learning and knowledge, and hopefully you will have a better understanding of your relationship with colour and how to apply it in various areas of your life.