I'm looking to reinvent my own world for the next five years of my life.
Wearing thick chenille socks in winter and padding around barefoot the rest of the year. Also wearing my black cotton eye mask makes me very happy. I call them my martini shades—I can sleep anytime, anyplace, anywhere, when I wear them. I spend so much of my life travelling on planes each month that I’ve become an expert at sleeping anywhere I can grab a few winks.
No, I'm a realist, my optimism left me when I left my twenties and entered my thirties, which was quite some time ago! I guess I view optimism much like heaven, it would be nice if there was one, but let's get real people. In 2018 & 2019 I really had my trust challenged in a BIG, BIG way. Someone I opened my world to, came in and over a period of time, took away my trust and treated me very badly. Looking back at that period, this person was the most despicable person anyone could ever meet. We learn lessons as we go through life. The pandemic has shaken up all our lives. Most of us in business have had to pivot or change dramatically what we do. Realistically, many people found a life they didn’t know could exist, discovering working from home while others lost their loved ones or livelihoods. The next few years will be very interesting to see how post pandemic, we continue to reshape our expectations of work and life.
I feel extremely Scottish, a true Highlander in the Braveheart sense, but also have a strong dash of the spirited Viking. I grew up in the most northern town on the British mainland, called Thurso, which was settled by the Vikings and named after Thor. Being positioned at the very top of Scotland, it has a sub-artic climate similar to Alaska or Norway. The winds in the region literally blow straight in from Siberia in Russia, so you need courage to live in this extreme climate. Growing up, there I was 120 miles away from the nearest everything! For me the isolation and desolate windswept landscape was also an invitation for global exploration, which has stayed with me and led me to live an incredible and well-travelled life.
Always, I am more critical than anyone else I know, not in a perfectionist way just in pushing the boundaries. As I’ve got older though, I’ve learnt to step back and assess if this “thing I’m doing” is worthy of my time, does it warrant my energy, drive and nurturing, because as the years march on you realise you have a definitive time to make a difference.
It's not so much inspiration, more drive. I feel driven to create. I feel driven to make change. I am driven to be a force for good. I loathe selfish, self-centred, narcissistic people who only care about themselves. In this day and age there are just a few too many of these types around.
I'm at my most creative when I'm on my own. I need thinking space, all gadgets turned off and a steady supply of fridge snacks to graze on. In the last year I really struggled for months to be creative, kind of like writer’s block. I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, caused by four separate life-changing experiences, but I’ve managed it really well for almost two decades. Then recently I was thrown into challenging circumstances which made my PTSD rear its ugly head again. It took a long while to manage it again, but I got there in the end.
I used to wake up very grumpy! My historic car accident left my body in pain from a bad night’s sleep, every night. For three decades it was always best to stay out of my way until I manoeuvred out of bed, my limbs started to function properly, and I got into the shower. But I finally cracked the formula to being in less pain and happier in the mornings. Now I spend the first 10 minutes meditating, followed by going for a walk and swimming. I’ll never be a fan of early mornings and as for people who are ‘morning people’ full of vim and energy, they are such a pain in the arse aren’t they?
A wild and eclectic mix of everything from Camila Cabello, Pink, Bishop Briggs, Mark Ronson, Ariana Grande, Bowie, Ed Sheeran, Amy Shark, Ellie Goulding, Post Malone, Billie Eilish, Travis Scott, Calvin Harris, Drake, Kings of Leon, Lou Reed and Sam Smith to monks chanting and new age mood music. I really believe that the right music for the right frame of mind is really important. I tend to listen to current music rather than listen to music from the past. In fact, too much old music kind of drives me a bit crazy!
So, I’m now contradicting myself from the previous question, Boomtown by David & David, I hardly ever play it now but it brings me right back to a very happy time in my life.
It used to be U2. They were the soundtrack to a big chunk of my life. I listened to them since their very first album ... back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I had just hit my teens. Now I feel their music is too reminiscent of the past and not aligned with my current head space which is forging a new future.
I only read factual books. For some weird and wonderful reason I find novels extremely hard to read because I'm dyslexic. I like how Malcolm Gladwell thinks and writes. I only wish he wrote more frequently. I like to dip into biographies and auto-biographies too.
I should be saying some smart arse novel here, but it was a property book called How to Sell Your Own Property. This book led me down the path of my first fortune making and that in turn opened up my world to all sorts of possibilities.
My favourite book right now is the next book I’m writing. I always find it hard to wrap my head around the fact that I am an author and have already created five interior design books. Book number six will be my first in a series of SheSuccess books. Writing is a very tough thing to do if you are dyslexic like me—but that’s part of the fun and challenge.
Without any doubt, the National Geographic. I've read it every single month since I was seven years old, so I guess you could say I'm a fan! I love it so much that when I went to Washington for the first time many years ago, on the first day there I headed on my pilgrimage to the National Geographic's head office.
Well this is hard to narrow down, so I'm going to cheat here and give you three. Each is a favourite for different reasons, all much too emotional to discuss. Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Wizard of Oz and The Pursuit of Happyiness.
There are so many great Hollywood actors many of whom are my clients. I’m going to pass on this question so that I don’t offend anyone.
Has to be the original Star Trek series, space the final frontier. Loved it then, still love it today ... beam me up Scotty! Someone recently downloaded all the star trek sounds for me from the internet—so cool!
Oh so many! TV is great escapism. I love UK made dramas like Line of Duty and Downtown Abbey. Danish made TV is awesome too, lots of dark thrillers. Anything Ricky Gervais makes is a must watch, whether it’s his stand up or dramas he’s written, directed and starred in such as After Life.
Couldn't live without potatoes. Also, hard to live without broccoli and avocados.
I make the best soups - they are legendary. I'm pretty okay in the kitchen. I cook all my food from scratch but I’m fortunate to have great help to prep my veg and do all the washing up. I like to plan what I’m going to eat for at least a week in advance and buy all the ingredients for it. I’ve got pretty expert at batch cooking and freezing food. I never eat processed food … like ever.
It means everything. It's the most important principal I lead my life by. I've been a compassionate eater for 46 years. I first pleaded to not eat dead animals at just three years of age. I feel humans have evolved a long way since our cave days, we've built civilisations and cruelty need not be part of our lives. I can go to bed each night knowing that I have not been part of any torture to any living being from the food I chose to put on my plate—my conscience is clear. I also chose not to wear or use leather, feathers, fur, shells, corals or any household or cosmetic product made from or tested on animals. In simple terms you probably wouldn't want to eat toddler with mint sauce and potatoes, yet most people think it's OK to do that to another species ... lamb anyone? Or they think taking milk from another species is OK. I find that mind boggling and utterly revolting.
I like to laugh. No let me rephrase that. I love, love, love to laugh, so my dream table would be made up of people who make me laugh. My late Aunt Ethel and comedians Billy Connolly, Danny Bhoy, Michael McIntyre, Ricky Gervais, the late Robin Williams and Joan Rivers who I'd have to sneak under the table along with Stephen Fry.
I don't drink alcohol, I gave it up at 13 years of age ... but that's another story for another time.
I don't drink sodas, except maybe one or two glasses a year, if I'm in some bar that doesn't serve any non-alcoholic alternatives and when I get half way through, I can't go on without feeling quite sick, but I love fresh juices. I've been juicing for 30 years—long before it became fashionable.
I have loved moving my whole life, but loathe the idea of sweaty gyms, yuk! As a kid I competed in gymnastics, badminton and athletics. As an adult, I've been doing yoga for 30 years. All other forms of exercise I do are outdoors including swimming, walking, kayaking, plus I'm trying to turn afternoon napping into a sport too.
That I'm a total space science geek and brain science groupie. I have no doubt in my mind that we are not the only life form with civilisations. I believe there is micro life in our own solar system but in all the billions of galaxies out there in the Universe, I'm placing a large bet on other highly intelligent life forms, hopefully ones that have worked out planetary sustainability and respect of life! As to the brain and its plasticity, we are only at the very start of discovering what it is capable of—it's exciting stuff.
Feeding the birds. I've done it since childhood. First it was a family of swans when I was a kid and now I have created a “bird café” on one of my terraces and each morning an entourage of feathered species flock to get breakfast a la carte. Sadly, I also rescue birds all the time as uncaring fishermen leave hooks and fishing line lying around, leaving birds to constantly get tangled in it. On average I catch, untangle and release at least one wild bird a week. I even carry a special blade in my bag at all times that was given to me by my local veterinary practice, ready to do my rescue thing.
Cruelty to animals and cruelty to humans—in that order. The destruction of our planet. We have totally screwed it up. We should be ashamed.
Its been figuring out what I want to do with the next 5 years of my life. It’s been a massive challenge trying to hone that down to tangible things I want to do, as I’m offered so many opportunities and have to become ruthless at culling back what won’t fit.
Alarm clocks, people who only wear ‘labels' and look like walking billboards, dry cleaning, corporate working cubicles, waiting for a flashing green man to tell me when to cross the road, gold jewellery, the public who turn a blind eye to the intolerable cruelty in food production, orange fake tans ... all fake tans, bras (a former of modern day torture), coffee latte frappy capo mocha crappy ... coffee—it's just a bloody drink, wine drinking bullshitters who ramble on about the latest cheraz or whatever ... it's also just a bloody drink, pubs, white bread, women who don't vote, scary tight sportswear, air stewards treating men and women differently on flights ( I could write a scathing book on this), releasing I'm in my 50s, Laurel & Hardy eating felt hats, having too many passwords and pins to remember, pseudo vegans, people who take selfies all the time, women who exercise with the sole purpose of lifting their ass three inches, photoshopped family snaps, mature men who don’t want intelligent women in their lives but instead want brain dead women to be their trophies, Apple computers changing their operating systems, fruit and veg being more expensive than processed 'food', department store cosmetic and perfume halls, doctors' receptionists who think they are doctors, people who drink and drive, women’s eyebrows that look like a kid marked their faces up with a Crayola crayon, being asked by total strangers if I'm Anne McKevitt. I could go on ... hmm quite a few things freak me out then ...
Rome is pretty hard to beat. The history is awe inspiring, the art breath taking, the food amazing, clothes stunning and let’s not forget the men ... sexy as hell.
Absolutely not. I’m a believer in taking lots of options with me. As I travel a lot, my comfort and the familiarity of items becomes really important to me, rather than saving on kilos at check in.
Well let's leave out family and my cats because they are obvious, then it would have to be: my house keys, passport and Amex card—with these I can go anywhere in the world or I can stay at home.
I'd happily remain lost as long as there was an everlasting supply of fresh fruit, vegetables and sunblock. The only other thing I would need is a handsome dude, just after he'd completed a course in deep tissue massage! Oh some coconut oil, for that wouldn't go amiss too.
Being vegan, my Scottish accent and my freedom.
Boarding a train at 15 years old to leave home. I need to share this story, but anytime I try its just too painful.
I'm torn here between going to Edinburgh on my own age 13 for a week, or Berlin on my own age 14, or jumping out of a plane at 14,000 feet to clear my head. I actually need to do more crazy things. I didn't have those teenage college years the “f*ck it years” as Sandra Bullock put it so nicely in an interview. She missed those, so did I.
Oh boy that's a tough question. I don't think I'd change any day, because it would change everything.
the entire world becomes vegan before the end of 2050. It's not just me. The UN says that we all need to become vegetarian or vegan, or we are going to run out of food and water ... seriously.
My Mum lived with the cruellest terminal illness for quite some time. It robbed her of almost everything we take for granted, paralysing her in the end, including robbing her speech, any facial expressions, being able to write, walk, eat or drink, yet her spirit kept her fighting to the very end.
I've never been inside a fast food joint in my entire life, not even one toe over the threshold of a door. I've never eaten fast food and never will. I don’t understand how fast food is allowed to be called food.
I don't want to be buried. I want to be cremated. I'm claustrophobic and don't like coffins that are the height of bad taste. I really don't fancy dark shiny wood, embellished carvings, padded white satin and shit looking ornate brass handles—even when I'm dead. If I had to be buried then make sure my hair and make-up are okay, put me in a hessian sack and just shove me in the ground. The gravestone? It would have to say something like “Organic compost, $5.00 a bag, dig here.”