“In life, you cannot always choose what you do, but you can always choose who you are”

This is an inspiring story. I first saw this video as a commercial for a well known malt drink. It reminded me of my family when they came from the Caribbean to the UK at the end of the 1950’s.

Growing up, I was surrounded by a bunch of eccentric characters from different islands. These were tough times, many people came over to the UK as blue collar workers. The work was hard and the hours were long, therefore leisure time was full of music, laughter, good food, friends and hope for the next generation.

My mum was an accomplished seamstress so she made sure we were always dressed in the trendiest of clothes and on Sundays, we always wore our “best”. Most of my Dads friends were manual workers so Sundays and special occasions (even friendly cricket matches), always called for a sharp suit and tie. During those times in the late 60’s and 70’s there was not a lot of disposable income like today, so you had to be creative, with food and clothes, we used to go to the top department stores and boutiques to “shop for inspiration” I realise now that meant buying one item and getting inspired to make an outfit for a party or a special occasion.

I love it when I go into companies and I see young interns and juniors starting out in their career, choosing to dress sharp to define themselves. One young intern I recently met, came into his office wearing a stunning pink designer jacket, finished off with a white shirt, a tie, sharp black slim fit trousers, and the shiniest shoes. I was surprised at the reaction, everybody who passed, complimented him on his attire even a visiting VP. So we can all take some inspiration from the video and apply this to our every day lives, it has certainly inspired me. Not sure I could get away with a pink jacket and black slim fit trousers, but perhaps an “inspirational” shopping trip is in order…

Connect via email blondell@perfect-fossicking.com or give me a call 07525 018074

Tis the season to be jolly and giving?

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I mostly live and work in Central London. There are many advantages and something for everyone. I love that it is a cosmopolitan and vibrant city, bustling with people, great scenery (I never get tired of the view of the City crossing Waterloo Bridge), there are easy transportation links, great shops, traditional pubs, theatres, bars and restaurants.

However, there is a darker side – homelessness and beggars. As the festive season approaches, I tend to notice beggars asking for money and hustling on the streets and I make a point of offering the friendly ones (using my gut instinct and reading their body language), a hot drink and some food. I never give money.

Recently, I was pleasantly surprised by an encounter with an elderly vagrant. He got my attention because he was much older and sober and he gave a good opening pitch. “Can I have some money? I just need enough for my dinner. I’d like chicken curry.” I told him I did not have any money, but I could buy him a sandwich from Pret. He was adamant, he definitely did not want a Pret sandwich – turned his nose up.

He looked me in the eye and said slowly: “I want chicken curry and rice, with extra chilli sauce and a coke.” Pause. “Not diet.”

So I smiled and said “OK, I’ll see what I can do” and began to walk away. He called out after me and told me which café to go to – very specific. That made me laugh, so I said I had some errands to run, I’d get his food when I finished, which I did.

He was still sitting in the same place when I returned half an hour later. Obviously starving, he thanked me genuinely, opened the take away container and got stuck into his meal. I walked home knowing I’d made a small difference that day.

When I shared this story recently with friends, they said I was soft, I got played and I was conned, but I disagree. I thought his approach was right: he gave a good pitch; he was direct; he connected and read me perfectly and was successful. He got his chicken curry meal.

What surprised me was how I felt. I did something small – the take away cost £3.70 – and it made me smile.