In a digital age where we’re flooded daily with words, stories, and great hunks of content to digest, it’s not often an article can make you stop and think rather than swipe away. Syreeta Challinger’s ‘The Moment That Made Me’ for October’s Glamour Magazine did just that.
Syreeta’s tale begins in Sydney, Australia on the second night of a holiday back in 2014. She was 5,000 miles away from their Hong Kong home and laying next to her partner who had suffered a terrifying and near fatal brain haemorrhage, which then triggered a stroke. She had awoken to Rob staggering and screaming, clutching his head in agony before having a seizure and vomiting. He was 37.
What followed was a painful and unimaginably difficult set of circumstances; after intensive surgery, Rob was brought out of his coma unable to speak and with right side paralysis. He had to relearn fundamental life skills such as eating solid food and swallowing and needed assistance getting dressed.
Syreeta and Rob had built exciting and high profile careers; she a product development manager in fashion, he a brand agency director. Urban nomads, they travelled globally and frequently and enjoyed an active and creative life. In the blink of a moment, their lives were turned upside down in the most brutal of ways.
Leaving Sydney after three months, they returned to Rob’s home town of Lincoln to continue with his significant recovery. Syreeta commuted into London with the aim of preserving a connection to their former life, but it became evident that Rob’s recovery was impacted by her absence so she resigned and became his full time carer. 2016 was difficult and isolating, but while sorting through some possessions, Syreeta stumbled upon an old sketchbook where an idea they had for a concept store named Moments of Sense & Style (MOSS) sat patiently waiting.
She began working on the MOSS plan and brainstorming product ideas – like patterned notebooks, candles and art and carefully considered how her and Rob’s harrowing story could be reflected in their craft.
Gradually, it came beautifully together. Born from a desire to create light out of the darkness, it became a stylish concept store with an innovative and conceptual approach to dealing with life changing events. Each scent of each candle is integral to the remarkable brand story. Syreeta’s main job is carer to Rob, who thankfully has made remarkable progress in the circumstances and helps with MOSS product design.
There is so much to take away from Syreeta and Rob’s horrific story. The importance of enjoying life when it is good, as we never truly know what’s around the corner. How acts of complete and utter selflessness, showing courage and strength during the most testing times and temporarily putting your life on hold for the person you love are the real Stories we should be sharing on social media.
We applaud both Syreeta and Rob and covert their considered design, high-quality products. This is accessible luxury with meaning and a reminder that creativity really can heal.
As Syreeta wisely reminds us ‘‘Play the cards you’ve been dealt, as best you can’.
WEBSITE – https://www.momentsofsenseandstyle.com/
INSTAGRAM – https://www.instagram.com/momentsofsenseandstyle/
TWITTER – https://twitter.com/moments_hello
FACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/momentsofsenseandstyle/
At Leila and Geoffrey we support artists, charities and creative businesses and love to champion social enterprises that really make an impact.
Like Smart Works, a UK charity that dresses and coaches women for interview success.
Choosing what to wear for a job interview is a critical element of the overall preparation. While ultimately your skills, capability and experience should be the key factors to drive success, undoubtedly what you wear can also influence a panel’s decision. But what if you don’t have access to a killer wardrobe, are on a low-income or your confidence is depleted after being out of work for some time?
That’s where Smart Works comes in. They exist to help unemployed women into work, by developing their interview skills and providing them with professional clothes to boost their confidence. The charity welcomes any woman who needs their service, has a job interview secured and who has been referred by one of the hundreds of organisations they partner with including the local Job Centre Plus, Centrepoint and Solace.
At one of their six locations across the UK and with the help of 250 trained volunteers, women can enjoy a focused two-hour session with the Smart Works power team, comprised of two elements; (1) clothing advice and expertise from highly skilled and trained stylists and (2) interview advice from senior managers, HR professionals and executive coaches.
At the end of the session, Smart Works clients get a complete outfit of clothes and accessories to keep and interview training to help them believe in their ability to succeed. If they bag that dream job, they can come back for more clothing to see them through to their first pay cheque. The clothes are high-quality and donated by other working women, high profile fashion labels and leading retailers including Whistles, Evans and Hobbs.
Patrons include fashion designer Betty Jackson CBE, comedian, writer and producer Jennifer Saunders and leading fashion retail figure Jane Shepherdson MBE. Charity Ambassadors include Barclays Director Caroline Graham, brand and image consultant / The Telegraph columnist Isabel Spearman and Samantha Cameron, Founder and Creative Director of contemporary womenswear label Cefinn, all bringing their unique drive, passion and style to the table.
It’s not just the team that are impressive, the statistics are too. Smart Works dressed over 2,800 women in 2016 in stylish, high-quality clothes and over 1 in 2 women get the job after using its service, with half the charity’s clients finding employment within one month. They were winners in the social care, advice and support category at the Charity Awards 2017 who rewarded their efforts in cross-partner working, addressing diversity and inequality issues and helping women from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Smart Works helps women to feel confident, look fabulous, succeed at their job interview and move on with their life. The charity is on a mission to grow across the country and increase its reach to women who really need them.
Women look in the mirror and see hope and potential; they see themselves again. It’s simple, practical and empowering and here at Leila and Geoffrey we wish them all the very best.
WEBSITE – http://smartworks.org.uk/
INSTAGRAM – https://www.instagram.com/smartworkscharity/
FACEBOOK – https://www.facebook.com/smartworkscharity/
We thought we’d start a segment of our website where we give shouts outs people making cool things happen in London, and around the world.
A few years ago, Max Benoist – a French expat from beautiful Montpellier – found himself travelling around Europe reviewing different open stages in each of the cities he went to. With a background in web design and photography, what started off as a small database of these open mics he had gone to morphed into a huge directory of over 600 open mics around the world and a global community of artists who have played at them. Settling in London a couple years ago, Max and his GOOT business partner Valerio Lysander now run two very popular weekly open mics, and have recently partnered up with St John’s Church in Hoxton where they plan the monthly ‘Sanctuary’ series’.
GOOT also offers stunning (and budget-friendly!) video production. Max’s signature ‘One Shot Session’ live videos have now been made for over 40 artists, which are all displayed and promoted through the elegant GOOT website. You can see who has done a session, where they’ve played around the world, and read all about who they are and where they came from through their online profile.
His music videos are simple, beautiful, and really capture the essence of the performer. Want to see for yourself?! This one he did for Valerio Lysander’s ‘Cotton’ is our favourite.
In addition to all of the different hats he wears as music promoter, event planner, web designer, photographer, and film maker, Max is an extremely talented songwriter, with a unique folk-rap blend and lyrics in both French and English. And because he is just so darn talented, he makes all of his own videos – the most recent being his new single ‘Stylo‘ which features the visual stylings of Milena Milak.
Whew! We get exhausted just thinking about all of the things this guy can do!
Join the GOOT community and stay up to date with what they have coming up next by following them on the various platforms:
Here at Leila and Geoffrey, we’re helping quite a few artists embark on tours outside of their homelands. We are seeing that there is a growing demand for house concerts and alternative venues – Sofar Sounds almost not being able to accommodate the amount of people that want to attend the shows, the tickets are often very hard to grab hold of!
Who wants to tour to a country that you have no ties to, and play at a loud bar where few people come? The way of the house concert provides an intimate setting with an attentive audience that you can actually form a connection with. And there are some lovely platforms popping up that make it easy to do so.
Sofaconcerts is a Hamburg based company which connects artists directly with their hosts. With a huge database of hosts, with the majority being based in Germany, as well as France, Scandinavia, and the Netherlands – there are even some as far away as South Africa, Brazil, and Canada. You can search by radius of where you’ll be heading, so you can easily plan a route of spectacular venues along your way.
Low-Fi Concerts is a more recent site, it’s been around since 2015. Started by Anne Dvinge, who came up with the idea of wanting to create a global community for intimate concerts, she had built the beta platform within 10 weeks! Based in Copenhagen, the majority of the hosts are in that general area. Eager concert goers can look for gigs in their area, and purchase tickets directly from the site.
If you have any other favourite platforms you use, or have stories and photos about your favourite house concerts, please share them!
We’ve had the pleasure of being able to work with the beautiful London-based singer/songwriter IMAN. Her songwriting credits include the likes of Ed Sheerdan, Rudimental, and Kanye West, and now she’s releasing her own music under her own record label, Shop Front Records. Growing up in a household where her goals of working in music were actively discouraged, Iman made the courageous move to leave home at 16 to follow her dreams. This powerhouse was recently featured in Wonderland Magazine, and spoke of how she got to where she is now. Read the interview here
Listen to the most recent single, Wishing, on Spotify