My own early background was a varied one – my first passion was always with animals, horses in particular – I left school at 16, and started my apprenticeship as a riding instructor - I was lucky enough to be accepted & trained by the late Lord Loch, a true master of his craft, a man who showed such kindness and love for his animals that he was truly able to be at one with them – Unfortunately some months later I had a fall which ended my career rather abruptly & catapulted me into a very different lifestyle.
Having been brought up in the catering industry, it was a natural thing for me to fall back on – I had a variety of catering/service positions – I then went on to use my 'people skills' in different areas and had many jobs which took me to quite a few places in the world – the jobs and my interest in them was varied!
I then stumbled upon a path that changed things, finding out that I was creative - I spent 11 years running my own design and manufacturing business – I, with the help of some very special ladies made wedding gowns and accessories; we supplied some of the leading bridal wear outlets in the UK including the then bridal consession Tatters at Harrods.
I am also a fully qualified dog listener and have been privileged enough to be trained by Jan Fennell – a gift from my Step Dad not long before he died - an experience that has changed my life & will never be forgotten, thanks Martin x
From childhood I have always had an interest in the design of things and how they worked – Spending my teenage years in the striking countryside of North Wales, where I grew to appreciate the beauty of nature.
I left school and continued my education, first studying at the local college then in Salford before going to study at Liverpool University, where I obtaining a degree in Mechanical Systems & Design Engineering.
My original professional background was in design engineering and computer programming. I began a ten year career within the MOD as a design draughtsman in the design department, going on to become a software engineer and I ended up being the manager of the help desk for one of the IT departments.
Seeking to broaden my horizons Ie left the MOD to join a small development company where I was heavily involved with the design and computer programming development of a new technology "The Lo–Q "Q–bot" – Virtual Queuing Systems" for theme parks in America – where I spent some of my working time.
I've also has a keen interest in alternative therapies and whilst in the UK I trained under Andrew James DIHOM, MAR, MIFA (Reg), ITEC to become a fully qualified reflexologist.
Johnny & I had both previously been married and when we met we were literally start again teenagers in our mid thirties – we worked together in the UK running our own small property search & development business, before taking the plunge to experence a more rural lifestyle, moving to Brittany in France in 2003. We were lucky enough to find a beautiful former farm, which we renovated together. A busy time for us as we also had to earn a living, but being in the countryside with space around us gave us the opportunity to experience a different way of life – we did not have a television, which was one of the best decisions we ever made, everyone always asks us what do you do???
Well, the biggest thing was, that we talked, we read, we opened our minds to new ideas & began finding out who we really are and discovering what felt right for us – we became vegans, our furry friends started to find us. We also took the time to teach ourselves new skills, the main ones for us, our art and graphic design, passions that have grown and grown
We decided to continue to follow our love of a more natural life & our creative passions and are now full time professional artists and graphc designers. We have opted for living in a yurt here in stunning countryside of central Portugal. We live with our furry family of animals, all of whom have found their way to us one way or another, we have 14 gorgeous dogs and a cat – not planned, just fate
We have been lucky enough to have had the love and patience of our family and friends, who may not quite understand what on earth we are doing, but nonetheless have given us their support both with thier love and their finaces at times - thank you so much - you are all here with us in our hearts x
We love our 'off grid' lifestyle here and in time we hope to become as self sufficient as possible with a forest food garden & permaculture system - we are also just starting the process of building our own handmade ecological home to accommodate us all
We have now become I guess what could be described in today's terms as an alternative couple, with a wide range of interests and 'cookey ideas' but in fact we are probably more traditional than most...