I come from a practical, creative family – my grandad was a tailor & painted, my father repaired clocks and my mother and grandmas could knit, sew and crochet. Making and repairing – and a love of trying new crafts – has been part of my life from very young.
At school I spent every spare minute in the art rooms, but at that time couldn’t see how to make a career out of art, so I trained as a linguist. After meeting my husband and project managing my first major home renovation in my late twenties, I later went on to re-train as an interior designer.
I now run my own business called Fresh Traditions, based near Horsham, West Sussex. When I started out I was horrified by some of the waste in my industry, but I quickly realised it doesn’t have to be that way. Ever since I’ve been actively encouraging my clients towards more sustainable design – whether that’s in the choice of materials and fittings, or simply in the way unwanted stuff is disposed of.
I love animals, gardening and the natural world and feel that I have a personal responsibility to do my bit for the planet while I’m living on it. I came up with the idea for the Kinder Living Show at the end of 2014. I’m proud to now be part of small, but highly committed team – oh and they’re fun to spend time with!
Hello, my name is Laura and I’ve been on the organisational team for the Kinder Living Show since 2015. I have a strong interest in the environment and, after completing a degree in Environmental Studies, I visited my local Transition Horsham group to see what was going on in Horsham. It was here I discovered that Jeanette was looking for some help organising her show, and I jumped at the chance to get involved. I love the green ethos of the Kinder Living Show, and that I get to meet such interesting and inspiring people. Most people need to decorate and improve their home at some point and it’s wonderful to provide a platform to showcase all the creative and talented business owners out there, offering kinder and more sustainable products and services. In 2016, I set up a sub-event called Kinder Tech, which encourages people to get their old laptops and PC’s fixed, not throw them away. Alan and Cliff are fabulous professional repairers, and it’s a true pleasure to work with them. Kinder Tech is proving very popular so look out for a number of dates throughout the year, as well as at the main show! I have gained friends and skills in my time with the Kinder Living Show, and I look forward to working with the team for as long as they’ll have me.
I have been interested in the environment from a very early age. My parents instilled in me the need to make do and mend, the joy of growing your own produce and also enjoying the outdoors and nature.
In my late twenties I became involved with Greenpeace and ended up running all the Greenpeace groups in West Sussex for a number of years. During this time I also became really interested in ethical consumerism and shopping locally, and have tried to make this a part of my everyday living. As a local business owner I am always looking for local small businesses to support.
Kinder Living has enabled me to meet more people with the same mindset, find new and exciting local businesses with great products and innovative ideas, and spread the word to show how easy it is to love a greener, more ethical lifestyle.
I have been reusing textiles all my life. From the excitement of rummaging through the rag bag to find scraps to create my dolls clothes, to pestering my family for their unwanted clothes. I love the idea of giving something that is no longer needed, say a worn out frayed shirt, a new use where it will be treasured once again. The items created are totally unique. Alongside this, I love to repair in order to continue using the items I have. Modern technology allows me to learn techniques I am unfamiliar with, teaching me new things all the time.
When I was a kid the personal computer had just started to become a reality. Films like War Games and TV shows like MacGyver were doing the rounds, where the protagonists were either able to repair or jury rig things, captured my imagination. Later on the lone gunmen from the X Files cobbled together sophisticated computer systems from bits and pieces other people had thrown away. This just fueled my desire to do something with all the leftover bits I had available.
In 2006 I built my first PC from scratch using components I had carefully chosen myself. I always knew that PCs were easily upgradeable, but taking the plunge into assembling one from the ground up reinforced my belief that no matter how old the equipment, you can always find a way to extend it’s life. My PC has had various bits replaced over the years and is still going strong 11 years later!
Back in 2011 I started my own business, Alan’s IT Solutions. It might not surprise you to learn that I frequently have to fix up old PCs and laptops. While writing for the West Sussex County Times and my own blog, I took another plunge. This time into Linux. Linux is Open Source and free and usually has a much smaller footprint in terms of hardware requirements than Windows, which makes it perfect for installing on older machines and giving them new life.
All of this fascination with tech doesn’t just stop with making old things work better. I am also enthusiastic about all of the emerging new technologies, in particular those that are less damaging to the environment. In May 2015 Google added Collections to their Google+ social network. I decided at the time to start a Green Technology collection, where I share news and videos covering everything from EVs (Electric Vehicles), renewable energy, batteries and anything else I deem worthy (like the discovery that meal worms can digest polystyrene for example). Since it started I have been fortunate to have the collection featured within Google+ and it has gathered over 180,000 followers and I gave a little cheer when the Google+ page itself shared my collection with its 14 million followers.
So when I was approached to take part in Kinder Tech and Kinder Living, it seemed like a perfect fit.
I started Easyline Communications Limited in 2001 and since then have supplied and installed all manner of systems all over the country and abroad. Most of our business is commercial with our particular focus on healthcare and education. In 2009 we branched out from communication into IT as a means of increased cash flow, carrying support and IT repairs locally.
Over the last couple of years our IT focus has lead us to offer a re-use and repair attitude to tech products in the office and home. There is a way of upgrading and breathing new life into the “old laptop”. Taking advantage of the hard financial times to help save clients’ money, our motto is; ‘if it’s man-made then it can be man-fixed’.
This “can do” attitude prompts us to look at any electrical item as having potential for repair. We can advise on what can be done with your Laptops, PC’s, Xbox consoles and Apple products!
Kinder Living & Kinder Teck is a space where we can work together to make sure people are given a real choice whether to replace an IT product or reinvest in it. Even if someone decides to discard the “old” we have the opportunity to upcycle it and they get to make an informed choice rather than just be “told” there is nothing.