Latest Posts

Mindset Matters

With all the uncertainty at the moment it’s important that we have ways to keep us positive. Self-care is something that we can all do for ourselves to take care of our mental health & keep us as calm & happy as possible. Here are two of my favourite effective, yet simple self-care tools to use daily to keep positive.


Practicing feeling grateful for what you have puts the focus on the positive things in your life, rather than what you don’t have or are lacking.

We know that what we focus on we get more of as like attracts like. So, to get more of what you want in your life, you have to focus on the good things you already have and be thankful for them. This will attract more similar good things to you by training your mind to notice the good stuff around you.

Each day think of between 5 and 10 things that you are grateful for and record them in a notebook, which you can label your Gratitude Diary. Stuff you are grateful for can be anything you choose big or small; the people in your life, a compliment from a friend, your morning coffee, a favourite pair of jeans, a walk in the park, or something to appreciate in nature, such as a lovely sunset, a beautiful flower, or even the smell of fresh basil or mint from your herb garden or fridge.

A Photo Every Day

Hailey Bartholomew learnt from a life coach (who also just happens to be a nun!!) that the secret to happiness is reflection and gratitude. Hailey overcame her own feelings of depression when she started appreciating the small and large aspects of her life that she was grateful for. She created the 365 Project in which she took a photo every day of something she was truly thankful for. Check out her inspiring story and the beautiful photos at


There’s no doubt that music can alter our mood, just like that, quickly and easily. Have you ever heard a song on the radio that instantly takes you back to a past time, event, or person?

Music is such a powerful tool for changing our mindset. It happens automatically, so why not use music purposefully to uplift your mood? You can combine listening to your favourite, energising and mood-enhancing music with one of your daily activities. Listen to your favourite tunes whilst exercising, getting ready for your day, eating your breakfast, or whilst travelling to and from work.

You could create playlists for different purposes, maybe one to energise you when you’re feeling a little jaded, one to calm you for when you’re feeling wired, and another to lift you up when you’re feeling down.

Music has the effect of changing and enhancing your moods, and this tool can be harnessed and used within the day to put you in a great mood when you need to be at your best.

The Last Word – Isabelle Capitain

Isabelle is a designer and goldsmith who specializes in handmaking fine contemporary jewellery. She has recently opened her gallery and workshop on Upland Road in East Dulwich where she shows her own work and pieces of five other designer/makers from across the UK.

How long have you lived in the area?

I’ve lived in the Brockley/ Crofton Park area for the last 9 years, but my business in East Dulwich is a baby: I moved into the studio mid-March this year! (A week before lockdown, my timing isn’t great.)

What brought you here?

It was a jewellery shop before and I’ve known my landlords for years, even used to do some work for them. When they approached me to say they were retiring, and would I like to take over the workshop and shop it seemed like the perfect opportunity. It’s close to home too (I used to be based in Hatton Garden), so no more crowded trains for me!

What do you most value about the area/street you live in?

I’m very impressed by the community spirit in East Dulwich, people here seem to really want to support small local businesses.

What’s the one thing you couldn’t do without?

My bike! It gets me absolutely everywhere at the moment and is as comfortable as an armchair. Got to love a proper Dutch bike.

Do you know your neighbours?

I’m slowly getting to know them, but I’ve been so busy at the workbench that I have very much neglected popping into other local shops to introduce myself…It will happen, I promise!

Describe your perfect weekend

A long cycle ride that includes a visit to the pub and seeing an exhibition at a gallery. Not necessarily in that order though…

I love exploring London by bike and museums and galleries being open again after lockdown has made me a very happy human being!

Where are you likely to be found on Saturday?

During the day you’ll find me at my gallery, most likely being busy at the bench or designing for clients. The evenings are for meeting friends in one of South East London’s many excellent pubs.

What is your favourite place to eat?

Venturing out of East Dulwich, but it’s hands down Babur in Honor Oak. Fantastic Indian food and the best cocktails!

Coffee or tea? Where?

Because I live in Brockley my first love will always be the Brocca, but the Blue Brick Café in ED is a very close second. And it’s always coffee – strong and black.

Cafe, pub or bar?

No contest: always the pub.

What’s your favourite place to go for a drink?

The Ivy House in Nunhead. Community owned and run, it’s a gem of a place. Plus, it’s halfway between my gallery and home, so ideal for a quick drink after work.

If money was no object..

I’d still be doing exactly what I’m doing at the moment. I love hand making fine jewellery. The whole process is incredibly rewarding: I’m creating something that will be cherished by people for a very, very long time. What more could you possibly want.

The book I’m reading at the moment..

I’m currently re-reading Paul Auster’s 4-3-2-1 for the second time. He’s an excellent storyteller and you can lose yourself in his books. I have a very soft spot for the surrealness he finds in everyday things.

My secret ambition..

I’d love to be able to take on an apprentice and pass on my knowledge of the craft. People like me are a bit of a dying breed and it’d be nice to be part of keeping hand making fine jewellery alive. One day!

This article first appeared in the September issue of SE22.

The Joys of Ornamental Grasses

Late summer is when many grasses come into their own, with golden seed heads shimmering and swaying in the breeze. They look great in big drifts, acting like a neutral foil to colourful late flowering perennials like echinacea, gaura, anemones, sedums and Verbena bonariensis. But they also work well dotted around smaller gardens knitting plants together and adding a naturalism, movement and texture to planting. Most grasses like sun and free draining soil though some such as anemanthele lessioniana and deschampsia thrive in semi shade. Here are a few to try:

Tall and statuesque

Miscanthus. Some of the best grasses for striking silky seed heads, they tend to flower late but make a real statement when they do. M. sinensis ‘Malepartus’ is a statuesque variety (2m) with a fountain of burgundy flowers, while M. Ferner Osten’ is slightly smaller. M. Adagio is a compact variety with a mass of shimmery silvery flowers.

Stipa giganteum. This is a big statement grass, which throws its tall oaty flower heads high into the air – and is best in an open spot where the sun can shine through, turning them golden. It needs full sun and good drainage.

Calamaacutifolia x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’.  A great grass with a very upright habit and fabulous seed heads. Unlike many grasses, the fresh green leaves arrive early in the season, before the fluffy purple flowers emerge, which finally turn to straw-coloured seed heads in summer, lasting through the winter.

Medium sized grasses

Stipa tenuissima.  Also known as ‘Mexican feather grass’ this is useful semi evergreen grass with fine wispy leaves and feathery silvery gold seed heads in summer. It’s lovely mingling with perennials such as salvia nemerosa ‘Caradonna’ or knautia. It likes full sun and well-drained soil. Comb out tatty bits or cut right down in spring for a fresh flush of green.

Calamagrostis ‘Overdam’. Rarer and smaller (1m) than Karl Foerster, this is a pretty grass with an upright habit and cream striped leaves. Or try Calamagrostis brachytricha which has pale fluffy flower heads in late August, that turn buttery coloured – it also has a more relaxed arching habit.

Deschampsia cespitosa ‘Goldtau’.  A mound-forming evergreen grass, this has silvery purple flowers in the summer, maturing to a cloud of delicate golden seed heads. It’s happy in sun or part shade, in well-drained soil.

Small and perfectly formed

Festuca glauca
This is a useful low growing evergreen grass that creates mounds of fine blue-green foliage. It needs plenty of sun but doesn’t like to dry out, and in the right conditions sends up silvery grey flowers in summer. It works well with purples, pinks and whites.

Hakonechloa macra. This is a gorgeous short grass with lush green foliage – a little like bamboo in feel. It’s happy in dappled shade and is fantastic en masse underplanting trees, where it cascades like flowing water, or for edging paths and borders.

Sesleria autumnalis. A new favourite of mine, this is a low growing evergreen grass with mounds of bright green strappy leaves that turn more lime coloured in winter. It has short silvery flower spires in the summer.

Grass care: Cut deciduous grasses right back in late winter, before the new growth has got going. Remove seeds heads from evergreen varieties and comb them through with your fingers to remove tatty old growth.


This article first appeared in the September issue of SE22.

Pets Corner: Escaped Birds

Every year lots of pets go missing leaving owners distressed. Pet birds are no exception and there seem to have been quite a few cases of late. Here is a checklist of actions for exotic birds on the loose.


  • The moment you realise your bird has flown off, check every tree you can. Birds do not tend to go far in the first few days, so a thorough exploration of the locale is a must. Get your neighbours involved too.
  • Put up laminated flyers with your name and telephone number. Give a description of the bird and a photograph but omit the pet’s name.
  • If anyone spots the bird, they should call you, you are the best person to try to tempt your pet back.
  • Go to the area and call your bird by name. Stand or sit where your bird can see you and try to ensure it has enough space to fly towards you at a shallow angle; sit or stand further from the tree, not right under it.
  • Keep still, birds hate to fly towards moving objects. Keep calling your bird by name. If he is whistle trained, use that or use a favourite toy to try to entice him.
  • Ensure you are armed with your pet’s favourite treats.
  • Your bird may be trapped at height. Many pet birds are not that experienced at flight. Instinct prompts them to fly up and get as high as possible. Flying down is something they have not practised and many are scared to try- a bit like a cat trapped up a tree. Even a clipped bird can climb high, without being able to fly. Try to be patient and wait. You may need a long ladder to go up and collect your pet. Talk to your bird to keep him calm.
  • If possible, put your bird’s cage with his favourite treats and toys down on the ground, where he can see it, and leave the door open. Many birds are more likely to feed at dawn and dusk and your pet may be more willing to approach a familiar cage at feeding time.
  • If you cannot get to a sighting location fast, tell the person who has spotted your bird to speak to your pet by name and to try to coax the bird to them with treats. Many pet birds will go to any friendly human once they are hungry enough.

When your bird is missing for longer periods

  • Get the word out to veterinary practices, rescue centres, and as many online resources as you can.
  • Resources like dog lost will allow you to post about other missing pets. Members of the public generally recognise that an exotic species should not be loose.
  • Keep updating the sites for weeks and months, don’t give up. Birds can be found months later by members of the public.
  • Any member of the public that sights a possible escapee should contact their vet and online sites, to see if there is information on a missing pet that matches the bird sighted.

Preventing escape

  • Microchip your bird.
  • Ensure his wings are clipped to reduce flight.
  • Look for new growth at the tips of the flight feathers. Even a bit can give the bird enough lift to escape.
  • If you cannot get your bird’s feathers trimmed, do not take him outside until you can.
  • Always shut doors and windows if your bird is out of his cage.

Link Age Southwark Online Pet Contest

Link Age Southwark is excited to announce their first ever Online Pet Contest. Our pets have brought us so much joy over these last few months, so if you have a dapper doggy or a loyal furry friend now is your chance to showcase them!

The contest will open on Sunday 13th September and you will have one week to submit your photos, with entries closing on Sunday 20th September. There will be five categories – including ‘Most Adorable’ and ‘Owner/Pet Lookalikes’ – and we have some excellent local judges on board to choose the winners for us. As the event is a fundraiser to help fund Link Age Southwark’s vital services for older people and people with dementia in Southwark, they are asking for donations of £3 per category to enter, or you can enter all 5 for £10.

You will be able to submit your entry via the Link Age Southwark Facebook events page or by email. Visit Link Age Southwark’s website where you will find all the details. We look forward to admiring your pet’s attributes!