Inspiring blogger award – Whoop whoop!


I’ve been given the Inspiring Blogger title which is amazingly lovely considering I’ve only been blogging for 11 months. It’s also amazing given I normally spout such nonsense.

What was lovely was Nathalie from Sewingatnumber25 highlighted her reason for nominating me was down to my post on sustainability and sewing. That post was inspired by some work I did in Ethiopia looking at cotton and pesticide use and its impacts on poverty and biodiversity. I’m really glad to see that something I wrote months ago had some resonance with someone else too.

Randomly I was in Kenya (and still am) when the nomination came through also pondering about the impacts of unsustainable use on biodiversity and poverty. This time though I’m looking at fish and coral rather than cotton but the premise is the same.

So before diving in further I should follow the rules of the Inspiring Blogger award.

1.  Thank the blogger who nominated you.

2. List the rules and display the award.

3. Share seven facts about yourself.

4. Nominate other amazing blogs and comment on their blog to let them know you nominated them.

First of all I need to thank Nathalie. Its lovely to know that anyone reads my utterings and its even lovelier to know I might have struck a chord.

Second of all I must honour other bloggers with the same award. I wanted to nominate people like me who are relatively new to the party but whom I get a great deal of enjoyment out of reading their posts. So step forward the following bloggers:

  • Jennystitched a new blogger with a great British sense of humour that shines out.
  • Emma’s Cakey Bakey adventures – Emma blogs more about cooking than sewing (and bizarrely we went to High School together but haven’t seen each other since then *waves* Hi Emma!)
  • Katie Writes Stuff – another all rounder rather than just a sewer but makes me laugh
  • Let the Sewing Begin – Jen is a very new blogger on the street but hopefully this will encourage her to write more
  • Kelllita makes – something about this blogger makes me think we’d get on. I mean who doesn’t like a pirate hat??


Finally as an inspiring blogger you are expected to either list 7 hidden facts about yourself or list 3 things that inspire you.

As I’m a gobshite and an open book I went for the 3 things that inspire you.


1) Africa
I first went to Africa when I was 22 on an overlander truck for 3 months which went from Nairobi to Cape Town. I then returned and spent a year in Madagascar before moving to Fiji. I now live in Scotland again but my whole career is centered around Africa and I’m lucky enough to make several trips a year to various places for work.

It’s the diversity of culture, colours and entrepreneurial spirit that really entertains me when I go. For example yesterday we got 3 flat tyres travelling to our field site. On each occasion within 100 yards we’d found someone to fix our tyre even if it was a total bodge job.


Tyre fixing the Kenyan way – only to get another one 500 yards down the road

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Ethiopian cotton and a Kenyan girl carrying water

Today we’re staying at a hotel down by the beach. The hawkers aren’t allowed to come into the hotel so instead stand a respectful distance away and wave their wares at you. One lady waved her fabric at us and was waved over for a chat. After 30 minutes my colleague had negotiated that the lady would make her custom fit trousers and a skirt and deliver them back for the same time the next morning. Now THAT is service.

My grand plan when I have my midlife crisis is to set up some sort of business sourcing sustainably produced African fabrics for a clothing line in the UK.


2) Nature
There’s no great surprise that nature features so heavily in my list. I did a degree in Zoology and aside from Africa have set my life and my career up around my love of nature. We moved to the countryside a few years ago after a few fun years living in the city. Now I get to walk 30 minutes to work along a farm track then through a small nature reserve. It sets me up for the day.

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(This is my actual walk to work – be very jealous!)

The few occasions when I have to drive to work really puts me on the wrong footing for the day. My head space is all wrong if I haven’t been out in the fields yet. This photo was taken on my walk to work about this time last year.

As a result its no great surprise that I’m heavily drawn towards fauna and flora inspired fabrics. Like my elephant dress which I take great delight in wearing to elephant themed meetings.


3) Science
I grew up in a very science orientated family. My Dad was a doctor, both Grandfathers were doctors, my grandmother was one of the few ladies to get a Chemistry degree from Edinburgh University, my Mum did geology at university, my brother got a PhD in physics (and to this day I struggle to tell people what he did it on) etc etc.

So needless to say it is seen as fairly normal in my family to have an interest in how things work – be it animal, mineral or vegetable.

Nowadays I spend a lot of my time evaluating the impact of science-led projects on issues of poverty and biodiversity. Its an interesting job and one that keeps me on my toes as I’m constantly challenged by other scientists about the methods and approaches I use to evaluate their work.

Part of the reason I really enjoy sewing is it bridges the gap between art and science for me. I see sewing as a bit of a scientific discipline. I really enjoy trying to understand the construction process – how to turn a 2 dimensional pattern into a 3 dimensional item of clothing. I thoroughly enjoy scrutinising people walking down the street to see if I can work out how that piece of clothing was put together. Colleagues are used to me eyeing them up and down with a scrunched up face every time they walk into the office in something new (its a small company – we’re allowed to be weird).

But then comes the art bit – the fabric, the colours, the flair. If it was just a science thing for me everything I made would be in plain boring black. But its so much more. Its an opportunity to be creative in a very structured way which as a scientist makes me very very happy.

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I’m looking forward to what the next batch of Very Inspiring Bloggers share about themselves.

As a final memento of my first ever blogging award I’ll give you 7 hidden facts about myself (because as mentioned I am a gobshite):

  1. I’ve been bitten by a shark – twice
  2. My hut fell down on my head during cyclone Ernest
  3. A High Chief in Fiji gave me a beach in return for a whales tooth
  4. I’m allergic to jellyfish
  5. My boat sank once
  6. I’ve had at least 11 kidney stones and yes they hurt more than child birth
  7.  I’ve cleaned Nelson Mandella’s toilet

Happy blogging people!


15 thoughts on “Inspiring blogger award – Whoop whoop!

  1. Thanks for the nomination – it made my day!

    I enjoyed reading about your inspirations (with the bonus of the seven hidden facts). Your walk to work is absolutely lovely and I agree with you that driving to work does bad things to your mindset. It’s much better when I ride or walk, even if it’s raining! I don’t get to walk through fields, but there’s a lovely bushy bit that I love (and not just because I often see interesting fungi there).

    It’s fascinating that your approach to sewing comes from a scientific approach. That makes so much sense but I love that it’s so different from my approach. This has me thinking about the different reasons people sew, which I’ve never really considered before.

    And now I’m going to have a look at the other bloggers you nominated because I absolutely love finding new blogs to read. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you liked the nomination – its such a little lift isn’t it when you get one? I did a job a few years ago with some fungi experts. My jokes about being them being fun – guy’s was a total tumbleweed moment 😜


  2. Hi Lesley, I loved reading this! Especially the science bit – that really resonated with me and you put it into words so well. Sewing really is like a scientific procedure; you break everything down into steps, accuracy is key to getting the correct result, and you (well I, at least) learn new things along the whole way! Congrats on the award. Isn’t it warm and fuzzy 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sewing a new item is totally and utterly a science project! I’ve started to challenge myself this year to take on things that look quite intimidating and yet if you have decent instructions it’s like following a chemical formulae. Of course Burdastyle is like taking an exam where someone has deleted half the steps in the equation!


  3. Leslie,

    Good heavens, I’m very honored! Thank you so much for including me in a stellar lineup of bloggers. I have some pretty large footsteps to follow.

    As a bit of a nature girl myself (the flora and fauna – not so fond of bugs), I’m oddly moved by the statement you made about scrutinizing others’ outfits. That resonated with me, as I also study – not to judge but to analyze. I always love to see how all the pieces come together.

    My post will follow soon. And your informational post was absolutely fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Lesley,

    First thing i did this morning was read what you have written on your blogging page. It is inspiring . The farmers you have visited are now organized and got stronger. The women have stared hand spinning of cotton producing a yarn used to make scarfs and traditional cloth called Gabi!
    I hope you will visit us again!


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