Name: Rebecca Cabaniss

Business: Padding Paws Gateshead

How did you first develop a passion for what you do?

I’ve loved animals all my life so running a dog walking and cat sitting business allows me to spend more time with animals.

What were you doing before?

I was working in retail.

What gave you the courage to step out and do your own thing?

My friend Jeff told me my idea could work and gave me the kick start help I needed.

What have been some of the struggles along the way?

Physically hard work, not always having enough work, sometimes having too much and juggling.

What do you love about what you do?

Absolutely love being out in nature and love my doggies and cats.

What’s made you feel proud of what you’ve achieved?

That I’ve been able to run a business and seen it grow! I’ve gained a lot of confidence along the way.

What would you say to another woman contemplating doing her own thing?

Go for it ! You’ll not regret that you at least tried.


Chiffon. I’m not a great fan of the word, I have to say. It seems really dated.

But the fabric itself, oh my, I just cannot resist…

Chiffon come from the French word for a cloth or a rag. Really not the right word for this delicate, ethereal material. Chiffon fabrics are produced using natural or synthetic silk. Early chiffon was made purely from silk until 1958, when polyester chiffon was invented and became available as a cheap alternative for all. Of course, the natural silk will have a more delicate quality. The chiffon you’ll find on the High Street is more likely to be a polyester chiffon.

Chiffon is the fabric of my dreams. It’s all about the feel, you see – a soft delicate drape. I love rubbing it between my fingers. I love the feel of it on my skin. My skin through it feels silky and luxurious, the gentlest of touches.

Chiffon is all floaty – light and airy. Weightless. There’s a real freedom there. You hardly notice you’re wearing it. I’m not a fan of wearing clothes – I do, obviously, but clothes you can wear without feeling them, without them restricting you or weighing you down, well, that’s a real gift.

Chiffon’s a transparent fabric – not a mesh or a tulle, but something more ethereal all together. This sheer material is so flattering, particularly in black for me. I feel more comfortable wearing something more figure-hugging if there’s a layer of chiffon over the top. It’s the best overlay in all seasons and for all occasions, giving a floaty appearance to whatever you happen to be wearing underneath.

My love affair with chiffon started back in February – the month of love, how appropriate. As soon as I saw this frilled black chiffon tunic over a pair of jeans and a slogan tee on a mannequin in the H&M window, I was hooked. I didn’t buy it straightaway, as I’d vowed not to buy any new clothes from High Street stores at all in 2017. But I was smitten. I couldn’t stop thinking about that dress. I went back the next day and bought it. I love to wear it with a cobalt blue vest and black leggings, but to be honest it’s so versatile, it’s completed a lot of looks. I pack it every time I go away, because it takes up so little space and I feel so amazing when I wear it. It’s a definite winner.

And then there is the black skirt that’s layer upon layer of wonderful. A nude tulle, a stiff black cut out mesh, finished with a black chiffon overlay. A TKMaxx find that makes me feel like a cinema star when I wear it. It looks so, so pretty and feels incredible to wear. A recent purchase, I wore it to a meal out the other night with black vest, black jacket, black ankle socks and shiny black hefty shoes. I have no idea what anyone else thought of my look. I don’t think I care. I know how I felt and to me, that’s all that matters.

And then there’s the 70s-inspired batwing top that hangs in my wardrobe waiting for the right occasion. Another TKMaxx treasure, the satin string vest top has a long-sleeved batwing overlay in black chiffon with large black stars all over it, ribbed with thick black jersey at the neck, waistline and cuffs. I’m so excited to wear it. I think I need to arrange to go to another Rolladisco. It would be absolutely perfect attire for that. For the moment, I’m happy to take it out of my wardrobe once a week for a look and a feel. I’m just glad that I own it.

I’d say that was pretty restrained as love affairs go, wouldn’t you? More to do with the fact that I haven’t come across more black chiffon delights in my travels. If I had, I can’t guarantee for sure they wouldn’t now be in my wardrobe! It’s weird how we change. Everything for a season. There’s been lace, velvet…and now this. Although lace and velvet still feature too…you never let go of your first loves…

Anyone else in the middle of a love affair with a particular fabric or style or colour? Something you’re drawn to in a fashion store, something you can’t resist touching or trying on or buying….?

PS: I know the photos don’t do the garments justice. Chiffon is an awful fabric to get a good image of for anyone, I think. Feel free to take a picture of me wearing one of these three items and I’ll get that uploaded instead!

Name: Barbara Turnbull 

Business: Shyloks Beauty

How did you first develop a passion for what you do?

I developed my passion for beauty as a young girl. I loved painting nails and playing with make up. Family and friends always thought I had a talent and encouraged me to study beauty therapy at college.

What were you doing before?

During college, I worked at Pizza Hut as a waitress. I also worked in a salon during college for work experience. Once qualified with NVQ level 2, my friend offered me a job at her salon for a couple of days per week, which worked perfect as I had a baby boy. This helped me to provide for my family and also keep doing a job that I loved.

What gave you the courage to step out and do your own thing and what have been some of the struggles along the way?

I worked for my friend for a few years and also went back to college to achieve my NVQ level 3 qualification. This was difficult: working more hours, going to night school, having course work to do and also juggling being pregnant with my second child and being a mother too. Once I was qualified, my friend who I worked for became pregnant herself and she decided to leave the salon once her baby arrived. She offered me first refusal to take over her business. I couldn’t believe it. It was so exciting and so scary at the same time. I’ve owned the salon for 10 years now. How time flies! It’s just a joy to do something you have such passion for and having the chance to make a living out of it is just amazing.

What do you love about what you do?

The thing I love most about my job is the clients that come into the salon and the relationship I’ve built with them -just listening to the things that go on in their lives whether it be good or bad and making them feel good about themselves while having their treatments. I love to see a bride smile when she sees her wedding make up for the first time and being a part of the preparation of her wedding day. I can honestly say I’m truly blessed as I am doing my dream job that’s just perfect for me.

What’s made you feel proud of what you’ve achieved?

I am so proud of what I’ve achieved since leaving school. I found all of the practical side of becoming a beauty therapist really easy and enjoyable. However, the theory side of things I really struggled with. I’m not that academically clever. There was a lot to learn about the anatomy: layers of the skin, muscles in the body, the skeletal system, lymphatic drainage system etc. We also needed to know all the contraindications to each treatment. It took me a little longer to manage to complete this but I did it. I’m also so proud of the fact that my business is still going strong since I took over 10 years ago.

What would you say to another woman contemplating doing her own thing?

Believe in yourself,. Just try and see what happens. Have faith, take a chance and never look back. Don’t be scared to fail. You never know what’s possible unless you give it your all.

I’ve just read ‘The Glass Castle’ by Jeannette Walls. And I absolutely loved it.

If you plan to see the film, I urge you to read the book first. I cannot imagine how the film could possibly even come close to the book. It’s all about the tone, you see. The story’s told – this true story that cannot be true and yet is – by a daughter. A young daughter at the start of the book – an unreliable narrator who doesn’t know any different and who thinks that she’s living a normal life. Why wouldn’t she? It’s all she knows. As she grows older, she begins to see that her life is not a normal one, if there is such a thing. But she is loved, particularly by her father: affirmed by him, even though he’s a drunk who struggles to ever hold down a job.

And so Jeannette writes about her childhood with affection. It’s not all bad. Some of it is pretty bad, but these kids are so resilient and have been raised by their mother with immense self-confidence that they will always find a way to survive. But some of the time, life with her parents is wildly exciting. Her mother is like a child herself, living every day with a sense of simplicity and wonder. She remains an enigma to the end: it really is as if she chooses to live the way she does – and to make her kids endure the harsh consequences of her decision.

If you were to see the young Jeannette with her dirty clothes rifling through the bin at school to find food to eat, you’d be quick to draw conclusions about home life and her parents, I’m sure. We all would. We would never expect to find a mother who loves to paint and read and write, a father with an incredible mind and scientific knowledge. Society wasn’t made for people like this. They don’t care enough about what other people think. They despise conventionality and refuse to live anything resembling a ‘normal’ life. They don’t ‘care’ for their kids in a conventional way – they don’t even meet their basic needs. But they do care: they’re proud of their kids as they grow up and make their own way in the world. They want to be near them, to support them as best they can. These are not selfish people: misguided maybe, damaged themselves most probably, but generous and open-hearted and brimming with optimism.

The glass castle becomes a symbol of Jeannette’s dad’s dreams of a better life  – a wonderful structure created and designed entirely by himself that will never, ever be built. A symbol of that drive that affirms that life can be better than this.

I have to admit that I could see myself reflected in this style of parenting at times. Not on the same scale of course, but I found myself understanding what it is to get engrossed in a book and forget to pick the kids up, to write rather than clean the bathroom, or to shake out a shirt in the morning rather than ironing it. I don’t care enough about conventional standards either, I don’t think. But I do know how to laugh with my kids and enjoy spending time with them and make an adventure out of nothing…and maybe these things do count for something in the end.

This is a beautifully written book, which is why you need to read it rather than watch the film. There’s a warmth that I can’t begin to describe. A horror too, but an admiration for Jeannette and her siblings who find a way to make this life they were born into work. It must have taken a huge amount of courage for adult Jeannette to write this book, so that everyone will now know the way in which she was brought up and the the way her parents continued to live after the move to New York. I hope she’s been met with the understanding and admiration she deserves.

It’s an incredible story, yes, but it’s not just a story. It’s a life, a life that Jeannette and her family are still living.

That’s why we all need to treat it with respect.