Bella with the lovely Nathalie
Wednesday was the night of the Exhibition to celebrate the life of my cousin Sam Archer-Fayet and to raise money for SMArt. We made the executive decision to take Bella with us even though it was a school night as a) I wanted her to see Mummy’s work and b) I wanted to introduce her to the excitement and sparkle of a razzle dazzle night in a safe, controlled way..
It was a sharp contrast to the previous week when Bella and I had argued at her school – it had been a bleak, stormy autumn night – the first night where it was dark by the time it came to picking them up from their after-school clubs which I hadn’t anticipated so we had no lights for our bikes which meant walking them home and to top it all, it was raining. Halfway home Bella announced she’d left her PE bag behind in the drama room with her school uniform and school shoes in. Disaster. We went back. Rather than face the hassle of locking up the bikes again, I asked Charlie to wait with them whilst Bella and I dashed into school – I would then wait in the hall where he could see me, whilst Bella ran and got her bag. ‘Off you go’ I said, ‘But I don’t want to’ said Bella.’Come on – I’ve got Charlie outside in the dark and rain and I won’t know where your bag is.’ Reluctantly she went. Then came back with no bag – ‘There’s a class in the drama room’ ‘Well, knock on the door’ ‘I can’t, I can’t’ By now I was fuming…so I explain to Charlie and march her off to the drama room, knock on the door, say ‘I’m sorry to interrupt but can my daughter grab the bag she’s forgotten’ then gesture to Bella to go inside. ‘I can’t, I can’t’ says Bella, backing off down the hallway. I turn into a towering inferno of mummy-rage. ‘IF YOU DO NOT GO IN THEIR RIGHT THIS MINUTE BELLA BENTLEY THERE WILL BE NO POCKET MONEY FOR A MONTH.’ A teacher came out and handed me the bag..
But I was so livid I couldn’t speak to her for an hour..it touched a real parenting nerve..the philosophy of our house is that confidence, self-respect and manners are the cornerstones – even more important than good grades. This episode put a shining spotlight on some seriously wonky foundations that I had no idea were there. I hadn’t handled it well either..so when I’d calmed down we sat down in my study so I could explain why I felt so cross and disappointed. It’s not an easy subject..but I wanted her to know that at some point we all feel shy or scared of a situation but it’s the way we deal with it that matters. We came up with three coping strategies:
1. Rehearse what you’re going to say for both a positive and negative result and always be very polite – it always gets you so much further.
2. Think of the most confident person you know and pretend to be them.
3. Worse case scenario, imagine the intimidating person in their underwear..
Fast-forward to Wednesday night and Bella was asked if she would choose the numbers in the raffle.
She did a brilliant job – cool as a cucumber, confidently reading the numbers out to a full gallery of adults..I was so impressed..she got the biggest bear-hug afterwards and she whispered in my ear..’I remembered what you said’…
My picture also sold..so a top night all round. One I won’t forget in a hurry..
Laters, Kate x
December 26 2014 marks the ten year anniversary since the horror of the Boxing Day tsunami in which my cousin Sam Archer-Fayet and her baby daughter Ruby Rose tragically lost their lives.
As a way of marking this anniversary and celebrating Sam’s life, her sister Nathalie is holding a very special exhibition in their memory: She’s conjured up a whole cornucopia of artist’s and musicians to produce work to capture and treasure Sam’s spirit: On the night and just for one night, they’ll be an intimate short film shown, shot by Sam herself in the late nineties when she was working in the thick of the fashion world, showing a glimpse of life behind the scenes at some of the most glamorous catwalk shows including her friends and icons such as Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Esther de Jong, Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffer and John Galliano. Freeze-frame images will also be exhibited as part of the on-going exhibition. My youngest sister, Harriet will be performing with her group Kosmos, as well as performances by Lisa Billson and Nina Walsh, Somethin’ else and Martin Beck. And if that wasn’t enough, they’ll be an auction including a signed print from Charming Baker, dinner for 4 donated by Anthony Usher at the renowed Clutch restaurant, a signed photo by famous photographer Richard Young and a lot more besides…all proceeds from the exhibition will go to raise funds for the SMart Network giving them much needed funds to support homeless and socially excluded people through creative arts.
So if you’re in London or can get to London on Wednesday 12 November the event is being held at the Seven Dials Club in Covent Garden at 42 Earlham Street, WC2H 9LA – just email your name to firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm your attendance…
Nathalie also asked if I would paint a picture of Sam for the exhibition…mainly because of the kids, it’s been a long time since I’ve painted anything and I will confess, it has been one of the hardest paintings I’ve ever done, not only because it’s Sam, but I wanted it to truly represent her as well.
The background to the picture is a collage made up of both photos of Sam and quotes or words that I felt resonated her vibrant character. The idea was that from a distance it’s Sam..up close it’s what made her who she was..and each time you look, you should see something different.
I’m at the stage where it’s almost finished..but I can’t stop tinkering..it’s even changed from this photo..but time is starting to run out…
Laters, Kate x
Proud mummy/cousin moment: My lovely daughter, Bella modelling t-shirts designed by my beautiful-inside-and-out cousin Nathalie. I’ll write a longer post when Naths has her full e-commerce site up and running but until then check out her Facebook page because Naths is one of the amazing people of this world – I think all the products (not just t-shirts) she designs and sells are super cool..and this is doubled when you know her story, and the story behind the story.
Nathalie lost her sister, Sam and Sam’s baby daughter, Ruby Rose in the horror of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. As a way of grieving and celebrating her sister’s vibrant life, she started creating and commissioning art works based on the phrase ‘Sam says enjoy life’ to capture and treasure Sam’s spirit. These were then sold on behalf of the charity set up in their names.
Not only does this send a powerful message of joy over adversity, but many of Nathalie’s products are made by women’s charities, one of which is based in Barcelona and helps women recently released from prison by teaching them seamstress skills whilst earning a fair wage.
Love can be so many things.
So if the day is a downer, the suppers in the dog..or the dogs in the supper, just know that worse things can happen and take a step back..and enjoy life..because a certain person says so…
And believe me, she knows.
Laters, Kate x