Where in London do you live/work?
Home is Norfolk, but hybrid working brings me into London at least twice a week, where I am based in our brand-new HQ near Trafalgar Square.
What is your earliest memory of London?
Coming up to town for my interview at Central School of Art was daunting after a cloistered upbringing in Malaysia, followed by 10 years of boarding school in the West Country. London was vast and I got lost trying to find Oxford Street from Holborn. After over an hour of hopelessness going in the wrong direction, I bought an A-Z.
What makes London special to you?
London is like an addiction; it draws you in and you can’t imagine living anywhere else. It has everything. You can readily lose yourself and discover yourself in London, and I think a huge advantage is having a home in London to retreat to, as it can be exhausting.
How would you describe London in three words?
Endless. Exciting. Unforgiving.
What are some of your favourite places in the city of London?
The V&A, Japan House, Din Tai Fung, Michelin House (where I got engaged), Wellcome Collection, The Conran Shop, Liberty, Pavilion Road in Chelsea, Goldsmiths’ Hall and Hunan. To name a few!
What is your most treasured possession?
My bespoke engagement ring is clearly a treasure, though I also treasure a piece of artwork my daughter made me for my 56th birthday with 56 origami cranes – all painstakingly made with her own two hands. As much as the final piece of art is beautiful, I cherish the time during which we sat together and chatted as she fixed them all on glass, ready to go into the mount.
When it comes to Vashi jewellery, what piece or collection are you most proud of?
The collection that is still to come. I am always most proud of the work to come because it signifies the next step of the journey. Of the work that is in the collection now, I am most proud of the Leaf pavé ring, as it has so many gentle features that are combined to make an understated yet distinct engagement ring, which I know will stand the test of time.
What is your usual morning routine?
I like to kick off the day with a matcha latte and a cuddle with my Hungarian vizsla, Bunty. I’ll check WhatsApp and my personal email before a shower, and then the day is fully up and running. It’s important to keep physically healthy so I also try to exercise, which can mean yoga, a dog walk, or a bit of time in our very rudimentary gym if I am in Norfolk.
How do you maintain a good work-life balance?
Experience and maturity teach you to shut the door in your mind when you leave the office as much as possible, though it is not easy. I am lucky to live in Norfolk and work in London, so when I am in London the pace is fast with face-to-face meetings and back-to-back events, whereas working from home is less frantic and gives me time to regroup.
What’s the best TV show/podcast/book you have seen/listened to/read in the past six months?
I’m addicted to Audible and am currently listening to The Lives of Lucian Freud: Youth by William Feaver, which is enlightening. I recently listened to and enjoyed The Queen by Andrew Morton, as well as revisiting an old favourite, The Spy and The Traitor by Ben Macintyre.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
To believe in yourself. I think we are all guilty at times of being very hard on ourselves, lamenting on what we haven’t achieved rather than reflecting on what we have.
Discover how jewellery can tell a story by visiting the Vashi boutique at The Royal Exchange