My daughter wants to be an actress. Words that should strike fear into the heart of any right thinking parent. I've gently tried to discourage her from what I perceive as a harsh life, but she comes alive on stage and has held on to this ambition to the exclusion of other childhood dreams. Luckily my daughter is only seven and there is plenty of time for sense to prevail, but were she to continue on her path, what should she know?
Meditation is not a religion. Nor is it a tradition involving levitation while sitting cross-legged on the floor pretending to be an all-knowing master of the universe. Meditation, sometimes disguised as boredom, slows our breath, lowers our heart rate, relaxes our mind and provides space for self-exploration while restoring our natural energy.
We live in a hugely connected world but our points of reference can still be quite limited to the English-speaking world. Through programmes like YCE, the British Council can identify what's going on outside the confines of the usual places we look to. We connect our global entrepreneurs with the UK and with each other, and sow the seeds for international knowledge sharing and collaborations.
A former boss of mine had a habit of saying 'women can't tell jokes and women can't do creative'. He was referring to creating advertising ideas, when he said this but he could have meant anything creative, even cooking. Actually, he was including cooking: 'all of the best chefs in the world are men' he would also remind us.
The main secret I learned was there's no escaping the fact that the key to getting a book written is hard slog. But if you're going to do it, you may as well do it with copious amounts of cake and good company. I'm already planning my next escape, even if it does mean working on another novel to justify it.
It's a mixed bag of beautiful and not so beautiful people, deals, schmoozing, ego inflating, celebrity spotting and awards, with one of the chicest backdrops in the world. A global telecoms client of mine recently laughed as he found the fact there was a multi million pound festival built around people congratulating themselves for being brilliant, was quite absurd!
The most interesting people I met were the children. Most were too busy having fun to notice or realise that they were in a place of learning, while others paid close attention but still enjoyed what was being taught. Perhaps it was due to the efforts of the Outstanding Ofsted rated school that realised this.
I am glad to see that today, many people find, as my family did on our smallholding, that growing your own food is a very satisfying and creative way to live. In the town of Todmorden in Yorkshire, for example, the 'Incredible Edible' project has encouraged a revolution in community food production, growing food in public spaces around the city.
To a great number of people, philosophy has become obsolete; to others it's mind-numbingly boring; to others it's incredibly confusing and too hard a subject to get around. The latter two may certainly be correct, depending on your own opinion; however the first one, the idea that philosophy has lost its purpose, most certainly isn't.
At the Crafts Council we believe that it's absolutely vital that we not only have a strong relationship with the craft organisations of other nations but that we also make sure we're exporting the products, skills and ideas of the best of the UK's makers to new places, opening up new opportunities and showing the world quite how good we are at making things.
"I could have done that". The usual utterance when observing a piece of contemporary art. In fact, it's these five words that create the hostility and scepticism towards modern and abstract that we see today. Is this hostility justified? Only if you've got a reason beyond the fact it's within your capabilities.