Feel Good

National Sickie Day? Not on our watch!

The first Monday in February is traditionally the day in the year which sees the highest number of workers call in sick. But here at HLN we’re about positive vibes only – here’s what just some of the inspirational innovators, artists, businesswomen and entrepreneurs we’ve been lucky enough to chat to love about their jobs

Written by High Life North
Published 31.01.2021

By Becky Hardy

‘This time in lockdown has changed my whole feeling about the job. I’ve always loved chatting, communicating and telling stories but being there for the listeners has become something else. You feel so much closer to them. It’s made me love what I do even more.’ – Vick Hope, TV and Radio presenter and author

‘I’ve met and worked with some wonderful people and feel very grateful for all that has come my way. I just love my job: supporting the team, finding solutions. In many ways, I feel I have only just come out of my apprenticeship. I charged out of the gallery at the TV studios the other night and barged straight into Robbie Williams and his gang on their way to set! I felt like such a prat, so I do still have to pinch myself!’ – Vicky Gill, Strictly Come Dancing’s costume designer

‘I love watching us make progress as a business and seeing how everyone in the HLN team contributes to that. We’ve made really fast progress in the last few months, which proves that teamwork really does make the dreamwork!’ – Laura Kingston of High Life North



‘I have a cracking job and I think you can always stay ambitious within a role that you are already in. Jobs can get stale if you’re not challenging yourself. In this job I have other opportunities, to help charities and to speak – it’s a great platform and it’s a job that allows me to have more than one role.’ – Carol Malia of BBC Look North

‘It’s actually non-stop – at the moment I’m working from around 8am–10pm – so my work/life balance is a bit out of whack! But I also feel like it’s not work, because I really enjoy it. I’ve been in positions before where it’s been relentless, whereas Saint Belle doesn’t feel like that. It feels like I would be doing something like this anyway. Whether or not I’d have set up the business, I’d still be researching the same things, looking for inspiration, I’d still be drawing and sketching, that wouldn’t change for me. So although I do work crazy days, I love it.’ – Isabella Dryden of Saint Belle

‘I’m incredibly proud of what I achieved last year. Despite the pandemic, it was one of my best international competitive track and field. I’m second of all time to Paula Radcliffe and competing with the best athletes in the world. I couldn’t have asked for much more. If I can do that this year – within a global pandemic – what can I do with everything back in place?’ – Laura Weightman, Olympic athlete


‘I love art! I do a lot of art at home and it brings me a lot of joy – and it also brings joy to my work to make things look beautiful. I really enjoy doing it and like that my products are a bit different from the norm. Of course, it would be easier and quicker as a business owner to make a product without that finesse, but I think that’s what makes Studio 28 special.’ – Naomi Longfield of Studio 28 Patisserie

‘I’m surrounded by a brilliant team who are flexible and committed to the company, so I always feel supported. I keep an eye on my team to make sure they’re all happy. When they’re not happy, I help them do something about it.’ – Angela Carney of Carney Consultancy

The people we meet do all sorts of different jobs, from police officers and teachers to financial analysts and librarians. Not all of them have creative or interiors-related jobs and some of them are renters, but they’re all really passionate about creating a beautiful home. I’m always amazed at people’s ingenuity and I’ve picked up lots of tips over the years. There’s usually a new idea to take away from every home we shoot.’ – Karen Wilson of Beautiful Homes In The North 

‘I love the community of businesses I get to speak to with my job. Working with all these amazing people in the North East – all the little independents, the makers and artists – it’s just incredible.’ – Molly Ashby of High Life North

‘No day is ever the same, as you can imagine! Taking artists and their fantastic imaginations and trying to insert them into a living, breathing city means you’re really thinking on your feet. But you come into contact with a really wide range of people, which is what I love about my job. And working in Durham is fantastic. It’s a beautiful city with amazing people who love the festival and want to be a part of it. It’s a real privilege to bring Lumiere to life there.’ – Kate Harvey of Artichoke

‘What is so important to us is our team – who are like a family – our customers and our suppliers. Without all of these lovely people, we would be nothing. When I walk into the shop on a busy Saturday and see happy customers and hear their amazing comments about the team and the shop, it gives me such a buzz.’ – Jennifer Horton of The Corbridge Larder


‘We have proximity to three fantastic universities creating thousands of talented graduates every year. Plus, you really can’t beat the willingness of people in the North East to help out and support you as an independent business.’ – Louisa Rogers of Trendlistr

‘You also feel like people want you to do well here in the North East, whereas in London it feels much more competitive. I think that’s what makes it special up here for me. When I started in Newcastle, I felt like people cared about getting good at comedy first and foremost, whereas when I moved to London I’d meet brand new acts who just seemed to care about getting on TV – I found that quite sad. If you’re a stand-up, above anything else you should have a real passion for those live gigs, even if you want to eventually move away from that. I do feel up here people truly have that love for comedy, which is so important to me.’ – Lauren Pattison, comedian


‘It was hugely exciting to build another business in lockdown, especially when the world seemed to have slowed to a halt and every part of normal life seemed completely uncertain. Having been there before with Unwritten, I was confident that we could make it happen, and it gave us the focus and drive we needed through what was a very tough time.’ – Lisa Eaton, Fabric Marketing Academy

‘When people first meet me, they always assume I do something creative and arty for a living. They always seem a tad disappointed when I tell them I’m in finance. I’ve no idea why either, I think it’s thrilling! I’m not even joking, I find the world of finance so interesting and entertaining and I love what I do. In fact, I’ve never been more passionate and enthusiastic about my job and the difference I can make to people’s lives.’ – Katie Crosby of KC Mortgage and Protection

‘I’ve supported individuals through depression, helped them explore their anxiety, provided relief around loss. I’ve guided people through narcissistic relationships, travelled with them through trauma healing and inspired and motivated others to start businesses. I really do adore the work I do in my sessions and I’m yearning to run some retreats again this year, so I’m just keeping my fingers crossed!’ Jasmine Dawes of Jasmine Dawes Healing

‘I started my blog back in 2018 after a friend encouraged me to do so. I initially did it with the intention of meeting more disabled people, as at the time I only had one disabled friend. The sense of community I found online was incredible. From there, I slowly started to realise that I had simply accepted the constant discrimination that had become a part of my life since becoming disabled. Slowly, I started to challenge my own acceptance of the way I was being treated by speaking out and challenging others to join me.’ – Emily Morison of Able Emily

‘I love how flexible my job is, and how it often doesn’t even feel like work as I’m writing about the things I enjoy and I’m passionate about. Most of all, I love how many interesting people I’ve met through writing – both peers and people I’ve been lucky enough to interview.’ – Jenny Brownlees, freelancer writer

‘I always cry when I do a staff review, because it’s so nice to hear how much they’re enjoying their work. We give them a lot of training and personal development, and if they’re having a tough time we like to have a chat with them about it. We want this to be a safe place to work and without those failures beforehand we wouldn’t have the knowledge to be able to run it this way.’ – Kimberley Cattin of West Barn Co.

‘Acting for someone during a divorce is so fundamental. In many cases, you’re fighting for a person to keep their home or their business, and to ensure that they have the requisite financial resources to, essentially, start a new life. I meet people at their absolute lowest point, but then I have the privilege of supporting them through to the next chapter in their lives. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions for them  – and often for me too!’ – Sarah Ward of Samuel Phillips Law


‘The whole I reason I left the BBC was because the Channel 4 show was coming from the North – and not the North West. There are load of people working on Steph’s Packed Lunch who now don’t have to go to London to work on a national TV show. You can really feel that in the studio. There’s a real mix of people from all over the place and behind the scenes, there’s a good vibe. Every celeb or guest who comes on the show comments on the atmosphere and it’s because of happy people enjoying their jobs.’ – Steph McGovern, TV presenter

‘My colleagues are my favourite thing about my job. I obviously love the work itself, but it’s being able to bounce off my team and see what inspires them that really gets me going!’ – Rosie Harrison of High Life North

‘There’s a real independent business community in Newcastle, and we just kept meeting people along the way who’ve joined us. I feel as if we’ve accidentally created a lovely micro-culture. We didn’t set out with the sole purpose to do that, but the sellers – or our ‘Fleas’, as we call them – are a wonderful group and we’ve become such a good team. Real, lifelong friendships have been made and sellers support each other 100%.’ – Jessica Penrose of Flea Circus

‘The biggest achievement in my career has been starting my own business and leaving a pretty secure job to give me the opportunity to help and support those that had done exactly the same – those who had chosen to create a business around their life, instead of a life around somebody else’s business. Now it’s on my terms.’ – Kirsty Holden, online business manager


‘This pandemic has demonstrated just how important the arts are to us all. We’re in a moment of personal and national trauma, really, and are turning to art as a way of finding some expression for deep, difficult and complicated feelings. I think that’s very much their role – art says things that we can’t in our ordinary language. It brings comfort and relief and addresses us and our secret selves in ways we absolutely need.’ – Professor Linda Anderson of Newcastle University

‘I run my own publishing imprint called Dark Skies Publishing and our family motto, something we always try to live by, is be kind and work hard. That informs everything that we do. You have to give back where you can, share what you have and try to be a good member of the community.’ – LJ Ross, author

‘One of the things I love most about my role is seeing my clients succeed. If I can help them achieve their goals, grow their business, or help them launch something that they never thought they’d have the time or the skills to do, that gives me so much satisfaction.’ – Michelle Stead of SRM Virtual Admin

‘I get to learn something new every day with my job, which is amazing. I love being able to chat to so many different people from different backgrounds, who are all so passionate about what they do. It really inspires me and pushes me to keep giving my best.’ – Becky Hardy of High Life North

‘I feel incredibly privileged to do my job. Aside from the health correspondent role, I do quite a lot for the network because I work weekends and have done stuff for the 6, 10 and 1 o’clock news and the Today Program. I think I’m in quite a lucky position to be able to be really solid here in the North East but also work for the networks. As long as I can keep getting network access and show off our region and its amazing people, then I’ll be happy.’ – Sharon Barbour of BBC Look North


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