Do you live alone?
No. I always have company unless I don’t want it. I am lucky, the kids next door come stay over sometimes too. They’re full of life and hugely free-spirited – often reminding me what laughter is. My staff chill with me and my family are often close. I’ve got four pets too. We always seem to end up back together, wherever they go, or in this case me.
What’s it like sharing your home with strangers?
I don’t see this as my entire home, only my bedroom. It’s like a cave – never tidy. I suppose the rebel in me defies my own space having to be immaculate. Home to me is being in some log hut on stilts talking with my bae.
Do you ever get scared knowing people have keys to the door?
Never. It would drive me insane to think that way. If someone meant me harm they could smash a window or boot in the door. So why worry about keys. I have had times where I’ve got mixed up with so many keys so I do get the locks changed as it feels like a clean slate, though. When I was homeless, for years I got publicly stalked on the internet by a mentally unstable famous guy and then his girlfriend joined in too. It was 24/7 while I was campaigning for animal welfare by myself. If I can survive that type of harassment a door lock is something I can deal with.
What pets do you have?
I’ve got two cats, they’re brothers aged nine. Tiger was nearly dead when I got him. Chief was the toughest of the litter. They sort of morph into one. I adore the cats. But they’re my sons cats, really now. As I left them with him when I moved out of his place during my time in Leeds, after losing my own home and then getting back on the property ladder. That’s a long story … But they’re back here now. With me. It feels good. Chief wanders around the hotel at night. He has invisible friends, I believe one of them is a white cat. Then there’s Percy the seagull (little bird) he is no pet, more of a Angel. I adore him so much, it’s painful.
We’ve read your reviews. Do you read them?
I don’t read them much unless I am alerted by staff or friends that tell me I should respond. I don’t care about bad reviews – although, it’s good to know how to improve – but I noticed some of the comments were not at all true and more of a reflection of how they felt about me personally. You just can’t please everyone, and none of us should want to, anyway. I try my best. I have bad days but mostly good. There’s a difference between constructive criticism and revenge. I suppose we live in the age of ‘keyboard warriors.’ Sometimes a person will just walk in and I say to myself, ‘here we go.’
When does the bar open?
The place is licensed and I am currently the premises license holder. It’s not something I ever wanted, to be fair. It’s when people turn up expecting to get all boozed out. I’d rather they went out to do that. I love to cook though, love making cocktails and sourcing good wine. But Blackpool is more about excess and I don’t do that. I’m no man’s slave or woman’s.
Why don’t you do stag and hen do’s?
I would do this. But as above. It’s the big drinking. Some people turn into dead weight fools after too many. I can’t handle it. But I want to do packages for hen parties where I offer entertainment, make-overs and good food, drinks etc. I love stuff like that. Love it when a group of women get together and put the world to rights. I’ve always held groups for women. It’s about making time but I feel focused.
Are you opening a new hotel?
Yes, and it is far more straightforward than anyone realises. I’d planned it out years ago, as it’s been my wish to do this, but I was unsure of the location. I’ve always chosen my street – although, this street chose me. So I keep my projects separate. My new project is my baby – it’s all of me. It will be completely different to what I have done with Golden Sands I am being heavily scrutinised, so it’s tough in some respects. I will NOT conform. I am my own person. Here is for the children and animals. Over the road won’t be. I have morals, I don’t quit. I keep building – but with truth and my own desire of how I like things done. It is never about money. I am not going to import the customers from here to over there. What would be good about that? It will have a different niche. Be excited – be prepared. I am about co-creation not destruction. To let things grow organically.
You are busy at Golden Sands you must be doing well?
Well I could be doing better if I pushed with the bar and food. But you get up, do breakfast. I am a control freak. I always cook breakfast. I have plenty of help, good reliable support. But I cook. You get busy and it takes until lunch time to get the washing up done, restaurant cleaned, tables reset etc. We are sustainable here – we wash up by hand most of the time. I hate dishwashers and we only use one when it’s manic busy and there’s not enough time. I hardly use a kettle too. We have little flasks for the tables to save on energy. Then you have to make sure everything in the rooms is ready for new guests. You sort of switch from one skill to another. I mess up sometimes because I love sitting with guests but then everything else builds up, so I have to try and be organised with time. I get tired in the afternoons as I don’t sleep well. I mood-board at night. I go all over the world in my head. I love to read blogs and look at art. So no. I don’t make loads of money. I don’t use my time well. I have a laundry service now. It costs around £5 to get all the bedding for just one bed changed – it’s cheaper than the price of electricity here, though. Then there’s overheads, bills etc. Crazy bills for so many things. Small businesses get hit hard. I don’t want to be rich on giving all my time. I like space – so I sacrifice a lot to get my time. I can be selfish with my time. Time is so important to me.
What do you hate most about public life?
People taking photographs of me covered in pet fur and baked beans looking washed out with no make-up on when you’re just living in your own world. Neighbours down the street who gang up on anything out of their mindset – it can be tough for others. But I have good neighbours at Golden Sands.
Are you writing a book?
It’s finished. I just need a few months to edit it etc. It’s got a lot of back orders. I feel stressed by it. A good friend has the entire copy. I trust her. She would do the right thing with it – no matter what. I hope to spend my older years writing, as more of a full time passion, but not now, not yet. I have so much more I want to do in the real world. I don’t have enough time here to write. That’s why I go away often. To find peace. To write. To work on videos and photography and to work on us.
Are you on social media?
I am probably popping up here and there. I work with different people with my photography, writing, street work etc. But I think unless you crave popularity and approval there’s no need for any of it that consistently. My works Instagram account is quite sporadic, random and often bonkers. But that’s who people are staying with – so what’s the point of hiding anything I want to share on Instagram? I like Instagram as a business model as I believe a picture paints a thousand words. It’s great for smaller businesses. I’ve even bought furniture directly from a photograph. You get what you want out of it without the idle and fake banter. I don’t look at all the hyped up stuff on there. It makes me feel small. I just look for what I need and it’s usually jars or bits of wood etc.
Will Golden Sands be open in the winter?
Yes but not so commercially. I will run workshops and package breaks. I am putting them together at the moment with Danielle who helps me in her spare time – she’s a legend who is probably the best hair artist I have ever come across. It’s more like a hobby at this stage. She’s studying business at university so I have a great platform for her future. I love to see women in particular shine through. I guess it’s cos I was a young working mum and always loved to learn. There’s no easy way to get on in life. You have to watch, listen, learn and collaborate. To share and be open-hearted. Although there will be disappointments, if you get one person who could become the next you, you’ve hit jackpot. I am lucky. I think I’ve gone off centre to the question again … Sorry.
Finally, where do you see yourself in one years time?
Still married to my goals. That simple.