The Panelists
Mix & match our online workshops & panels to customise your day & bring the fun of a festival to the comfort of your home!
Keeping yourself sane & your kids entertained

Pumi is an incredible South African who has spent a lot of her life living in London.  She has done a whole range of different roles including some time working at the South African Embassy and most recently, as part of the founding team at an outstanding secondary school in Waterloo.  The one think that links everything that Pumi is involved in, is her incredible heart.  Everyone that crosses her path is blessed with the warmth that radiates from her.  She has raised the most incredible son.  If there were awards given to hero parents, Pumi would have won them all.  She is the true definition of 'warm and strict' & this has had a profound impact on not only her son but a whole host of young people that she has taken under her wing!

Pumi Dlova

Tom is a father to Leo (3 years) and Imogen (14 months), and lives in Central London. He currently balances his corporate career with parenthood and a growing list of half-finished projects. Having taken Shared Parental Leave twice, Tom is a strong advocate of the scheme, and in 2018 the family upped sticks and spent 15 weeks living out of a backpack, taking their then 8 month old son to Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Bali.

Aarthi is the most joyful person we have ever come across! Passionate about teaching life skills to students in India, Aarthi has founded an incredible organisation, 'LifSkool'.  The mission of Lifschool is to place mental health and well-being at the heart of every school in Kerala, India. A month before Lockdown was announced, Aarthi handed in her notice to work and was ready to pack her backs & head out to Kerala to launch her programs in a range of school settings.  She has done an phenomenal job of pivoting her business to offer online video resources that can be shared with families all across the world. She is currently working on a brilliant online summer camp for kids aged 9-12 based on improving confidence, communication and creativity!

Having worked in Early Years for over a decade and been the Headmistress of a top London nursery, Cerine became a mother herself.  She is passionate about sharing the scoop on all things babies and toddlers: from tips and advice for parents to activity ideas to keep little ones busy and learning! She runs messy and sensory play classes for babies and toddlers in London and has some amazing sensory kits on sale on their website.

Carly has worked in education for the last fifteen years.  She has founded an Outstanding secondary school, led the role out of a curriculum across 21 schools alongside managing the turn around of several challenging London schools and on top of that is an incredible mum to two little ones!  Anyone that has the opportunity to work with Carly, adults and young people alike, are left feeling totally inspired.  There is literally nothing that this one can't do!

Chair: Carly Mitchell
"The Pursuit of Happiness!"(Part 1)

Half English, half Mexican (with an American accent), Mariel has practiced ashtanga and vinyasa flow yoga around the world for over a decade.  Leaving behind her high powered and highly stressful corporate job that left her unfulfilled and unhappy, she achieved her life long dream of becoming a yoga teacher in the hopes of sharing with others the countless ways it has positively impacted her life. Mariel shares a passion for life coaching and nutrition that together with yoga have become the pillars for her business Mindful Sonder - a holistic approach to wellbeing.

Abigail loves beautiful details, inspiring business stories and bold entrepreneurs. Launching her digital marketing collective, "You & Me" Abigail has used her expertise (and obsession for creativity!) in design to support businesses to grow their brand!  She has been collating a "daily dose of happiness' that she has been sharing every morning to brighten the day of those that she works with & spread the word about brilliant brands that are adding a little sparkle to life!

Laura Kennington is a British adventure athlete, author and speaker with a passion for the endurance capability of the human body. Previous adventures include cycling all 1600 miles of the world's longest coastal route in Ireland, cycling Scotland‚Äôs North Coast 500 route, running the length of Fuerteventura (100 miles) in 4 days and circumnavigating three of the Channel Islands using three different sporting disciplines. Her most recent adventure saw her cycling 3700 miles along the North Sea-facing coasts of 8 countries, from Scotland to Norway!  Laura uses her human powered journeys as a platform to inspire and encourage others.

Amber Coster is Founder & CEO of Balpro. Before launching her own business she helped take a technology company from a $100m valuation to a $3.7bn acquisition but suffered from a [glorious] mental breakdown along the way. Learning from this experience and determined to help prevent others reach this same fate, Balpro helps organisations grow, but not at the cost of their employees. Balpro is born from The Balance Project and has been featured in The Times, BBC and the Evening Standard. Most recently, Amber worked with Channel 5 News to deliver daily mental health tips. Amber runs incredible workshops supporting mental health in the work place and offers 1:1 coaching to help individuals at risk of burnout to get a better work life balance.

Anna Morough cut her teeth in digital marketing at Google and YouTube eventually leaving the mothership to see what the start-up world had to offer. She is now Head of EMEA Marketing for InVisionApp, a digital product design platform. In a previous life she helped to launch The AllBright a members club for working women and ran FoundHER, The Festival of Female Founders and Congress London.

"The Pursuit of Happiness!"(Part 2)

Jo is a physiotherapist and a mum to two sons, Charlie (23) and Sam (19).  Having worked as a ski instructor and ski guide in the french alps and travelled for two and a half years in her 20’s, Jo made the bold decision to enter the BBC competition, 'Race Across The World'.  Accompanied by Sam they travelled from Mexico City to Ushuaia, Argentina armed with the cost of an aeroplane ticket & each other.  Sam is adopted and has FASD and ADHD and watching their journey together was truly inspiring. It is easy to tell how much she loves both of her sons.  Jo is currently writing a book about adopting and bringing Sam up.  Watch this space.

Joanna Gardiner

Charlie Hoare is an author, entrepreneur and life coach. Personal experience of depression and anxiety led him to write ‘MAN DOWN: A Man’s Guide to Mental Health’, which was published in March. He co-founded Tapped birch water having worked for Innocent Drinks, Air Asia and start ups in London, Hong Kong and Malaysia, from where he cycled the 10,000 miles home (perhaps ironically for mental health charity SANE!). He has a MSc in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology. 

Fiona is an artist turned flower farmer, owner of the Electric Daisy Flower Farm in Somerset.  The flowers she grows have turned out to be her paint and she uhe uses them as her artistic medium to create beautiful arrangements! Fiona and her team opened a flower shop in Hampstead in February this year.... sadly, due to the current situation, they then had to close it again in March! We cannot wait for it to reopen!

Founder of The Little Surprises Company, Hannah-Beth loves a good surprise! It was this love of surprising others that encouraged her to start Little Surprises.  Working as an Assistant Principal in a secondary school alongside running her business, Hannah-Beth has always been passionate about spreading joy to those around her - whether in school or outside of it!

"Our London List!"

Clare, a little vegan from London spends most of her time venturing around London on the hunt for the best vegan finds! From street food stalls to Michelin star restaurants, if there’s a vegan option, you’ll find her there! Clare is going to share a few of her favourite Vegan London Restaurants and tell us how she is getting her fix of these during Lockdown.

Emma is the founder of Little London Whispers, a unique city guide that opens the eyes of its readers to the best of London. London is one of the most dynamically creative cities in the world with an unmatched cultural diversity and scale. Driven by a passion to show London at its best, LLW constantly updates its website and Instagram with the latest theatre, exhibitions, markets, restaurants, shops and ideas for things to do, whether by yourself or with the family. Emma shares her thoughts and reveals hidden secret spots so that locals and visitors alike get the best out of this great city.  Check out Little London Whispers by clicking on the link below.

Dean John-Wilson shot to stardom in the early years of Britain’s Got Talent with a judge describing the ‘Tour de Force’ performance of a Miss Saigon classic. With unwavering dedication, he went on to graduate from the respected Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and began Musical Theatre work immediately with key roles in the number one national tour of Sister Act. He has also appeared in Songs From A New World at St James’ Theatre and From Here To Eternity on the West End. Screen credits include We Die Young (Amazon) and BBC Doctors (Guest lead).  Dean then starred as Aquino in Here Lies Love at the National Theatre and subsequently opened in the title role in the original West End production of Disney's Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre. 2018 saw Dean portray the role of Lun-Tha in The King and I at The London Palladium and most recently he featured in a New Year’s Musical Concert in Japan’s Tokyu Theatre Orb.

Lisa is an entertainer in London who loves our city. Lisa became an expert at finding great places to go on an unsteady income.  She loves exploring and connecting people to help them to have the best time.  A blog seemed like a perfect next step and so Lisa started "Eat Play London". A crusader for independent and small businesses, Lisa believes this is that what makes our towns and city truly unique and exciting. She is posting a daily Top 10 of things to do/visit/buy in London! It is amazing - definitely check it out.

"For the Love of Music"

Otty is a singer-songwriter who loves music and has been fortunate enough to share stages with Grammy & Brit award winners, perform at Glastonbury and even the Royal Wedding! When not working on his own music or chasing his 3 year old son around, he manages one of THE best music collectives called The SoundHouse Band.  He is also pretty handy with a basketball.

Dana McKeon is a Maltese singer-songwriter with a trick up her sleeve. She has received airplay on BBC Radio and various song placements in short films and on TV networks around the world. Being a versatile touring artist, Dana has performed at high-profile events for the British Royal Family and large-scale concerts such as MTV Music Week, the London Paralympics and Lovebox Festival. To date, Dana has featured with the likes of Bruno Mars, John Newman, Rudimental and James Arthur. Listen in to this panel to hear an incredible musical treat to your ears!

Adam Jackson is Head of Artist Booking at Sofar Sounds London. Sofar is a global movement that aims to bring the magic back to live music by putting on intimate shows all around the world. AJ spends his time scouting out and listening to tons of music looking for great artists that are a little under the radar!

Joel Bailey is an award-winning singer-songwriter based in North East London. A drummer from a young age, his music is influenced by his love of early soul, blues and jazz mixed with an adolescent obsession with Radiohead, Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley. Ever-present on the London singer-songwriter circuit Joel has also recently played several festivals, had 2 showcases at Rough Trade East and performed at The Roundhouse, Knebworth, The Natural History Museum, The London Olympics and for Sofar Sounds (London). Joel's music has been featured on BBC 6 music, BBC London TV & Radio, Amazing Tunes radio, in the Evening Standard and on Tom Robinson's 'Fresh on the Net'. Joel's song 'This Year' was recently selected by ReverbNation and The Abbey Road Institute to have the song recorded at Abbey Road Studios, which was nice.

© The Little Surprises Company 2020


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