Stars come in all shapes and sizes, from Hollywood to London, and from all cultures and backgrounds. Kim White is our own very special ‘star’ discovery, as a female entrepreneur from Hove in Brighton, who followed her dream as an inspirational woman in business.
Kim was brought up in a world of celebrity and show business, with her father David Courtney managing and writing hit songs for some of the top music icons in the country and launching careers in the 70s and 80s such as Leo Sayer and working with the late great Adam Faith.
But Kim wanted to follow her own path, and one that was as challenging as the music industry, in that she was a divorcee with three children and a woman in a predominantly male dominated environment.
After a difficult marriage and an even more painful divorce in 2014, Kim felt it was time to branch out on her own, using her previous 20 years’ experience in real estate, and with a strong vision for holiday lets. But she knew it would be hard as she was female, and had 3 children Callum 11, Alfie 6 and Jesse who was just 3 years old who were mainly in her care.
So, Kim approached her dad and asked his advice, who responded immediately, and encouraged her to get started on limited resources, whilst guiding Kim in the right direction. They created a logo as they both felt it was necessary to get the image of the Company right from the outset. They came up with the idea of a pink palm tree which was perfect for the beach location. Kim had fallen in love with the image as soon as she saw it, as it was Miami retro style which is like Brighton and also had a holiday feel to it which was appropriate for the vision of her Company.
‘We knew of this office that was right on Hove seafront and was perfect location for Holiday Lets.
I wanted my Company to be different and stand out as the city of Brighton has fierce competition with letting properties.
So, I went with my gut and knew that being in Hove it would not compete with the Stag and Hen parties, but set out to attract families and couples, people in-between homes and those on business trips.
Hove has a vibrant community and gorgeous wide spaces, with Hove Lawns and an array of stunning properties, some of which are listed buildings.
It was not all plain sailing initially, but I finally got my own office in 2015 which was just a shell. I came up against numerous obstacles, including being let down by builders and a leaky roof, but I ploughed my heart and soul into it, not to mention all available cash, and finally opened the doors in June 2016.
When I saw the sign erected outside the building with Westbeach Properties, it suddenly hit me that I had finally succeeded in getting my business up and running.’
But Kim was still not entirely ‘out of the woods:
‘I had started the business with maybe just 2 properties, so it was very daunting especially when you are sitting in the office on your own and the telephone does not ring.
There were many times I thought – what have I done, no income, money going out and a single mum of three on my own, but I told myself, ‘if you build it people will come’. Having said that I was determined to be there every day and stick with it.
I felt that regardless of the outcome, there is nothing worse than having a dream and not seeing it through. But the dedication paid off and after a lot of hard work and perseverance, I began to attract more clients.
My office is not a prime walkthrough area, but it is on the main Hove seafront that goes in and out of Brighton and people soon started talking about my neon Pink Palm Tree promptly placed on the rear wall in my office.
I now hear people tell me that they don’t always remember Westbeach Properties, but tap into the image of the Pink Palm Tree, which leads them to the Holiday Lets or Agent, and then my name pops up, which is great.
I now have a small team and the majority of my clients come to us through word of mouth. My motto is ’Treat people how you want to be treated’, and this is so true. I do feel we do go the extra mile with everyone and this is recognised now by so many of our clients. Trust is also very important and I feel we are a friendly team that work well and hope to expand to take others on in the future.
I feel blessed and grateful each day that we work in a lovely office just yards from the beach and I get to bring in my small dog Teddy into work with me too.
I also love helping people and offer a bespoke service, tailoring our clients to what they need, and holding their hands throughout the process to alleviate the pressure.
It has been a really exciting experience for me, and a worthwhile one, and I also have a new partner, Gary who I have been with for several years, as well as a thriving business. I am told I am living proof that dreams really can come true, and I believe they can if you really work hard and see them through to the end.’
So, if you have an idea and you want to follow your own passion, remember it is possible, even against the odds, and as in the case of Kim, she is living proof and a real inspiration.
Spinach & Parmesan Mini Quiches
Mostly utilized in Italian-themed dishes such as pasta or pesto, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is much more versatile though and can add unique flavour to all kinds of dishes. The strong flavour of fresh goat’s cheese and the umami flavour of Parmesan cheese enhance the eggs and spinach used in this recipe for Mini Quiche Tartlets exceptionally well. Paired with walnuts and seasoned with aromatic nutmeg, these mini quiches bring a flavour explosion to the taste buds. The size of these tartlets not only proves to be the perfect individual portion for an elaborate brunch with one savoury treat after the next, it is also ideal as a lunch treat, served alongside baby leaf salad or fresh rocket.
For 6 tartlets, ø12cm
For the base:
125g plain white flour
100g wholemeal flour
150g butter, salted (extra butter for greasing and for the pot)
1.5 tsp. baking powder
For the filling:
3 medium-sized eggs
150g fresh goat’s cheese
125g fresh spinach (approx. 110g after cooking)
50g walnuts, chopped
Salt, black pepper and ground nutmeg to season
Fresh rocket to serve
Olive oil to serve
What you’ll need:
Flat baking tray to carry the tartlet moulds
6 tartlets (ø12cm), ideally made from silicone (if moulds are metal, use butter for greasing)
Strainer or colander
Large spoon for stirring
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flours with baking powder. Cut salted butter into small cubes and add to the mixture.
- With your hands to knead the dough until the crumbs form a uniform mass. Divide the dough into 6 portions.
- Place the tartlet moulds on a flat baking tray. Press each dough portion firmly and evenly into the moulds. In case you use moulds other than silicone, grease them with butter first. Chill the pastry in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, wash the spinach thoroughly and drain by using a strainer or colander. Heat a pot with a teaspoon of butter. Add the spinach leaves and half a teaspoon of ground nutmeg. Cook the spinach for several minutes until the leaves are wilted. Let it cool.
- Prepare the quiche filling by combining eggs, fresh goat’s cheese and milk in a mixing bowl. Whisk the mixture thoroughly. Add a dash of sea salt, half a teaspoon of black pepper and another half teaspoon nutmeg to season.
- Chop the walnuts into small pieces and stir into the egg mixture. Add the seasoned cooked spinach to the bowl as well, but make sure to drain access water.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan, middle rack).
- Take the tartlets from the fridge and carefully fill them with the egg mixture.
- Bake them for 30 – 40 minutes.
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and a side of fresh rocket.
(Credit to: Castelli/Parmigiano for these beautiful recipes)
More than 20 years ago, when juggling a multitude of ‘strings to my bow’, I had a phone call from an Actor friend who was desperate to fill a teaching role at the City Lit in Public Speaking, as he had been offered a major role in a television series.
My buddy, who prefers to remain anonymous had been ‘filling in’ between acting jobs as he also had a teaching diploma, and now could no longer fulfil his course as a teacher, due to this incredible coup in his acting career.
At the time I was also in between acting jobs and was also a young parent, and so the opportunity was tempting but a bit scary. I was familiar with teaching, but had been trained alongside my acting course for far younger students and in drama, and so was also wary that his classes were adults ranging from 25 to 70 and were on a different subject altogether.
Encouraged by my partner, I agreed to take over my friend’s class, and with great trepidation took myself along to the City Lit and promised to ‘give my all’ to the very diverse group of individuals who I encountered in my first session.
The session was over an hour and a half, with a break in between, and I had little time to prepare, so decided that I would utilise all of my acting training. After all, Presentation and Performance skills are closely aligned, and so what could go wrong!
I veered between emotional recall, a device to relax and bring awareness to the student, and trust exercises, and then had a brainwave. I would get each student to think of an icon, either from history or a movie or television series they most admired, and deliver the speech as that person. It was a risk, and when they all went off for their break, I thought they wouldn’t come back. But they all did, and embraced it with open arms. I told them I didn’t expect perfection, and in fact encouraged them to have fun with it and send it up. The class ended on a high.
Fortunately, my theory was right, and the students loved every minute, so much so that the following week I was contacted by the Head of the City Lit Course Studies, and offered my own course. The feedback had been really good.
It was then I realised I had a talent for teaching this subject, and after all it was ‘giving back’ some of my own talent for performing that was inherent from childhood, especially having grown up in a world of entertainment.
At the time I was also studying psychology, and found it fascinating to incorporate the core issues around self-confidence with the ability to stand up and deliver a speech.
So I then decided to add this to my own curriculum, and the combination again proved to be successful, with students telling me that they had major breakthroughs with their delivery and ultimate self-belief.
The other revelation is that everyone of any age or gender has the ability to deliver a Powerful Presentation if they are given the tools to do so.
We may not all be Actors or Politicians, but we are all asked to speak publically at some time in our lives, whether it be when promoting a business, at our kids’ school or at a friend or family wedding. Speaking in public is also one of the top fear factors in many people’s lives, and I have found a way of helping people to overcome and manage nervousness in delivering a speech. Many of my more reticent students have gone on to be really strong speakers.
Mentoring in Public Speaking has now become one of my passions as well as performing and running my magazine and events business, and I dedicate time each month to help people Break the Deadlock to enable individuals to deliver a Powerful Presentation, which can be a life changing event.
If you have any reservations at all for sending your beloved dog to be looked after when you are working, we have made the discovery of a lifetime.
Doggy Fun Daycare is the brainchild of Nic and Gary Worthington, who have recently relocated to Norfolk, and with a plethora of land and a world of ideas for a new business startup, but they decided to follow their passion and have set up the most exquisite day care centre for dogs.
As Nic says ‘I am amazed how quickly it has taken off considering how many people are doing it! I think the videos really help as I have some really great dogs that are the stars of these hilarious clips. I have benchmarked other doggy day care websites and there is no fun to them! I think it also helps that we have a bespoke fully enclosed play paddock for them to run free and be nutters! The Client’s are updated throughout the day with the clips via WhatsApp so that they are not fretting as I used to do when leaving Tilly. Anyone holidaying in Norfolk too can drop off their beloved dog’.
Nic was already the owner of Tilly, a beautiful black Labrador, who really is her ‘baby’ and was quite apprehensive at first when considering how she would be able to look after other dogs as well as her own. But decided to give it a try and the rest is history with dog owners driving from far and wide to experience her five star doggy fun daycare.
Nic not only looks after the dogs with constant care and attention, but she makes sure they are stimulated with games throughout the day, as you can see from some of her videos, which we have all found both heartwarming and hilarious.
Her husband Gary joins in as much as he can on his free days from a job he has with the NHS, and so there is no love spared as the dogs delight in dedicated loving care and attention.
It is definitely the ‘soul’ project of the animal loving couple. So much so that local dogs who have spent just a day or so in their care can’t wait to get back, and have been known to try to break through the gate when passing by with their owners.
Nic has now added an overnight facility for dogs to board, offering the dogs a home from home environment with soft beds and sofas galore and we would recommend that you put your name down early wherever you are based, as she is guaranteed to be fully booked as news gets out of her exclusive doggy daycare facility.
Reasons to choose:
- Fully Licenced with North Norfolk Council
- Home from Home Environment
- 24 Hour Supervision
- Two Walks per day
- Bespoke Fully Enclosed Play Paddock
- Regular Photos and Videos throughout the day of your Dog via WhatsApp
- Love and Attention given to each dog