Emma's home fragrance range, Elsie & Tom was born out of the second lockdown and a continued journey with essential oils as part of her recovery from a stroke, aged 41. The business is named for her two children who prove a constant source of inspiration and pride. She talks to Gina Long...

What is your connection to East Anglia?

I’m a born and bred Suffolk girl.

What is your East Anglian heaven?

The water. I love being so close to the sea and we have some amazing lakes (Fritton Lake) and rivers which keep me grounded and energised.

What is your East Anglian hell?

I hate it when the Orwell Bridge is closed – it causes havoc and disruption for everyone on the roads, and congestion prevents us getting out of the house.

What are your favourite East Anglian restaurants?

Studio Flex for its amazing healthy breakfasts and lunches.

What’s your favourite East Anglian landmark?

Pin Mill – you've got the tranquillity of the river and the fab food at The Butt & Oyster. It's a brilliant place to walk the dog, get a bit muddy and enjoy a plate of fresh sea food or chips.

What’s the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year?


What's your specialist Mastermind subject?

Ancient Egypt.

What is always in your fridge?

Real butter.

What’s your simple philosophy of life?

Don’t let the haters get you down.

My daily mantra ‘Wellness Boosted by Nature’ has not only helped me in my battle with chronic fatigue but is now helping others to enjoy the power of pure fragrance.

What’s your favourite film?

Le Grand Bleu (aFrench film you must see).

What was your first job?

Working for estate agents Gobbitt and Kirby at 16 as the photocopy girl. I gave Terry Waite property details when he was looking for a home and I was star struck.

Give me three words that describe you

Determined, optimistic and creative.

What is your most treasured possession?

My Takeshi Yasuda (a revered Japanese Potter) Sansai glaze, milk jug and teacups. After attending his workshop at University, I cheekily asked him, much to the dismay of my fellow students and tutors, if he did student discounts. Surprised by my question, he obliged, and I am lucky enough to enjoy them still to this day.

Who do you admire most?

Anyone who has overcome adversity and keeps on going.

What is your biggest indulgence?

A massage once a week and cake. But not at the same time!

What do you like about yourself most?

I’m a solution finder. Give me a challenge and I will make it work.

What’s your worst character trait?

Rushing and lack of focus on detail. Be quick, be brief, be gone! It’s the best way to keep me interested.

Where is your favourite holiday destination?

Portugal – I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time in Portugal as a teenager, so it’s very close to my heart.

Best day of your life?

The day I met my husband. He’s my grounding and our life’s adventures together have been fun and chaotic in equal measure.

What’s your favourite breakfast?

American pancakes, bacon, and maple syrup and oh go on throw in a banana.

What’s your favourite tipple?

Amaretto on ice.

Do you have a hidden talent?

Being able to sing…according to my daughter, who really can sing!

What’s your earliest memory?

Being in my cot and crawling over the top, to get out of it.

What would you like played at your funeral?

Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber.

Tell us something people don’t know about you?

I trained as a ceramicist at Edinburgh College of Art and I had a stroke when I was 41, that left me for a short time without speech or sight and I had to use a Zimmer frame to learn to walk again.

What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?

'I’m sorry he’s gone’, referring to my father who died when I was 11.

Tell us why you live here and nowhere else

Friends and family. We have a group of friends that I have known since I was a teenager. We have laughed, loved, and lost together and that bond was the reason that my husband and I moved back from New Zealand some 19 years ago.

What do you want to tell our readers about most?

A stroke can happen to anyone of any age. Don’t think it’s a condition reserved for the elderly. Remember stress can be a killer and in my case, I am lucky enough to have survived my stroke, but it has been a very hard and challenging journey learning to walk, talk and see again. To be left living with chronic stroke fatigue and psoriatic arthritis that is most of the time crippling is frustrating, but it’s one of those things that will not stop me. Out of all of this, I have found a new path with my fragrances that not only boost my own wellbeing, but that of others, who need a bit of relaxation or energy through the power of fragrance, it is more than rewarding. elsieandtom.co.uk

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