Banana Chat – meet Sophie Frake

My name is Sophie Frake and since August the only word that I could think of to describe myself is a “mum”. But that would be wrong! I am a part time pet portrait artist who likes to dab in wildlife portraits, I love seeing the world and dancing to dubstep. I cannot sit still and in between working in the city, (trying) to complete a part time degree and doing my mum duties I head to the gym, do yoga, drink prosecco and go to bottomless brunches.  I have also been told I am super smiley.

What is your favourite joke?
Is it bad that I’m not really into jokes? I would much rather a comedy act. 

What makes you smile?
First thing in the morning when I go to pick my son up from his cot, he thrashes his arms around with pure excitement to see me. 

What is your favourite good news story?
When someone compliments the NHS/fire brigade/police. 

What inspires you?
Anyone that has a goal and strives for it. It’s so inspiring watching someone hit their goals, no matter how big or small as they all prove if you put your mind to it you can do it. 

If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
Money, no one should go without necessities and no one should have too many. If we didn’t have a sense of money, we wouldn’t have rich and poor. 

If you could have one superpower what would you choose and why?
I would like to read people’s minds, it would be so helpful when my baby is crying to know why, no more “is he hungry? Nappy? Hot? Cold? Cuddles? Wind?” 

What is your favourite food?
Spaghetti bolognaise caked in cheese, I’m pretty sure if you took my blood it would be made out of cheese. 

What is your favourite drink?
Milk (but I do love a pina colada) 

If you are going on holiday what luxury item would you take from home?
My kindle. 

If you could make one law, what would it be and why?
That no one can work more than 7 hours in their day, that way everyone gets the work life balance they deserve.

Give us a random piece of information about you that people wouldn’t know?
I am a grade 8 trombonist. 

What is your favourite phrase or saying?
Earth without art is just ‘eh’. 

What cause, project or event would you like to promote?
My art website that I have recently published. I draw commission pet portraits and sell prints and greeting cards of my wildlife pieces. 

Who is your favourite music artist?
Skrillex, or Goo Goo Dolls. Such different music genres but dependent on my mood I love them both.

Who is the person that you feel has shaped your life most?
I’m not sure there is one person, I think everyone I meet has shaped my life to where it is today. But the two that spring to mind are my mum; who has supported me through every decision I have made and has taught me she really is superwoman (after becoming a mother myself), and my mentor at work. My mentor taught me you can have a career and a wonderful family life too and gave me so many pregnancy tricks not sure what I would have done without her!

PJ’s or Not?

Hot or cold? Hot

Cat or dog? Dog

Blue or pink? Blue

Tea or coffee? Tea, never had a coffee in my life!

Glass half-empty or glass half-full? Half-full!

Pyjamas or not? Not

Night out or night in? Night in

Pizza or pasta? Pasta

Biscuits or cake? Biscuits

Wine or beer? Wine

Football or rugby? Rugby

Cinema or theatre? Cinema

Gym or TV? Gym

Naughty or nice? Naughty

Silver or gold? Gold

Tent or hotel? Hotel

Bath or shower? Bath

Starter or pudding? Starter

Sheets or duvet? Duvet

Love Island or Game of Thrones? Love Island

Finally, apple or banana? Apple (I’m allergic to bananas!)


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It’s starting to feel a bit like Christmas ……

Black Friday and the associated weekend has past and the first decorated houses start to appear. It must mean one thing that Christmas is fast approaching.

I love Christmas, I always have and I always will. However Christmas ten years ago changed the way I think and I thought I would tell my tale in the hope that maybe it can bring comfort to someone and help them in a positive way.

My mum passed away on Christmas morning back in 2008, we got the telephone call from the hospital at 4am that no one wants to get and I can remember driving there to be told my mum had passed a few minutes previously. That moment with my dad and my brother is one I will never forget. I was lucky I had family with me and lucky that we all had each other. That day passed in a blur, the children were younger and we wanted them to enjoy Christmas so we tried to make it as normal a day as we could. Christmas for us would never be the same.

The hype about Christmas adverts, shopping, presents is never ending but for me this isn’t what Christmas is about. Christmas doesn’t need to cost a fortune, a handmade card, a homemade jar of chutney, a daffodil bulb (they were my mum’s favourite!) in a pot, spending time together, a quiet moment reflecting on the true meaning of Christmas, a board game or just little family traditions. These are the things that make Christmas and create happy memories and for me are far more important than the materialistic ones. These are the things that make Christmas!! Count your blessings and look forward to the New Year with renewed vigour but never forget those memories!!

Ten years on, we still have daffodils in a pot each Christmas and that one pot sits near wherever we have our lunch. I know it isn’t mum but having that there brings some comfort to us. The robin in the garden, the feather drifting down from above, I am sure that these are signs being passed to us. So many people will be missing someone this year and nothing can change that but remember they wouldn’t want us to be miserable so if you can remember the happy times and the things that made your Christmas special and carry on making happy memories for the future generations.

What made me write this? I saw the advert that everyone is talking about. The advert that cost £50 to make and I think the words that made me think about our daffodils and things we do were “thank you for taking the time to remember me”. We all remember those, particularly at Christmas, that we have lost and we have our special way of remembering them. The advert made in 2014 by Phil Beastall has been viewed millions of times  and is called “Love is a Gift”.

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