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New Online Shop

hummingbird cushion

This week I am proud to announce that I launched my new Drawn to a Story online shop!!

And I couldn’t be more proud.

This is big.

It’s been a dream of mine for three years.

So what was the dream?

To provide a range of products and gifts that help people feel seen and heard in their global lives.

Like any spectrum, there’s the full gamut of experiences in the global community. I refer to the shop being for people who ‘Struggle, Survive and Thrive in Expat Life, and for those who love them’.

As someone who’s moved through ‘Struggle’ (not so elegantly) into the more stable, but not easy ‘Survive’, and now very happily sitting in ‘Thrive’, I want to help.

I want to help people feel validated in their experiences.

I want to let them know they are not alone.

I want to offer them a sense of belonging.

So…. I now have an online shop.

WE, the expat community now have an online shop.

All the products are themed to expat life, third culture kids, global nomads. They speak our language and they hold up a mirror to us to see our lives reflected and celebrated.

The drawings come from my book, Living Elsewhere.
It’s been a real joy to use them to spread the love more widely.

One of the nicest things about creating something new is that you also get to establish your own ethos.

You get to choose to live your TRUTH every day.

This is mine.

It’s important to me to run Drawn to a Story with these values at its core.

Body Size

I am passionate about clothes being accessible. I want more equality within diversity. Here, each size within a clothing product is the same price.

Just Clothing

Gendered clothing reinforces sterotypes, social conditioning and limits personal expression. In my store, there are no genders. Clothes are just clothes.

Change for Good

I aspire to make positive change and create a better future together. Each year, I donate 3% of shop sales (in 2020 up to £200) to a charity of my choice.

Passionate about Products

When you buy a gift, you want it to be just perfect. If there are products you wish were in the shop, but aren’t, please let me know.

Dreams are not made by one person alone

Like the saying, ‘it takes a village to raise a child‘, so too does it take a village to raise a shop.

I could not have achieved this without support.

Angie – My wife. My support in every way possible. This is the woman who encourages me to follow what feeds my heart and soul. She brings me cups of tea and coffee when I’m working, smiles at me when I’m stressed and is so incredibly thoughtful. On Sunday night, I worked all night to make sure the shop was ready to launch on Monday. She stayed up night too to support me, so I wasn’t doing it on my own. Isn’t that amazing? Thank you for everything!

Naomi Hattaway – From I am a Triangle.
Without Naomi, I would have a book and I wouldn’t have created Drawn to a Story. At one of my lowest points, I was desperately trying to find purpose amongst feeling lost. I had an idea to create a book of drawings about expat life. I mentioned it to Naomi and she said, “What a wonderful idea. Go for it.” Her immediate support gave me the push to leap forth. She kindly gave me feedback on every single draft cartoon, promoted my work and was constant support through the process.

Sundae Schneider-BeanIntercultural Strategist and Solution-oriented Coach
Not only is Sundae a dear friend, but working with her has revolutionised my work life. I hired Sundae to help me ‘go up a gear’ professionally. Through our coaching sessions, she helped me to realise my potential and develop strategies to move forward. Sundae had a wonderful way of getting to the nub of my struggles through a beautiful mixture of candidness and compassion. With Sundae’s help I’ve been able to imagine and create a future where I am living with purpose and fulfilling my dreams. Thank you.

Jerry JonesThe Culture Blend and Expat Up
In 2018, I met Jerry at the Families in Global Transition conference in The Hague. The night we met, we talked for four hours. It was a conversation that changed both our lives. We came back to FIGT the following year to present our story, Unlikely Connections: The Baptist and the Lesbian. Jerry helped me to realise that I had something to say and reminded of the importance of sharing your truth, because you never know who needs to hear it.

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. You all mean the world to me.

All that is now left to say is, please take a look at the shop
I hope that you find products here that you love AND also products you want to give to the people that you love.

Cath x

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Vamping the van

I’m watching an ambulance. It’s just pulled up to a neighbour’s house.

The two paramedics put on their personal protection equipment (PPE) in the road whilst the carer at the house opens the door.

Coincidentally, two houses down, another carer arrives. She stops at the front gate to get dressed into her PPE – a plastic apron, gloves and mask. Only then does she enter the premises.

This scenario, which played out over 10 minutes is no doubt replicated countrywide and the world over at the moment. Ambulances are a reasonably regular visitor to that house, so a normal circumstance perhaps, but made extraordinary by a global pandemic.

Why extraordinary?
Because whilst the rest of us are learning to stay well at home, there’s a band of key workers learning to stay well whilst working.

Drawing out an extraordinary story
Three weeks ago I wrote a blog, What takes you to look at the world differently? in which I explore how we respond to remarkable encounters, especially ones that take you by surprise.

We need an outlet to process what we experience – a chat with friends? Writing in a journal or meditation perhaps?

At times like this I wonder about the medical and funeral staff. I wonder about how they process what they are experiencing. They are under no illusion about who they are or what they’re role is.

I know undertakers who refer to their clothing as ‘the black armour’ and others who come home, make a cup of tea and have a good cry in the bath.

We all find our way. As you’d expect, I process through illustration.

And so begins my next project…..

Vamping up the Van

This is my wife’s work van. It’s a bit problematic with a dodgy battery, a sticky lock at the back door, a fan that only blows on the windscreen and not on your face, until it’s summer when it decides to blow a year’s worth of dust into your eyes.

It is also a fantastic blank canvas.
A big one too!

I’m dedicating the ‘van canvas’ to all the key workers who are working in difficult circumstances and allowing the rest of us to stay home and stay well.

This is the beginning of my thank you.
…and it’s incredible what’s already happened as a result.

I love the power of illustration. So much.

It all started with a heart for the National Health Service (NHS). The van is currently parked outside our house. Our 90 year old neighour who is cheekily good at flirting with me, came out to chat. He saw the heart with the NS [his own initials] and asked if it was for him. He wanted a photo together under it.


It ended as a rainbow thank you as is the vibe here right now. Rainbows fill front windows everywhere thanking the NHS and giving fun things for kids to spot when out walking. Several people walked past me and said, “OH I LIKE THAT!”

The key workers themselves started to appear. This side of the van facing the road, encouraged conversations with people walking past. Here we have the beginnings of a police officer, doctor, nurse, carer, funeral director and a firefighter.

vamping the van

As I coloured up the illustrations, more and more people stopped to talk to me.

A few cheeky comments like, you missed a bit! interspersed amongst the dominant –  a lot of positive words, That’s great.Keep up the good work! I love that! That’s so cool!!

Some folk came past several times to check my progress.

With my back facing the road, I heard a woman say, Oh wow, thank you. She sounded like a professional insider to me. I turned and said hello.

She pointed at the NHS heart and said, It means a lot. That hit me. It turned out that she’s a nurse on the COVID ward at our county hospital. She talked about the people they’d lost and told me that they receive a lot of verbal abuse.

Their administration have told them not to wear their uniforms in public.


She continued, It helps to know that people really do care.

Her comments winded me; the desperateness of the situation and the power of what a simple illustration can do.

As I got to the funeral director, I knew I wanted to model him on someone we know who is finding it hard at the moment.

Not being able to care for families with a hug, a warm touch of a hand on a shoulder or any other personal comfort, hits emotionally when they know how much of a difference it makes.

The picture brought tears to his eyes and he told me how much it helped. Remarkable things are happening.

As a result of my illustration, some people represented on the van have even made donations to Captain Tom’s 100th Birthday walk for the NHS.

THIS is the calibre of our key workers

Here, they all are so far….

They are by no means finished. I have a lot of van left to fill.

When the sun is shining again, I will continue with shop assistants, bus drivers, paramedics, cemetery/crematoria staff, priests, postal workers, physiotherapists in covid wards, hospital cleaners, bin collectors, delivery drivers and anyone else that comes to mind.

Please let me know of any other key workers you know of.

They all deserve our thanks.

Cath x

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New Online Shop – Coming Soon !

I’m truly excited to announce that Drawn to a Story’s NEW ONLINE SHOP
is launching soon!

Since publishing my book Living Elsewhere, your feedback has been overwhelming.

Firstly, THANK YOU! I love hearing that the book is so well received!!! It really makes my day.

You are a genius, so subtly articulating what we feel but don’t find the words to express. Thanks and my deep recognition.
Please make volume 2!

(An expat in Sweden)

Even my kid looked into it and did not put it away. That is remarkable as he ‘hates’ expat things! He said it was really like that. So thank you for making this!
(An expat in Taiwan)

Lots of you have asked me for more illustrations and more products!
I have listened to your passionate requests and am thrilled to ‘give the people what they want’!

And so…. I am launching a NEW ONLINE SHOP.

What can you buy in the shop?
Mugs, journals, t-shirts, cards plus loads more – all featuring Living Elsewhere cartoons. You will also be able to buy expat/third culture kids/cross cultural kids themed items. We will also be adding to our collection regularly, so stay tuned for updates.

When will the new shop launch?
In March I’m presenting at the Families in Global Transition (FIGT) Conference in Bangkok. It’s such an incredible gathering of people living globally mobile lives. Check out Releasing the Spoon to learn how mindblowing and life changing my first conference was.

Sticking to the theme of ‘Releasing’ and FIGT, the shop will launch in the first week of March, right before FIGT2020 starts!

Follow us too – We will be posting all about it on social media in the lead up to Bangkok.

Interested in shop updates and exclusive products you can buy?
Subscribe to be the first to hear!
Bangkok is calling!
See you there!

Cath x