The one thing about being self-employed is that you don’t have a big work Christmas party. Since I grew up in Australia where seasonal festivities aren’t such a big deal, I don’t mind all that much – heck, I can remember working at least two of them. Anyway, a client turned friend, Heather, works with lots of small companies and got a bunch of us together for a Christmas meal tonight in Covent Garden. About 24 of us introduced ourselves – including two self-proclaimed ‘geeks’, the Style Bible London writer, the Babes with Babies founder, a women’s evening and bridal wear designer and a tailor. There was serious discussion about the merits of steamers – commercial and domestic – and their joys compared to conventional irons (I’m a complete fan – halves ironing time). I also got to meet Heather’s husband Ian for the first time – he’s a honey and apparently a backgammon fiend.

What was also interesting was that at least two of the women at tonight’s gathering were wearing large, bejewelled-style pendants. Nothing unusual in that, except that I had started the day with the Hans Holbein exhibition at Tate Britain – and as well as seeing his well-known portraits, he’d designed a great deal of jewelry for London goldsmiths. Among these were many pendant designs in extremely intricate detail – so beautifully done you expected that some of the design had been mirrored using computer design software – but no, this is from more than 400 years ago.

Another thing about the Holbein exhibition was the number of miniatures that he painted. These are circular portraits about two inches or so across … the kind of Renaissance version of wallet prints. They were stunningly beautiful.

A few of Holbein’s smaller wall portraits also had been done as gifts for men in King Henry VIII’s court before he was employed as a court artist – so good PR and building your personal brand seem to have been going on for quite some time!