Don't you just meet the most interesting people, with the most interesting stories in Dubai?! I don't even know where to begin retelling some of them.
Hatty Pedder left home and ran away to London in her teens. She promised her father she'd study a secretarial qualification, which she purposely flunked after getting herself in to St. Martins, London's pre-eminent art schools. She later fell in love with an Rob, an ad' man, married him and after having her first daughter, Poppy (now 25) at 22, they moved to Dubai. Since then, she had another daughter, Indigo (13), but so so sadly lost her beloved husband six years ago.
Poppy is now an actress in London - something which made had her father, a once aspiring actor, so happy. In Dubai, Hatty has managed to turn her commicaly unpractical ways and artistic talent in to an commercial career and an income that supports her and the girls. She works with lots of the region's biggest luxury brands (Piaget, Ralph Lauren, Cartier, Maserati), illustrating events live, as well as portrait commissions (individual and family), bespoke stationary designs and murals.
She's everything you'd hope for from a glamorous, eccentric British artist; she's beautiful and funny and a bit nuts. She's also warm and open minded and regularly seeks advice from a life coach and astrologer. From her signature, never-changes Must de Cartier scent, her cut-glass English accent to her wild auburn hair and bold dress sense I imagine she turns leaves a big impression wherever she goes.
In her below interview answers, she talks about having a baby in her early twenties versus her mid thirties (instinct and intent rules regardless); about losing Bob - but seeing him so vividly in the girls and keeping him present at home; and coping when the eldest leaves home (the wonder of technology!).
“When I had Poppy I was only 22 years old, and Poppy really was my first experience with a newborn baby. When I look back now, I was so young - Poppy is now 25, even older than I was when I had her. Having a 14-year age difference between Indigo and Poppy means I have experienced being what was considered a young Mother, and the second time around being the same age as everyone else. There are advantages to both - firstly when you are young you have much more energy. When you are more mature you know who you are and are more confident in the choices you make. I think I was almost a totally different person at 22 to what I am today. But irrespective of age, as a mother I've always done the best that I knew at the time - and so wouldn't change a thing.” - Hattty
“Poppy was 18 when she left Dubai to start her BA in Drama and script writing in the UK. It was a difficult time as Bob had just passed (6 years ago). He was so happy to know that she was going to pursue her dream, this had also been a personal dream of his to be an actor. I think at this particular time it was good for her to get a fresh start and I am so proud of how she threw herself into her drama. She then went to the Bristol Vic for her MA. I think for all mothers it's difficult to see your children fly from the nest. But knowing that they are happy, independent and can make their own way out in the big wide world is the most important thing. And that they always want to come home!"
“Poppy and I are constantly on whatsapp - I am always sending her pics of Indigo and what we are doing. She keeps me updated with pics too! We also skype properly once a week. Skype and WhatsApp are amazing, and I feel keeps us totally connected.” - Hatty
An illustration from a childrens book Hatty is working on.
“It was a huge shock when Bob was diagnosed with cancer and the journey we all went through until he passed was very heartbreaking and challenging. I can't believe it was 6 years ago now. We were such a close-knit, happy family and I still miss him. I am so grateful to Mojo Advertising and Mojo PR, of which Bob was a founding partner and which have become my extended family now. They have supported and advised me every step of the way in my professional and personal journey. We also have amazing friends and people who have also supported us as a family throughout everything. Michelle Chedotal - who is an incredible Life Coach and kinesiologist - coached us through every step and is always an amazing friend. There are so many people I could mention who really contributed to our family at this time, and in that respect Dubai has definitely been absolutely amazing to us. Bob is always part of the family. We have lots of pictures of him, his guitars fill our home and we always talk about him. It has been especially important for Indigo as she was so young when Bob passed.” - Hatty
“Today, after everything we’ve been through, I feel like a different person, and definitely I have been a different mother to Indigo than I was with Poppy. With Poppy I only worked a little – I was very young, naive and carefree and Bob took care of all the responsibilities in life. After Bob died, I had to quickly turn my art into a profession that was going to support us all properly. This meant I was a full-time working single mother and had to quickly learn how to juggle, be super organized and switch off from work to be fully present when I was with Indigo - this of course was and still is a process! I now see how many super mums there are out there juggling, and am in full admiration of them all. Indigo is my priority and on Fridays we always make this a special day. I definitely feel that from this tragedy I matured in many ways, including as a Mother. I really value life and the precious times we have together with a new awareness." - Hatty
“Dubai is like home now! Myself and Indigo are so happy here and Poppy loves visiting, it's where she grew up. Indigo was born here and Poppy was 1.5 years old when we first moved here. Dubai has been kind to us in so many ways, we have a wonderful network of friends. We live in an amazing compound with lots of friends for Indigo. From a work aspect, there are so many wonderful opportunities I get to experience - from working with luxury hotels for branding, to live art for luxury brands, wedding stationery, private painting commissions and murals to name a few - all of which I love and I can't think of anywhere else where one would have these incredible opportunities.
For now we are definitely here, and we will see where the future takes us.” - Hatty
“The thing that my mother always used to say and has stuck in my head and always had an impact on me is, “Manners cost nothing and are worth everything.”" - Hatty
A collage Indigo made Hatty for Mothers' Day.
“Indigo and Poppy are a mix of both myself and my late husband Bob in totally different ways. They both look quite similar, although Poppy has my red hair and Indigo is a complete copy of her father. They have both inherited Bob's acting and musical side - skills which I absolutely do not possess. Poppy is more earnest and sensitive and Indigo is more gregarious and carefree. I am really proud of them both, as they are both sincere, active and kind-hearted girls.
I would love the girls to be happy, confident, humble, grateful, kind and honest women; and to know that they are responsible for everything in their life and that they can do anything.” - Hatty
MORE FEATURE MUM STORIES HERE.