A couple of years ago, Tassia Ioannou was jet setting across the globe as cabin crew. Last year she became Senior Nurse for Marie Curie covering Norfolk and Suffolk, and launched a candle-making business. And the inspiration? The cat she adopted a week into lockdown!
Life has been a rollercoaster up to now, thanks to living a very full and exciting lifestyle, but I had always planned to put down roots and attempting adulting – and the pandemic gave the little push I needed. I must admit I don’t mind it at all.
I previously worked for Marie Curie down in their wonderful Hampstead Hospice when I did a stint in London. I have always been drawn to palliative and end of life care so I knew that when the time came to focus on a career path, I moved back to Norfolk after working as international cabin crew alongside nursing and the job came up for Marie Curie so I knew it was a sign for me to hang up my flying wings and re-join the charity as their Senior Nurse for Norfolk and Suffolk.
I started the role in April 2020 at the beginning of the first lockdown and I can honestly say it was a steep learning curve! As a service we have always provided planned night visits in people’s homes across the region. However, pandemic created some barriers, particularly with regards to PPE for our staff and our patients and families at the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak.
This challenging period did, however, bring with it a chance for the Marie Curie Nursing Service to really strengthen collaborative working partnerships internally with our fundraising and volunteer allies, who assisted us with dropping off PPE to our healthcare assistants and nurses in the region, and to our healthcare partners. This includes CCGs, hospices, and local acute trusts. We have all continued to work together to ensure the safe and best care has been delivered to palliative and end of life patients at a time when they need it most, so they feel safe in their own homes during a global crisis. It was quite an interesting time to start a new job to say the least!
Professionally it has been a rollercoaster. To think that two years ago I was jet setting across the globe as cabin crew part time and then nursing on acute hospitals, to now working totally remotely from a desk at home, with only my cat and my partner for human contact daily, seems quite strange to think about, but to be honest I’m quite an adaptable person. I feel very lucky to have such a wonderful team of nurses, healthcare assistants and colleagues who are all a great support network of whom maintain regular contact, and with lockdown easing it means we can now meet up and regain some normality again which is something for us all to look forward to.
Personally, I think I have been fortunate over lockdown, I moved into a place by myself a week before lockdown and adopted my cat, Amadeus the first week into the lockdown (all Covid secure I must add) and then I settled into life quite nicely. I had spent so many years drifting, and been busy beforehand, that I think I was grateful for the excuse to slow down. I spent time in the garden, reading, and taking walks. I even met my now boyfriend who has just moved in, also! Also, it gave me the excuse to really kick start Amadeus & I and find time to turn my hobby into something a little more! So I really can’t complain!
So, as I mentioned, I adopted Amadeus, my cat last year. He is an ex-stud cat and just the most wonderful animal in the world (I am wholly biased of course!) but with lockdown we spent many a day last year at home pottering around the house and I had a mass of half-finished projects in many boxes piled high, so I made it a personal challenge of mine to give them all a go. One of the projects was candle making, I enjoyed it so much I started making them for my family last summer and then gifts for Christmas. I then thought about labelling them and remembered one of my tattoos was of my hand and my cat’s paw and thought it would be a nice logo.
I asked my tattooist if it was okay if I used it as the logo for my brand and she agreed, so I named it after my cat and me and hey presto! Amadeus & I was born. I suppose the earrings just kind of evolved after the candles because I wanted to offer another product. I want to offer things I like to make. That, I find, makes me happy.
I am a very creative person. I spent years training in the performing arts before going into nursing as I was originally going down the route of drama, dance and English teaching. So creatively is in my veins. It is very therapeutic for me.
I am hoping to do more fayres and expand the brand, but I will definitely continue with Marie Curie as well. I just want to spread the good work of Marie Curie and inform people that we are here to help you only one phone call away.
Tassia will be at the Legends Festival at Cromer Hall on Sunday July 18 with Marie Curie, and will have her Amadeus & I stall there. At least 10 per cent of all sales will be donated to Marie Curie. Follow Amadeus & I on Facebook and Instagram.