When we started A Few Of My Favourite Things a year ago, we didn't expect that the industry at large would likely have to up-sticks and, almost entirely, work from home.

Therefore, it stands to reason that the next few Fave Things contributors will be taking us a through essential items from their well-established (or hastily constructed) home office/studios.

Right off the bat, we have Merman director Guy Manwaring, a former creative and established performance director whose work has spanned well-loved British brands like Specsavers, M&S and Warburtons.

Manwaring gives us a quick glance at the projects he's hoping to complete whilst in isolation, alongside introducing us to his son's well-disguised pet and proving that Mr T is the real deal.

The Day the Wind Changed

It feels like a particularly poignant time to be reflecting on the things on and around my desk, given that we are all just starting a period of self-isolation and lock-down and will all be working from home for the foreseeable future. 

I am hoping to use this as an opportunity to complete some of the projects that I have started but never got around to finishing. 

First up is a children’s picture book that I’ve written and need to finish illustrating.  It’s called The Day the Wind Changed and it’s the story of a little girl who is always pulling faces. One day she goes on a school trip to the zoo and is impersonating the animals when the wind changes. 

The zoo-keeper mistakes her for a baboon and she ends up being locked into a cage:

‘…And to this very day, if you visit that place,
You’ll find Grace in her cage with a baboon look on her face.
So, if you feel sorry for her you know what to do.
Just give her a banana before leaving the zoo.’

Click image to enlarge

The Mr.T Cheque 

The two Snickers jobs I did with Mr.T were a goldmine for memorabilia, as he happily posed for photographs with crew, re-recorded their answerphone messages, and even gave me a mind-blowingly brilliant testimonial.

On one occasion, I found myself sitting beside Mr.T in a restaurant and I asked him what name he uses in his passport. He reached into his little man-bag and took out his passport, birth-certificate and cheque book to show how his name had been officially changed by deed Poll.

His other cheque book was in his company name: ‘Pity the Fool’!

The Painting of Puglia

This painting hangs over my desk. 

I bought it when I lived in Rome, as I fell in love with the light in the image, and the composition in the square format. 

It’s like a painted Instagram picture.

There’s a small tear in the canvas, and the paint is pretty badly cracked, but (like Italy) these are the imperfections that add to its charm.

The south of the Mediterranean is my happy place with its dry climate, crisp light and simple food. Having this picture over my desk gives me something to look forward to all year – especially through the dark British winters.

The Sir Walter Scott novel: Guy Manwaring

I didn’t set out to build up a collection of these books, but they have slowly accumulated over the years, as I keep receiving them as gifts from friends.

I have never even gotten around to reading it. 

I did start once but it's incredibly boring. 

Not at all like The Adventures of Guy Manwaring, which is an absolute page-turner.

The Chameleon

Marceline is my son’s pet Chameleon who is currently living on the plant by my desk, as my office gets more sunlight during the winter.

She’s named after Marceline the Vampire Queen from Adventure Time.

It’s nice to have the company when I’m endlessly writing treatments, although sometimes I forget that she’s there and get a shock when the plant starts rustling.

She recently had a starring role in a job I shot with Adam&Eve for Wren Kitchens. Since then, I’ve noticed that she’s been behaving like a bit of a diva. 

In fact, I’ve got to go now, as she’s demanding another round of crickets.