in conversation with Amber Barnes...

Amber Barnes is the owner of and buyer for Jim & Jane in Sydney.
Some of her favourite books include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon, Childhood at Brindabella by Miles Franklin, A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry and Charlotte's Web by E.B. White.

Tell us a bit about yourself?
I am the owner of and buyer for Jim & Jane in Sydney. When I grow up I'd like to be a landscape photographer.

How did you decide what you wanted to do?
I didn't decide what I wanted to do, I fell into it - I come from a long line of retailers, studied photography, worked as a florist and loved buying gifts for people so it kind of just happened. I just love buying!

If you could only wear one colour for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Black. I think it was Coco Chanel who said that 'people who wear black lead colourful lives'...

What inspires you?
Nature and travel.

What is something you have ticked off your bucket list? What was it like?
Istanbul was on by bucket list...it was so unbelievably beautiful, and hearing the call to prayer every night gave me goosebumps...

Upon reflecting on your life, if you could do anything differently, what would it be?
No...I honestly believe life is mapped out in the stars, and [we should] just go with the flow and look towards the future.

Is there a particular book that has changed your life or way of thinking?
Richard Branson's autobiography - he accepts failure and moves on with grace and good humour.

You are about to go on a holiday - what book do you bring and why?
Any book by Noel Barber. He was a war correspondent most of his life, and when he retired he wrote fiction...big, easy to read, sweeping historical fiction.

What book should everyone read at least once in their lifetime?
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

What was the best advice you ever received?
The best advice I have been given has always come from people older than me. When I was 18, I told my mother I'd never fall in love with someone from where I lived. I wanted to travel the world and meet an exotic. My mum simply said, "Never say never". When I turned 21, my aunt told me to embrace the moment as I'd never feel any different on the inside, have the same thoughts, dreams, [and] one day I would just look in the mirror and realize I was a 21 year-old trapped in a 40 year-old's body. And when I recoiled drinking my first martini, Dad told me it was the best cocktail in the world. Apparently they all knew something. I'm a 21 year-old trapped in a 40 year-old's body who loves nothing more than swigging a martini with my true love who I traveled the world to find he only lived a street away...