July 31, 2020 § Leave a comment
I started dancing as a sturdy little thing with an intolerance for baby ballet. I’d been imagining arabesques; I got skipping with scarves. I didn’t like children even when I was one.
But I stayed with ballet for over a decade. I’ve loved it and hated it, but it’s in me. A couple of years ago, I finally found classes for adults and started dancing again.
During lockdown, no ballet. I’ve stayed fit in other ways but missed ballet a lot. Today – email: ballet’s back.
In a bit of funny timing, I bought a ballet catsuit yesterday. I’m intending to wear it as clothes because – I don’t know if you heard – pandemic. Nothing is real anymore and we do what we want. Ballet has often crept into my wardrobe but usually in a more subtle way. Subtle? I don’t remember her.
I’m so excited to have ballet again, especially as I have suffered a recent blow to my skating. I’d been practising at my local village tennis court (yes, a middle-class nightmare) nearly every night for a month but I’ve now been BANNED. Unfortunately, despite my lengthy essay to the rec grounds manager, it’s an insurance thing. Here was me thinking I could overcome some snap judgements with a beautifully-worded case for celebrating female rollerskaters. No, stymied by a very kind man who actually checked his insurance policy. I’ve moved on to a bigger and better court now (shhhhhhhh) but who knows how long I’ll get to keep that.
So, ballet’s come along at a perfect time. I’m proud that I’ve kept fit over lockdown, but it’s going to kick my arse anyway. That’s the great thing about ballet: it never stops being hard. The better your form gets, the harder you work. I can’t wait to scream with pain in a room of old ladies again.
July 16, 2020 § Leave a comment
There are some amazing women in my life. They are doing things they didn’t think they could, making the world better and investing in themselves.
Can I just?
OK, so Becca has been asked to judge the D&AD entries for Graphic Design, which is MENTAL. I’ve been to D&AD several times and I feel sort of star-struck that my friend will be part of it. One year, I stole a judge’s pencil pin that I was given by mistake. She’s going to be a legit voice in the room. So proud.
Harriet has been musing on whether she wants to work for herself and just – “accidentally” – worked on her first freelance project, supported with advice from seasoned freelance strategist, Alina.
Sophie launched an entire course about marketing for small businesses, after weeks of saying she didn’t know what she was doing or where to start. It just appeared one day. Nuts! She’s also just done her first project for the travel industry (her specialism) since that whole global pandemic thing happened.
Liana, our babiest member, is about to return to work from furlough – but into a brand-new role. As an actual creative strategist, with one-to-one coaching from her CEO. Now, if that’s not a success story of Strategy Coven, I don’t know what is. And if I am not envious, I don’t know what i am.
And that’s just FOUR of the impressive women in my coven.
Oh, me? Yes, I am also an impressive woman.
This week, I completed training to be a mentor for The Girls’ Network, which was terrifying and inspiring. I’ll be matched with a girl between 14 and 21 sometime in the autumn, and I’ll become her ‘professional friend’ to support her in building the future she wants. I got to the point where donating money to causes didn’t feel like enough; I have the time and I have the experience to try to help someone on a personal level. No kids = time to help other people’s kids. A blessing!
Impressive women. May we be them, may we know them, may we lift them up, always.
July 14, 2020 § Leave a comment
Masks. Are. Cool.
From 24 July, we’ll all be wearing them in shops. All the silly British reluctance to do something a bit funny will be moot.
You could have been wearing them all along, getting used to it and building up a facial wardrobe – but no. You had to sniff and mutter about muzzles and rights and other NONSENSE.
Masks are cool. Get on Redbubble or Etsy and find some patterns you like. Work them into your palette or pick out something striking. Match to your suits, match to your dog’s collar, match to the weather.
My dudes, it’s fun. Such a simple act of respect for our fellow humans and in pretty colours!
No makeup required, no smiling required, no chit-chat required. It’s a dream. Especially if you’re not a critical worker who has to wear a surgical mask for nine hours a day in a room without air conditioning like my midwife best friend. Popping a mask on to go into Tesco is hardly impeding your joie de vivre.
I’ve been wearing masks defiantly for months now, which is mental when I’m in the right. When I’m protecting the staring elderly in M&S from myself. NO MILDRED I REFUSE TO KILL YOU.
I will now be regularly including masks in my outfit posts on Insta. I take it as a personal mission to flamboyantly embrace this single good (late, though) government decision.
June 27, 2020 § 2 Comments
Since lockdown, one of my best things has been two special women: Chloe, who is a long-time copybuddy, and Becca, who I’ve got close to since the world turned upside down.
We are three very different women, but have so much in common and seem perfectly harmonised for a supportive circle. Triangle, I suppose.
I recently saw a brand on Instagram called Manners London and posted some of their website copy. We started discussing it between us and got more and more obsessed with the whole vibe, which was all about simple, handmade, ethical clothes that make women feel powerful with zero fuss.
I licked that brand story up like croissant crumbs and, duh, ended up ordering some things. Then Becca ordered some things. Then Chloe ordered some things.
Becca’s arrived first and we were all like omgliterallythisisqueenshit. The photo she sent us – wow. Power BEAMING out of her.
My order arrived a couple of days later and I tried on the dress. Took the obligatory photo OF MY BUTT in this dress for the womenz. Then tried on the jumpsuit, which made my reflection look like the most Me it’s ever looked. Man, couldn’t stop smiling.
You see, the thing is – this is not just a brand story of female empowerment. You can tell the story is legit because the product lives us to the hype. THICK cotton that you swear won’t even go on your body, it’s so tight. But on it goes, and you’re looking in the mirror at some kind of actual goddess.
These are magic clothes but some of that magic IS from the story. Clothes designed by a single mother with a big bum who wanted to make things women feel good in, sans bra. Feel defiant in, really.
Because the magic isn’t just that they make you look good. They make you look like a sartorial FUCK YOU to anyone who doesn’t think women’s natural shapes are individually perfect and collectively sublime.
I’ve never in my life considered wearing a skin tight jumpsuit as out-of-the-house clothing. Well, guess what. I’ll be wearing that baby to every damn occasion going.
June 26, 2020 § Leave a comment
When I started the strategy course I’ve been doing, I associated the word with complicated diagrams and a vague image of intimidating men in suits.
I had always, ALWAYS got (been given) the feeling that I wasn’t the ‘right’ kind of clever for strategy. Too fluffy, too emotional – too female, basically.
And that kept me back. You see, it turns out I can do strategy like nobody’s business. I’ve been doing it for years.
Strategy is just where you want to get to, along with all the whys, hows and whoms involved in getting there.
Strategy is a one-liner. The rest is the plan of action.
My strategy for the next part of my life is this:
Live in decadent comfort and indecent happiness by being rich and childless.
Making that happen in a measurable way would involve research, problem-solving, insights about happiness, costs, activities, risk mitigation and lots of other planning.
But I’ve got my strategy. I know where I’m going.
Because I do strategy.