My coven

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.

Wow.

Can I just?

Wow.

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.

Face fashion

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.

Honor wearing a camo face mask

Sartorial power

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.

DOING strategy

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.

Rollergirl

June 22, 2020 § 2 Comments

One of the most perfect vintage pieces I’ve ever had the fortune of stumbling upon is a red 1960s crimplene skater dress with a flowery bib and matching pleated pocket.

60s skater minidress with cowboy boots

I was inspired to wear such a jewel of the 60s today because my new rollerskates are due to arrive soon. Major American Graffiti vibes with that combo.

Although rollerskates have existed for nearly 300 years and been a cyclical craze for the last hundred, the 60s and 70s are when quad skating got good. Not only were rollerskates completely redesigned using modern materials (hello, urethane wheels); skating also became an interesting part of the civil rights movement.

Recognising Black skate culture

Until the late 1960s, rollerskating rinks were segregated like most recreational areas. In 1962, a group of high school students in Illinois staged sit-ins at a local pool and rollerskating rink. The protest resulted in many arrests and 17 kids began a hunger strike.

One year later, a man named Ledger Smith rollerskated to join Martin Luther King’s March on Washington. It was a 685-mile journey and he completed it in 10 days, wearing a placard saying “I’m skating to Washington for Civil Rights” the whole way. Many people cheered him on – but one tried to run him over.

Due to the civil rights movement, most recreational centres were desegregated by the end of the 60s. Rollerskating became a point of pride as Black people were finally able to legally enjoy their communities.

Of course, even now, Black people can be in danger just by daring to exist. I can imagine that any public pleasure or display of skill could feel like a revolutionary act, in a system that still kills Black men and women as they sleep, drive, try to breathe.

The power of rollergirls in 2020

Instagram knows me better than my therapist, so as I looked at skates, I began seeing more and more rollergirl videos. Quad skating in 2020 is very female and beautifully diverse. The joy and power I see in these women as they skim like birds over pavement and tarmac…it thrills me. I want that.

Story Duchess side-by-side skates

So, I now have some Story Duchess side-by-side skates – a bit of an upgrade from my previous kiddie skates. I have a destination in mind for practising. I have a helmet, and pink and mint knee pads. I’m determined that I will get good at this. I skated a lot as a kid and I’ve always danced. All that’s missing is practice and confidence. The confidence comes from the protective wear, I think, at my advanced age.

Something else that excited me about the 2020 quad skating scene is the style, man. It’s like 70s rock ‘n roll meets 80s athleisure meets 90s girl group. Of course, it has to be comfortable and durable. It’s got to roll with the crunches and stretch with the body. But the less you fall, the less you wear – until you’re at skate-yoga-instructor levels of booty-shorted glory, like Coco:

Yoga has been part of the skating world since the 70s, when Denis Schufeldt pioneered its use in training for downhill skateboard racing. The balance and form achieved through yoga allowed him to hold exact poses to maintain control of a skateboard hurtling downhill at 50mph. Now, Coco is combining street skating with a ballet-like flow and I’m addicted to it.

Why not?

I’ve changed during lockdown. I row for 45 minutes every day and run every other day. I speak to incredible, supportive women throughout my week and get so much power from them. Having more time means I’m eating better, I’m spending more time being creative and I’m reassessing what I want my life to look like.

Why shouldn’t I take up skating in my thirties? I can do whatever I want.

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