International Women’s Day

In honour of International Women’s Day, I thought I would share my thoughts on the topic of feminism, the important women in my life and the day as a whole.

The name speaks for itself – a day to celebrate women internationally, which really is so important. It can be easy to feel un-celebrated, or under appreciated, whatever sex you are. For sure, we are not the worst off in the Western World. There are so many women on an international scale, who deserve so much better…I know this is not news to anyone who reads this. It is often said that we have come a long way but still have a long way to go, but I find myself thankful for the long way that we have come, and hope that we can use this positively towards helping others and continuing with the journey.

So often, we say that we need to stop men from labelling and putting us down, but it is often to each other, that we also act this way. What good comes from mocking another woman, or shaming her for not being what you would consider ‘perfection’? One of the hot topics of conversation at the moment, is Emma Watson’s recent photo shoot for Vanity Fair. A renowned and active feminist, Emma posed semi-topless, something which people – men and women alike – labelled as against her feminist beliefs. Feminism is about being proud about who we are, completely, and seeing equal lines drawn between men and women…not about covering up! We have to celebrate individuality, across the board of all genders, races and religions.

I have always found specific days to celebrate specific people a little bit of a strange concept… we should appreciate our Mother’s daily, not just Mothering Sunday, tell our partners we love them all year round, not just on Valentines Day. Someone shouldn’t have to dictate when or how we justify our feelings, but unfortunately, that seems to be the case. In this particular instance, perhaps it’s necessary. Women around the world seem to be uniting, and excuses like these give people worldwide a sense of unity…we may be worlds apart, but the power of social media can spread hundreds of thousands of miles, to ensure everyone feels uplifted. Celebrities and people in power feel closer to us than ever before, and if they adopt a positivity and drive for change, they should hopefully inspire change in other. I don’t believe powerful and positive role models will ever be out of fashion.

When I think of the women in my life, they have such elements of strength and individuality. My Mum, my Grandma and my late Granny, all powerful women in their own way but who I truly look up to and learn from. Equally the ones either side of me, my friends and colleagues. I never used to think I was a girls girl until I lived with 6 at university! A challenge, yes, but 4 of them are the best friends I’ve ever had. They are my second family, each to be celebrated for their quirks and innate beauty.  Then of course, there are the important men in my life, as they are an equally big part of the people I hold dear to me.

To me, it’s about everyone on a whole, men and women alike (there’s no reason why I put ‘men’ first in that sentence either, it just flows better, and there’s nothing wrong with that!)

I think the thing is as well, just do what you want to do and what makes you happy. A man should not tell you to make him a cake or dress up to please him, no, but if you decide that’s what you want to do in order to make him happy, then do it! It doesn’t make you anti-feminist, it just makes you a nice person, and I’m sure you’ll find he’ll return the favour.

I appreciate I haven’t said anything ground breaking, or that hasn’t been said before. Changes need to be made worldwide about the attitude towards women and gender equality, but individually, in our own sense, if we strive to treat everyone as equals and appreciate each other and ourselves for exactly how we are, then at least we know we’re doing what we can to make those around us feel a little more loved.

 

Find your Niche

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I recently interviewed a wonderful lady from Rye, East Sussex, who owns a boutique called Niche. With a strong interest in fashion, and a love for all things independent and retail, I found this to be a really interesting conversation.

Lesley traded a progressive career from Harrods, for the chance to run her own business. I talk to her about her journey and how she  buys for her local clientele as well as weekenders from London.

You can find the full article here: find-your-niche or in this months Eastbourne edition of ETC Magazine.

 

 

A Twist on the Trench

The trench coat is a perfect staple item for any wardrobe, a classic style to protect you from the rain. See how these designers have re-invented the trench this Spring.

Tan RI Studio embroidered trench coat £130 

Drawing on the popularity of embroidery at the moment, this River Island find is a classic with a twist. With the enlarged, embroidered wind-flap drawing the eye, the placement and colouring of the detail is subtle but striking.

PRADA Colour-block silk-faille trench coat £1,925

Who wants plain old beige, when you can add an injection of baby pink and vibrant orange? Not me, that’s for sure, although much less attainable (price-wise) than my other options.

Two-coloured belt parka £139.99

Okay so technically, not a trench, but it’s beige and has a belt, so I’m going to call it a Utility Trench. So many interesting details in this Mango piece, and as shown above, plenty of ways to wear as well.
 

 Zara Double Breasted Trench Coat, Navy £79.99

Still classic, just not beige, this navy Zara alternative is perfect to disguise rain splatters if you’re just too busy for dry-cleaning.

Draped Trench Coat, & Other Stories £125

Add some elegance to your Spring wardrobe with this free-flowing trench. Unlined and made of a much softer fabric than your usual gabardine, you can chuck this on over any Spring ensemble.

Burberry X Henry Moore

The beginning of the week marked the last day of the brilliant Burberry exhibition showcasing their most recent collection, AW17.

thumb_p2270079_1024Alongside the sculpture inspiration 

Christopher Bailey combined Womenswear, Menswear and Couture, to put on a spectacular show during London Fashion Week. The show was held at the Burberry show-space, Makers House, which was then re-purposed for a beautiful exhibition of the entire collection.

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The inspiration for the collection was the life and work of the late sculptor, Henry Moore. The mezzanine floor displayed Bailey’s sketches alongside the sculptors work, showing the translation between the two.

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Large sculptures were dotted throughout the space, celebrating the beauty of Moore’s work. This really helped to associate the finished product with what Bailey found so inspiring.

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The main attraction of the exhibition were the couture capes, which hung from the ceiling on sculpted mannequins. The suspended capes were truly magnificent, each with their name and inspiration marked out on the floor below.

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Without a glass cabinet or red-rope in sight, you were able to get right up close to the pieces, a rare gift from the Burberry designer. This allowed me to see every hand-sewn edge and thread of bead work, making me even more appreciative of the skill involved.

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Just when you thought he couldn’t have come up with another variation of the cape, each managing to be so different from the one before, you’d walk to the next and be completely blown away. Fox fur which follows the form of a Henry Moore sculpture, shearling overlaid with lace and embroidery, a cape made completely from magnifying glasses and one sculpted from shells.

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Although the main attraction, for me at least, were the capes, the rest of the collection was also showcased in marching order. This showed the Moore print shirts, Breton stripe tee’s inspired by the sculptors apron, and re-worked Aran knit jumpers…as well as of course the Burberry trench.

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Unfortunately the week long exhibition is now closed, but you can watch the  full show on Burberry’s website here https://show.burberry.com/uk/, as well as shop the collection as per Bailey’s new ‘see now, buy now’ ethos.

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Ginger Goodies

These ginger biscuits dipped in dark chocolate are a recent discovery, and will now become a go-to bake of mine…scrummy!

Ingredients:
100g caster sugar
150g soft light brown sugar
150ml vegetable or sunflower oil
80g black treacle
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
220g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Soft light brown sugar (for rolling)

For Dipping:
525g dark chocolate, melted
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1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (fan assisted) and line two large baking trays.
2. Combine your sugars, oil, treacle, egg and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Then add your dry ingredients until just combined. Your mixture will be fairly sticky, but this is a good thing!
3. Make your mixture into small balls…this should make roughly 20, or maybe 16 big ones.

4. Then roll in soft light brown sugar and add to the baking tray.
5. Bake for 8 minutes or until you can see the surface of the biscuits begin to crack. They may look a little under-done, but have faith, they’ll harden up once out of the oven and be such lovely gooey treats.
6. Leave to cool on a wire cooling rack.
7. Once cooled, dip one half of the biscuit into your melted dark chocolate and leave to cool again.
8. Then enjoy with a nice cup of tea!

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Baileys in the Bathroom

On a recent visit to Norfolk, Ross and I went to a pub we’d heard a lot about from his family – a pub with a bit of a difference.

Deciding to head for a pre-dinner pint, we thought it was about time we checked this place out. Owned by an avid art-collector, The Gunton Arms is full to the brim of famous artwork. There’s David Bailey shoots in the gents and naked sketches by Lucian Freud hung above doorways.

thumb_img_7724_1024A sneaky photo in the Gents

Not to mention the erotic ladies painted on dinner plates above the bar, done by Tracey Emin herself specifically for her friend, the owner.

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This collection of artwork is arranged in a beautiful, otherwise traditional pub set in a historic park near Cromer in North Norfolk. Visiting on a misty evening gave the interior a perfect warmth, lit with more Emin neon’s and a nice glass of Merlot.

img_8076Trust Me…it’s worth a visit!

I’m looking forward to heading back for some food on our next visit. We watched as steaks were cooked on a griddle over the open fire in the dining room, meaning you can ask the chef for your exact preference, giving yet another level to this unique pub experience.

One thing I would say though – maybe don’t take your elderly Grandma!

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