Sorry not sorry

July 18, 2014

Has anyone noticed how many brands have been nailing gender issues in their advertising lately? I’m a little conflicted about it because, yes, in the main, they’re selling products. But I love the fact that you can change the discourse around women’s products, beauty products and the lexicon we use to discuss things that are usually just spray painted pink and handed to us with patronising pat on the head. Sure, some of the ideals in the ads have but a tenuous link to their products (the Always and Pantene ads spring to mind) but doesn’t it make a refreshing change from this dreadful ‘Beauty Patch‘ one by Dove? OMG you mean there’s nothing on there and I have self esteem that you’re saying is my own but actually that came from pretending that there’s some crazy chemical thing that can make me beautiful because that’s basically the formula/life ideal you’ve been selling women since the inception of advertising?


Here’s my run down of my favourite feminist ads of the minute:

1. #ShineStrong – Pantene

The second I saw this I both cringed a deep, deep cringe and immediately loved it, because if there’s a word that I overuse, it’s sorry. Sorry you bumped into me, sorry for speaking and giving an opinion (in a business setting), sorry for having the armrest first, but oh no, you have it. There’s being polite (and erm, British) and then there’s apologising for your existence. Nope. No more.

2. #LikeAGirl – Always

What has throwing “like a girl” got to do with period paddage? Well, I’ve been in marketing for ages so I could probably give you an answer to that question, but I see your point…it’s a bit tenuous. But I literally could not care any less: this ad is so wonderful and simple and to the point that it got someone I love dearly but who thinks feminism isn’t necessary or important, to see its point of view and actually LIKE it. Hi five, Always. Hi five.

3.  First Moon party – Hello Flo

This one isn’t obviously about changing discourse, but it still has the same effect – because who’d have thought you could openly discuss periods on tv. And be funny! Think of it as the female version of the amusing Dollar Shave Club ad, except it’s generally more accepted to discuss on TV that men have to shave a face than the fact that women have to deal with a crampy, monthly mess. And not a jar of blue liquid in sight!  Nice one Hello Flo.

4. Princess Machine – GoldieBlox

Because girls don’t always want to be a princess in a tower. And spray painting everything pink for girls starts YOUNG. Hey, I’ll tell you what, Riley the (then) 4 year old explains it awesomely.

Phew. I’ll take these ads over ones that tell me I should have softer, smoother, more beautiful armpits. In fact, basically, Dove should just sack their ad team and take hints from these guys – they’re nailing it.

Barts Choir & the Philharmonia

July 1, 2014

Royal Festival Hall //

Major comedown today after a brilliant concert with Barts at the Royal Festival Hall last night! Rutter’s Magnificat went better than hoped and Feel the Spirit was so much fun to sing. An encore of When The Saints (with audience participation!) and some majorly brilliant brass going on basically topped off the evening. As did my friend’s comment that he’d ‘never seen a conductor with such loose hips’. Amazing…


June 22, 2014

jewellery // Primary No.2 by Endswell  *  L: Amelia by Oh My Clumsy Heart  *  R:  Verity by Oh My Clumsy Heart


I used to really not like ‘real’ jewellery – the type of stuff that needed real skill to make, as opposed to the things you could buy in Topshop for a fiver. Nowadays I’m all about smaller, beautifully made trinkets. Instagram is a total enabler of this – turns out so is Twitter, after I was followed by Oh My Clumsy Heart and I instantly fell for their dainty minimalism. Also, I really wish their Petunia necklace wasn’t sold out.

ARHex Rings by Alexis Russell

I’ve been loving geometric designs for a while now, but it’s about time I bought some decent rings that aren’t spray-painted ‘gold’ and won’t turn my finger green… shout out here for the jeweller in Upstate NY who made my beautiful custom engagement ring, Alexis Russell Design. There’s something wonderfully rustic about her handmade hex stacking rings. Post payday, I might have to add these to my small ‘collection’.

For the more spulrge-y amongst you, TiroTiro are awesome, as are Endswell. Any independent accessory-makers you’re loving recently? Share the love in the comments…


summer //

More reasons you know summer is here: corn on the cobs, accidentally spraying beetroot juice over white t-shirts (ARGH), and ALL the hayfever. No really, all of it. Piriton, you are doing nothing this year. I’m like ALL THE CETIRIZINE! ALL THE LORATADINE! OMG ANYTHING, JUST STOP THE SNEEZING. Oh and yesterday I gently rolled over to hear a little *pop* and found two halves of a recently whole pair of sunglasses. Why, life? I barely sat on them.

Bookham common //

Spent this morning catching up with my excellent friend Meg: a talker, an adventurer, a lived-in-Nepal-er, a soon-to-be-qualified journalist, an all round great person. We wandered around a common not too far from Polesden Lacey (I now know) , chatting 50,000 to the dozen and not really stopping to breathe.


Annnnd then we found a massive log pile and took photos. As you do. It was a ridiculously nice break away from trying to find wedding venues and such… I fully believe once we find the place, the rest will be a lot less hassle. Maybe that is me being *optimistic*, but I’m willing to believe it’s true…


If anything, the stress I’ve had with wedding planning so far (and getting nowhere), has given me an idea for the future that I can’t wait to get started with. So, there’s that.



So. Wimbledon starts soon. The longest day of the year is behind us. I have potential trips in October to look forward to, and my fiance is going to be home in a couple of weeks (with this being the shortest time between visits we’ve had since he started working in Africa). I recently found that stopping eating wheat has cured me of some awful long-term stomach pain, so I’m feeling happy, relaxed and purposeful at the minute… a really, really great place to be.

Dirdle: from the Old English ‘thirl’ (Dorset, day 1)

Studland beach //

It feels like Summer has well and truly arrived. Doors are open, duvets aren’t being slept under, it’s officially ‘too hot’ to run at convenient times of day (that’s my excuse right now, anyway). We caught the first few days of this in Dorset, when the sun was out but it was blustery and cool, the first sunny 48 hours before a giant summer storm swept through and the beginning of a heatwave proper.

studland beach  //

We’d never been to Dorset before, but it won out when we found photos of Durdle Door and Studland Beach online and then found out the bonus: only 2.5 hours drive from London!? Score!

Smuggling Cove  // To Durdle Door  //

So that was that decided. B&B booked, car hired, off for a mini adventure, and to Instagram the bejays out of it all along the way. The first day was leisurely but sort of busy: trekking over the cliff between Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door (reliably informed by a lovely friend that this is Lulwind Cove in Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd. Wait, a place I’m exploring before a book made me want to visit!? How novel. Promptly bought a copy, now it’s in my giant to-read list).

Peaceful  // Durdle Door  //

Durdle Door (above) being named from the old English ‘thirl’, which means ‘to bore or to drill’, by the way. You know, just in case you were interested.

Wildflower hills  //

The water was such a stunning array of blues, shimmering and inviting, that you wanted to just dive straight in. Excepting the fact that even though it was incredibly sunny, the wind took the edge off the heat so much that everyone was in jumpers and jackets. Didn’t stop me getting a little jealous of the people leisurely sailing and canoeing about the coves though.

canoeing in Durdle Door //

We trundled on down the path, bought a cup of tea at the totes adorbs Dorset Tea van and crashed on the pebble cove beaches for a little while, skimming stones and snoozing. You know, gathering strength for that giant climb back. I’m not even kidding – some people were attempting it with buggies and the like. Why, people? Why? Alright, the view tells me why, but still. You are crazy.

Jurassic Hilltops  // Snoozing //

The rest of the day was lost somehow, pootling around Dorset roads, with a couple of hours in the evening light and high tide on Studland beach – another National Trust piece of land, but I don’t mind telling you that ‘Bamburgh Beach’ (or St Aiden’s Dunes to give it its proper name) definitely wins out for Most Beautiful Beach. Not that I’m biased or anything…) and having a drink in the Square and Compass in Worth Matravers, where the pints are served through a little hatch, the seats outside are roughly hewn slabs of stone and there was some sort of raucus poetry night going on in a little shut-away room. Dorset you are amazing.


Shailene Woodley

June 10, 2014

She’s now (in)famous for her “I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance” feminism comments, which, coming from someone in the two biggest teen blockbusters this year, with two complex and brilliant female characters was disparaging to hear. (I don’t need to point out that feminism is literally about balance, do I? Equality?)

But I just read an interview with her and Brie Larsen on Vulture in which this excellent paragraph pops up about a recent interview Shailene Woodley did on Jimmy Fallon’s show:

Halfway through the conversation, Fallon, who can border on golly-gee cheerleading during his interviews, said, “How do you feel about being compared to Jennifer Lawrence?”

Woodley paused. “Well,” she said. “Comparisons always lead to despair.” There was sudden silence, and then the audience, which was shocked and angry, began to boo. Fallon said something like “Whoa,” and Woodley held her ground. “As women, we are constantly told that we need to compare ourselves to a girl in school, to our co-­workers, to the images in a magazine,” she told me later. “How is the world going to advance if we’re always comparing ourselves to others? I admire Jennifer Lawrence, but she’s everyone’s favorite person to compare me to. Is it because we both have short hair and a vagina? I see us as separate individuals. And that’s important. As women, our insecurities are based on all these comparisons. And that creates distress.”

According to the Vulture interview, that section was cut from the show and never made it to air. So depressing, when she’s articulate about a very real issue for many people, but especially so for women and girls in the public eye like herself. Just look at how The Guardian (even the Guardian!) portrays successful women in the arts:

So well done to Shailene Woodley for trying to get a vital point across – even if the patriarchal Jimmy Fallon show didn’t see fit to air it.