Hot Feminist By Polly Vernon – Review

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Available from Amazon £10.49

So I’m back and bronzed from my Summer olibob in Hvar, Croatia, copious amounts of wine, great food and good times. I’d just like to note it is baltic, I am longing to dig out my black tights and jumpers now that Autumn has officially reared its ugly head. During my ten days of bliss I was accompanied by 7 friends and of course one of my Summer reads, this being Hot Feminist by Polly Vernon.

Polly Vernon is a columnist and style writer with a sharp tongue and sharp wit who rose to infamy with a controversial article on being thin….. and yes I am a curvy girl and no I don’t hate her. The book covers serious issues surrounding women’s rights but it’s an easy read in a sense that I felt I was sat in a living room with PV having a conversation about all the topics within the book.

Do I agree with every single thing she believes? No. For example, I don’t really appreciate cat calling or being called a chick, however one brilliant point PV makes is to pick your battles. As a feminist, your opinions and beliefs will always be questioned and argued by both women and men alike, I think the thing to remember is to know your argument and be prepared to debate when necessary and to not get riled up by the unnecessary.

I found myself regularly chuckling to the greatly described anecdotes (personal favourite is a 3 page description of the process of the leg shave), getting very involved in the various debates which take place between PV and her friends and inspired by her attitude. Don’t get me wrong, within the comical stories and remarks, there are also facts which will shock as well as a chapter on PV’s own experience of an attempted sexual assault which is deeply disturbing but empowering at the same time.

It is perfect for anyone who finds themself to be a feminist but doesn’t necessarily want to pick up a Virginia Woolf or Germaine Greer book, it’s well written, accessible and by the end had me feeling pretty good, pretty much like I would be pretty happy to share a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc with Polly Vernon, well worth the read.

 

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Career Girl Goals

Do you know just how differently men and women are paid?

When you’re in the office, ask your male counterpart what his salary is, firstly you’ll notice the sheer disdain that you dare break the boundary of work decorum, then if he answers you can do the math. Women have been entitled to equal pay since the Equal Pay Act was introduced in 1970, however there are still major issues 45 years on. The gender pay gap is still at 9.4% (Office for National Statistics, November 2014), which is actually an improvement of 0.6% compared to the previous year. David Cameron’s call this year to put more pressure on large firms to disclose their data is a welcome break as it is completely down to the companies ‘discretion’ as to how much they pay their staff.

Of course as a career girl myself I know I have to work harder and speak louder and be that ever bit more careful than my male colleagues. Is my blouse just slightly see through? Is my skirt too tight? If a woman gets promotion…… ‘Sleeping with boss ay?’ We’ve all heard it, there’s no denying. So reaching breaking those boundaries and reaching that career goal as women is more important than ever, whilst also having the added pressure of the size of your waist, marital status and the ticking clock within your ovaries. However, being the best at multi tasking, boy do women know how to do it.

For any woman you need goals in life, whatever those goals may be and here are some of my top career girls –

Annie MacManus (DJ)

I could start with Beyoncé or Angelina Jolie but I take my female role models a little differently. Born in Dublin and at 37 years old she has an ever growing empire, having started BBC Radio 1 in 2004 she has now recently taken over for Zane Lowe, making it 5 nights a week on (my opinion) the best radio station in the world. As well as this her AMP tour spans from Coachella to Glastonbury to Ibiza. All the while raising her young son with her partner, artist Toddla T. The curly hair, addictive personality and perfectly executed craft make her quite the lady.

Stella McCartney 

Famous surname or not she is one of the best designers, (first making her mark as the Creative Director for Chloé 1997) as well as being British she is a firm animal rights activist and refuses to use any fur or leather in her collections. A lifelong vegetarian and supporter of PETA, married with four children, an all round Wonder Woman.

Carol Jean Pentland (Mother to this lucky kid) 

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania she left Steeler nation and worked travelling the world eventually meeting her future husband. They had 2 children in a picturesque house in Johannesburg, before settling in England. Even with the odd judgmental look from other mothers when picking up her kids from school, straight from work, in a pencil skirt, heels and blazer with shoulder pads you could only envy, she was successful in work and now academia earning herself a top degree with highly credited work. Not to shabby I’d say.

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Success (For Now) – Vote on The Hunting Act Postponed

Safe to say I am an animal lover of all sorts, whether it be my two cats, who after any bad day tend to be the only thing to put a smile on my face or holding snakes the size of me (practically) at my cousins house as a child. The sight of any form of animal cruelty or animal in pain brings a tear to my eye faster than I can control, so to hear the news today that the vote on reprieving the Hunting Act has been postponed is simply great news, not the best I might add but it’s a huge success. If you follow me on Twitter you’ll see my many tweets on anything from containment of dolphins to fox hunting and it’s great to know that everyone’s hard work on stopping the lift of the ban has come to fruition.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, say what you will about her but she has made some considerable waves, both positive and negative (I personally am against an independent Scotland, however this is a whole different conversation). The SNP stated that they wouldn’t vote if it was matters concerning only England Wales, however having now said that they would vote against the ban being lifted, along with some Labour and some Conservative MPs, David Cameron had to take note. The vote will now take place after plans to give English MPs a veto on matters affecting only England.

The petition on Change.org has so far reached 545,113* signatures, however the aim is to get to 1 million. The public outcry on social media along with the avid group of 100’s of protesters outside Parliament has meant a voice has been heard. The fight isn’t over yet as this could still be overturned, so if you’re an animal lover take just one moment, to tweet, write a Facebook status, sign the petition, write to your local MP (it’s easier than you think, I’ve done it and received a response very shortly after) anything. Baring in mind it isn’t just the foxes who suffer, any ‘unsuitable’ hounds will often be bludgeoned to death or shot not to mention the strain on the animal’s welfare both physically and mentally, both parties are victims.

Fox hunting is a barbaric and tired ‘sport’, I shudder actually referring to it as a sport; do we really want our country been seen as hunters who revel in the suffering of innocent creatures, I surely don’t.

*At the time of writing this blog

Brian May addressing protesters outside Parliament (photo courtesy of http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fox-hunting-protest-live-brian-6062539)

Brian May addressing protesters outside Parliament (photo courtesy of http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fox-hunting-protest-live-brian-6062539

Protesters outside Parliament today (photo courtesy of http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fox-hunting-protest-live-brian-6062539)

Protesters outside Parliament today (photo courtesy of http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fox-hunting-protest-live-brian-6062539)

‘Selma’ – Thoughts and Review

There is always a list, which is ever growing of films I want to see, Selma (2014) was one of them. From watching its success at the 87th Academy Awards winning Best Song for ‘Glory’ performed by John Legend and Common (who also stars in the film) and rightfully being nominated for Best Picture, I knew this was one for the list.

I was finally able to watch it this weekend and it did not disappoint, aside from the beautiful cinematography, editing and performances by the entire cast there is one thing which stood out and that was the focus on the struggle. What I mean by this is that a film about Martin Luther King Jr could easily be crafted as a biopic, however what director Ava DuVernay and writer Paul Webb established was a complete and total focus on what King and his group were able to achieve through one particular event, the march from Selma to Montgomery Alabama in 1965 to secure equal voting rights. 

The march was successful and culminated in US President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It is hard to watch in places, as it should be, it is thought provoking, as it should be, it is debate provoking, as it should be. As soon as the credits began to roll a discussion ensued as to how much have we really changed in society?

The divides between, race, Religion, gender are still evident, (to say the least) in society. In the Fall Winter Collections of New York Fashion week this year white models covered over 79% of the catwalks, which is actually a slight (emphasis on slight) decrease on last year. Think about walking into a room of 100 people and 80 of them are white, you would think it was odd, would you not?

I remember once speaking up to a middle-aged white man on the tube who was nastily mocking the Asian train driver’s accent and at one point during our discussion he asked ‘So what, are you a Muslim?’ and I responded ‘What if I was?’ As if I had no right to care about a racist stood next to me, but that is the question, so what if I was? Would he have aimed his ignorance in my direction instead? Unfortunately another example that the work is never over, Selma displays one great victory, it will make you think and wonder what still needs to be worked on today.

John Legend, Common, Ava DuVernay, David Oyelowo, and Oprah Winfrey marched in Selma for Martin Luther King Day. Credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Paramount PicturesRead more: http://www.usmagazine.com/entertainment/news/oprah-winfrey-john-legend-march-in-selma-with-film-stars-for-mlk-day-2015191#ixzz3fU4ndAXo 

John Legend, Common, Ava DuVernay, David Oyelowo, and Oprah Winfrey marched in Selma for Martin Luther King Day.
Credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Paramount PicturesRead more: http://www.usmagazine.com/entertainment/news/oprah-winfrey-john-legend-march-in-selma-with-film-stars-for-mlk-day-2015191#ixzz3fU4ndAXo  

Long Live Longline

Can you even believe it the heat wave is finally here and of course the inappropriate hot pants, lack of T-shirt in the middle of a city centre and ‘health warnings’ are rife. What to wear today when you don’t necessarily want to go with the norm, or better yet what to wear to the all dayer in the pub garden this weekend? Well I have a new found obsession, the Longline.

It comes in various formats, T-Shirts, Dusters, Blazers, Camis, Shirts…. But it is the perfect item to turn any outfit around. Diverse in that it can be worn throughout the seasons, it comes in so many different ways that you can wear the style without getting tired and it is perfect for those I cannot be bothered days.

One of my favourite things about it is it covers my troublesome areas without being obvious, by this I mean my thigh and buttocks region. I always prefer to wear a longer top, unless I’m feeling daring (or I have already had a few glasses of Sauvignon Blanc prior to finalising my evening attire) and decide to go for a black jeans crop top combo, however this is strictly saved for an evening out and wouldn’t be my outfit of choice for the day. I currently have 2 longline sleeveless coats and 3 longline camis but I’ve got my eye on a few more, namely pink and lilac ones, be rude not to now the sun is out.

Top tip, the sales are quite simply killing it at the moment, I just bought some sandals from Topshop for £7, (less than a double Gin and Tonic), so have a look out for any key pieces even if they are a size or two too big an oversized sleeveless longline blazer will simply have more of an androgynous look if it’s less fitted.

Happy Summer!

Longline final

Double Denim-mania

Denim, once a symbol of poverty, hard labour or in a more modern sense with rips/safety pins/political statement patches a symbol of rebellion and angst….. now a symbol of complete normality.

We all own it in one way or another and no doubt we all have our favourites, for me it is of course high waisted black jeans, perfectly suited for my body type and always a fall back for any outfit crisis. Then, going back a few years I have my ultimate ripped Abercrombie and Fitch light denim baggy and slightly flared jeans I wore so much in my teenage years the rips weren’t so much rips as gaping holes and my Abercrombie and Fitch (can you tell I went through a preppy stage?) light denim ripped mini skirt, I still hold onto them both waiting for them to make a big come back. Now the trend off of the 80’s is back, the double denim, once shunned by all those with style and taste and now back gracing the style magazines and flooded over Instagram and blogs alike. I never thought I’d say it but I am a fan, I confess!

There are a few ways to play it, keep it simple with a denim shirt and jeans, I personally team my Mom’s light denim shirt with a pair of dark Hollister (also from my preppy days but not so ruined) ripped boyfriend jeans, must add here that these are low-rise, not a trend I think I would like back too soon, so they are always worn with a baggy(ish) and long top. Or you could push the boat out that little bit further, try a triple threat, denim top, jeans and jacket if you’re feeling really up for it or one outfit I plan on testing this weekend (weather permitting) it’s a denim midi skirt and baggy denim cropped T-shirt, teamed with a pair of sandals. Keep it light with the accessories and make up otherwise you could find yourself more 80’s LA wannabe cowgirl than flaunting fashionista. Something simple like gentle make up and a matte red lip with loosely styled hair I think fits the bill perfectly.

Denim 4

Sunshine Basics

BIKINI BODY READY?

ARE YOU READY FOR SUMMER?

GET YOUR BIKINI BODY IN TEN DAYS!

It may be a skyline filled with rain and grey cloud as far as the eye can see, however it is very nearly Summer and the bikini’s are rearing their ugly head from the draw under the bed, like the boogie man taunting you from the darkness. I’ve already taken the plunge, I had the most fantastic short break in Malta just a few weeks ago and that involved summer dresses and two-pieces. Safe to say, it’s a daunting prospect for most of us, myself included, with trips to the nearest common in mind, pool days and of course the next holiday (to Croatia) I have to remind myself that what may seem like a mountain of cellulite and whale blubber to me is nothing to everyone else. As women we now have an extreme stigma of beauty to up hold, this pressure is worse than ever with girls as young as 9 suffering depression and anxiety due to issues with body image. Really.

I’m not usually one to dress for my size per say, I own cullotes, shift dresses, men’s shirts all which shouldn’t be worn by those of a certain breast size, height, body shape. I plan on focusing on the positive, wearing what makes me feel comfortable and overcoming all those nagging insecurities, see ya, bye bye now.

So here is a mini hit list of some of my go to items of the Summer, the basics you might say…..

‘No Selfies In the Booth’

Today’s the day, you’ve heard it on the news, seen it on the TV, read it in the papers, or more appropriately on your news app on your phone or tablet, it’s vote day.

I’ll be off on my lunch break and I won’t be disclosing who I will be voting for firstly, because I am torn between two and secondly because it should always be your own decision drawn on by facts, not opinions.

The most important thing to remember today is to make your voice heard, especially if you’re part of the younger generation and/or female. The party chosen will be deciding the course of your future, how easy it is to get on the property ladder, how much tax you pay, how much care you would receive in a national hospital, not to mention the future for your children. These elements impact our lives an incredible amount, just think of what the government did after the Second World War, the establishment of the NHS and Welfare State, which are integral parts of our society today. Of course, if you are a woman your vote is vital and should be treasured, if it was prior to 1928 I would not be able to vote today as I’m not a woman over 30, who I might add were only given the vote in 1918 after the Great War and the work of the Suffragettes and Iron Jawed Angels. These women fought not only for the vote but for freedom, dramatic as it sounds, it’s the truth. The people before us have paved the way for our lifestyles today and you can make the most of this with a simple ‘X’ next to the candidate of your choice.

One thing to sum it all up is an interesting report I heard today, whereby voters must be ‘careful’ of taking a seflie in the booth whilst voting as it could be going against privacy laws, talk about a statement for our generation ‘No selfies in the booth’. Whether your taking a selfie, checking in on Facebook at your local polling station, tweeting ‘I’ve voted!’, just make sure you do.IMG_0080

Looking Back and Looking Forward

Spring is in the air and there is a Spring in my step, cliché or not there is nothing better than waking up in the morning to a tree covered in full bloom flowers and the sky a wonderful shade of blue, but what lies ahead for the year for me. I think the phrase ‘time flies’ is simply all to real, I now go onto my Timehop and see reminders of a bungee jump in New Zealand three years ago or a fancy dress night 6 years ago with numerous photos taken in a less than presentable student flat. Now I like to think of putting some of my time into different things, although the next bungee jump is already planned for the end of this year, in none other than South Africa.

Of course on the cards are the numerous festivals coming up in the Summer, unfortunately no Glastonbury for me however I do think I will be partaking in an old favourite South West Four, just a stones throw from my humble abode, taking place on Clapham Common. The line up is unmistakably good, Faithless headlining Saturday, their first major London performance in four years I believe, not to be missed. Within my girl group of friends we have also been looking into Croatia, a place I’ve never been before but have only ever heard amazing things.

One thing thatapril 24 is special about London is that you’re never short of things to do that extend outward from the classic pub session (not denying however these will still be a common occurance). I remember last year having lunch and a prosecco cocktail, in the height of Summer, with my Mom before visiting the fantastic Glamour of Italian Fashion Exhibition at one of my favourite museums The Victoria and Albert, London. We spent a little too much money in the gift shop stocking up on books and beautiful prints as well as a miniature vintage Fiat 500 for my Dad to match his actual vintage Fiat 500. Previous to this I attended a lecture on Italian Fashion with a special focus on Salvatore Ferragamo, Shoemaker to the stars and if only all lectures in life had been like this one, so informative and fascinating. Next on the list is of course Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, also at the V&A, I’m hoping to fit in time to go to one of the 2 talks accompanying the exhibition too! (Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, 14th March – 2nd August, for tickets click here)

The other event I would love to attend which is slightly out of my reach is the Trust Women conference, a 2 day long event covering topics like Human Trafficking and Slavery as well as Women’s Empowerment and Special Focus talks. In light of some of the recent events including the tragic lost of over 800 lives in the Mediterranean Sea, these topics are more relevant than ever. With an advisory board that includes Cathy Russell (U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues), Cherie Blair (wife to former Prime Minister Tony Blair, lawyer and founder of Cherie Blair Foundation for Women) and Christie Turlington Burns (Founder, Every Mother Counts, filmmaker, author, super model) the event is sure to be a success once again. (Trust Women Conference, 17th – 18th November).

Funny how when you’ve finished education you eventually start to look back fort it, however this time I’m looking for more fashion trends and empowering women seminars rather than geometry and physics calculations.