How do you solve a problem like the election?

A couple of weeks ago, I got approached to write something for a politics website – an opinion piece, if you will. But not very in the spirit of She Can & She Does, I declined. I’m not the authority on politics, I told myself, there are tons of people better informed than me; what if I say something WRONG? What if I don’t know enough to make a valid point and end up looking STUPID? Continue reading How do you solve a problem like the election?

“Blogging about my breakdown helped me recover”

img_1659-1 Case File No.5: Kajal Pankhania

File under: #mentalheath #survivor #breakdown #bravery #blogging

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week. Even if you didn’t know that, chances are you’ll have heard the conversation about mental health getting louder, in no small part due to the royals, particularly Harry, chipping in to share his own personal demons as part of a campaign with Mind. And with lots of celebs like Fearne Cotton and Cara Delevigne also coming forward to admit their struggles, it has paved the way for bloggers and influencers to open up across social media too. One such voice is that of Kajal Pankhania, 32, from Berkshire. Taking to the blog she’d originally started to report on motherhood, she wrote a raw account of the circumstances that triggered her depression. Hema Marshall, a friend of Kajal’s, was blown away by the revelations. “I thought it was tremendously brave,” says Hema. “On the surface you have a smart, happy, attractive woman, but here she was telling friends, family and strangers how she had hit rock bottom and couldn’t cope. I really admired her honesty. Her courage will have helped countless others seek help.”  Continue reading “Blogging about my breakdown helped me recover”

Six books that changed the way I think 

I met a friend for lunch the other day. Within five minutes of sitting down she was recommending a book I ‘really must read’ (Grayson Perry’s The Descent of Man, if you’re interested). I LOVE the feeling you get when you discover a book that’s SO good you can’t keep it to yourself, when it resonates SO strongly you know it will stay with you forever and influence your behaviour from thereon. I have another friend who I *suspect* rigged a Secret Santa draw in order to put Alexandra Schulman’s Inside Vogue on my lap for this very reason. No complaints here, more than happy to plead ignorant. Similarly, it drives my sister that bit further up the wall every time I see her and *still* haven’t read Sophia Amoruso’s #Girlboss (sorry B, I’m coming to it, promise). But it got me thinking, particularly as I’ve seen two blogs in the past fortnight with glowing reviews for Daisy Buchanan’s How To Be A Grown Up (another for said list): if I was to pick five books that have had the biggest influence on me since reading, what would they be? Continue reading Six books that changed the way I think 

“Children shouldn’t be punished for not fitting stereotypes, they should feel proud to be who they are. That’s the message I want to get across.”

img_1659-1 Case File No.4: Cheryl Rickman.

File under: #campaigner #storyteller #childrensbooks #sociology

You don’t need to be a parent to feel irked by the way kids’ toys and clothes are marketed: pink and frilly for girls, blue and rugged for boys. Some kids like it that way — and that’s fine — but, fed up with having to shop in the ‘boys’ aisle’ for her dinosaur loving [now] eight-year-old daughter B*, Winchester mum Cheryl Rickman, 42, resorted to creating a range of gender-neutral garments and selling them on her website www.ClimbingTreesKids.com. Continue reading “Children shouldn’t be punished for not fitting stereotypes, they should feel proud to be who they are. That’s the message I want to get across.”

“When you love what you do, you don’t mind the blood, sweat and tears, the stress – the hours, because the reason for doing it drives you on.”

img_1659 Case File No.3: Jacqueline Fernandez

File under: #charity #events #solidarity #drive #selflessness #feminism

Terrorism, broken society, volatile world leaders: who could blame you for losing faith in humanity right now? Well, if you’re feeling helpless or at a loss as to how you can impact the status quo, meet 29-year-old Jacqueline Fernandez and be inspired. Eight years ago after graduating with a psychology degree, Jacqueline travelled solo around Asia and was so affected by the poverty she saw in cities like Manila, it moved her to the point of action. Believing everyone can make a difference in this world, she started devoting her spare time to helping charitable causes when she returned to London. When she clocked how keen others were to support her efforts, she founded the non-profit organisation What You Do Matters in 2012 (of which she is CEO), which makes volunteering accessible for all. ‘Whether you’ve got time, cash or connections to offer, WYDM makes it simple for everyone to get involved by matching resources to the cause,’ says Loraine Fajutag who nominated Jacqueline for this page. ‘Whether she’s sending food parcels to countries hit by natural disasters or arranging a group bungee jump Jacqueline puts her heart and soul into every project and it makes everyone want to help. I don’t know where she gets the time or the energy to do it on top of her 9-5 job as a manager of a vulnerable young people’s service, and private counselling practice. She never stops!’ Continue reading “When you love what you do, you don’t mind the blood, sweat and tears, the stress – the hours, because the reason for doing it drives you on.”

Something’s been needling me…

Part of the reason for starting this blog was to stop putting stuff off. I was going to ‘be more present’, more productive and stop looking for excuses not to do things. It’s having the desired effect because last week, after 17 years of thinking about it, I finally got inked. No one can accuse me of rushing in. Continue reading Something’s been needling me…

“It started in the back room of a pub, now we’re selling out nightclubs”

img_1659-1 Case File No.2: Hannah Jago.

File under: #events #graft #drive #passion #festivals #dance #music

What would you do if you moved from London to another part of the country but wanted to take some of the night life with you? Well, if you were 25-year-old Hannah Jago and you noticed a gap in the market, you’d start throwing the kind of parties you wanted to go to, and create a dance scene with such infectious passion that, a couple of years later, you’d be putting on your first festival. ‘With Kitchen Klub, Hannah has developed not only a scene, but a unique and brilliant brand,’ says Stephanie Alexander-Jinks who has watched her friend’s events snowball over the last five years. ‘In 2012 she arrived in North Devon and created something that galvanised like-minded people with something they all love. I’m ever impressed with her achievements – and her modesty – on top of having a full time job. The greatest part is, stress aside, she’s just as excited as the punters before one of her gigs. But she’s so down to earth I don’t think she realises it’s all her doing.” Continue reading “It started in the back room of a pub, now we’re selling out nightclubs”