“There are always people who don’t like what I’ve got to say, but when you need to tell the truth and get a message across, you have to put yourself out there”

img_1659-1 Case File No.7: Michelle Langan

 

File under: #homelessness #reform #charity #politics #laws #justice

 

You know when there are people in your orbit doing wonderful things, and you’re aware of what they do, but don’t know the detail? Michelle Langan is one such person for me. It won’t have escaped your notice that homelessness is reaching epidemic levels in the UK, but rather than just pitying those dealt a shitty hand, Michelle, 44, has been doing something about it for some time now. I’ve known her since working on teen magazines together over a decade ago. But, although she moved back home to Liverpool in 2006 to get into TV scriptwriting, she’s stayed in my peripheral vision via social media, largely due to the things she’s got involved with on the side. First launching The Paper Cup Project, (a group supporting people living on the streets of Liverpool); she then dipped into politics beating off over a thousand applicants to get a place on the Jo Cox Women in Leadership scheme. Now she has her sights on a local council seat and who knows where that will lead. When I finally got to pin her down to find out more, she described herself as ‘gobby’ and ‘annoying’ but, frankly, these are qualities you’re going to need if you’re planning on influencing homelessness legislation – which she has done. I don’t doubt we’ll be seeing a lot more of the name Michelle Langan on ballot papers in years to come. Continue reading “There are always people who don’t like what I’ve got to say, but when you need to tell the truth and get a message across, you have to put yourself out there”

End of term assessment: 12 things I learned during my daughter’s first year at school

School’s out for the summer! Reports have been read, sports day is over and one final rummage around the lost property box has been done. B has made it through Reception and, by default, so have I. I hadn’t expected her starting school to be such an education for both of us but, hey, there’s lots to get to grips with being the parent of a primary starter. Here are 12 things I’ve been enlightened to over the last 12 months… Continue reading End of term assessment: 12 things I learned during my daughter’s first year at school

“Until we raise our young men — and women — not to hurt one another when we disagree, there will always be a need to raise funds for those exposed to domestic abuse.”

img_1659-1 Case File No.6: The W.I.N Team

File under: #Domesticabuse #Fundraising #Fashion #Charity #Ethicalfashion

There’s a group of women in my neighbourhood who everyone knows. They’re like local celebs these W.I.N ladies. Certainly, for the past couple of years I’ve been living in South Woodford I’ve been aware of Christina Harvey and Nikki Christie requesting and collecting second-hand clothing and parenting paraphernalia to give to a nearby women’s refuge via their popular Women In Need (W.I.N) Facebook group. They do an amazing job. Such items are essential because many residents have fled domestic violence and arrive with nothing. Christina knows this more than anyone because she spent time in a hostel with her own mother as a child. Continue reading “Until we raise our young men — and women — not to hurt one another when we disagree, there will always be a need to raise funds for those exposed to domestic abuse.”

Are you a girl or a woman? And does it matter?

Earlier this week I was challenged for using the word ‘girl’ to refer to a female pedestrian who was clearly over the age of 18. It was something to do with giving directions – won’t bore you with the details – but I referenced this person, whom I’d put in her early twenties, as an indication of distance. Continue reading Are you a girl or a woman? And does it matter?

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