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…