“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”

18 ways to get your happy fix (and not be a prick)

Today, according to the calendar of made up events that have no cultural or historical relevance is International Day of Happiness. But unlike all the ‘Grab a Dirty Burger’ or ‘Give Your Dog a Hug’ type days that seem to be sprouting from the earth at an increasing rate, this one has the Dalai Lama as patron, which gives it extra whack and boom in my book. You can bet your last copper Pharell Williams and his little dungaree-wearing chums are behind it too.  Continue reading 18 ways to get your happy fix (and not be a prick)

“I wanted to create something positive out of the darkness”

img_1659 Case File No.1: Syreeta Challinger 

File under #resilience #graft #compassion #startup #luxurygoods

In 2014, Syreeta Challinger, then 32, had a demanding fashion industry job in Hong Kong, an equally ambitious boyfriend and a vibrant social life. But when partner Rob suffered a life-threatening brain haemorrhage and stroke while they were on holiday in Sydney, her world fell off its axis. Putting her career on hold, Syreeta moved back to England with him to become his full time carer. They now live with Rob’s parents in Lincolnshire. According to Becky Gilmour, a close friend who has known Syreeta since university, she has been the driving force behind Rob’s ongoing recovery. “She’s such a beautiful, strong woman,” says Becky, who nominated her for this page. “Even saying that gives me goosebumps. Not only does she exemplify the most extraordinary human compassion, she’s incredibly driven. On top of her daily duties, she’s developed an aspirational lifestyle brand making luxury accessories. Although she manages it, they both contribute creatively and already have a range of scented candles in shops. What she’s achieved is amazing; she absolutely can and she does! But she’s too modest to sing and dance about it.” Continue reading “I wanted to create something positive out of the darkness”

Calling all inspirational females!

Sometimes when you’re losing momentum it helps to be inspired by the doings of others. As such, I’m introducing a new  regular section to this blog that focuses on one woman at a time who epitomises the phrase She Can & She Does. Eventually these women will make up a series of Case Files, which we’ll all be able to refer back to when we’re in need of a pep.  Continue reading Calling all inspirational females!