Category: Thoughts

100 Years

Greta Gerwig is only the fifth woman ever to be nominated for best director at the Oscars.

Marie Curie – honoured twice with the Nobel Prize, in 1903 for physics and 1911 for chemistry.  Between the years 1901 – 2017 only 48 women in total have been awarded the prize.

1984 was the first year women were allowed to run the marathon at the Olympic games. The gold medal was won by Joan Benoit Samuelson.

The Oxford and Cambridge boat race.  First rowed by women in 1927 and then annually since 1964.  The women’s race was only televised in 2015.

Today marks the 100th anniversary of women in the UK getting the vote – but don’t be fooled into thinking this was all women – we’re talking women over 30 with ‘property’..the real equality would take another eleven years.

100 years later discrimination is still rife.  Except it’s not talked about, because it doesn’t happen. In fact there are so many people convinced of their good intentions towards women that they don’t even notice their glaring disrespect for them: Grid girls? Equal number of grid boys please, along with female racing drivers, women mechanics, female engineers, women running F1 teams – and lets add heading up the car companies as well because we still need an explosion of the myth that cars are just for boys.  Time to grow up.

 

Laters, Kate x

Spoonflower x

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One of the truly great things about living in the IT revolution is how it has brought down the cost of printing, whether it be on paper or fabric.

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There are now companies out there that for a small sum are ready to take your designs and turn them into usable art – we’re talking fabric, wallpaper and wrapping paper..and you don’t even need a large print run…one roll or 1 metre will do it. What’s more, if it’s good, you can earn money from other people buying your design…win, win.

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It’s something I’m keen to explore and play with.  I’ve found this website that gives a clear, basic tutorial. about pattern repeating.

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And Spoonflower seem to be the biggest/best website for printing…and they also have lots of ‘how to’ videos.

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Now to pin down the design…

Laters, Kate x

Some dreams are made of this..

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The temperature is rising, the bluebells are out! And like the instinct of an awakening hibernating beast, the brain is coming alive with illicit thoughts of cloudless skies and barmy evenings and how best to harness those precious summer months.

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More and more I’m dreaming of hammocks and swing beds.

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That primitive allure of quiet self-indulgence: Peace, tranquility, old soft cotton and a damn fine book.

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If our garden was huuuuge I’d go for one of these…beds on top..potential den beneath…broken bones a given…but just think of the fun!

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This is probably more realistic – and I like the pagoda style..a bit more secretive and tucked away.  Maybe with a curtain to block out nosey neighbours…and with a back support – I hate reading completely flat.  It would eat the space…but in a rather wonderful way.  The truth is we have an urban life: Our garden will never be a football pitch…so why pretend?

 

Laters Kate x

 

Greek Life..

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Anyone else heading to Greece on holiday this summer? Worried about the economic crisis? Don’t be…if I hadn’t seen the media reports before we left, I wouldn’t know there was a problem. Whilst the political events may have been whipped up into a fury in the papers, day to day life, at least for tourists, remains unchanged – ATMs still work, there’s petrol in the pumps and food on the supermarket shelves.

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We were wary before we left and quickly bought cash belts and locks for the suitcases, but, like the dew in the morn, those feelings have long since gone.

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Fundamentally, this is a cash based society – which has been part of the problem – that and corrupt politicians. Ultimately, if you have cash or a foreign credit card, you are fine and rather than seeing poverty some Greeks are still very wealthy…which are the ones we’re more likely to see on holiday, particularly in a place like Spetses.  I will confess to some Marie Antoinette twinges, an openning gulf between those with and those without – a low slung banana yellow Lamborghini roared past us on a mountain road, there was a wedding on Spetses reportedly costing millions for a single day of celebrations, the beach turned into a dance floor with enough lights to resemble an alien landing.  Is it enough for potential civil unrest? Only time will tell. I asked a friend married to a Greek whether there was a growing awareness of this discrepancy, she said no, Greeks didn’t see it as a flaunting of wealth but rather admired it as a show of success, she said I was viewing the situation through envy driven British eyes that like to attack the successful.

Who knows..but it does feel like this country is in the grips of the sovereign equivalent to a Company takeover….where the majority of the employees have been forgotten.


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Personally, I would have like the no vote to mean no, for Greece to take Europe by the cojones and leave the Euro and for Germany to be proudly presented with wheel barrowfuls of freshly printed drachma, which would’ve promptly devalued. Yes, it would cause huge problem….but it would leave Greece in control of Greece.

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But then I’m seeing this through privileged English eyes….

 

Laters, Kate x

7 Questions..

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Favourite Colour: Blue..denim, navy, the sea, the sky..it rocks.

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Best trait: I value the simple things in life..but truthfully, what I hold truly dear doesn’t a lot, but is ultimately priceless.

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Worst trait: I like to think I’m tidy, but I fear I’m not – things just get discarded like the feathers from a plucked chicken so there’s a perpetual circle of chaos around me.  I’m also surprisingly crap with technology – I’m not an obsessive checker and regularly lose my phone.  I see the internet as something wonderful but inherently dangerous and I suspect losing my phone is a Freudian way of trying to keep a distance from it’s pull.

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Oldest item in wardrobe: Hard to say – there’s a fair amount of vintage with unknown heritage, but I do have a cream cape that used to belong to my Grandmother.  It’s a treasure.

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Newest item: Vintage silk dress bought on Ebay and dyed black, otherwise it’s my Miss Hellfire stripey shoes..certainly different and surprisingly comfortable..

Favourite piece of music: Schubert Lieder sung by Ian Bostridge which shouldn’t work because he’s a light, English tenor, but does..maybe because it’s such intelligent singing.

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The last time I laughed: Charlie was asking me about the world’s tallest animal.  I said ‘Giraffe’..he looked at me in surprise, and said ‘But what about the Decondra lizard Mummy? It’s at least 2 metres taller, lives in South African and has the ability to make anything you need – if you’re in the Arctic and you need a coat, the Decondra will just make one for you..it can also make plastic..and toys..basically it’s the best pet ever to have..just a big shame it’s so tall’..deep sigh…..

 

Laters, Kate x

 

 

Big Day..

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Today will see the 70th staging of the Oxford and Cambridge boat race: Iconic, exclusive, elitist sporting gold.  And for the first time ever, women will be rowing their own race, on the same stretch of water, on the same day and, like the men, it will be broadcast live to millions.

 

The change is due to Helena Morrissey (Cambridge graduate with 9 children and no background in rowing) Chief Executive of Newton Investment Management and their sponsorship.  She found it shocking that there was such a discrepancy between the men and the women..but don’t think it was plain sailing for her to introduce the change.  It wasn’t.

 

Nina Carberry is also riding in the Grand National today (think of all the girls who have riding lessons.  Now think how many female jockeys there are..) – there is Katie Walsh – she won the Irish Grand National this week…but she doesn’t have a horse to ride…says a lot.  Carberry is in red-hot form having won over the National fences already on Thursday in the Fox Hunters’ Chase…it’s a tough, tough race but I’ll be backing her and First Lieutenant all the way to make history and be crowned the first lady of Aintree.  It’s about time.

 

Laters, Kate x

Fashion Warrior x

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A style icon is someone with the power to dazzle by simply being themselves and Gwendoline Christie, (best known for playing the part of Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones) is as bright and compelling as any of the celebrity fashion role models regularly spoonfed to us by the synthesised, visually generalised media.  But with added spice..there’s something powerful, complex and original about her..made all the more special when you take into account her six foot three inch size..

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As someone who has at times felt genderless because of her height, it interests her to challenge our assumptions of femininity and what it is to be a woman.

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The role of Brienne – unfeminine in appearance, an object of scorn, clinging naively to the idealised concept of knighthood but always being treated with contempt and resentment for her gender, despite her considerable skill – is a role she relishes as a gift and the most extraordinary opportunity to portray the type of feminine outsider we rarely see in the mainstream.

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It’s a part that crosses the invisible line between an actors vanity and personal vanity..you have to be prepared to be displayed as unattractive, large and masculine..and for people to believe that’s what you truly are.

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When the reality is very different..

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This is a lady who knows how to dress and is unafraid to push boundaries.

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(All photos Google and Pinterest)

It must be rather satisfying to hear the crushing sound of misconceptions crunching under the designer soles of her stiletto clad feet every time she walks…

Laters, Kate x

Into the Darkroom..

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Guy Bourdin was a photographer best known for his surreal work for French Vogue from the mid forties to the mid eighties and for his graphically strong and charismatic work for the shoe company, Charles Jourdan.  He’s now the subject of the brilliant Image Maker exhibition at Somerset house, London.
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Whilst conventional fashion images follow the general generalisation of the world: making beauty and clothing their central elements, Bourdin’s photographs offer something grittier..more radical. In a glossier, more vibrant, tumbling world he created desire and lust..then subverted it with hints at dark fantasies and suggestions of depravity. In beautifully created and calculated illusions, his camera acts like an unwanted intruder..

guy-bourdin-15He invites you in…

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Welcomes you to the unexpected, wickedly carving up the narrative, his subjects caught in the headlights.  Disgraceful, flashy and all handcrafted with love and terror.

photo-guy-bourdinWhere he’s happy to leave a layer of shocked emotions smeared across the floor..

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But always with humour and heart.

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The colours are intense: heightened, enhanced, almost hyper-real: Red, blue, a specific yellow, black and white. And always with a life and energy that our modern day editorials seem to have lost.

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In our age of endless image manipulation and photoshopping, there’s something incredible about Bourdin’s sheer creativity and endless imagination.  Look, no digital re-mastering..

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(This is my lovely friend Sophie at the exhibition in our own photo homage)

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This exhibition is cool statement strong balls with scalpel sharp insights and seductive eye candy.  Go see it…then see it again..

Laters, Kate x

Cracking Curves..

 

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It’s that time of year again when the beach starts beckoning and thinness is worn as a Designer label.  But why do we always fall for the myth that size defines our worth? I’ve been talking to the inspirational Sarah Clark about all things voluptuous and authentic.  Sarah is Positive Sarah, blogger for FatPhrocks and Wingz, and also in her own right on Gorgeously Full Fat. She is a fat and fabulous, fashion-loving freelance writer with a novel, Viva Voluptuous in the shops NOW, perfect for a summer giggle and banishing those beach babe fears…

 

Do you think the term ‘plus size’ is offensive…is it the same as ‘she’s beautiful for her age’ – i.e. words that are surplus to requirement?

Actually – not really. It’s mildly irritating but it doesn’t really offend me as at the moment there’s no way of knowing whether something comes in your size without some kind of extra label. If all clothes, or at the very least a wider range, cane in a bigger size range, incorporating the 26 as well as the 6, the ‘plus size’ label would become completely obsolete because you’d just have ‘sizes’. But because bigger women are catered for so abysmally by most high street fashion (and couture of course, which is arguably even worse) at the moment there’s still a need to define a collection as being plus size. I’m more offended by ‘you’d be pretty if you weren’t so fat’ which is a bit similar to the ‘beautiful for her age’ backhanded compliment. If you’re beautiful, you’re beautiful. Weight, age, size, colour don’t come into it.

 

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(Betty from Pamper and Curves)

In your opinion do you think anyone should be able to wear anything regardless of size…or should women just stick to what suits them?

You know, style is so subjective that I think women should wear whatever they feel good in. There used to be so many prescriptive fashion rules for fatties; no horizontal stripes, no bold patterns, and I even read something recently online suggesting that fat women should make sure they have pretty feet because it gives people something attractive that takes the focus away from their (presumably ugly) fat bodies. I mean, WTF is that all about? At the same time, in some body positive circles there’s a lot of pressure on big women to ‘let it all hang out’ and not all of us are happy with that. It’s been so long since I wore a bikini, in fact, I think I was about eight, that even if I had the ‘ideal’ figure, I wouldn’t feel comfortable showing my midriff off. It’s up to the individual; wear whatever makes you feel good, and don’t be pressurised into adjusting your style to suit other people’s ideas of what looks good. People like Betty from Pamper and Curves, or Leah from Just me, Leah play around with their look and always look fabulous, nobody tells them to stick to black or not to wear leggings!

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(Leah from Justmeleah)

 

3. I think shape plays an important part in choosing the right clothes – are there brands out there that understand shape and are still fashion aware?

Generally, it’s the plus size brands that seem to ‘get’ the shape issue. There are exceptions to the rule, but if you buy a dress in an 18 that’s been designed for a size 10, that little extra bit of fabric isn’t necessarily going to make it suit a larger body. I’ve thought for a long time that one of the reasons couture designers don’t design for larger bodies as a rule is that…it’s harder! Designers like Michelle Ellis of FatPhrocks really know what it’s like trying to find fashion that’s a bit different. She designs for tall, plus sized women and are spot on, whereas even with taller versions of average clothes, they sometimes just don’t quite look right. It’s a lot easier to get a dress to hang properly on a body that’s straight up and down, because there’s nothing in the way of the shape of the outfit. But try doing the same with an 18 or a 20 and it’s a different story. For a start, we all have different shapes; some fat women are hourglass, some apple, some pear. Some of us have huge boobs and a big tummy but slimmish legs. No, it’s a lot easier to design for a slim woman, catwalk wise, because they know it will look the same on all the identikit models.

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(Tess Munster)

 

4. Who are your plus size girl (see…falling into the label trap) style icons and why?

I’ve already mentioned Betty Pamper; she is a real style icon to me, I follow her blog avidly because the way she puts her looks together is just phenomenal. She always looks so groomed and so damn gorgeous. Leah from Just me, Leah is another one, she’s a fashion blogger and completely unapologetic for being large. She also blogs on health and body positivity, and a recent post on body confidence was just so spot on I wish that all teenage girls could read it. Two more; Tess Munster is just like a plus size version of Jessica Rabbit. She’s stunning, she’s faced bullying throughout her life but then she thought “You know what, f*** this” and turned it on its head to become a plus size model. The woman is GORGEOUS, and a real inspiration to anyone who thinks being very fat means that you sit around in tatty leggings and a stained tee all day. Lastly, I love Lisa Lister. She was recently featured in Cosmo Body (July) in her full on beehive and tatt-splashed glory, talking about how she gave up diets and found happiness. She’s so positive and full of energy, she inspires me all the time, and I LOVE her style. She also works with Dove as a Body Image Ambassador, and that has to be celebrated.

 

5. What would you prefer – shops/brands that specifically catered for you – or acceptance across all shops?

That’s actually a really tricky question. What I don’t want to see is just a couple of extra sizes tagged on just to keep the fatties happy, because it would just be an afterthought. I’d love to have more choice on the high street. Bigger women have trouble finding clothes in many towns; in my own they’ve just shut down the local Evans, New Look stopped stocking their Inspire range and the only places you can get clothes over a size 18 are a few concessions in Debenhams, or Marks & Spencer. The other thing that’s annoyed me for a long time is why stores like Next who have clothes in size 20,22 and 24 only usually have up to an 18 on display. Yet, they will have the size 6 out. So in convoluted reply, I would like more targeted plus size options in existing shops, and a few more plus size shops on the high street would be lovely too, I’m fed up with having to order my clothes online just because I’m fat.

 

6. Why is acceptance across all shops so hard – particularly when you look at the average size of UK women?..

That one I really can’t answer. My opinion is that fat isn’t ‘aspirational’ enough to warrant attention from the fashionistas, nobody WANTS to be fat, so why display clothes on fat mannequins or cater for larger people in designer or even high street stores? It’s as if they want our money, so they’ll cater for us behind the scenes like Next, making us order the larger sizes online so we don’t have to take up room in their shops! Page 2 of 3Page 3 of 3Talking of taking up room, not that I go into Top Shop very often, but younger shops like Top Shop and River Island are so tightly crammed that fat people can’t even squeeze though the racks in some shops! I think it’s probably a ploy to keep the chubbies away from their lovely tiny clothes personally, but they are missing a trick. Get Beth Ditto or someone in and get working on a collection for big, younger women, and they’ll get loyalty from a completely new section of the market. There’s so few young plus sized fashion options in shops that it’s ridiculous.  I’d love to see the them –vs- us mentality that seems to be all pervasive at the moment disappear up its own backside and be replaced by a tolerant, inclusive acceptance that bodies come in all sizes and it’s actually OK.  aND I’d love to see more designers like Michelle Ellis of FatPhrocks, designers who understand the needs of tall and plus size women and design individual, unusual clothes that cater for the people who actually wear them, rather than being identi-copies of the slim ranges in the shops.

 

7. Magazines also claim that their content has to be ‘aspirational’ – What do you say to that?

In my dreams I’d love to start an intelligent magazine for women that includes women of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities and abilities….with everything from fashion to philosophy and food, which didn’t treat women like idiots, airheads or vacuous bimbos who can’t do anything without taking a selfie or actually CARE what Katie Price is doing!

 

Sarah, I salute you.

Laters, Kate x

 

Eulogy x

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It’s been a sad time for the children’s school this week as they suddenly lost a much loved, much devoted member of staff.  For many of the children (mine included) it was their first real experience of the finality of death and there was a real sense of loss and grief.  So we were incredibly touched when we saw this beautiful tribute attached anonymously to one of the trees on the Common that we pass on our way to school every day.  It was there all week, through all the rain and storms till it was hanging by it’s cellotaped thread.  I couldn’t bear to see it destroyed any more so yesterday I left a note in it’s place  to say how much it had meant to all of us who’d seen it  and that I was taking  it into school to go in a special place in the book of condolence.

 

Walking back afterwards I saw a lady looking at my note and removing it – I just had a gut feeling.  I asked her if it was her daughter who’d drawn the picture..and it was..she wanted to give the note to her daughter to show her how much joy her picture had given.

 

I had hated taking it down but meeting her felt like a little bit of fate, a little bit of magic..and a circle complete in the best way possible:  A treasure is always a treasure.

Laters, Kate x