Hi lovely Fe-liners!
Well we’re already in September (I know, how did that happen?!) but fear not! September is a great month to set yourself new goals and resolutions that may have gone astray over the summer. It’s a perfect time to refocus and plan for the season ahead.
There is something really thrilling about the changing seasons, the golden hues in the trees and the sense of anticipation of new beginnings. We like to think of the year as having two ‘New Years’, January and September. It’s always hard to stick to resolutions in January as the weather is grim and the days are short and all you want to do is hibernate; so September is a great chance to reboot and set a resolution or two, while the sun is (hopefully) shining and the eventfulness of summer ebbs away.
Resolutions can be really simple things: like taking the time to read. We have just launched a Fe-line Book Club which is a great way of exploring new titles that you may have not picked up previously. If you think this would be a great September resolution for you then why not sign up to our Book Club mailing list to get all the latest info. What’s more, we will be chatting and reviewing books online so you don’t have to be Oxford-based to join in. It’s a great way to get back into reading or to motivate you to finish a book, and Team Fe-line definitely need that, so what better motivation than the chance to chat with lots of lovely like minded women! If you didn’t catch Debs’ blog all about the book club you can find it here.
Another great way of feeling renewed and refreshed for the season ahead is to have a wardrobe over haul. There are some great trends out there this season, and even if you incorporate just one look you can freshen up your winter wardrobe. The best way to do this is to have a clothes sort out, which is always very therapeutic in itself. Work out if your winter staples are still good to go and if not, add them to a list of items you want to replace or purchase. It’s always good to have a pair of boots for day and another for evening wear, and lots of layers, so jumpers, cardigans, scarves, as well as a winter coat and a parka or rainproof jacket. Once you’ve worked out what you need make a priority list and add any extra items that would be great for adding a new twist to your look, like scarves, hair accessories, a new dress or a winter coat. By prioritising which are the most important things you need to buy you won’t go shopping aimlessly and you can budget based on what you need the most.
The other good reason for having a sort out and making a list, dear Fe-liners, (and this is the good bit!) is that you can work out which items are perfect Frock Swap material! We will be holding our first Fe-line Frock Swap of 2014 on 20th September at the Old Museum in Oxford. It’s a great way to part with those pieces that you may have only worn once or twice, but haven’t come out of the wardrobe in a while, and swap them for some exciting new pieces that might be on your list of Autumn must haves, or be perfect for freshening up your look for this season. The Frock Swap is only £2 so it’s a perfect way to try something new, a great September resolution!
As well as the Swap, there will be a whole host of exciting things going on. Entrance to the event is completely free and there will be a great selection of stalls including Kinship of Oxford, Ladies Who Lunch Jewellery, Eliza Jane Jewellery, and One for Sorrow, plus workshops from Katie Dyer on Autumn/Winter style and making the most of those Frock Swap finds, and Debs will be holding the first Fe-line Book Club meeting at 2pm, for our book After I Left You by Alison Mercer, with Alison also making an appearance at 3pm. On top of all that there will also be a pop-up bar and café! It’s going to be a corker, so get your swapping pile ready and join us for lots fun and frolics.
Love & frock swapping,
As I sat in Vicar Street theatre surrounded by a sea of women and a smattering of men, butterflies danced the tango in my stomach. From the moment I first read How to be a Woman I adored Caitlin Moran. She was everything I wanted to be: a cool, quirky, kick-ass feminist with amazing hair. When she took to the stage my eyes filled with tears – what can I say, I am a little ball of emotion. During her time on stage she spoke openly about a range of subjects, from her abortion to masturbating over Benedict Cumberbatch. The most memorable part of the show (apart from getting to meet her in person, hug her and have her compliment my hair, tattoos and makeup – I had to elbow that in there somehow) was when she instructed us all to stand on a chair and shout “I am a feminist”. If you’ve never done it before, you must it’s very liberating! It’s funny, a few years ago I would have struggled to identify as a feminist and yet here I was standing on a chair shouting it for the world to hear, all because of Caitlin Moran. Over my years of avidly reading her articles, interviews and books I realise that the importance of identifying as a feminist isn’t the only lesson she has taught me. So here I present to you some of the lessons I have learned from Caitlin Moran.
1. Sexism isn’t as obvious as it used to be.
Modern sexism is quite cunning and so people can get away with it because you’re not quite sure if they are being sexist, being stupid or if you just don’t have a sense of humour. Caitlin puts it brilliantly: instead of thinking about it as sexism think about it in terms of politeness. Instead of calling people out for being sexist twonks let them know you found that comment quite rude. The bottom line is someone will argue that they were not being sexist or that you were being “oversensitive” but it’s hard to argue against bad manners. So let’s all work on being a little nicer and much more polite to each other.
2. Our cultural mindset has become so warped we spend far too much time and money worrying about body hair.
I remember teaching a sex ed program to a group of teenage boys and part of the program involved showing them pictures of some STDs. All of the boys freaked out and recoiled in horror at one particular picture. Not because of the symptom of the infection but because they had never seen a vagina with hair on it and they had no idea what they were looking at! I’m not saying hair removal is evil, instead just think about your motivations for it. Do you do it because it makes you feel better or because you feel like it’s expected?
3. You can enjoy porn and still be a feminist.
Caitlin speaks openly about watching amateur porn and enjoying it. Porn isn’t bad, but the industry right now is sexist and gives unrealistic expectations in relationships, the role of women and what they should look like.
4. Your period is not a dirty shameful secret.
Growing up, I lived in a household where everything was open for discussion. However, my friends were forced to hide all elements of their bodily functions from male members of the family. I’m not sure why they never struck me as being of a nervous disposition. I’m not saying I’m gonna go full on “free flow” embracing my period but I’m certainly not going to whisper about it in hushed tones for fear of upsetting the men folk with non-sex related vagina talk. Or worse still because that is not how ladies should behave.
5. The perfect shape is “human shaped”.
Are you human shaped? Congratulations you have the perfect shape. Fat is not the worst thing you can be and anything that means you feel pressured to torture and deprive your body is bollocks.
6. If the boys don’t have to do it then some sexist bullshit is afoot.
Has the government laws that dictate what happens with a mans testicles? Do men fear walking alone at night? Is there an assumption that a man will change his surname when he gets married? You get the picture.
7. Be proud of your roots.
Caitlin speaks openly about coming from a working class family and how she will always identify as working class. When people become educated and/or successful they are adopted by the middle class. Which by default means that there will be no aspirational figures or voices for the working class. I was always secretly ashamed of being from a lower class family because those were the messages I received externally. There was no pride to be gained from being from a separated single parent family. However, now thanks to Caitlin I embrace my past and happily declare that I am working class and will never be anything else.
8. Children are your choice.
You are no better or worse than anyone else because you choose to have them or not. You have an inherent worth already, you do not need to have a child to become a complete woman. If you do choose to have a baby it is just that, your choice, go for it if it is what you want – I hear it’s incredibly fulfilling. But you are not a child hating monster if you do not want one of your own.
9. Abortion is also your choice.
If you think that you won’t be able to love a child the way they should be loved, and if you can’t give them the physical, social, financial and emotional support they need then you can choose not to have the baby. Or if you are just not ready or whatever reason you have then you do not have to have a baby. And you don’t have to feel guilty about it, either.
10. Being a feminist does not translate to being a man-hater.
We don’t want to overthrow the men and rule the world, we just want our share. We don’t want them to go away, we just want to work alongside them with the same opportunities and benefits. Is that too much to ask?
I hope you enjoyed this post and that it has inspired you to read Caitlin Moran’s books. If/ when you do, I would love to hear all about it!
Last month I turned the ripe old age of 28. The big question was: how on earth did THAT happen so fast?! Last I remember, I was in New York celebrating my twenty-first birthday, charging full steam ahead. Time sure does fly.
My twenties have been quite a ride. I’ve changed my career, travelled the world, completed a degree, studied in Canada and moved to Australia, packing in as many countries as possible in between. Entering my late twenties has also been a time for reflection and changes on many levels. There are things that I now value more and different outlooks I have developed that perhaps I didn’t have back in my early twenties, which is the norm. Lately I’ve been thinking about what those changes are, and have been taking the time to reflect on them. As the year of twenty-eight beckons, dear readers, I wanted to share a few things I’ve figured out so far…
Make time for yourself (it’s not being lonely, it’s being good to yourself)
Time is one of the greatest luxuries we have. There’s a lot to be said for hedonism, but there’s a lot to be said for good health and wellbeing. Life is busy and we spend a lot of it socialising and dashing from one thing to the next. It can be exhausting. So many times I have found myself saying ‘yes’ to social engagements because I feel I have to and for FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Nowadays though, the thought of a jam-packed schedule is daunting, not to mention tiring (admittedly I’m not 78, but I do value my eight hours a night). Don’t be fearful if you’ve not got a busy schedule 24/7 – time to yourself is one of the greatest luxuries. Make time for yourself and cherish alone time, because it doesn’t mean you’re lonely. It’s an essential ingredient to keeping yourself centered and grounded. It’s okay to be alone at times.
Don’t compare yourself to others, because you god damn rock
This, my friends, is one of the hardest things to do, but also one of the most important if you want to be happy in yourself. No one person is the same, that’s the beauty of life – you are just as unique as the next person and everyone lives life differently. You won’t always be on the same page as everyone else your age, and that’s okay. Next time you find yourself comparing yourself to someone on Facebook, one of your peers or someone across the street step back, take stock and remember: dig yourself, you are doing just fine as you are.
Cherish what you have and practise gratitude, dude
During my twenties, I’ve chosen to spend my money on what makes me happy: travel. I don’t have a mortgage yet, I don’t have a flashy car but I do have a colourful passport and a lot of amazing memories, and I’m really grateful for that. You can’t have it all – sometimes you have to choose. It’s no biggie, as long as you’re grateful with what you do have and what you’ve accomplished so far.
Exercise is an essential ingredient to happiness
I admit that often I feel I am too busy to exercise and that it often gets pushed to the bottom of the priority list when I am feeling busy and stressed. But, exercise is one of the most crucial elements to wellbeing, de-stressing and is a free-of-charge mood booster. Make the time in your busy day to get some and be good to yourself, even if it’s for ten minutes a day, no matter how simple. You can work it, gurl.
Stop spending all of your money on food, booze and shoes
Say what?! Yup, there are others things to enjoy in this life, too – invest your hard earned cash in something that will truly enrich you and cultivate the things that make you happy. Sure, enjoy the new threads and a vino or two, hell I still do, but everything in moderation, right? So many times throughout the years all of my spare cash has gone on going out to the pub, and I’ve loved it. But there are other soul-satisfying things to spend your dough on, too. Buy a new book, sign up to a new course, take up a new hobby – keep learning and enrich yourself. It’s way more valuable to you in the long run than that extra glass of wine.
Life is short; sometimes you have to take risks
Occasionally in life you have to take risks in order to live to your full potential – it’s as simple as that. It may not be easy to break a cycle and step out of your comfort zone and yes, it may be hard, but if you follow your heart and give it your all, it will be worth it. Sit through the discomfort of change and remember that you can’t let your fears control what you want to do in life. In order to grow, at times you have to take a leap of faith to figure of what really matters to you.
Know that everything that is meant to be, will be. Don’t you agree?
Until next time.
Image source: unsplash.com
As we’re nearing the end of August, it’s time for a little update from the Top Cats at Fe-line! We’ve been busy planning events for the rest of 2014 and looking ahead already to 2015, and if you can’t make it to any of our meet-ups then you can still hang out with us online: we’re on Twitter with our #felinehour every Tuesday evening from 8-9pm. Here’s what we’ve been enjoying, thinking about, talking about and wearing at Fe-line HQ this month:
I don’t have a very tangible paw to give away this month, but my Fe-line Paw of Approval has to be given to housemates. I’ve been house-hopping between friends’ homes over the summer and have rediscovered my long lost love for coming home to a gaggle of girls! I made some of my best friends when flat-sharing at university but then went on to lodge with an older couple, live with only one lovely friend, and then move in with my boyfriend. Over the last few weeks I’ve been reminded of just how much fun it can be living with mates: we’ve cooked for each other, watched TV and films together and socialised with each other’s friends. Even though my boyfriend and I do all those things all the time, having some female friends to share the evenings with seems to make these activities like more of an occasion. I’ve loved hanging out with a girl gang more than usual, and it’s made me really appreciate and miss other friends who I don’t get to spend this kind of quality time with. So, that’s why I want to put a paw up for house sharing friends across the lands!
This month, my Paw of Approval goes to the makers of my favourite dress: Eucalyptus. I’ve owned various Eucalyptus items over the years and, whatever size I’ve been, I’ve always found that their clothes have that all important flattering cut. They are my go-to brand for lovely, floaty, pretty clothing – their skirts have acres of material that properly swishes when you spin, love it!
Eucalyptus is a London based company which was started in 2002 by a “girls only team of designers, determined to create individual, comfortable and feminine fashion with a good touch of quirkiness”. What could be better than that? For more info, you can visit their website: http://www.eucalyptusclothing.co.uk/ or, if you’re Oxford based, you can drop into the covered market where Fresh Clothing stock lots of their yummy clothes.
My Fe-line Paw of Approval has to be baby related this month. The Babe has learnt to crawl this month, started teething, had his first stomach bug, two colds, moved into his own room and then back into ours and there has been little time for much internet surfing or cool links collecting. My life has been a repetition of chasing after him, repeating “Don’t eat that”, administering nurofen, applying bonjela and fighting him to go into the pushchair/car seat. My quiet little baby has disappeared and has been replaced by a raucous little boy (I absolutely love it).
So I am giving my Paw of Approval to the Munchkin duck bath. I went into Boots looking for a non slip mat for the bottom of the bath and this is what I came out with. (FYI this is not a picture of The Babe it is a promo shot of the product). I think the duck bath is the best £8.99 I have spent on a baby item, because not only does it make my life a lot easier, it makes bath time really safe but it is also so much fun. Munchkin products are great for this they make parents life easier but are also kid friendly and budget friendly. I don’t have to hold The Babe in the bath anymore and this saves my arms, he can happily sit in the duck and play with his toys and so he has the freedom that he loves, it’s win, win. The only thing I am asking is when they are going to make an adult one or a big one to go in the garden?
My Fe-line Paw of Approval this month goes to Coco Wedding Venues. I am (sadly and happily!) not in the market for a wedding venue any more but this website is just sigh worthily beautiful. Coco was set up by Emma Hla at the beginning of this year and has gone from strength to strength, rapidly increasing it’s venue portfolio and being nominated for Best Designed Blog at the Wedding Blog Awards (you can vote for Coco here!) The idea behind the website is to bring together a style focused directory of beautiful wedding venues which are all helpfully categorised by Coco’s Wedding Venue Styles including Rustic Romance, City Chic and my favourite Bohemian Beats.
The Coco blog is also full of useful (and very pretty) information for brides and grooms to be, from unusual colour palettes to news on new venues and swoon worthy wedding suppliers to real love stories. The blog is a great wedding resource tastefully put together and lovingly narrated by Emma’s characterful writing. But more than that, it’s a great source of inspiration and incredibly uplifting, as looking at pretty things always is! So make a cuppa, sit back and indulge.
One trend that all women seemed to be absolutely terrified of this summer was one-pieces. Whether it was a full length jumpsuit, a thigh skimming play-suit or even delightful denim dungarees, us women just seemed to be petrified of embracing them. I have to admit that when I first saw a full length jumpsuit I found the idea of wearing something that covers your whole body in the one fabric/pattern very daunting, however the more I looked around at different styles and shapes, the harder I fell in love. I know you’re probably mumbling under your breath at me right now, something along the lines of “that’s easy for you to say because you’re a teenage girl”, but you couldn’t be more wrong. I may be a young fashion-conscious girl, but I know for a fact that when it comes to jumpsuits, playsuits, and even dungarees, age is certainly not an obstacle. Whether you’re nineteen like myself, twenty-five like Vanessa Hudgens or thirty-five like Kate Hudson, there’s absolutely no reason for you to be afraid of one-pieces.
When I first heard that one-pieces were going to be a huge trend this summer, I was so excited that there was finally going to be a new trend that didn’t involve showing any midriff. However, when they began to flood the high street shops, I found it all a bit daunting. As I’m a pretty small girl (let’s just say I’ll never, ever hit the six foot mark) I automatically guessed that I wouldn’t be able to pull of a jumpsuit because I thought that they’d just “swamp” me. So I decided to start off a little bit easier by braving a playsuit. In my opinion playsuits are much easier to wear than jumpsuits because it’s like wearing a mini summer dress. I would recommend playsuits in a heartbeat as they come in a large array of colours, patterns, necklines and even sizes so there’s bound to be a playsuit out there to suit you. Whether you go for a tribal printed beach one to pair with a slouchy satchel, a pair of gladiator sandals and plenty chunky accessories, or a monochrome party one that you could clash with a pair of red patent heels and a matching clutch bag. Playsuits really are one of the easiest trends to pull off, and they can even be worn when the weather gets cooler with a chunky knit cardigan, thick tights and coordinating ankle boots. There really is no excuse for you not to have one in your wardrobe. If Beyoncé can own more than one, why can’t you?
I can guarantee that every woman reading this post has had a vivid childhood memory involving wearing dungarees, and now is your time to relive wearing them. Whether you brave an ankle-grazing baggy one, a bold coloured/patterned one, or if you’re like me and just want a simple short denim one, there are plenty types of dungarees that can be bought to make you forget all about the ones your mom forced you to wear when you were a kid. I’m going to be honest and admit that I find full length dungarees impossible to pull off. I’ve seen many women wear them with a simple pair of converse and a plain matching t-shirt, and I’m always oozing with jealously because every time I’ve tried one on I end up looking like a ten year old. However, when I came across a short pair, it wasn’t long until I matched it with absolutely every pair of tights I own. There wasn’t a week that I didn’t wear them during the summer with either a pair of bold tights and a simple t-shirt, or with my gladiator sandals and a smock top, I just found them insanely comfortable and easy to wear. They’re just such a simple item of clothing that can be pulled off by any woman regardless of their age. It can even be worked as a day-to-night piece by just swapping flats for heels, a t-shirt for a high collared shirt, and adding a dash of glitz and glam with a statement necklace.
Jumpsuits are certainly not for the fainthearted, however with a little bit of confidence you’ll find that they’re not as hard to wear as you may think. I used to find them pretty scary because, similarly to the full length dungarees, I always thought that they’d just ‘swamp’ me. I spent the whole summer pining over them and drooling with envy over every photo that I saw of a famous blogger or a celebrity that was wearing one beautifully. It took me a while, but I eventually gave up and faced the fact that I couldn’t own one. However when I saw one in Primark that had a fabric overlay across my chest, I couldn’t resist it, and I’ve never turned back since. They’re actually quite easy to wear once you team them with subtle, matching accessories, simple flats and of course a confident, bright smile. There’s no reason for you to shy away from the jumpsuit trend.
I hope that this post has given you the confidence boost you need to go out and invest in a stylish one-piece. Whether you wear it on the beach, during a shopping trip, or even on a night out, there’s no reason for you to be scared of the trend. If I can own many playsuits, a jumpsuit and a dungarees, then why can’t you?