Ladies in Red

I’ve never once considered it anything other than absolutely fantastic to be part of the red-headed clan – and, indeed, count myself very lucky. I’ve always valued being different and we certainly are – with approximately just two per cent of the global population born with red hair – incredibly unique. ‘Ginger’ isn’t an insult at all for me – I find it cute when I’ve been called ‘Ginger Nut’ or ‘Ginja Ninja’! In fact, I get insulted when people don’t think I’m part of the copper club – for any doubters here’s some pictures of me as a very orange headed baby.

rebecca-baby-ginger

It’s a damn cool colour but regardless of my love for it, ‘gingerism’ is rife, even amongst gingers themselves – too ashamed to admit they are and/or hiding it under hair dye. Some say gingers don’t have souls, are vampires, have vile tempers – or are even alien-human hybrids. And, the females are often branded wicked temptresses and jezebels. While I might lose my temper sometimes I definitely have a soul and I’m certainly not an alien, harlot or vampire.

Yet, despite all the discrimination there are some very cool reds out there revered for their stunning locks and ethereal skin – and they’ve been littering popular culture and history for years; Elizabeth the first, Rita Hayworth, Vincent Van Gough, Joan Holloway, Michael Fassbender and Jessica Rabbit, to name but a few. When I was younger, my female red-headed heroes were all literary characters, reflecting my love of books – Pippi Longstocking, Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland (Disney got it wrong). But I’ve since discovered music as an adult so I thought I’d celebrate copper-tops – especially as it’s our season, Autumn – by looking at some favourite, famous, feisty & flame-haired female musicians.

A good place to start is with the girls of the 1990s – as you might have realised, by previous posts, I have a slight 90s music obsession. So, who better to kick the list off with than bright haired, Scottish and very rebellious Shirley Manson – lead singer of alternative rock band Garbage. When you think about powerful female singers, Manson is always in the mix; she’s not only extremely talented but also fearless, bold and sultry. After seeing Manson just once, in an angelfish video, Garbage invited Manson to record vocals on a few of their songs – five hit albums and 12 million of record sales followed.

Then there’s red-locked Tori Amos, the kooky US singer/songwriter. Amos is note-worthy as she was one of the first in a series of alternative rock performers to use a piano as their primary instrument. She’s also known for her emotionally intense ballads and frank lyricism; dealing with sexuality, religion, feminism, personal tragedy and rage. She was the youngest person ever to be admitted to the Peabody Institute, at age five, winning a full scholarship. However, Amos was expelled, at age eleven, for insisting on playing by ear and her love of rock music. She, like Manson, went on to achieve over 12 million in album sales.

And, we couldn’t leave out Ginger Spice, regardless of taste. Pop’s not necessarily my kind of music but there was something about her. For a start she named herself ‘ginger’, then there was the feisty personality to match and the sassy, Brit-centric pin up style (in particular THAT union jack dress) – all setting her apart from the other Spice Girls. Copper-nut Geri ultimately left the band but went on to launch a successful career as a solo singer, television personality, writer and actress.

Red-Heads

But, of course, it’s not just the 90s, there’s plenty of gingers rocking it right now. Copper-burnt goddess Florence Welch, lead singer of Florence and The Machine has been a darling of the indie rock scene for a few years now. She’s not just one of the most recognisable red-heads in music at the moment, she’s one of the most famous red-heads in the world. With an ethereal style, operatic voice, and eccentric lyrics Florence makes timeless subjects such as love, pain, happiness and despair really stand out.

There’s even a band called red-head (albeit in French) La Roux. Ginger-quiffed singer Elly Jackson, is the face of La Roux; an electro-pop and synth-pop (former) duo, influenced by Depeche Mode, The Human League, and Yazoo. The anthemic “In for the Kill” launched Jackson, and La Roux, into international fame. She gained attention, not only for her metallic vocals, but for her androgynous style, leading to comparisons to another feisty red-head, Annie Lennox.

I also have to make a quick nod to the 80s ladies. Flame-haired Belinda Carlisle was lead singer with The Go-Go’s, the first all-girl band to top the US charts – she went solo in 1985 and had massive hits with songs like “Heaven Is A Place On Earth”, “We Want The Same Thing” and “Leave a Light On”. Then there was bronze-headed nut Carol Decker of T’Pau – their number one hit “China in My Hand” was a classic example of the 80’s power ballad. Sonia and her burnt-orange tresses shot to number one in the UK with her debut single “You’ll Never Stop Me From Loving You” and her debut album sold half a million copies. Finally, we have to mention red-head Tiffany who became a fully-fledged pop princess when she made number one with a cover of The Rubinoos’ “I Think We’re Alone Now”. Her debut album made her the youngest artist in history, at age 16, to have an album at No.1 in the charts.

…Wow, all I can say is well done all you talented red-headed beauties! So if you’re red (natural or not) dating one, related to one or just friends with one make sure you, or they, know just how awesome and lucky it is to be born ginger.

becky

 

 

 

 

About rebecca

I lived and worked in Oxford for three years at a publishing house and am now back in my home town, Winchester, working in copy-writing, content creation, PR and social media – and doing a spot of freelance. Words are a massive part of not just my professional life but also my personal one. I love devouring books (especially the classics, gothic horror, sci-fi and fantasy) and writing my own short stories and novels. I also regularly get involved in acting, producing, writing and directing for my local drama group – and in fact relish any excuse to don vintage attire; be it at steam-punk balls, vintage bike rides, or art and music festivals.

Well I would run 50 miles

running

A Fe-line branded run

Those of you that have been following my blogs for a few years know that once upon a time I was a really avid runner. Since having my baby, Frankie, 8 months ago I have really really struggled to get back into a regular running routine. I thought after having Frankie I would just bounce back to the way I was before but this didn’t happen and it has been a long 8 months process to feel up to running regularly again.  There are a few reasons why I lost my running mojo:

  • I had a caesarian which wasn’t in the birthing plan and therefore it took me longer after having Frankie, be able to run again.
  • I was really big at the end of my pregnancy and unwell and it was difficult to stay fit and I was a lot unfitter than I thought I would be coming back to running.
  • I lost so much body confidence after having Frankie. I really didn’t want to be in running gear.
  • I didn’t want to be seen struggling, as someone who used to lead a running group, it was hard to be back at stage 1 again.

So when Caroline Verdon off of Jack FM tweeted at the start of October that she was starting something in October rather than giving something up (she was starting a photography course) I thought that was a great and positive idea. It made me think about what I could start, what did I really want to do and get back to running was at the top of that list. But I needed a goal, I needed something to get my teeth into. I find it hard to run just for running sake, but with Christmas coming and my bank balance not looking too healthy I couldn’t afford to sign up for a race. But determined to get this done, I looked for an alternative, one of my friends on Runkeeper had given herself a distance goal and that was it, that was what I needed, so I set my Runkeeper goal, 50 miles in October.

Having this overall amount to run has been fantastic for me, and has flipped my mental block towards running completely. It’s a bit like a saving pot, it doesn’t matter if I do a small amount, it all goes in the overall pot. This small bite sized approach has meant that I have stopped forcing myself to go out for long gruelling runs, runs that at the moment I am just not fit enough to do and therefore I haven’t been getting demotivated. Also I have just started fitting in a quick run when I can, when I have a spare 20 minutes, after going to Booker, taking Frankie out in the pushchair, a quick nip out at lunch time. And the miles quickly start stacking up.

I am writing this 16 miles into the challenge and there is still a way to go, but getting back to running regularly is having a positive effect on my life as a whole already. Running for just 20-30 minutes a day helps me to:

  • Boost my mental health, being outside and taking a step away from daily life gives me time to reflect. This time of reflection usually ends in me feeling incredibly grateful for what I have, even if that wasn’t how I was feeling pre-run.
  • Be more organised, running really gives me a buzz, it makes me feel alive. On days that I run I feel like I can rule the world, well rule my world and for me that means keep things orderly in the house, stay on top of paper work, making sure food is prepared for all members of the family.
  • Have new ideas, some say I shouldn’t run purely for this reason, but I never have ideas for things sat at a desk trying to think of an amazing idea, they come to me mainly in the shower, whilst running and at night. Again it is all about stepping out of daily life.
  • Stay motivated, running is not easy for me so every time I have to push myself, push myself to leave the house, push myself to get past the first mile, push myself to go that little bit further. When you push yourself in one part of your life, you realise it is possible in all parts of your life.

So why not join me this November and give yourself a milage goal? It doesn’t need to be 50 miles, just whatever you think you can achieve. The important thing is to start and if you are thinking: ‘But it’s easy for her because she’s run before’ or any other excuse, read this my first ever blog post.

Also I made this playlist to get me motivated, you’re welcome to give it a try.

Comment below or tweet me to let me know how many miles you’re going to run this month.

Love and running,

Jo-Fe-line-signature

 

 

P.S. I didn’t quite make it to 50 miles in October, I managed 34 miles but I got started and I am determined to make it to 50 in November.

About Jo Fe-line

Founder and Director of Fe-line & The Wandering Kitchen. Blogger, mother, pop-up restaurant owner, runner and lover of all things sparkly.

The importance of taking life at your own pace

It’s not easy figuring out what to you with your life. When I was younger I certainly thought by this age I’d have it all figured out – my dream career, a husband, house and maybe even a baby – but I’m inching with an ever-increasing pace towards thirty still rather uncertain as to what’s round the corner.

Life at your own pace

I chose to do a degree at University I enjoyed and was good at – American Studies and English. Many have looked down their noses at me for this because it’s not a “career-based” degree. So, should I have studied a subject I hated and was not very good at for the sake of securing a job I didn’t really want? Plenty of people have chosen to do that, and I am not going to judge them for it; I can see why they would have – in this current economic climate, you have to make these kind of choices, unfortunately. But I simply wasn’t going to do it – for me, happiness is more important than financial security.

If I hadn’t wanted to go to University at all, I wouldn’t have. Nor should anyone that doesn’t feel the need to just because it’s the “done thing”. But I did want to, and I was lucky enough to have the financial support available to me to be able to, so I wasn’t going to pass on that opportunity. I loved every second of my degree and it gave me the chance to study abroad in Seattle for a year, which was one of the best experiences of my life. Sure, it didn’t secure me my dream job right after graduating – mainly because I still am not entirely sure what that is (well, Carrie Bradshaw-style journalist complete with a lovely New York apartment, but that’s rather unrealistic unfortunately…sigh) but I will never look back and wish I’d not done it.

I know people who have said “by the time I am X years old I will own a house, by X age I will be married, and then two years after that I want kids.” The problem with this is that you end up in relationships you may not have otherwise settled for, for the sake of not wanting to worry about not having fulfilled your life plan by the right age. But really, why is getting married and having kids by a certain age (or at all?) such a big deal? Isn’t it best to wait for the right person, even if you have to wait until you’re in your 40s? I’d rather be fully happy with someone than miserable for the sake of having ticked a box and fulfilled society’s (ridiculous) expectations.

I have reached the age where, according to my Facebook news feed, many of my peers are getting engaged and having babies, whereas I still have no idea where the rest of my life is headed. But you know what? I’m okay with that. I’m taking my time to figure things out before making big decisions I’m unsure about, and that’s the way it should be.

So in conclusion: if you know what you want, great – go for it! But don’t do anything just because you feel you have to; do it because you want to. And if you’re not sure what exactly it is you want, remember that it’s fine – and important – to take the time to figure it out, no matter what pressure you may feel to the contrary.

Emily
 
 
 
 
 

About Emily

Born and bred in Oxford, I'm incredibly passionate about women's rights and I love writing, music, movies, fashion, cats, wine and tea. I just got back from a round the world trip and am now figuring out what to do with my life...watch this space!

Time flies, but you’re the pilot.

I wake up in a panic, what time is it? It’s Sunday, 8am. Gah I’ve already wasted an hour sleeping, I think to myself. This is a frequent worry for me nowadays. On the plus side, I worry less about being fat or how I can’t solve all the world’s problems (I know, talk about sliding scale right?!) but TIME, time is something that really worries me.

This worry really galvanises me into action. I never have days where I haven’t planned things to do; I never coast through work days or mindlessly watch TV on Sundays. There is so much to learn, so many great people to meet and places to go that everyday has to have value.

salcombe harbour

Salcombe Harbour from Overbecks on a recent holiday in sunny Devon.

This motivation has come largely from being my own boss. I can be completely in control of my time. I used to hate having work days that felt like they were a waste of time, whether it be through endless meetings or unnecessary tasks. Now that is all in the past. I can prioritise and streamline tasks; in fact I like to have a few projects I can immerse myself in, as I thrive on feeling busy and being under a bit of pressure. I’m not saying that I am perfect at utilising every single minute, but questioning and prioritising tasks or pastimes means I have a richer and happier life overall.
Part of my fear of wasting time is ‘brain whir’. Ever wake up in the middle of the night with your brain racing or feel like you’re more forgetful than you should be? That’ll be brain whir. When the brain whir takes over, I feel like my mental health is bad and feel more negative than positive. A busy mind is a happy mind after all! We struggle between activity and inactivity as human beings, when faced with the choice; most of use would choose inactivity over activity unless we gained something from it. It’s a common day dream to think of retiring or winning the lottery so we can sit on the beach all day. When we are coaxed into doing something however, we are happier as a result. This is why millionaires and billionaires continue to work, become charity ambassadors or take on projects, it’s activity, and therefore happiness, that we crave.

So my carrot for activity is always happiness and banishing the brain whir. Activity for activities sake is not always the answer though. Being fully immersed in a task is the key to fulfilment and happiness. If you feel your mind wandering, the brain whir is taking over and it becomes apparent that the activity is not quite cutting the mustard.

‘A wandering mind is an unhappy mind.’ – Killingsworth and Gilbert

The key is using simple mindfulness techniques like concentrating and engaging with what you are doing at any particular moment, and doing activities that are fulfilling and fully immersive so it’s very difficult for your mind to wander. Here are some ideas for mindfulness and happiness:

  • Reading, why not join our new Fe-line Book Club?
  • Catching up with friends and being fully immersed in the conversation.
  • Extreme sports like a zip wire or even rollercoasters where you are wholly focussing on the activity.
  • Eating out is a great way to make you focus on being aware of eating and your immediate environment.
  • Knitting and crafts are really immersive and the feeling of achievement when you have made something is a bonus. Plus joining a group is a great way to meet new people which is great for mindfulness, just make sure you concentrate on names when being introduced! Why not check out the Oxford Drunken Knitwits.
  • Work can be really rewarding. If it isn’t, then research into other fields or volunteer in your spare time to test out different industries or job roles. Many companies offer secondments, so if this is a possibility why not give it a go and see if the change makes a difference. Research sounds really boring but this could be doing more in your area like coming along to one of our awesome Fe-line events and meeting some great people. Make searching for your perfect job fun!
  • Connect with your community; it’ll make you feel more rooted and proud of where you live. Check out local what’s on guides or meetup.com for groups near you. Bitten Oxford organise really fun #tweatups in Oxford, definitely worth coming along to.
  • Running or in fact any exercise that is immersive. I love running as I have to concentrate completely on what I am doing.
  • Travel broadens the mind. If you can’t afford to go abroad, take a trip to London or even explore the county you’re in on foot or by bike.
  • Writing is so cathartic and carving out time to write even a short blog post is a great way to fully focus. If you’d like to write a guest post on Fe-line why not drop us an email.

So why not make a start now, what will you do to make today the best day it could be?

It’s time to start living the life you’ve imagined –  Henry James

Love and happiness,

rosie-signature

 

 

 

 

 

About Rosie

I grew up in South Oxfordshire and now live in wonderful East Oxford, via a few years in Brighton. I run the online gift store Kinship of Oxford, and am passionate about gorgeous gifts, fashion, music, photography, and of course the beautiful city of Oxford! You can often find me at dancing at gigs, popping up at markets, pounding the streets of Oxford and catching up with friends in a pub or two!

The Very Festive Fe-line Magazine!

Here at Fe-line Women we are passionate about telling women’s stories and championing their achievements. We do this through our events, regular blogs and now also through our shiny, new online publications.

Last year we created The Very Festive Gift Guide, all about ideas for where to spend your money to support Oxfordshire businesses (with most being run by women!). The guide proved very popular, and this year we wanted to not only bring it back but expand on what we started. We’re now thrilled to welcome you to our first ever seasonal magazine:

The Very Festive Fe-line Magazine

In this magazine you’ll find new articles about women-run businesses, a selection of popular themed blogs from our website and some adverts for the best products and services we now about – and we can personally vouch for most of them! There are links all over the magazine taking you to websites full of more information about all the products, services and most importantly the women who feature in the magazine. You read the magazine online or download the pdf and have a browse – once downloaded, you can click through from the contents page to the sections that interest you most out of Fashion, Food, Design, Health and Lifestyle or simply peruse the magazine in order.

We hope you find some inspiration in The Very Festive Fe-line Magazine, we know we are inspired by every person involved in it!

Love and online publications,

team-feline

 

 

 

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