GIRL TALK

Girl Talk is the place where women celebrate each other’s achievements. Read articles about inspiring women, the latest female-related debates and commentary on women’s representation in the media.

January 2018 – Aiming for Happy

2018

New Year, new me… fresh starts for 2018… resolutions…giving it up for lent… Scrap it all.

I’m making 2018 the year of adventure, love and happiness. I want to experience as much as life has to offer. Because if there’s one thing that 2017 taught me, it’s that life and love is precious and should never be taken for granted. So instead of cutting things out of my life, I plan on adding things in (positive, healthy things of course) and living life to the fullest – something The B-Line has always been about; ‘a direct line to a life without regret.’

So until the end of January, The B-Line will be running The Happy Line theme. Check back for small sparks of joy to be found in the depths of January (when will this month end?!) and read on for some alternative ideas to the usual self-loathing resolutions we hear each year.  

Four Alternative Resolutions for 2018

Dry January / Marvellous Moderation

There are 3.1m women in the UK taking part in dry January this year. This is very commendable, and for that I raise my large glass of New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc to you. Rather than going without completely, why not enjoy alcohol in moderation? There is a lot of joy to be had in a nice glass of wine – don’t torture yourself until the 1st Feb for the sake of saying ‘I did Dry January’ – because well done, but unfortunately no one else really cares. 

relax

Lose Weight / Join Fun Group Workout

New year polls remind us annually that one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight. Losing weight has its important health benefits, but it’s the attitude towards doing it that could feel a lot better. Rather than calorie counting, cake swerving and restaurant ducking and diving, why not try joining a new fitness class where you learn something fun, make friends and just happen to lose weight while doing it? Winning. Focus on your health not your scales. 

Spend Less Money / Save and Splurge

This is a normal one for people in their 20s and 30s, and racking up debt certainly does not lead to happy folk. However, rather than spending money every week on endless crap only to get to the end of the month and wonder where it all went (no you’re not a victim of fraud), why not make a list of goals for the entire year, places you want to see or experiences you want to share, and save up for them? Then, when it comes to spending on your goals, you can do so guilt-free and revel in all the happiness. 

save

Get a Promotion / Spend More Time with Family & Friends

Work goals are what drive most of us in life, and if you are lucky enough to be in a job where you work on your passion every day then you are already in pretty much the best position you can be, so pat yourself on the back. Now, fixating on a promotion or pay rise may make you happy in the short-term, but don’t wear yourself out trying to make it happen. What we should all try and make happen are moments getting together with friends and family. Put more of your effort into that and you’ll never regret it. 

Make 2018 about Finding your Happy

laugh

If you’re still looking for a resolution for 2018, look no further than happiness. Plan a trip with friends, have deeper conversations, tell your loved ones you love them, and laugh. Laugh until your belly aches.

 

Woman Crush Wednesday – October Roundup

Woman Crush Wednesday – The October Roundup

Every Wednesday on The B-Line’s Instagram I share a post on who I am loving following on social media at the moment. And here I am doing the first ever roundup from the past month of who featured and why.

So let’s introduce this random bunch of awesome women. Check back every month for more inspiring women doing weird and wonderful things. 

Baddie Winkle

  • 3.2million followers on Instagram
 

It’s all good 🌈🦋🌼

A post shared by 💞 BADDIE 💞 (@baddiewinkle) on

Baddie is bad aaassss. She has inspired a huge social media following with her unique sense of style. She wears what she wants, looks incredible doing it and never stops having fun travelling the world showcasing her iconic looks. Baddie even had a campaign with Missguided in the UK last year. Her fresh attitude towards dressing in your later years teaches us to never lose our sense of individuality and to remember: you can wear whatever you feel – whatever your age or size. It’s your body after all, so express yourself how you feel is right.

Jessie Ware

  • 226,000 followers on Instagram

 

 

When I realised I was being photographed for a men’s mag 🤣

A post shared by Jessie Ware (@jessieware) on

Jessie is class, sophistication, outspoken and talented, topped off with a down-to-earth sense of humour. 

Everyone loves music and everyone has their own connection with it – Jessie’s songs come straight from the heart. If you ever need to get in touch with your emotions put on some Jessie Ware and you’re there! Her new album Glasshouse saw her work through becoming a mum and in her own words:

The past couple of years have been eye opening and intense. Wild highs and nerve-wracking lows. I started a record, decided to become a mother, and then kind of restarted the record. This became Glasshouse. 

I’m now looking forward to seeing Jessie in March 2018 at the O2 in Newcastle (tickets arrived this week!) Having never seen her live before I’m looking forward to her chatty approach to connecting with the audience and unbelievable vocals!

Malala

  • Not on Insta – don’t worry about it she doesn’t need to be.

woman crush wednesday

This was a special #WomanCrushWednesday as it happened to also fall on #internationaldayofthegirl. As someone who has done so much for girls all over the globe there was no one better than Malala for this special edition. Earlier that week Malala started her course at Oxford University with a powerful message to girls everywhere: 

5 years ago I was shot in an attempt to stop me from speaking out for girls’ education. Today I attend my first lectures at Oxford.

It’s so important to remember there are girls in every country of the world that do not have equal opportunities to other girls elsewhere or their male counterparts. Malala does her best to remind people of that and work towards change for the better.

Polly Nor

  • 774,000 followers on Instagram
 

Long days & Short Nights

A post shared by POLLY NOR (@pollynor) on

Polly’s artwork explores the secret world of women and their inner demons. Sounds interesting right? Ohh it is interesting! Think drawings of women unzipping their skin to reveal their inner demons carrying out their private habits (check it out!). Polly’s work is now turning into a cult movement with a clothing line and fans even committing to getting tattoos of her artwork. 

I haven’t gone that far myself but I do now own the tshirt. Probably going to invest in a printed illustration at some point too. And would love to visit one of her interactive exhibitions. But no tattoos. Yet. 

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A Glamour Magazine Dream: The Perfect Prize and the Losing Entry

The UK’s leading lifestyle magazines regularly run competitions and giveaways for luxurious beauty products, limited edition fashion accessories or trips of a lifetime, but they rarely run competitions to see your article in print. When I saw Glamour magazine was offering up resident columnist Dawn O’Porter’s full page of prime space within its glossy sheets, I thought: “This. Is. It.”

After toying with a few ideas, I set to work on an article that seemed to fit the brief of ‘a lesson to live life by,’ as well as suiting the Glamour mag readership and my own aspirations as a writer. Unfortunately, this opportunity wasn’t the one for me (*sniffle) and Lucy Florence Wilson‘s honest and inspiring article was picked as the rightful winner. Still, not to throw mine in the bin in a tantrum, I thought I would share it with you lovely people right here! So here  it is, the first article I wrote for press (rejected) that is also the story of the inspiration for me starting The B-Line. 

Photo by Tai Jyun Chang on Unsplash

Childish dreams are not for the fainthearted

A gymnast, a police officer, a witch and an archaeologist. This isn’t the start of a joke; these are a few of my dream jobs from my childhood. 

All of them are really respectable career choices (maybe less so the witch, and you can blame that extraordinary teen, Sabrina for that one), but I ended up in PR. Now don’t get me wrong; PR is also a very respectable career choice, but believe it or not, it was never something I played make-believe about as I was growing up. So what happened to all those dreams? And is that all that they were, just dreams? 

In today’s fast-paced society it’s easy to get bogged down with sticking to the path that’s laid out in front of you. But what would happen if you reached a fork in the road and wanted to head off in an exciting new direction? Do you have the guts to jump tracks without being able to see what’s ahead?

Well I did exactly that, and it sure felt gutsy at the time. I had a steady career, working alongside interesting and talented people with the opportunity to grow. So what did I do? I quit. And with no other job to go to, I might add. It sounds drastic, and it was, because I didn’t really know what I was letting myself in for. I just knew that if I wanted to live a dream life, to create my own path, then I needed to make a big change and fast.

So I set out as a freelance copywriter and content marketer with the aim to only work with brands that I bloody loved. And being freelance is great – you can catch the gym when its dead quiet and Skype calls in bottom half pyjamas always feels satisfyingly smug. There are also plenty of sucky days to be had as a freelancer too to keep you nicely grounded: such as maintaining a steady cash flow (current challenge). But on the good days, the days when you make a real, positive impact on someone else’s business, it can give you a buzz that makes you literally want to fist-pump the air. It’s helped me experience my ultimate high in self-worth, as well as my ultimate low – because working alone means your success is all on you.

What going freelance also showed me was just how passionate I was about writing. With more freedom to manage my time I was able to take evening and online classes in creative writing. I started my own blog. I’m writing this article right now for goodness’ sake!

Being a published writer is now my new dream. A couple of years ago I could have passed this ambition off as a childish whim, unnecessary to my career path. For now, I can only hope that by continuously putting myself out there, something good will come from it. After all, you only get out of life what you put in – the world owes you nothing, honey.

So, on that note, I would recommend letting your inner childhood dreamer speak out occasionally – listen to what she has to say. Her innocence to the world can only mean that her hopes are pure. Be as true to her as she was to weaving your dreams, and that way you never have to look back on life with any regret.

I may not be able to perform a double backflip with a half twist, or identify thousand-year-old fossils or even change my outfit simply by pointing a magical finger, but you know what? I’m happy and I hope I never stop dreaming, ever.

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DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK: HOLIDAY REJUVENATION

Get Away and Come Back with an even Greater Will to Succeed

Rejuvenation. Now that’s a bloody good word. It’s one that I’m particularly enjoying throwing around at the moment, but that’s honestly because it’s a word that I’m genuinely feeling right now. 

I got married two weeks ago (*pause for applause*) and we had a couple of days in Portugal to decompress, eat pizza and generally not move, unless it was to eat said pizza or sip from a poolside cocktail. But we both ended up spending most of the time plotting and planning everything we wanted to achieve on our return. This sounds like I’m about to tell you we’ve decided to become ultimate comic book villains, but alas, no. 

beach holiday

After going through the truly agonising choice of rose or raspberry flavoured macaroon favours, then building the wedding playlist to beat all playlists, and top that with designing stationary that perfectly blended tattoo script with a countryside setting – and what you’re left with is a GREAT, BIG, WEDDING shaped HOLE in your life. 

Instead of getting bummed out about it, we realised now we’ve got an EPIC marriage to plan for. And that’s going to take some serious planning. Here’s some questions that feel easier answering while you’re away from the hectic everyday life at home – and “don’t call it a comeback” because this is simply about reaffirming what you probably already know, but making sure you live the life you want.

 

Holiday Rejuvenation – Don’t Call it a Comeback.

pool holiday

1. Where in the world do you still want to visit?

Bucket list time! I’ve already done mine (see 30 Things to do After 30). At the moment we are planning our honeymoon (which is looking like safari in Kenya then on to the Maldives *fist pump air*) and it’s really reminded us how good it is to have adventure holidays and to explore. Already I can’t wait to plan our next trip. Don’t waste your time or money going somewhere you don’t really love and feel desperate to experience (I know I have in the past). There’s a whole world out there and unless you are a permanent traveller, we normal folk need to use our holidays wisely. 

2. Do you have some big life purchases in you? 

Then you need to earn serious money. FACT. Don’t get me wrong, I am more motivated by life experiences that owning fancy things, but at the same time it would be nice to roll around town in a cool car one day and welcome my friends into a beautiful home I’m proud of, plus those lovely life experiences also cost moolar. This should lead you into the next question nicely. 

beach holiday

3. What’s the end goal with the career? 

We’re not talking about a promotion next year or winning a dream client next month, this means: what is your ultimate boss role? Think ‘peak career moment’ and even be totally unrealistic about it – it’s your dream for goodness sakes! Now work backwards – how would you get there? It might not be as unrealistic as you thought. It will however, always take hard work, so be prepared and don’t settle, because you’ll only regret it. 

4. What have you done to promote yourself? (Especially important if you’re freelance, like moi!)

I am currently going through a business rebrand in terms of my service offering, with an entirely new website, sales packages and the all important business cards (need I remind you of American Psycho?) Having gone through my career and life goals I realised working backwards I needed to make it clear what I offer so I can win more clients. Simple really. 

Even if you’re not freelance, we live in a digital society where anyone is able to have their own personal brand. Just think, if you’re known in your industry for being an absolute queen (or king) at one thing in particular, you might just get head-hunted for a job you hadn’t even thought of, but could be perfect for you!

5. If you haven’t already, do you want to start a family?

OK, so this is a big one, and a very personal one, and for that reason alone not that much needs to be said on it – because each individual and circumstances are completely different. However, if you are making some serious career / life / travel plans, and you do want to start a family as well, then it’s worthwhile considering it all together, while you are away and have a clear head. 

 

sand beach

Proper Grown Up – Be Yourself, No One Else Can

Holidays are like therapy; they allow you to break away from the norm and think about the bigger picture. They have always helped me re-evaluate my life and I often come back and make major changes when I get back – just ask any of my old bosses! (See this old Break Away post from 2015). After all is said and done, life is short, so just make sure you’re doing what makes you happiest. 

life quote

Don’t call it a comeback. I’ve been here for years. I’m rocking my peers. Puttin’ suckers in fear.

 – LL Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out

Career Crush: Travel, Work and Friendship

The summer time for many people means that the holiday you booked and planned months in advance is finally near. You get to go out and purchase new swimwear, research the best beaches and finalise your travel itinerary. 

We do this because let’s face it; work sucks. Holidays are when you switch off the work email and have fun with friends. But what if your holiday was your job, and your work colleague was your best mate? And you basically got paid to travel? Whaaaaaat?

Well that’s what Natasha Oakley and Devin Brugman, or Tash and Dev as they call themselves, have achieved with absolute perfection, with their blog and brand, A Bikini A Day

A Bikini A Day Back Story 

It doesn’t sound like it was much of a rough starting point to the average girl living in the North East England as such, but it’s definitely a small-time to big-time success story. So, Tash and Dev were living and working in Hawaii shooting look books and videos for local swimwear brands. Sounds like a pretty good job so far, right?

Then they went travelling but kept their connections with the swimwear brands and started sharing pictures wearing said bikinis on the relatively new social network, Instagram. They took this simple idea and turned it into a fully fledged blog with travel and swimwear related content and named it, A Bikini A Day. Amassing a huge following this hobby quickly became a full-time job for both women.

A Day in the Bikini Life

OK so a comparison here would be helpful…

My social media: A snap of my lunch, quick video of my dogs and possibly a picture of my trip to the gym for good measure. 

Their social media: exclusive fashion party in the Hamptons, photoshoot on a beach in Turks and Caicos and definitely boat trips off the Amalfi coast. (I would love to share tons of their pictures but can’t because they aren’t my pics to share! – So head to their Instagram here or I have embedded a few Tweets of theirs throughout). 

This might make some people envious or slightly irritated. But these women are always working. The difference is they have managed to carve a career out of doing something they love and other people want too. In Tash’s own words:

“It’s a full-time, all-consuming job to be constantly creating content.” – Harpers Bazaar, 2016

Moral of the story is: find something you love and turn it into something that’s useful to other people too. 

A Blog that Works

With an endless stream of the type of share-worthy content everyone loves; from bikini reviews and healthy recipes, to the best suncreams and stylish beach bags, A Bikini A Day is a blog designed to fuel the ultimate traveller day dream. 

Starting out as photographers and bloggers themselves, Tash and Dev have continued to shoot and edit their own blog content, even with an audience well into the millions, located all across the globe. 

Making Waves

Tash and Dev now have their own bikini brand; Monday Swimwear. The reason for the name..?

“Because when you’re in a bikini on a Monday, you’re having a good day.” – Monday Swimwear

Fair play. As bikini experts they have managed to source the best fabrics in mix and match shapes and sizing to suit a variety of body shapes (only up to size 16 though I would mention as a downfall). But I really want one. They price at around £120 though, so this is unlikely for me. They also launched an activewear range; Monday Active and have multiple design collaborations with brands including Guess, Revolve and over in the UK, Missguided

Travel and Life Inspiration

If you’re looking for travel inspiration, or even if you have just booked a holiday, don’t forget to check in with A Bikini A Day blog as they have lots of tips for the best products for skin and hair protection in the sun as well as unique places to visit. Plus, if you have started working on a project with a friend that you love, just look at how it’s turned out for Tash and Dev – anything is possible. Dream big, work hard and have fun.