Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Being A Young Woman In Local Government

I bleat about it often enough, but if you didn't know, in May I was elected to be a councillor in my local district. The district council is the middle out of three - town, district then county - so it deals with a wide range of issues, and it works closely with the other branches of local government. When I was elected, I became the youngest councillor our district had ever had, and honestly in 2017, I feel like that's a bit shitty. At 25, I am at least 20 years younger than the previous youngest councillor, and the vast majority of councillors are retired or close to retiring age. It probably won't surprise you that the majority of councillors are men, either. This does not represent our district. It doesn't really represent any district. 


Our district is currently experiencing a boom of young workers coming to the area to help with the development of Hinckley Point C, and all of our secondary schools are close to oversubscription, if not there already. Young people - and really, this could be anyone under the age of 35 - are not being represented by the councillors. More importantly to me, young women are being neglected here. Women are quite literally half of the population, and yet the Fawcett Society found that just 33 percent of all councillors in England, and 28 percent of councillors in Wales, are women. At the current rate of progress in English county councils it will take 48 years for us to reach gender parity. In Welsh councils it would take 82 years. We simply cannot wait that long.

If you follow my Instagram Stories - and really you should, as it's mostly cute vids of Robin - you might have heard me recently talking about the documents councillors receive all have Miss/Mrs/Ms in front of the women's names, and nothing in front of a man's. I am hoping to discuss this today at a full council meeting, and ask that the council joins the real world in 2017 and puts a stop to this. I'm hoping to highlight key issues from the Fawcett Society, and show how little things like this actually contribute to sexism and the lack of equality for all. 

Hopefully I'll be able to get back to you all and let you know that it's been a right ol' success, but I fear that a lot of these councillors are stuck in their ways and are quite happy to continue as they always have. Now, isn't that exactly what you want to hear from your local government? 

Friday, 21 July 2017

Little Bright Sea - An Introduction

I seem to be getting into the habit of only posting once a week - so sorry about that! As always I have been keeping myself incredibly busy and doing too much at once. In a week where I started a new job after an extended maternity leave of 11 months, I also soft-launched my own little webstore and hardly slept because Robin is ill. So it's pretty safe to say my little brain is pretty frazzled right now. 

It seems to be the done thing now that bloggers are launching their own stores, so I guess I'm a bit behind the curve with launching my own. However, when Dannie and I designed a bag to sell in aid of women in vital need of basic healthcare over in Ireland after our government signed a deal with the DUP, I felt like I could do more. We used a website called Mercht to create our campaign, and while this was handy because we didn't need to put forward any upfront costs, it did eat into our profit, and therefore the money we could give to the charity. Never one to be deterred, I decided that as the bag had been popular, I would sell them my own way, without the restrictions of Mercht. 

My own store, which as I said before is still in soft-launch mode and therefore a bit ugly looking at the moment, is called Little Bright Sea and it's something I've been thinking about for a while. You might remember that I mentioned it a little in this post. The name is a mixture from the meanings of Dylan and Robin, and I already have a cute idea I'd like for the logo. Originally, my big plan for the store was to sell baby products that I could make at home, and this was all set to go until I managed to bag myself a full time job! Luckily for me, it's within a school, so I'm hoping I can get that some items made over the summer holidays. 



Now, I'm hoping that I can follow in the footsteps of some 'mama merch' stores I really love and admire, these include Bloody Nora PamMutha.Hood and Mere Soeur. Ideally, I want to create products that I would buy wear and use myself - so things like t-shirts, tote bags and enamel pins as well as baby friendly items like bibs and little teether toys. It's a big dream, but we've all got to start somewhere, right?

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Little Loves - Life Updates, Meetings and More!

A few weeks ago I shared my very first Little Loves, and then didn't continue on with it. Although I think Little Loves is meant to be a weekly occurrence, we all know that life gets in the way a bit, so I'm just going to keep this as a semi-regular thing. There's enough pressure in everyday life, so I like that my blog is a little higgledy-piggledy at times. I mentioned in the last LL instalment - can you call it an instalment if this is only the second one? - that I had an interview that I was pretty hopeful about, and thankfully they hired me! They called me up a few hours after my interview and I honestly couldn't believe it. I was the youngest interviewee there, and felt like the others must have had more experience or knowledge than I did, but somehow my charm and eye for detail won me the role. It really changes things immensely for us at home, and I'm pretty excited about it going forward!

Read

I am still reading I'll Eat When I'm Dead by Barbara Bourland. I feel like after my amazing reading boost a few months ago, I'm going to keep stalling with reading now. It always feels like such a luxury to sit down and read a few chapters when I should be getting on with household chores or what have you. I'm about a third of the way through, apparently, so maybe it'll only be another month or two before I finish it! 

Watched

We finally caved in and signed up to Sky tv. It's never really something I've had any interest in before, but they were doing a pretty good deal which featured the sports channels so Joe basically couldn't say no. The past week or so I've been watching the last series of Game of Thrones as I somehow missed it completely last year, and I've also been watching Broad City - yasss, queen! - and the Marvel Spiderman channel, curtesy of Dylan. 

Heard

My colleague at work likes listening to Breeze FM - I'm not sure if it's available everywhere in the UK or not - and it's basically really easy listening. It's fine, and I know most of the songs as they tend to be 80s ballads, but every now and again they throw in an Ed Sheeran song and it makes me want to pop my eardrums #sorrynotsorry. 

Made

I recently soft-launched my online store! It only has a few items at the moment, but I'm really excited to add to it, and hopefully it can become something we can run in our spare time, and a good source of income while Joe is studying in the autumn. It's called Little Bright Sea, and I'm super excited about it! 

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

My Favourite Apps!

We definitely live in a digital age, and I would be lying if I said I didn't rely heavily on my phone. As a busy mam/councillor/worker, I use my phone for keeping in touch with family or constituents, updating my calendars - yes, thats plural! - and taking photos of the boys on the go. I use it for navigation and for finding my nearest coffee spot as well as a welcome distraction when travelling long journeys. I'm definitely the type of person who will check the app store before heading to a website if I can, and I'm usually always persuaded to try out the latest life-changing app - it helps if it's free, too!


I feel like I spend half my life scrolling through my social media feeds, so you can bet your bottom dollar that Twitter and Instagram are top contenders for my favourite apps! I'm actually quite annoyed with myself on how much I use Instagram. I feel, and I think I'm not alone here, that Instagram have just stopped listening to their users, but that's a rant for another day! It's still one of the first apps I check when I wake up, which is a bit cringey to admit. My all-time favourite apps are Goodreads and Pinterest. I hardly ever use the desktop versions of these, but I love checking my reading goals and what my pals are reading on Goodreads, and then working out how to organise my bookshelves on Pinterest pretty much immediately after. 
Outside of social media, I also use apps to organise my life and to relax a bit. My newest app is Stylebook, which is basically an app version of Cher's wardrobe from Clueless. It's amazing. It's changing everything. It's showing me that I wear the same clothes day in, day out. Another good app that I use as often as possible is You Need A Budget. We use the desktop version to keep on top of our finances, so I love that when I'm out and about I can quickly update our budget without needing to be tied to the laptop. 

Carphone Warehouse completed their own research into our favourite apps, and I was completely surprised to see Facebook as number one. I seriously thought Instagram or Snapchat would be first, but I guess when half the world use Facebook it does make sense that it would come up trumps. Almost stereotypically, they found that men were more likely to check their wifi speeds or download games whereas women downloaded more 'shop' type apps. It also found that women were big fans of Goodreads, which matches what I said above. I found the research to be really interesting as you can really narrow it down from age, location and even income level! They've really put some effort into it, and it shows. 
*Disclaimer: This post was a collaboration with Carphone Warehouse. Content written by myself.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Everdine - Review & Discount for you!

Although I pride myself on my excellent organisation skills, I cannot for the life of me make a meal plan. I've scoured Pinterest, read countless blog posts and yet I can't get my head around it. Luckily for me, I married a chef so on his two days off a week I know I'm in for a culinary treat, but those other days? man, it's tough. I've always preferred baking to actual cooking, so when it comes to picking what to have at tea time, I tend to stick to my trust favourites week in, week out. 
When I was invited to try out Everdine - a company that curates delicious meals delivered to your door - I couldn't wait to give it a go. There seems to be a few 'meal in a box' subscriptions out there, whether they send you a box of ingredients or quickly-frozen meals, like Everdine does. Everdine prides itself on creating clean and wholesome gourmet meals, and the dishes I ordered definitely fit that bill. 
The Everdine experience for me went really well. From Lentil & Quinoa Moussaka to Sea Bream Thai Green Curry, the dishes really do push the boat out and it felt like I was eating something fancier than a microwaved meal at home. The flavour combinations worked really well together, and they've definitely sparked up the little chef within me. The sheer speed of cooking a meal in the microwave as opposed to the time it would have taken me to prepare and cook each meal is in itself a worthwhile factor for a busy mam like myself. I also liked that the meals themselves were packaged in a way to ensure minimum waste and impact on the environment, as this is something I'm quite conscious of. 
I did feel that as someone who has to watch what I spend on a food shop, that over £55 for eight meals did seem quite expensive. Of course, the ingredients used in the meals were of the highest quality, and the meals really were delicious. I think however if you were expected to be out of action for a few weeks, either after an operation or perhaps moving home, then this would really help out and be a lot healthier than a week of takeaways, especially when pizza for two people can cost over £20 from some places!
If you'd like to try out Everdine, I have an exclusive offer which will give you £25 off your first order.  You can get the discount by clicking here.
*Disclaimer: I was invited to try out Everdine in a collaboration with Tornado. Content written by myself.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Little Loves - Burgers, Manics and All Things Go!

Quite a few bloggers that I follow take part in Little Loves, a little way to share some of the great things that have happened that day/week/month. It follows a set of prompts that help you to share what you've loved. I always enjoy reading these posts, and I'm a sucker for starting a new blog series and never finishing them, so hijacking somebody else's seems like a natural progression from me. 


Read

I haven't made a lot of progress in my book this week, but I'm currently reading 'I'll Eat When I'm Dead' by Barbara Bourland on my kindle, and I'm pretty sure that if I actually dedicate some time to reading then I'll actually get somewhere with this. 

Watched

I haven't started any new series recently, but I'm up to date with Pretty Little Liars and cannot wait for the final ever episode next week! I'm in a dedicated WhatsApp group with some other PLL fans and its safe to say that no theory has been left undiscussed. We're all hoping for a corker ending, so fingers crossed it doesn't disappoint after 7 years of keeping us on edge! 

Heard

I saw Manic Street Preachers as part of Bristol's Harbourside festival, and they were so good. They're the band Joe and I have seen the most now, and it never disappoints. We've been eyeing up some other gigs in the future as our last three gigs have been the Manics so it might be time to mix things up a bit now! 

Made

Maybe nothing in the traditional sense, but I'm pretty glad I made the decision to order this amazing Marla Singer burger from Spuntino before we went to the gig. It was a massive burger, with pulled pork, homemade BBQ sauce and american cheese in a lovely toasted brioche bun. It's a combination that's been done to death but I very much enjoyed it. 

and lastly...

I've had a pretty exciting week as I was offered an interview that sounds really promising, and we viewed a house this morning. I went with Joe's mam as he had to zip off to work, but I'm hoping we can view it together next week after I send in our application forms tomorrow. As well as all of this, I was officially made a Women's Officer for my local Labour Party, and had an official email welcoming into the fray. I'm really looking forward to what the future holds for Labour!



Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat

Monday, 19 June 2017

Don't Mess With Me - It's Down To My Starsign

Sometimes I think I was destined to be a bit untidy. I've always loved the idea of a spotless, pristine home, but when you have two wild kiddos, sometimes things slide a little. Plus I've never been much of a domestic goddess at any stage of my life. I remember I once managed to bribe my Dad into swapping bedrooms with me, as logically if I had a bigger bedroom then surely I would have more space to put my things and my room would be tidier. Naturally, we swapped and I just ended up with more space to create a mess. 'Floor-drobes' is the phrase my Dad became quickly accustomed to.  
Now that I'm a wife and mother, I think I thought I would instantly love ironing and doing mundane chores like that, but alas, it's evaded me. Luckily for me, a link has been found between tidiness and our horoscopes. Check it out below!


I'm a Libra and although I'd say that my organisation skills are lacking a bit more than suggested here, I'd definitely agree that I'm more interested in having an aesthetically pleasing space, than an efficient one. I would say I'm quite creative in small doses - hence my bullet journal! - and my starsign definitely backs this up. We're currently in the process of decluttering the house, and this means that my bookshelves are being jiggled about and it's absolutely turning my creative side on it's head! I keep trying to dot my little trinkets about, but Joe feels like there's no place on the bookshelves for them. Luckily, if we need any extra storage space (yes, I know we're decluttering, but still!) then we could always get some next day office furniture to make use of the space. 

What do you think of the infographic? Does it match your tidying style? 
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