Sunday Suggestions 11th December 2016

Sunday Suggestions: a round up of things to read, watch, listen to and do
Sunday Suggestions 11th December 2016 || raeritchie.com

Welcome back to my regular series with suggestions of awesome people and things to check out, read, participate in and follow.  The festive season is much on my mind today, with a couple of great ways to transition from this year to the next as well as some bits of reading about Christmas.  This is followed by two pretty serious pieces about extremism and the controversy around recent revelations about Last Tango in Paris.  Lightening things up towards the end is another article about kawaii and our attraction to cute culture.  Last up, as I like to finish with a funny video, is the first viral video I ever saw (I was a bit late to the game with this phenomena): a hilarious send up of Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind.  Enjoy!

Do

Susannah Conway has been offering her free ‘Unravel Your Year‘ workbook for several years now and it’s an essential part of Christmas for hundreds, if not thousands, of women around the world – myself included!  It’s completely free to sign up for and contains lots of gentle but powerful questions and prompts to help you reflect on the year that’s passed and look to the one ahead.

Susannah also offers a free five day course entitled ‘Find Your Word’ which helps you to discover a word or phrase to guide you through the coming year.  I’ve also done this a few times and recommend it highly too!

 

Christmas reads

Gender equality is for life, not just for Christmas: Kat Lister writes for the always brilliant The Pool on the extra emotional and physical labour that December’s festivities place on women in ‘The “perfect” Christmas doesn’t exist so why are women still expected to provide it?’

If that one might stir up anger then the next two may well generate some tears:

Fi Newsam’s ‘Father Christmas didn’t come’ for The Huffington Post blog tells of what it was like to grow up in a family who belonged to a Christian denomination that didn’t celebrate Christmas.  At all.  No presents, no special food, no nothing.  The emotional impact upon Newsam is fascinating and also so sad.

Totally contrary in tone is the story from this week’s Independent that a Muslim-owned restaurant is opening up its doors on Christmas Day to offer free meals to the elderly and homeless.  Welling up just writing this plug for it!  Just goes to show that even a holiday traditionally associated with one religion can actually provide an opportunity for different communities to come together.  A gorgeous story.

 

The serious stuff

Also from the Independent, and also about Muslims, but very different in tone, is an in-depth report on what make young British women turn to an extreme form of Islam known as Salafism.  This branch of the religion is associated with the Islamic State and very strict rules and regulations.  This article provides a nuanced insight into these women’s lives and experiences that will undoubtedly make you think.

The Pool provides a second recommendation this week: the also brilliant Sali Hughes (whose work appears here quite regularly) wrote a powerful piece for them about the revelations that have recently come out regarding the notorious rape scene in The Last Tango in Paris.  Even if you’re not familiar with this debate, or the wider issues that it draws upon, ‘The callous abuse of Maria Schneider, and the impunity of Hollywood men’ will make you care.

 

Now for something completely different: kawaii

If you’re looking for an intelligent read on a diverse range of topics, the Conversation is great resource.  The site features blogs from academic experts on all sorts of subjects, including this analysis of kawaii  and what the attraction of this Japanese cult of cute is.

 

Finally…

I was a latecomer to the world of viral videos but I clearly remember the first one I saw: it was late on a Friday night at my friend Mel’s flat in Wandsworth and I’d gone round at the last minute in order to do a 5k Race for Life with her the next morning.  She was incredulous that I didn’t know what a viral video was nor had seen this particular example of the genre – a parody of Alicia Keys’ epic song Empire State of Mind featuring the Welsh town of Newport.  Clever, so clever – and hilarious too.  Point of information for readers outside of the UK: the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) is a government organisation that deals with driving licenses etc and is based in Swansea, another south Wales town.  Because so many people have contact with the DVLA, it’s well known for being based there.  In fact, the agency’s address is DVLA Swansea SA99 1TU – that’s how intertwined the two are.  There are probably lots of jokes in the video that need explaining to non-Brits but that’s the one that jumped out for me!

If you enjoyed this post, I’d really appreciate it if you could share it on social media using the buttons below.  And if you find yourself regularly coming back here, how about signing up to my mailing list?  You get a monthly letter from that comes complete with links to all my writing (blog posts, Sunday Suggestions and articles elsewhere) as well as a creativity prompt for you to try.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Suggestions 4th December 2016

Sunday Suggestions: a round up of things to read, watch, listen to and do
Sunday Suggestions 4th December 2016 || raeritchie.com

Welcome back to my regular series with suggestions of awesome people and things to check out, read, participate in and follow.  Today’s post is an eclectic mix but I couldn’t resist any of these!  There’s some ideal Sunday morning listening.  As is common, there’s some fashion and beauty.  There are also two links showcasing two very different women’s lives as well as a heartwarming example of community resistance from the New York subway.  Finally, because I’ve realised I like to end with a funny video, there’s a great clip of a little girl and an Irish dancer.  Enjoy!

  • Listen: Boat To Row

Boat To Row are an awesome band from my home town.  They have a modern folksy town, with great instrumentation and lovely lyrics.  Handily for this blog post, they are ideal Sunday morning listening.  You can listen to them here.

  • Read: Different perspectives on fashion & beauty

Like so much good stuff in life, fashion and beauty are paradoxes: we should take them both less seriously and more seriously.  Here are some links from both perspectives…

Sali Hughes’ new beauty book, Pretty Iconic, was the first item on my Christmas list this year.  Writing for The Pool this week, she nails the pleasure and camaraderie that getting ready for a night out can give us.  I especially love this because there’s a tendency to talk about beauty very seriously, forgetting that it can be a huge source of playfulness, fun and bonding between women too. There’s even academic research on this very topic.

At the other genuinely serious end of the fashion and beauty spectrum, I’ve spotted a couple of articles this week about ethical consumption: one on cruelty free beauty brands and the other (again from The Pool) on sustainable approaches to Christmas shopping.

And because who can resist a listicle, here are two that have caught my eye recently:

Ten fashion bloggers who are also journalists (I guess I fall under this heading too, although haven’t quite made it into this round up!).

12 of the most fashionable films (my partner and I have decided to make Sunday night a film night so this has given me some examples that I definitely want to follow up).

  • Inspiration: two different women’s lives & a tale from the NYC subway

Last Sunday I spent the cold and grey afternoon curled up on the sofa watching the snooker (is there anything else on TV as relaxing?  Even the commentary is whispered).  I was excited to notice that the umpire of one of the matches was a woman.  It’s always great to spot women at the top echelons of sport in any capacity, but it seemed particularly noteworthy because this was in a high level match between two men.  I can’t imagine a woman referee at a Premier League football match or Six Nations rugby game.  I looked her up and her name is Tatiana Woollaston.  You can read her story here.

Another inspiring woman is my new friend Shona Macpherson, who bravely and openly shares about her coming to terms with a life she hadn’t imagined.  Definitely one to make you think.

From two individuals to a moment of community: one woman shares how a group of strangers came together on the New York City subway to resist the current climate of political fear and hatred.  It’s a Facebook post but you should be able to see this page even if you don’t have an account.  It’ll make you want to carry an eyeliner even if you don’t wear it!

  • Finally…

I doubt you’ll see a sweeter video this week than this clip showing the moment a little girl spotted an Irish dancer in the street.  I especially love the bond that forms between them, with the dancer neither getting annoyed with the child or simply laughing at her but instead engaging her.  I just love it!

If you enjoyed this post, I’d really appreciate it if you could share it on social media using the buttons below.  And if you find yourself regularly coming back here, how about signing up to my mailing list?  You get a monthly letter from that comes complete with links to all my writing (blog posts, Sunday Suggestions and articles elsewhere) as well as a creativity prompt for you to try.  

Sunday Suggestions 27th November 2016

Sunday Suggestions: a round up of things to read, watch, listen to and do
Sunday Suggestions 27th November 2016 || raeritchie.com

Welcome back to my regular series with suggestions of awesome people and things to check out, read, participate in and follow.  Today I offer you a heartwarming sight, some of my favourite things and some good news about this generally crappy year.

To begin, I’m breaking one of my Sunday Suggestions rules.  I aim to only share web-based items that are openly accessible to everyone, everywhere, but this little gem was too good to not give a shout out too: Project Calm is a new magazine that looks great & seems to offer great contents too (the always brilliant Susannah Conway has a column in it so it can’t be bad). I’ve just ordered my copy to try it out.

Some of you may have caught Tuesday night’s Channel 4 documentary Breaking the Silence which showed deaf people hearing for the first time after having cochlear implants fitted.  It was a really moving programme that had my partner & I marveling at the wonders of modern technology.  I’m not sure that the option to watch the show will work for people outside the UK so as well as signposting to that, I wanted to link to an older article from Stylist magazine on the same subject.  This article includes a video of a woman’s first experience hearing  & details a playlist that her friend made her for when she heard music for the first time.  Hearing music for the first time!  How unimaginable that is for most of us.

So, for three of my favourite things.  First up is a beautiful tribute to one of my top tunes, ‘Love and Affection’ by Joan Armatrading.  The most well-known of all her hits, this brooding love song just exudes sex and passion in a way that we don’t often encounter in songs by women (or alas in society more widely still).  In ‘No conversation.  No wave goodnight. A love letter to the lyrics of Love And Affection by Joan Armatrading‘, Phil Adams on ‘A Longing Look’ evokes some of its majesty and glory.  Read it & listen at the end!

Sunday Suggestions 27-11-2016 || raeritchie.com
Here’s my partner & I at Wembley recently for the England v Scotland football match

Second is totally different.  It is a little known fact that I am a pretty big football (soccer) fan.  In particular, I love listening to football on the radio.  I love the hazy tone of my old transistor radio & the way it evokes a happy Saturday afternoon curled up on my bed or the sofa listening to the commentary and punditry and summaries.  The magic of football on the radio is delicately captured in this Guardian article on the subject.  I’d go as far to say it’s worth a read even if the subject itself doesn’t interest you but maybe I’m not a good judge of that.

The third I just wanted to tuck in here as my own expression of thanks and gratitude.  Last weekend I went on an amazing, sumptuous and powerful retreat with fourteen other women in the Cotswolds countryside.  It was truly life-changing.  Here the retreat leader Sas Petherick (one of my favourite people in the world) talks about her experience of organising the event and what it means to her (I’m one of the ones who’s already signed up for next year).

I’m a newcomer to the joyous Yes and Yes blog (‘Because Yes is More Fun than No’) but I love it enough to have signed up to the mailing list – a big commitment, because we only sign up to the mailing list for blogs we love, right?  😉  Anyhow, this post on 11 Ways to Practice Gratitude Without a Gratitude Journal is fun and captures what I like about the site so much.  (I think I previously suggested the Yes and Yes ’19 Ways To Make The World A (Slightly) Better Place‘ post; if you missed it the first time or fancy a re-read, this one is also worth checking out).

On Thursday I wrote a blog post about why this year – universally acknowledged as pretty crap – may not be quite so bad after all.  Among the doom and gloom, of which there is plenty, there are also some moments of light and goodness, both personally and on a bigger scale.  You can read the post here, including the contributions from friends and readers about what made 2016 great for them.  It was also good to see another similar list by Dominic Upton for the Daily Telegraph list recently.  His contains some examples that had totally slipped my mind; which of these did you relish?

And finally, because I’ve realised I like to end this post with a funny video, I have this little blast from the past for you…When The Fully Monty came up in conversation twice on Wednesday night, I knew I had to go with this classic scene of the men in the dole queue.  It’s hard to watch it and not twitch along with them!

If you enjoyed this post, I’d really appreciate it if you could share it on social media using the buttons below.  And if you find yourself regularly coming back here, how about signing up to my mailing list?  You get a monthly letter from that comes complete with links to all my writing (blog posts, Sunday Suggestions and articles elsewhere) as well as a creativity prompt for you to try.  

 

 

 

 

Sunday Suggestions 20th November 2016

Sunday Suggestions: a round up of things to read, watch, listen to and do
Sunday Suggestions 20th November 2016 || raeritchie.com

In the three weeks that I’ve started putting these ‘Sunday Suggestions’ columns together, I’ve noticed that themes will naturally emerge.  Sometimes I’ll just happen to spot several items about one specific subject; others will feed into a topic that’s on my mind anyway.  Examples of both feature in this week’s list of things to read, watch, join and do.

First up are two harrowing accounts of rape.  I’ve wondered long and hard about whether to post these but despite the difficult subject matter, this is not something we can shy away from.  Rape and sexual assault are real and prevalent issues for all of us, and perhaps never more so than in the wake of comments made by the US President Elect.  I applaud and admire these two women for speaking out about their experiences:

Anna Lovind: Break the silence sisters, your story matters

The uncomfortable truth about my rape & why I’m coming forward now

On a similar but not quite the same note, I came late to seeing this article by Monica Lewinsky about being a Hallowe’en costume.  If you haven’t heard or read anything by Ms Lewinsky in recent years then I’d definitely encourage you to check out these links.  I’ve found it humbling to learn about how she dealt with the shame and vitriol directed towards her.  Twenty years on from the scandal that made her (in)famous, I also find it significant to remember that she was a 23 year old intern while Clinton was a far older and far more powerful figure.  As with the two links above, power dynamics have a considerable role to play in sexual relations whether seemingly consensual or not.

Monica Lewinsky: What it’s like to become a Hallowe’en costume

Monica Lewinsky’s TED Talk: The price of shame

Speaking of power, I’ve also stumbled across two examples this week of attempts to challenge the gender status quo.  One of these is on an individual level, the other trying to initiate awareness through the medium of fashion and social media – the latter you can join in with on 25th November (next Friday) by wearing orange and sharing on your networks.

Refinery 29: Nine women on why they shaved their heads

UN Orange Label Project: Fashion says no to violence against women

And finally, for something completely different, I wanted to mention podcasts.  I am *really* late to the game with this!  It’s only in recent months that I’ve started to listen to all the amazing recorded material that is out but like so many others now I’m hooked.

I’m currently working my way through the back catalogue of Happier with Gretchen Rubin.  For some reason I can’t bring myself to just listen to the most recent – I want to hear them all – so Rubin’s tips and advice on how to live a happier life accompany me whilst I get ready every morning.

On holiday at the end of September, I binged another great series: Magic Lessons by Elizabeth Gilbert.  These gems are all interviews about creativity, inspired by Gilbert’s brilliant Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.  If you are even vaguely interested in the subject then listen to these!  I cannot recommend them highly enough.  Each one is so inspiring.

And if you are interested in creativity, its magic and how you can get more of it, then you might want to sign up to my newsletter.  Following requests from my readers, this monthly mailing will from this month onward contain a creativity tip for you to try out.  Because I’m so excited about this new feature, and have been researching lots of ideas, November’s issue will have a bumper round up of suggestions for you to try!  Sign up over here if you’d like to receive it.

 

 

 

Sunday Suggestions

Sunday Suggestions: a round up of things to read, watch, listen to and do
Sunday Suggestions 13th November 2016 || raeritchie.com

This is the third Sunday Suggestions column and I simply cannot ignore the US election in today’s round up.  As always, you can rely on the Pool to provide some thoughtful, reflective reading on the subject:

A response about Trump’s victory from one of their regular writers who is also a New York voter

Gaby Hinsliff writes about the election and the crumbs of comfort that we have to hold on to

I found this, Sali Hughes, again on the Pool, sharing both serious and less so good things about 2016 (even she admits it’s hard to do so), useful reading that lifted my mood slightly after sharing my lament for the world as my blog post on Thursday

From other sources:

Here’s the reaction of an American living in London as appeared on Refinery 29

My friend Anna Kunnecke wrote this moving piece about what the result demands of us once we have finished mourning for what has passed

Likewise over on the Yes and Yes blog there’s a list of ‘real, actionable things we can do about Trump’ – some really good practical suggestions that can help us to feel like we’re at least trying to do something

And because I’m sure you’re like me and are desperate for a glimmer of laughter and amusement in these dark days, I had to include one of the greatest and most joyous viral videos of all time – even if you’ve seen it one hundred times before, please watch it again: Jessica’s daily affirmations.  We all need her sass and her strut right now.

 

 

 

Sunday Suggestions

Sunday Suggestions: a round up of things to read, watch, listen to and do
Sunday Suggestions 6th November 2016 || raeritchie.com

 

Hello there & welcome to Sunday Suggestions!

This is the second post in what I am planning to be a regular series of columns appearing, funnily enough, on Sundays, with suggestions of awesome people and things to check out, read, participate in and follow.

The idea for this came, as good ideas often do, during a late night discussion with my partner in the bathroom (like so many people, we swore we’d never descend to shared bathroom usage but eighteen months on from moving in together, we regular co-use the space – and not only that, it’s where some of our best conversations happen).

There is just so much great stuff out there on the Internet, I wanted to gather some of what I’ve come across up in one place and share it with other people.  Sunday is the usually the most chilled for a lot of people, with perhaps a bit more time available to read and explore, hence Sunday Suggestions was born!

[Please note I am not an affiliate so do not gain anything from promoting these links]

Here are my suggestions on Sunday 6th November 2016:

  • Writing in last Saturday’s the Guardian Weekend magazine, Zadie Smith discussed dancers who had influenced her.  One pair were Harold and Fayard Nicholas.  I’d never heard of these brothers but when I read that ‘Fred Astaire called their routine in Stormy Weather the greatest example of cinematic dance he ever saw’, I had to check them out – and so should you!  The routine is truly phenomenal and just so uplifting.  I challenge you not to tap your feet and click you while watching this!

 

 

 

 

  • Megan Garber writing over on the Atlantic has noted a trend for women wearing improbably high heels in action films.  I don’t know if I agree entirely with her argument but the general assertion is spot on and the article has such energy and verve that I wanted to include it here.

 

 

  • Also on the beauty theme, here we see the writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talk about the changes in how she views cosmetics.  Crucially this video is part of Adichie’s new role as an ambassador for Boots No7 make up range.  This is just one example recently of an engagement between feminism and the industries of fashion and beauty.  Is this a watershed moment or just another attempt by the powers that be to co-opt the current feminist wave for their own monetary purposes?  I’m still trying to figure out my views on this but am planning on writing an article about all this at some point soon.  I’d love to hear your views – you can comment below.

 

 

If you’d like to see what I’ve been up to this week, I have a piece on The Huffington Post UK about the intertwined public memories of the recently deceased Tom Hayden and his former wife, Hollywood legend Jane Fonda.  I also wrote for Welldoing.org about the harm that can come from choosing the wrong therapist .  Please share these articles if you feel able to, I really appreciate the support!

If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read, please share this post on social media.  Likewise you can sign up to my mailing list to stay informed of all my writing and offerings.

Sunday Suggestions

sunday-suggestions-logo
Sunday Suggestions || raeritchie.com

Hello there & welcome to Sunday Suggestions!

This is the first post in what I hope will be a regular series of columns appearing, funnily enough, on Sundays, with suggestions of awesome people and things to check out, read, participate in and follow.

The idea for this came, as good ideas often do, during a late night discussion with my partner in the bathroom (like so many people, we swore we’d never descend to shared bathroom usage but eighteen months on from moving in together, we regular co-use the space – and not only that, it’s where some of our best conversations happen).

There is just so much great stuff out there on the Internet, I wanted to gather some of what I’ve come across up in one place and share it with other people.  Sunday is the usually the most chilled for a lot of people, with perhaps a bit more time available to read and explore, hence Sunday Suggestions was born!

[Please note I am not an affiliate so do not gain anything from promoting these links]

Here are my suggestions on Sunday 30th October 2016:

  • On Tuesday, Catherine Gordon of Midlands Minimalist and I met up for our now regular lunch date and she was telling me more about her Life Energy (Expenditure) Experiment.  During November, she will be anaylsing her purchases not by cost but by what value, fulfilment and satisfaction they have bought her.  Sounds like both a challenging and illuminating experiment – and you can join in with! Click here for all the details about the experiment and getting involved.
  • Last weekend’s Guardian magazine had a fascinating article about street names in Britain .  Harry Wallop went beyond the obvious (1 Knob End, anyone?!) and explored the changing trends in naming patterns as well as the politics behind it all.  A journalistic gem.
  • Super coach and friend Anna Kunnecke has started a Wise Woman Book Club that will take place online, meaning any wise woman out there can join in!  I’m so excited about joining in that even the not great time zone conversion will not perturb me.  The first book is Glennon Doyle Melton’s Love Warrior, which has had some pretty spectacular endorsements (Liz Gilbert loves it).
  • And a little shout out here at the end for my own Coaching Giveaway!  If you share one of my blog posts (and tag me in the share) before next Friday, 4th November, then you are in with a chance of winning one of three coaching packages.  Just sayin’ 😉