My Self-Made Woman Heroes

Everyone has their heroes.

When I was a little girl, these were the stars of stage and screen. Katharine Hepburn was the woman I looked up to.

She was dazzlingly beautiful of course, walking with the kind of class and grace that you rarely see in the stars of today.

katharine-hepburn-653173_1920The thing that made her such a powerful influence on my life wasn’t her fame or success, it was the characters she played. Strong, independent and utterly witty, this was a time when the roles women played in movies were often the intellectual equivalent of their onscreen partners, rather than just serving as eye candy for a mostly pubescent minded audience.

My dream of becoming a film star was, of course, not realised. I found that I often froze up on stage and had a terrible habit of forgetting lines. However, old heroes can always be replaced by new ones and, thanks to the booming numbers of self-made women, building empires out of nothing but their hard graft, there are plenty to pick from.


The 3 women that I have picked as my current heroes (perhaps ‘inspirations’ would be a better word for them?) have all created niches and careers for themselves, sometimes completely reinventing their identities in order to progress in their chosen industry.

 

Angela Liddon – Food Blogger & Authorangela li

Although I can’t admit to being a huge fan of Vegan food (dividing a Northern girl from a sausage roll is never a wise move), Angela’s inspirational story starts in 2008, long before her Vegan Food blog hit the mainstream. Recovering from an eating disorder, Angela was teaching herself how to eat more whilst also encouraging her fast-food loving husband to eat better. She catalogued her journey in her blog, which started to gain traction despite her not having any experience in Food or Photography.

The Oh She Glows blog now attracts over 1 million individual readers each month, her Instagram feed is followed by over 400,000 people and her recipe book has over 300,00 copies in print.


vikYou Need A Vicky – Professional Organiser

Vicky Silverthorn is an entrepreneur and author who has served as a major inspiration for me as a business owner. Like me, Vicky had spent a large portion of her life working for other people. Before starting her business she worked as a successful Personal Assistant for major celebrities such as Lily Allen, however, she wasn’t content with this life. She’d seen a niche in the market that she knew she could exploit. Combining the skills she developed as a PA with shrewd business sense, she started You Need A Vicky, a professional organisation service.

Last year she published her first book.


Susie Ryan – Actress & Beauty Bloggersusie

If you’ve got a particularly good memory for faces and an affinity for noughties era Soap-Dramas then you may well recognise Susie. Making her name as an actress on the Sky show, Footballers’ Wives, Susie found moderate success as an actress. However, the acting game is a tough one and Susie soon had to find that she was in need of a separate revenue stream. Her makeup and beauty blog is one of the most trusted in the community, with her consistent replies to comments proving her to be equally dedicated to her readers.

Between television appearances, acting jobs, recording video blogs and writing – Susie has a hectic life that she has absolutely earned for herself.


These women have all rightly earned their places amongst the pantheon of heroes in my mind. If I can become half as successful as just one of these talented ladies then I can rest easy.

 

Helping Out Mavis With Her Vegetable Patch

Winter Can Be Tough For The Elderly

Now that Daylight Savings have come into effect, the days can feel like they flash by in an instant.

gardening-stuff

For the elderly, who live alone, this can be a grim dark time of year – this is why I like to dedicate a few hours each week to keeping my local OAP gardeners company.

When I first started out with Delphinium, some 10 years or so ago, I struggled to get hold of much design work. Having spent so long in the Science Industry, it might come as little surprise that the people of Leeds were a little uneasy about handing me creative control over their gardens – so I had to make do with some basic gardening work at first.

back-yard-gardenEveryone has to pay their dues, I suppose.

The first piece of regular work I picked up was for Mavis. 10 years ago she was a little more spritely, at 65, but still needed help keeping her unruly garden in order. Packed full of creeping vines, weeds and flower beds (that were crossing all sorts of boundaries) – her little yard was abundant with life, but had become too much for her to handle.

I spent that first summer struggling to find work and spending too much time in Mavis’ back garden.

She’s what my Father would have called ‘a strange old bird’. Fiercely independent, yet also wholly reliant on the company of others – Mavis had led a a sociable and active retirement up until the Winter of 2006 – when she broke her hip falling down the stairs. That’s when she enlisted me to sort her garden out and, essentially, keep her company.

Gardening is one of those fantastic hobbies that can entertain people of all ages.

From the very young, to those reaching the twilight of their years, simple tasks such as tilling or mulching can provide comfort and a sense of purpose to those looking for it – without exhausting the individual. This is all well and good in the balmy summer months, however, as winter approaches and the plants that you have nurtured throughout the warmer months begin to die, it can be hard to motivate these wonderful people to go back out into the garden.

yardMavis simply needed someone to get her out of the house a few times a week and sort out her flower bed for next spring.

Every week I’d let myself in round the back and tap on her window – within seconds, she’d be outside wrapped up in several layers of wool, with a mug of tea in her hand for me. I’d dig the weeds and rip the vines out of the stubborn soil, whilst she would collect the off-cuts and bag them up for the bin.

Mavis recommended my services to her friends, which eventually led to me getting my first design job – for that I will be eternally grateful.