Missuswolf launches her awesome debut clothing line

‘Every woman has the right to become herself, and do whatever she needs to do’ – Ani DiFranco

With everything going on at the moment with the ‘Me Too’ movement and the Harvey Weinstein scandal, never has being a woman been so in the spotlight. Airing my personal views on feminism and what it means to me is something I’ve always shied away from on the blog. Much like religion and politics, it’s such a complex and personal issue that without publishing a 100 page essay on the subject all that I would be doing would be opening myself up to criticism and again like religion and politics, it’s not a debate I’m willing to get involved in with strangers on the internet. I learnt that lesson he hard way as after what is now known socially as ‘The Mumsnet Debacle’.

One thing that has never been a secret though is my passion for women supporting each other. Throughout my teens and early twenties I didn’t always surrounded myself with the nicest people and have experienced my fair share of bitchy backstabbing women. As a result has often left me wary of trusting people. However as I’ve grown up and found my voice I’ve learnt to try and be the love and support I want to see in other people. And am absolutely in love with the supportive, empowering women I surround myself today.

So what a revelation when one of your favourite fellow north east blogging gals not only shares the same values as you, but has taken it one step further and created their own movement. Gemma from Misswolf was inspired by her days at pregnancy yoga class where the group of ladies she met there bonded and supported each other through their respective journeys into motherhood and started to refer to each other as ‘Warriors’.

I had a chat with Gemma about what led her to create the line and what feminism and the sisterhood means to her:

Feminism to me means empowerment.

Empowering females to become the best version of themselves. And in order to do that, it’s to build each other up and not knock each other down. Women work better together than pitted against each other. Social Media, especially platforms like Instagram, have become communities of support where groups of women are emerging, more so in business now, and fuelling each other along.

I believe it’s an exciting time for Feminism. Attitudes and working conditions of companies are changing, reverting from the archaic 9-5 and truly embracing work/life balance and agile working. We’re in an age where we now have the technology to work remotely and on the go.

This gives people, particularly women, the opportunity to pursue areas of business that they may not have been able to in the past.

As a little girl, I dreamed of writing books and sharing my content with the world. I used to write stories in journals, on typewriter’s and then, when I turned eleven, on a computer. We didn’t have one at home until then, nor did we have one at school. I’m part of a generation that has seen unbelievable advancements in technology and this has actually given people who once had a dream a chance of making it a reality.

So I started a blog. Then I wrote a children’s book. And now I’ve opened up an online clothing store. I appreciate the opportunity I now have to share my content and ideas with the world.

Therefore, feminism to me is setting this example to my daughter and to any other women out there. That if you have dreams and want to take control of your life, you can. Ideally I would love to work for myself and run my own business and I’ve always though this was a pipedream. But this now seems like an achievable target if I set my mind to it.

I would hate to look back on my life and regret anything I didn’t do because of fear of failure. I’d rather have tried and failed than have not tried at all.

You may as well start calling Gemma ‘Pink’ because she’s articulated my thoughts way better than I ever could! What’s the cherry on top of the sundae is that Gemma is planning on expanding the range. She’s rebranding and launching her Children’s Book, Ruby of Egypt, next month and ultimately there will be merchandise available on the website that relates to the book. She’s started small but perfectly formed at the moment and decided on showcasing 15 products to test the water but Teemill has the potential to house 500 products so the possibilities are quite literally endless.

Obviously being an entrepreneurial badass isn’t without it’s share of hurdles:

The biggest challenge I faced was getting it right. I had all these ideas that came spilling out and I designed them all in a short space of time. Then it was the time spent after that getting it right. Making sure the designs were sorted into collections and how they would appear on the website.

It was a battle of impatience and perfectionism. I wanted to share the project with the world, but I wanted to get it right. I did a lot of research online into marketing. I wanted the time to be right. I designed the collection on New Years Eve and thought early January was a good launch date – New Year, New Start and all that jazz.

But I wanted to pick my moment.

I felt sick at launching it as you never know how people will react and how well it will be received. Only time will tell but my biggest challenge was my battle of impatience and perfectionism. A very hard mental battle!

Hopefully one that will pay off. If not, I’ve had fun designing and launching the collection so it’s all good experience.

I always fall in love a little bit with people who actually go out and do all the stuff most of us just talk about. If i had a pound for every time I’ve drunkenly mused with Dave that i’s love to interview this person, or love to review this place or love to launch my own clothing line, but I never do anything about it. It just goes to show what you can do when you set your mind to something.
 Gemma very kindly sent me a jumper to try on and needless to say I’ve worn it to death since it arrived. It’s really true to size (full disclosure; I got a size 12) which is really comfy and long enough to ‘cover the crotch’ when wearing jeggings or leggings – a rule I live my life by. It’s 100% organic cotton and £1 from the sale or every item gets donated to the Children with Cancer Charity, which means guilt free shopping – hooray!
Of course the kiddies and the blokies haven’t been forgotten about, there’s a range for them too, all based on words and phrases that Gemma affectionately uses to refer to her own family.
To get you hands on anything from this fantastic range head over to https://missuswolf.teemill.com/ to get yourself (and the family) kitted out!

North Shields

You know what doesn’t fill me with much joy? When you google a pub to do some research and one of the first stories that come up is the Evening Chronicle headline ‘Two Bailed after assault outside North Shields pub’. However rules are rules and if the rules are to go to the closet pub to the metro station then the closest pub is where we’re going to go. In the case of North Shields; that pub is Charlie’s Bar.

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If you come out of North Shields station and turn left you will see Charlie’s on the corner 100 yards away. We visited on a Saturday lunchtime and there were a smattering of locals in and plenty of sport to watch on the TV. The décor is a standard working class North Eastern pub with the bar in the middle of the room, bar on one side and lounge area on the other.

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I make a point of visiting pubs we wouldn’t normally with an open mind and as with most places we’ve visited on the tour where their reputation has preceded them; you shouldn’t always judge a pub but its façade (or Chronicle headlines). We were made to feel welcome when we arrived earlyish afternoon on a Saturday in November; it was just over £3 for a glass of wine and  a half of Guinness and the barmaid was friendly when we asked for directions of how to get to the Ferry terminal. In fact, were it not for my inability to read a ferry timetable properly we probably wouldn’t have been in such a hurry and may have stayed for a second drink.

 

Yes it’s very rough around the edges and could do with some money being invested (neither of the female toilet cubicles had locks of the door for example) and I’m not entirely sure it’s somewhere I’d want to be at 10pm on a Saturday night but as somewhere to get a cheap drink or to start off a North Shields pub crawl it’s not too bad. The music on the jukebox was good too!

Contact:

60 Nile Street, North Shields, Tyne And Wear, NE29 0BG

Find out where else we’ve been on our metro adventure here

The stories behind my most successful blog posts

‘The influence of blogging is overall a very positive force in the media’ – Garrett Graff

When I started this blog a couple of years ago I never imagined it would have taken off the way it has. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not one of the heavy hitters of the blogging world; I’m not in a position to quit the day job and write full time – much as I’d love to but it’s the creative outlet I’d been searching for for years and the fact that anyone is interested in anything I have to say is quite frankly astonishing.I

I find getting inspiration for posts tough and I’m always amazed at what takes off and what doesn’t. Blog posts I slave over and am rally proud of, posts I’m really excited to publish, will only get a handful of views. Then posts that I cobble together and use as filler because I have nothing else to say do extremely well. There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to what floats and what sinks.

So I thought I would have a look back and talk you through my top 5 most popular posts, the stories behind them, and why I think they’ve been the most read:

Kaspas v Creams
Original post date: 20/07/2016
Views to date: 4,290

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One thing I love doing for the blog is ‘research’ so when 2 ice cream emporiums that look like total carbon copies of each other opened up in Newcastle in quick succession, I needed to ‘research’ them. Turns out the reason they’re so similar is they were owned by a duo I’m London (as Creams) who fell out so a second brand (Kaspas) was devised. I had great fun with Ang, Dave, John, Carrie and Emma trying one after another one weekend, who doesn’t love ice cream for lunch two days in a row?! I think the popularity of the post is simple. The brands are SO similar that loads of people google to find out which is better, and I seem to be the only person who’ve reviewed them side by side rather than individually. After the restaurants respective sites, my post is first hit on Google. Which is pretty bloody cool.

Remington Hair Straighteners Review
Original post date: 09/08/2015
Views to date: 4,077

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This one genuinely baffles me as I seem to get loads of daily hits when you would imagine it would just be easier to o straight to the Boots, Superdrug or Amazon for some user reviews. I suspect a lot of the referrals are through google images as the post contains a before an after picture of my unstraightened/straightened hair. I’ve been a loyal Could Nine an since 2008 when it comes to hair straighteners because they work as well, if not better, than GHDs but have the added bonus of being able to adjust the heat settings. Sadly one August they gave up the ghost and ceased working mid straighten. Luckily enough they retained enough heat for me to finish doing my hair (phew!). Cloud Nine have excellent customer care and would fix them for £30 for me but I needed an interim pair to tide me over. I settled on the remmington ones as they got the best reviews for the cheapest price and, well if you want to know how I got on with them you’ll have to read the review…

Buying Clothes from China in eBay – An Experiment
Original post date: 25/07/2015
Views to date: 4,020

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This post all started so innocently. I wanted a yellow blazer to be able to wear in the spring to brighten up some of my dullest outfits and it kind of snowballed from there into my most viewed post ever. I decided to take a punt at what looked like the dream yellow blazer and ordered from China, i’d like to say pretty blindly however I did take some advice on sizing and quality beforehand. I ended up getting a pretty substantial haul for about £25 (including postage) with varying degrees of success as the results and comparison pictures range from the surprising to the ridiculous. I suspect the majority of views to this post again come from google images when people are looking for comparison pictures but hey, a view is a view and I can only hope that people who stumble across the post stick around and read some other stuff while they’re there.

Newcastle upon Tyne walking tour
Original post date: 04/04/2015
Views to date: 3,961

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The opening statement says it’s all, the best ideas are born out of necessity. Dave and I wanted to do something on a rainy bank holiday so I googled free walking tours of Newcastle and couldn’t find one. So we decided to create our own. We had great fun devising it and including our own favourite pubs and sights. I think without a doubt what’s helped it’s popularity is I cheekily posted it on a forum on TripAdvisor and whilst I got an email from then slapping me on the wrist telling me off for self promoting, they never actually took it down, so I get a lot of referrals form there. I also get loads of positive comments from people who’ve done it and even messages from people from all over the world asking if I’ll guide them round! I love my city but i’m not showing tourists round for free!

 

 

Whatever happened to Tescos Along Came Betty Range?
Original post date: 17/07/2016
Views to date: 2,530

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I wrote this after I’d discovered the holy trail of anti wrinkle creams in Forget Your Lines by Tesco’s Along Came Betty range, which is a blatant rip off of Soap and Glory (how ever the girl with two knock off Mulberry handbags has no room to pass judgement on that!) What was even better it was only £3.99. I then discovered that pretty much the whole range was being discontinued bar some bubble bath and body butter. I even tweeted Tesco to see wagwan who confirmed the make up range was no more. The success of this post was a surprising one to say the least but I think I have timing to thank for that. The post originally went live over the summer so had a few months to develop a decide SEO. I reckon come Christmas peoples stockings were laden with ACB gift sets and people googled to find out more about the brand. The post now ranks higher in some search engines than the actual Tesco website itself. Which is still pretty bloody cool.

What been your biggest surprise hit? Leave links in the comments!

 

 

Chichester

I’ve made no secret of the fact that there are sections of the metro network that are not my usual stomping ground and the South Shields section is no exception. It’s an area that doesn’t get a lot of particularly great press (and that’s just from the people I know who live there!) However we’re yet to find a pub where we have genuinely felt unsafe or uncomfortable.

 

The Chichester Arms which is located a mere stone’s throw away from the metro station on the left as you leave the station may well be contender for ‘nicest surprise’ on the whole tour. I’ll admit that I wasn’t holding out much hope for this visit (which I’d been mispronouncing with a soft ‘I’ the whole time – like the town of Chichester) but we were greeted with a very festive, very warm welcome when you visited one very cold early evening in late November.

 

As you walk in the side entrance from the metro station you walk straight into the lounge area with a bar area ahead of you which has darts and a pool table. Judging by the notice board by the bar it seems like a pub with lots going on as it advertised various different quiz nights, live music and food specials .

 

From the outside it looks like your average north earner corner boozer but inside is a lot more inviting – perhaps it was the early instalment of some Christmas decorations but it certainly struck me a pub you can have a good session in – the 80s tunes on the jukebox certainly gained it some extra points in my eyes. Beer wise there isn’t much on offer, just your standard Carling, Fosters, John Smiths etc but price wise it came in at just over £12 for 2 pints, a class of wine and a gin and tonic.

Don’t get me wrong it’s unlikely that the Chi Arms will blow your socks off but it’s absolutely not the worse establishment we’ve seen so far and definitely somewhere to stay for more than one drink. And afterall, who only ever goes out and has one drink?!

Contact:

335 Laygate, South Shields NE33
Tel: 07741 471606

Web: https://en-gb.facebook.com/The-Chichester-Arms-701487026654367/

Find out where else we’ve been on our metro adventure here

What I Wore – Christmas 2017

‘The older I get, I guess I wear less sparkles’ – Blake Lively

There was a time in my life, long ago as is may seem, where I used to go out every Friday night without fail, however now i’m well into my 30s I’ve very much swapped rolling out of Blu Bamboo at 2am and lime bacardi breezers for Netflix and red wine. That is of course apart from December, where all bets are off and all the festive celebrations are in full swing. I probably go out in December more than the rest of the year combined and finding stuff to wear has always been the bain of my life.

Luckily 2017 was a little different as I changed jobs in October which meant i could re-wear a lot of my previous party outfits, in fact the only thing i bought new was a Christmas jumper from Tesco!

So here’s a run down of my Xmas 2017 wardrobe:

Girls’ night out – Friday 1st December, Destiny’s Child Tribute at Wylam Brewery 

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I really struggled with what to wear for this as I knew i’d be dancing all night and wanted to be comfortable. Tempting as it was to throw on the trusted ‘jeans and a nice top’ combo, this was essentially one massive hen do of a night and all my friends were wearing dresses, and i suffer from severe FOMO. As it happened this dress was super comfy and even though i had to swap shoes with Steph at the beginning of the night because hers ripped her big toe to shreds,  still managed to dance the night away!

Work night out number 1 – Thursday 6th December, dinner at Miller &Carter followed by drinks

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This was the big work night out so if I was going to buy something new for a night out it would be this one. How funny then that this skirt and top are probably the two oldest items in my wardrobe. The black satin skirt i got in Primark for New Years Eve 2010 and the white blouse (Oasis) i got in 2009 when I followed a girl into the toilets in Chase to ask her where she got hers from.

Girls day out – Saturday 9th December, Bottomless prosecco at No28

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I was lucky to be invited back to No28 to update my review of their bottomless prosecco deal and seeing as it was officially the coldest day on record anywhere on earth ever I thought I’d go semi festive. I cannot even describe how much this jumper is up my street and only £6.99 to boot (from H&M) position for favourite Christmas jumper now filled.

Work night out number 2 – Thursday 14th December, dinner and drinks in Eastbourne

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I was pleased this do was a bit more low key as i didn’t fancy dragging my sequined Kate Spade number all the way down fro Newcastle to Eastbourne and you can never fail with the ‘jeans and a nice top’ approach (or JNT as it will now be known – it’s a fashion rule my friend Carrie & I live our lives by!) The jeans are my faithful Rosie jeggings from Matalan which I have in every colour and the top is from River Island. On this occasion I was thankful for the Premier Inn in Eastbourne who found me a safety pin to fix the top to mt bra otherwise my new team would have gotten an eyeful of my beestings.

Christmas Jumper Day – Friday 15th December

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I was embarking on the 6 hour journey home on Christmas jumper day so wasn;t able to take part in the annual works photo but I was still repping from my seat. It was Steph who brought this jumper to my attention, which is from Tesco, knowing my love for Dachshunds. And Sequins. And Christmas. And Jumpers.

Christmas Day – Sunday 25th December

I said last year that gone are the days when i would be bothered about my Christmas Day outfit – which to be honest was always just a JNT affair anyway. These days i’m all about the novelty t-shirt and the stretchy expandable jeans for my burgeoning tummy. This t-shirt I got from Primark a few years ago – i think t’s actually a mans, but is super comfy and hides all the pre christmas lumps and bumps I acquire during December

Pick of the Year: 2008

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  1. Britney Spears – Piece of Me
  2. Alphabeat – Fascination
  3. Mika – Relax
  4. Lupe Fiasco – Superstar
  5. Adele – Chasing Pavements
  6. David Jordan – Sun Goes Down
  7. OneRepublic – Stand and Stare
  8. Flo Rida – Low
  9. Taio Cruz – Come On Girl
  10. Estelle – American Boy
  11. Madonna – 4 Minutes
  12. Gabriella Cilmi – Sweet About Me
  13. Sam Sparro – Black and Gold
  14. Usher – Love In This Club
  15. James Blunt – Carry You Home
  16. T-Pain – Church
  17. September – Cry For You
  18. Black Kids – I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You
  19. Kanye West – Flashing Lights
  20. Ne-Yo – Closer
  21. Chris Brown – Forever
  22. Ting Tings – Shut Up and Let Me Go
  23. Elbow – One Day Like This
  24. Dizzee Rascal – Dance Wiv Me
  25. Kid Rock – All Summer Long
  26. Katy Perry – I Kissed A Girl
  27. Verve – Love Is Noise
  28. Madcon – Beggin
  29. Little Jackie – The World Should Revolve Around Me
  30. Keane – Spiralling
  31. Biffy Clyro – Mountains
  32. Gym Glass Heroes – Cookie Jar
  33. New Kids on the Block – Summertime
  34. Flobots – Handlebars
  35. MIA – Paper Planes
  36. Pink – So What
  37. Saturdays – Up
  38. Britney Spears – Womanizer
  39. Leona Lewis – Forgive Me
  40. Beyonce – Single Ladies
  41. Alexandra Burke – Hallelujah

 

Tynemouth

I’m letting you into a secret this week. Tynemouth station is my favourite station on the entire network. Not because of the pubs or the fact it’s near the beach (although they are all pluses in my eyes – obviously) but I mean the actual station is my favourite – because it’s just so pretty. Despite being a Grade II listed building, it was on English Heritage’s ‘at risk’ register for buildings that need restoration in 2007 and in 2012 essential maintenance was completed whist still keeping most of its original features. The station is also home to a weekly market and lots of local businesses meaning there’s always something interesting at any given day.

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We were torn as to what to include on the WBMT because within a short walk of the station is a plethora of drinking establishments to choice from. This wealth of opportunity meant that we went slightly off piste and went to Porters Café and Bar which is right inside the station – as although technically not a pub, is the closest place off a train where you can get an alcoholic drink.

Porters certainly has the ‘Cosy/Casual’ vibe down to a fine art and if definitely on the café side of drinking establishments in the area however it has two pumps of draft ales on offer and wine of all 2 colours available by the glass or bottle, meaning which you’re enjoying a warm toasted ciabatta for bowl of soup, you can do so with some alcoholic accompaniment.

The décor inside is a mixture of practical sturdy wooden tables with local art on the walls and retro memorabilia dotted around the place. I absolutely loved the 50’s style Wurlitzer Jukebox in the corner – which is something I want in my mansion when I finally make millions as a professional transport network pub reviewer.

It’s probably worth mentioning that when the marker is on every Saturday and Sunday Porter’s gets extremely busy therefore if you were desperate for a drink you’d probably be better of making the short walk to The Head of Steam in Tynemouth Centre as a session pub Porter’s is not. However with live music in the evening and an array of delicious smells emanating from the kitchen it’s not a bad shop if you find yourself having to hang around for 20 minutes for the next train.

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Contact:

Station Terrace, North Shields NE30 4RE
Web: https://en-gb.facebook.com/porterscafemusicbar/

Find out where else we’ve been on our metro adventure here