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!

How many times a day do you check your phone?

‘Technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream’ – Steven Spielberg

I’ll be the first to admit I’m on my phone a lot, probably more than I should be and I am a bit of a self confessed social media addict. It gets a bad press and there are certainly negative aspects to social media, for one I’m extremely thankful it wasn’t around when I was a teenager as I think I would have made what was a patchy high school experience even worse. I do however love the social aspect of it, I like that you can find out what Harry Styles had for breakfast (should you want to) and there are ways of keeping in touch with people or making you self heard that were never around 10 years ago.

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The flip side of that is of course that it stops you being actually social in real life, if you’re looking at life through your phone screen all the time then you’re never really seeing it, or living it or experiencing it. So I read about a fun app called Phone Checker, which logs how many times in a day you check your phone, so you can see in black and white actually how much time you’re using it.

I downloaded the free app on a Sunday night with the hope to keep it on for a month or so. When you first download it you’re really conscious it’s there so purposefully don’t check as often as you might. So I figured eventually I’d forget it was there so the results would be more honest.

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What would be really interesting would be to see how many checks are you reacting to something, like receiving a phone call or a text message and how much is just idly checking for the sake of checking but I suppose that kind of technology if probably a bit too much to ask of a free app!

Phone Tracker is really simple with very few interfaces. All it every shows you is how many times you’re checked your phone that day, how that compares to how many times you’ve checked on previous days, and an option to share to social media. That’s it. You get reminded every morning to check the previous day’s views – and if you don’t it doesn’t log them and will add them on to that days views, which is an annoying feature. Also clicking on the graph icon just seems to take you back to the the play store rather than show you any data analysis – and i’m a real graphs and stats geek so find that frustratingly odd. Aside from that it pretty much does what it says on the tin.

The results were interesting if not that surprising. I check my phone almost double the amount at weekends that I do on week days, which will largely be due to the fact that my phone usually stays in my handbag whilst I’m at work, but also, at weekends you’re doing stuff you want to take pictures of/text someone about/tweet about so it makes sense you’d be on your phone more often.

Nottingham Trent University did a study where they monitored a group of 18 to 33 year olds and found that they checked their phone on average of 85 times a day, so when you compare that to my weekly average of around 60 times a day It doesn’t make me feel so bad, then again I am two years out of their research age so perhaps that’s high for 35 year olds?!

Has it made me more wart of looking at my phone so often? To be honest not really, all its done is made me aware. It has made me think more seriously about having a social  media ban for a weekend though, which is an idea I’ve toyed with for a while now however I’m not quite sure I’m ready for that yet!

The lazy girls guide to being tidy

‘If you want to get rid of stuff, you can always do a good spring-cleaning. Or you can do what I do. Move.’ – Ellen DeGeneres

Most people have a tidy up in spring which is said to have come from a Jewish practice of thoroughly cleansing the home in anticipation of passover which occurs in the springtime. However we’ve always been a fan of having a post Christmas de-clutter. The timing seems even more perfect than spring to me; new year, new start and all that, plus you need to make room for all the new toys Santa brought you.

I am an actual, honest to God, bone fide, scruffbag with the genetic inability to keep things neat and tidy, which infuriates anyone who’s ever had the misfortune of sharing any dwelling with me for any length of time. In fact the quote ‘Jesus Christ Helen we’ve been here 45 minutes and your suitcase has vomited everywhere’ by my friend Lorna when we went to Amsterdam will forever make me smile. Nail on head. You get the message. I’m untidy

Last September we joined the 21st century and replaced our ducted air heating system with cosy fancy dan radiators (ooooh la dee dah I hear you say). So now we had a lovely cosy warm house and no longer had to wear my duvet into the bathroom on a winter morning, I decided it was about time i grew the eff up and started making a conscious effort be tidier. The main problem I have is that i have too much stuff, clothes, jewllery, make up and it’s everywhere. So after a thorough Autumn clean and flurry of eBay activity (which helped out Project Vegas – you can read more about that soon!) the clear solution was I needed some pretty yet practical storage to house all my remaining stuff and help keeping everything in place.

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Living Room

My favourite place to do most of my life admin is on the sofa in front of Made in Chelsea so you can usually find me by following the trail of emery boards, fake tan bottles, wine glasses, nail varnishes and 6 month old copies of Heat magazines. I picked up this box from Pound Stretcher for about a fiver and it’s ideal for shoving everything i use on the sofa into without having to get off my lazy arse to go into another room to put it away. My polar bear blankie even fits in too (just)! #winning

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Master Bedroom

This is the room that would exasperate Dave the most when it was left a mess. My biggest problem was I would wear something like a pair of jeans (that I think you’ll all agree are good for multiple wears before they need a wash) so instead of just putting them back, I would dump them on the floor, along with last weeks pair of jeans i swore I was going to wear again the next day. So we got these cute little laundry baskets from Asda which look so nice it motivates me to not surround them with half worn stuff and I made a huge promise to put clothes away if they didn’t need washing.

 

I’d also started to realise my bedside table was becoming a  dumping ground for all things I’d forgetting to take off before going to bed, mainly jewellery; if i’d been wearing dangly earrings that i couldn’t sleep in they’d be cast aside here never to be put away again. We were in B&Q looking for some coving for the kitchen (nope, no idea either) I saw these coloured drawers and inspiration hit me. They’re perfect to put those earrings and statement necklaces I’ve accidentally impaled myself on after drunkenly crawling into bed.

Spare Bedroom

I’m lucky enough to have my own bedroom to get ready in, mostly because Dave stays in bed for half an hour while I dry my hair (or activate the ‘noise gun’ as he calls it) so this is where all my make up and hair tackle live. It takes quite a lot to make this mush look presentable so I own a lot of beauty products. If you’re like me I have a game you can play that will help. Put everything on your dressing table in a carrier bag and leave it by your feet. Every day take out the carrier bag the stuff you need that day and leave them on the dressing table. After a week of doing this it will become pretty clear what stuff you use on a regular basis therefore deserves a spot on the dressing table. I’m not saying get rid of all the other stuff i’m just saying there’s no reason it can’t live in a drawer for you to only use when you need it and frees up valuable space for your essentials.

It also really helps if you have a hubby who’s handy around the house who added these hooks to my chest of drawers, which along with a cheap rotating tie rack, are perfect for keeping my necklaces tidy. I found the sunglasses stand on ebay for about a fiver because, well,  even Beyonce needs somewhere to keep her knock off Ray Bans.

Bathroom

Again the bathroom fell victim to me just having too many products, most of which i would try once and then leave lying at the side of the bath because i didn’t want to use them every day. There really isn’t a secret to keeping the bathroom tidy to be honest, it’s the room that requires the most effort on my part. I did however invest in some salon sized bottles of Bed Head Dumb Blonde shampoo. Not only do they look high end sitting on the side of the bath but the coloured bottles mean you can decant your usual shampoo into when the bottles are finished and they still look really cool. The pump action bottles mean the shampoo doesn’t spill and stain everywhere, bonus tidy wife points for me!

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I think if you’re inherently untidy like I am there’s very little getting away from the fact that quite often you’re not going to live in a show home however after such a huge investment on the new heating it would be a shame for our house to not be tidy as well as cosy.

However I’m yet to find a solution to the fundamental, scratch my eyes out, want to rip off my and throw it at someone bordem that is putting clean clothes away, so if someone knows an easy way to do that, i’d pay you a lot of money*

*in thank yous and smiles