Wedding Guest 101

Invites are arriving and weekends are getting booked up. Oh yes, wedding season is on the horizon! After you’ve decided what to pick from the gift list and booked your hotel, the next big question is – of course – what to wear. Read on for our tips for how to get it right every time…

Plan Ahead

Yes, we’re all busy, but honestly slinging all the possible sartorial choices and various pairs of shoes into a suitcase with the intention of choosing on the day is never, ever a good idea. Panic isn’t generally consider conducive to choosing an outfit that you feel happy, confident and comfortable in. Even if you’re not thinking of buying something new to wear for a wedding, take ten minutes to lay your outfit out, look at different accessories and shoes – and try it on!

What’s The Vibe?

Countryside wedding or city shindig? Relaxed affair on the beach or white tie? Find out what you can about the wedding before the day arrives, that way you’ll know if it’s the moment to dress down and keep things low key, choose to impress with something ultra-chic and on-trend or stick to a simple day dress and heels. If it’s an all-day affair, you’ll also want to wear something to take you from afternoon drinks to dancing come sundown. Considering the weather and hot weddings under the midday sun or chilly evening receptions is also important – perhaps pack a hat to shade your face or cosy cashmere wrap?

Be You

That green lace jumpsuit is rather fabulous and yes, you’re sure to turn heads, but does it really feel like you? Wedding are all about dressing up, but now is not the time to debut a new style direction that you’re not 100% confident of. And if you don’t want to wear something that looks like it’s a typical wedding guest outfit, don’t! Another thing to not – you do NOT have to wear a dress. Elegant jumpsuits, chic culottes, a skirt suit combo or sophisticated tailored trousers all work well for weddings, so if you don’t want to wear a dress, that’s fine! The most important thing is being yourself and wearing something you feel confident and relaxed in – and that suits you and your sense of style

Styling Tips

Outfit sorted? Excellent news. Next up? Hair, makeup and accessories! A spectacular hat can be the star of the show if you’re wearing a simple frock. And the right clutch, earrings and necklace can make all of the difference to your outfit too. Makeup-wise, if you’re doing your own, make sure that it’s achievable and ideally choose long-lasting products so that you’re not worrying about touch-ups when you should be enjoying yourself. Makeup counters are always a good place to start if you’d like some advice on new products or trying something different – and who doesn’t love a free makeover? If you’re doing your own hair, again – don’t go for anything too complex or time-consuming – soft waves or a simple blow dry are timeless and elegant.

Choosing Shoes

Of course, we LOVE sexy shoes, but they become distinctly less sexy when they’re shoes you’re struggling to walk in. If you’re not used to wearing heels and don’t find them comfortable, don’t wear heels, it’s that simple! If you’re attending a wedding that lasts all day, it’s worth taking an extra pair of shoes for the evening reception. Whether you find wearing heels all day long challenging or don’t want to miss out on tearing up the dance floor with Uncle Magnus, take some matching flats along! And – just in case – don’t forget blister plasters…

Getting Spendy

Of course, you want to pick the perfect outfit, but bankrupting yourself splashing out on just the right clutch or overspending on a dress which is only going to be worn once? Forget it! Best case scenario – choose items that you can wear again, whether that’s for another wedding or special occasion, or even dressed down for work. And reviewing your wardrobe is always a good idea – you never know what gems you might find hiding at the back of your wardrobe that you’d totally forgotten about!

Not forgetting…

It’s fine to wear white – just make sure your dress doesn’t in any way resemble a wedding gown. AWKWARD. Black is also very acceptable these days, but do break things up with colourful accessories and a bright lip, for example. Leather and denim don’t really look right at a wedding honestly, so avoid – aside from perhaps a biker jacket over your frock for a little extra edge. Most importantly? When it comes to wedding outfits, don’t overthink things! This is a day celebrating friends or family – so enjoy every moment. In the end, no one will remember your shoes – they’ll be focusing on the bride’s radiant smile as she says “I do!”

Life & Work

Having met Katia Beauchamp in person, it’s hard not to open this feature with a gushing, celebrity interview-style intro. Fresh off the plane from New York, mother to two young boys and head of a wildly successful international company, signs of tiredness would be understandable. But no, when we met 30-something co-founder of Birchbox, she was glowing, infectiously passionate about her business and undeniably charming, flashing an all-American smile at every turn. Her professional background? A degree in International Studies & Economics, plus an MBA from Harvard led Beauchamp to a successful career in finance and real estate. Pretty good going you’re thinking.

2010 saw the launch of Birchbox – effectively a true disruptor in the beauty industry and a business format that has subsequently been copied the world over. Fast forward to 2017, and Birchbox has 1 million subscribers and 4 million total customers worldwide, as well as stores in the US and France. Beauchamp has garnered awards too numerous to mention here – and even (squeal!) appeared on Project Runway. Celebrating 100,000 subscribers in the UK – we asked Beauchamp about just what makes her tick – instant inspiration guaranteed.

Motivation for me is all about…

I’m motivated by the size of the opportunity to change the way women discover beauty. The majority of women don’t enjoy the process of researching and shopping for new products – they just want it to be easy. And Birchbox is uniquely able to reach those women and deliver a fun, efficient experience that effectively changes their relationship with the category. We’re just getting started.

I’m also extremely motivated to build an army of strong female leaders who feel empowered to be ambitious and advocate for what they need to be successful. I want women to feel comfortable asking their employer for whatever it is that they need – whether that’s more resources, a higher salary, development opportunities, flexibility in their schedule or mentorship.

Success means…

I want to change the paradigm of what success means. It’s not just about working incredibly hard until retirement, but rather building a mutually beneficial relationship with your employer so your needs and demands are met too. I want to scale the idea that a having a job can be truly fulfilling and gratifying. That would be a win.

I couldn’t have got there without…

My team at Birchbox. I am truly grateful for the passion, time and hard work they dedicate to Birchbox every day.

I always start my day with…

I wake up to the sound of my twin boys, Alec and Guy, talking and singing to each other in the next room. I go get them and we watch the Today Show together on the couch (they are obsessed with Al Roker!). Then I make them breakfast while my husband Greg makes us coffee. I check my phone for any important texts when I first wake up, but I don’t look at email until after I’ve spent time with my kids.

When I don’t feel inspired I…

Take a break and spend time with my family! Seeing the kids and my husband refuels me. Their dancing and silliness is so fun, it just grounds you. Before I had kids it was impossible for me to turn my brain off from work. However now I realize how beneficial it can be to disconnect – I’m able to add so much more value. Inspiration doesn’t come when you are not feeling balanced.

The landscape for women in business today looks like…

There has been so much progress but there is still a real opportunity to change the status quo. Female leaders have a responsibility to set examples that allow other women to learn from and build upon. Diversity in leadership is clearly positive for society – men and women think differently. Diversity creates an important balance that changes the potential solution to any problem or opportunity. Growth and change comes from challenging our own ideas and preconceptions. We need to challenge our thinking and create opportunities for female leaders.

It’s important for young women to first understand their own self-worth; that they are talented, deserving and can contribute even in the early days of their career. Ask smart questions, be humble yet demanding, and learn from every opportunity.

The trait I most deplore in others is…

Lack of support for other women! The most important thing we can do is to support each other. We have to be comfortable coaching our peers. It takes practice, it can be uncomfortable and sometimes it may not go well, but it’s the most likely place women will turn to for help. We need to celebrate other women finding success. We are in this together!

I’d like to be remembered for…

I want Birchbox to be known for attracting and developing the most talented leaders in the world. To me, that means building a team that is responsible for the innovation and future of our company – a responsibility that goes far beyond executives. I’ve also learned to accept that those people may leave to pursue other things that advance their careers in a different way – whether that’s heading to business school or starting their own company. That’s a real signal of exceptional, quality leadership and something that I think about a lot.

What makes me happiest is…

Without a doubt it is spending time with my family

Can I run in heels?

I’m much more likely to be in flats than to be in a situation where I’d have to run in heels, but I could definitely do it – especially if I’m chasing after my kids.

For more information and to subscribe to Birchbox, see the company’s website.

Showtime Cocktails

Book your tickets and take your seats ladies and gentlemen, London’s hottest show has arrived in town – here for a one year run in the heart of Covent Garden. We should say shows actually – as this is no less than 17 shows in one! Confused? Don’t be – we’re talking, of course, about One Aldwych hotel’s brand new Showtime Cocktails menu, which is an impressive production in itself.  It’s taken almost one year to put the show together, and The Lobby Bar’s Showtime Cocktails collection is sure to wow theatre fans and cocktail aficionados alike.

Inspired by the London hotel’s Theatreland location, the menu has been divided into Comedies, Musicals Satires and Dramas – plus a sneaky peek Backstage too, more on that later! Directed by the Lobby Bar’s award-winning manager Pedro Paulo, the showstopping collection has something for the serious amongst you – a Mediterranean Macbeth (gin, rosemary, campari and Champagne) or King Lear-inspired Three Reigns (gin, bergamot, elderflower, rooibos and Champagne) perhaps, as well as those looking for something a little more light-hearted – try Take A Chance on Me (Mamma Mia-themed with gin, Champagne and gooseberry liqueur) or The Holy Mary (with tomato-and-strawberry, inspired by The Book Of Mormon).

A prettily illustrated menu acts as a programme for the production – which also serves to showcase the spectacular original glassware used for the cocktails, think sculptural goblets, engraved copper tumblers and globe-shaped vessels. Suffice to say, there’s more than a touch of theatricality at work here! We loved the heady hit (mezcal and tequila) and exotic fruit flavours (passion fruit, pomegranate and peach) of the Aladdin-inspired Jasmine Breeze – sure to impress as its served on a bed of billowing scented smoke. The impossibly pretty Midsummer Night’s Dream-themed Fairy Garden Infusion is presented in a magical glass wheel, filled with fresh fruit and an aromatic mix of gin, white port and rose lemonade, offset with a hint of coriander bitters. The sweet-sour Don Quixote-inspired Sancho Panza is another one we tried and loved – a punchy blend of rum, ginger and vanilla.

But the real showstopper of the collection comes when we take a spectacular trip behind the scenes using virtual reality – and try The Origin. Pop on your headphones and VR headset, and prepare to be transported to the Scottish Highlands to discover the background of The Origin. Aerial footage takes us over sweeping hillsides, forests, fields and shimmering blue waters to the heart of where Dalmore 12 year old whisky is made. As the two-minute film comes to an end, we make our way – thanks to virtual reality – back through the streets of Covent Garden, and into the hotel bar. As the film fades, there’s a hint of the scent of cherrywood smoke in the air – and taking your headset off, you’ll find The Origin before you, ready to try. Sweet yet smoky with deep notes of chocolate bitters alongside cherry liqueur and whisky, it’s a fascinating – and fun – experience.

If the cocktails are starting to go to your head, never fear – there’s bar food pairings devised to match with the drinks. The pulled pork buns and spiced lamb tortilla wraps ensure you’ll be able to make some headway on the bar’s 17 shows – Moulin Rouge, The Lion King, Les Miserables, The Play That Goes Wrong and Uncle Vanya are all waiting to go on stage!

Showtime Cocktails are priced from £16, with bar bites costing £7. To find out more information or to book a table, see One Aldwych’s website, telephone +44 (0) 20 7300 1070 or email LobbyBar@onealdwych.com.

 

 

Life & Work

Whether you’re looking at Katherine Ormerod’s impressive CV or her lively, always-updated Instagram, it’s pretty clear why she’s called her latest venture Work Work Work. An online platform dedicated to showcasing women – and their lives – working across creative industries including fashion, beauty, design and art, it’s an instant hit of #inspo, with a generous dose of honesty. An “anti-perfectionism project which aims to reveal and explore the non-edited challenges that women face behind the fantasy of social media”, you’ll find women sharing on everything from stress and suicide to money and motherhood – strictly no holds barred.

Despite stints at everywhere from Grazia and Lyst to the Sunday Times Style, Ormerod herself has faced more than a few challenges along the way. One thing is clear though, she’s always, always worked. The result? For someone in her thirties, Katherine Ormerod is one pretty inspiring lady, if only to prove that motivation and tenacity will always pay off in the end. Fashion and journalism are two industries which are notoriously poorly paid and hard to break into, but Ormerod has carved her own path, based on talent, drive and – guess what – work, work, work. We found out more about a name you’ll definitely want to keep watching…

Motivation for me is all about…

I’ve always been really driven. I think there is an element of sheer ambition-I came from a modest background and was a scholarship kid and knew that I really wanted to achieve something different in life. In my twenties that meant career success and positions at respected publications. In my thirties it has meant freedom and financial security.

Success means…

Self respect, confidence and inner security. For me success is about resilience and knowing you can 100% rely on yourself.

I couldn’t have got there without…

Rejection, failure and disappointment. All have made me steely but also empathetic. The more you understand the human condition, the better you become at engaging and inspiring people – I’ve been fortunate enough to experience lots of ups and downs, catastrophes and triumphs just like everyone else. Lessons in humility have definitely helped me get to where I am today.

I was given a chance early on in my career by the then fashion editor at the Sunday Times Style, Sharon Ridoynauth and was supported through the worst time in my life by the team at Grazia – without other women like them I wouldn’t have made it through those tough few years at the beginning of my career. My parents have also been so instrumental – mum with her unfailing sunny-side up attitude and my dad’s constant encouragement for me to live the life I want and not be, ‘just another grey suit,’ as he puts it.

I always start my day with…

A firm psychological mentality. I want so desperately to snooze, but I don’t. I always get up when I planned to unless I’m at death’s door – the rest of the day is always better if you’re strict with yourself first thing.

When I don’t feel inspired I…

I think the key to inspiration is doing a lot of things and having multiple ‘jobs’. I edit a website, shoot imagery, work with brands across all sorts of content and strategy, interview new people every week and still do bits and bobs for press. A lack of inspiration for me only happens when I’m underemployed – any easy or repetitive work kills me and I have to have enough to sustain me for at least eight hours a day. Life has to be pacey and dynamic or I can become very dejected very quickly. I think it goes back to success – being busy is actually something I need to feel successful.

The landscape for women in business today looks like…

I’ve been incredibly sheltered my entire life from any form of gender prejudice or any idea that I couldn’t achieve whatever I wanted. I went to a selective all girls school on scholarship and financial aid from my dad’s company and our teachers were resolute feminists who believed they were moulding the next generation of industry leaders. My mum runs her own business and I’ve only worked in fashion which is so disproportionately female and bolshy you can struggle to imagine anything holding you back.

The past political year has obviously smashed my naivety apart and I can really see that women still have a huge way to go in business starting with maternity and childcare and ending in equal pay and far wider representation at the highest echelons. On the flipside, I really feel my generation of women in business are incredibly supportive, we share our struggles and feel a huge amount of common ground. It sounds trite, but the truth is we’re stronger together and the unity I’ve experienced during my career suggests women as a force in business will soon be unbeatable.

The trait I most deplore in others is…

Selfishness and entitlement. You see it a lot in the fashion industry and it makes my toes curl. I do really believe in karma, so ultimately I feel sorry for people who don’t have the ability to respect others, but it still gets my goat! Be on time, apologise for your mistakes and do what you say you’re going to do. Courtesy and kindness should also come as standard.

I’d like to be remembered for…

Having something to say! It’s so easy to get lost in the visual side of fashion and social media, but I really want to encourage all women to stand for something – whatever it is, use your voice.

What makes me happiest is…

A completed to-do list. It’s currently something I fantasise about.

Can I run in heels?

I’m 5’4″- I could give Usain a run for his medals in my stilettos.

You can check out Work Work Work online here, and follow Katherine Ormerod on Instagram here.

RIH Drinks

Is the civilised world going to give up its obsession with gin any time soon? Probably not is the answer to that question, oh gin-swigging friends. Known once upon a time as ‘mother’s ruin’, these days gin couldn’t be hipper, with bars regularly offering special gin & tonic menus, gin festivals taking place across the country, and a bottle or two gracing the booze cupboards of most homes. But not all gins are created equal – and Pinkster Gin has something just a little different to just about anything you might have tasted before…

Described as a “natural gin with a mischievous grin,” Pinkster Gin is the creation of a chap who began experimenting at home, after enjoying making his own sloe gins and other flavoured concoctions. Pairing different fruits with everyone’s favourite spirit, it quickly became obvious that the delicate flavour of raspberry worked beautifully with gin – adding a sweetness and freshness to offset the aromatic botanicals.

The raspberries used in Pinkster Gin are grown in rural Cambridge – so yes, this is a British gin through and through! And how best to imbibe said spirit? Well, the people at Pinkster suggest that topped up with tonic is the best way to bring out the subtle raspberry flavours, before garnishing with fresh fruit and herbs. Mint works well, as does a hint of rosemary – plus a zingy twist of lemon. We’ve also added some fresh rose petals and a drop or two of rosewater to our G&T for a very slightly scented finish. Plus they also make this look SO sophisticated, right?

This is the easiest cocktail to prepare, serve – and impress – your guests if you’re having people over for dinner or hosting a drinks party. Everyone loves a G&T! Choose some pretty glasses, fill with ice cubes, raspberries, lemon slices and mint or rosemary. Add Pinkster gin and a couple of drops of rosewater then top up with good quality tonic. So simple to make, serve and DRINK!

For more information, to buy Pinkster Gin and to find stockists near you, see the brand’s website, where you’ll also find cocktail recipes plus events where you can try the magical stuff.

Damaging Dating

For a single, twenty-something woman living in London, bad dates are a rite of passage. I’ve had my fair share of ‘colourful’ experiences; from the aspiring writer who insisted on recording our conversations into a notebook during our date, to the man who – within five minutes of arriving at the restaurant – was telling me about his time spent in prison for “threatening behaviour”. These stories, if my friends and I are a true representation of the dating scene, are par for the course, and provide excellent dinner party material – I make it a rule to arrive at any event armed with a minimum of three such stories to oil the wheels of conversation during the night.

I have a phone book full of names which conjure up a litany of sins – like the ‘Reverse Cinderella’: the guy who would only ever be available between the hours of midnight and 7am, or the man who I discovered reading through my diary when he stayed at my flat for the first time. My general attitude tends to lean towards the view that “there’s no such thing as bad dates, just good stories,” and I’ve enjoyed dining out on these tales many, many times.  There is, though, a more low-level type of  poor behaviour creeping into the norm – one which is eminently less worthy of dinner party tales. If 2016 was the year of ghosting – the sudden and unexplained cutting-off of contact by someone you’ve been dating – it looks as though 2017 lay claim to ‘breadcrumbing’.

For those of you not embroiled in the heady maelstrom that is dating in the digital age, this less-than-appetising behaviour is characterised by receiving sporadic contact – a text here, an Instagram ‘like’ there – from a potential partner, without it ever progressing into anything more meaningful. A real-life date may be loosely alluded to (“we should meet up sometime…”) but these overtures rarely translate into reality. And yet, regular in their irregularity, the messages continue, strewn in front of you at random, keeping you invested enough in the situation to harbour a vague idea that this could be a great relationship – if only you weren’t both so busy and it wasn’t so difficult to fix a date to go for a drink…

Breadcrumbing is how I’ve found myself in countless non-relationships which are stuck in a Groundhog Day-esque state of texting and interminable waits for replies, with a conservative sprinkling of actual face-to-face contact. Breadcrumbing is the insidious cousin of ghosting. Where ghosting leaves you with a quick sharp shock of realisation – you’ve been dumped – breadcrumbing leads you on, until two years later you realise you’ve been in a static and largely Whatsapp-based relationship with someone you met in 2014 when Tinder was, briefly, your default dating method.

And while – in theory – this annoying behaviour is largely harmless, in my case it started to have a damaging impact on my existing relationships. I found myself turning down plans with friends on a Friday night, keeping the evening free in case the most current breadcrumber should get in touch. I felt a pervading sense of reliance on the validation gleaned from the infrequent contact from whichever guy was in favour at the time. I found that my confidence was knocked with each breadcrumb I too-eagerly responded to, realising that the relationships existed exclusively on the other person’s terms. Allowing myself to be strung along ultimately prevented me from closing the door on numerous unfulfilling relationships, dragging them out until they’d become tired, stale, and sad, and I’d become increasingly jaded.

In the spirit of full disclosure, in no way am I suggesting that this is purely a male behaviour – and my hands aren’t clean of doughy blame; I too, have been a breadcrumber. I’ve been guilty of keeping guys on hold, knowing that I wasn’t interested in them romantically, but enjoying the attention, or not wanting to hurt their feelings by being honest.

If you ask anyone who’s had recent experience of dating, they’re likely to have their very own unique breadcrumbing experience. But why is this behaviour so prevalent? It’s probably fair to lay some culpability at the door of our instant gratification app culture which encourages us to view dating as a never-ending carousel of options; that if one romantic lead goes cold, another is a mere swipe away. On a deeper level, I suspect it’s also down to the fact that humans are inherently self-involved: we each see ourselves as the central character in our lives, with others entering and exiting as bit-part players. When this attitude is combined with dating in an environment in which we have countless options at our disposal, it’s a breeding ground for commitment aversion; our romantic relationships become more superficial and we dip in and out of others’ lives freely, without really stopping to consider the consequences.

Whatever the cause, the bottom line is this: we all lead hectic lives with various demands on our time, but if someone wants to see you, they’ll make it happen. Breadcrumbing is a sign that you’re being kept on the back burner by someone who wants to have their bread-based cake and eat it too. They want the freedom to choose not to commit, resting safe in the knowledge that they could call on you as a back-up during a particularly dry spell, seeing sporadic ‘checking in’ as a good way of doing that.

After having gone through this process more times than I care to admit, I’ve discovered that there are only three failsafe steps to follow when you discover that you’re on the receiving end of a breadcrumbing: delete their number, dust off the crumbs, and don’t look back. The path of the dating world in 2017 may be littered with crumbs, but you don’t need to follow that trail.

Life & Work

You’re a successful arts broadcaster working at the BBC. A journalist in TV and radio – the dream, right? Or perhaps – if you’re Skinny Champagne‘s founder Amanda Thomson – not quite. Of course, quaffing fizz is part of the role if you’re a journo and Thomson has sipped her fair share of bubbles over the years. So why not study in Paris at the Cordon Bleu School and gain a diploma in wine? Sure – a nice little passion project. Next up? Develop your own sugar-free Champagne. Why not? And so Skinny Champagne was born. Raised in the 1970’s, Thomson had grown up eating low sugar, vegetarian foods, so healthy eating was something she’d always lived with – but could she create a healthier version of everyone’s favourite party tipple?

Working with renowned French wine producer, Alexandre Penet, Thomson created the world’s first sugar-free champers: meet Thomson & Scott Skinny Champagne Grand Cru. Launched in 2014, the brand has caused quite a buzz – with media coverage in every title you’d care to name, not to mention being dubbed “the basic bitch drink” by The Guardian and referred to as “a gift from God” by The Times. The Thomson & Scott range now includes a rosé Champagne as well as a sugar-free Prosecco – all of which very regularly sell out at Selfridges. So what makes the over-achiever, health food pioneer and saviour of basic bitches –  and their waistlines – tick? And can she run in heels? We found out.

Motivation for me is all about…

Getting it right. I’m passionate about creating delicious, quality sparkling wines that are made as naturally as possible and use little or no processed sugar. Enjoying my wines with friends, family and colleagues is the best motivation possible.

Success means…

Working to my own timetable. This might mean 24-hour days, spending a weekend in gym gear because I never quite move from laptop to wardrobe, and being in three different countries in a week. I’m stubborn, so being able to set my own agenda – even if it does mean working 24/7 – is liberating. Seeing my bottles stacked higher than my head in Selfridges is a pretty heady rush too!

I couldn’t have got there without…

My husband. When I couldn’t let go of a crazy dream to give up my job as an arts presenter and broadcaster to study for a diploma at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris he was with me all the way.

I always start my day with…

A strong coffee. With a dash of oat milk. I’ll try and hit the Nutribullet too. At this time of year it’s greens (kale, cavolo nero, spinach) with ginger, sweetened with apple and possibly a jot of maple syrup. My husband makes a mean Bircher muesli too. I try and keep things seasonal, and my secret tip is frozen spinach. You can buy it ready chopped, and it comes in cubes.

When I don’t feel inspired I…

Run/spin/lunge/box/jump around! I am extremely energetic and sometimes my mind needs to be bounced around as much as my body. I also love wine, hotel and restaurant gossip and news, and spend a lot of time browsing Code and the Drinks Business, and looking at LinkedIn to see what colleagues are up to.

The landscape for women in business today looks like…

It’s getting brighter. I have occasionally been on the receiving end of casual sexism (a fund manager asked if I’d like to bring in a colleague to help me “go through the figures…”) but there are so many women out there starting up and running incredible businesses. Anya Hindmarch and The White Company’s Chrissie Rucker are two incredible business women who have given me early days support, along with Jacqueline de Rojas in tech.

The trait I most deplore in others is…

Lateness. I am pretty OCD about being on time, and don’t understand why anyone would habitually drift in late to appointments. Although sloppiness and bad manners are up there too (I’ve been accused of having very high standards which I guess must be true).

I’d like to be remembered for…

My sense of fairness, integrity, and my laugh. My husband says he heard me before he saw me for the first time!

What makes me happiest is…

Enjoying wine and good times with friends and family. That, and spending time with people who are passionate about what they do. Whether that’s a local restaurateur who knows everything about seasonal ingredients or the CEO of a FTSE-limited company who will do anything for his or her employees.

Can I run in heels?

Just watch me! My whole business has been built on people telling me it can’t be done.

For more information, see the Thomson & Scott website. You can also find the brand on Facebook and Instagram or follow on Twitter.

Modern Women

Sure, it’s a cliché, but Kira Cochrane’s Modern Women: 52 Pioneers is cover-to-cover #inspo. Keep it on your nightstand, display it on your coffee table and definitely, definitely buy a copy for the women in your life. Featuring one woman for each week of the year, Modern Women: 52 Pioneers celebrates the lives of 52 remarkable females who have all made their mark on the world – “from suffragettes to scientists, activists to artists, politicians to pilots and writers to riot grrrls”. Some you’ll have heard of, others will be new discoveries, but all of them will inspire you to be bolder, braver and keep breaking down boundaries – no doubt about it, this is a book you’ll keep coming back to. We’re delighted to share an exclusive extract from Modern Women here – let us introduce you to one of the 20th century’s most fascinating feminists, Sophia Duleep Singh…

The art galleries at Hampton Court Palace were closed, subject to an unspecified threat from the suffragettes. This was 1913, the height of the militant movement, when the campaign for women’s votes included arson, window smashing and iconoclasm – paintings slashed or vandalised. But outside Hampton Court Palace, the area where she lived in a grace and favour apartment, Sophia Duleep Singh was selling copies of the newspaper The Suffragette. Public anger towards the campaigners was growing, but she would not be silenced. Photographs show her in a fur coat, her bag bearing a ‘Votes for Women’ sash, beside a sandwich board reading ‘The Suffragette Revolution!’

The struggle for votes for women then stretched back more than a century in Britain. In 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft had made the case for women’s right to political representation in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, and the first petition for the women’s vote was presented to the House of Commons in 1832. Forty years later, Emmeline Pankhurst, aged fourteen, attended her very first women’s suffrage meeting, and when she was in her mid-forties, in 1903, she co-founded the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU).

The non-militant movement, known as suffragists, led by Millicent Garrett Fawcett, had been campaigning carefully and determinedly for years, but with the advent of Pankhurst’s suffragettes (a diminutive and pejorative coined by The Daily Mail newspaper, which the women embraced) the next decade was explosive. Women chained themselves to the Prime Minister’s railings; unveiled a banner on a steam launch on the Thames; and took to the skies in a balloon, scattering suffragette leaflets.

Around 1,000 suffragettes were imprisoned in Britain over the course of a decade, and in 1909, artist Marion Wallace Dunlop went on hunger strike, demanding recognition as a political prisoner. Other women followed her lead and the authorities responded with forcible feeding: a tube forced into a woman’s mouth, nose, or rectum. In June 1913, Emily Wilding Davison was martyred for the movement, stepping on to the racecourse at the Epsom Derby into the path of the king’s horse Anmer, a suffragette banner rolled up in her hand, another pinned around her waist. She died in hospital four days later, and suffragettes processed through London, dressed in white, to mark her funeral.

Sophia Duleep Singh joined the WSPU in 1908, after meeting Una Dugdale, a passionate member, who became the first woman in England to drop the word ‘obey’ from her wedding vows. As Anita Anand writes in her essential 2015 biography of Singh, her activities began, gently enough, with fundraising and bake sales, but in 1909 she became part of the tax resistance movement – women who refused to pay taxes on the basis that there should be no taxation without political representation. On 18 November 1910, Singh was in the vanguard of nine women, including Emmeline Pankhurst, who led a march on parliament, after the latest bill to secure the women’s vote had been deprived the time needed to pass. When they reached parliament, the group found themselves pressed up against the gates, unable to enter. Not far away, more suffragettes were massing, and Singh watched helplessly as they were brutalized and molested by police and the crowds, in what became known as Black Friday.

This didn’t dent Singh’s commitment. In 1911, she joined the suffragette action to subvert the census, one of thousands of women who stayed out on the night of the count, because ‘if women don’t count, neither should they be counted’. That same year, Singh staged her most audacious protest, hurling herself at Prime Minister Herbert Asquith’s car, pulling a banner from her fur muff reading ‘Give women the vote!’

This presented a problem for the authorities. Singh was the goddaughter of Queen Victoria, and the granddaughter of Ranjit Singh, the so-called Lion of the Punjab, founder and ruler of the Sikh Empire in India. A decade after Ranjit Singh’s death, his son Duleep Singh, aged eleven, had been forced to sign over his kingdom to the British, who took control of the territory and proceeded to expel him. He was brought to Britain, where Queen Victoria treated him as an exotic pet, and he was given an annual income by the India Office.

Duleep Singh married Bamba Müller, the child of a German merchant and an Abyssinian slave, and they had seven children, six of whom survived infancy. Sophia Duleep Singh was the second youngest. A rift opened in her parents’ marriage while Singh was a child; her father was increasingly unfaithful and his anger at the British deepened. Her mother was lost to a serious depression and drank dangerously, before dying of renal failure when Singh was eleven. Duleep Singh was in Russia, and the care of his children was left to the palace and the government.

Singh became a debutante, moving into a house opposite Hampton Court Palace, her life a round of parties, banquets, shopping and dog shows. But trips to India in her twenties and thirties changed everything. The campaign against British colonial rule awoke Singh’s political consciousness, and on returning to Britain she wrote in her diary of her loathing for the English and desire for India to awake and free itself.

Her dog show days were over. Singh campaigned in support of the lascars, merchant seamen from India and China who were recruited by the British to transport cargo and often exploited, beaten, or left to starve. She became a suffragette, and when Emmeline Pankhurst called for the suspension of campaigning at the start of the First World War, she worked at one of the British hospitals where Indian soldiers were being cared for.

In 1918, women over 30 who owned property won the right to vote in the UK; in 1928, women secured voting rights on the same terms as men. The suffrage campaign was over, but Singh’s commitment to women’s rights was lifelong. In Who’s Who, under interests, she simply wrote, ‘The Advancement of Women’.

Extracted from Modern Women: 52 Pioneers by Kira Cochrane. Published by Frances Lincoln, an imprint of The Quarto Group (£20).

Cocktails & Culture

What do a 79-year-old artist from Yorkshire and a Notting Hill restaurant have in common? Not a lot, you’re probably thinking. But Mr David Hockney and hot new West Coast-style restaurant Pomona’s actually share something very important. In amidst concrete grey London with its cloudy skies and distinct lack of sunshine, both share a true understanding of colour and the instantly uplifting power it can have. So yes – it makes perfect sense that Pomona’s have come up with a special collection of cocktails, inspired by – of course – David Hockney’s blockbuster exhibition, currently showing at the Tate Britain.

Created by Head Barman Kestutis Stirba (formerly of The Sanderson and The Electric), the collection comprises four cocktails based on iconic Hockney art works. Grand Canyon is inspired by his sweeping studies of the dramatic rock formations to be found in the Arizona National Park – and its deep, bold colours. The cocktail is an update on everyone’s favourite drink du jour – the Negroni – with a very Cali addition: freshly-pressed carrot juice. We loved the Bigger Green Valley – which pays tribute to the verdant landscapes shown in Hockney’s 2008 work of the same name. With cucumber, chartreuse, vodka and citrus accents served long over ice, it captures that fresh, leafy feel of the painting – a spring day on the cusp of summer.

Then there’s the Beach Umbrella – by far the sunniest of the menu. We’re in high summer here, midday on the beach, the sun is high in the sky and colours couldn’t be brighter. This is 100% California – with surf-style pineapple, pisco and arrak, finished with (what else?) sea salt. Finally, Rainy Promenade takes us back to Hockney’s native Yorkshire, inspired by Rainy Night on Bridlington Promenade, with its intense blues, purples and indigos. It’s dark and stormy, but this is a summer storm, and there’s electricity in the air. The cocktail – strong as you like – is our favourite new aperitif, with an unusual combination of port, tequila and orange, which shouldn’t work, but definitely does!

And if you’re having a cocktail or two, it would be rude not to have a little look at Pomona’s menu. However, to glance at the menu would be to decide to order it all – trust us. Simply divided into small plates, mains, salads and sides, it’s a sunny menu that will have you dreaming of moving to California. Cali’s diversity and fusion flavours up the ante on dishes such as steak tartare, served with kimchi to add a sweet-sour freshness to the plate. There’s seafood aplenty, with excellent soft shell crab and generous fish or prawn tacos to add to your must-order list. And yes, you can have Instagram’s fave avocado on toast – served zeitgeisty vegan-style on sweet potato ‘toast’ with coconut ‘labneh’.

Save some space for the mains though – there’s beautifully-cooked organic meat from the Ginger Pig on offer, best accompanied by Asian-style daikon slaw or home fries depending on whether you’re planning on considering the restaurant’s concise selection of desserts. Even if you’re not, you should – served with velvety creme anglaise, the ridiculously rich caramelized croissant and prune pie is a life-changing experience. Pair with a Salted Caramel White Russian, and then book your gym session tomorrow! Alternatively, can we suggest another walk around Mr Hockney’s unforgettable exhibition? Culture and cocktails – you can’t go wrong.

For more information and to book, see Pomona’s website or telephone +44 (0) 20 7229 1503. The David Hockney cocktails are available until May 29th.

Life & Work

When it comes to the fine jewellery market, it’s undoubtedly a women’s world. But just how many successful jewellery brands founded by women can you name? Stocked in Liberty and with her own standalone stores across London, Dinny Hall is the UK’s leading female jeweller. And she’s been a prominent and influential part of the jewellery and fashion world since way back in 1984 when Liberty – the retailer that continues to stock Dinny Hall today – bought her Central St. Martins graduation collection.

Simple, beautiful and elegant, Dinny Hall’s fine, sculptural jewellery includes wear-forever pieces from subtle earrings and pendants to jewel-encrusted rings and necklaces. Every piece is instantly recognisable as Dinny Hall, and these are versatile jewels to wear and enjoy every day too – they’re modern yet timeless. Hall’s eponymous luxury jewellery brand may be well-known, but as Creative Director, she continues to be involved with every aspect of the business – from sketch to creation. A true entrepreneur and a woman who inspires so many, we found out more about the woman behind the brand…

Motivation for me is all about…

My motivation to run my own business first came from wanting to look after myself, not having to have a man do it for me. My partner tells me that I am a ‘Pollyanna’ and a close friend told me that ‘you see the world through rose-tinted glasses’ – perhaps having these traits keeps me motivated because I always think that I am going to achieve what it is I set out to do. Most important though is how you deal with disappointment, because if you give up when things don’t seem to be working out then you will lose your motivation – so never give up.

Success means…

Having the freedom to do what you want. You can only be successful by having a dogged belief in yourself and what you do but with that comes an ethical responsibility. Success in itself means nothing you cannot feel it, see it, touch it and it doesn’t love you – success in itself doesn’t make you happy.

I couldn’t have got there without…

The encouragement of my Mum as a creative child as it all started when I picked up a pencil. A love of what I do. The help of many people who have believed in me (and now my brand) along the way. A steely determination. No fear of change or obstacles along the way.

I always start my day with…

A cup of tea, time to think, a walk with my miniature schnauzer Bo. I carry a Moleskine notebook with me everywhere and I jot down ideas or things that need to be done. I do yoga and sometimes Pilates to keep as sound in mind and body as I can be. A good friend of mine of a similar age and who founded The Women’s Equality Party recently said to me ‘We must be Athletes’ to do what we do! Once I’m at my workplace it is constant and non-stop from the moment I get in until I leave.

When I don’t feel inspired I…

I’m always inspired. There are times when I’m at a low ebb of course and the thought of designing another pair of earrings is not high up on the agenda. I’ll read, I’ll go for a long walk in the country, go to a good movie, go to a gallery, see my friends or tidy up! – all food for creativity. I try to never waste time.

The landscape for women in business today looks like…

There are certain industries where women in business can excel but I’m afraid globally, by and large, it’s still a man’s world – why would we protest march as did so very recently if there was an equal playing field? However, if we are smart – and I mean very smart – I see no reason that women in the West cannot have a better landscape in the near future. For the rest of the world we must educate all women and try to change deep-rooted idealistic and religious belief which holds them back. I also would like to point out that men don’t have to be like women to change attitudes any more that women should feel the need to be like men – vive la difference!

The trait I most deplore in others is…

Greed – this covers a lot of other negative traits and leads to corruption. Greed tends towards the lacking in another, insatiable desire, craving and on to addiction and ultimately it is a truly destructive force. I’m not keen on laziness either!

I’d like to be remembered for…

Creating a great British jewellery brand and being a nice person – a good Mum, partner, friend and I would like to have inspired others.

What makes me happiest is…

When I’m with those I love in Norfolk. Working in Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand and being able to do lots if different kinds of yoga (which is where I am now as I write this). When I’m designing and coming up with new ideas (if I think I’m on the right track). When people are shopping in my stores and my new collections are popular and selling. Wandering around junk shops or antique markets anywhere in the world. Looking at amazing architecture. Getting a new handbag!

Can I run in heels?

I can still dance for hours in heels and run too, but I choose to look after my feet. Those days of dancing for three hours non-stop in heels are rare. One thing about shoes is that you can never ever have enough pairs, and if that’s being greedy I’m sorry!

For more information, see the Dinny Hall website. You can also find the brand on Facebook and Instagram or follow on Twitter.