Tag Archives: inspirational women

I Am Woman

25 Oct

Ah so the time has come to present you all with my final lady of inspiration. During the decision process for this person, I sought out to discover a woman to top them all…the saints, the sinners, the brave and the everyday heroes. Then it occurred to me that no one female is better than another. Who am I to decide who’s worthy of recognition? The criterion of inspiration differs from person to person. What I find to be inspiring could be nothing short of a nightmare to another person.

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Now, I have given you the ordinary, the extraordinary, the famous and the infamous. Women of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds have been featured over the last 10 issues and they are all of equal importance. I have tried to incorporate a variety of women to accommodate the fact that we’re all different and this feature has been a great project of mine because it’s lead me to dig deep for those who stand out to me and it’s also made me realise that you don’t have to be anything out of this world to be someone’s muse. That is by far THE most important thing I have taken from doing this, which leads me to my final female. This should be by far the most inspirational woman out of everyone featured and this is the one I want you to remember and think about.

This woman is you.

Yes you, the ordinary girl with the 9-5 Monday to Friday job. You who has a fantastic talent in something that you’re finding difficult to express or can express to people who don’t listen. You, little lady, who would rather slip into the background than be at the forefront of it all.

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The point is it doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, how old you are, the colour of your skin, which sex you’d prefer to be with, what you look like and whatever other brilliant features you have that make you, you.

You’re amazing. No question, and you should be so proud of who you are or who you’re on the way to becoming because you were put on this earth for a reason. You have a purpose and you may not know what that purpose is yet but it’s there and you just have to find it.

Take risks.

Overcome fears.

Be mature.

More importantly…be immature.

Don’t suppress your inner child. Locking her up is a sin.

Look in the mirror every single day and say, “I am here for a reason. I mean something to someone.” Be your own inspiration.

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I’ve been reading this book called ‘You Can’t Afford The Luxury Of A Negative Thought’ by Peter McWilliams. I advise you to read it. It’s quite clearly written for people trapped in a mid life crises but the principals are all relevant. It basically just encourages you to live instead of just existing, and what I have taken from reading it is that if you want something, get it. Put it above everything else and make it your goal.

If you want to write a book. Do it.

If you want to be a doctor. Do it.

If you want to sky dive. Do it.

If you want to travel the world. Do it.

If you’re 100% happy with the choices you’ve made and the life you have. Live it.

Whatever religion you follow or whatever beliefs you have in the afterlife, these are uncertainties and we cannot rely on them, as much as I wish we could. There is one thing that we know for certain and that is the fact we have one shot at life. Just one. Don’t blow it. If you’re not the person you want to be, then change. If you are, then great just keep being you and do whatever makes you happy not what you think would make everyone else happy.

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If you have read my previous submissions, I am grateful but if this is the only one you’ve ever read and will ever read then I’m happy. This is the one I want you to remember because there are too many women out there who hate themselves and are wallowing in self-pity and it doesn’t sit right with me.

One thing I always remember if I’m having a particularly crappy day is that my worst day could be the best day for someone else. It instantly makes me feel grateful for the life I have been blessed with.

I will leave you with this final thought…

“Believe with all of your heart that you will do what you were made to do” –  Orison Swett Marden.

About the writer: Melody has just finished a degree in Journalism, Film and Media with a 2:1. She aspires to work with vulnerable women and children subject to domestic, and or other forms of abuse. She is an animal lover and has a small obsession with Fearne Cotton. She is a constant joker and can be found on Twitter.

Every Cloud…

2 Oct

I was in work the other day just checking the company news homepage before I was due to start my shift and something caught my eye. It was an article informing of The Daily Mail’s Inspirational Women of the Year Awards. I had a gander to see what it was all about.

The Daily Mail is running its seventh Inspirational Women of the Year Awards in association with British Gas and the Shelter charity. The award allows us simple folk to nominate any women we think deserve to be recognised which I think is a great idea because it allows “normal” people with no fame or fortune be recognised for the good that they do in the world.

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I was reading further into it on Monday and came across an article on one of the nominees, Claire Maitland. I had a read to see why she was nominated and I came across quite a heartfelt story.

Claire received a telephone call at 1am on August 12th 2000 from her brother letting her know that her 14-year-old nephew had drowned. Needless to say she was devastated, I can’t begin to imagine her grief, having a nephew and a niece myself, it’s not a pleasant thought. Claire learnt that medics found her nephew, Sandy, unconscious in a lake in Canada. Unfortunately they were too late to save him.

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Claire recalls the months following his death “for months we just existed. I couldn’t stop thinking about Sandy’s accident – and the remoteness of the lake where he drowned. I thought what if the same thing had happened in Scotland? Who would have been the first to reach him, and would they have been able to help?” (The Daily Mail website 13th September 2013).

Following on from her thoughts, Claire discovered that even though nurses and GP’s are mostly first to reach a casualty, they aren’t actually equipped with anything that could save a patients life. This news alarmed her understandably because I imagine she kept linking it back to Sandy just thinking what if…

As the months went on this sort of became a back thought, until she received a phone call from her sister Penny saying how she was unsure what to do with the rest of her life with the absence of Sandy. Claire took that opportunity to start a trust in memory of Sandy. What a fantastic way to preserve someone’s memory, and even better, Penny and Claire decided on working towards providing vital life saving equipment to on-call doctors and nurses in the regional areas of Scotland and the offshore isles.

Her words echoed to me from the article “if we could stop one family losing a loved one, it would be worth it.” Sincerity is the first word that comes to mind. Claire had put the personal back into saving lives.  However, she couldn’t have anticipated what happened next.

The Sandpiper Trust has helped to supply life-saving equipment for 2000 emergencies a year. That’s a lot of loved ones.

Claire and Penny worked with emergency doctors to design the blue Sandpiper bag which contains 50 items of vital medical equipment, such as CPS face masks, mini tracheotomy kits, airway masks and stiff neck collars.

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The success and growth of the trust has been incredible. Over the past 18 months alone there have been 3000 call-outs and a whopping £1.5 million raised. Countless lives have been saved.

To add a personal aspect to this story, Gillian McKenzie owes her life to Claire and the life saving bag because in 2012 she suffered a cardiac arrest. Her six-year-old son called her neighbour who realised she wasn’t breathing and because of the fast arrival of the GP with the Sandpiper bag, Gillian’s life was saved and she can now watch her kids grow up because of Claire.

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What’s even more amazing is that Gillian met with Claire for tea several months later to put a face to a name and the pair just cried to each other knowing what has happened has prevented what could have happened. Every cloud does have a silver lining and Claire should be deeply proud of herself because she has turned the memory of her wonderful nephew into a life saving action.

What. A. Woman.

For more info on the charity visit www.sandpipertrust.org

About the Writer: Melody has just finished a degree in Journalism, Film and Media with a 2:1. She aspires to work with vulnerable women and children subject to domestic, and or other forms of abuse. She is an animal lover and has a small obsession with Fearne Cotton. She is a constant joker and can be found on Twitter.

Shazza O

16 Sep

It’s that time of year again! The X Factor is back and it’s the start of countdown to the festive season. My Saturday evenings are now booked up until Christmas, call me sad: I don’t really care that it’s a cheesy show and I can’t help but love it. What’s even better about this series? Sharon Osbourne is back…and funnier than ever! Call her what you like but she is my hero and this is why I am dedicating this entry to her.

Sharon Osbourne was born in October 1952 in Brixton London, one of the music hotspots of the UK. Her father was a music promoter and at the tender age of 18 is when she met Mr Ozzy Osbourne. When he was fired from Black Sabbath in 1979, she took over his management. She was responsible for the make up of Ozzy’s backing band and played a huge part in the launch of a very successful solo career for him.

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                                                                            source www.mirror.co.uk

Mrs Osbourne is a very business minded woman and after managing Ozzy’s solo career, she created the Ozzfest summer touring festival in 1996, which is still an on going event. Following on from the success of managing Ozzy, this feisty lady created Sharon Osbourne Management and has managed many artists including Motörhead and The Smashing Pumpkins who have had a very successful run.

In addition to her career as a music manager, she has appeared on many, many television shows, including her own reality TV show. As mentioned, she has just made an epic return to The X Factor and had previously appeared on America’s Got Talent and a couple of talk shows  such as The Sharon Osbourne Show and The Talk.

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                                                                                               ww.dailyrecord.co.uk

As you can guess, her career has been a success, but if I’m completely honest, I think this is all really irrelevant to why I find her inspiring.

She is an extremely controversial person, that’s no lie and there are countless reasons as to why she should almost be described as uninspiring. For example, the decade (ish) fuelled drug and alcohol binge that was present in the early stages of her marriage to Ozzy. Her feisty attitude could be deemed rude and at times malicious. The fact that she and Ozzy physically fight and on one occasion he tried to strangle her to death and yet she stayed married to him. Domestic violence is something I feel very strongly about and drugs and alcohol cannot excuse these behaviours.

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 www.juicefm.co.uk

However, one motto I have started to live by is that you can never truly judge someone until you have walked in his or her shoes. We are all guilty of sometimes being a little of passing judgements but when doing so you are an outsider looking in…it’s not a true perspective.

The sole reason she is a heroine of mine is being of the way she passes through life. She was almost murdered by her husband, her son has MS, and she has battled cancer back in the early 2000’s yet she is still one of the most comical women on television.

She is always laughing, and always making me laugh and in my books that’s a gold star. Obviously I’m sure she has her moments in private where she loses it but to me she seems to be a natural fighter, a survivor and that’s enough to qualify for this feature.

The point I’m trying to make here is that there is no poster child for inspiration. It comes in all shapes and sizes and some of you make think that Sharon Osbourne is a horrific role model to young women but you see that inspiration and role models aren’t necessarily the same. Inspiration is where you can pick and choose qualities in people or even places that fire something inside of yourself and can combine with your own brilliant qualities in the make up of who you are as a person. Role models, I believe, are quite different I feel like they are someone to look up to and follow in the footsteps of. Now, if I had a kid I would be devastated if they followed in the footsteps of a drug and alcohol binger, however, who wants to live life in the footsteps of another?

Make your own footprints, choose your own path. Sometimes it may overlap in other sets of footprints, but the destination is different. Takes bits and pieces from the lives of others but ultimately follow your own heart.

Laughing is my favourite thing to do so watch this video of Sharon Osbourne from The X Factor it’s absolutely hysterical!

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www.trulyregalmanners.blogspot.com

About the Writer: Melody has just finished a degree in Journalism, Film and Media with a 2:1. She aspires to work with vulnerable women and children subject to domestic, and or other forms of abuse. She is an animal lover and has a small obsession with Fearne Cotton. She is a constant joker and can be found on Twitter.

Busts 4 Justice

16 Aug

Hello peeps! How’s the summer treating you? Mine couldn’t be better to be honest with you! Loving my job, writing and adding to my bucket list of things I want to achieve in life. It sounds cheesy but you have one life and you should live it as full as can be which is exactly what I set out to do. Anyway, moving away from my life story and back to another dedication to another wonderful lady that graces us with her presence.

This one is a short and sweet one but the message is still there. The eighth woman (well two actually, they come as a pair) is Beckie Williams and Becky Mount. These two women are the force behind the campaign to stop high street stores like Marks and Spencer’s from charging up to £4.50 more for larger bra sizes.

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Being a larger cup herself, Beckie Williams noticed the jump in price back in 2007 and decided to write a strongly worded letter to M&S. After receiving a reply blaming on the fact that larger cup sizes means more material, both girls decided to set up a Facebook group called Busts4Justice in 2008 to spread the word and create general awareness surrounding the issue. The duo had no clue as to what was going to happen next.

Rosamund Urwin from the Evening Standard found the pair and after a few weeks of the first sparks of interest, M&S got in touch with the girls and a meeting was set up with the head of PR, head of lingerie and head of design technology in London. This meeting in Becky Mounts words “strung off lots of rubbish about how they do such good quality bras for decent prices that they had to charge extra” which is quite clearly a bunch of crap. I am a curvy size 14 jeans and if I was to buy the same pair of jeans as a smaller lady of a size 8 then we would pay the same price for them right? CORRECT.

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So, why on earth is this logic suddenly absent when applied to bras? Who knows, because it is very discriminative and quite frankly it’s rude.

After continuous effort and campaigning for change on this ‘tit tax’ Beckie Williams bought a £3.40 share in M&S to allow her to confront chairman Stuart Rose in the annual meeting of July 2009 which to her delight caused Mark and Spencer’s to release an ad announcing that they had “boobed.” Upon releasing this as, M&S stated that they would be adopting a one-price-fits-all policy.

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They explained:

“We’ve heard what our customers are telling us – that they are unhappy with the pricing on our DD-plus bras and that basically we’ve boobed. So from Saturday May 9 no matter what size you buy, the price is going to be the same. We’re not going to cut the quality though – they’ll still be made to the same high standards so you get the best support on the high street.”

Following on from the success of Busts4Justice, Beckie continues to campaign for good measuring standards and maintains a blog busts4justice.com to help big busted women everywhere find the correct fit and as she puts it herself:

“Every woman deserves to love her fit and feel good about her body: we’ll do our very best to help banish those body blues for you.”

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Beckie Williams on busts4justice.com

What an absolutely fantastic achievement for both her and Becky Mount. They found a problem but instead of complaining about it and not doing anything to change it, they spent 11 months building their case to prove M&S were in the wrong. It may seem like a small achievement in comparison with the other women I have written about for this feature, but somehow I feel this one is more personal. These two wonderful women created a united front and success was achieved to allow big-busted women everywhere to feel happy and not have to fork out more for having wonderful curves. It’s unacceptable to have to pay punishment for something that they should be proud of. I have a relatively small chest, but I am all for the message behind the campaign…

Women come in all shapes and sizes, but the bottom line is that we are all worthy of equal treatment and our unique attributes shouldn’t be punished; they should be celebrated.

If you are a proud big-busted woman, visit Beckie’s blog she has some great ideas and advice to share.

About the writer: Melody has just finished a degree in Journalism, Film and Media with a 2:1. She aspires to work with vulnerable women and children subject to domestic, and or other forms of abuse. She is an animal lover and has a small obsession with Fearne Cotton. She is a constant joker and can be found on Twitter.

JK Rowling

2 Aug

Hi guys hope everyone is enjoying the heat wave (if there is one where you are!) Personally I am loving it we haven’t had this great of a summer since at least 2010. Although I have to say that my wardrobe is heavily equipped with clothes for the traditional British summers we have, so needless to say I’m mostly boiling but loving the heat. Anyway, lets get back in touch with my choice of inspirational women of our time. Now as we are nearing a close to this feature (boo) I have decided to go with a personal favourite this week, for reasons that are linked to myself. If you are a book lover then great but if you are not I hope you find some inspiration from this entry. This weeks inspiring woman is the great J K Rowling…

Most of you know who J K Rowling is even if you aren’t into books all of you would have at least heard her name. She is quite clearly one of the most well known women of our time. However, I can probably guess that a lot of us have only ever known her to have given birth to the wonderful world of Harry Potter. Does anyone actually know her story before her fame and fortune?

I will put my hands up and openly say I knew very little of her before writing this article and it was only a Spotify advert that caused the curiosity to bubble.

Joanne Rowling was born on 31st July 1965 in Gloucestershire, England and grew up with her younger sister, Dianne in their family home in Tutshill. Rowling sparked great interest for writing at a very young age. She is known to have written short fantasy stories to read to her sister and grew up idolising the likes of Jessica Milford. Joanne had a pretty run of the mill upbringing, which included the rebellious teenage phase of finding one’s feet and she then proceeded onto attend university to study French and Classics in Exeter.

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After graduating, Rowling moved to Manchester with a boyfriend and it was on a four hour delayed train trip from Manchester to London that she first thought about Harry. She recalls what happened on her website:

“I was travelling back to London on my own on a crowded train, and the idea for Harry Potter simply fell into my head. I had been writing almost continuously since the age of six but I had never been so excited about an idea before. To my immense frustration, I didn’t have a pen that worked, and I was too shy to ask anybody if I could borrow one… I did not have a functioning pen with me, but I do think that this was probably a good thing. I simply sat and thought, for four (delayed train) hours, while all the details bubbled up in my brain, and this scrawny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who didn’t know he was a wizard became more and more real to me. Perhaps, if I had slowed down the ideas to capture them on paper, I might have stifled some of them (although sometimes I do wonder, idly, how much of what I imagined on that journey I had forgotten by the time I actually got my hands on a pen). I began to write ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ that very evening, although those first few pages bear no resemblance to anything in the finished book.”

I’m a great believer of fate, as I have stated many times before and I also believe that our brains are at their most imaginative when we were idle. If it wasn’t for her delayed train and the fact she was probably bored out of her mind, then maybe Harry would never have entered the forefront of her mind. It’s stories like this that just continue to enforce the way I like to see life; everything happens for a reason and even though the reason may not be apparent immediately, it will make sense one day. That’s how I look at her train journey, she was meant to live this life.

Rowling said that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was started that very same day and on a negative note, the December of the same her, Joanne tragically lost her mother to a ten year battle with multiple sclerosis and it was this deep loss that she felt that affected her to write about Harry’s parental loss in much more detail because she could vouch for how he would have felt. It could arguably be said that Rowling also lost both parents because she has no contact with her father after sharing a strained relationship with her during her youth. As I write this, I am finding more awe for her because she has taken so much from her personal life to apply to Harry and to be a good writer, I think a lot of the emotion has to come from tragic memories you’d rather forget…

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After this great loss, Rowling moved to Portugal to teach English in night school, whilst focusing on writing during the day. She met and married Jorge Arantes with whom she shares a daughter Jessica Isabel Rowling who was born in 1993. They separated just 13 months later and there is speculation over domestic abuse, but whether it is true or not is unknown. Rowling and her daughter moved back to the UK in Edinburgh near her sister, and felt the weight of failure upon her shoulders. She had no job, no partner and a child to provide for.

Some would see this as the beginning of the spiral into a black abyss of depression and to pull yourself up from the bottom and dust yourself of would seem impossible at this stage. It is so hard to find positives in life when you feel like a failure but this stage in Joanne’s life was nothing to stop what was about to happen. She views this era of her life as one of freedom:

“Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy to finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”– J K Rowling, The Fringe Benefits of Failure, Harvard Commencement 2008.

 

She has a way with words and just reading extracts from The Fringe Benefits of Failure has created a little fire inside that I can be capable of anything…we all can.

After leaving Portugal she was diagnosed with depression and it was this feeling that provided the origin of the Dementors in Harry Potter. Do you see what I’m trying to say? She has an outstanding capability to apply herself to her work and it’s incredibly admirable to witness. Rowling committed to writing the first Harry Potter in many cafés around Edinburgh, anywhere that she could get her baby daughter to fall asleep. The manuscript of the first book was finished in 1995 and was subsequently rejected by 12 publishers (I bet they are regretting that now!) and after a year, she was finally given a chance by Barry Cunningham, editor from Bloomsbury. The best part of this is that a lot of the decision was down to 8-year-old Alice Newton, the daughter of the Bloomsbury chairman, who was given the first chapter to test and apparently begged for more. Although this was all positive, there was little money to be made from children’s books but Rowling was awarded an £8000 grant from the Scottish Arts Council to continue her writing.

In the summer of 1997, The Philosopher’s Stone was published in an initial 1,000 copies and today these are valued between £16,000 and £25,000! Several months later, the book won several awards and then an American auction was held for the rights to publish the novel, which was won for $105,000. This was the beginning of the rest of J K Rowling’s life.

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The following books were published from 1998 up until 2007 and the last book was the fastest selling book of all time. During completing the last book, Rowling allowed herself to be filmed for a documentary for ITV, which included a revisit to her old flat and she was reduced to tears stating that this was “really where I turned my life around completely.” It is known that the last chapter of the last book was written in the early 1990’s before the others had begun. She knew where the story was heading and that’s why for me it has worked so well, because she had a clear idea of how to get there.

Following on from the success of Harry Potter, J K Rowling has remarried and had another two children. She continues to write and dedicates a lot of her time to charitable organisations such as the Volant Charitable Trust, Lumos, which were both set up by her and she also supports Comic Relief, Gingerbread, Fund for Children, Young People in Crisis, and contributes a lot of money and support for research and treatment for multiple sclerosis and many other charities. She stated “I think you have a moral responsibility when you’ve been given far more than you need, to do wise things with it and give intelligently.” (A Fond Look Back at Harry, USA Today 2007).

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This is one story of a woman’s journey from rags to riches. She did it all on her own, without marrying someone rich. All of her success has been because of her talent, her determination and most of all her strength. She is absolutely wonderful woman to look up to and she allowed people my age to grow up alongside Harry Potter. I remember being absolutely captivated by the first book when I was just in primary school, and felt the same towards every book that followed in the series. J K Rowling opened up the imaginations of all kids my age and I continued to love the series through the films, and after watching the last one, I felt deeply nostalgic that this era of my life had ended but also deeply grateful that I had the honour of being a part of this world. So from my part, I would just like to say a massive thank you to J K Rowling for bringing happiness to me through the pages of a book.

About the writer: Melody has just finished a degree in Journalism, Film and Media with a 2:1. She aspires to work with vulnerable women and children subject to domestic, and or other forms of abuse. She is an animal lover and has a small obsession with Fearne Cotton. She is a constant joker and can be found on Twitter.

10:10

19 Jul

“If you’re not fighting climate change or improving the world, you’re wasting your life” – Franny Armstrong

How many of our lovely readers are good old green recyclers? Honestly?

Well according to an article posted in The Guardian in March, as a nation our recycling rates for all municipal waste has risen from just 12% in 2001 to 39% in 2010. This figure is still quite low in comparison with the likes of Austria (62.8%) and Germany (61.8%), but we are on the up and that’s something to be proud of as a country. As a household, I would say we recycle more than the average statistic. Before disposing of anything I check all the small print on the packaging to decipher what is recyclable and what is not. It takes about 30 seconds longer than just disposing of it, however, as time goes on you begin to automatically know what goes in what bin. This also goes for food waste, which by the way I have to say that emptying that bin is one of the most disgusting domestic jobs, but it doesn’t matter to me because if we don’t recycle then we are going to run out of resources and in addition to that, our world will evidently suffer as a result.

I bet you’re wondering how this is relevant to my project on inspirational women of our time; however, a link will be made in due course.

So, I have recently started a job in a well-known gas and electric provider. Some of you may be regarding me as a hypocrite to be harping on about recycling when I work for this company. However, during my training I have learnt more about reducing the carbon footprint than you would realize which leads me on to this weeks modern inspirational female: Franny Armstrong.

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During one of the training sessions, I had to find out about the 10:10 campaign that started back in 2009. If you’ve never heard of it, don’t worry I didn’t until I had to research into it. In short the 10:10 campaign is basically a national drive to cut carbon emissions by 10% during one year. Now, as a nation we have all heard and read about the importance of recycling and cutting down on energy usage etc. but how many of us have really paid attention?

I hadn’t until I started university and begun to actively begin to recycle and learn the difference between reusable waste and landfill. Anyway, that’s besides the point what I’m trying to say is that we are so overwhelmed by media campaigns about this and that, that it’s really hard to keep track and pay attention to things that matter.

In the 10:10 article I read, Franny Armstrong said “The 10:10 campaign is our opportunity to make the first move and get on with solving the problem of climate change. As well as being achievable for the vast majority of the population, 10% in one year is the kind of cut the science tells us we need.” That line really hit home with me because even though I do recycle, the things I have read and heard about reducing climate change have provided such large, unreachable statistics that the goal just seemed impossible. Nevertheless, the wording used by Franny just puts it straight into perspective, if we concentrate on our own carbon footprint and realize that 10% of our own emissions isn’t actually that hard to reduce. Things like taking the train instead of the bus, walking instead of driving, turning your TV off at the socket, etc. etc. The list of ways you could help is endless and I just sat there and thought to myself what an amazing idea this was and decided to read further into the idea here.

If you take a look on the site you can see some success stories and then just do the math and you can see how all these small contributions from everyone is adding up to become a massive change.

So where did 10:10 begin? Who was the brainbox behind this?

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Franny Armstrong was born on 3rd February 1972 and she grew up to study zoology at university before trying it out as a pop drummer. In 1997 she founded her own documentary company called Spanner Films and then went on to direct three documentaries – Drowned Out (2003), McLibel (2005) and then the more recent production, The Age Of Stupid (2009), of which she raised £900,000 from 300+ investors through the crown-funding finance model.

In March 2009, The Age Of Stupid “People’s Premiere” was completely solar-powered and screened in 63 cinemas across Britain. This event received a Guinness World Record for being the largest film premiere ever, based on the number of screens. Carbon Accounting Systems conducted an independent audit and found that the carbon emissions from this event were at an impressive 1% of those produced by a normal blockbuster premiere.

Wow. Just wow.

What an incredible role model for change in our generation! But she hasn’t stopped there.

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On her way to meet Ed Miliband in a debate about climate change, she had a simple yet powerful idea inspired by a George Monbiot article and a Climate Safety Report which basically identified that a 10% cut in emissions by 2010 was the kind of target to be aiming for in order to try and avoid a climate catastrophe.

This is exactly what I was saying at the beginning of the article, 10% by 2010 sounds so much more achievable than 80% by 2050 right?

She dropped the 10:10 into the debate with Miliband and after brainstorming with her team, within weeks it had ignited a nation into a fire of determination. Before she knew it, celebrities, universities, local authorities and whoever else wanted to throw themselves in to support.

The simple yet effective idea was formally launched in September 2009 and within 72 hours more than 10,000 individuals, businesses and schools had signed up. By 2010, most success stories were throwing out reduced figures like 23% and 19% as opposed the aimed 10% which just goes to show that change can happen if you want it to and it also shows that 10% a year is a small aim but after 5 years that’s 50%…

At this moment 10:10 estimates that those involved in the campaign have approximately cut 500,000 tonnes of CO2 and according to the home page of the website there are 121,831 sign-ups in 171 countries which by the time you look it will have probably increased. What an achievement: from a daydreamed idea to a global success in just under 4 years.

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The reason I have chosen Franny Armstrong as this issues modern inspiration is pretty self-explanatory thus far. However, there is another more important reason I have chosen not because of her immense success in bringing about change but her determination to change something that probably won’t drastically affect this generation. We all know that climate change and the dangers surrounding it are prominent in our lifetime, it’s apparent in the bipolar weather we have and the reoccurring natural disasters. Nonetheless, it is not this lifetime that’s in danger, it’s the future generations and the sheer passion she has for making a difference and saving the future of the planet is an absolutely amazing personal quality to hold. She is completely selfless and her simple phrase “cutting carbon 10% at a time” has shown to us all that if we make small alterations to our lifestyles then we can all make an impact because together it is a much larger difference.

For all of you who have read this article, I want to ask a favour…

Please sign up to the 10:10 campaign and even though it doesn’t affect you it will affect future generations. Follow in Franny’s example of making a change today to make way for a better tomorrow.

About the writer: Melody has just finished a degree in Journalism, Film and Media with a 2:1. She aspires to work with vulnerable women and children subject to domestic, and or other forms of abuse. She is an animal lover and has a small obsession with Fearne Cotton. She is a constant joker and can be found on Twitter.

The Blind Side

5 Jul

“I’m very thick-skinned. Some people have tried to make this something it’s not – black/white, rich/poor – why do they have to label it? But I don’t care, it’s partly true – I do tend to vote Republican and I do carry a gun wherever I go” – Leigh Anne Tuohy

Before I begin I just want to apologise for my lack of attendance lately…I have been in the middle of starting a new job and in the middle of moving house. My life affairs have been up in the air and my personal belongings have been split across two houses.  I realise you all don’t wish to hear about my life story but I feel a duty towards the readers of Yellow Bunting to explain my lack of involvement.

The books I have read about being a writer have always said that a physical and a mental space to write is the most fundamental aspect of success and because of the hassle of moving out and being sad that the time of living with my best friends for four years has come to an end my writing has taken a back seat but don’t fret I have my computer set up in the office, a comfy chair, the rain is pattering on the window and I am ready to pull myself back together!

Anyway, enough about the minor details that have no relevance to this article’s topic, which by the way is about a lady called Leigh Anne Tuohy.

Before reading ahead into why she is in my Most Inspiring Women feature, just Google her name and take a brief look at images or her website. DON’T READ IN DETAIL JUST YET! Make a note of your first impressions of her, her job, her money and the way she looks. Judging by these features she just appears to be a typical suburban, middle class American wife. Right?

Wrong.

Leigh Anne Tuohy is in fact so much more than that and if I told you that Sandra Bullock’s character in the film The Blind Side is based on her, would that make her seem like a different person? Or for those of you who have never seen the film/heard of it then read on and find out how amazing this woman is.

Leigh Anne is a Memphis, Tennessee resident and she attended Briarcrest Christian School and graduated from the University of Mississippi with a degree in Interior Design. She met her husband Sean Tuohy and they went on to build a very successful life together. Her Interior Design business has taken off and she is featured in ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Leigh Anne Tuohy was the daughter of a US Marshal and she lived the typical life of an all American cheerleader; a member of the Kappa Delta, married a basketball player, started a successful business and lived happily ever after in a nice big house with their two perfect children. Life was perfect for her.

However, unlike others in her position of having everything she could have wished for, she didn’t forget for one second that there are people out there with next to nothing…

Like Michael Oher.

One day Tuohy and her family were on their way home during the winter and spotted Michael Oher walking alone in shorts and a t shirt. Instead of continuing their journey home she asked her husband to pull over and she asked where he was going and ended up giving him a lift to the bus station and she soon found out his story was a cover up and he was from a sad background of neglect, loneliness and violence.

Untitled1A couple of weeks later she had him temporarily move into the family home and sometime after, she asked him to become a part of their family so they became Michael’s legal guardians. Since then he has graduated from university and plays professional American football.

That’s all there is to it…and I know you’re thinking, is that it?

Compared to the other women I have written about, her story is simple and some of you may be thinking about why she qualifies as an inspiration.

However, for me it’s the simplicity of her story that makes her such an inspiration. She grew up as the daughter of a conservative Republican father but she defied the values of her upbringing and made her own decisions based on what she thought was right. Leigh Anne Tuohy changed the life of a hopeless kid with no direction or any sense of belonging and she says “he had a much greater impact on our lives than we did on his life.”

Untitled2Despite the shortness of her story, and the fact that her family are arguably just as insignificant as the rest of us in the grand scheme of things, the ability for her to see past her perfect family bubble and notice Michael’s struggles has reached out to me on a more personal level and perhaps that’s why I think she deserves her place in this article. Whether I’m alone in this thought is irrelevant, I think she is amazing.

“I think women have to wear a lot of different hats. Not only do you have to be the mother the nuturerer, but also the wife and the housekeeper and now, so many have to and want to have a career. So, you have to wear a lot of hats. I’m not a big women’s liberation person — not at all — but I do think right now, women have to contribute to all facets.” – Leigh Anne Tuohy

To read an interview with Leigh Anne herself please click here.

Melody has just finished a degree in Journalism, Film and Media with a 2:1. She aspires to work with vulnerable women and children subject to domestic, and or other forms of abuse. She is an animal lover and has a small obsession with Fearne Cotton. She is a constant joker and can be found on Twitter.