Yummy morning goodness
You love castles. I love dinosaurs. The two things probably make up the basis of any person's love of history and museums. Let's talk about that.
Yummy morning goodness
Sordid as this may sound, I’m a big fan of magazines. Just the usual glossy fashion magazine, not the other kind. We smart women, we’re not supposed to admit to enjoying turning the pages of those shiny, consumerist, advert-filled little books. But I do. In fact, I have one arrive every month, which I caress and devour, from the very first Dior ad to the stockist lists at the back.
Each magazine works to its own aims, its own purpose. I cannot claim to know what they are. I simply enjoy the final piece. However, the (presumably unintended) consequence of these often wonderful books being put together and distributed across the country, is that with reading, we feel terrible about ourselves.
The idea that women’s magazines have been making women feel awful is not revolutionary. We have become accustomed to our roles as magazine masochists, deriving pleasure from those beautiful photo-shoots and adverts that subsequently cause us pain. Our bodies are not as slim, wrinkle-free, or as well-dressed as those in front of us. But we love to look.
Increasing awareness of the agonies and aches invoked by the tricks of airbrushing can only serve women for the better. But there’s another trend in women’s fashion magazines that stings us as readers. New articles and features, designed to highlight interesting and remarkable women, are inadvertently poking fun at those of us who are much less remarkable. Featuring a new kind of airbrush system (one that does not attack your thigh gap or lack thereof), the Glossies now contain stories about run of the mill women - meant to represent you and me - who are absolutely NOT run of the mill. Whereas the Dolce girl, we know, is subject to technological tricks and a designer wardrobe to die for, the just-like-you-and-me-but-yet-amazing-flaxseed-smoothie-drinking-superstar is subject to absolutely no flashy trickery. Ergo, her lifestyle is attainable/desirable/the benchmark.
The ‘run of the mill’ women that I know, are all of course independently wonderful and incredible in their own right. My mother is the most notable. She would never feature in the glossy pages as an inspiration to womankind. But she should. Despite never having made a flaxseed smoothie.
I’ve written this article, because on my daily commute to work, flicking through those glitzy pages, I found myself feeling inadequate. And though all human beings suffer from feelings of self imposed inadequacy from time to time, I recognised that this mind-set was being nurtured by the Gloss. And it wasn’t because the Gloss was saying that my skin is scaly, or my eyelashes stumpy, or my legs short, or my clothes too mediocre. It wasn’t because the Gloss had listed all the things that would fix my many imperfections. Now, the Gloss was (albeit unintentionally) criticising my breakfast, my career choice, my home, my single status and my lack of exercise regime. My life. The Gloss was telling me that I had not met the benchmark.
Yes, it is absurd to compare my life with that of another woman’s, and to feel bad about the areas that I am supposedly ‘lacking in’. And I do not wish to attack those magazines which I so adore myself. But the resulting blog was written with the following in mind; you, and me, and all the other ladies out there, we’re brilliant. Whatever we do, whatever we wear, and whatever we have for breakfast, we are all still brilliant. And we’re notable. We’re notable enough to appear in those glossy pages, if they would have us. I’d like to be able to devour a wonderfully written magazine article about a fellow fabulous female who I can actually feel akin to. Until that happens, below is my own one-day diary. A completely, run of the mill, boring, smoothie-free day, in which a seemingly unimpressive woman goes about her seemingly unimpressive day.
Daniella Hadley, 23, is museum educator and junior bar manager. She lives in London, with her two flatmates Hayley and Laura.
“I always thought that I would become a teacher. As a child, weekends were spent delivering English, Maths and History lessons to my younger sister, who would cry and complain that she would rather be out playing on the go-kart. During my time at University, I became involved with a local interactive science centre, and realised that learning need not always take place in a classroom. It took me two more years to think up a career in museum education. I don’t remember how I came to that decision, but after a year of study, internships and placements, it all slotted into place.
I get up at 7am. I’m supposed to get up at 6:30am, but the extra half an hour in bed is worth not having clean hair for. Though I am truly, madly, and deeply in love with fashion, my weekly budget for clothes usually amounts to about thirty pence. As a result, I’ll throw on a basic black skirt and an old mustard blouse (I’d rather not say how old). After a session with the dry shampoo, and a little time with BBC Breakfast, I am ready to leave my 3 bed flat. As for my actual breakfast, I don’t have the time or patience for starting the day healthily with a smoothie, nor the extra cash for a luxurious start to the day with a croissant, so I stick to a cup of tea when I get in to work and a couple of biscuits.
From home, I head straight to either Work Number One, Two or Three. Unlike other, more fabulous women, I skip a morning gym session altogether. Work Number One is a beautiful old school that has now been transformed into a museum. I get to work at 9am, like the rest of humanity, and after turning on the lights, I write the day’s date on the blackboard; ‘Monday 18th November 1883’. I then spend the day working with schools, talking to them about life in Victorian London. My work is brilliant but lacking entirely in glamour. It has been known for the children to fall sick, make an enormous mess with carbolic soap and ask me if I was born in Victorian times. At Work Number Two, I’ll spend the day chatting with school groups and families in the interactive areas. There are days when an audience of more than one hundred people will watch me deliver a science show full of brilliant and show-stopping experiments. But there are also days when I am asked to guard urine, to make sure that no one slips and falls in it while someone else rushes for a cleaner.
Lunch will ultimately involve leftovers and a yoghurt. Not together, obviously. I’d like to say that I go somewhere fabulous for my lunch, like Pret or Nandos. But my homemade lasagne isn’t half bad, even if the cheese sauce does initially enter the kitchen in the form of granules. I don’t know what quinoa is and I’ve never been to Ottolenghi. If I’m lucky, there will be doughnuts on the table at Work Number Two, which I can scoff during my lunch break. If I have enough time, I’ll try to get two in.
Work Number Three begins at 6pm. I rush from one end of London to the other, for my manager shift at a student bar. The first thing I do when I arrive is devour a bag of crisps and change into a pair of really grotty converse. Our patrons really love their Sambuca, and I’d rather not have it getting on my Topshop ankle boots. I’ve been doing this job for more than two years and customers never cease to surprise me. The closest thing we’ve had to a celeb in our bar is the kid from Junior Apprentice, but we do get several crying blokes and even a head-butter. At the end of the night, while I’m cashing up or helping clean down the bar, I’ll imagine that I will one day write a brilliant novel, or get spotted singing at Thursday’s karaoke by a talent scout, or own a property, or will receive a sudden lottery windfall and spend the entire thing in Zara.
My busy, boring and yet brilliant working day reaches it’s end at midnight, when I collapse into bed without having been to the gym, or having drunk a smoothie, or having worn anything remotely designer all day. I’ll soothe myself to sleep with a fizzy drink, some more biscuits and an episode of Friends. I’m on Series 6 at the moment. Rachel is dating Bruce Willis.”
My own photographs taken at the Museum of London
My own photographs taken at the Museum of London
I’m flying! Flying!
A Life in the Day of Another Science Museum Bubble.
I follow my brothers and sisters out into the open air, wobbling up, and up, and up…
A Life in the Day of a Third Science Museum Bubble.
Oooh, I’m smaller than the others. As I make my way across the room, I see lots of giant grinning faces follow my teeny sphere shape. Chubby arms reach out. Dangerous fingers pointing. A gust of wind pulls me away from their malevolent grasp, and I float unwittingly into a…
A Life in the Day of the Greatest Science Museum Bubble
Yay! With a wave of a wand, I’m ENORMOUS. The biggest bubble of the day. I slowly wobble into a perfectly round sphere. I hear a chorus of “oohs” and “aaahs”. They love me. I’m a star! I saunter towards the crowd, and I see their arms raise up. A sweet puff of air tickles my belly, and I lift even higher. The crowd beneath me wave their arms, round, and round, and round again in circles. I climb higher into the air. Again, a puff of air. I look down, and see their faces raised, mouths open, arms waving frantically. If I go on lifting, I’ll be sure to reach the heavens.
I’ve almost made it to the back of the room – the distance I have travelled is astonishing. And still they keep on blowing, flapping, even cheering. I’m high; I’m alive. I can no longer see the floor. Instead, the vast ceiling extends before me. I reach out for it, I’ve made it, I’m at the top, I’m…
Adding Glycerol to your bubble mix will help your bubbles last longer – as will wafting.
A technique invented by humans centuries ago, wafting involves the waving of the arms and hands in a circular motion to move the air underneath a bubble, allowing it to float higher, and preventing it from popping on the floor. Blowing also adds to this effect.
Bubble thrill seekers should visit the Science Museum this Summer for the amazing Bubble Show. Please note that Bubble Saboteurs are not welcome.
No bubble lasts forever. Delight in them when you can, and as much as you can.
Whilst my friends may hold me in esteem for my Minaj-rapping abilities, my in-depth knowledge of Spielberg’s ‘93 dino classic and my slap-up shepherd’s pie, in my professional life, none of these rather outstanding talents are of use. An enormous problem faced by my generation’s graduates, we leave university with a host of fantastic abilities, quirks and experiences, which, to our friends, are inexplicably valuable. Our personal CV’s practically glitter. Interviews that focussed upon our private and downright peculiar reminiscences rather than our professional biography would be a snitch. And HILARIOUS. ‘Can you think of a time in which you experienced conflict and how you dealt with it?’ ‘Describe a situation when you worked as part of a team?’
Anyone who has spent the last two years job hunting, job applying, and job crying will know that those beautiful memories of ‘the time so-and-so broke a radiator/had an allergic reaction/set chip pan on fire/lost dignity to toffee vodka’ are rendered largely useless and pretty futile when it comes to convincing an employer that you professionally rock (those things still make you who you are though, m’kay?). Your private skill set – dinosaurs, rap, pie – is not your winning hand.
But what might be?
I want to focus on one particular skill. One winning ability that is highly valued (citation needed – it must be though, mustn’t it?) not only by employers, but also by Lordsugar himself. One that, in my line of work, is pretty bloomin’ crucial. One that – almost – straddles the line between what you’ve engaged in professionally and personally. One that might get you the job. One that might keep you out of the boardroom. One, that could earn you a handful of change along the Southbank on a Saturday. It is of course; the art of public speaking.
From dictators to Darcy, great public speaking has won over nations, employers, the voting public, even women. It can prove a useful tool for you both in the office and at the bar/open mic night/golfing range. But for those not born naturally into the highly coveted and extremely elite group of mind blowing public speakers, the whole thing is flipping daunting.
However, there are methods of teaching yourself this ancient art, much like teaching yourself how to make the perfect meringue. First, there will be mistakes. Your speech might turn out limp, or chewy, and imperfect for dessert. Persevere, and there will be success. Once a snivelling and shy character, I myself now work within environments that require talking to OHMYGOD THE PUBLIC everyday. I’ve done the Macarena to a one hundred strong audience. I’ve dodged difficult questions from super inquisitive school groups. I’ve pointed out where on my body my rectum goes (somewhat obvious). I’ve tripped over. I’ve shouted the word ‘poo’ (and accidentally said the word ‘turd’). And, thanks to my work as a public speaking hero, I’ve even been asked to pose for photos. Big thumbs up. It felt only natural that I should collate my advice and experiences, along with that of others, in order to provide a comprehensive guide to public speaking.
Don’t bother using it. It is probably safe to assume that it is not working, in which case, simply yell at your audience.
“OI! Yeaah, OIII. Mics not working…”
The microphone is in essence a show piece – its your prop. Cuddle it, and it will make you feel safer. Use it even, to hide your face. You’ll see that Shy Ronnie uses this technique wonderfully. In addition, by holding the microphone, you will give your hands an object to play with, thus distracting you from your attempts to speak to a crowd.
Compliments are great – and your audience will love them. Say the right thing, and those guys will be eating out of the palm of your hand. Wonderful examples include Kanye’s kind words about Bey’s music video, back at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, and Bridge’s sweet attempts to list the top thirty Books of Our Time.
Kanye in particular, has had such a successful record with public speaking that during filming Shy Ronnie I for SNL, Rihanna lamented that King Yeezy would have been a better choice to star alongside her.
Pretty important, don’t you think? You want your words to form witty and interesting sentences, that have the audience hanging on your every mouthful. Movie stars have a wonderful back catalogue of inspiring, well thought out and frankly, RIP ROARING acceptance speeches that could provide you with some much needed inspiration. Shy Ronnie also has a beautiful way with words, so long as you can hear them. Swear freely, reference your you know what and throw out one wisecrack after another, and you’ll be a star.
In my line of work, we often invite volunteers to take the stage alongside us. Its polite to get their names. Perhaps you could even offer them a nickname (you should probably keep it PG13), which will certainly bring humour to your discourse; “And here’s the man we all call…
…Mister Fitzherbert. Because that, is his name.”
And finally, on the subject of words, it is important to note that there will simply be times when you won’t need to use them. Allow the audience to think on the topic, and offer breaks in your speaking so that they may applause, cheer, and even whoop. It is often the case that expressions and emotion can convey so much – Halle Berry was once so wonderfully overcome with gratitude that her tears spoke to the audience for a good minute and a half. If it works for Halle, it can work for you too.
Even the best public speaker needs to ensure that they are nice to look at. Enthrall your audience with a loose nasal crater, a fun beret, an exotic piece by Gucci, chocolate stains or even a one-liner jumper.
You might find that your body language speaks more than you do. Hunched over shoulders are a mark of subtle confidence. Ron has the body language thing locked down; looking down as you speak will enable you to check that your feet are not only looking delectable, but also that you are standing in the right spot for maximum comfort.
Clap. In fact, if the audience won’t oblige you, clap yourself. Start the clapping off. They’ll soon follow your suit.
Tell them who you were.
“Thank you very much for listening, my name was Steve.”
Because now the show/speech is over, that is no longer your name. The person you are in the present, well, that never even mattered. You were Steve, and now that you – and they – are clapping, you’re not.
And there you have it. Steve probably read this guide before embarking upon a successful career in public speaking. And now, you will be able to do it too. Whether its in interviews, at book launches, in Lord Sugar’s boardroom, during bank robberies, or as part of an educational team in a museum, your ability to speak publically will rock an audience’s world. Make your professional CV glitter, and throw yourself into public
Did you know that you can be anything? Anything you could ever possibly want to be? Do you want to be a bee keeper? Great, do that. You’re hoping to make money from your writing? Wicked, try it. You want to be an accountant? YOU CAN DO IT MY FRIEND. One lady trying to spread this inspirational mantra is Barbie.
Barbs is a woman who knows a lot about work. According to Wikipedia, she has had illustrious careers in education, medicine, politics, the public services, in the transport industry, in business, and in the arts, whatever they are. She has also been employed as a Princess, a Cowgirl, a Babysitter, and a McDonald’s Cashier – despite the headgear. If there is any figure to drive the “Realise your dream” movement, its Barbs. This girl wakes up in the morning, grabs her track gear, and says “I can be a Track Star.”** Or, she grabs her glasses and her takeaway coffee, telling herself, “I can be an Engineer.” Hopping in her F1 car, Barbs grips the steering wheel as if to say, “I can be a Race Car Driver.”
Hell yeah she can.
Over the years, Barbie has been breaking ground, establishing herself as a leading expert in various careers – some of which are often usually driven by, or associated with, Ken or Action Man. She now turns to Hollywood. But not to star in your usual romcom, like the 2009 Confessions of a Never Been Kissed Wedding Planner in the City. Oh no. Barbs has come to Hollywood to become a Stunt-Person-Woman.
Breaking the boundaries set by the informal title, Stuntman, Barbie truly hammers home the idea that she CAN be ANYTHING. We join Barbie on the set of her one of her most dangerous stunts.
The room is cold, the air conditioning a little high.
“Chilly isn’t it? I think that’s making me more worried. I know how it feels to have my name up in lights and all, but this stunt opens up a new world for me, and I want to get it just right.
“All Stunt-People-Men and Stunt-People-Women are nervous before they start they’re work. No matter how long you’ve been doing it for, or how skilled you are. Stunts are, well, dangerous.”
And Barbs has just about every reason to be nervous on this job.
“The stunt involves a very flammable gas called butane, which will be sprayed inside a special chamber. Inside this chamber, the butane is able to mix fully with the oxygen that’s in the air around us. Then, a spark will light the butane, causing an enormous explosion.”
Oooooh. Sounds pretty dangerous. What is your role in all this Barbie?
“The explosion created by the butane will be powerful enough to move an object out of this enormous cannon. I’m going to be that object!”
Holy Cow Barbs.
And she’s right, the cannon is ENORMOUS. Covered in sparkly stars and stripes, the cannon looks almost friendly. But taking a step back into the safety zone, it is easy to see why Barbie is so nervous. Butane?? She sets herself up with all the necessary safety gear and points to a wall on the other side of the room.
It’s a target.
“So that’s where we are aiming!” She says brightly.
Erm, okay. Rather you than us.
Barbie’s crew help her climb inside the nose of the cannon. With her arms raised high, she looks nervous but excited. Cameras are ready. She’s ready. The butane is ready. The room is really ready. A countdown begins, and some eager supporters shout cries of, “Fly, Barbie, Fly!”. As the countdown reaches two, Barbs closes her eyes.
The explosion comes out of nowhere: a sudden and violent release of energy. We see a whoosh of blonde and pink. A jet of orange streams out of the back of the cannon. A thud follows the initial bang.
A member of the stunt team ensures any flames are safely extinguished, whilst another helps Barbie stand.
“Amazing!” Barbie cries. “That was utterly exhilarating – I can’t catch my breath – I have no words!”
As she makes her way over to the safety zone, we all burst into a round of applause. We give Barbs a minute while she takes a drink of water and sits through quick medical checks with one of the stunt team. The girl is all good.
She joins us for some final words, before we leave her to her amazing work.
“I guess my inspiration has to be the Bond films. They are just chock-full of stunts. And danger. My favourite is probably the ski chase in The Spy Who Loved Me. I’ve done lots of ski and snowboard work myself, and I’d love to combine this with dodging bullets and a fabulous Union Jack parachute.”
Well, we’re pretty impressed with the cannon stuff to be honest.
“Explosion work is amazing. And I can’t thank the team enough. They have done so much research in preparation for the stunt, and as a result I’ve picked up on some great science: you need a fuel, a heat source, and oxygen. And explosions can have such good uses too – I’d like to think that the cannon stunt really demonstrates that.”
Needless to say, we leave inspired, in awe.
Barbie flew. If she can fly, maybe we all can too. But you know, metaphorically. She is the ultimate demonstration of the dream that a person can be anything. If she can be, then you can be. I can be.
Move over Bey. Here comes Stunt Barbs.
**The term ‘track’ in this instance refers to athletics and sports things. Not music ‘tracks’.