How many hand creams is too many?

Hello, Dear Readers 

As I made my way to the railway station for the journey to Marie Claire Live last weekend, a sudden thought whacked me around the head and near halted my stride ‘I need hand cream’.

Perfectly  ordinary thought, and possibly not deserving of such a lightening bolt mention.

Apart from the fact I have a bunch of hand creams at home. In every room of the house.   And in my several work bags, and in Mr S15S's car (though weirdly not mine; must amend that once I’ve finished uploading my post). 

Marie Claire At Work LIve: Part 2 The Afternoon

Ahhhhh, Mini Stylist is in bed – how long she keeps her four year old self there for is anyone’s guess – and I have a lukewarm coffee by my side.  Time to continue with the reflection on the 2016 Marie Claire #AtWorkLive event. 

After a lengthy lunch working our way around the sponsor’s stalls, sampling tasters of the Cointreau Fizz, and devouring gorgeous peanut butter brownies for dessert - in the ginormous lunch queue - it was back to the second breakout session to re-engage myself with business advice from insiders (Sharmadean Reid of WAH nails, Julie Deane of The Cambridge Satchel Company, Kate Unsworth of wearable, productivity-enhancing tech, in search of a tech-reliance-free-life company Vinaya and Amy Hanson of the humanitarian SmallSteps Project), chaired by the inquisitive and engaging deputy editor of MC Miranda McMinn. 

So, what were the best tips of the Starting your Own Business session?

Marie Claire At Work Live: Part 1 The Morning

Hiya, how was your weekend?

I took to the trains again; Great Western Railway is doing well out of me this month!  

I closed the work bag of my full-time job on Thursday night and thought, ‘bring on the blogging this weekend -the marking can wait until Monday.’  

Marie Claire’s annual #atworklive event, held this year at the Millbank Tower overlooking the Thames, whilst not strictly a blogging event is designed to help the career-bemused, women looking for a day out (the annual cocktails are fabulous, this year hosted by Cointreau) and regular subscribers to Marie Claire who know a beauty shindig when they see one advertised. 

And, Dear Readers, the day was so stuffed with magic that this is part 1 of a 2-part post, lest your eyes start to glaze over, or Mini realises that I'm working instead of watching Frozen with her....

I packed my Inner Twirl blogging diary (a treat to myself from the fab Bloggers Planner team at Christmas) to plan content, alongside my gadgets and snacks, and caught up with a fab friend and fellow attendee on the Friday night in Kent – we take our cocktail practice very seriously, you know.
After coffee and registration on the day, the inspiration began with the Game-changers panel, hosted by Editor-in-Chief Trish Halpin and featuring:

Laura Bates (writer and campaigner, Everyday Sexism project)
“Learn very’s okay to ask for don’t have to answer a question, just go off in a different direction”.

Nishma Robb (Head of Marketing at Google)
“Take control...demonstrate the how...How did you overcome challenges?  Think about your you went about them, how you learned from them....present yourself as an opportunity”. 


Laverne Antrobus (Psychologist)
“What’s the worst that can happen.....really positive statement. Failure is a building block to which direction to take. Listen to the internal narrative you hear”.

Anita Rami (Broadcaster and all round challenge-seeker)
“Fumble your way through....with drive and ambition.....How? No idea....going to get there. What’s the worst that can happen? Just deal with the challenges”.

Fully invigorated and raring to go it was time to select one of three breakout options - I chose, From Blog to Business: Dream. Dare. Create, and so bloody pleased that I did...

Postcard from a Me Break: Belize

I love it when a friend rings up to ask if I’d like to fly halfway around the world (thereabouts) to spend a week on a gorgeous beach with her. 

‘Definitely’, is my first response, quickly followed with, ‘How the doodahs am I going to make that happen?’ 

Said invitation was to Belize, for her wedding.  And, handily, I’d just begun a new job, when she asked me.  We’ve previously traveled around Thailand together in our twenties, and as she lives in Toronto and I in the south-west UK (one of the furthest points away from a decent airport), the last beach we met up on was Waikiki, Hawaii, and that was eight years ago (that’s what new relationships, careers and having a baby – me – will do to an itinerary). 

My toes could almost feel the sand.  

Which would be funny if I wasn’t such a staunch flip-flop wearer, such is my fear of anything biting my feet.  And I don’t swim, so I’m a strict paddler; I’ll sit down if the water is clear enough, and free of territorial crabs.

But who doesn’t love a week in a proper sun, skin kissed by its rays, with lashings of SPF50, cool showers and inevitable aloe vera slathering?    

After lengthy talks with Mr S15S, consultation of maps, Kayak-checking for the quickest flight options, not to mention the mention of a four-seater plane to travel from Belize International airport to the southern town of Dangriga in 20 minutes (as opposed to a 24 hour bus journey) it was felt that that the trip would be most enjoyed by me and me alone.

Considering I had an:

  • overnight train journey to Heathrow
  • a forever-walk to the right terminal (probably only about 30 minutes but I was tired!)
  • an 8 hour flight to Chicago (that was delayed by two hours) 
  • an early flight onto Houston (there are only 4 cities in the US that travel directly to Belize) 

AND then ...

  • another 2-3 hour flight to Belize, before I’d even stepped onto the wonky steps to the small plane to Dangriga
  • a 30 minute bumpy van drive to the dock
  • a 45 minute boat ride trying to avoid the rain to the gorgeous island of South Water Quay

well.... I’m sure Mini Stylist will one day understand why she wasn’t on that particular beach with me.  

Oh, and I repeated all that a mere, albeit very relaxed, four days later, with another two hour delay; thanks, United....