Monday, 10 July 2017

Female Politicians Who Inspire Me

When it comes to the politicians of our world, the majority of them are male, and the majority of the team behind them are also male. Yet scattered within this sea of male powerhouses, and appearing in ever increasing numbers, are a wave of female leaders striving to make a difference.

Aung San Suu Kyi- Held as a political prisoner for over 15 years, Aung is a smbol of democracy in her home country of Myanmar and across the wider world. She is the first women in Mynmar to hold a variety of Ministerial positions, and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

Michelle Obama- Michelle Obama, the first African-American First Lady of the United States of America, wrote her Undergraduate thesis on the extent to whice Princeton graduates of African-American descent chose to identify with their own race. The more I see and learn of Michelle Obama the more I come to admire her as a woman of intelligence, passion and integrity. It is not just that Michelle is a highly intelligent woman, who uses her position of power for good that I admire, I also admire the warmth with which she constructed and carried out her campaigns. She always higlights the importance of health, happiness and family, whilst still showing herself to be a powerful women. She portrays qualities that I wish to poseess throughout my life, and take with me to my place of work and my home.

Hillary Clinton-  Hillary Clinton, in her recent attempt to become the first female President of the United States, set a new wave of feminism in motion. Her hard work and perserverance inspired a new generation of women that they could become anything they wanted to be, that they too could try to break the "glass ceiling".

Nicola Sturgeon- Nicola became First Minister of Scotland in 2014, and since then she has been raising the profile and power of the SNP. As the only women to hold the position of First Minister and leader of the SNP she has battled with her party to get them to an almost majority within the Scottish Government. Nicola who has been ranked by Forbes as the 50th most powerful women in the world, and second in the United Kingdom, is certainly one of the politician to watch in 2017.

Loretta Lynch- The first African-American women, and second African-American to be appointed Attorney General of the United States of America, Lynch has a long history of helping perceived Civil Rights injustices. Loretta has paved the way not just for women in politics but also for women of African-American descent in a country where people are still judged on the colour of their skin.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

90s Fashion

The 90s is a decade marked by joy and turmoil in equal measures. Along with wars and the rise of terror there was the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and Britney Spear's career was just starting. It was also the decade into which I was born, 1996 to be precise. Like all decades, the '90s had its own distinct style. T-shirts under dresses, flannel shirts, ripped jeans, and who could forget "that" Rachel Green hairstyle. The '90s was an eccletic mix of relaxed styles, grunge and school girl charm- and is a style that has had a resurgence in recent years.'90s style

Personally, I love '90s style.The more relaxed style of mom jeans, over-sized denim and all the trainers a girl could wish for. When not wearing gym clothes, my usual go-to style is Levi mom jeans, converse and a loose comfy top. I decided to mix it up a bit, however, with a pair of dungarees, throwing on a beanie for that '90s "skater boy" chic. Combined with my trusty converse it made for the perfect Sunday afternoon outfit, practical, comfy whilst also looking like you made some effort.
Being a rather short gal', buying dungarees is always tricky, but these ones fom ASOS fit rather well, despite my 5'1" height being made up of short legs and a longer body. The only trouble I have is with the gapes at the side, which can make ones torso rather chilly on rainy day. Short of going for a skinnier fit, which is not so in keeping with the '90s style, I don't think that problem would go away, and I'm greatful for the extra room when it comes to sitting down for dinner!
Both pratical and comfy, you can't go wrong with a bit of '90s style, which is probably why so many university students have seemingly adopted the style in recent years.

  • Wonderwall- Oasis
  • Smells Like Teen Spirit- Nivarna
  • ...Baby One More Time- Britney Spears
  • Wannabe- Spice Girls
  • Song 2- Blur
  • U Can't Touch This- MC Hammer
  • No Diggity- Blackstreet ft. Dr. Dre, Queen Pen
  • Born Slippy- Underworld
  • My Name Is- Eminem
  • Vogue- Madonna
  • Common People- Pulp

Saturday, 8 July 2017

5 Things to Get You Up in the Morning

For any of you who don't know me, I am not a morning person. But I desperately want to be. I long to be able to get up early to watch the sun rise, to have accomplished five things on my to-do list before 9am, or even to just have the time to sit and read as I drink my morning tea.
More often than not though, this is not me. I'm the girl who sets three alarms, then gets up 15 minutes after the third alarm has gone off, and is moody to those around me as I head to the kettle to grab that much needed caffeine. I know that I am better than some at getting up, particularly around my fellow students. I always make time for breakfast, and when at home from University I take my sister to school, necessitating getting up at 7am, something unheard of to the majority of students. But its never done with pleasure, and if I don't have to get up early, I won't.
I desperately want to enjoy getting up in the mornings, and to make it a natural habit before I go out on my own as a fully fledged adult. So I thought I would share with you five things that I am trying out in order to help me become a morning person.
  1. Have a Delicious Breakfast- As a teenager, I was really bad at breakfasts. I would often skip it, or it the tiniest of drop scones before heading out to school. Then as I got into sixth form, my mother started to try lots of different things to get me to eat what is arguably the most important meal of the day. The majority of these solutions involved chocolate. Chocolate curls in cereal, chocolate pop tarts, and my personal favourite, pain au chocolats. And the thing is, this worked for a while, and I began to need breakfast in a morning. Over the last two and a half years I have been on a staple diet of New York Bagels spread with butter, a glass or orange juice, and a cup of tea. And it has got to stop! Two and a half years of the same breakfast day in, day out, is not inspiring. Its not motivating. It is mundane, and boring. My mission from now on is to make interesting breakfasts that I want to eat in the morning, whether that be a omelette and spinach, melon or a delicious breakfast muffin. I also want to experiment with different types of tea, so that I look forward to the new experience every morning.
  2. Morning Yoga- Getting up in the morning for morning yoga is not only a great way to keep fit, but will also set you up for the rest of the day. Making the time in the morning will not only make you feel better about yourself, but will relax you so you are ready to tackle anything that is thrown at you. If you're looking for some great Yoga routines I highly recommend you try DoYouYoga or Cat Meffan's YouTube channels for varying difficulties and lenghts of routines.
  3. Your Favourite Coffee Mug- Sometimes its the simple things in life. Drinking coffee or tea out of your favourite mug can warm your heart and bring a smile to your face. Most of my mugs feature penguins on them, and I recently brought an appropriately festive shaped one to see me through the winter months. If you're ever feeling in need of simple way to brighten your mornings, why not buy yourself a lovely new mug that will have you leaping up in the morning to use it?
  4. Commuter Podcasts- The morning commute can sometimes be Dante's definition of hell. Those long hours sandwiched together, in the rain, the cold, the wind, the multiple stops and changes to the 'oh shit I just stepped in a puddle' moments. A bad commute can set you up for a day of misery. What sane person could look forward to getting up in the morning if they had all that anguish to come? If this is sounding a lot like your daily commute, then why not switch things up with a new podcast. Educational, funny or simply awe-inspiring, podcasts can be a great way to distract you from the outside world. You can learn a new language, get another few pages of that book you are enjoying listened to or laugh out loud as you are mentally transported to another area of the globe. Sure, people on the carriage might move away from you as a result, but that just means more space for you, right?
  5. Grateful Journal- Writing down what you are grateful for each and every morning can be a great and humbling way to start of your day. It can help you to take time out for yourself, whilst also really ocusing your mind for the long day ahead.

So that's it, these are the five little tricks that I'm trying to help me become a morning person, I'll keep you posted about how they go. I would also love to know if you have any tips for feeling inspired to get up in the morning, or if you've tried out any of our recommendations, please let us know in the comments below!

Friday, 7 July 2017

Who Inspires Me

There are many women who inspire me, from politicians, actresses, writers to artists. I am always in awe of women who stand-up for what they believe in, and use their power for good. But if I had to pick one women who inspires me everyday to be a kind and better person, however cliched it may sound, it would have to be my mother.
My mum is a kind and warm person. She is both a mother and a best friend. She can be serious, and be there for me when I need her, but she can also be just like a teenager when she wants to be.
She has worked extremely hard for us all her life. In a car factory, and while she may like the people she works with, its a far cry from the archaeology degree she obtained. When I was little, I didn't understand it. When people's parents used to pick them up from school, and my nanny came, I was jealous. I wanted my Mum to be there, and I didn't understand why. As I got older, I grew to understand why she didn't pick me up from school, and I saw how much she herself didn't enjoy not being able to. I am now thankful that she has worked, and continues to work so hard. It has provided me with opportunities, such as going to Africa, to university, and to New Zealand that I wouldn't have had otherwise. It has provided me with nice things and a warm roof over my head, and most importantly, it has provided me with medical treatment when I needed it.
That need for medical treatment is also the reason why I admire her the most. She gave me her acceptance and help when I needed. When I was sick, she watched and she tried everything she could to help. Of course, it wasn't something she could make go away, but I know that if she could have taken the battle for me, she would have. One time, I remember sitting in a cafe with my Mum, and she became visibly upset. She thought that my illness was her fault, that she hadn't seen it and recognised it when she should have. It was then that I saw how strong she had been pretending to be for me. How worried she was for me, and how much she loved me. Of course it wasn't her fault. She picked me up off the ground everytime she found me there. She wiped my tears away and brought me tea and talked with me. She even sat with me and painstakingly helped me revise for my GCSEs at a time when I was barely in the same room mentally. She drove me every week twenty minutes to a therapist, and she helped me crawl into the car when I was done. She was by my side every step of the way, and I know that I wouldn't be here today writing this, as the person I am, without her love and compassion. And her insistence to never leave my side, even when I wanted her to.
It's only as I've grown older, and watched my sister grow into a teenager, that I've realised how much mothers deal with when raising their children. There's the constant worry for their safety and wellbeing, the drive to see them succeed, and of course the love and sacrifice they give. As the days go by, I grow to appreciate and love both my parents more and more. Even when my mother worked all week, she still made time to bake me the best rocky road, or make the best raffle prize (a stuffed bear, named and dressed in his own little school uniform) to take to my school. She even drove all the way into town, when heavily pregnant with my sister, to buy me Jewish baked goods for my R.E. class.
That is why my Mum is the women who inspires me the most. She may not have run a marathon, been Prime Minister, or been to the moon, but she has selflessly cared for me and been there for me at my worst. She's been there for all my family really, cared for us, laughed with us and cried with us. She gives ridiculous amounts of money to charity, forever offers up our small home as a sanctuary to my friends and bakes them cakes. She may eat all my Christmas chocolates, have silly addictions to magnums and love to drag us around stately homes (not to mention her obsession with The Waltons), but I wouldn't have her any other way, and when I grow up, I hope that I am half the mother she is.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

A New Chapter

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have been working on a secret project for a while now, a project that now unfortunately has been put on hold. But I figured even though I can't afford to continue with my online magazine the way that I had planned, and want to, I can still try to recreate part of it here, on Barefoot Bravery.

I had the idea to start an online magazine for women, to make a community for women to be creative, feel inspired, and feel less lonely in a world that isn't always that welcoming to them. The writers, the bloggers and the creatives who use the power of the web for good, to make someone's day brighter, less lonely, or to inspire them are the kind of people I want to be. I want my content to be personal, creative, funny, meaningful, but also light hearted, and that is where I want to take this blog now.

This month I want to write about all the things that inspire me, be that authors, politicians, art or my friends and family. I hope that you will enjoy the new direction with which I am taking this blog, and I would love if you could let me know in the comments what you think of all the new content.


Monday, 3 July 2017

Things are Changing

Its been over a year since I last wrote for this blog. At the time my life was a whirlwind, I was finishing up my second year of University, I had secured a much desired internship for the summer, and I was working on creating a new online magazine for women. Flash forward one year and almost two months later and I find myself sat alone at the kitchen table having finsihed University, with no plans for the summer, and no money to maintin the online magazine that I had been working on all year. I had dreams of this summer being the best yet, of my move to London, securing an internship in a field I truly cared about, spending time with my boyfriend and friends, and creating online content for a project I had been planning for an entire year. But unfortunately life hasn't worked out the way I wanted it to. It wasn't just that I failed to secure an internship, although that is true, it was as if once one thing started to go wrong, and I lost control of  steering my life in the right direction, more and more things began to fly out of my grasp.

Things began to unravel eleven days before my finals, when I got sick. This resulted in me having my appendix removed a week before my finals, and I had to let go of the grades I had been striving so hard to get. I will still graduate on the 12th July with a 2:1, but it isn't the 1st that I desperately desired. Once my exams were completed, and I believed that I was on the road to recovery, things continued to change, and not in the direction that I wanted them to. The biopsy of my appendix revealed something unexpected, and I was told that I would need more surgery after my graduation to rectify the problem. People tell me that really I am quite lucky, that finding this problem now would save me a lot of pain and anguish in the future, and I am glad. I am glad the problem is minor and easy to fix, but the surgery has prevented me from moving to London when I desired, and with regular doctors appointments and a surgery scheduled for mid-July, has also prevented me from picking up part-time work. This has led me unable to afford to maintain my online magazine, which you, my readers, will never actually get to see, at least not for the forseable future.

Then there were the rest of my plans for the summer, of spending time with my boyfriend and friends, the majority who are in London. Those who are not are busy themselves, working or on holiday. Unforseable circumstances have meant that I have had to cancel many of the things I was looking forward to, a wedding, evenings spent in the park with friends, and spending time with the person who I thought would be with me the most. It turned out I was living in a fairytale, and once I lost the ability to steer my life in the direction I wanted to, the castle and its turrets, the beautiful singing birds, the knight in shining armour and the idea that all would be magical and rosy quickly fell away too. Things changed. I was living in a fairytale until life came and slapped me awake.

Yet, as my plans have been forced to change, and I find myself spending the majority of time alone, waiting for the next doctors appointment, I find myself turning back to this blog for solace and comfort. Those of you who have been with me since the beginning will know that I first started this blog as a form of therapy during a summer very much like this one is turning out to be, spent in solace and awaiting the next doctors appointment. Although my dreams and fairytale vision has ended for now, it doesn't mean that I can't create a better reality, or at least try to. Obviously I can't change the fact that I will have surgery, and doctors observing me and prodding me for the forseable future, but  I can at least change the bits in between. I can work on creating content that I love for a blog that I have unduly neglected for too long. I can work on myself, and becoming the person that I want to be for myself, and not for others. I can finally graduate from the place I spent the last three years of my life, the place that has helped mould me into the person I am today.

Life may not have gone the way I wanted it, nor expected it. I may now, more than ever feel alone and out of place, and wildly unsucessful compared to the group of talented people I have chosen to surround myself with. But to do nothing would be to accept defeat, and if there's one thing that the turmoil of the past month and a half has taught me is that I, Hope Butler, am not preapared to roll over and accept fate. I want to change. I want to change myself, my situation, and change fate. And this blog may just be the place to start.

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