What’s Been On My Mind This Week

Question Mark

1. At this week’s annual Stonewall Equality Dinner, Acting Chief Executive Ruth Hunt made an impassioned speech. Someone filmed it on his mobile phone and has kindly uploaded it to Youtube. The quality of the video might not be great, but Hunt’s speech is brilliant. Stonewall have also launched their latest campaign, NoBystanders, and you can watch the video and get involved here.

2. There was much in the press – and on all our social media feeds – about going makeup free for breast cancer, and the fact that over £1 million has been raised. It’s hard to argue against such brilliant results, and of course it’s important to be raising money for the fight against such a devastating disease that will affect most of us – directly or indirectly – at some point in our lives. However, I must admit to having an issue with two things: first of all with the fact that not wearing makeup is seen to be brave (thus feeding the problem of the objectification of women and the impossible ideals of physical beauty that girls grow up dealing with), and secondly with the fact that cancer is ugly and brutal, and posting a ‘selfie’ of one’s naked face, instead of drawing attention to the realities of the disease, does the opposite. Read Shelley Silas’s blog on the subject; she’s far more eloquent than me.

3. If you follow me on Twitter you will have seen me mention wonderful restaurant Honey & Co many times. It’s right around the corner from my office – and indeed has become something of an office canteen for many of us – and is run by a husband-and-wife team who make the most amazing Middle Eastern food, from breakfast through to dinner, with delicious cakes in between. It’s tiny, with only twenty covers and very little space between the tables, but that just adds to its charm. It’s also a great spot for vegetarians.

4. Author and friend of mine Kerry Hudson has launched a brilliant new initiative to provide free mentoring for female writers: The WoMentoring Project. The website is coming soon, but in the meantime you can follow (and support) on Twitter.

5. This week I read The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh. Set during a sweltering summer holiday in Mallorca, The Lemon Grove is a gripping literary novel of female desire and sexuality. It’s steamy but never tawdry, passionate but never clichéd. Furthermore, not only is Walsh excellent at relationships between the sexes, but also at the complexities of that between mother and daughter.

6. I’m currently listening to The National’s brilliant album High Violet. The combination of Matt Berninger’s distinctive, melancholy baritone and wonderful, challenging lyrics reaches a new level on this, their fifth album (now succeeded by last year’s Trouble Will Find Me). Just listen to the fourth track, Little Faith, and you’ll see what I mean.

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