Writer and editor

How to Sliding Doors Your Life

Added on by Hattie Crisell.

You’re 17 years old. You have no idea what you want to be when you grow up, but you apply for a geography degree – and you’re successful. Off you go to university, and towards the end of your final year, you attend a career fair where you are wooed into a conversation with an accountancy firm that’s giving out free mugs. When you graduate, you train as an accountant – because that’s a great career, isn’t it? You keep ticking along, until a decade or two later, when you’re forced to confront an uncomfortable fact: that you dread work every Monday, and your life is making you miserable.

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Elizabeth Gilbert, and Eliminating the Notion of Happily Ever After

Added on by Hattie Crisell.

Our storytelling culture encourages us to expect the kind of straightforward narrative arc we see on screen, and that’s one of the reasons that adulthood can often be so painful. “I thought I’d be making good money by now,” we think, or “I thought I’d have two kids,” – and that disappointment, the shock of an unscheduled change of plan, really wounds us. But life isn’t organised in this way, and we must all learn not to expect it: it’s an unpredictable cycle of the good, the bad and the ugly, and therein lies its magic.

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Is It Now OK to Call a Woman a "Bitch"?

Added on by Hattie Crisell.

As anyone following the American election race will know, events involving Donald Trump scraped the barrel of what is usually acceptable in politics many, many months ago. These days, the most appalling news from the Republican camp can pass with barely an exhausted eye-roll from onlookers – so it was strange to find myself shocked by a recent article in New York Magazine. ‘How “Bitch” Became the Word of the Republican National Convention,’ declared the piece by Annie Lowrey – the headline accompanied by an extraordinarily offensive photograph of a Trump supporter carrying a blow-up doll, its face covered with a Hillary Clinton mask.

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Can Ballet Be Body-Positive?

Added on by Hattie Crisell.

I was three years old, painfully shy and totally uncoordinated when I started ballet classes. I’m not an athletic person – later, I would fake period pain every week in an attempt to avoid swimming or PE – but, thanks to those classes, I always danced. I attended ballet two or three times a week for about 15 years, and it taught me to stand up tall and take control of my unruly arms and legs; it gave me pride in my body as a functional machine. I cared about alignment and extension – I cared enough to point my feet so hard that my knees almost bent backwards. I’m one of many women who never had a shot at being a ballerina, but who were indelibly marked by the dance training they had as kids.

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Can OMGYes Help to Eliminate 10 Years of Bad Sex?

Added on by Hattie Crisell.

“I think that women and their partners are still trying to figure out how you talk about sex – how you talk about parts of the vulva, how you talk about how it is that you want to be touched,” says Dr Debby Herbenick, assistant professor at the Indiana University School of Health, and researcher at the famed Kinsey Institute. She’s discussing the rationale behind Lydia Daniller and Rob Perkins' sex-ed website OMGYes.com, for which she carried out the first ever large-scale, nationally representative American study on the specifics of women’s pleasure. “A lot of people don’t really have the words for that, in the way that we have words for sexual positions, for example.”

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A Change Is Often a Whole Lot Better Than a Rest

Added on by Hattie Crisell.

The visual food we give our brains is not a trivial matter. For most people, sight is the primary sense; it feeds us information when we aren’t even paying attention. Reframing your life in a new setting – changing up the backdrop against which you process experiences and make decisions – can help you see tired problems with fresh eyes.

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Would You Describe Yourself as British or European?

Added on by Hattie Crisell.

Right now, immersed in a bitter debate before the EU Referendum, our connection to the mainland feels fraught and strained under the scrutiny. We’ll still be Europeans if we leave the EU of course – we’re not voting to abandon the continent – but unavoidably, what we decide will reflect how engaged we feel with our sister nations. In the same way that opting out of the family Whatsapp group or declining to attend the office party can become an action laden with subtext, distancing ourselves from the EU sends out a clear message to the neighbours: we’re different.

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The TV Show That Calls BS on the Term "Little Old Lady"

Added on by Hattie Crisell.

Grace And Frankie, the comedy drama about two divorcees whose husbands ran off with each other, is the only show I’m aware of, other than The Golden Girls, that focuses on a glorious generation of women over 70. It unashamedly talks about their ambitions, their sex lives, their bodies and their opinions with an honesty that I have never seen elsewhere – plus a humour and matter-of-factness that entirely normalises the conversation. It is, without hyperbole, ground-breaking television.

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The Therapeutic Benefits of a Train Journey

Added on by Hattie Crisell.

Train journeys, to me, are heaven. They provide a priceless gift: inescapable downtime and the sensation of mental space. Unlike driving, they allow the traveller not just to relax, but to dream, detached from the demands of real life. Nobody can ask anything of you when you’re travelling; train wi-fi is still temperamental enough that, often, they can’t even reach you. While your body is transported from A to B, your mind is free to do what it likes. 

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5 Ways the World Has Changed For Women During the Queen’s Lifetime

Added on by Hattie Crisell.

The Queen is part of an age group that has witnessed perhaps the most radical social changes of any generation so far. Her peers have gone from using mangles every day to unwrapping iPads at Christmas – from queuing for the phonebox to Skyping their great-grandchildren. More poignantly, hers is the generation of women for whom brothers and husbands were lost in their droves in the Second World War, bringing women into jobs on the home front and heralding a drastic change in our domestic roles. Looking back at the developments of the last 90 years, often what is surprising isn’t just the limitations that were once placed on women’s freedom, but how recently some of those restrictions were lifted. 

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Making the Case For a 4-Day Week

Added on by Hattie Crisell.

The economist John Maynard Keynes must be turning in his grave. In 1930, he predicted that within the next century, we’d have solved so many of the world’s problems that we would only need to work 15 hours a week. He was right that our species would make unprecedented progress in that time – but it has not resulted in the “Great! So I’ll spend Wednesday to Sunday on my reading” mentality that he anticipated.

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Learning to Like Yourself, Just as You Are

Added on by Hattie Crisell.

“I’ve only just started it, but I’m already certain it’s going to make me into the person I’ve always wanted to be.” This was a text message that I sent to my sister in January, after buying a copy of Marie Kondo’s now legendary self-help book, The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying. Spoiler alert: I remain the same person, and my home remains an unmagical mess.

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In Praise of Doing It Yourself

Added on by Hattie Crisell.

In 2016, it is neither unusual to be a woman who is good at DIY, nor to be a man who is useless at it. I’ve come to these new skills in my early thirties, and when I told my male friends what I’d been up to, most of them admitted they were as clueless as me. The wartime generations before us were practical and resourceful, because they had to be. Today, our technical skills are used to build websites and twiddle with Instagram filters; doing anything with a hammer feels a bit retro.

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Why Does Everyone Love a Bargain?

Added on by Hattie Crisell.

There’s something about a bargain that is hugely pleasing to the human soul. Maybe you just happened to walk past a market stall as they were knocking a quid off the daffodils – however big or small, any product acquired for less than its RRP feels like a job well done.

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