Conversation about Yoga


 

I’m rarely on Facebook (or Face Ache) as an old friend used to call it. Twitter is a more natural fit for me. But when I logged on to see yet more notifications, knowing they would be mostly trivia about friends of friends lives, I stumbled across this stunningly beautiful video of a girl on a beach doing yoga.

There are so many videos online, that we are in danger of becoming visually overloaded. That’s actually the point of yoga: de-cluttering your body and your mind. Ridding yourself of the constant overload and stimulus of modern life: food, stress, racing-thoughts and just allowing yourself to BE. Each movement carefully designed to exercise your body and your mind in perfect universal harmony.

I hope this video makes you feel as calm and uplifted as it did me.

 

Enjoy and BE at Peace.

 

© Suzy Rigg

Writing every word.

 

Conversation about everyday life


Conversation Between Friends about theatre

Conversation Between Friends about theatre

The photo above is one I took of a local theatre, the Hampton Hill Playhouse. I love the word ‘playhouse’ as it sounds so much more accessible than ‘theatre’ which can sound a bit highbrow.

Anyway, I snapped it on one of the scorching days in August (2014) and managed to get a shot of it minutes before loads of cars and people walked in front of it. I like the sense of history in this photo – if you fade it into black and white in your mind’s eye, it could have looked like this a hundred year’s ago, minus the cars of course. The Hampton Hill Playhouse is modern and a purpose-built construction used by local theatre, ballet and operatic societies. It’s a great local building and an important part of the character of this Hampton Hill. The building has a solid and welcoming structure, which will hopefully become a longstanding part of the architecture of this South West London hamlet.

It’s important to appreciate your local environment, to examine familiar scenes you may walk past every day and not think too much about.

Here are a few other pics very local to me, every day scenes, reflecting images I see almost without looking. Thinking about these pictures reminds me in sharp contrast of some of the cruel and bitter images I see on the news of daily heartbreak, destruction and misery. I feel the need even more acutely, to capture some of the ordinary images of my daily life and remind myself how extraordinarily blessed I am to look upon these things as the norm.

Conversation about cats? The internet is full of them!

Conversation about cats? The internet is full of them! Next door’s cat

Conversation Between Friends lovely charity shops

Conversation Between Friends lovely charity shops

 

If you’re a theatre lover, check out the programme here..http://www.hamptonhillplayhouse.org.uk/

Incidentally reader, I haven’t been paid to write this piece by the theatre company, but I’m passionate about the arts and think it’s a good thing to pass on the details, it helps the theatre to thrive and supports local acting, musical and artistic talent.

Suzy Rigg

© Writing every word

Girl Guides: Never out of fashion


Girl Guides can delight in their new uniform – in highly fashionable ‘block’ colours of red and blue with the emphasis on comfort.

I looked at the Girl Guides website and saw lots of images of girls in fields in wellies, hard hats and broad smiles.

 

Conversation about Girl Guiding: we love your new uniform

Conversation about Girl Guiding: we love your new uniform

It’s a great advertisement for carefree and confident young women, women who will develop into highly competent doctors, scientists, mothers and entrepreneurs. Recent reports indicate that the pay gap between men and women has increased, there is still fierce competition to attain board room or even senior management status in companies up and down the land.

This is why I support the guiding movement, as I see it fills a widening equality gap in society. Women, I believe, need the full gamut of skills in their repertoire to even attempt to successfully manage all that will be demanded of them as young and not-so-young adults.

Guiding also pitches other women as friends, colleagues or associates and not ‘the enemy’. A great psychological starting point and a healthy one to take into the wider world.

The new uniform was also a success story for fashion students at the University of Bournemouth

http://aub.ac.uk/course-info/course-news/ba-hons-fashion-students-lead-guides-uniform-redesign/

 

Guides, shine your guiding lights as you go out into the world and have fun whilst you do so!

 

© Suzy Rigg

Writing every word

 

Finance Tips for Freelancers


If you’re a freelance marketer, writer, in fact if you ‘sell’ your talent or skill in return for a fee, this article is for you. In most of my conversations between friends about freelancing, we hit upon the same issues with regards to charging and negotiation. So, I have curated a together a couple of practical guides that will help you when you come to negotiating with your clients. The second article is written is by yours truly! So read and enjoy, be your best and be successful!

<div style=”margin-bottom:5px”> <strong> <a href=”https://www.slideshare.net/FreshBooks/breakingthe-timebarrierfromfreshbooks&#8221; title=”Pricing strategy for freelancers and small business” target=”_blank”>Pricing strategy for freelancers and small business</a> </strong> from <strong><a href=”http://www.slideshare.net/FreshBooks&#8221; target=”_blank”>FreshBooks</a></strong> </div>

http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2hxVdE/eZvIJBYM:M!ljoJ1h/www.financetalking.com/pages/resources/careers-uk/careers-toolbox.php?id=119&title=Finance%20Careers%20-%20Tips%20for%20freelancers%20-%20by%20Suzy%20Rigg

 

 

© Suzy Rigg

Writing every word

 

Brum or Bust? A fuzzy picture for local TV


The West Midland’s central hub, Birmingham is as good a place as any to set up a local TV network. Vibrant, diverse, lots of larger than life characters and more than a smattering of talent. It’s one of the best places in England to have a conversation about community cohesion. So why did Birmingham’s City TV go bust? Perhaps the timetable was too ambitious? Or the costs ran out of control. Was it the reluctance of advertisers to see the value in the local pound? On the whole, the big advertising spenders, the major auto, household product, FMCG, and telecoms brands are a rather conservative bunch when it comes to buying media. Not in terms of advertisement creativity or execution, no, there’s a spaghetti junction of creativity here. My guess is it’s the advertisers’ lack of surety about getting a decent return on the advertising expenditure.

 

The Rotunda, Birmingham City Centre

The Rotunda, Birmingham City Centre

Think about it, if you were a major car brand would you pay to advertise to a local market or pay a advertise to the whole nation? The media buyer can already ‘cut up’ media into regional slices so what is the real advantage of local telly? Getting into the heart of the people. That’s what. Understanding the challenges local communities face in employment, housing and social cohesion. Working out solutions for local issues: job losses, influx of new communities: the opportunity to examine communities how they live now and how they used to live, forensically. The editorial advantages of local TV would certainly benefit local policy-makers and potentially advertisers, but it’s a question of revenue and expediency. Reviewing the schedule for #LondonLive there’s an acceptable dose of local London stories but a whole lot of mainstream programming which is I guess keeps audiences locked in and the advertisers happy.  It’s the typical journalistic conundrum: how do you give the audience what they want, the advertisers what they want and keep your editor happy?

There is no easy solution to this one, but I truly hope that a successful formula is found to use local TV as the emollient for some or our dry, cracked communities, providing entertainment, debate, and deeper understanding of the people you share a city with.

An update about Sheffield TV and how they are overcoming their funding challenges: http://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2014/aug/15/local-tv-sheffield?CMP=ema_546

Well, there’s no harm is hoping.

 

Conversation Between Friends about community cohesion

Conversation Between Friends about community cohesion

 

© Suzy Rigg

Writing every word

 

Charlie & the ‘Doll’ Face book cover


When every word of copy is checked and perfected, what else do you need to sell a book? A strong cover, and that’s exactly what Penguin has delivered! But has the publisher gone too far?

 

 

Publishing uses of PR

Publishing uses of PR

When I first saw this article, my initial response was mild shock and ‘yuk, this image is borderline tasteless.’ Then I thought again: a whole article on BBC online, this blog post and probably many more with a wide range of editorial opinion ranging from approving or disapproving and the arguments for and against. In terms of possible media coverage, a strong cover sells the book in publishing, especially, as in this case where both the author and the story are well-known.

Publishers face many challenges in the digital age to meet sales targets because books consumers ‘consume’ books differently: they are downloaded, borrowed, purchased second-hand or worse of all – not read at all! It is a clever and bold publisher who understands these challenges and decides to attack using the area of social media customers utilise most: the visual or artwork. This cover has been cleverly chosen to work across all image platforms: Instagram, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook and is controversial enough to provoke plenty of ‘likes’ or ‘dislikes’, the result being that all of this provides great reader engagement, more than if the re-issue been published using tamer artwork.

I thought that the little girl was supposed to represent Verucca Salt, but Penguin says denies this. Perhaps she is an extreme generic representation of the sort of 21st century girl, who aspires to be perfect, pretty, doll-like, vacuous and 100% pink. No-one springs to mind.

 

Book cover photography copyright of Penguinbooks

© Suzy Rigg

Writing every word

 

 

It’s Summer! Let your kids play in the street


Well, not literally in the traffic, but how about it? Every year the conversation between parents about leaving children to play unsupervised comes around regularly, especially during the long summer holidays. I used to play in my road, but it was a cul-de-sac so I wasn’t in any real danger of being knocked down by a car. But it was freedom. Total freedom to dig around, talk nonsense with the other kids who spoke the same language, and play until your parent called you inside for a meal, or sometimes came looking for you!

This wasn’t an idyll of being left to roam around in woodland or forests or anything else magical, it was a plain old inner city cul-de-sac. But it was where we lived.

Radiantlady wishes for a world where children can be free to play in safety. Photo courtesy of FlynetPictures.com

Radiantlady wishes for a world where children can be free to play in safety.
Photo courtesy of FlynetPictures.com

 

I read an article recently about a working mother in the States who was reported to the police for leaving her child playing in a municipal playground with other kids – while she went to work. It was a playground her daughter was familiar with but it was the fact that there was no hovering mum or parent or even older sibling that got strangers talking. Another case featured a woman, desperate to find work, who’d locked her children safely inside a hot car, while she attended an interview.

There are multiple issues at play here: cost of childcare, risks to children, parental responsibility, personal opinion, age and maturity of the child or children, time of day that the child is left alone… it’s a long list with many variants.

In our family, we started our summer holiday simply and cheaply: a trip to the charity shop to stock up on summer reading materials, a cheeky iced coffee for mum and a fishing net from the hardware store. Quite low tech. Like hundreds of parents, I will be juggling the need for childcare due to work commitments with the desire to create a carefree sense of abandonment from daily routine, for the summer holiday.

Reading these press articles you realise that half of you is wishing for Utopia and the other half, is rooted in reality. You also realise, that most parents take risks with their children; calculated risks – the first time they go on the bus alone, the first walk round to the corner shop.  Playing outside all day with no adult supervision, is different, but is it any safer than the walk to school or a sleepover? We have a modern day paranoia about child molesters and the like. But we only need to read the news and know a drop about history to acknowledge that the ‘bad’ person is not a modern bogeyman; he’s always been there.

So what to do?

1. Trust your instincts

2. Teach your child the basics of what to do if…(fill in your own blanks here, we parents are pretty good as frightening the skin off ourselves!)

3. Give your child freedom, but try if first in small groups, with three or four kids near their age and an older one?

4. Put your mobile number on your child’s hand or inside a lunch box or something they have with them.

5. Teach your child the safe meeting place to go to in case they get lost.

I’m not an expert on child protection and not suggesting you book the first flight to Australia having given your kids a quick run through! Just thinking of things we can do to give our children the confidence to be independent beings in a world that often feels unsteady.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this one!

It’s a balancing act, but no-one said parenting was easy.

 

© Suzy Rigg

Writing every word

 

 

Vintage Fashion


Just had to show you this ‘wow’ necklace I picked up from a flea market in Paris. Oh, all right then, it was from a charity shop in South West London. But you’ve got to live the dream, eh?

 

Conversation Between Friends loves vintage

Conversation Between Friends loves vintage

And for the fashionista sistas… my words of wisdom are:

” A piece of jewellery this eye-catching needs to take centre stage; keep the rest of your clothing muted and your make up subtle. Otherwise you may end up looking like that pantomime dame. Never a good look. Thank you for your attention, darlings”

 

© Suzy Rigg

Loom Bands craze, a parent’s badge of honour


Loopy Loomband

Suzy’s Loom: Adorning the end of my arm is an eye-catching traditional fishtail loomband, in topical, tropical summer coral hues.

In this next photo, Jake is modelling a hand-made rainbow selection whilst he entertains his chums on the guitar:

Radiantlady loves guitarists

Radiantlady loves guitarists

We bumped into a mother of a girl aged about nine and we had a conversation about loom bands and the fact that at work, nearly everyone round the meeting room table had on a loom band. Perhaps they should be called ‘love bands’ as wearing them demonstrates a real act of love for your child when you are at work; a bold statement to the world that you are a parent and YES! you will wear rubber band jewellery if it’s made by the fair hand of your offspring.

I smiled inwardly. How far things have come since I was a young single working mum, too afraid to tell her employers that I had a little girl. What a curious charm these bands are, uniting working parents in such a subtle way. The best thing about this craze is that it’s market driven, the kids love ‘em so they make them and wear them and so do you. It’s a far stronger message than any political campaign could dream of aspiring to.

Educationally they are great too, as they demand good hand eye-co-ordination, good manual dexterity, the ability to follow instructions and contain the in-build motivation of a cool band at the end of it.

Try a few yourself, it’s a great way to relax with your children and stay cool this summer.

 

Suzy Rigg

 

Conversation about your environment


Can you spot the robin?

Can you spot the robin?

I’m sure this is not particular to London dwellers, but we are as guilty as many who live in beautiful and wealthy cities but do not take full advantage of them. Conversation Between Friends believes that we are all part of a micro-community as well as the larger ‘society’. In some ways because the larger society and social cohesion is becoming so fractured, it’s more important than ever to belong or be part of something local.

 

IMG_0440

Beautiful black swans

I actually visited the Wetlands Centre in the heart of Barnes with my family although I have driven past it more times that I can remember. It was an oasis in the heart of an affluent suburb. The the only things that were rich and showy were the spectacular birds and wildfowl. We paid for a family ticket through Living Social, which meant the entry price was fairly well discounted. The face value entry price was one of the reasons why we haven’t visited before.

We spent five hours there and it was five, slow relaxing hours in which we learned or were reminded of the value of water, in particular fresh water to our delicate eco-system, of which humans are playing a dominating part.

I learned that only 3% of water in the world is freshwater. I considered the complexities of town planning if you live in a flood plain. I learned about more animals and wild life that are nearing extinction and what we can each do to reduce this race against time. I watched a sickening video about the layers of cooking fat that are congealed and blocked under London’s busiest streets. I was reminded about the importance of teaching our children to be global citizens and aware of the world around them and their impact on it.

 

Utterly Otter-ley

But most of all, I learned not to ignore the hidden treasures on all of our doorsteps. Some of them are free, some aren’t, some need your entry fee to continue their good works, some are just another way to get to know your neighbourhood better, and really understand your place in it.

 

© Suzy Rigg