Hello everyone, I hope you are all well.
I have spent the last week in Barbados shooting our Spring Summer campaign which I can't wait to share with you. I'm under strict instructions not to share too much too soon.
Barbados is one of my favourite places on earth for many reasons. I am a huge fan of the East side of the island. We based ourselves in Bathsheba which, for those of you who have been to Barbados will know, is wild and crazy. The coastline is rocky and rugged. The wind bellows through the palms and everywhere you go the background noise is that of great big waves breaking. I don't think I've ever been anywhere where I have felt so close to nature. Anyway more of that to come...
For now I want to talk about Women. International Women's Day is on March 8th and I want to talk about the women I admire and am inspired by. Today, in Barbados, I sit with my Mum, Hilary, my sisters, Helen and Lynn, 2 of my Mums close friends, Carol and Gail, and 2 of my childhood friends, Louise and Katrina. Each and every one of these women are my superheroes. Each with their own story and their own unique journey. I know so much about them. I know their stories. I know their struggles. I know their heartbreak. I know how they navigated themselves through adversity and how they came out the other side.
When I think of them I think of this quote by the brilliant Elizabeth Gilbert :
The women I love and admire for their strength and grace, did not get that way because shit worked out.
They got that way because shit went wrong, and they handled it. They handled it on a thousand different ways, in a thousand different days, but they handled it.
These women are my superheroes.
Carol and Gail both lost grandchildren in recent years. Not only did they carry their own personal heartbreak but they carried the heartbreak of their children. As I write I am having to fight back the tears remembering seeing how completely broken they were but also seeing how strong they were and had to be for their family.
Louise diagnosed with a very rare cancer a few years ago. The initial shock was devastating but 4 years later she gets up every morning with a big smile embracing the day with almost palpable positivity and joy. Her love of life is intoxicating.
Katrina who's family own a haulage company, thinks nothing of driving an articulated lorry all day any day as well as the million other things she packs in.
My sister Helen and Lynn, Helen a self taught interior designer, started her first business in her early 20's and has built an incredible brand. Raised 3 wonderful kids and has a great marriage. Lynn has raised 2 amazing boys completely by herself and runs a very successful business in Sports Marketing.
Finally my Mum. For any of you who follow me on Instagram, you'll know my Mum or The Queen as she is affectionally known. Mum is one of 13 children and the highlight of my week as a child were our twice weekly visits to my Grandparents and as many of my Aunts and Uncles that might have been there at the time. Have you any idea how many cousins I have!! Mum helped raise her siblings. She was number 3 !!!
Mum married my Father when she 21. They worked together from day one and together were a formidable alliance both personally and in business. Over the years they experienced many highs but they also had their fair share of lows. A few health scares, the loss of loved ones, some unbearably sad and the general shit that life throws at us all.
Mum and Dad were married 60 years. In the last 10 years they were never happier. I loved seeing them together. I loved seeing Dads eyes light up when she walked in the room. I loved how he loved seeing her laugh and have fun and how sad it made him if she was sad.You never saw one without the other. They did everything together.
Dad was driving home from work on the 27th August 2020 and was involved in a fatal car accident. I can not find the words to explain Mums heartbreak and pain. Without Raymond, my Father, she could not see any reason to live. Her world totally collapsed.
Today, a year and a half later, we sit with Mum. We talk about Dad all the time. We laugh, we cry (alot), we remember and we miss him so very very much but the shit went wrong and she handled it. Mum you are my Superhero and my inspiration every minute, every hour and every day.
Thank you for the inspiration girls and to all the women that deal with the adversity that life throws at them and they handle it.
Big love to all you wonderful women.