Vote Coco (not really…)

A Girl, A Style _ Vote coco
I hope you won’t mind, but I thought I’d return from my unofficial blogging hiatus with something a little different to my normal programming. Despite the usually hyper-feminine tone of this blog, many of you will know that by day I actually have a serious job as a political advisor in Westminster.

I’ve been working in politics since 2002, when I first went to Washington to intern for a Senator; my office was on the same marbled corridor as Ted Kennedy and Hilary Clinton, and President Bush was just about to launch a war in Iraq. Although I was always raised to be politically aware and to play an active part in society, in those first months ‘on the inside’, I came to realise first-hand what a very real and direct impact politics has on all of our lives. And for me, there was no turning back from there. I wanted to be a part of of this world; to help others, to make a difference and, in my own small way, to help shape those policies for the better.

On May 7th, the UK goes to the polls to decide who will govern the country for the next five years. Casting your vote is one of the biggest, if not the most significant, decision you will make all year. Yet even though we live in a world where still individuals struggle and sacrifice and die for the right to vote, at the last General Election in 2010, only 54% of women my age voted. That means almost half of my female peers had no say in their democracy and the very laws which shape our nation and daily lives.

But here’s the catch: whether you take an interest in politics or not, it still directly impacts on your life every single day. From the sweeping general issues; the national economy (the strength of which determines how much tax you pay, whether jobs are being created and paying well, how affordable your mortgage is, and so on), the government services we all need to access at some point in our lives (the infrastructure and innovation the government invests in, the schools our future children will go to, the NHS we turn to when we’re sick) and the social policies that define us as a society (ensuring that every individual in our society enjoys equality of rights, how we treat those different to us, how we look after our most needy and vulnerable) to the specific; maternity leave, closing the gender pay gap, reproductive rights, equal marriage, the extent to which the government interferes in our private lives…. you get the picture.

Truthfully — despite what Karl Lagerfeld and his S/S’15 band of Chanel-clad protesters may suggest — it’s certainly not glamorous (and we shouldn’t actually ‘Vote Coco’, obviously), the characters rarely resemble President Bartlet or Sam Seaborn, and most days it feels more like a ruthless grind than a glorious victory. But oh, there is nothing more beautiful than a democracy in which, however briefly, we are all equal participants.

If you do just one thing that matters this week, then have your say at the ballot box. We owe it to the suffragettes and all those who are still yearning for that same right we get to exercise tomorrow.

Love, Miss B xx

Image via Pinterest (from Vogue Korea March 2015)

 

On What I’ve Been Up To…

Back at the office: Big Ben

Some of you may know that since my trip to the US, I’ve been on a career sabattical. Although, after 3 degrees and a wealth of work experience in that field alone, politics seemed my natural path, I’d always fancied myself as a fashion writer. Deciding that  if I don’t try these things before I’m 30 I might never have the chance again, I began to entertain the idea more and more. So when my previous Westminster job came to a natural end, and all the signs began to point in one direction, I decided to take a few months out to try something different.

And so I came to try the fashion world on for size.

Since August, I’ve been working with the wonderful LibertyLondonGirl* as her Editorial Associate, and dabbling in all manner of fabulous adventures in the world of fashion as a result. I attended the shows of my favourite designers at Fashion Week, met supermodels and icons backstage, come face to face with Anna Dello Russo’s fantastical style, attended the A-list soirees with the fashion glitterati (though secretly, I’m just as happy at home in my pyjamas), had afternoon tea with Lulu Guinness, and met some generally lovely, inspiring and simultaneously talented and fashionable people.

A Fashion Week favourite: Charles Anastase S/S ’11

However, this designer shoe habit doesn’t pay for itself, and I’m realistic enough to know that completely re-establishing oneself in a new field takes a lot of time, effort, and putting in of hard yards. As I’ve becomed too accustomed to the comforts of a regular salary to continue to live off my savings forever, I decided that this is a path I would pursue on the side at a somewhat slower, though no less enthusiatic, pace over the next year or so. And just as I arrived at this conclusion, the stars all seemed to align in my favour, and I had a job offer which was too good to refuse.

Which brings me to why I’ve been a bad blogger the past week. Last week I started my new role and I was so exhausted by having to transform back into a serious political advisor, that I had no energy left for creative thought. But I’m back, invigorated by everything I’ve experienced, and ready to share new loves and experiences with you, my ever lovely readers.

So tell me, have you ever taken a leap of faith or made any drastic life changes yourself?

Love, Miss B xx

* which seemed wonderfully serendipidous; when I first moved to the UK, her blog rapidly became a daily must-read and guided me through the trials and tribulations of becoming an expat.