Refreshed in the Heat

By Leila Sackur 

We didn’t expect it to be this hot. It’s 35 degrees in Chicago, despite being mid- September. It’s the middle of the day and we are on the boardwalk of Lake Michigan. The pale concrete reflects the light of the too- bright sun and we are squinting as we walk. My hair is clinging to the back of my neck.

My twin brother and I are here for 6 days before we move on to Detroit, and then Ann Arbor, and then Grand Rapids, and then back again. And then we will go back to university- second year, and restart everything all over.

It feels weirdly poignant to be in the US now. We were born here, in Washington D.C., but we haven’t returned in years. The only thing I have left to show of my American identity is that I’m still able to recite the pledge of allegiance; an old patriotism learned in kindergarten turned sour by a teenhood political awakening. But still, it feels odd to be back in the country where I formed my childhood memories in the summer before I turn 20. Because I judge the age of 20 as “Official Adulthood”, so this feels strangely circular, a rite of passage.

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By Jane O’Connor

My journey back over to Cambridge felt like a perfect summary of my process of returning here as a whole. In the first instance, Ryanair seemed to have lost my suitcase, and so I spent an hour in tears, hanging around Stansted Airport, until it mysteriously showed up on a completely different luggage belt, a wee bit scuffed but otherwise none the worse for wear.

From there, I thought – this is okay. This is normal. And so, I proceeded to Stansted train station only to be treated to the announcement that all trains to Cambridge were cancelled for the weekend. Brilliant. With some difficulty, I found the bay for the replacement coach – which wasn’t due for another hour and a half. When I did catch this coach, it took nearly a further hour to arrive in Cambridge – all in all, my journey was delayed by over three hours. It felt like a symbolic final hurdle.

Continue reading Homecoming

Aisle Style #1: Bright lights, big supermarket

Having heard the audacious claim that ‘every walk is a catwalk’, Mini Smith and Xanthe Fuller, self-professed (and probably incorrectly) style correspondents, thought they would test this theory in every walk of life. Following a short and spontaneous brain-storm, Mini and Xanthe took to the most obvious catwalk of all. With long strips of grey linoleum upon which one must sashay regularly and a plethora of fashionable individuals on the hunt for their daily bread, we hit the Sainsbury’s aisles to search for the tastiest style in town, and my oh my, it was tasty.

Hannah and Beth, Sidney third years 

Potato waffles have never looked so New Wave!

Has your style changed with third year?

B: I think I’ve just stopped trying as hard as I did in first year. In first year, I was very conscious of what I was wearing, but now if I like something I buy it regardless of style.

Do you have any style icons?

H: Millie Mackintosh.

How would you describe your style?

B: I pretty much just stick with black, white and grey, but I’m a big fan of pastel pink. So, everything I own is either black or pastel pink.

And finally: if your style were a supermarket item, what item would it be? We feel like you are tasty but essential.

B: Egg-noodles, ready for a stir fry!

H: I don’t know, I normally wear a lot of pink, so…

B: You’re definitely that bright pink Smirnoff sorbet.

Continue reading Aisle Style #1: Bright lights, big supermarket

Grad Talk: Becca Naylor on a different kind of law

While many interpret working in anything remotely corporate as ‘selling your soul’, Law graduate Becca Naylor shows that there’s more to a traditional Law firm than meets the eye. Having always been passionate about human rights, Becca managed to make it the subject of her everyday professional life as a full-time Pro Bono associate and Reed Smith’s Pro Bono Manager across Europe, The Middle East and Asia. Snatching a moment in an international tour (of the Reed Smith offices), Becca speaks to Cambridge Girl Talk about serendipitous school talks, hockey, and her anything but ordinary professional life.

Interview by Xanthe Fuller

So, what do you do now?

I’m a pro bono lawyer at Reed Smith, I’m responsible for managing our pro bono work across Europe the Middle East and Asia. Pro bono is the free legal advice we provide to charities, non-profits and low income individuals. We work alongside amazing charities to support refugees, prisoners, victims of domestic violence and work on projects to combat human trafficking and female genital mutilation.

Becca Naylor


How did you get there?

Nick Yarris came to speak at my school when I was 16, he inspired me to study law. Nick was on death row for over 20 years before he was exonerated. I was shocked by this and other injustices. I started to follow the work of Clive Stafford Smith and Reprieve.

I went on to study law at university, applied for vacation schemes and training contracts and did the LPC in London. In the gap before starting my training contract I  volunteered at Reprieve in their abuses in counter terrorism team, assisting with their work on Guantanamo Bay, drone strikes, and torture and rendition cases. I then started my training contract at Reed Smith and at the first opportunity went on our pro bono secondment to Liberty where I worked in their advice and information team. During my training contract the pro bono role became available and I applied for the job, I then did my training contract and the pro bono role for a year and when I qualified I became a full time pro bono lawyer.

Continue reading Grad Talk: Becca Naylor on a different kind of law