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

#summerstories: Stress And The City

This summer I made the fatal mistake (yet one I make every year) of thinking the next twelve weeks were going to be some kind of mind-and-body boot camp, thanks to the rose-gold glow of Instagram and its hoard of inflatable flamingo-straddling models, all of whom I forget are paid to bleach their teeth and drink shitty tea. Like every summer to date, I started this one with ambitions of returning for my third year well-read, well-dressed, and with 1% body fat. I would be living in London for two internships, and couldn’t imagine a more glamorous and grown-up setting in which I could finally emerge from my self-constructed cocoon of cake and anti-depressants.

Joking aside, I had also convinced myself that being busy at work, finally taking up some form of exercise, and catching up with old friends would surely subdue the depression which has been largely controlling my life for the past year or two, and which few of my friends know about. My second year at Cambridge was a definite and prolonged rock-bottom; I spent the morning of my 21st birthday crying in bed over last night’s cold noodles, because I hadn’t expected to make it that far. Moving to London was meant to be a fresh start, but even outside of Cambridge I was completely overwhelmed with self-expectation, and having returned to the murmur of Bristolian accents I am much happier away from it all.

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(City Light Employee, City Light Photographic Negatives (Record Series 1204-01), Seattle Municipal Archives)

Continue reading #summerstories: Stress And The City

#summerstories: Wish [you] were here, 2017

Words and artwork by Grace Whorrall-Campbell

Holiday glimpses of summer nudity. But the naughty postcard collector has been misled; although the viewer is the voyeur, is there anything of the erotic here? Hopefully the clawed hands, creased stomach, and hair (where hair is so rarely found) are sufficient denials, but the woman out to enjoy her body on her own terms can never be so sure she will not be surprised; not that that really is so surprising.

Wish you were here, 2017, pen on paper, 148×105 mm

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Continue reading #summerstories: Wish [you] were here, 2017

Grad Talk: To infinity and beyond the bubble with astronaut Jenni Sidey

When it came to deciding on a career, Jenni Sidey took blue-sky thinking to a whole new level. Having completed a degree in Mechanical Engineering at McGill University and later a PhD and Fellowship position at Cambridge University, in July, Sidey was announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as the latest astronaut to enter the Canadian Space Program after a gruelling, year-long selection process. Here she talks determination, diversity in STEM and a training schedule that includes ethics, exercise and Russian conversation.

Interview by Kitty Grady

So, what do you do now?

I’ve just started a new role as Astronaut in the Canadian Space Agency. Prior to that, I was a lecturer in the Cambridge University Engineering Department and a fellow at St. Catharine’s College. For the next two years, I’ll be learning about the systems of the International Space Station, the Russian language, how to do a space walk, and much more as I prepare to eventually fly in space.

….and how did you get there?

I got here by learning as much as I possibly could in my previous roles, working very hard, and by being fortunate enough to have the opportunity to pursue my passion.

Continue reading Grad Talk: To infinity and beyond the bubble with astronaut Jenni Sidey

Winter Hack: How the Chronically Cold can win at winter

By Aditi Arora

Hey guys,

So let me introduce myself:

1) My name is Aditi
2) I study an MPhil (Masters in Philosophy) in Education, Globalisation and International Development
3) I am often the coldest person in the room

As the Michaelmas term progresses, I’m finding the days get shorter, darker and significantly, colder. It definitely feels like survival of the fittest – dodging sneezing classmates in hope to avoid getting ill, popping (always legal) pills when I am inevitably ill etc.

So in this article I thought I would share my wise wisdom, accumulated from years of trial and error on a chronic quest to unravel the secret ingredients of ‘what keeps one warm?’ during sub 20 degrees temperature?

Here are five of my top tips ‘n’ tricks:

1) LAYERING –
Although this may be the most logical piece of advice it is one that I often overlook. Sometimes I find that I’m so keen to be warm as soon as possible that I end up throwing on the thickest and/or fluffiest jumper I can find. However I soon discovered that this is ineffective, given that I’d heat up walking to lectures, or be sitting in a hot sweaty lecture hall and find myself unable to take my jumper off because I’m not wearing anything underneath #freethenipple. So I’d recommend starting with a vest and/or t-shirt as a base layer before progressing onto a long-sleeved t-shirt before a thin jumper (turtlenecks are the best I find) and potentially then the super fluffy jumper!

N.B. This is the most basic layering model – any stages can be multiplied for additional warmth. Continue reading Winter Hack: How the Chronically Cold can win at winter

#summerstories: Summer Loving

By Xanthe Fuller 

The season: Summer

The location: The beach

The cast: Boy (cute as can be) & me (crazy for aforementioned boy)

Points of contention: He said I ‘nearly drowned’, but really, he just jumped into the sea and started splashing around. Plus, his evasiveness about whether or not he had a car.

Oh wait! As is often the case, I have confused my own summer with the iconic summer described by Sandy in Summer Nights from Grease.  I didn’t go to a single beach nor did I meet any heavily coiffed boys who love to dress in monochrome, but I wore a lot of pastel colours and enjoyed seeing in the summer evenings with the occasional apérol spritz – plus my entire summer was spent in Paris (aka City of Love) – so cut me some slack. But I’ll take this opportunity to parallel my summer with Sandra-dee’s in anticipation of the start of the new year and of the questions that I may be asked. (Hoping that by September 2018 I will have miraculously become the kind of cool girl who can integrate the phrase ‘tell me about it… stud.’ into daily conversation.) So here, ladies and perhaps gentlemen, is the story of my atypical summer of love.

Continue reading #summerstories: Summer Loving

#summerstories: Between Cambridge and a hard place

By Abigail Smith

As the summer rolls on, I’ve started to think about my place in life. Maybe this is a symptom of being a recent graduate, and seeing how young all the freshers are (is it cool to be 21?)

More likely, it’s because I’m entering a strange limbo — to quote Blazin’ Squad, at the crossroads. I have just graduated, but will be returning in October as a post-grad student to the same college — a fresh start in an old setting.

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#summerstories: On Taking a Hiatus from Purpose

By Mishal Bandukda

This is my summer truth: I’ve been bored, broke and alone for two months. The summer vacation crept up on me and before I knew it, I was about to spend ten weeks at my parent’s new home, in an unfamiliar neighbourhood, with practically no money to speak of. Now, as September approaches and I prepare to move into an attic room in Cambridge and softly weep into a copy of The Canterbury Tales, I feel happier and more like myself than I can ever remember being.

The anticipation of seeing my home friends morphed into disappointment when one by one they told me they had fully-booked summers. There was nothing to distract me from the inevitable spam of people pretending not to hate their lives which Instagram relentlessly seems to regurgitate at this time of year. The initial weeks of my boredom were not only frustrating, but painful, as I was suddenly confronted with the strained family dynamic I had been avoiding all year. Living at home for three months with your parents when your views on every topic known to man are at odds with each other means that the safest mode of conversation is small talk. It killed me to sit through dinner-table discussions about groceries, the weather and the never-ending saga of my extended family. I became so under stimulated that I started reading for my dissertation as a means of diversion – and that is perhaps the most worrying indication of my mental state.

Continue reading #summerstories: On Taking a Hiatus from Purpose

Stage Talk: Cassia Price on being a woman at the Fringe

Cambridge theatrical communities are well-represented at the Edinburgh Fringe every year. This year there are about 25 shows from current or recently graduated Cambridge students at the Fringe, and countless others from alumni. And they are in good company. Alongside those performers sent from Fen to Firth each year we are joined by Oxford, Bristol, Durham, London, Exeter, Leeds and many other high-achieving universities. Despite any diversity within university communities, a large portion of shows at the Fringe are either all-male or male-dominated.

Walking down The Royal Mile a flyer was thrust toward me saying “All-male acapella group – you look like you’d love it, ladies!”

As we walked away, I thought “why all-male?” Male performance is hardly a unique selling point here at the Fringe. A performer in this year’s Footlights Tour Show, Ania Magliano-Wright pointed out to me that the finalists of the Chortle Student Comedy Award were exclusively male, accompanied by a male compère. The final took place here at the Fringe, and in the website review of the event, there was no mention of the lack of female and non-binary representation. It’s as if it is taken for granted that comedy is a male space. As the make-or-break platform for comedy in the UK and arguably worldwide, it suffers a remarkable lack of diversity.

Continue reading Stage Talk: Cassia Price on being a woman at the Fringe

Contribute to Cambridge Girl Talk this summer!

Whether you’ve been exploring far flung places, lounging on the beach, cutting your teeth at an internship or just soaking up some post-term calm and recalibrating, we want to hear your summer stories.

Now accepting articles, fiction, art and photography, please email cambridgegirltalk@gmail.com with a brief introduction to your ideas – we can’t wait to hear from you!

Join us!

Cambridge Girl Talk are looking for a group of enthusiastic self-identifying women to form our 2017-18 committee. Positions include Events Director (x2) Sponsorship Organiser, Social Media Co-ordinator, Blog Editor and Head of Visual. Please send a brief email to cambridgegirltalk@gmail.com introducing yourself, stating which role you are interested in and why before 25th June.

Image: Rose Finn Kelcey, The Restless Image, 1975

Grad Talk: Life beyond the bubble with Leaf

This week on ‘Grad Talk’ we’re chatting to Leaf Arbuthnot, who graduated from Magdalene in 2014 with a degree in French and Italian. Now a feature writer for the Sunday Times, here she discusses her life as a journalist, the perks of internships and why it’s ok if you don’t land your dream job as soon as you graduate.

Interview by Kitty Grady

So, what do you do now?

I’m a feature writer for the Sunday Times. I write interviews mostly but also general features, book reviews and occasional news pieces. I do new poetry collection reviews for the Times Literary Supplement and have written a novel, which has just won the Pageturner Prize and will (touch wood) be published next year. I’m about to start a book review show on Talk Radio and I do news shows for them quite regularly, running through the day’s top trending stories.

… and how did you get there? 

I spent lots of my summers since I started at Cambridge interning in different newspapers and magazines to work out what sort of work environments I vibed with most. That was helpful in that it narrowed my options down – I realized I liked newspapers most of all, and wouldn’t thrive in monthly women’s magazines which have more languorous deadlines.

In terms of practical journalistic experience I did quite a bit at Cambridge – The Tab, the Cambridge Globalist, my own College’s magazine which I co-edited. I spent my year abroad at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and wrote art exhibition reviews for a paper there.

I guess I tried to study hard enough to maintain decent grades while at Cambridge, which was instrumental in helping me to win the Henry Fellowship in my final year. It’s a scholarship that supports students who want to do a year at Harvard or Yale. At Yale I did some teaching, a broad range of classes and worked on its newspapers – focusing more on economics and making podcasts. After Yale I interned at the Financial Times then got a job at the Sunday Times, where I’ve been since August 2015.

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Leaf’s desk at the Sunday Times: “Taming a conversation into a feature-length article is challenging, in the best way.”

Continue reading Grad Talk: Life beyond the bubble with Leaf

Grad Talk: Life beyond the bubble with Rhian

The spotlight of this week’s instalment of Grad Talk is on Rhian Williams, who graduated from Jesus in 2016 with a degree in French and Spanish. Uniting her love of food and writing, Rhian started a blog in her final year of Cambridge which she now continues to work on post-Uni. Here she tells us about life without a 9-5, her entrepreneurial aspirations and what she’s learned about getting internships.

Interview by Kitty Grady

So, what do you do now?

I graduated less than a year ago, but I’ve already done lots of different things since then. I’ve worked at a local café, a healthy baby food start-up (which included a couple of days working in their factory in Wales), and I’ve also done some freelance writing. I left a job a few weeks ago, and am currently looking for something else, working on my food blog (www.rhiansrecipes.com) in the meantime.

Describe a typical day.

I’ll usually cook something during the day as I tend to test out at least a few recipes per week. I’ve recently started to work more on my food styling and photography, and taking decent photos takes quite a lot of time! In the evenings, I usually write blog posts, do blog-related admin like scheduling social media, as well as working on articles for the freelance writing I do.

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Some of Rhian’s recipes and food photography from her blog

Continue reading Grad Talk: Life beyond the bubble with Rhian

Diss Talk: Amelia Stevens on the Architecture of Prada

[Although Architecture] may be seen to be rooted in pragmatism, it is a powerful and extraordinarily revealing expression of human psychology [reflecting the] ambitions, insecurities and motivations of those who build.

– An extract from The Edifice Complex: An Architecture of Power

To me, The Edifice Complex by architectural critic Deyan Sudjic, beautifully explains the ways in which buildings throughout history – usually of a patriarchal, political or religious nature – have been carefully and often ruthlessly orchestrated to intimidate their guests. Rather than elaborate external symbols of power, subtle manipulations of architecture have been used to leave guests feeling ‘suitably intimidated.’ Although not reflecting the same ambitions, insecurities and motivations; I was interested in the themes explored in Sudjic’s writings and how they might be applicable to the analysis of many other building types and programmes. Characteristically, I chose to write my dissertation on Prada: an Architecture of Manipulation, and the ways in which luxury brands use architecture to manipulate consumers.

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Prada: An Architecture of Manipulation, Dissertation Title Page

Continue reading Diss Talk: Amelia Stevens on the Architecture of Prada

Diss Talk: Imogen Flower on Iranian women singers and their quest to make the world listen

My dissertation examined the interweaving of politics, religion, gender and music in relation to Iranian women singers. My focus was on the changes incurred by the revolution in 1979, which saw a dramatic shift from the modernising, Westernising stance held during the Pahlavi era (1925-1979) to the Islamic theocratic rule secured by Supreme Leader Khomeini.

As dominant attitudes towards religion and gender changed, legislation surrounding music, which Khomeini believed was ‘like a drug’, also transformed to correspond with Shari’a law. Under immense religio-political pressure, music largely retreated into the private sphere, with the notable exceptions of the revolutionary hymns and anthems played by the Tehran Symphony Orchestra, and the establishment of the annual Hymns and Revolutionary Music Festival in 1986. More specifically, the solo voice was thought to symbolise Western individualism and consumerism, antithetical to the revolutionary vision; and, furthermore, women’s voices were considered to make men think of things other than God. As a result, Iranian women singers were hit hard by the revolution, which appeared to present them with an ultimatum: either stop singing or leave their country.

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Parissa performing at the Shiraz Arts Festival, 1967.

Continue reading Diss Talk: Imogen Flower on Iranian women singers and their quest to make the world listen

@cambridgegirltalk on Spotify

We are excited to announce our brand spanking new Spotify playlists!

Our resident DJs, Emmanuel College lawyer Gee Kim and engineer Martha Dillon, are continuing to curate a series of playlists that celebrate the female voice in all its shapes and forms. From Japanese jazz to Brazilian bossa nova, from downtime to the dancefloor, the @cambridgegirltalk Spotify has got it all.

Continue reading @cambridgegirltalk on Spotify

Diss Talk: Eleanor Kashouris on the body, writing and childbirth

(This article contains mentions of abortion, obstetric abuse, battery and discussion of cis-sexism).

My dissertation looks at one particular ‘girl talk’ and its codes of transmission: women talking about giving birth. I first became interested in birth stories when reading about the 2013 California court case of a woman, Kelly, who sued her obstetrician for battery after he performed an episiotomy on her as she begged him to stop. This is just one story in a history of birthing bodies labouring under abuse of authority: the Mexican woman unable to communicate with her doctor, told by her mother to do as he said; the women pressured into convenience caesareans or else labelled ‘too posh to push’; the trans man terrified to give birth in an NHS hospital; the six out of ten US episiotomies performed without consent.

There is clearly a need for talk about birth- education in the form of transmission of stories. Nevertheless, my reading prompted the realisation that there is only one established genre of women talking about birth: Old Wives’ Tales. The bad reputation of this grisly genre precedes it, leading to the startling realisation that our stories of birth do not come from those who have given birth themselves. Instead, they come from medical professionals, the state, partners and friends. Think about the books you have read with birth scenes, the films, the TV shows. Where were these stories coming from?

And yet, birth is a huge moment in anyone’s life. We need stories about birth. When it comes to talk about birth, a woman talking to other women forms a ‘we’; building solidarity amongst diverse groups and enabling us to transmit feminist critique from this place of solidarity. But we must also recognize that such bonding also engenders division. In a patriarchy, women too are responsible for the transmission, and often the enforcement, of social rules and codes. Where solidarity can be built across women, birth talk can also exclude certain groups.

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Whose story is it anyway? A typical filmic representation of childbirth which excludes female subjectivity

Continue reading Diss Talk: Eleanor Kashouris on the body, writing and childbirth

Mum Talk: Messages from our mothers

In celebration of Mother’s Day, it seemed only natural to turn to our most loyal fans and generous patrons: our mums. As we grow older the adage that ‘mum knows best’ only rings truer and truer. So, with a postcard penned by Sabira Khakoo and some life hacks from Pauline Grady, we turn to them for a dose of wisdom and love that only mothers know how to give.

Continue reading Mum Talk: Messages from our mothers