11 Books on Inspiring Women To Motivate You

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I don’t know about you, but January’s a slow month for me. The weather here gets so cold that it feels like an effort to do anything that requires going outdoors. To tackle my winter blues, I got to reading, mostly because it’s a cosy indoor activity, and came up with this list to pull me out of my midwinter fuzz:

11 Books on Inspiring Women To Motivate You

The women on this list have done some pretty cool things, and you might well recognize some of them. I need all the energy I can muster to push through my last semester of university, so I’m taking a few leaves from these books to get me mentally prepared. If you’re feeling the same way right now, I hope one of these titles appeals to you, too!

Photo: Ian Aberle/Flickr

14 Things Only People Who Have Spent Countless Hours Working in a Bookstore Understand

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I’ve just started writing for Bustle’s books section. Naturally, my first post is all about the joys of working in a bookstore, as I have done ever since I started working at the age of 15.

Check out the list here, and have a look around while you’re there. There’s loads of amazing book recommendations to be found, and news, entertainment, lifestyle, and fashion & beauty verticals, too – what more could you ask for?

Photo: Anthro136k Spring 2011/ Flickr

Postcards from 2014

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I sometimes reach a point where I think, actually, what on earth have I spent my time doing? I’m not always great at keeping an up-to-date diary, and when things get busy it seems I’ve let the time pass and just existed through it, floating from day to day. Now there are busy weeks and quiet weeks, but sometimes I feel a little bit like Moss:

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To cure the soggy-crisp feeling, I like to keep a list of events that took place and things that I’ve done, from milestones like turning 21, to smaller actions like learning to take breaks from social media, to show myself just how much I’ve packed in to the past 365 days. Taking stock of things like this is a good reality check, and stops me getting hung up on the (usually tiny) things I think I’ve done wrong. It reminds me that while I might not be sure of where I’ll end up, what I’ve done up to now constitutes a path I want to be on.

Among other things, in 2014 I saw a lot, read a lot, traveled quite a bit, wrote quite a bit, and snapped a load of photos. Below are some of my favourite ‘postcards’ from the year, collected on my travels around Dorset, Great Yarmouth, the Outer Hebrides, Dublin, Fife and good old Aberdeenshire. A wave of calm washes over me when I see these photographs again. I’m transported back to where I was when I took the photo, who I was with, what sort of day it was, what the scene inspired me to write. Here’s hoping 2015 brings more of the same – sometimes unexpected – opportunities and experiences as this past year. My path seems reasonably well-lit until graduation. I don’t know where it’ll lead next, but I do know the steps I take between now and then will take me closer to finding out, and form a new list along the way.

Meet Lauren

A short post about Spectrum, the podcast I work on:

Spectrum Podcast

Meet Lauren who joined the Spectrum team last year and has been an invaluable contribution to the team. She focuses on the presentation of gender in art, media and history so here’s her story:
I was asked to join the Spectrum team by its founding members – Lucy, Surer, Vanessa, and Jo – back in February. Each of them was a huge source of inspiration to me, and I had been following their work avidly, so was flattered to be asked to join them. I first contributed to the episode on intersectionality, where Jo and I spoke about class and gender. In that one segment, we spoke about suffragettes, lad culture, education, and women in the fishing industry. They seem like disparate subjects, but highlight the multiple ways in which class and gender interact. To me, this is the essence of Spectrum: showing how these structures can affect individuals, and…

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On (a) Spectrum

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In March this year, I joined Spectrum, a podcast that looks at the various surrounding gender equality.

I came on board just in time to join their episode on intersectionality, and looked at class. It impacts so much that Jo (who worked on the segment with me) and I found plenty to talk about. To me, St Andrews feels very different to other universities across the UK, but we’re not immune to ‘lad culture’. I wanted to find out just what that is, and what it means to St Andrews students – what do they think it means? Have they experienced it?

Being a history student, I was also curious about how class and gender feed into historical representation – or lack thereof. While historians themselves have worked hard to pick apart the complexities of the past, there’s still very much a stereotype of ‘the Victorian woman’, a domesticated ideal. Scottish history and its diversity is also skimmed over in a wider British narrative. I spoke to my great aunt, whose mother’s experiences as a herring gutter challenge both of these narratives.

Fast forward to October, and our team has grown! We lost two of our members who were studying abroad here, so recruited some newbies to put together our episode on Birth. Kara and I were interested in how birth and motherhood has been represented throughout history. We spoke to art historians, a film scholar and the producer of Downton Abbey to trace how people have tackled anxieties surrounding childbirth and parenting.

You can listen to all of Spectrum’s episodes on our Spreaker page.

And if you’re interested, like our Facebook page to stay posted on the next episode – Love & Sex.

Journey to… Lastbus Works Canteen

In the middle of the north east countryside, scattered with traditional farm houses, sits a retro travel-themed eatery which feels like it’s been transported from some abandoned stretch of US highway. I made a return visit last week for more delicious cooking, just to make sure I hadn’t imagined it.

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I’ve eaten at a lot of cafés and restaurants in the north east, and when it comes to decor, there’s often little to shout about. This decor brought tears to my eyes. Everything is recycled, from the bus seats that form booths against the walls to the building itself, constructed by the owner using disused electricity pylons. Vintage posters and record sleeves adorn the bare wood, and oil cans at each table dispense olive oil for dipping bread. It’s ingenious. The room is filled, but not overstuffed, and every item has a purpose – like the bicycle wheel suspended from the roof, home to pots of cutlery.

You can expect a good meal in most places in Aberdeenshire: a hearty soup, standard fillings for sandwiches, home bakes. By and large the offerings are quite similar, allowing for the occasional specialty. In its menu, too, Lastbus stands apart from other eateries.

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On weekdays, soups are accompanied by a selection of cakes and desserts. My first visit brought a flavoursome lentil and bean soup, the second a rich butternut squash and sweet potato soup. The sundaes are not to be missed. Stacked with yoghurt, granola, fresh pineapple, and pomegranate seeds, they’re heavy on indulgence and light on guilt.

For vegetarians fed up of bland, stunted menu offerings, and even someone like myself who is not (more just a cheapskate), Lastbus is a paradise. The menu changes frequently, but you can bet whatever’s on offer is fresh, tasty and totally meat-free.

The singular drawback is that, being nestled atop a hill behind New Pitsligo, Lastbus requires a car (or a walk from a nearby bus stop) to reach. But with fantastic, great value food in dreamy surroundings that you don’t find on just any Scottish hillside, it’s completely worth the journey.

Check out lostcafe.org for more information.