The Hot Topic & the D’Souza way

I’ve no idea why broaching a conversation centred around the menopause is quite so taboo. Perhaps because it’s not 100% clear when and how it might begin / end? Or simply because change causes so many of us to FREAK out? Either way, I’ve always been a ‘let’s chew over this’ type of girl. In fact, I’d even go as far as saying that my mind is at rest after a slightly over-analytical properly ‘sharing’ discussion.

This week I’ve whipping through Christa D’Souza’s new book, The Hot Topic. Perhaps whipping is a poor choice of words, bearing in mind that menopause and bondage don’t exactly go hand in hand. Either way, Christa’s book needs to be shared.

Some of my longer-term readers will remember I had my ovaries removed aged 39. At high risk of developing ovarian cancer (thanks to my BRCA1 gene mutation), the decision to whisk out the organs was an easy one. Two babies in tow and absolutely no plans to increase on our A team, adios we waved to anything which certainly had plans to haunt me going forward.

I’ve already written in the past about the magic of bio-identical hormones and how the headaches, hot flushes and a general feeling of overwhelming chaos quickly departed once I started these risk-free creams and lozenges. But this post isn’t about me. It’s about this (apparently terrifying) topic which I don’t think anyone has ever tackled in the brilliant D’Souza way. She’s witty while also terribly wise from cover to cover. Plus it’s mind-blowingly accurate (I found myself nodding propped up in bed late into the night) and yet brilliantly written – no text book rubbish at all. I usually hate the word ‘empowering’ but she absolutely does this and reading The Hot Topic has made me understand (for the first time – 5 years on) what has actually happened to my body and mind as my fertility years were drawn to an abrupt close.


So if you feel a burning sensation creeping up on you, don’t just ignore it. Grab her book and embrace this life-changing moment Christa style: appreciate how things might be changing and then party on as if you just don’t care…

The Hot Topic by Christa D’Souza


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social climbing

Over a freshly baked scone at tea-time on Sunday, I was asked YET AGAIN whether there is much point to social media. I wouldn’t have minded, except that the scone was warm and half way into my already salivating mouth. And I wouldn’t have minded so much either if I had some brilliant answer to this question I’m (too) often asked.

You see, none of us really honestly know. We hope and pray that a link through from Facebook will drive a sale (or 40). We absolutely wonder whether that last carefully crafted tweet was read by many (or any). And we more than presume that an instagram feed full of painstakingly edited images will make some sort of difference to engagement. But we’re honestly not entirely sure about any of it.


Why am I asked? I hear you cry. Well, I suppose because these enquirers are already thinking that I spend far too much of my time observing all this social communication, let alone posting words and pictures.

Polly Vernon – one of my all-time biggest girl-crush columnists – has, in the past, pleaded for us all to down tools and donate to charity instead – or simply to stop living our lives by these nonsense streams of unconsciousness.  And off she popped to live in the ‘real world’.

But… oh… hang on… a tweet just rolled onto my screen: @SimplyMeasured‘s latest social report is declaring that 63% of social marketers have seen a positive ROI (return on investment) from their social media activity. Bring back the scones, add jam AND cream. This is a huge relief to all who tweet. Someone somewhere is actually listening.


Filed under Exclusive to website, social

weep weep. PRINCE

‘What a loss…’


‘absolutely crushed’

And, like a pack of cards, we folded into social media with devastating words of mourning. The purple man had been confirmed: No Longer.

I was part of that pack of cards.   Honestly, it felt weird to think that (our) Prince had left our lives.

But, by the time I woke up the next morning – despite Absolute Radio emotively blaring out Sign O’ the Times – I was a little concerned at my sense of loss. Yes, I saw him in concert, yes I obsessed  over his every word, tune and high-heeled boot… but because I didn’t actually know him. At all.

What I have now worked out is that feeling of loss is called nostalgia. And I was heavily indulging in that nostalgic mood. Diamonds and Pearls isn’t just a song. There are properly personal images (in my very own image bank) which go with that sound track. For example, those ridiculous teenage parties where we were all growing up and becoming us. Larking when we should have been sleeping. Making those unsuitably brilliant friends. Being young.

And the point is that Prince’s passing is reminding us all (that is, if you too feel this way, ) of what we are now no longer. His tunes were such a huge part of our lives back then that the only way we can mourn him is to mourn our past. He had symbolised for us hope, emotion, escapism, friendships and probably so much more.

Some say that a sudden death announcement can remind you of your own mortality. But that’s not the point here. It’s about a universal human connection via music to a moment in time. You see, that time has passed but that doesn’t mean we don’t still want to be that girl/boy dancing around their best friend’s living room singing your heart out… at 4am. And that’s what we’re really saying goodbye to.


Filed under Exclusive to website, music

vinyl LOVE day

I’m pretty much putting up my hand for everything at the moment.  If something needs shooting/writing/drawing/filming… you need it… I’m there. Mostly because I’m not sure exactly where I’m going next with my work – but also it feels like a good way of getting much more experience.

I’ve shot live music before but it’s hard.  The lighting, (often) extreme movement and accessibility to the subject can all make things tricky.  So I headed off yesterday to cover Shoreditch for Record Store Day 2016 and give vinyl that extra bit of love.






Record Store Day 2016 Life of yablonRecord Store Day 2016 Life of yablonRecord Store Day 2016 Life of yablon

Record Store Day 2016 Life of yablonthanks to Lynn Li /Entertainment Retailers Association



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Filed under Exclusive to website, life, music, photography