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issue #6 • july 2019

MINDSET

Identifying Programs That Block Success

Women Empowerment

Tunisia –

Safe & Ready to Welcome You

3 Tips to Develop

UNSHAKEABLE Self-Confidence

Farzana Baduel TiE Women


her story

what’s inside...

ISSUE NO 6

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Women Empowerment:

How to capitalize on the ongoing 4th industrial revolution and make the shift to STEM

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Her Story: Louise Burfitt-Dons

3 Tips to Develop 10

UNSHAKEABLE Self-Confidence

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15

The Wildebeest Migration

MINDSET Identifying Programs That Block Success

Farzana Baduel TiE Women

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Eating Healthy...

Quick Summer Recipes!

My name is

Dora Dixon-Fyle,

and this is my story...

Lauren Anders Brown

17

Fenfen Huang ...my story

Tunisia –

Safe & Ready to Welcome You


a letter from

THE EDITOR

Am always excited to see Her Story editions because it’s an opportunity for the world to read fresh stories and get fresh inspiration from our contributors who work tirelessly to bring the content. The world is changing at an accelerated pace making this is a time to increase momentum and push beyond our previous limits. Women are taking the power back by sharing their stories and owning their voice. Let’s remember to lift and help a sister out as we advance. A special shout out to the contributors who I love and respect for the hard work and content that never disappoints. Am quite proud of this editions content the stories are rich with wisdom and the women are in my eyes exceptional. Looking forward to your feedback as always!

Harriet Khataba - Editor in Chief

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

Photographers/Videographers, Art Director, Designers, Editors, Writers

If you have a passion for empowering women and believe you can add to this organisation then please get in contact with us via publications@herstorymatters.com 4 |

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Women Empowerment:

How to capitalize on the ongoing 4th industrial revolution and make the shift to STEM The fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us. There

also a unique opportunity to address long-existing

is an urgent need for women to take advantage

gender gap and divide in the economy at this

of the fact that for this revolution to succeed and

age of disruption and a way to empower women

to develop the advanced systems required for this

economically as they get access to jobs created in

highly digitised economy and the complexity it

the STEM sectors.

creates, it needs STEM experts and their fresh ideas. It is important to know that women have played Looking at future demand, we can clearly see

and continue to play vital roles in society and the

that the global workforce is facing a deficiency of

economy. They account for a substantial potential

STEM experts with a significant female talent gap.

talent base, empowering them yields one of the

According to UNESCO, women represent less than

highest returns of all development investments.

30 percent of today’s STEM workforce worldwide. It

Therefore, competitiveness in the long term depends

is fair to say that we have some big skill challenges

significantly on how women are educated, trained,

across STEM with female talent being one of the

and equipped to be participating agents of the 4th

most underutilized and untapped. It is therefore vital

Industrial revolution. With STEM, women can become

that STEM is championed, both through investment

equipped to find sustainable jobs and lifelong

in women and nurturing talent in girls that generates

careers allowing them to maximize their contributions

new thinking, innovation, a shift to a real love for STEM

to their communities and the economy. Capitalizing

and relentless desire to inspire creative solutions.

on the 4th industrial revolution and associated opportunities generated in the STEM sectors is a key

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Increasing female participation is an opportunity

enabler to women empowerment. Women must be

to address the skill and talent shortage in STEM. It is

fully conscious of it and be proactive to participate,

her story matters


engage and fully embrace STEM. Women have the capacity to excel in STEM. Often, they just need the right mindset, opportunity and circumstances. Our new connected world brings technology

and

resources

together,

creating

enablers that can help women across the globe accomplish extraordinary things for themselves, their families, their societies and the world. That’s where the real empowerment is! Thanks to STEM women have the opportunity to be game changers and level up their power and impact in the world. We live in an increasingly digital and complex economy, the new ideas that drive it, the big data that powers it, and the infrastructure that underpins it open new doors to women globally; Everything in the digital economy relies on STEM. Ladies and girls make the shift to be at the centre of your economic empowerment!

About Author Mireille Toulekima is the founder and managing partner of the independent oil and gas consulting company MT Energy Resources based in Perth (Australia). A petroleum engineer by background, Mireille received her Bachelor of Sciences from ISERPA (Institut Superieur de Recherche en Production AutomatisĂŠe) in France before having an accomplished international career of more than 20 years in upstream oil and gas in a range of management and technical assignments

Share Your Story

Have you always dreamt of impacting the world? Or simply helping someone else with their journey? Do you have a story to share? Well this is your opportunity to be part of our exciting media productions. Her Story Matters is inviting you to partner with us by sharing your story. Send us your story written or video not longer that 10 minutes and via email on stories@herstorymatters.com by 30th June 2019 Please include the following in your submission: 1. Where you were born 2. A bit about your background 3. Share your story 4. Where you are now

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Her Story: Louise Burfitt-Dons Louise Burfitt-Dons, FRSA is a British writer, humanitarian, and former Conservative candidate born in the Sheikdom of Kuwait when it was still a British Protectorate. Today she lives in Chiswick, London with her husband Donald. She has grown up daughters Brooke and Arabella. Louise founded the children’s charity Act Against Bullying, co-founded Kindness Day UK, stood for Parliament in the 2015 General Election and blogs on women’s issues which is why I pop up from time to time on the radio or TV talking about current affairs.

Tell us about your early years that influenced you in the path of media and the arts. I was born in Kuwait in the nineteen fifties. My father worked for an oil company, KOC. When I was seven, Ian Fleming visited Ahmadi and became a regular friend and a visitor to our home there. I’ve been a James Bond fan ever since! We had access to a well-stocked library in the basement of the Hubara Club which was the social centre for the ex-pat community. So I turned into an avid reader of mystery and adventure novels from a young age. The compelling stories of The Famous

You have founded remarkable campaigns in UK tell us what prompted this.

Five and Agatha Christie inspired me to create my own material and staged shows in the backyard

Thank you. My daughter was bullied at school

of our desert bungalow. I got my first offer to use

and I saw the need for some material to help

the school hall at ten, which paved the way for my

other children and parents in the same situation

comedies being produced by theatre companies in

as myself. I wrote a set of monologues to help

Australia later in life. Being the daughter of British

raise awareness of what was actually going on

parents in the Middle East allowed me to experience

in the schoolroom. These focused on the small

the fusion of disparate cultures, which influences

hard-to-pinpoint situations being overlooked

my writing a lot.

by teachers. An example is ‘isolation bullying’, which mostly affects girls. On reviewing them,

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a radio interviewer said, ‘Well that’s highlighted the issue brilliantly. So what do you suggest we do to stop it?’ So I formed Act Against Bullying to research the problem. It was my mission to empower child victims with confidential practical advice and at the same time encourage empathy amongst bystanders. I began the Cool To Be Kind campaign in 2001 which went global. The tone of the charity is motivational, and its motto is ‘Keep going’. After that I was approached to design and front other social movements with similar goals, such as Kindness Day UK on November 13th in collaboration with the World Kindness Movement. I’ve been much involved with highlighting women and girls’ safety issues, such as stalking and harassment. Having done a lot myself, I set up an initiative to promote women in public speaking with the RSA. In addition to these concerns and children’s problems, fighting climate change was also on my list of priorities. Many of these issues now crop up now in my books.

Which book was the most challenging for you to write and why? I’ve written six-handers plays, news copy, motivational speeches, comic verse, non-fiction and fast-paced US tele-thrillers, such as Your Husband Is Mine which premiered on Lifetime TV a few weeks ago. But my novel The Missing Activist was probably the most. As a debut thriller it had to be spot on. Plausible plot with the page turning surprises a crime book needs. I also dived headlong into the two controversial themes of the day which were the world of British jihadi brides and the internal bullying practices of political parties. Some other issues the books covers include female candidates, domestic violence, trafficking, modern slavery, sharia law and feminism. I wanted to capture a little humour along with it. Hopefully, I achieved that aim with my off-the-wall protagonist Karen Andersen. 8 |

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In September 2014 you were selected to fight the 2015 General election for the conservative party in Nottingham North what was one of the most valuable experience that you had? Having to communicate with people who don’t always share your point of view! Before you can represent the views of others, you are expected to be transparent on your own. Being a political candidate tests you on issues you may not have encountered personally. Most problems we face are complex and there is not always a clear ‘yes’ or ‘no’ solution. But, either way, a prospective


politician is expected to state whether he or she would Vote For or Vote Against if the issue arose in parliament. Whether you are a Remainer or a Brexiteer to legalising drugs, assisted dying or regulating the internet, you have to dig deep into your conscious and your personal life experience to hold a respected view. Put three individuals in a room and it’s difficult to get a consensus. Let alone, 65,000. Standing for parliament was as humbling as it was exciting.

What advice would you give women choosing media and arts careers? The media industry is huge. For example here in the UK it is forecast to grow to £76 billion in the coming years, making it one of the largest markets in Europe. That’s good news for someone set on a communications career. But while the internet is creating extra opportunities in one sector, it has also decimated in others. The print industry is an example. It’s in a downturn because of

What are your thoughts on feminism today and impact it has on society now?

downloadable content. People won’t pay for what they can get free. The film business is another. Viewers watch on iPads and via streaming networks rather than visit a cinema. So my advice for those choosing to enter the arts is:

I believe in conservative feminism, which regards women as equal but different. The French say,

1. Learn which sectors are on the rise. Focus on

‘Vive la différence!’ Compared to a hundred

the fields that are expanding and the products and

years ago we have far more opportunities to fulfil

techniques they are looking for.

potential in politics, business and STEM subjects than back then. That’s rightly given us long overdue

2. Be proactive with your talent. You can showcase

economic liberation. Here in Britain we have equal

these days by setting up a blog or a website.

opportunity in most employment fields. And there

Even a fun twitter feed will demonstrate your

is a greater awareness and sympathy for female

communication skills to a future employer or client.

victims of domestic violence and sexual harassment cases than ever before. All that is positive, and also

3. Be easy and agreeable to work with. It’s a

empowering for girls growing up.

competitive market!

However, I don’t believe radical feminism in the

What’s next for you?

West has done quite the same. If anything, the movement has become as divisive as any extreme

I’m currently working on the sequel to The Missing

political group. It is too anti-male and wrongly

Activist and second in the series featuring London

blames men for all women’s problems. This is not

PI Karen Andersen.

healthy for society at all. In my view, the countries that support honour killings and sex trafficking is where the strident feminists should focus efforts. And on the systems and practices where a woman is still considered half the value of a man – which is how it was back in Elizabethan times.

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her story matters


As a coach, I noticed that many of my clients come to me to improve their confidence levels. I decided to undertake a survey to understand what could be getting in the way of increasing confidence levels and what could help boost confidence amongst my clients. The findings were interesting: Whilst there is still a gender confidence gap, it’s not as big as we think. 56% of women said they were often or always bothered by their level of confidence, compared to 44% of men. There could be a number of reasons for this, women could be more confident than they have been in the past and perhaps men are now being more open about their insecurities too. Both are heartening. There has been a real movement to empower women over the last decade through personal and professional development and it seems to be making some inroads. Men opening up about how they feel can only be a good thing, considering the mental health challenges facing men - just over three out of every four suicides are committed by men and suicide is the biggest cause of death for men under 35. (Reference: ONS) 10 |

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Age was shown to be an important factor in confidence levels. Not only does it increase with age and experience, it also decreases in later life according to the findings. People often think that young people are uber confident, but the research showed that those under 24 were not as confident as we think, they shared that their lack of experience as a big factor. In later life confidence reduces again due to ill health, loss of loved ones and loss of the identity that comes with a job title. As a population that is living longer, this is an area that needs to be considered. How can we empower those over 55, some of whom may also be experiencing loneliness? Hobbies, entrepreneurial pursuits and support groups could be solutions? ‘Imposter Syndrome’ or the sense that as a visible minority you doubt your accomplishments and have a persistent internalised fear of being exposed as a fraud, plays a significant role in confidence levels. 52% of those surveyed said they felt their level of confidence often or always held them back. When asked what has negatively impacted their


confidence, respondents most commonly cited their boss and colleagues, this was followed by early life experiences. Bullying by a boss or colleague is difficult to handle, your confidence suffers if you stick it out, or you leave your role prematurely. Much more needs to be done to educate bosses about their behaviour and to protect the employee, so they can report bullying if it takes place. The playground bully shouldn’t be allowed to continue doing this in the workplace. We need to help managers recognise the impact of their behaviour on staff confidence and the implications for workplace happiness, productivity and success. Ultimately, there are many factors which could impact your level of confidence, including the situation you find yourself in. New experiences were cited by 67% of those surveyed to increase their confidence levels. Such as going for a promotion, learning a new skill or moving to another country. In short, anything that made them step out of their comfort zone. Our comfort zone is the space where your activities and behaviours fit a routine and pattern that minimises stress and risk. It provides a state of mental security. You benefit in obvious ways: regular happiness, low anxiety, and reduced stress. There is a place just outside it where we are not so comfortable, but more productive, it’s not so cosy as the comfort zone and not so stressful that we curl into a ball in a corner and give up, I wholeheartedly agree that out of your comfort zone into optimal anxiety and gain new experiences, and that it is a sure-fire way to increase your confidence, but I also know that fear usually holds us back. Here are 3 top tips on overcoming that fear, in order to step into the more confident you: 11 |

her story matters

1. Blow It Up

Imagine your fear and blow it out of all proportion. Laughing at fears will help get control of them. e.g. You have a fear of public speaking, so you imagine all the things that could go wrong, falling off the stage, saying the wrong thing, mixing up your slides etc, no one turning up, no one being able to hear you and realise that it is highly unlikely that all of that could happen.

2. Is it true?

What’s the evidence for your fear, find ways that disprove it e.g. the voice says that people like you don’t go to singing lessons, or learn a new language, or do ballroom dancing. Look for evidence to disagree with what you are telling yourself, and also ask yourself who are ‘people like you’?

3. Do the Opposite

Behave in the opposite of how you’d usually react. Don’t wait until you ‘feel like’ doing it: practising the new behaviour – even though it is not spontaneous – will gradually internalise the new habit. Stepping out of character is one common type of paradoxical behaviour. e.g. a perfectionistic person could deliberately do some things to less than their usual standard; or someone who believes that to care for yourself is ‘selfish’ could indulge in a personal treat each day for a week. Remember as Ginni Remetty said ‘Comfort and growth cannot coexist’, if you really want to boost your confidence, take a step out of that comfort zone today and try something new. About the Author: Jenny Garrett Is an Award winning coach, speaker and trainer with over 12 years’ experience of running a Global Business. She is a freeman of the Guild of Entrepreneurs - City of London and was listed in Brummell Magazine’s top 30 City Innovators 2016


In the previous publication we discussed how our Minds are an untapped genius and the process of A.C.T. Assessing, Creating and Taking Action. The whole process is critical, once we have assessed and created a plan to take action on our goals and dreams, there is one extremely important detail that needs to be discussed, “Programs”. Programs are a set of belief systems, good and not so good, that form who we are, how we think and what runs in the background of our actions. Programs are directly linked to our subconscious mind. Our subconscious mind is 30,000 times more powerful than our conscious mind and cannot tell the difference between a real or synthetic thought. It accepts everything as truth. What happens in the early stages of life is that programs are being developed and stacked on top of one another to form the vast ocean of our minds. Programs can come from parents, relatives, our overall upbringing, television, social media, smartphones, you name it. Anything that has an influence on us, from the outside world, has the potential to download things into our subconscious and produce programs totally unaware to us. From birth to the time we reach the age of 12 |

her story matters

19, Neuroscientists have suggested that approximately 95% of who we are has already been formed. After the age of 19, we literally live recycled experiences and operate on repetition and don’t even know it. After 19, we can certainly have some new experiences where our reactions aren’t based on past programs but its’ very minimal. Allow us to paint this scenario for you. When you were a child, you loved playing the game of basketball. Every opportunity that you got, you were shooting hoops. Your mom and dad pushed you to love the sport and you were excited to please their wishes. Eventually you made the team and it was mostly an awesome experience, except for the fact that your team never won a game. As a matter of fact, the teams that you played on during your youth had the unfortunate experience of never winning a game. You had the opportunity to score several baskets but you never could drop those points like you wanted. After each game, your parents would tell you that they were proud of you but emphasized the fact that the team lacked the talent to win and how you needed to focus just a bit more. While your parents meant well, the potential is there for a program to exist. Fast forward to your young adult life, you graduated from college and landed a fantastic job. You have been in your dream job for years and feel that it’s time for you to seek a promotion.


You decide to wait for that position to be posted and when it does, you are ready to execute your plan. All of a sudden you get this awkward, familiar feeling that comes over you. Your temperament of excitement has now changed and you feel you are not good enough. So your mind begins to wonder, “What if they just disregard my application? What if they think I’m not good enough for the job? What if they laugh at me even wanting this position? What if I fail? The loop of what if, what if, what if begins to clog your once free optimistic thinking and cause a bit of stress to arise. So this scenario presents the question, what the heck just happened? Let’s take a look. There is a program/programs running in your subconscious mind that you have no idea exist. The PROGRAMS of “I’m a failure and/or I’m not good enough” are playing in the background like an old cassette tape or CD. This is hindering the confidence that you need to move forward. Your feeling came from your autonomic nervous system which releases the exact same feeling that it did when you came home after each game and listened to your parents, the feeling of failure! The autonomic nervous system is a control system that acts largely unconsciously and regulates bodily functions such as heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, and pupillary response just to name a few. This system controls the beating of our heart, the blinking of our eyes, the blood pumping in our veins and also our physiological responses. We venture to say that 98% of the world population has no idea that they are literally being controlled by programs that are buried deep inside of their subconscious minds. You see, the parents meant well but what stuck with the child was the constant loses, their opinion of the team not being talented enough to win and their encouragement of you to focus more. Being armed with this knowledge helps empower us to take our lives to an upgraded level. 13 |

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Tonya and I have come to understand that a part of our life’s work as the Upgraders is to help people identify limiting beliefs and UPGRADE their mindset. We are Certified SRT Coaches which stands for Subconscious Release Technique. We have been able to work with numerous clients successfully clearing their subconscious mind of programs that hinder success in life. Whether it be financial, relational, anxiety, depression or even traumatic experiences, we are committed to helping the entire planet live life on their terms and not negative programs that affect us all.

About Authors Dexter and Tonya Scott known as “The Upgraders” and Mindset Development Experts, have spent years motivating and inspiring audiences upgrade their mindset, get out of their own way or comfort zones, and instead; get a front-row-seat in life. After starting their careers in Government, they are now seen as the go-to couple for helping people shift their paradigm from limited thinking and limited beliefs.


Thursday 26th Sept, 2019 Are you looking to start a business and wondering what it takes? Are you early in your entrepreneurial journey and looking for support and guidance? Are you wondering how you can become a valuable contributor to the economy through your business? Join us for a 3rd year running at our flagship conference:

Women in Leadership: Gather to unite and to inspire with stories of – Journey to Succeed. Speakers Confirmed:

Claudette Sutton MBE FRSA Director, Claudette Sutton Consultancy

Cllr Kate Anolue Mayor of Enfield

Anna Sofat

MD of Addidi, the Voice of Women’s Wealth Alison Lowe MBE

Thursday 26th September, 2019 – 1pm - 5pm Investment: £25 Register at www.herstorymatters.com

Book a free 30mimute session to experience major breakthrough in your life. We guarantee your life will never be the same once you experience freedom. 14 |

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The Wildebeest Migration The clouds gather quickly and black, heavy, cumulus clouds hung low in the Masai Mara National Reserve a large game reserve in Narok County, Kenya. Lightning cuts across the sky creating a dramatic backdrop. The rain falls and pounds the earth in earnest. From the south, a huge black mass is seen moving through the lush, green grass into the Mara plains. The incredible wildebeest migration has made its way into the Mara from the Serengeti in Tanzania! In fact the head of the Migration has already been spotted crossing Sand River found close to the Tanzania border. Before long, over one million wildebeest, zebra will spread out across the Mara plains in what is considered the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth. What is the migration, you ask? The 15 |

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wildebeest migration comprises hundreds of thousands of wildebeest (gnus) and zebras that make their way across the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania into the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya and back to the Serengeti in an ever-present quest for pasture. Ideally, the migration is found in the Mara from July to October before making its way back to Serengeti where it is found the rest of the year. However it is important to mention that the movement of the migration largely depends on rainfall.

What’s the big deal about the migration? Too many people hear or read about it but never understand the fuss. First the sheer numbers of the migration is spellbinding. It is absolutely incredible watching a million animals move over the Mara, especially from above. They literally fill the plains. It gives a fresh appreciation of nature.


Secondly no one has ever understood this innate drive in the wildebeest to move from one area of the Serengeti to another and into the Mara in July and make their way back to the Serengeti in this yearly sojourn. What’s amazing is that the gnus are in a particular part of the Serengeti at specific times. It’s like they have an internal clock that tells them when to be where when. This is truly the 8th wonder of the world! Third, the migration is usually accompanied by a huge host of predators. Prides of lions, cheetahs, hyenas, leopards, vultures closely follow the migration making easy prey of the young and/or tired wildebeests. The trek from the Serengeti is long and arduous. Many animals fall to the wayside from exhaustion, becoming light pickings for the predators. Of course this is the best time to spot the big cats some of whom especially leopards can be very elusive.

wade across crocodile-infested waters in their search for pasture. It is a terrifying, unnerving and frightening experience watching the animals risking limb and life to get to the other side. Of course after the tiresome crossing the salivating predators have a field day shortly after.

It’s the best time for tourists looking to experience the most amazing wildlife phenomenon on earth. About Author

The highlight of the migration are the dramatic river crossings as the wildebeest 16 |

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Sarah Mwangi

Is a marketing Executive bitten by the travel bug that has seen her travel through her home country Kenya.


Farzana Baduel TiE Women

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Farzana Baduel is a Multi-winning PR entrepreneur, Chartered Public Relations Practitioner, Expert media commentator on PR including BBC, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, PR week, FT and Forbes. She is the founder and CEO of Curzon PR, as a passionate advocate of strategic communications she champions the power of PR as a dynamic force for building bridges and unifying the world’s voices into global narrative. She has worn awards including Businesswoman of the year at the Muslim Awards 2016, Entrepreneur of the year at the Asian women of Achievement Awards 2015 and the Media Professional of the year at the Asian Media Awards 2014. She is a committed campaigner for the economic empowerment of Women and Founder of TiE Women (London), TiE is the largest global entrepreneur network in the world.

Please tell us about your childhood I was born in London and spent most of my childhood here apart from living for brief periods to study in Pakistan and the United States. My parents were entrepreneurs. My mother set up her first business as a teenager in Rawalpindi in Pakistan, she set up a school in the grounds of my grandmother’s house before she emigrated to the UK in the 1970s, the school is still running to this day. In the UK, my parents set up a health

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and beauty brand which sold products around the world, so I was brought up on weekends and school holidays between factories and offices as both parents had a strong work ethic. After my parents sold their business, they set up an accounting and business advisory firm so in my childhood I was fortunate to have had exposure to both a product and service business. Witnessing my parents running their business, I saw firsthand the ups and downs of having your own business and always thought it was only a matter of time when I set up my own. I was lucky to have been brought up in a household where my gender was not seen as an obstacle to an education or a career. Travelling at a young age to Pakistan and the United States broadened my horizons and allowed me to be at ease with people from different cultures and embrace diversity.

What was your first job? My first job was a paper round in my local suburban neighbourhood. I was thrilled to earn £5 a week at the tender age of 11. I would deliver the papers every day before school and on the weekends. I loved working from a young age and earning my own money.

Tell us about your entrepreneur journey I set up my first business in 1999 when I was 20 years old, it was a tax refund firm. I left university after my second year (I was studying maths and economics at Queen Marys, University of London) and was struggling with my grades and personal finances and felt there was little


point staying on so I left to set up a business and planned to return to my degree if the business flopped. The business took off, mainly due to luck and hard work. I worked 12 hour days, 7 days a week and often slept in my office overnight. A chance encounter led to a woman named Anna who ran a competitor firm gifting me her 10 year practice as she was dying of cancer. Her kindness touched me deeply as I had never experienced such generosity from a stranger. I grew the firm and it was successful. I enjoyed my years running the firm, except for an incident when a trusted member of the team tried to sabotage the business and stole client data to set up a rival firm. I was shocked and felt incredibly betrayed and quickly realised the importance of hiring for values and not just for skills. Whilst I was running my tax firm, I started to get involved with the Conservative Party and volunteered my time to various initiatives in the Party, stumbling across public relations. I was transfixed. With an accounting and maths background, I had never come across public relations yet it was a profession which intersected on all areas I found fascinating namely advocacy, media, marketing and psychology. Exactly 10 years after I set up the tax business, in 2009, I set up Curzon PR. I realised it would be difficult for me to find a job in PR as I did not have the experience or relevant education and most employers are reluctant to hire entrepreneurs. I had a co-founder who had the experience and he worked with me for a couple of years until he was headhunted and left. It was hard to break out of the cycle of low retainers which meant low budgets to hire talent with little or no experience and micromanaging work to ensure client expectations are met.

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I set up offices in Dubai and New York to service client contracts which then closed down when client contracts ended. It was exciting but grueling, I took 8 flights in 10 days and had to be at the top of my game when I arrived into meetings. We won numerous awards. We worked with governments, multinational corporations, royal families, presidents, prime ministers and CEOs from all over the world. It was an incredible journey but after 10 years, I am now seeking a change in direction. I am changing the business model to agile working with consultants instead of the traditional agency model. It is a brave step but after 10 years in the industry, I want to work smart instead of just working hard. Technology has brought opportunities to change the way we work and I am not interested in legacy ways of working, but looking into the future.

What prompted you to start your business? As my parents were entrepreneurs, I had zero thought of being anything else. I also had a number of positive role models in my wider family who were entrepreneurs too so I never doubted myself. My tax business was set up by chance as my sister’s tenants asked me for my help in claiming


largest in the world and was keen to embrace gender diversity so we launched TiE Women which attracted more female entrepreneurs to TiE. Business member organisations are a great platform for entrepreneurs as we meet other entrepreneurs and share best practice and network.

In your experience what have you witnessed as the greatest challenge in empowering women economically? As a mother, I have witnessed women having to leave work as their net salary barely covers the travel and the nanny costs. When they try to return to the world of work, they find it challenging as employers do not respond well to gaps in employment history and the rapid changing nature of technology at work means skills need to be continuously updated. their tax back as they assumed I would know about financial matters as I was studying maths at university and I helped them and then discovered this demand for tax refunds which most accountants were not offering to the market. The PR firm was set up out of pure passion for public relations and after ten years in the industry, my passion is still there and I feel grateful to have found my purpose in life.

Gender conditioning (around being agreeable) also impacts a woman’s ability to be assertive at work and asking for a promotion or a pay rise. I also notice that working women still tend to be tasked with a greater proportion of the family duties than their working spouse, and this uneven distribution of work naturally leads to women being more prone to work/life balance issues and burn out.

It can sometimes feel lonely running a business as there are pressures involved that only a fellow entrepreneur can understand. I am blessed to have fellow entrepreneurs as friends and we often support each other as business as life is a series of ups and downs.

What drives you?

I noticed it was difficult to find female entrepreneurs so I co-founded TiE Women. TiE is an entrepreneur organisation and one of the 20 |

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In the past, I was ego driven. I wanted the awards, the international offices, the prestigious clients so I could feel externally validated. However, in the past couple of years my drivers have changed. I am no longer interested in other people’s validation of me. I am now driven by curiosity, pursuit of excellence and a sense of


purpose. I enjoy working with emerging and frontier markets as I believe in the importance of transferring knowledge and skills to other parts of the world to enable them to communicate more effectively so we can have a world dialogue instead of a western dominated dialogue. With Asia on the rise, it is important to bring the world together through bridging effective communication, and therein lies my purpose. I enjoy self-development and am driven to build upon my public relations skill set and knowledge. I now teach Strategic Public Relations at the Foundry, which is the entrepreneurship centre at the University of Oxford (OxFo) and it has opened my life to the wonderful world of academia which inspires me to learn more.

What advice would you give emerging women in business?

What PR tips can you give business seeking exposure?

Write your goals on a big sheet of paper and place it somewhere you can see it on a daily basis so you can visualise your goals and stay on the right path and make decisions that align with your goals.

Public relations is a powerful tool. Do not be an amateur and skip the strategy side to launch straight into tactics. You need a strong foundation to build a credible reputation.

I would advise women to believe in themselves. Self-confidence not only is a driver of success but also influences how people around you react to you in business. Lastly, I would advise women to keep learning. Learn about your business, your industry and the wider world. Being an entrepreneur is a creative endeavour and creativity is sparked from building bridges between existing knowledge to create something new.

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What are your future plans? I have recently been asked by Sarah Hall (who is the inspiring former President of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations) to become a trustee of her soon to be launched Socially Mobile Foundation aiming at supporting BAME, women and those with financial constraints in the public relations industry. I look forward to working with her on social mobility.


Fenfen Huang ...my story

Fenfen Huang is an actress, dancer and Director of China Pearl, a non -profit arts & culture organisation based in Liverpool. Fenfen recently co-starred in a Chinese blockbuster ‘Operation Red Sea’, one of China’s most successful box office hits from 2018. Her other acting credits include 2018 National Geographic TV hit show ‘Mars 2’ 22 |

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and 2016 Hollywood film ‘Now You See ME 2’. She received training in some of the top dance institutes around the world, including Beijing Dance Academy, for which she was awarded scholarships and Arts Council England funding several times, The Place and Laban in London, Broadway Studio in New York, LIPA in Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University and Liverpool Community College. Despite her late start to be a professional dancer, her drive, enthusiasm and


experiences made her a unique dance artist. She was nominated for 2015 Asian Women of Achievements and 2014 Women of the Future Award, and was runner up for 2013 Merseyside Women of the Year.

wall or Southern Great Wall which was the blueprint for the famous Great Wall in North China during the Ming dynasty. It is also the longest and best preserved ancient commercial street in China.

Please tell us about your childhood I was born in the city of Linhai in Zhejiang province on the eastern coast of China. My family is traditional, I have an older sister and nephew whom am very close to. My Dad was strict growing up especially with my studies but a real softie on the inside. My mum is very loving and selfless. My family is close and my greatest support system, without them I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. My Dad worked in the police force and mum used to run a convenience store. The city I grew up in Linhai is a beautiful historic and cultural, It has an ancient city

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Though the city is scenic with lakes, parks, and


mountains it is also a modern city with the country’s leading private enterprises. I grew up in a suburban area where my Dad worked before moving to the city at the age of 16, those early years were simple and far away from materialistic things. I loved playing outdoors in the rivers, mountains and on the farm with my friends. I remember my childhood friends and I would get into trouble a couple of times, we were caught picking raspberries on a stranger’s farm and nearly set a hill on fire! I cherish the freedom and unworldliness that environment gave me, this influenced my love of nature and being outdoors. I had a very happy and care-free childhood, even though our living conditions were basic I felt loved by my family, teachers and friends and the joy was pure and invaluable.

What experiences influenced you and how? All my life experiences have influenced me, but the ones which influenced me the most is my upbringing in China and studying and living in the UK. Those experiences underpin my command of both Chinese and English languages and understanding of both eastern and western cultures which give me inspiration for my creative work. This has also greatly supported my arts and culture projects and opened doors of opportunities to connect with other parts of the world.

Why did you move to UK? I came to the UK to study in University of Liverpool, I have always been fascinated with Europe, its scenery and diversity made UK

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my first choice. Besides I love languages and wanted to experience different cultures. Though It was tough for me to leave my family behind and even tougher for my parents especially my mum , am glad I made the move because it helped me broaden my horizon, live independently and build connections Internationally.

Why did you start China Pearl? I am very passionate about Chinese dance and culture and wanted to share our culture with a western audience. Whilst studying at the University of Liverpool, I found there was no Chinese New Year variety show/ gala in campus, which is a tradition in China. I decided to set up the first one in the university which was a great success because Chinese culture is very colourful, diverse and 25 |

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dynamic. After graduating from Liverpool University and the dance course, I set up China Pearl to promote and showcase Chinese arts and culture in a professional setting and cultural exchange between the East and west.

Tell us about your most defining moments/ experiences in life The most defining moments in my life are many but I would say it is when my childhood dream of being a dancer became a reality, I became a dancer then set up China Pearl which led to acting years later and also when I graduated with a degree in Environment & Town Planning.


How did you transition to be an actress?

What has been your proudest moments and why?

When I was studying at university, I started doing TV/film extra and modelling work so I gained some experience in TV/film industry but not professional acting. After a decade of being a dancer I wanted to explore acting for practical reasons, good thing is acting is not so restricted by age as dancing and I like performing in general.

So far my proudest moment was when I costarred in one of the most successful Chinese films, ‘Operation Red Sea’, the highest grossing Asian film in 2018, which also entered 2019 Oscars though not nominated in the end. It was my first Chinese film and the reaction to the film in China was overwhelming, it was nice that my family and friends in China went to see it and were very proud of me; making people I love happy through my acting is really the proudest and sweetest thing I could have done.

I started acting classes and did short films to build my acting portfolio. Acting is not an easy career, you need to be strong headed and persistent but I have been quite lucky with all the opportunities I have had.

What challenges have you faced as you pursued your passion? Challenges have been in areas of finance, time and mental strength. As an actress or dancer, you need to constantly take up training/ classes to improve yourself so you will be ready when opportunities come. This requires financial investment and time because you are travelling to auditions/castings and building portfolios etc. To supplement my income and support my dream I worked in restaurants, bars, shops and museums to support myself, at times it was tricky to keep the balance of what was reality and what was a dream. Acting or dancing is not for the faint hearted you get many rejections but you need to keep going.

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What’s next for Fenfen? Filming a short film series ‘Dead End III’ in London, I play the lead antagonist I am looking forward to that. I am also working on a play about a Chinese legend, which I have always wanted to produce. Also a couple of films, a Hollywood production and a Chinese film, are in the pipeline but not confirmed yet; fingers crossed.

What advice would you give to young women about to pursue their career in arts and media? Follow your heart and dream, polish your skills, be professional and friendly, hope for the best and prepare for the worst


Lauren Anders Brown is an award-winning independent filmmaker and photographer focusing on global health and humanitarian issues in conflict zones and covering cultural and gender sensitive topics. Lauren has worked on over a dozen television shows (Ugly Betty, Royal Pains, Nurse Jackie, The Blacklist, House of Cards) and feature films (Argo, We Need To Talk About Kevin). She has over 10 years of experience, filmed in 40 countries, including a documentary film based on Atul Gawande’s best-selling book, The Checklist Effect, and recently screened her latest documentary on the Rohingya crisis ‘Shanti Khana’ narrated by Ashley Judd at the Cannes Film Festival. It is now available on Amazon Prime.

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Lauren Anders Brown Where were you born? I was born in New Jersey in the United States in a normal suburb but I feel I didn’t really grow up until I left and moved to New York City. I always felt claustrophobic in the suburbs, not aided by the long and traumatic divorce my parents began when I was 9 and continued for several years. I found more comfort in the chaos and creativity of New York than of my childhood home.

How did you get started in media? For nearly my entire life and as long as I can remember, my father has been the general manager of Silvercup Studios in Queens. Whenever I could I would go into work with


him, I would make childhood forts out of sandbags, c-stands, whatever I could find and ‘build my own set’ and sometimes get a thrill from hiding inside big cases for lights and rolled out onto stages where I would jump out and everyone would act surprised. When I became a teenager, I began actually observing how sets worked, joining in the filmmaking process however I couldwhether it was polishing coffee beans or babysitting Gisele Bunchen’s little yorkie terrier I was always watching, learning, and absorbing. Every school break in high school and college I was at the studio, and early on I fell in love with being behind the camera.

What has been the most defining moment for you? I’ve had several defining moments in my career over the years- my first day in the

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International Cinematographer’s Guild, attending and winning an award during Cannes Film Festival,

What has been your greatest challenge going independent? In this industry, nearly everyone I met who is at the top of their career has had to push and support themselves to get there. A common story I’ve heard from these people is losing up to a year of consistent work to make the leap up the ladder and nearly all of the stories included burning through savings to make that happen. One of my mentors, Harris Savides, once told me while he was backpacking through Europe shooting when he was stating out he ran out of money on his trip. The only thing he had of value to get him home was his camera, so he sold it. Hearing stories like that made me less fearful when my time naturally came for


me to stop working in camera departments on sets and begin directing and shooting on my own when I moved from NYC to London. The first year I did that though, I went nearly 9 months with only a couple of paying of jobs. I had burned through my savings like those who came before me, but I wasn’t ready to sell my camera. I did do the next most responsible thing I could and move back to New York for a little, with no plan but positivity and while I did do one day in the camera department on a set it was worth it as other work found me to direct and shoot and I made up my losses to continue. Making that decision at the time felt like somewhat of a step back, but it ended up giving me what I needed to propel me forward for what would be the beginning of my career taking off.

How has media changed for women since you first started out? I am proud to say I still came from the era of film. I had my own dark room for black and white photography, and learned how to load film into magazines. I used to keep the waste film sometimes I would find in dark rooms on sets and practice whenever I could borrow an empty mag. Film was heavy, along with most of the other camera equipment- the lightest thing was the coffees I would make for the department. It was a natural deterrent for women breaking into the camera department I think because it was assumed they couldn’t carry the weight. With the changeover to a more digital film world, I’ve seen more and more women in 29 |

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the camera departments. I don’t attribute this just to a change in equipment but a change in opportunity.

What challenges do women in media and film experience? TIMES UP has become a great example started by women in the film industry highlighting issues that have been plaguing the industry for decades. Thanks to breaking that silence, without shame I can now say I raise my hand at having a #MeToo experience in the past. Having less women in the industry I believe has created a culture of this vulnerability, thankfully we are in a position to change that now and we all have a part to play in making the film industry a safe and respectful place to work. Nearly every show has required sexual harassment courses to take now, which is a start but will not be the change maker. What will be is reducing the vulnerability that existed before by having a reasonable balance in genders on set. We need more women playing diverse roles in front of the camera and we need more women behind the camera- grips, electrics, props, camera people. We need it all, and in the past women have not had the opportunities to enter these professions. We need to change that, to hire more women in these positions. Sometimes that might mean taking a chance on woman without the same qualifications as a man who is up for the job. I’ve done this in the past myself hiring people for projects, sometimes I’ve succeeded and sometimes it has not been successful but I’ve never regretted it because


without taking those chances and offering those opportunities we’ll never create the change needed.

What advice would you give young women interested in film making? Film making is not for everyone. Even if you remove any external factors like discrimination, it is a difficult industry to be in. It requires you to deal with long hours (a normal day is based on 10 hours and almost always goes over that including travel time), unsteady work and pay, and the anxiety of not knowing when and where your next job will come. You will have to start at the bottom, which may require learning how to carry 8 coffees at once (yes it is possible, and sometimes I’ve managed 9). If you can accept all of that, then you’re on your way at the beginning of a fulfilling career- how many people are responsible for having their work created and be shared and admired by others? Never stop learning from your supervisors, never be afraid to ask too many questions (no matter how disempowered some may make you feel), and support women filmmakers from the beginning so we have more in our crews and in front of our cameras.

How can we use media to change the narrative for women? From a storytelling perspective, as filmmakers we are responsible for what the world may understand or believe about a certain topic, person, etc. It is a lot of 30 |

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responsibility, and a powerful tool to resonate with audiences in ways sometimes no other medium can. We must use this power to change the narrative for women, both scripted and non-scripted formats. I am no less responsible for how the world will view a woman’s narrative I may be filming with, just because it is a documentary and their story is their story. Part of my job as a director is to protect my female contributors from their future audience and ensure that what I cut together is not only accurate but leaves the audience with feelings of empathy and empowerment towards women. My composers tease me at times that they know they’re working on one of my films when no matter the ending they press the ‘add hopeful/uplifting music here’ button.

What are the 3 things you must take with you everywhere you go? 1. My bodum travel coffee press- it’s a travel coffee thermos and a French press in one. I take my coffee seriously. 2. An oversized scarf that acts as a scarf, a shawl when I need to dress up my limited clothing for a last minute cocktail invite in South Sudan, a wraparound dress when I’m going to a pool (which happens rarely but happens especially when the water isn’t running in the shower) and a blanket on the more ‘economic’ airlines. 3. A small, pocket size stuffed dog Snowy


from Tin Tin. When either me or my partner are away from our dog (and also each other), that one takes it on the trip and we send each other photos of Snowy’s adventures around the world. I’m considering publishing a book of them.

I know you love everything you work on but what is your favourite work? It’s always hard to pick just one, but one stands out as an overall incredible experience I never get tired of watching- my short film shot in Al Za’atari refugee camp ‘Six Year Old Fears.’ I’ll never get tired of hearing Sara sing her song.

What’s next for you? On the opening night of the BBC Arabic

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Film Festival this year, my co-director Ali Alibrahim and I shared our current documentary, ‘Anonymous SYRIA’ looking at the undocumented lives of Syrians both inside Syria and the surrounding countries of Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey. We’re focusing specifically on milestones that happen in everyone’s lives that are affected by the lack of identity- birth, education, marriage, and death.

How can readers support your work? I am currently seeking funding and/or co-production funding for ‘Anonymous SYRIA,’ so far Ali and I have been funding this project ourselves. It’s an extremely important and timely piece, and we’d love to speak with anyone interested in financing it and working with us.


My name is

Dora Dixon-Fyle, and this is

my story...

Cllr Dora Dixon-Fyle MBE was Born

Dora received her MBE from the

in Freetown, Sierra Leone. She is

Queen in 2011 for services to local

the eldest of three children and

government and she is also a Freeman

Southwark resident since the age of

of the City of London.

three. She has had a varied career which has included being a lecturer in colleges, managing the constituency office of Harriet Harman MP in Westminster and small roles in soaps including Casualty and Eastenders. Dora has been a Labour Councillor for Camberwell Green in the London Borough of Southwark since 1998 and also served as Mayor. Before this she held senior cabinet portfolios such as Children & Education, Adult Social Care, and latterly Arts and Culture.

What was your first job? My very, very, very, first job? I used to do a newspaper round. Honest! Waking up early and delivering newspapers through letterboxes. I was about 12 or 13 years old, I think. Looking back, it gave me a great grounding in politics because by the time I finished my round I would have read every newspaper - for free! And then because I was reliable, I began working in the shop that sold the newspapers so I began doing what I do best – talking – and I’m still doing it

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now. Talking to anyone and everyone

having a bad day, she’d soon cheer you

about everything under the sun! But

up or give you a bowl of her hot pepper

seriously it also trained me in noticing

soup! That always did the trick!

what goes on in the community. You’d notice who didn’t come in for their papers. So, the owner of the shop would pop out to see if that person was okay. If someone came in and wasn’t well, you’d soon know about it, with all the coughing & sneezing

What’s your proudest achievement? Receiving my MBE personally from the Queen.

tell you their life stories, their moans

What projects are you currently working on?

& groans, it could go on forever!

Many projects. One is a project that

But what wonderful training to be a

encourages people to show respect to

politician!

each other. It’s a project that says it’s

& spluttering, and of course people

not just about taking. It’s not about

How did you transition to what you are doing now? I’ve spent over 25 years in politics, and in public life as a magistrate, and on boards & committees supporting people whose voices are rarely heard but when they are enabled, they roar! I’m writing a book about it. Watch this space.

Who has been the greatest influence in your life? My greatest influence has been my late Mum. She was a great and proud African woman. Full of common-sense and great one-liners! If you were 33 |

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using people. If we carry on that way as people, as citizens we will never ever move on. It’s a shame some of us still have to be taught that lesson. But that’s one of the projects I’m working on.

What advice would you give women interested in pursuing careers in politics? You need to be resilient. You need to be credible. Don’t let people have a reason to whisper behind your back ‘she’s only there ‘cos she got lucky’ or worse. Don’t be a pawn and get used by others. If you’re a woman you have


a glass ceiling to break through. If you’re a woman of colour you have a concrete ceiling.

What’s next for you? Who knows? I know where I’m from. I know what I’ve achieved. I know who I am. I leave the future in the hands of someone all-seeing and more powerful.

Fruit Infused Water Ideas to Keep You Hydrated! - Immune Sup p or t -

Orange * Apple * Ginger Root

- Stres s R eli ef -

Strawberr y * Pineapple * Basil

- Imp rove Di ges ti on -

Cucumber * Lemon * Lime

- M us c le R ec over y -

Wa t e r m e l o n * B l u e b e r r y * M i n t

- B oos t M etaboli s m -

Green Tea * Mint * Lime

- Energi ze -

Lemon * Raspberry * Peach Wa t e r m e l o n

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Eating Healthy... Quick Summer Recipes!

Quick summer recipes for those lazy days at home or when you feel like having a few friends round. This shor t recipes will have you spending more time with your guests rather than in the kitchen!

Low Carb Beef and Broccoli ingredients: 1 lb Flat Iron steak, thinly sliced against the grain ½ lb broccoli, cut into small florets Ÿ cup coconut oil Beef and Broccoli Marinade: Ÿ cup coconut 1 tbs toasted sesame oil 1 tsp fish sauce 1 tbs ginger grated 2 Cloves Garlic chopped

method: Cut the flat iron steak into very thin slices against the grain Add the sliced beef to a small bag with the coconut aminos, ginger and garlic. Let marinate for 1 hour in the fridge When you are ready to cook, drain the beef from the marinade but reserve the liquid for later, this will be used as the stir fry sauce. Blanch the broccoli for 2 minutes in boiling water, then drain it really well In a large wok or cast iron skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat then stir-fry beef until browned, 1-3 minutes. Remove from skillet. Stir- fry broccoli until crisp-tender for about 3 minutes, then add the remaining marinade and cook for two more minutes Return the beef to the pan with the broccoli and warm through, then serve hot. 35 |

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Avocado Salad ingredients: 1/2 pound red cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved 1/2 pound yellow cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved 2 Avocados, diced 1 cucumber, sliced 1/3 Cup red onion, diced 8 ounces small fresh mozzarella cheese balls

method: To make the dressing combine fresh basil pesto with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Use the dressing on the salad, season the salad with salt and pepper, to taste. You can use this as a side dish or main meal with grilled chicken or meat.

Quick healthy hassle free breakfast! Baked Ham and Egg cups ingredients: 6 slices Ham deli-style 6 eggs 1/2 cup cheddar cheese Fresh spinach leaves Black pepper Salt and any other spices you want to use

method: Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly mist 12 cups in a muffin tin with cooking spray Press a slice of ham into each cup of the muffin tin, arranging the remaining ham and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, salt and pepper and any other seasoning you have and whisk together until fully combined and beaten Add the reserved chopped ham, spinach and half of the shredded cheddar cheese. Place the tin in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes until the eggs are set. 36 |

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Cookie Dough Fudge ingredients: Cooking spray 1 cup all-purpose flour 11/4 cup granulated sugar 1tsp kosher salt 1 tsp vanilla extract, pure 11/2 cup white chocolate 1 cooking spray 1/2 cup butter 1 (14-oz.) can condensed milk, sweetened

method: Grease an 8” or 9” square pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat butter, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Place flour in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until flour is hot, about 1 minute. Add flour and salt to butter mixture and beat until combined. Stir in 1 cup mini chocolate chips. In a large bowl, mix together sweetened condensed milk and melted white chocolate, then fold into cookie dough mixture. Pour into prepared pan and top with remaining ¼ cup mini chocolate chips Refrigerate until fridge is firm, about 2 hours. Remove from the pan by lifting edges of parchment paper and cut into desired shapes.

Red, White,and Blue Cheesecake Strawberries ingredients: Fresh strawberries Blueberries 1/2 tsp Almond extract 1/2 cup Confectioners’ sugar 1 cup topping, whipped 1 (8 ounce) package Cream cheese

method: Slice the strawberries in half and load the cream cheese filling on them. Then sprinkle almond extract for flavour and put the blueberries on top

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Churros ingredients: 1 cup water 21/2 tablespoon white sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 cup all-purpose flour 2 quarts oil for frying 1/2 white sugar, or to taste 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

method: For the coating whisk together ½ cup sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish, set aside. Heat about 1½ inches vegetable oil in a large pot or deep sauté pan over medium-high heat to 360 degrees. Prepare the dough while oil is heating. Add water, butter, sugar and salt to a large saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add flour, reduce heat to medium-low and cook and stir constantly with a rubber spatula until mixture comes together and is smooth (a few lumps in it are fine) Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl, let cool 5 minutes Add vanilla and egg to flour mixture then blend immediately with an electric mixer Blend until mixture comes together and is smooth (it will separate at first but keep mixing it will come together) Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round star tip (no bigger than ½ -inch). Carefully pipe mixture into preheated oil, into about 6-inch lengths, cut end with clean scissors. Let fry for about 2 minutes per side until golden brown Transfer to paper towels to dry briefly, about 15 sec. Then transfer to cinnamon sugar mixture and roll to coat Repeat process with remaining dough. Let cool for a few minutes then serve warm

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Delicious Dessert Skewers! Chocolate Covered Fruit ingredients: 5 oz chocolate 2 tbsp coconut oil 10 large strawberries 2 large bananas

method: Wash strawberries and dry, set aside with the green tops still attached. Peel and cut banana into 1� pieces and set aside In a saucepan, melt chocolate and coconut oil on low heat. Once the chocolate has melted, remove from heat and with one skewer coat fruit in chocolate Once all the fruit has been covered in chocolate, place on wax paper and set let cool in refrigerator.

R aw Chocolate Cookie Balls ingredients: 1/2 cup nut butter (Cashew, peanut, or almond butter) 1/2 cup rolled oats 1/4 cup cocoa powder 1 tbsp vanilla extract 4 tbsp maple syrup

method: In a medium sized mixing bowl combine nut butter, oats, cocoa powder, vanilla, salt and maple syrup. Once mixed together roll into balls. (It should make 10-12) place shredded coconut in a small bowl or plate and roll balls in coconut until fully covered. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Dessert Skewers: Before serving take fruit and cookie balls out of the fridge and place on a skewer. Each skewer should have one strawberry, cookie ball, and frozen banana. Serve and enjoy

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Tunisia –

Safe & Ready to Welcome You Forget what you’ve heard about Tunisia. Tunisia is safe and ready to welcome you to its incredible beaches and unbeatable hospitality. I was blown away by the comforts of Tunisia and inspired by the diverse history of this great country. It’s a 5 star destination that is perfect for families, romantic getaways, and relaxing retreats.

Tunisia’s History:

Being located along the edge of the Mediterranean comes with its advantages as well as its disadvantages. Over the years, many well-known empires have ruled over Tunisia – which was home to the mighty city-state of Carthage – and this diversity is reflected in the present-day culture, architecture, and tradition. Tunisia is highly influenced by nearby

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Arab countries, but it possesses a certain modernized history that is unique in its own right. After declaring independence from France in 1956, Tunisia continued to blend together Islamic traditions with European modernization to create an open and inviting environment for all genders and religious preferences.

Cap Bon – Tunisia’s tourist hub – is

a small peninsula in far northeastern Tunisia. Known today for its incredible beaches and fine wine, Cap Bon grazes the Mediterranean and has a rich history that spans into the early 5th century BC. As a lush agricultural region, Cap Bon was responsible for feeding the major cities and acting as a strategic military base. The Romans called the region the ‘beautiful


It was horrible and the world mourned. But this is not a unique experience for any country. Terrorism knows no boundaries, has no sympathy, and does not discriminate based on passport. But with so many horrible things happening in the world, it’s easy to forget what has happened in our own countries.

A few examples include: • Paris, France (2015) – 130 people were killed • Vegas, U.S. (2017) – 58 people we killed and 422 were wounded • Manchester, UK (2017) – 22 people were killed and 116 injured • Bali, Indonesia (2002) – 202 people were killed and 209 injured

peninsula’ and for good reason, with white sand and turquoise waves, Cap Bon is a holiday-maker’s dream.

Safety in Tunisia The most common question I get about Tunisia is this – “Is Tunisia Safe?” If you’re late to the party, Tunisia gets a bad reputation for a terrorist attack in 2015.

Even with these bleak moments in our history, the above tourist hubs aren’t considered to be synonymous with terror – so why is Tunisia? Perhaps it’s because Tunisia is not in the news as predominantly so people have fewer things to associate the country with. Well – here are some things to change your perception!

Tunisia is... • Alive with energy and culture • Vibrant with natural landscapes untarnished by man • Flushed with local produce and spicy delicacies • Ready to welcome the world

In terms of day-to-day safety, the government is now relatively stable 41 |

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a precaution and to ease the concern of tourists, large resorts will check under all taxis and cars coming in and out of the grounds for anything suspicious. There are also security guards and lifeguards on all of the beaches as well.

Women in Tunisia

and Europe is investing heavily in local initiatives and programs. In fact, the European Council on Foreign Relations reports:

Women are not expected to dress or behave in any specific way. There are active laws in place to protect young girls from forced marriage and assault (UNICEF, 2017) and Tunisia’s youth literacy rates for girls is 96% (UNICEF), which is one of the highest in the Arab world. The education system here actively encourages women to better themselves, whether that’s inside the home or outside. It’s up to them really.

“Tunisia’s security services have improved significantly since the country’s high-profile terrorist attacks in 2015 (2018).” Recently, European countries have worked very closely with Tunisia specifically on security, by ‘providing training and equipment for counter-terrorism and conducting some joint operations with Morocco’ (ECFR, 2018). On a personal note, I felt safe walking around in the markets, on the streets, and we regularly spoke to friendly people. As 42 |

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In terms of clothing, Tunisian women dress on a wide spectrum. Some are in traditional wear and others look like they


are strolling the streets of Paris. The tourists wore whatever they wanted (including tiny bikinis), but I would recommend being respectful to the some-what conservative nature of North Africa generally.

• Luxury Suites • Restorative Spa & Hammam • Pristine Private Beaches • 5 Star Hospitality and Service • Dynamic Dining • Events and Weddings

We were lucky enough to enjoy an Ambassador Suite with a pool view (1668 sq ft), which was 10 times bigger than any flat I have seen in London (lol). The resort had graciously left us a table of specialty dates, nuts, fruit, and a bottle of wine upon our arrival and this was just a small example of Tunisia’s incredible hospitality legacy. Most of the tourists at Hasdrubal Thalassa & Spa were regulars. Visitors are greeted by name and with a firm handshake. You can tell that years have gone into the relationship and many of the staff members have been working for this hotel for YEARS (some over a decade).

Where to Stay –

Hasdrubal Thalassa & Spa Tunisia is most known for its incredible beaches and there’s nowhere better to experience this than at the Hasdrubal Thalassa & Spa in Hammamet. Located just 1 hour from the Tunis-Carthage International Airport, the Hasdrubal Thalassa & Spa is just outside the tourist mecca of Hammamet. The Hasdrubal Thalassa & Spa is a 5 Star Resort that specializes in:

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The treatments at the Hasdrubal Thalassa & Spa were pretty incredible as well. ‘Thalassa‘ derives from the Ancient Greek


their bodies and mind. Even Mariah Carey has been known to frequent the Presidential Suite!

Cities & Regions to Visit Some notable highlights are: Hammamet –

Beach resorts, boardwalks, and 5 star accommodation. What’s not to love! This is the perfect place to have as your basecamp to visit other beautiful areas of Cap Bon.

Sidi Bou Said –

“Thálassa (Θλασσα)”, meaning “sea or salt water,” and Hasdrubal Thalassa & Spa did NOT disappoint. I chose to do a hammam session with a full-body mud mask, a restorative massage, and a collagen facial. I walked out feeling like Aphrodite herself. I noticed there were multiple solo travelers doing the same thing during my time there. Hasdrubal Thalassa & Spa has a rich history of catering to those who are looking to relax

Sidi Bou Said is a picturesque town of blue and white Mediterranean buildings that’s buzzing with tourists. Enjoy delicious cinnamon bambalonis (pastry) whilst you’re visiting.

Matmata –

Tunisia’s warm and dry climate makes it a perfect setting for the fictional planet Tatooine (The Phantom Menace). Head south and have a look. I hope this guide gives you the confidence you need to experience Tunisia’s wonderful magic for yourself. Tunisia is such a wonderful and beautiful country; it’s ready to welcome About Author Vanessa Menchaca Hi! I’m Vanessa Menchaca. I’m Mexican-American and I’ve been abroad for the last 6 years. I work in tech full-time and I travel blog part-time to help pay for my travel addiction. I hope to help you travel farther for less and for longer.

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Her Story Magazine Issue 6 - July 2019  

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