My event planner alter ego….

cocochanelquote

My whole life I have been organised, creative and a lot  teensy bit mad. From setting up jewellery shops and a mini cafe at home, when I was little, to organising huge events of over 5K people, being an event planner has always been in my blood.

I think the key to organising great events is to always think outside the box. There’s literally nothing you can think up that can’t be created. Obviously bearing the budget in mind is important, however, being creative and a great talker saves money and adds to the charm of an amazing event planner too.

The events I’m most proud of are the ones for charity. When Burlesque was “in fashion” in the early noughties, everyone wanted dancers at their events and I became a bit of a Burlesque event coordinator. As a former dancer myself I had a great black book of contacts and, as a journalist, I knew the best people to get coverage, event spaces and freebies to auction off from. We raised thousands of pounds for various charities across the UK and appeared in various publications. I was also so impressed by the beauty of the event spaces we secured…..an old cinema being my absolute favourite!

I wanted to branch out further though and, more recently, started to help out with wedding planning. A close friend of mine asked me to scan my eye over dresses, cakes etc. and I fell in love with it and realised that I’m very perceptive when it comes to other people’s tastes and advising them accordingly. It seems strange that I only realised it at that point, as I’ve been a stylist for years and one of my shoots was featured in Vogue Italia (Photo credit –  the amazing Xanthe Hutchinson).

1607109_10101324375060539_34757150_n

When my sister got engaged I knew it would be my chance to help her shine on her big day.

I don’t think I realised how well connected I was until I started talking to my sister about her wedding. I’ve always mixed with like-minded people, but it came as a surprise to me that I had so many amazing, talented people at my fingertips to help with my event organisation. From bakers of extraordinary cakes (Gorgeous Georgie) to photographers and bands, the list was getting all the big ticks.

The big thing that made me realise how much I loved event planning was the fact that my sister and I are so different that I think she was surprised that I knew her tastes so well. I started with a Pinterest board and then talked her through other ideas such as DIY bunting, polaroid cameras etc. I was even bang on the money with regards to the hen doo (a vintage affair with absolutely NO penis paraphernalia!)

The wedding isn’t until May and I’m sure I’ll be blogging more about it as I go along, but I’m so grateful to my nearest and dearest for believing in me and encouraging me to go for what I love and was born to do – embracing my differences in order to be irreplaceable and having amazing fun along the way.

Light and love, people. Mimi Cat xox

The Adventures of Rocko Cat and Miss Mimi…..

Having written a lot of different genres over the years, I decided to try my hand at children’s stories. Inspired by the amazing tales my Dad concocted for me and my sister back in the 80s, about a little boy and his talking dog, I set to work.  His imagination stirred something in me as a child that will stay with me forever and, I’m sure, has made me into the creative thinker I am today. I now keep adding to my story on a regular basis. Mr B has already sketched out the front cover for me and, together, we’re going to keep at it until we create something wonderful. I hope you enjoy this first instalment:`

20140225_185442-1

Rocko Cat was not like other cats. Yes, he looked and sounded like one, but on the inside he was very special indeed. He lived in a house with his mummy, Mimi, and liked nothing better than playing in the sunshine, catching flies and eating treats. He was a very big, fluffy cat with huge eyes. However, what most people didn’t know was that he could talk. Yes, Rocko Cat was a clever cat, but he liked to keep this part of himself secret and only shared it with his favourite person in the whole wide world, Mimi.

Mimi loved the fact that Rocko Cat had chosen her as the special person to reveal his more human side to. She was a very lonely little girl and, when Rocko Cat came into her life, her world changed…..for the better. She thought he was the cutest, most beautiful thing she had ever set eyes on and when she found out he could talk she was overjoyed. He understood her completely and they were never apart. The most wonderful part of their friendship was that Rocko Cat and Mimi loved adventure.

Obviously Rocko Cat had to appear like a normal cat to everyone else (or the secret would be spoilt), so Mimi asked for a beautiful lead to be made in red and white spots as a special birthday treat. The colours suited his glossy black fur perfectly and the lead meant that they could go on special walks together and he would be safe.

It started with adventures to the park where he talked about the trees and played with the bugs, but then he wanted to go further afield. One day he asked Mimi to take him further so he could see more of this wonderful world that he lived in. She agreed.

“You have to act like a normal cat, though, Rocko Cat, or people will find out your secret and will want to spoil our fun,” she said.

“Don’t worry, Mimi,” he said “I just want to see what exciting things we can get up to outside of our garden. You know I’ll never leave you and I only want to talk to you. Nobody else understands.”

“Ok then”, she said “let’s go to the seaside. We can get fish and chips, play on the arcade games and paddle in the sea”.

“Oh yay!” said Rocko Cat. “I can’t wait!” and he ran around in a circle and meowed like a normal cat to show how excited he was.

So they packed a bag with all the things they would need – a bucket and spade, picnic blanket, towel and snacks – and off they went to get the train.

“I’m so excited,” said Rocko Cat, “I heard they have huge birds there, called seagulls that sound as if they are laughing all the time. I think I’m going to like the seaside if it is that much fun”

“They do sound very cheerful, but they are cheeky things and love to steal people’s pic-nics”, Mimi warned, “we might have to be careful.”

“They do have donkeys though”, she continued, “I think you will like them. They are very gentle and let children ride on their backs for fun”

Mimi warned him that he would have to stay close by when they went to the train station as it would be very busy and full of people. She was worried about losing him, but he was happy to put on his lead and stay really close to her. He was a little frightened and kept meowing for reassurance, but knew he would be safe as long as Mimi was by his side. Train stations can be scary places for small animals so it was understandable that Rocko Cat felt a little bit unsure.

They bought their tickets and headed for the train. Rocko Cat was so excited by this point that his tail was wiggling and waggling all over the place. The sounds and smells were so new to him that he was a little overwhelmed at first. He could smell food everywhere and another, stranger smell that Mimi said was petrol that helped to make the trains move. He didn’t like that smell as much and tried to concentrate more on the food smells and the people rushing by. It wasn’t long, though, before he relaxed a little and started to think about his exciting adventure ahead.

As they were chugging along through the countryside they talked and talked about all of the things they would see and do once they reached the seaside. Rocko Cat could hardly contain his excitement. Lots of people were staring at the little girl and the beautiful cat by her side that she never stopped talking to. They thought she was very sweet talking to her cat so much even though he clearly couldn’t understand her. Little did they know that Rocko Cat was chatting away in response to Mimi and they were planning a great day out.

“I think I’m going to enjoy adventuring with Mimi,” he thought to himself as he watched the world go by through the window……to be continued!

Light and love, people. Mimi Cat xox

My Viv fetish……

Image

Since I bought my first pair of Melissa for Vivienne Westwood shoes and opened that blue box to smell that amazing bubblegum smell, I knew I had a new love.

That love has grown and grown to the point that I have to get at least one new pair a year. Pictured are my favourites, but that is just the start of the collection. I’ve always been a huge shoe lover, especially of unusual shoes, but there’s just something so special about Melissa’s designs.

The lady dragon’s are my favourite (cherry, heart, skull, orb). Not only are they the perfect height so they’re super comfortable, but they are very versatile and go with a surprising amount of outfits. The metallic colours mixed with an amazing centre piece on the front, make these the most adorable shoes I’ve ever owned. I’m hook, line and sinker a fan of these little babies..

I think there must be something in the plastic as I know so many people are fans of, what are essentially, jelly shoes. The bubblegum scent is now something I crave and I keep all of them in the box to preserve that gorgeous smell.

ImageMore recently I bought the three strap, elevated court shoe in peacock blue. This is one of the more unusual colours and it was a toss-up between the golden olive and the peacock, but the petrol colour is amazing (not obvious from the pic) and won me over.

ImageThey are nowhere near as comfortable as the lady dragons, however, they are absolutely gorgeous. I think I like that they’re higher than the usual Melissa shoes and the two-tone colour-way is really unique. I would recommend going up a size if you’re considering the elevated Melissa’s as they come up quite small and can nip your toes if you’re wearing them for a long time.

Either way, I absolutely love Melissa’s – from their snazzy blue box with the signature Orb Westwood design in gold on it, to the bubblegum smell and then the look and feel of them. I’ve already set my eyes on some of the Lagerfield ones…..THOUGH I might just get the same designs in different colours. The choices are endless and it’s always exciting to see what design is launched next.

Light and love, people. Mimi Cat xox

La Vida Loca – Molly Moo

ImageI recently became the proud Mother owner of a French Bulldog puppy called Molly. For those of you who know me (and now those of you who are getting to know me) saying I’m a little obsessed with Frenchies is an understatement. Below is just a tiny example of how much I love them:

        ImageImageImage

Those are only a few of the French Bulldog items I own and, obviously, the tattoos were pretty extreme. I finally figured out, though, that if I saved up all of the money that I was spending on French Bulldog paraphernalia then I would be able to afford the real thing!

I trawled the internet and drove Mr B mad with my constant messages containing adverts with Frenchies for sale or pictures of cute puppies. Eventually, I found what I thought was the perfect one. A teacup Frenchie with a gorgeous mum and dad based in Leeds! I begged Mr B to go with me “just to look at her” knowing full well he would fall in love with her on the spot.

I need to quickly mention here that I’ve wanted a French Bulldog for years so have done lots of research and know exactly how much maintenance and financial backing they need. I knew we would get one eventually, but it needed to be the perfect one. After all, I already have Rocko cat, the grumpiest, fluffiest cat of all. He definitely takes priority in my life and I knew the nature of the dog would have to fit in with him. It wasn’t something we would rush into as we were well read on the subject.

Anyway, I digress. We went to meet Molly and she was perfect. The tiniest, snortiest thing I’ve ever seen and she went to climb straight into my handbag. I knew we had to get her. I paid the deposit and we went home to “puppy proof” the house in preparation for her arrival. Mr B took no persuasion as soon as he picked her up and she licked his face (something he lets her do on a daily basis now!)

Molly is a bundle of playfulness. A true pet in every sense. She is a terror, especially when she wants to gnaw on everything in site, including ears and noses, but she’s great fun. Even Rocko cat is coming round to her after a few months. He is 4 years old and not keen on anything apart from me and sleeping, but he creeps up to sniff her when she sleeps and chases her around which keeps them both fit. I think he secretly loves her, but he’d never admit it! 😉

Having a dog is a huge commitment, but it is also truly rewarding. I finally feel that I have a proper little family of my own. Two very different pets with VERY different characters and, yet, they are both adorable in their own way. I look forward to going home every night to the warm welcome and I don’t even mind the dirty work! I’m a proud Frenchie mother and can’t wait to record all of the exciting times we have to look forward to together (I’ll also be writing about Rocko Cat in The Adventures of Rocko Cat and Miss Mimi, my forthcoming children’s book).

1560425_10101299496302769_1471772624_n

180220143480150220143471Light and love, people. Mimi Cat xox

The perpetual dreamer

Image

Recently I have come to the conclusion that I may be dreaming slightly bigger than is ever truly possible to achieve. OK, so I gave up on the dreams of being an international, jet-setter years ago, but what of my newly evolved dreams?

I’m not going to be a massive hipster and say that I’ve read something recently that was so truly inspirational and profound that it inspired me to keep going, keep dreaming big. My true friends and family have been inspiring me to do that for years. What I will say is that I don’t see the problem with dreaming, even if the thing you’re dreaming about never comes to fruition.

I think that has been my problem for so many years. I’ve dreamt big, gone for it and been at the point of destruction when I got turned down, rejected or even scorned. It has, however, never stopped me from continuing to dream. It is part of my make-up. It is who I am. It’s how I live, breathe and create. Without my dreams I am a shell of a person who marches along to the rhythm of everyone else’s drum.

In essence, I cease to ‘be’ without dreaming.

Image

But how can I stop myself from getting hurt every time my crazy, wonderful ideas get turned down or I get told that “there’s nothing more to life. It IS literally just THIS”? Every month or so I hit a wall where I feel utterly let down by the world around me and what it has to offer. There’s way too much of this attitude that you have to be in the right place at the right time. Although there is some truth in this (I’ve read stories about famous people ad nauseum on this topic *rolls eyes*), there is something to be said for wanting to push yourself to your limits and try to achieve the best life you can.

I’m not going to admit that my life is dull. It can be, but mostly it’s not. I have things to look forward to, beautiful and truly hilarious pets whom I seek great comfort in being around and a good job that allows me to express my personality perfectly.

I am, however, going to admit that sometimes this isn’t enough for me. Sometimes I want more and because I struggle so much with the guilt of that it has inspired this post, as  most of the people around me are happy to settle for their lot and think I should too.

Now you know how I feel you can stop telling me to appreciate the things I have. I already do. It’s just that when I walk around, sit at my desk, try to sleep at night, thoughts rush through my mind of the person I could be, the places I could go, what I would do if I won the lottery, how my acceptance speech for a book/modelling/film award would go etc etc. I get lost in my dreams and I like it. It’s my safe, fluffy place that has so much possibility and none of the reality of disappointment. It is that reason that makes me know it isn’t wrong to dream. Even if it ends up just being a dream and nothing more then at least you thought, for one second/minute/day, that it was achievable.

nothing-is-impossible-the-last-spartan

As a child I would practise my speech for when I appeared on the Parkinson show. I would try out different accents and different jobs that had led to my appearance on the show. I loved it so much that I still/maybe/sometimes  do this when I’m alone (the pets don’t judge me so you shouldn’t either!) I adore a bit of escapism. Who doesn’t?

So, my point is this. That from now on I’m still going to fight for the truly fulfilling elements of my life that I currently only dream about, but I’m going to get a grip as well. I know the things I will never achieve:

  • Motherhood – I’ll never be a mother and I’m OK with this because I’d be a bad one

Things I may never achieve:

  • My dream circus-themed wedding…..or a wedding at all, come to that (I have a bad track record when it comes to love and don’t believe anyone can truly put up with me for the rest of their lives!)
  • Getting my dream home with a pool (come on….I don’t need to explain this. I think this dream goes in the “lottery win” section!)

But my favourite list of all is this one – things I CAN achieve (outside of the above things or I fear becoming a hypocrite):

  • Anything

I’ll continue to dream and I’ll continue to learn and if nothing else comes from it then I can safely say I had a damn good crack at it!

Light and love, people. Mimi Cat xox

Don’t date a tattooed woman if you don’t like tattooed women (unless you’re prepared to dig deeper)

Image

Although the title of this post seems somewhat obvious, it would appear that not everyone has got the memo on it. In the past, and slightly more recently, I have received messages off male friends of mine who find women with tattoos really appealing, but would NEVER go out with one. Because it has become more and more of an issue for me I thought it was about time I wrote about it and got some things off my chest.

Considering I am currently going out with a man who doesn’t find tattooed women attractive it seemed particularly poignant that I write this post. An off the cuff comment about finding someone unattractive due to them having tattoos (completely disregarding the fact the girl had a hell of a lot more issues going on than her tattoos and that he was talking to his heavily tattooed girlfriend at the time!) really struck a chord with me as he’s not alone in his opinion.

We currently live in a society where being tattooed is particularly common. It is no longer unusual to see people who are heavily tattooed – women included. So why is it still seen as taboo by many? Why are some people so fascinated by tattooed people, yet don’t want anything to do with them on a deeper level? It astounds me that people can be so ignorant in such a modern society.

Although I’ve had the bumf of people telling me that it isn’t feminine to have tattoos or that I looked more attractive with plain skin, it hasn’t put me off. I’m an old hand at strangers feeling the need to council me on my lifestyle choices because they are judging before getting to know the person underneath the ink. Being tattooed is a way for me to express my creative side. Every single piece of art on my body has been chosen by me….and chosen wisely. All too often we hear stories in the press or on tv about people who were drunk or made poor choices. That’s their stupid fault. It has nothing to do with tattoo culture or art.

I see tattoos as an art form. Some of my favourite artists create such astonishing pieces that even those who hate tattoos would be hard pressed to say they weren’t good.

Kelly Smith (my current artist) and Uncle Alan (hot air balloons) and two such creatives:Image

Image

Tattooing women began as early as the 19th century. Some of these were for tribal reasons and others were for sideshows in circus’s. I have to admit that a lot of those women were tattooed against their will, but some of them became famous due to their unique look.

Cindy Ray (Real name Bev Robinson) was Australia’s first homegrown tattooed (and tattooist) pin-up girl, but until 1959, she was just your average girl trying to make it as a model. She had no tattoos and no interest in tattooing, until Harry Bartram, a photographer, offered to pay for her coverage.

By the end of her career, she was considered to be a confident tattooist. She tirelessly corresponded with her fan base and posed for hundreds of pictures, many more than she would have before she was tattooed. Her name was on books, tattoo machines, and jewellery kits. However, she had little or no input in the endorsement of these products, or even the promotion of her image. She wrote a book about her life called The Story of a Tattooed Girl.

It is sad to think that so many of these women, whose art-work is still popular today (traditional, old-skool tattooing is huge these days) were not in control of their look or their notoriety, but that was a sign of the times.

Nowadays women are in control of how they look and being tattooed could be seen as another part of emancipation. I don’t ever feel that my tattoos hold me back and I’m proud of how they look. That’s why I plan to get more. It has definitely become an addiction, but let’s face it – you come into this world with nothing and leave with nothing so why not have a ball on the way and be as creative as possible with the skin you live in. Obviously it isn’t for everyone, but I love being a living work of art and being able to collect different artists’ work on my skin is something I’m particularly proud of. It isn’t, of course, the main thing going for me. It is only a tiny part of a hugely creative individual with a brain and everything!

So, before you judge me – Hi, my name is Mia Hodgkinson. I work in a high powered Marketing job, have a blog and a sideline in personal styling. I love fashion and music from the 40s and 50s. I have a huge, fluffy cat and a crazy French bulldog and I love being creative and meeting like-minded people. There’s lots to love and dislike about me in equal measure, but I will always be true to myself. If this isn’t for you, then fine. We probably wouldn’t have been friends anyway and that will never have anything to do with how you look. It will be to do with your narrow-mindedness and lack of imagination.

So guys….if you like tattooed girls then ask one out, but don’t send them creepy messages before slinking back to your pretty, “safe” girlfriend with no tattoos. We may be considered the “fairer” sex, but we have definitely evolved quicker than you Neanderthals!

Light and love, people. Mimi Cat xox

What it means to be a woman in a modern world

Image

What signals femininity to you? Do you think of elegant ball gowns with cinched in waists or do you prefer the boiler-suited style of Rosie Riveter? In this day and age the definition of femininity is so varied and multi-faceted that anything goes.

Over the years women’s shapes and styles have changed dramatically. Where once big, child bearing hips were seen as desirable, now the more svelte shape is highly coveted.

Whatever your opinion, femininity is what you make of it, but it hasn’t always been this way. For centuries women wore specific clothes that were seen as appealing to men. Corsets, in particular, were a way for women to manipulate their curves to make them look more alluring to the male sex – the suggestion of fertility and childbirth were par for the course in days gone by. Crinolines and bust-enhancing bodices during the Edwardian era were then replaced with the more discreet style of the 20s.

What strikes me the most is that the biggest part of the female form to be overlooked is the brain. For way too long women have primped and preened themselves in order to seek favour with men. Why?! It seems absolutely ludicrous to me. What pressure to men feel under to be appealing to women? Apparently we are now in an era where equality is much more common – women can be bosses of companies as well as mothers and wives. However, there is still a huge amount of pressure on young women due to celebrity and porn cultures.

There is so much out there to “feed” male brains. It is easy for them to access physical perfection at the touch of a button. However, how many men are now expecting their partners and wives to be as perfect as their famous, photoshopped counterparts? How many men find a creative, well-developed brain over a well developed bust appealing? I’m leaving these questions unanswered as I may be afraid of the answers!

I certainly don’t mean to “man bash” by writing this article and not all men are that easily led, but it is something I struggle with on a regular basis – men and women are so very different that it amazes me that there are any heterosexual relationships left. Where women strive to be accepted and push themselves to achieve more, men are already at the top of their game with very little left to achieve or, more importantly, prove.

I work in a male-dominated environment and it is very difficult at times to rise above the throwaway sexist comments, especially as I’m a woman with a rather different take on “corporate dressing”. With half of my head shaved, tattoos, percings and a colourful, varied wardrobe, I’m seen as pushing the boundaries in a suit and tie world of grey and black.

I won’t change, though. It has taken me so long to accept myself for who I am that I won’t conform for anyone. As long as I’m dressing smartly and covering up my tattoos so I don’t “offend” anyone then I can just about get away with an alternative look. I love my unique wardrobe of styles from the 40s up to the modern day. Every day is a dress-up day for me where I take a random selection of clothes from my wardrobe and then accessorize.

Where some people think my style choices are to stand out and get attention, I stand by the belief that my style choices are because I have a hugely creative brain and sometimes people don’t take the time to listen to it. I wear my creativity as a uniform. I’m sad that this has to be the case, but it still is, even in a so-called “modern” society. If fighting to be heard through my clothing is the way to achieve some progress in creating an equal society then I’ll keep at it.

Fashion will always be seen as a leader in femininity, however, being an individual is what makes you a survivor in this day and age. Don’t be a sheep and follow the crowd….stand out from that crowd and shout for your right to be seen AND heard for all the right reasons.

I’ll leave you in the capable hands of Mr Iggy Pop to finish this article:

1395443_610616202315145_1819274221_n

Light and love, people. Mimi Cat xox