Memories of Girlhood: Difference and Conformity

One vivid memory I have of my girlhood was when I was asked to play “Mary, Mary quite contrary” in the harvest celebration. Now I wasn’t the most natural child performer, but I did always enjoy being in performances, so I was utterly over the moon when I was chosen for the main part, despite it being only a 20 second skit and my casting most likely being based on my name being identical to the character’s. Nonetheless, my mum helped me put together an outfit, and at 9:00am on show day I strutted down from my Year 2 classroom in a lovely floral dress I had previously worn as a...

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5 books every girl should read!

There’s something about this time of year that seems to makes me nostalgic. I think its because I have so many happy childhood memories from this season. As a family we used to go on big country walks, I’d jump in as many puddles I could find and kick up all the colourful leaves, then we would head home as it was getting dark. Arriving home I would be summoned to have a bath after getting so mucky, I’d change into my pjs and snuggle down into my bed ready for my bed time story. I loved being read to; both my Mum and Dad did their best to bring the characters to life for me, and what a bunch...

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Memories of Girlhood: Moving to Scotland

When I was six years old I boarded a flight destined for Edinburgh, Scotland. My family (all of whom are American) and I were moving there from New Jersey, where I was born. I went to school in the capital city, Edinburgh, but my family lived in a beautiful big old house out in the countryside. Like, sheep blocking the roads and not even on Google Street View level of rural. The overgrown sprawling garden seemed magical to me, and one part was even surrounded by old stone walls like The Secret Garden. Further afield (hah!), I went on family walks all over the beautiful Scottish highlands,...

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Memories of Girlhood: Knit One, Girl One

My mother is and always was a fantastic knitter – my sister and I gallivanted around in colourful home-knitted cardigans from our infancy. The most exciting part of any of her projects was always when we went to the haberdashery to choose the buttons for our new cardigan. Running my hands over the rainbow wall of button tubes, I inspected each one carefully to guarantee the best choice. Inevitably I chose a set that resembled a small animal. I remember in turn blue butterflies, red and black ladybirds, bright strawberries and my sister’s yellow teddy-bears which I envied so much. The spare...

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Which Spice Girl are you? Identity in the playground

In the late 90s, manufactured pop bands were at their height, and as every generation before us, we wanted to be able to complete the full dance routine, sing every word, and perform at breaks in the school playground. There was one band that transcended beyond just learning the dance routine and songs, the Spice Girls. The Spice Girls brought along the idea of identity. For anyone who disappeared in the late 90s, the Spice Girls were a British all girl group manufactured by Simon Fuller. In 1996 they released their first single, Wannabe, and for the next four years Girl Power ruled the...

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Memories of Girlhood: Anglesey Adventures

Over the Menai Bridge, through the winding Welsh lanes, down a bumpy track that barely qualifies as a road and under an archway of trees lies Cerig Mawr, my favourite place in the world. Located on the isle of Anglesey this old farmhouse has been a bastion of the Bryning family for literal generations (…well, four generations) and is host to countless cherished childhood memories. I’ve been visiting Cerig Mawr for as long as I can remember, spending numerous Easters, Christmases and summers there with family and friends. Highlights of childhood visits included exploring the surrounding...

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Memories of Girlhood: Association Football and Me

Football has been a part of my life since I was a baby. As with many things in life, its importance has waned and blossomed as I have grown, but has remained a constant part of me. My first link to football was through a photograph of me as a baby held by an ex-football player called Emlyn Hughes at a book signing. He played for Liverpool F.C., which is my father’s favourite football team in the U.K. I never met Mr Hughes again, and since he passed away in 2004 I never shall, but that moment cemented the importance of football in my life. Liverpool F.C. was the best team in the England and...

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Memories of Girlhood: Jamaica

My most memorable memories of girlhood were being able to explore a bit further field. At the age of 12 we had our first family holiday abroad and it was to….JAMAICA! What made this holiday even better was that we went with my best friend’s family. As we journeyed up to the airport in the early hours of the morning, we were full of apprehension of what to expect whilst also being extremely tired! It didn’t help that our boat journey off the Isle of Wight was extremely choppy! The flight was soooo long, but I can say that it was definitely worth it when we got to Jamaica. The hotel we stayed...

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Memories of Girlhood: Fuelling the Thirst for Adventure

I went to school next to a public library in the centre of Edinburgh, Scotland. Because my Mum worked later than school finished, my younger brother and I attended the After School Club. This was a magical place where there were all sorts of activities to do and games to play, but the lure of the library was too much for me to ignore. I would plead and beg with the supervisors to take me next door to sit in a comfy bean bag and read. They would drop me off at the library and then come and get me when it was home time. One day as I was reluctantly placing the books back on the shelf, a young...

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Memories of Girlhood: Adventure is out there!

Clinging to the fifth bar of the monkey bars I peered down at the ground below me; to my seven year old self it looked a long way down, even though in reality it was little more than five feet. It was my third try at the assault course that weekend and the monkey bars were the final hurdle. I looked ahead and counted seven more bars to go! I wasn’t sure I could make it, the last three attempts I had fallen from the ninth bar. “Come on Erin!” shouted Brown Owl from just behind me. “You can make it!” My palms were sweaty but as I looked ahead again and saw Tawny Owl waiting at the end...

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