My Adventures at Red Magazine’s Smart Women Week 2015, by Claire aged 34 and three-quarters (oh, and a giveaway too!)

Last week, from September 21st – 25th, you might have noticed lots of women going to and from a beautiful townhouse in Fitzrovia, if you happened to be in that part of town.  That townhouse was the venue for the many events of this year’s Smart Women Week, a series organised, curated and run by the multitalented team at Red.

Early last month an email had popped into my inbox while I was researching, proclaiming that tickets were available for these events, and as soon as I clicked on the schedule, I was hooked.  It was a jam-packed timetable, with everything from mentoring to makeup, blogging to booty-shaking, and food to finance.  I took a good look at the available sessions and selected five events I thought I’d really enjoy.

On the Monday I attended a talk on twitter called ‘How To Build Your Brand on Twitter’.  Led by Julia White of Twitter UK this was a really interesting session and a great way to get a handle on the different facets of the site.  I was amazed at how small and friendly the session was – there were about a dozen of us so there were lots of opportunities to contribute and ask questions.  Julia was a doll and so, so knowledgeable.  I loved her insight on Periscope, the new kid of the social media block!

On Tuesday afternoon I attended the session entitled ‘How to become a master of Pinterest’.  If you’ve read my blog before or met me, you will know I have some mad Pinterest love going on, so I was intrigued to see what this presentation held.  Led by Lizzie Sibley from Pinterest UK and featuring the lovely pinning guru that is Sarah, from Taming Twins, this session was fun and light-hearted, but also had a great deal of good, hard info on upping your Pinterest game.  It was thought-provoking and to-do list encouraging.

Wednesday evening rolled around and I went to a supperclub where the multitalented Sasha of Liberty London Girl would cook for us.  This was one of the high points of the week for me – fewer than a dozen folk, including Sasha and people from the Red team, sitting around eating delicious seasonal food, sipping beautifully curated Mentzendorff wines chosen to match the menu, and talking about London, life, writing and Lettice the dog (of course!).  For full details on the delicousness, do read Sasha’s awesome post on the event – she has such an eye for detail and I adored her use of fresh, well-sourced foods.

On Thursday my diary was full of zoo-visiting and baking, so I didn’t find myself at the Red house.  I made up for it on Friday though, by attending two events!  In the morning I went to to social media breakfast, where three awesome women chatted to us about twitter, facebook, and getting it all done.

Sali Hughes was just as lovely as she seems online (and is so, so heartstoppingly pretty in person!) and was refreshingly candid about how she utilises and implements social.  Emma Barnett, of the Telegraph, radio, and Wonder Women fame was so clever and interesting to listen to, with a great take on the changing nature of twitter and shaping the conversation.  I totally waffled at her afterwards….whoops.  Angelica Malin was very inspiring – she’s clearly going to go far and her vision and strategic way of implementing her ideas were great to listen to. Even at 7.30am the girl was on!  I really like About Time so it was great to hear her speak about the publication and how she uses social and analytics to ensure maximum impact for each piece.

Last but not least, on the Friday my second event was to attend a lunch where we would hear from Candace Bushnell, the author of (amongst many other books) Sex and the City.  I read that book in my late teens and the show started as I headed off to university, so I jumped at the chance to hear her speak.  She was amazing – warm, confident, intelligent, funny.  I could have listened to her stories for hours, she is a magnificent raconteur.  I loved having the chance to say hi to her and have a little chat too – she is such an inspiration.  I can’t wait to read Killing Monica, her latest book!  Lunch was provided by Maple & Fitz and was delicious – the kale salad was sweet and crisp, and I even enjoyed the tofu (no mean feat, it’s generally not my favourite!).

I enjoyed Smart Women Week so much.  As well as the fantastic speakers and staff, the attendees were amazing too: business owners, writers, entrepreneurs.  It was amazing to be in the presence of so many talented, inspirational women and I left feeling rejuvenated and ready to get to work!

In honour of the fun and fabulosity of Smart Women Week I’ve decided to put together a giveaway inspired by my fun times.  This is not affiliated to the magazine or the presenters, but I thought it would be a fun way to kick off October!

Included in the prize:

  • A hardback copy of Killing Monica, the latest book from Candace Bushnell
  • A hardback copy of Pretty Honest, the bestselling beauty book by Sali Hughes
  • A hardback copy of Friends, Food, Family, Sasha Wilkins’ (Liberty London Girl) wonderful cookbook (this has yet to arrive so is not in the picture, is due tomorrow)
  • As this month is all about getting a handle on my writing, I thought some stationery would be fun – there’s a pencil case, some highlighters, and a nice big notebook for all your scribblings.
  • It’s now autumn so it’s time to get cosy – I’ve included some tealights in a favourite fragrance and a couple of sachets of hot chocolate.
  • Various other fun items – a red apron (because the magazine in charge of the SWW fun is called Red, ha!), a Pinterest tote bag and travel coffee mug, and some stickers and sweeties too.

This giveaway is live until midnight here in London on Thursday 15th October (so the wee small hours), and I’ll announce on Friday 16th and mail it out as soon as I can to the winner after that!  I think it’s a fun prize and hope you’ll consider entering.  It’s my first time using rafflecopter (I truly am learning so much in this season) and there are three ways to enter – leaving a comment, tweeting about the giveaway, or visiting my blog facebook page (often worth a gander, it tends to be where my cute animal video mojo peaks!).

If you do leave a comment, I’d love to know – who is the smartest woman you know?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Becki Explorer
    2nd October 2015 / 8:08 am

    Such a great way to kick off October! The event sounds like an amazing thing to attend….I'm hoping they'll do another one. The women who inspire me the most are Emma Watson and, posthumously, Audrey Hepburn. Both are intelligent and dignified. Nothing appears to through them. They are strong without being hard or cold. They use their celebrity in such a way that promotes support for others and I think that's a truly inspiring way to deal with fame. B x

    • Claire
      2nd October 2015 / 10:36 am

      Two great choices! Both women achieved so much and are/were so intelligent and kind.

  2. Ashleigh -
    2nd October 2015 / 10:03 am

    Lovely post! I absolutely love a singer called Elle King who I saw at a gig recently. She just doesn't give a damn! Such a sassy attitude. Ashleigh

    • Claire
      2nd October 2015 / 10:36 am

      Such a wonderful thing to see a strong, sassy woman in action.

  3. Roxie Ferguson
    2nd October 2015 / 10:08 am

    Wow, what an amazing event. It would be a dream to meet Candace Bushnell. I'm so glad she was as lovely as she appears to be in interviews.Roxie xThe Beautiful Bluebird

    • Claire
      2nd October 2015 / 10:37 am

      She really was – I was so impressed with her wit and warmth.

  4. Unknown
    2nd October 2015 / 10:19 am

    Such a great post and prize. I am inspired by so many women. I find so much inspiration in my friends. One of my friends, Alice Wroe, started the Herstory project, which uses art to teach feminist history in schools. I find her passion such an inspiration. I am also inspired by my late grandmother, a strong woman with impecible style and grace, who continues to inspire me on a daily basis.

    • Claire
      2nd October 2015 / 10:38 am

      Such wonderful examples. I've heard of Herstory – such a great project.

  5. Lucinda Barton
    2nd October 2015 / 11:10 am

    Oh gosh so many but I guess mainly my mum. She's always seems to manage to stay calm while frantically keeping everything going and never has a horrid word to say! Oh to manage that 😀

    • Claire
      2nd October 2015 / 6:10 pm

      Such a great example – mums can often be so unflappable in a crisis. I'm often in awe!

  6. Caroline My Family Ties
    2nd October 2015 / 11:35 am

    There are so many inspiring women to look up to, in our modern day I do very much admire Angelina Jolie for the humanitarian work she carries out, also Audrey Hepburn. Personally in my own life I really admired my grandmother who has sadly passed away, she was an exceptional woman who always put others first and taught me so much about how to live my life as an independent strong woman.

    • Claire
      2nd October 2015 / 6:13 pm

      Your grandmother sounds like a wonderful woman. How lucky to have had such an inspiration in your family.

  7. MamaMummyMum
    2nd October 2015 / 11:49 am

    The one woman that always inspires me is my mum.

    • Claire
      2nd October 2015 / 6:14 pm

      My mum is amazing too. I'm in awe of her intelligence and bravery!

  8. Rebecca Smith
    2nd October 2015 / 1:48 pm

    Audrey Hepburn for all that she did for others

    • Claire
      2nd October 2015 / 6:14 pm

      She's proving to be a popular choice (and one I heartily concur with!).

  9. shirlz51
    2nd October 2015 / 7:30 pm

    Mother Theresa,she was truly selfless

    • Claire
      5th October 2015 / 7:32 am

      An interesting choice – a woman who gave a lot!

  10. Iain Maciver
    2nd October 2015 / 7:33 pm

    my wife

    • Claire
      5th October 2015 / 7:33 am

      So sweet! It's lovely that she's the first to spring to mind 🙂

  11. Amanda Robinson
    2nd October 2015 / 7:51 pm

    My mother in lawI can talk to her about absolutely anything & she has always been their for us as a family. She's a great person!

    • Claire
      5th October 2015 / 7:34 am

      How fantastic. A good mother-in-law is worth her weight in gold (I should know, mine is fab too!).

  12. peter campbell
    2nd October 2015 / 8:06 pm

    Dawn French

    • Claire
      5th October 2015 / 7:35 am

      A very interesting & intelligent woman.

  13. helen
    2nd October 2015 / 8:36 pm

    My mum as she does so much for charity

    • Claire
      5th October 2015 / 7:37 am

      That's so great – I think it's so wonderful when people give back like that.

  14. Kim Neville
    2nd October 2015 / 9:21 pm

    Would be my mum as she is so courageous and thoughtful

    • Claire
      5th October 2015 / 7:40 am

      Mums are doing well! Mine's a treasure too 🙂

  15. Isis1981uk
    3rd October 2015 / 12:44 pm

    My colleague, Gill – she's like superwoman & cares for her sick husband, is a great mum, & works full time – all with a smile on her face & a hug for anyone who needs it.

    • Claire
      5th October 2015 / 7:41 am

      Wow, Gill sounds like an amazing women. We all need someone like that in our life.

  16. DeliciousFashion
    3rd October 2015 / 5:52 pm

    Without hesitation, my mother! Though she may not have an astonishing success story she has raised me to be the woman that I am today, and I thank her for it.

    • Claire
      5th October 2015 / 7:41 am

      Oh, she sounds great – a strong and intelligent mother is something to be prized!

  17. Angela Kelly
    4th October 2015 / 1:32 pm

    It would have to be the suffragettes. I wish we still had that spirit here in Britain, we're far too likely to let things happen now rather than to make a fuss and try to change things.

    • Claire
      5th October 2015 / 7:43 am

      We all owe them an incredible debt of gratitude. World-changing women!

  18. GuruOnAMountain
    4th October 2015 / 5:51 pm

    Emma Watson. Although she's young, pretty and successful and could easily have relaxed and lived off her earnings from the Harry Potter franchise, she has chosen instead to study and use her influence to try to change the world. She is a great role model for younger women.

    • Claire
      5th October 2015 / 7:44 am

      She's such an inspiration – such intelligence and grace and still so young. She's a fantastic role model.

  19. Hannah Ingham
    5th October 2015 / 2:35 pm

    My mum, and I have a couple of teachers that I'll always remember too!

    • Claire
      6th October 2015 / 11:59 am

      A good teacher can be such a prize – as can a lovely mum!

  20. Leighanne M
    6th October 2015 / 3:19 am

    Cheesy I know but my mum. She's such a strong, independent and resourceful woman, nothing ever gets in the way of what she wants to do. She is proof that hard works pays off

    • Claire
      6th October 2015 / 12:00 pm

      She sounds very inspiring. How lucky you are to have such a great role model!

  21. JO BRYAN
    7th October 2015 / 10:58 am

    I think my friend inspires me, always has time for others, works hard and does some fab charity work.

    • Claire
      13th October 2015 / 6:58 pm

      She sounds wonderful.

  22. Ruth Harwood
    8th October 2015 / 7:49 am

    Hilary Mantel x

    • Claire
      13th October 2015 / 6:58 pm

      Such a brilliant author!

  23. soozwales
    10th October 2015 / 7:00 pm

    Kate Winslet she will not conform to stereotype

    • Claire
      13th October 2015 / 6:59 pm

      She's one of a kind, such a talented actress!

  24. Jennifer Carroll
    12th October 2015 / 12:18 am

    my mum for her strength

  25. Lizzy Cooper
    12th October 2015 / 1:40 pm

    My mumma 🙂

  26. sheridarby
    12th October 2015 / 8:04 pm

    My mum

  27. haxel
    12th October 2015 / 9:17 pm

    The first woman that inspired me was Grace Darling – I read about her in a book of heroines I was given as a child. I thought it was wonderful that she participated in something which was traditionally done by men so long ago, and that she helped save so many lives.Hazel Rea – @beachrambler

  28. Victoria Prince
    13th October 2015 / 8:52 am

    I know it's corny, but my mum! She has many wonderful attributes and has been a great role model for me over the years. We are so close, tell each other everything and she's just an amazing person 🙂

  29. Jade H
    13th October 2015 / 12:11 pm

    My mum

  30. george emil
    13th October 2015 / 5:04 pm

    My mother in law inspires me, she in a truely wonderful person x

  31. Janine Atkin
    13th October 2015 / 6:00 pm

    bree from desperate housewives – i long to have a house as clean as hers!

  32. DJ KIRBY
    13th October 2015 / 6:04 pm

    JK Rowling. Enough said!

  33. Donna caldwell
    13th October 2015 / 6:07 pm

    Victoria beck ham think she has done so well for herself

  34. Natalie Crossan
    13th October 2015 / 8:36 pm

    The late Diana, Princess of Wales xx

  35. Debbie creasey
    14th October 2015 / 9:21 am

    Paloma Faith inspires me she came from a council estate back ground to be a fabulous singer and entertainer.

  36. Daphne
    14th October 2015 / 9:36 am

    Loves of women inspire me Maya Angelou a beautiful writer who went through so much, Margaret Thatcher who showed just how much a woman can do in such a male dominated world, and our Queen gracious and devoted to her people

  37. Andrew Grange
    14th October 2015 / 5:15 pm

    My mother inspired me and I like to think that I've inherited her beautiful qualities.She will always be with me.

  38. Claire Ward
    14th October 2015 / 5:23 pm

    My nan I was always in awe of her how she managed 5 kids work and her husband she was one of a kind

  39. Eleanor Powell
    14th October 2015 / 6:30 pm

    Erin brockovich what an amazing woman

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