The Eye

The Eye

Lucy Kane speculates on life, love and leisure in her monthly column for Time & Leisure magazine

Caitlin Moran illustration by Lucy KaneThe Eye, June edition 2021

How not to have it all

Caitlin Moran is my new girlcrush. One fast and furiously funny interview with the Times columnist and author of bestseller How To Be A Woman, and I’m ready to smash the patriarchy with a glass of wine in one hand and wipe board pen in the other. Shiny new white boards adorn kitchen walls where cherished family photos once hung so the family can share the to-do list burden.  Everyone is invited to ‘stair-system’ workshops, to learn how not to step over items left at the bottom of the stairs and actually take them up and put them away. And my four-year-old is left in absolutely no doubt who fixed his toy garage with the drill. Ahem. It wasn’t Daddy. Caitlin’s infectious feminist prose on how not to have it all is for those of us who literally have it all, from growing kids to parents in their dotage and Botox to keep you looking, well, not exhausted.

In the midst of the pandemic, Caitlin released her sequel More Than A Woman. It is ground breaking, frank and witty, and will leave you wondering, ‘Should I be planning a maintenance shag behind the shed?’. Whilst seemingly having life sussed, she graciously excused my failure to challenge the feminist quo in our household by saying that she is thinking about these things for all women who are busy being the sandwich generation.

She is feminist with a capital F. Funny and Feminist. It definitely wasn’t cool in the noughties to express your feminist views with friends over a cocktail. But a decade on, How To Be A Woman led the explosion of Funny and Feminist media, books, podcasts, live shows, and this month you can watch my interview with Caitlin on our website. Feminism. It’s cool. It’s inclusive. And men are welcome too.

Caitlin’s effervescent personality, hilarious take on life and outspoken ideas have left audiences in no doubt why she is the  sell-out headliner of the Wimbledon BookFest Sunrise festival this month. There is a packed line-up of top names coming to the marquee on the common. Just some of the highlights include the nation’s favourite reverend Richard  Cole on The Madness of Grief, brilliant business women, mother of five and handbag designer Anya Hindmarch (read our interview next month), comedian Frank Skinner and children’s supreme author Michael Morpurgo.

Like many of you, I am so ready to switch off the pandemic news, banish Brexit blues and turn a cheek to Tory sleaze. It’s time to reconnect with some much-missed friends, some not so missed friends, to be honest, anyone who’s up for a good night out. We are yearning for culture, waiting, like our going-out shoes, to once again tap into theatre, go rogue with your brogues and dance with some well-heeled soul-mates.

Without real-life experiences, our brains have festered, unable to generate the memories that give us a sense of time. Many lockdown days felt longer than Groundhog Day whilst simultaneously it seems like yesterday we were packing up the office at the start of this crazy pandemic. So, this summer, we’ll be snapping up festival tickets, lingering at live gigs and living life like we’re in our twenties again.

Lucy Kane is Owner & Publisher of Time & Leisure Media. Connect on twitter @lucykane or Linked In.

Forest for Change

Illustration by Hilary Wilson

The Eye, May edition 2021

Forest for Change

Apparently, us Brits have become less social since lockdown with the majority spending less time lost in Insta-wormholes on social media. The YouGov poll doesn’t spill the beans on how we’ve been wiling away our free time, but if our own website traffic is anything to go by, increasing numbers of readers have been searching out the best local parks, places and spaces to get back to nature, switching screen-time for green-time.

Once we got over panic buying loo roll, setting up home offices and over-sharing lockdown video memes on WhatsApp, there was a surge in independent food suppliers, local walks and cocktail recipes before we settled comfortably into our new normal. The chances are you haven’t made it through the year without doing at least one of the following; getting a dog, a Peloton or investing in luxury lounge-wear. But whilst some of us have started sleeping in pyjamas so that we’re ready and dressed for work in the morning, many of us have been taking some serious steps to nurture our wellbeing.

We’ve rediscovered our relationship with nature, walks in and around the beautiful neighbourhoods of SW London and Surrey have been trending on our website since the first lockdown. Our homes are festooned with houseplants, water features adorn outdoor spaces and our front gardens are perfectly manicured. As home and office spaces have blended together over the last year, we are demanding more from our bosses and the environments we work in. There’s an increased demand for green infrastructure in our town centres, we want spaces and places that enhance our wellbeing not just fulfil our shopping desires.

This summer, Forest for Change will be planted at Somerset House. I’m proud that local urban greening specialists Scotscape, will be installing an impressive 400 trees in the stone courtyard as part of the London Design Biennale this June. Visitors will be able to experience a mini-forest in the heart of London and learn how trees address climate change, growing inequalities and recovery from Covid19. My family ticket is booked. I love the blissful concept of soaking up clean air, immersed in green space against the backdrop of our bustling metropolis.

Nature has had a reset due to the pandemic and with new warnings about climate change this is the time to demand more from our placemakers. Why shouldn’t our town centres be filled with trees, Pétanque pitches and rainwater gardens? Heck, why not repurpose parking spaces for allotments or de-pave our streets to replace them with mini-forests and whilst we’re at it create some relaxing, car-free, al fresco street spaces to dine out and meet friends.

Green spaces build better and stronger communities, and if there’s one thing we’ve learnt to value during the past 12 months, it’s community. As we come out of lockdown, there’s so much we can do to help our local businesses bounce back into action. By bringing nature back into business zones they’ll be places that make for happier, healthier communities to reconnect over brunch, a celebratory glass of bubbles or pause to contemplate all that has happened since 23 03 20.

Lucy Kane is Owner & Publisher of Time & Leisure Media. Connect on twitter @lucykane or Linked In.

Illustration by Hilary Wilson

The eye April 2021The Eye, April edition 2021

7 Lockdown Learnings

It’s been a weird world, adjusting to life under lockdown. As we’ve stayed home, blissfully hibernating with just the occasional birthday cycle-by, the world seems to have shrunk. Never before has it been so easy to tour Canada, learn Mandarin in China, visit the top 25 most popular paintings at the National Gallery, and finish up by dancing madly in the kitchen with our most loved friends, from all over the world, at a (virtual) birthday party, all in one day.

Whilst everyone else was achieving heady new heights of crocheting or upgrading their hobby cabinet, in #lockdown1 I was barely keeping my head above water and the cap on the gin bottle. But this time round I like to think I’ve got it sussed….

Weekend Retreats

The weekend spa retreat is the ultimate escape from your inmates. I gave mine a week’s notice and booked out of household chores, and onto my very own online winter retreat. Going up: cold showers, steam rooms, meditation, yoga, facials, water, vegan food, rest, reading, laughter, walks, chats with best friends. Going down: booze, wheat, meat, dairy, cleaning, running around after others. I have to admit, at the end of it I felt blissfully smug – I’m amazed my inmates respected the winter retreat space – the threat of vegan curries may have largely helped.

Going bananas

Our oven has been churning out banana muffins on industrial levels, but a momentary flashback to childhood and we ditched the healthy sugar-free baking and pimped up left over oat flakes to make choco-choco crispies with an update of mini-marshmallows.

Kitchen parties & disco balls

Inspired by 80s pop star Jona Lewie, You’ll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties. A sparkly rotating light bulb, a killer Spotify playlist, some homemade cocktails and tah-dah – kitchen parties are the new going out. The tricky part is how to surreptitiously take a break from the 90s playlist without showing your 90s dance moves are as worn out as you are.

Snow school

Do you remember stepping out of your front door during spring lockdown, to be greeted daily by serene streets, bird song, and blissful blue skies. During the bitter cold winter months, only snow and sledges have tempted us outside, preferring hot dates with the sofa, takeaways and the steamy Duke of Hastings.

Walkie Talkie

Who’d have thought meeting a friend for a walk would become the highlight of our social calendar? But it’s got competitive as to who invented the best pre and post walk warmers: mulled wine swiftly moved on to mulled gin, Irish coffee swapped for intimate moments with a hot white Russian…

Craft Culture

Ordering speciality treats has been one of my favourite lockdown learnings; a tray of chocolate covered marshmallows, craft beer deliveries, or supporting a local gin distillery. My current obsession is locally roasted coffee, ground and time-stamped, lovingly packaged by a fanatical coffee connoisseur. Whatever your lockdown indulgence is, please support our local independent businesses to help them survive.

Zoom Boom

I’m loving online webinars. To avoid the inevitable embarrassing moments of video bombing inmates, I’ve learnt to adopt headphones on, video off and multi-task position, whilst learning a new skill or listening to an inspirational speaker. This month I’ll be hosting a special International Women’s Day event for women in business. Join me on 10th of March for lunch-time celebrations, give yourself a boost and get some inspirational confidence tips from top speakers plus a panel Q&A.

Lucy Kane is Owner & Publisher of Time & Leisure Media. Connect on twitter @lucykane or Linked In.

IWD2021Celebrating International Women’s Day with Time & Leisure

If you missed our event, sign up to Time & Leisure Weekend to get all the latest things to do. We had an absolute ball with over 60 inspirational women in business – view the pictures and comments