International Women’s Day is something to celebrate. The invitation to the Mouse, Brimstage, in the centre of the Wirral, was irresistible. The venue is a Grade II listed building in a beautiful setting. Once inside the restaurant, we could fully appreciate its history, stunning decorations, décor and welcoming vibe. It felt like a fabulous spring festival, with a delicious three course meal and special guest speakers.
Feature by Jean Hill
The Mouse is a restaurant that is also an events venue with a beautiful conservatory that would be a lovely space, alongside the restaurant, for a wedding or other special occasion. It is also a great lunch destination. The food is classic, traditional fare: cottage pie, fish & chips quiches and Mediterranean veggie tart. The meal on the night comprised of: goats cheese salad, succulent chicken dinner with piquant subtly flavoured sauce and yummy chocolate caramel tart for dessert. All were beautifully presented and tasted delicious.
The evening began with live music and a complimentary gin from the Handmade Gin Co. Gemma Cutting, from Demand Radio, hosted. The speakers appeared, interspersed, between the meal courses.
All the guest speakers at the Mouse were inspirational, though not necessarily limited to or constrained by their ‘career success’ stories. There were outstanding achievements in the mix. Importantly we also discovered their drive to consider life balance, core values and how to support other women trying to establish themselves in chosen pathways.
Whilst scrolling the Mouse website I discovered this: ‘The key to success is to start before you are ready’. I suspect Joanna Jones, the General Manager of the Mouse, would approve.
Sam Giles is a successful actor who has appeared on stage and featured in Emmerdale. Once she became a parent, she became critically aware of the notion of ‘having it all’. She was able to take her baby on location, but juggling parenthood and acting was challenging and I suspect exhausting. She coped with career and children but with the awareness of the importance of work/life balance and remaining grounded. More recently she has become a published children’s books’ author. ‘Rosemary and the Witches’ was her first of three books: the final awaiting publication. The story was inspired by her children.
She valued self-belief, which she differentiated from self-confidence. Still pondering on that one.
Bianca Skeete was the original founder and director of a global fast fashion empire which she started from her bedroom in Dubai. On the surface she was successful, living the kind of celebrity life that gets splashed across social media. In reality she was seriously unhappy and was not really enjoying her party lifestyle at all. The decision to dramatically change direction must have been difficult, yet has proved totally worthwhile. It transformed her life, which in turn created the opportunity to offer crucial support for other women seeking to realise their potential in a rounded, holistic way.
She is now founder and Director of ‘My Social Sister’ a modern wellness app. This is a community that celebrates women and offers access to self-empowerment coaching for women specialising in self-realisation and intentional living. Bianca used the term alignment. Alignment is when thoughts, life-choices, and direction all honour our core values.
Bianca’s talk particularly impacted on His & Hers’ editor, Emma, who found her truly inspirational.
Sam Hillas, surprisingly did not make too much of being UK, King’s Counsel (KC). The title refers to a set of barristers and solicitors who the monarch appoints to be a part of His Majesty’s Counsel learned in the law. To achieve this status, a barrister must have practiced law for ten years and be recommended by the Lord Chancellor. No mean feat (achievement requiring great skill and courage).
She specialises in divorce cases. Her desire is to find settlements that minimise distress, particularly for children involved. She is looking for the best outcomes in difficult situations. To some extent she has been operating in a world where men predominated, though more women become lawyers year by year. The outstanding issue is that there is a 34% pay gap between male and female barristers. This is about worth and values that urgently need updating. Sam mentors young people joining the profession at no cost for them. Her mentees make up the numbers in a football team, almost all female. We wish them the same success as the English Women’s Football team. She recommends that women remain authentic, that to be yourself if the best way to thrive in a work environment (even when faced with challenging circumstances). She has a great sense of humour and this probably helps too.
Alyx Steele has perfect poise. She stood erect in a dancer’s pose whilst she spoke. She works on an international stage these days. Originally she came from Toxteth. She was destined to be a dancer, but there were no role models to follow. She entered a dance competition, that took her to London, reached the final stages, though she did not win. An agent gave her great encouragement, and thought she had a future as a professional dancer. She never forgot what that meant to her. She is now an international choreographer who has worked with Rihanna, Pink and Cold Play. She explained that those from a financially secure background see their future career paths more clearly and find progression easier to access. Alyx decided that one way she could give back to her profession was to train and mentor young, upcoming female dancers who do not come from affluent backgrounds. They find lack of money a huge stumbling block because of academy fees and freelance insecurity. Support and encouragement make all the difference in the world.
An evening of active agency. So much fun and much to celebrate.
We also discovered Noubalm.com. Noubalm, offer a full range of beauty and healing holistic treatments, in a calming, peaceful environment. As a team of highly qualified beauty, holistic and skin specialists, they offer memorable experiences, and a haven of tranquillity. There are three unisex clinics, based in Oxton Village, Moreton Village and HQ Noubalm Kitchen currently based at The Business Hub, Pacific Road, Birkenhead.
Pacific Road HQ also hosts workshops for those suffering from cancer while continuing to offer a complimentary treatment to anyone who has or is suffering with cancer. It is also the perfect space where classes such as yoga, meditation, sound healing, mindfulness and Theta healing take place.
Tel: 0151 3425382
The main image is by Rachel Gilbertson Photography & Film.