Archive for November, 2008

The hangover of all mothers

November 21, 2008

Twenty five years ago when I hit legal drinking age women drank shorts – martini and lemonade, gin and tonic or if you considered yourself very glamorous a sticky mix of cointreau and curacao called a Blue Moon.  Nowadays most of us drink wine and most of us lie about our units.  The Department of Health recommends that women drink no more than 2 or 3 units in one go and that sounds OK if you are under the illusion that a unit equals a glass.  Sadly, a unit is around 100 ml of wine or put another way you can drink the entire recommended number of units a day in just one large glass.  Since I can over the course of an evening out (or in!) manage to drink an entire bottle to myself very easily (three large glasses) that makes me a binge drinker.

A couple of weekends ago my sister and I became super binge drinkers.  You know how it is.  She and her family were staying over night, the kids were safely in bed, and whereas usually we’d both be nodding off in front of the ten o’clock news there we were, thanks to the energy boosting powers of red wine, still up at 2am chatting away and with a third bottle on the go.    Going past one bottle is always a big mistake.  Huge.   Therein lies the road to a superhangover and mine the next morning was gold medallion Olympiad standard.

My hangovers have definitely got worse as I’ve got older.  Before I had kids I’d just stay in bed till I felt better.  Now that’s no longer possible I attack my hangovers with lots of water, sugary tea and plenty of carbs.  My food intake on this particular hang over day consisted of white buttered toast for breakfast, a fish finger sandwich for lunch and sausage beans and mash for tea.  So if the alcohol doesn’t get me the processed fatty food will.   Feeling monumentally awful I insisted that my kids and husband spend all day with me on the sofa watching telly and eating.    I didn’t insist we went out somewhere to get a breath of fresh air, I didn’t tackle putting the garden furniture away for winter which had been my planned job for that weeked, I didn’t turn the telly off declaring we’d all had quite enough of that for a while and let’s read a book instead.   Instead we all of us snuggled up on the sofa all day.  I didn’t even get dressed.  As X factor started and I handed everyone a Twix each my son said to me “I love it when you have a hangover Mum, we get to spend such quality time together.” 

I knew there was a reason for drinking all that wine.

Wales Power 100

November 4, 2008

In its November edition, Wales Business Insider Magazine has published its Power 100, described as Insider’s View of the most powerful people in Wales.    The list contains few surprises for the business people of Wales other, perhaps, than the prominence of policiticans and the public sector who according to Insider “get a good show as we believe their decisions on investment and contracts will become more important to the economy as it slows down.”

 It is perhaps also no surprise that only ten women feature in the Power 100.  They are:

12.  Edwina Hart, Health Minister

14.  Menna Richards, controller of BBC (and speaker at Superwoman 4)

17.  Iona Jones, Chief Executive S4C

23. Sian Lloyd Jones, Chief Executive, Finance Wales

26.  Jane Davidson Environment, Sustainability and Housing Minister

80. (big jump that) Katherine Jenkins, Singer 

82.  Jane Hutt, Education Minister

86.  Margaret Matthews, Managing Director Dow Corning Site Barry and Chairman CBI Wales

89.  Kirsty Williams, Liberal Democrat AM Member

100.  Ann Beynon, Director BT Wales

Of that ten, four are politicians and one, Katherine Jenkins, is a singer.  Whilst I am delighted that Ms Jenkins continues to fly the flag of Welsh talent so very high, she is at the end of the day a performer and I don’t quite see how she fits into Insider’s definition of powerful which involves having three types of power – executive power (which derives from their jobs), latent power (which is an ability to change the course of events) and influence (the ability to set the parameters in which business is conducted).  Signing a £5m deal doesn’t make Katherine Jenkins powerful by that definition although it does make her rich.  Unless of course she plans to use some of that £5m to set up a venture capital fund to grow Welsh business which isn’t half a bad idea. 

So, how do those women who want to (and I fully accept that there are lots of women out there, men too, who would rather have pins stuck behind their finger nails than figure in Wales’ Power 100) get our presence amongst the powerful up from a meagre 10%?   Brian Morgan, director of the Creative and Leadership Enterprise Centre at UWIC and number 78 in the list gives some advice in the Insider article which is not aimed particularly at women but is very relevant to us.   He says that to be powerful you have to demonstrate an ability to get things done; that you shouldn’t hide your light under a bushel and that a strong personality and networking skills are essential.    All good advice and all something that the Superwoman network helps women achieve.  Perhaps the biggest lesson for women here is the bit about not hiding our light under a bushel.  Most of the men listed in the Power 100 feature in the Welsh business press on a regular basis and in the Insider particularly rather a lot.    It seems to me that we all need to speak out more about our talent and our influence.   Shout out loud and shout out proud that “Here come the girls”.  And maybe that way in years to come there’ll be a few more than 10 of us in the Power 100.