Friday Inspiration: Lucia Annibali and the fight to end #ViolenceAgainstWomen

November 24, 2016

Three years ago, Italian lawyer Luca Varani paid two men to break into his ex-girlfriend’s flat and attack her with acid – a vicious act of vengeance that would see Lucia Annibali undergo seven operations, leave her partially blind and alter the course of her life forever.

Smart and successful, Lucia Annibali’s only fault was falling in love with a seemingly charming, attractive man. She is not weak and she was not to blame - she could have been any one of us and any one of us, at any time, could become her.

Lucia and Luca Varani met at a law firm in the Italian coastal town of Pesaro. The attraction between them was immediate and compelling, and their professional relationship quickly became personal. 

Over the three years they were together, his treatment of her veered from passionate love one minute, to disinterest, anger and lies the next. 

Finally, she discovered his secret; he had been seeing another woman simultaneously, to which he was now engaged. She told him that she was leaving and that this time, she would never come back – a show of strength that would eventually lead to Varani being sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Lucia Annibali three years on from the attack (how amazing does she look?!) - image:

5 (stolen) minutes with Gesche Haas

November 22, 2016

I'm having another 'I love my job'  day today, although it didn't start out like that. 

I'd actually just got in from touching all the clothes in Zara - the closest I can get to buying them right now - and had got back into bed, where I intended to stay and sulk all evening. I can barely afford to pay my rent *violins, please* and sometimes being an adult sucks - the temptation to fly back home and move back in with my parents, live rent-free and be cooked for every night was strong. Fleeting, but strong. 

Then I got an email from Gesche Haas, who I interviewed at the Web Summit last week, and I remembered just why I'm here. She said she loved the article I wrote about her - which was kind of a relief, given my relative inexperience with interview-style articles.

It was just the boost I needed in the midst of one of my quarter-life, existential moments. Taking a year out is the best thing I've ever done, but it's not always easy - so sometimes, it's nice to know I'm getting somewhere. With wherever it is I'm going.

Anyway, at the end of my interview with Gesche - who is, by the way, one of the most fabulous and inspiring women you'll ever meet - I stole another five minutes of her time to ask her some quick-fire questions for this post. 

24 hours in Lisbon

November 12, 2016

Sometimes, I love my job. Today is one of those days.

I just met Julia Hartz, one of the most successful (and g o r g e o u s) female entrepreneurs, in the airport security queue on the way back from the Web Summit - where I'd just watched her speak in front of 15,000 people. When you write articles about an industry dominated almost entirely by white men for a living, meeting someone like her is a pretty cool thing to happen before 7am on a Saturday morning.

(Top tip – no matter how early the flight, NEVER go to the airport without make-up on. Because that will be the time you meet someone as fabulous as Julia and feel like a troll.)

Anyway, I’ve been in Lisbon for the past few days covering the Web Summit for the magazine I work for. Web Summit is a massive three day conference for all things tech, start-up and modern business - basically everyone from Facebook to Tinie Tempah is there so it's a big deal, if you're into that kinda thing. (Which I am, apparently.)

It doesn’t sound all that fun, I know, but it really, really was. (Admittedly, I write for a finance magazine so my view of ‘fun’ is probably a little skewed). Plus, if you're media you get treated like royalty - which means free Portuguese custard tarts!!!

But the best thing about the conference was, obviously, the fact it was in Lisbon. I've been obsessively Pinterest-ing it for ages and have been dying to go - luckily it totally lived up to my (super high) expectations!

3 things I love right now: November 2016

November 03, 2016

So as part of my effort to make more time for blogging on my 'gap yah', here I am again. Did ya miss me? Probably not.

I'm currently in England and after a few days at work in London - and celebrating Halloween, obviously - I'm back in Suffolk.

I'd been looking forward to coming back to England for the last month - but when I left for the airport, all I wanted to do was stay. It turns out that when you get home from living abroad, 'home' doesn't really feel like home anymore. Where are the Nutella croissants? And Bake Off Italia? And the rest of the people who drink ten coffees a day, and all the well-dressed women?

But while Italy feels more like home than the UK right now, until I can speak the language fluently I'll always feel a little like an outsider.

So I'm currently in the throes of a weird, existential crisis, which I have largely dealt with by drinking too much wine snuggled on the sofa in front of the fire (yes, winter is coming) and binge-eating all the free food in the fridge.

Which has given me plenty of time to get really, really into a few things...