October workshop – cancelled

Unfortunately, due to circumstances outside of our control regarding the availability of our experts, we are afraid that we are going to have to cancel our workshop planned for the 13 October 2018.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. Keep an eye on our website and social media for details of our next workshops.

Are you an electrician? Become a Practical Woman expert and share your skills

Are you an Electrician and passionate about gender equality?

Are you Level 3 qualified and over 18?

Would you like to share your knowledge and empower other women? Then join us and share your valuable knowledge in our fun and friendly workshops.

Practical Woman is based in Islington, London and aims to equip and empower women with DIY skills and to demystify trade language, in an inclusive and non-judgemental environment. But we can’t do this without our experts!

To find out more, email kara@practicalwoman.co.uk

Practical Woman is Trans inclusive

Practical Woman logo
Practical Woman is Trans inclusive. Our workshops are open to anyone who self-identifies as a woman. Come on in, you are very welcome.

Stonewall is running a campaign to equip and enable cis allies to show their support for trans people. There are lots of fantastic resources on the Stonewall website including details of how to get involved, a guide to local services and groups, a helpful glossary of terms and the fantastic report ‘A Vision for Change’ which is well worth a read.

If you know someone who identifies as trans and would like further support here are some excellent resources and links to organisations that may be useful:

Celebrating Mary Wollstonecraft

Kara and Mary Wollstonecraft street art

We’re big fans of Mary Wollstonecraft at Practical Woman. Perhaps most famous for writing A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792, Mary was a passionate advocate of women’s rights and education and an incredibly talented and prolific writer. Mary lived a fascinating life and we recently reviewed Charlotte Gordon’s brilliant book Romantic Outlaws which looks at Mary’s life and that of her daughter, famed novelist Mary Shelley.

Mary on the Green is an organisation campaigning to create a monument which would honour Mary’s memory and inspire young people in Islington, Haringey, Hackney and further afield.

Did you know that currently, over 90% of London’s monuments celebrate men despite a population of 51% women? It’s time to start celebrating influential female figures from history too.

Share your #MinuteforMary

Mary on the Green has been asking people on Twitter to take 60 seconds to tell the world why Wollstonecraft deserves a memorial.

Take a look at all the wonderful submissions so far on #MinuteforMary or follow Mary on the Green on Twitter.

Why don’t you share yours today?


Opportunity: Marketing and Social Media volunteer

Are you passionate about gender equality? Do you have experience with marketing and social media?

Practical Woman logo

Practical Woman is looking for a Marketing and Social Media volunteer to build awareness of our workshops and brand. The position will be based on remote working and the hours are flexible.

Full details are available in the job description (PDF).

If you’re experienced with social media and would like to get involved with our work, please contact our Emma Halford-Busby (Director of Marketing and Communications) by email on emma@practicalwoman.co.uk

Nine practical gift ideas for all budgets

Christmas Gift Guide

It’s December which means that very soon (if not already) you’ll traipsing the streets or frantically browsing online for that perfect gift for friends and family members. Well, close those open tabs and put your feet up because here are our favourite gift suggestions for the practical person in your life no matter what your budget.

Nine perfect gift ideas for the practical person in your life

Practical Woman logo

1. Practical Woman workshop

We had to start with ourselves, didn’t we? Is there someone you know who wants to do more DIY but doesn’t know where to start? Book them a place on our workshops and we’ll send you a nice gift voucher to pass on.

£40-£60 per day / Buy online

Suck UK Pencil Spirit Level

2. Suck UK spirit level pencil

The perfect stocking filler! A pencil and mini spirit level in one! Ideal for hanging pictures.

£5 / Buy online

FORGE STEEL HAND TOOL KIT 55 PIECE SET from Screwfix3. Beginner’s toolbox

A complete starter toolkit is ideal for those new to DIY or a friend or family member who has moved into their first home. Check out our guide to the essential tools.

£29.99 / Buy online
Collins Complete DIY Manual

4. DIY manual

We have a stack of great DIY guides at Practical Woman but our favourite by far is the Collins Complete DIY Manual.

Sign up for our newsletter by 31 December 2017 for your chance to win a copy.

£11.99 / Buy online now

Fawcett Society Keepcup

5. Reusable coffee cup

The perfect gift for the fabulous, feminist, coffee loving person in your life. These wonderful keep cups from the Fawcett Society are environmentally friendly too.

£9.95 / Buy online

The Makery Make Your Own Lampshade Craft Kit

6. DIY lampshade kit

Learn how to make your own lampshade with this brilliant kit from The Makery.

£19.95 / Buy online

 7. Runnin’ the World pencil case

Store your pens and pencils or whatever you want in this brilliant case.

£5.50 / Buy online

 Melissa & Doug Take-Along Tool Kit8. Melissa & Doug toolkit

It’s never too early to learn to be practical!

£11.99 / Buy online

Teen Breathe - wellbeing for teens magazine9. Teen Breathe magazine

Not sure what to buy for your teenager? Teen Breathe is a brand new magazine focused on wellbeing for teenagers including features on mindfulness, body image, crafting and more.

£23.94 for a year / Subscribe online or pick up a copy from your local newsagents


All prices shown were correct at the time this post was published.

Sign up for our newsletter for your chance to win a copy of the Collins Complete DIY Guide (CLOSED)

Collins Complete DIY Manual

At Practical Woman we love our copy of the Collins Complete DIY Manual. We use it all the time for advice on various DIY tasks so we thought we would give you the chance to win your own copy. Simply sign up for our email newsletter by 31 December 2017 and you will be entered in to our prize draw to win a copy of the book.

Our email newsletter will be sent out every six weeks and will contain updates from the team, links to useful tutorials and resources, blog posts and lots more.

Sign up now using the form below. Full terms and conditions are shown below.

The prize draw is now closed.

Prize draw terms and conditions

  1. The prize draw is open to people aged 18 and over who live in the United Kingdom and provide their email address and sign up to the Practical Woman newsletter. Family and friends of Practical Woman may not enter the prize draw.
  2. The prize draw will run from Sunday 3 December 2017 to 23:59 on Sunday 31 December 2017 inclusive. Only newsletter sign ups during this time period will be entered in to the prize draw.
  3. Only one entry per person.
  4. One winner will be chosen from a random draw of entries received in accordance with these terms and conditions.  The draw will be performed by a random computer process.  The draw will take place on 1 January 2018.
  5. The winner will receive one copy of the Collins DIY guide. The prize is non-exchangeable, non-transferable and is not redeemable for cash or other prizes.
  6. The prize will be sent out by second class post to the winner within 30 days of  the closing date (31 December 2017).
  7. By submitting your email address you agree to receive the email newsletter from Practical Woman. You will be given the chance to unsubscribe from the newsletter on every email we send. Our privacy policy is available on our website. We will never share your details with any other organisations.
  8. By entering the Prize Draw, you agree for us to contact you about your prize draw entry, and for the purposes outlined in point 7 above.
  9. The name of the winner can be obtained after 1 January 2018 by sending a stamped addressed envelope to the following address: Practical Woman, Suite 186, 8 Duncan Street, London, N1 8BW
  10. Entrants into the prize draw shall be deemed to have accepted the terms and conditions.
  11. Promoter: Practical Woman, Suite 186, 8 Duncan Street, London, N1 8BW

Subscribe to our newsletter

Practical Woman newsletter Preview of our upcoming newsletter

Exciting news! Practical Woman now has an email newsletter. Get all the latest news from the team, details of our upcoming events and links to great tutorials and resources.

Sign up by 31 December 2017 to be entered in to our prize draw to win a copy of the Collins Complete DIY Manual – a favourite of us at Practical Woman. (terms and conditions)

Read our privacy notice for how we manage your personal information

Our femifesto and more

Whilst Practical Woman have been out on the road this month, we’ve talked a lot about our femifesto. If you haven’t seen it already, here it is…

Our mission

Practical Woman aims to: 

  1. Give every woman the freedom to feel gorgeous and happy being herself.
  2. Equip women to take the practical skills they’ve gained and continue to learn more.
  3. Inspire and support every woman to give every task a go even when they haven’t done it before.
  4. Stimulate women to look at how we are depicted in society (and the media) and how to raise our voice in protest to change it.
  5. Empower women with links to beneficial and useful resources and information.
  6. Give women space to explore consent so we can enjoy good safe sex.
  7. Know what to do if we are harassed or assaulted and who can help us.
  8. Benefit from feeling part of a sisterhood – support and strengthen each other and say no to body shaming and other hurtful and dangerous behaviour.
  9. Convert anger and frustration into optimism and action. Equality is possible and together we can do it.
  10. Enable women to achieve, flourish, dream big and laugh so we can enjoy life on this beautiful planet. 

Please comment below with your thoughts and if you think we’ve missed anything or can express it in better ways. We love feedback.

Whilst we’re talking semantics, have you noticed how words around our identity are controlled by the male version e.g. female, woman, human etc. As a quick game, can you identify how these words and others litter our language? How about we create a new word such as WIM as used in the The Daughters of Egalia, which i’m currently reading (review to follow soon!).

We’ve also been re-watching The White Queen TV series based on the books by Phillipa Gregory. Amazing, please watch it if you haven’t already!

Women in Construction

A couple of weeks ago, our founder Kara was lucky enough to able to tag along with Mears to a night of celebration being arranged by Women into Construction.  who are doing great things bringing equality into the construction industry.

It was an evening of celebration marking dozens of successes ranging from gaining the necessary qualifications to entering positions in the workforce.  

Kara at the Women in Construction event
Kara at the Women in Construction event
Before we celebrated, we heard from some stalwarts supporting equality in construction. Of particular note was Tideway CEO Andy Mitchell who aims to have the very ambitious “gender parity on the project by the end of the project”. He said that “you wouldn’t pick a (football) team from half the squad” and he wants the industry to “be representative for the society we are building for”. Mitchell said there were three key reasons why women are not in construction (only making up 10% of all construction, office and planning roles): 

  1. The working hours are not conducive to families and other responsibilities that women often have. 
  2. It is an intimidating environment 
  3. There are mediocre benefits 

Another key player was Sarah Bale, the CEO of CITB (Construction Industry Training Board). Sarah was fabulous and it was great to see a woman in such an important role within construction. She felt that the CITB “was leading from the front but recognised that we have some distance to travel”.   

Tony Hyland then spoke on behalf of the Employment Minister and was “very proud to be involved in the project”. 

It was a very positive and inspiring evening and it was a real privilege to be a fly on the wall seeing the steps being taken to make construction accessible to everyone.

Opportunity: Treasurer at Practical Woman

Practical Woman group

Are you passionate about women’s rights and want to get involved in something pioneering and exciting?

We’re in the process of becoming a Community Interest Company (CIC) and we’re looking for someone with financial experience to join our team of directors.

We’re looking for…

  • At least one year’s commitment
  • An ability to attend the quarterly meetings in London
  • Experience of managing a social enterprise’s accounts and ideally a Community Interest Company
  • A passion for supporting and empowering women and achieving gender equality

What’s in it for the volunteer?

  • Your involvement will mean the greater empowerment of women in London and also giving much-needed support to vulnerable women such as care leavers.
  • Join a dynamic and passionate team.
  • Be part of an exciting and new project in the capital.
  • Build on skills and experience for your CV.
  • Make friends and, depending on your wishes, get more involved with our projects and meet the people we’re connecting with and helping.

How to apply

If this sounds like you, read the full details on Reach Volunteering and apply by 31 October 2017.

Five exciting things happening at Practical Woman right now

Happy Friday everyone! We’re so excited we might actually burst! We’ve had such a good week here at Practical Woman and we just had to share. Now where shall we begin… 

1. Lights, Camera, Action…

Last Sunday, we started and finished filming a video to promote Practical Woman and the quick and easy ways we can get practical right now…

We had some amazing support and it was a really good atmosphere on set, thank you to everyone for collaborating, sharing ideas and supporting Practical Woman.

The video is currently being edited by the wonderful Terry and will be available very soon. Watch this space…

2. Making it official

Tick box

We’re applying to be a Community Interest Company (not for profit/social enterprise) registered with Company House. Once it’s all official we’ll be able to apply for funding and support. This will be a major milestone for Practical Woman and we’ll keep you updated.  

3. FiLiA conference

Feminism in London logo

We will be running a Practical Woman workshop at the fantastic FiLiA Conference on 14- 15 October 2017 (that’s next month!). Whoop!

Our session is an afternoon breakaway session on Sunday 15 October. Come along to learn more about us and some new skills. Let us know if you’re attending on our Facebook event page.

For tickets and more information visit the FiLiA website at filia.org.uk  

4. Celebrate sisterhood

Malala Yousafzai at WOW festival 2014Malala Yousafzai at WOW 2014 by Southbank Centre (CC BY 2.0)

If all this talk of fabulous feminist conferences and last week’s blog has got you thinking, like us, about the brilliance of sisterhood then there are lots of events and organisations our founder Kara would recommend.

Kara is involved in the Women’s Equality party and if you’re similarly minded it might be something you’d like to check out.

We’re also a big fan of the WOW – Women of the World festivals which Kara has been attending for the past five years. WOW caters for everyone and we’ve attended talks ranging from Annie Lennox discussing AIDS and hearing Gillian Anderson and Jennifer Nadel talk about their book, We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere, to having a laugh with Sandi Toksvig at the cabaret-style Mirth Control. Well worth investigating if you don’t already go!

5. A letter from our MP

A few weeks ago, Kara popped along to her local MP surgery and just last week received a lovely, supportive letter from the RT Hon Emily Thornberry MP.

“Practical Woman sounds like a fantastic idea which will equip women with important practical skills.”

Ending the letter that if I would like any further assistance or support from her to not hesitate to get in touch again. Wonderful encouraging stuff, thank you, Emily. 


Taking a stand against harassment

Taylor Swift May 2015 cropped and retouched

At Practical Woman we want to say hurrah and thank you to the indomitable Taylor Swift. We were astounded by her defiant and brave outing of a pervert in our midst.

Universally acknowledged as the biggest pop star in the world, her bravery in showing us her vulnerable private life is amazing and an inspiration to us all to stand up to sexist behaviour.  

Taking a stand

This is, of course, in relation to the much-publicised harassment case. When Swift was on the stand she testified that “I have experienced every degree of awkward first encounters. This was not jostling. He grabbed my bare ass.”  We recommend you read one of the many accounts of Swift’s defiant responses

What particularly stands out is her refusal to take part in any distracting questions. Referring back each time to her ‘ass’ she kept her cool and made the points clearly and succinctly. AND SHE WON!

So we say, thank you, Taylor, for being brave and showing us that if we are harassed or groped we can fight back.  

Report it. Stop it.

Did you know that TFL and the MET police have joined up to provide a simple way to report harassment?? if you are groped on the tube, text what happened, where and when to 61016 or call 101.

Find out more

Tools to help the new you post-cancer

Rosie the Riveter. From scan of copy belonging to the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
Rosie the Riveter.

During the six years I worked for Macmillan Cancer Support I heard people say time and time again that when they came out the other side they felt like a new person. Often people can’t go back to how things were before, maybe due to long term effects from surgery or continuing effects from ongoing medicines or treatments. Instead, people must find a ‘new normal’ and through Practical Woman, I would like to help.

Learning new skills

Whilst working in the community I was working with people and heard their opinion about what would help. This could be that they’d like to change their home (put up shelves and flat pack furniture) or maybe they’d like to spruce up their CV and think about a change in career. Practical Woman can help with that.

The workshops we are designing combine practical DIY skills, CV and work discussions with other key practical skills such as self-defence and first aid delivered by experts. We also wish to talk about common important issues such as consent and body shaming and would like to know what you think about these subjects.

Find out more and get in touch

If you are interested please have a look around the website and subscribe to the blog below. You can also email me at kara@practicalwoman.co.uk. I would love to hear from you.

I am looking for practical women to volunteer with this project so please get in touch if you’d like to help a fantastic cause.

At this stage my workshops are dedicated to helping women. This may change and expand in the future. Let me know if you are a man who would benefit as I’d love to hear what you think is needed.

Subscribe to the Practical Woman blog

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YouTube star’s suicide – how to get help

From Kara Bird, founder of Practical Woman

I just read the tragic news that YouTube star, Stevie Ryan has killed herself. BBC News

I instantly went online to find out more information. It was eye opening to simply do a search on google and see what came back. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it.

If you or someone you love is having suicidal thoughts talk to a professional who can help. You’re not alone.

Who to contact for help

Your GP will be able to recommend someone to help and you can call the Samaritans on 116 123.

There is CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) who are dedicated to preventing male suicide, the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.

Your school might have a Place2Be counsellor, worth a check if you’d like someone to talk to.

There is also the mental health charity Mind’s useful tips for living which can help us all navigate through everyday life.

The idea behind Practical Woman

“I don’t even know how to change a lightbulb!”

This remark and many others has led us to develop ‘Practical Woman’ workshops. It seems to us that some women haven’t been given the opportunity to try out completing everyday tasks. We want to give time and space to women so they can try things out and see what they can achieve. Done in a friendly and ‘can do’ way we wish to inspire women to take more control over their lives (in the ways they want to) and feel confident doing it.

We admit to passing over some tasks and lean on our partners/friends/family members to complete them. Tasks such as changing the light bulbs and putting together IKEA furniture when we get back from the store. It’s a mixture of being lazy but also not having been told (in a non-patronising way) how to do it.

Not being able to do these tasks leaves some of us in a position where we must rely and be dependent on other people to do them. We are now offering an alternative. Come have a go at our Practical Woman workshops!  After attending them we will be able to say that:

“Yes we can change the lightbulbs but how about you do them whilst I put together the IKEA furniture or get handy with the super glue!”

Women can then talk to their partner/friend/family member and reach a compromise with each task. This will consequently lead to a more balanced relationship. It also means that if a woman is on her own she can manage perfectly well.

Wonder Woman Lego minifigure
Image by Brickset on Tumblr. CC BY 2.0

Please do not confuse our meaning, we’re not saying that a woman in a relationship should do everything and be a wonder woman. No, far too stressful! Not at all. We think a healthy relationship is one that is balanced and that can only be aided if both parties could theoretically complete everything. Then ideally, they can decide who will do what based on their preferences and skills set. For example, in Kara’s relationship, her husband is happy doing the hoovering and the driving and Kara is happy repairing things (usually with super glue!) and doing the cooking in the week. That works for them. What would work for you?

There are also amazing benefits for someone who can look after themselves and complete simple practical tasks. Women can get a rise in their confidence and self-esteem. They feel more confident in all aspects of their life.

An important part of the workshops will be to spend time discussing and considering the concept of sisterhood. This is such a positive approach and can radically change someone’s life. It means supporting, encouraging and listening to each other. It means saying no to negative portrayals in the media, laughing at them and voicing dissent. It means saying no to replicating and repeating these horrendous and dangerous perspectives that see different women’s bodies as wrong and imperfect. When we know that women’s bodies are perfect, radiant & beautiful in all shapes and sizes. In fact, we don’t have time to continue this misogyny as we have so many other things to think about and get involved with.

When we are aware of the negative effects of body shaming and the manipulation done by film and advertising executives we can also begin to educate the men in our lives who we love and advocate for change. Ammunition in the form of information, news and worldwide campaigns can be found on our website.