Now February is well and truly underway, we thought it was time to introduce you to this month’s Woman of Spirit. Throughout 2021, we’re celebrating women who are working to make a real difference in the world: the leaders, the freethinkers and the voices for change that inspire us every day at Radley London.
This month, we’ve welcomed columnist, podcast presenter and founder of Celebrate Yourself, Sarah Powell.
After her 13-year career as a radio presenter came to an end, Sarah found herself in what she refers to as ‘The Wilderness’ – wondering what to do next. We asked Sarah to tell us more.
Tell us about you, Celebrate Yourself and your podcasts – how did it all start?
“For over 13 years I was a radio presenter, talking about Wagon Wheels, interviewing celebrities and playing Rhianna. It was a dream job until it wasn’t and I realised I’d lost my passion and it was time to do something else. A few weeks later, I lost my show. ‘Fantastic!’ I thought, ‘I’m going to find my thing and discover my purpose and I’ll live happily ever after!’ But I didn’t know what my thing was, and I spent the following year in ‘The Wilderness’ wondering what to do next.
“It was over lunch with my friend Lucy, I talked about retraining to be a wedding celebrant and performing bespoke ceremonies. We spoke about my own journey of learning to support and celebrate myself – it was like the clouds parted above me and angels sang and Celebrate Yourself was born.
“The podcasts began because my co-host, Jules Von Hep, and I just wanted to see each other more. Five years, over 450 episodes, three big live events, a wedding and a disco later, Jules and Sarah the Podcast is a huge part of our lives.
“We have the most wonderful listeners on earth and something we never expected was how many people would write to us (we have a PO Box for actual letters) to say the podcast had helped them through a tricky time or helped make them laugh when their mental health wasn’t great. Inspired by this we did a podcast series called Wobble, with brilliant guests talking about body confidence and happiness.”
How did your journey of self-celebration start and why?
“Self-celebration started because it’s what I needed. I am someone who spent most of my life not celebrating myself. I have struggled with anxiety, impostor syndrome, comparison, feeling like I wasn’t good enough, not worthy and a good old dose of self-loathing.
“I always imagined I would one day arrive at a magical place where I had figured it all out and I could just be happy all of the time. I remember getting into my thirties and wondering how much longer I would wait. It was then I realised that future self didn’t exist, I had to start celebrating myself now. I couldn’t wait any longer.”
How do you celebrate yourself every day?
“Self-celebration is honouring, accepting and supporting the person you are right now. Not the person you’re going to be or the things you will do, it’s who you are right now, because you are excellent.
“It’s all about celebrating the tiny, brilliant little things you do all day, every day but we don’t notice because they aren’t loud, crashing achievements. Or we’re too busy focusing on all the things we haven’t done or aren’t going well. It is the support tool in your back pocket which puts the focus back on things which are going well and celebrates the moments you were able to support yourself.
“The smaller the celebration the better. Hung the washing up? Found just enough milk to make a cup of tea? Didn’t miss a parcel delivery? These are small but brilliant things and need marking and celebrating. There is always *something* to celebrate.
“There are no hard and fast rules at all about what you celebrate and how you do it. You don’t need a notebook or to do a 12-week course, you can start right now. As long as you’re doing it, you’re doing it babes. You cannot do it wrong.”
How do you deal with nerves or self-doubt?
“The first thing to know is EVERYONE has nerves and self-doubt at some point. It happens to all of us so don’t think everyone else is skipping along fully confident all the time because they’re really not. I also think it’s important to remember usually when something makes us feel nervous it’s because we really care about it and want whatever it is to go well, which is actually really positive.”
What does it mean to you to be a Radley London Woman of Spirit?
“I am completely, utterly delighted and still slightly convinced you may have mistaken me for someone else. I love Radley, I love British design and Scottie dogs and how well made everything is. These are bags you’ll have forever. They are bags you can bash around and throw a packet of Jaffa cakes and five notebooks into, and they will still look fantastic.
“I love the idea of a Woman of Spirit doing things on her own terms, whether that’s dashing around in a sharp suit or writing important emails sat on the sofa eating a toastie. I love there is no pressure to do things in a certain way or be something everyone expects. She is doing it in a way which works for her and it might not be perfect but that’s the absolute joy of it. It’s usually messy and complicated and we don’t always get it right, but we’re doing it nevertheless and cheering each other on as we do. I can’t think of a better thing to celebrate.”
If you had to choose one mantra to live by, what would it be?
“More is More. More eyeliner, more sharing, more handbags, more toast. I want more of everything. More supporting each other, more admitting when we’re struggling, more asking for help when we need it.”
What brings you the most joy?
“Faux fur, The Archers, shellac manicures, toast. Also my friends, my dog Peggy (an actual angel) and my nephew Felix who is the love of my life. My husband should probably also feature because he’s great too.”
What are you most looking forward to in 2021?
“Obviously leaving the house and wearing a bra would be lovely, but I’m also really looking forward to growing the gorgeous online community I have in The Parlour, which I launched in October. It’s a fabulous group of people sharing, supporting, connecting and laughing together over tea and biscuits with a huge dose of self-love and celebrating who you are.”
We hope you’ve enjoyed our Sarah Powell interview. We don’t know about you, but Sarah has definitely inspired us to find more things to celebrate, whether big or small. From taking a break to walk the dog (in the rain!), to all the work behind our latest launch. We’re so proud of our spring Journey to Elsewhere collection – and Sarah loves it too. Visit our blog to see her pick of favourite designs