Dear wanderer,

Perhaps you grew up dreaming of receiving your Hogwarts letter, or stumbling upon Narnia. Perhaps you long to visit Pemberley, to Defy Gravity, or to go to the ball. I will write you that letter, and build you that wardrobe. [A metaphorical wardrobe, that is.] Here you will find step-by-step lesson plans with takeaway homework assignments that show you how to embody fictional heroines in the everyday. This means chasing your dreams and making the impossible happen with your own inner magic.

For the full experience, you can Own Your Story, or request letters from Jane Austen.

You have the potential. Heroine Training provides the tools.

Welcome to our headquarters, where dreams meet reality, where fiction is cherished, where magic is real.

Sincerely, your guide on this journey,

P.S. Read more about Heroine Training

Sunday Sampling / 057

Sunday Sampling / 057

Bonjour, heroines in training!

I’m back in my tartan blanket cape after a week in Paris (and DISNEYLAND), and while I wouldn’t say no to a fresh croissant for breakfast, I’m pleased to return to normalcy, especially since our furniture for the new flat has arrived! 

Even though this was my fourth trip to Paris, I’m still learning new things about the City of Light, and am plodding along with my language learning app (If you’re learning French too, join us in our Heroine Training Club with the code WCDARM on your Duolingo app). 

Can’t believe it took me 4 trips to Paris to…

  • Discover Café Gourmand: a coffee and an assortment of mini desserts. Give me several tiny desserts over one big one any day. I want to try everything! 
  • Learn how to ask for the bill: “L’addition s’il vous plaît”. Still baffled by how this vocabulary passed me by.
  • Go to Disneyland Paris! As a roller coaster kid and frequenter of Walt Disney World, I knew I’d make it to Parc Disneyland someday, and now I’m already planning my return visit 😮 

Also this week I made my literary debut on Dear Damsels, writing about what rock climbing taught me about the fear of reading forward. You might remember the life lessons from rock climbing I wrote about in my book; I really enjoyed expanding on one of them, inspired by their monthly theme of “TRUST”.


✉️ With most of my friends spread out across the globe, I can so relate to Carly’s words on maintaining long distance friendships. All of her points are spot on!

📚 Meyers-Briggs meets literary heroines? Yes please!

☕️ An amazing review of Gilmore girls and its revival that acknowledges, forgives, and explains Rory’s faults.

🌟 Girlbosses: Look at the startling differences between the wording in these $500, $4,000, and $7,000 offers. How are you presenting yourself?

📖 How many titles have you read on this Black History Month Reading List?

🚀 It’s a great big beautiful tomorrow! Disney has filed a patent for a technology that can read guest’s emotions on rides and alter the experiences based on the results.

🍹 We’ve been experimenting with our juicer lately, and I love these simple, budget-friendly juicing tips.

👑 Plus on Heroine Training: my favourite stories roundup for February (SO many movies!) & how to get the best travel advice for you.

New Beginnings: Finding New Markers to Check in and Reflect

New Beginnings: Finding New Markers to Check in and ReflectWhen I get a new laptop, with its shiny new laptop smell, I vow to take especial care of it. I will always wash my hands before touching it, even if they don’t feel dirty.

I feel the same way about our new flat. It is shiny and empty and beautiful. An otherworldly, Georgian fantasy kind of beautiful. It deserves to be filled with the best things. The prospect of stocking its cupboards inspires me to make better choices to eat healthier, because that kitchen deserves to be home to the best food, stored elegantly, preferably in matching mason jars.

The turn of the new year, month, or week inspires a new beginning, but so does getting new things and being in new spaces. I love to celebrate these new cycles when they arise so that the mark of a new calendar year isn’t my only panic-filled marker for assessment. 

New Beginnings: Finding New Markers to Check in and Reflect

How do you honour new beginnings?
P.S. Are you moving soon? Check out my top 4 moving tips.

How to Get the Best Travel Advice for YOU

How to Get the Best Travel Advice for YOUI’ve done a fair bit of traveling recently.

For our first American Christmas together, Monkey requested we extend our travels beyond Massachusetts, so we journeyed through Washington, DC and New York, seeing friends and sites along the way. By the time this post is published, we’ll be on our winter holiday in Paris, our essential out-of-Scotland February break. So as I compile itineraries for myself, I have also compiled my tips on making those itineraries for you!

How to Get the Best Travel Advice for YOU

Find a global guide you can trust.

Start by doing your own research. I swear by the Wallpaper* city guides and 36 Hours guides, and tried them out on my hometowns first to ensure they aligned with my preferences. The 36 Hours guide to Oxford was about a 90% match, so I knew their tips on other cities would be a safe bet. At first I avoided Wallpaper* because I didn’t recognise their picks in the Boston guide, but I realised it’s because they tend to skip the obvious and cite more hidden gems – this often means forgoing the tourist traps as well. Wallpaper* tends to feature major cities, while 36 Hours has more extensive geographic coverage, so between the two I’m sorted!

How to Get the Best Travel Advice for YOU

Get recommendations from friends, keeping in mind your common interests.

Often people will list places to their taste, which is fine, as long as you take note of what you have in common. One of my favourite traditions is getting my friends to fill in their own recommendations in the extra pages of my compact Wallpaper* guides. I get a range of suggestions based on my range of friends and their unique interests!  

Ask with a purpose: Narrow down your requests for travel recommendations. 

Know what you’re looking for. For cuisine I like to sample a bit of everything, but prefer healthier, lighter dishes with vegetarian options that aren’t too cheesy. 

When I went to Prague for the first time, a friend of mine told me I “had to try the svickova!” For some reason I thought it was a pastry, and got really strange looks when I would ask for it at bakeries. I finally found out that it’s sirloin, available at pubs. She must have forgotten that I don’t eat meat!

When getting restaurant recs, here are some ways to narrow down your request:

  • A few types of cuisine you’d like to try
  • What you don’t want to try – when I lived in Boston, New York’s array of European cuisine was appealing, but from the UK, we’d rather not have what’s more readily available on our doorstep
  • dietary restrictions/preferences
  • location/neighbourhood
  • atmosphere: cosy, funky design, formal, theme/experience
  • features of the experience important to you. Do you love wine? Cocktails? Or would you skip the drinks menu but never dessert?

Ask yourself, what do you want to get out of a dining experience?

  • Sample haute cuisine?
  • Try and amazing cocktail?
  • Discover a new favourite beer?
  • Grab something quick but authentic en route to your next adventure?
  • Try something quintessentially location-specific?

Define what you enjoy most about travel.

I love finding favourite restaurants and local designer boutiques around the world, seeing theatre and art, and also exploring bookstores and coffeeshops. So I will specifically request these kinds of suggestions. “Somewhere we can sit down and read books and sip tea”. 

What I enjoy doing in new cities seems obvious and unoriginal to me, but I have to remind myself that everyone travels differently. I’d prefer to avoid bus tours, and have very specific shopping interests based on what I’m looking for at the moment. I am always up for live jazz, but never night clubs. I adore visiting my faraway friend’s favourite local coffeeshop, even though to that friend it may seem utterly normal.

How to Get the Best Travel Advice for YOU

Every moment of travel is about learning what it’s like to live in someone else’s world.

I want to get everyday glimpses into people’s lives, whether through seeing local haunts or attending exhibits that tell me stories about how people live or lived in the world.

I travel to gain perspective on how others live. What is obvious to me becomes questioned in a different culture, and heightens my awareness of my own habits. I love discovering new things exclusive to certain places – I keep a list. I love collecting exclusives, my favourite jelly from Wellesley, Massachusetts, tea from San Francisco, facial spray from France. One of my favourite moments from Gossip Girl is when Chuck jets around the world, collecting Blair’s favourite things from different countries. 

Plan your day, but don’t over-plan your day.

Centre your day around one main event, and allow plenty of time to wander and explore. I aim to collect one Wallpaper* adventure per day, which tends to take me down streets I never would have found, stumbling along other spontaneous treats along the way.

I’d love to hear your travel tips and wanderlust wish lists. We share them weekly in the Heroines in Training Facebook group – care to join?

P.S. Going somewhere? See if I have a guide for your destination and step into the footsteps of other heroines in my fit for a heroine travel series.