Just over 16 years ago, the author of this new book for women, Dancing Round the Handbags, had a vision of a different life, of removing herself from the overloaded, overwhelming life that she was leading as a senior executive and a mother of two. Crawling exhausted into her bed one night, she dreamed that she would write this book, and her dream – along with a new life – has finally come to fruition. As a result, we are all better off; it is a fabulously uplifting and empowering book of resources to help hard-working women step back from the turmoil around them, reflect on what they want to achieve, and go on to ‘dance their best life’.
From the vibrant magenta of the cover to the words of wisdom within, this book sparkles. The construct is an extremely clever one: the handbag is a metaphor for every woman, with the contents representative of a different aspect of her being – her diary is a metaphor for her time, for instance, her lipstick for the masks she wears, and her tissues for her health, amongst other items to be found in the depths of her handbag. I was particularly struck by the metaphor of the ‘snack’ – the personal and professional development which women need in order to be nourished and replenished. It is a captivating and memorable set of images which will strike home to any woman seeking a way to make her life make more sense. A poignant and powerful – and ultimately inspiring – imaginary narrative runs through the text, helping the reader to make connections with her own story.
This is an incredibly practical book, crammed full of exercises and tools to help women learn about themselves and evaluate their lives. It takes the reader systematically through each item in her ‘handbag’, beginning with a look at what kind of dance she is dancing in her life, and how all the contents of her handbag will help her to dance the dance she longs to dance. It encourages the reader to spend time on herself, reflecting on who she really is, and what she really wants to do, and then helps her to see how she might do it. Its aim is to help women declutter – at the end of each chapter a useful action plan focuses the mind on what we should BAG (Bin, Add or Get) – and it exudes a warmth, vitality and reality which will make you believe that it is all possible.
This book lives up to its intention of being a ‘catalyst for balancing the way we work and live’ and it is hugely uplifting. Take pleasure in your own dance through its pages!