• Ruth Dewar

Hot Gossip Girls

Soooo...last Friday was the second Hot Gossip, Women in Business networking event at The Hebden Bridge Town Hall.

This is the first opportunity I have had to sit down to cover the event...busy self-employed, full time working single mum...with half term to contend with this week!

Despite the best efforts of storm Unice (although we welcome all powerful women, she could have visited on a better day!), the turnout was amazing.

We had such a great time and we were blessed to have Toria Garbutt (supporting act for poet John Copper Clarke) join us. Her encouragement and support was super special and she provided the perfect opportunity for our star in the making, Cathy Shaw (Banyan Tree, Hebden Bridge), to perform her poem about menopause. We all went wild! Such a great impromptu addition to the evening. Have a look on social media for the reading, so well delivered and incredibly funny!

But what struck me the most was the number of new faces in attendance. It goes to show that with a bit of effort we can encourage other like-minded women to brave it out and get connected.

It takes real guts to put yourself out there to promote yourself, your business and your ideas, especially after two years of being so isolated and disconnected from life. The pandemic changed the way in which we interact with one another big time – and we are still all finding our feet and trying to get back to some sense of normality even now. I'm the world's happiest dancer. I have hit the dance floor once since lockdown ended...even that feels overwhelming when I think about it!

Moving on! I am super proud of all of the ladies in attendance and here is a list of the latest Hot Gossip Girls and a peek into what they do (in no particular order).

Alison Bartram

Heart Gallery, Hebden Bridge

A stunning gallery of uniquely and finely crafted gifts, jewellery, and homeware. Alison has a keen eye for the beautifully handcrafted pieces she sells and the quality of the gifts is second to none. If you are looking for unique gifts for your home or loved one, this is absolutely the place to shop.


Cathy Shaw

The Banyan Tree, Hebden Bridge

When it comes to massage and holistic treatments, LOOK NO FURTHER. The Banyan Tree offers it all. From deep tissue massage, through to reflexology and beauty, there is something for everyone at The Banyan Tree. I have had many a massage here and I cannot rate them highly enough. Super relaxing, reviving and rejuvenating...I feel like a new person each time! If you're struggling with stress, tension, injury or simply need time out for yourself, give her a call and get yourself booked in. You will not be disappointed! Cathy is also running a poetry event in April at the trades club. We are super looking forward to supporting this.


Ekaterina Dobbelaere

Suzy's Fashion for Dogs

Offering fashionable pet carriers for your beloved pooch, these ladies have been going since 1954! WOW! To be a strong contender in a very saturated market for all this time deserves a round of applause! Now we have to admit that we all feel Ekaterina should really be in the fashion industry. This super sassy and classy lady also designs and makes her own clothes. She absolutely blew us all away with a fabulous dress she had designed and created herself. I wouldn't be surprised to see a collection by her on a runway near you soon! GO GIRL!


Rebecca Lindley

Disruptive Focus Ltd

Rebecca's business focuses on life coaching, something I have been keen to investigate personally. So, if you are in need of focus and great direction, this is your girl. Rebecca also offers leadership development and self-leadership advice and will be speaking at our next event in April. We are all really looking forward to this.


Kirsty Macnamara

Mila's House, Heptonstall

Who doesn't love a well-made candle? Y'know...one that lasts, smells good and is locally made (hand cured in Heptonstall) using ethical soy products? Kirsty's range of essential oil candles are to die for and perfect for relaxing at home! Kirsty made sales on the night and went on to make further sales on Etsy after the event!

@milashouseco (Etsy and Instagram)

Annie Nolan

Nelsons Wine Bar, Hebden Bridge

This absolute superstar of a woman has single-handedly transformed our favourite gin joint, offering a range of amazing beverages including vegan and organic wines and beers. There is a great non-alcoholic range as well. As far as local entertainment goes, I have to admit I choose Nelsons...some amazing DJs and nights week in week out, so dust off your dancing shoes and get shaking that ass...proper Northern vibe! Love it! Keep up to date with events on Facebook.

Nelsons Wine Bar (Facebook)

Tezza Brazier

Nelsons Wine Bar, Hebden Bridge

Offering gorgeous vegan and plant-based food with a global twist, Tez has made a huge success of the kitchen at Nelsons. Tables book fast so get booking to avoid disappointment. Super proud of this lady's achievement. Eat-in or take away and outside catering available.

Nelsons Wine Bar (Facebook)

Toria Garbutt

Poet, published writer, and educator

We were super blessed to have Toria attend this Hot Gossip event, and her support, zest, and sense of humour definitely made it a night to remember, and one I will personally cherish for years to come! Toria provided our Cathy Shaw with the perfect impromptu opportunity to perform her own poem on menopause. I have never laughed so much in my life. It was a brilliant and magical moment!

Toria has been a regular tour support for Dr John Cooper Clarke, most recently on his ‘Luckiest Guy Alive' tour on which Toria performed her first European date.

In 2016, Toria released her debut album 'Hot Plastic Moon’ via spoken word label Nymphs and Thugs and in 2018 her first poetry collection ‘The Universe and Me' was published by Wrecking Ball Press.

Toria’s words have also been featured in Not Too Tame’s Northern Souls Show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and recently in The Guardian for their feature on The Rise and Rise of the New Poets.

Toria has been involved in many projects including working with young people and prisoners, relaying the importance of having your voice heard no matter what your background and using poetry to turn pain into purpose.


Louise Blacklock

Muse Music and Love Cafe, Hebden Bridge

Having recently relocated to their new premises on Albert Street, Louise and her partner have expanded the cafe previously located on Market Street, and are set to open very soon! Offering exceptional vegan food coupled with a very knowledgeable selection of vinyl for sale. We can only see Muse Music and Love Cafe are about to smash it! A super fab business model run by an absolute beauty of a woman. We can't wait for you to be open and to have a future Hot Gossip at the new premises. Please keep spreading the word regarding relocation and get your kick-ass coffee here!

www.musicandlove.co.uk (Has there ever been a greater web address?)

Claire Goddard

Across The Miles Nutrition Club

Claire's business is something I think we could all do with a little help from as busy women entrepreneurs. Across The Miles Nutrition Club offers healthy, easy to prepare meals that are nutritionally balanced, low in calories (YAY!) protein-packed and guarantee 26 vitamins and minerals in each serving. They also boast being gluten and dairy-free. Currently only available online.

Across The Miles Nutrition (Facebook)

Abi Douglas

The Wellbeing Garden

Abi is a certified specialist life coach and yoga teacher here in the valley. Abi offers solutions and guidance and provides tailor-made and bespoke life coaching programs, corporate well-being workshops, yoga and life coaching workshops as well as one to one yoga and meditation and group yoga and meditation classes.

I will be giving her a call as I have heard only great things about this lady. If you are looking for direction and balance in your life, this is your gal.


Kloe Whelan

Emsley Property Investments

Kloe is a property investor and developer with an admirable portfolio under her belt. West Yorkshire based property investors successfully investing in single lets and specialising in refurbishments, project management, and private investment opportunities. Looking to invest or have a property/development project? Then get in touch!

@elmsleypropertyinvestments (Facebook)

Elaine Frieman Herbert

Writer and editor

I have known Elaine for a couple of years now and Elaine has single-handedly turned around my website, web content, and web traffic. I owe a huge amount of gratitude to this incredibly intelligent and diligent lady who not only supported my business in the early days but did a huge amount of work behind the scenes to make the website a success. So great is the traffic, we never have to advertise on Google!

Elaine also heavily contributed to the blogs on the site, and so great was her written work and content, she is now writing for several other companies globally! I am so very proud of her achievements and I can't wait for her first book. Thank you, Elaine. xx


Alexandra Blundell


Alexandra is another success story and for sure my best Hot Gossip example to date. Alex's artwork is stunning and inspiring, capturing the female form, and states of mind in multiple media. I was so impressed with Alex's work when I first met her, that I asked her to do a small collection for the first Hot Gossip event. Alex produced a series of six paintings...and sold three that evening. That I thought was a result, but the real magic came a couple of weeks later when she informed me that she had posted the collection on twitter...and was approached by a band that she follows in the US, to design their latest album cover.

I am so very proud of this young lady. If you are an avid art collector or looking or something that I know will be incredibly valuable once day or a beautiful original piece of art, please please get in touch with her. Alex also does commissions. I love my black and white female form and my favourite piece in the house is the lady with the flowers in her hair.

@medusaartist (Instagram)

@medusa_artist (Twitter)

If anyone is missing from the list, I didn't get your details. Please email me ASAP and I will update this blog.

Keep a lookout for the next Hot Gossip, Women in Business event. We look forward to welcoming you. x

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