Lydia Abdelaoui Femmes Fatales

A few minutes with… Lydia Abdelaoui – Femmes Fatales

Lydia Abdelaoui Femmes FatalesThis week’s a few minutes with is all about the Lydia from the fabulous Femmes Fatales. Femmes Fatales is an all ladies shooting club that has a growing tribe of dedicated lady guns who are keen shots, great fun… and very stylish too! Here’s a bit more about how it all came about…

Tell us about you and your background

Well, I’m from a totally non-rural, non-shooting background. I was raised in a town and I live in a city, and as much as I adore spending time in the countryside, I just love the city life; shopping, lots of bars and restaurants nearby, and being able to get pizza delivered at 2am! 

Where I live, in Hull, is just a short drive away from some stunning Yorkshire countryside and lots of great shooting grounds. It’s the perfect balance for a ‘townie’ like me! 

I didn’t get involved in shooting until I began working for Gamebore (shotgun cartridge manufacturer) eleven years ago, but it wasn’t until 2014 that I really became very passionate about the sport. 

Femmes FatalesWhat made you want to start your group?

I’d recently taken up shooting more regularly (Shotgun Certificate granted in early 2014) and after a particularly fun day out with Rachel Carrie, we simply decided that clay shooting needed more girls and that we’d try to do something about it! That was when the idea for Femmes Fatales came about. 

How is Femmes Fatales different? 

Femmes Fatales isn’t a business, we’re totally not-for-profit and run by volunteers purely because we love it. It’s that love for the sport and the people we meet that makes us all so keen to run the events and get more involved. 

I’m no businesswoman! I’m a complete thicko when it comes to that sort of thing – I’m just fairly creative and passionate (My boss would tell you that what I lack in maths skills and business acumen, I make up for in enthusiasm!!) 

People keep telling me I should turn FF in to a business and start making some money out of it, but I don’t want to make it feel like ‘work’.

I’m loving things how they are, there’s just the right balance, I’ve made some lifelong friends, it’s given me an incredible social life for a mother with two young kids, I really don’t need or want to get any more out of it. In short: I’m extremely content with my lot, and too lazy to do more! 

What makes Femmes Fatales special?

The members! Undoubtedly. I’ve met so many completely badass women at Femmes Fatales events – women that have become close friends, in fact they’re more like family to me! 

The girls are all awesome, in so many different ways. This ‘network’ we’ve created is truly a force to be reckoned with. If ever anyone’s in need of advice, there’s always ‘someone who knows someone’ that can help. It’s great for women in business too! 

In Femmes Fatales, we’ve got an ‘army’ of these completely amazing women who have each other’s backs – ‘sisters in arms’ you could say! …and they’re all so supportive of newcomers, and so keen to make them feel welcome and like part of the community. 

If you had to sum up your group in five words, what would they be? 

A HUGE barrel of laughs!

Do you have a motto or ethos?

I do like this quote by Rudyard Kipling, taken from The Jungle Book;  “For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack” 

It’s perfect for Femmes Fatales because our emblem is a Shewolf, and collectively we’re like a ‘wolf pack’ made up of strong women who like to support and empower each other. I think it sums us up pretty well! 

One thing that helps you run your your group more effectively

Quite basic, I know, but we have a team WhatsApp group chat, made up of Femmes Fatales representatives, which we’re communicating on daily – running ideas past each other, making plans, and generally supporting one another. It does sometimes veer of subject, but that’s cool (and often highly amusing!) We’re all at work during the day so can’t talk on the phone, so messaging threads are perfect for us to plan things discreetly. 

Best thing about running Femmes Fatales?

The people I get to meet, spend time with, and become friends with. Plus the many exciting opportunities that have arisen as a result – for example, a couple of fun TV appearances and of course, lots of shooting! 

Lydia and DougieBiggest challenge about running Femmes Fatales? 

Not being able to switch off! With everything being social media based, it’s not a 9 to 5 situation, my iPhone is constantly lighting up (I have it on silent all the time because it never stops beeping!) I find it really hard not to reply to emails or Tweets at 1am when I should be sleeping!

Obviously our events all take part at weekends, and that’s the only time I get to spend with my lovely partner Dougie as he works away during the week. Luckily he doesn’t mind tagging along. Being the only bloke surrounded by fifty gin-fuelled women at the recent DryFire Party must’ve been really hard for him. (Laughs) No, seriously, he’s a massive help to me, and really very encouraging, supportive and proud of me, bless him! 

Top blog you follow

A Girl About Country – by Harriet Lily. It’s a good, honest account of someone relatively new to shooting, experiencing the same learning curve we all have when we’re getting to grips with the sport. It’s refreshingly accurate and I think a lot of women can relate. 

Also Clare Sadler’s ‘Gracing the Field’ is another interesting perspective in to ladies shooting. Very well written, genuine, and hugely informative. Another woman who’s supportive of other ‘females in the field’

One thing we might not know about you

I’m terrible at shooting! 

A lot of people assume that I’m a good shot because I work for Gamebore and I run Femmes Fatales, but sadly that’s not the case! I like to think of myself as more of a social shooter, though I would love to become competitive, realistically I don’t have the time to hone my skills – I work full time, and have two children, Yani (9) and Nathalie (6) who are bloody awesome! I hate not being with them and try to bring them along to as many events as possible, but unfortunately they don’t share my enthusiasm for the sport (yet!) 

I do feel quite guilty about dragging them along to shoots, so make an extra effort to do the things that they want to do as well. It’s all about finding a happy medium – but all credit to them, they’re both so lovely, proper little characters, I think a lot of the Femmes Fatales actually quite enjoy helping me out at events by keeping the kids entertained! 

Top achievement

I’m pretty proud of the fact that we we’re runners-up to Olympic Athletes the Brownlee Brothers in the Sporting Achievement of the Year category at the Yorkshire Choice Awards last month! 

I was also awarded ‘Volunteer of the Year’ by the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association last year for my work with Femmes Fatales, but it was the recent surprise gift that my ‘gurls’ presented me with at the Northern Shooting Show for being (in their words!) ‘Femmes Fatales Queen Bee’ that was the most overwhelming and meaningful to me. I love those ladies! 

Where can people follow you online (website, social media handles, etc)

Our website is www.femmes-fatales.co.uk which is where you’ll find a full, up to date Shoot Diary. There’s also the occasional interview, featuring notable female shooters or women who inspire us. We’re particularly keen to feature women in the shooting industry and other related businesses, and we love to try and promote anyone that our followers might have an interest in. 

We’re also pretty active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – plus you can sign up to our mailing list for our occasional newsletter (I promise not to spam your inbox!) 

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