Friday, 26 September 2014

Interning in the Big Smoke

Today marks my last day of my two-week placement interning at Delicious. magazine. I will be very sad to go, but more than anything I can’t wait to get back to my home comforts… and the gym!

From taste testing copious amounts of mince pies and uncountable Christmas puddings, I can safely say that I have become somewhat of a Christmas food connoisseur.

I have learnt first and foremost, particularly as the weeks have gone on and the mountains of food have got bigger, that by adapting the food tasting style of Mary Berry (only taking tiny bites at a time) means that I won’t feel quite as sick. 

Although I have only been here for a short time I have learnt a lot about the way a food magazine works, and also a lot about London and it’s people. For starters, they’re rude. But, funnily enough, I’ve soon found myself slipping in to the ways of a London commuter, running up and down escalators and ensuring I can fit into the tiniest amount of remaining space in a tube, (being petite has had it’s advantages) and I’ve almost forgotten the meaning of personal space.

Kris and me
When it comes to outside of work I have had a great time living with one of my best friends because, well, who wouldn’t love living with someone you get along with so well.

I’ve had an amazing two-weeks and a great experience at Delicious. magazine whilst meeting all sorts of lovely people, but for now, I can’t wait to get home to my dog and some of Mummy O’s home cooked dinners.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Day One interning at Delicious Magazine

Having arrived in London late last night, I woke up pretty nervous at the idea of having to navigate my way across a busy London.

I left at eight this morning, but first had to pick up some flowers from a posh florist called McQueens to pick up a gift a client from my previous internship had sent me.

I managed to navigate my way to the shop, with the help of Google maps. I was so reliant on that this morning that I am pretty sure if it had told me to get into the Thames and swim I would have done.

I arrived at the florist and picked up my flowers... roses in a terracotta pot. Gorgeous but as you can imagine rather comical and heavy to be carrying half way across London amongst the commuters.

I managed to get to the Delicious office in plenty of time, and so I decided to give my biceps a rest and have a drink in Pret A Manger before having a re read of the latest delicious. magazine.

Everyone in the office was lovely, and I saw stars as soon as I spotted the test kitchen at the back of the office. Heaven!

The morning was predominately made up of researching tasks, I had to write a few short foodie news stories, and call for some press images. I went out exploring during my lunch break, but soon got fed up with the amount of people. Can you tell I'm a Nottingham bird?

As soon as I got back in the office I helped set up a taste test, which does what it says on the tin. I had to taste nine Christmas Cakes, which sounds amazing until you get to cake number four, or an hour down the line and start to get a mild sugar rush.

After work I met up with my friend Laura who had spent the day in London and took advantage of being situated just around the corner from The Shard.

The views were amazing, so I'll leave the photos below to do the talking on that front.

I'm looking forward to seeing what tomorrow has in store, including some Christmas pudding tasting. Maybe I'll boycott the scales for a while when I return.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

A reflection on 9/11

I can remember vividly that at the time of 9/11 I was sat in my mum’s car waiting for her come out of Argos.
Little did I know as my seven year old self realise that the events about to unfold were part of a moment in history that kids of the future would study in school.
For every child, there eventually comes a time when your bubble of innocence is popped: a time when you realise that the world is actually a pretty dangerous place and that there are some pretty scary people out there.
My mum returned from the shop with a present for my brother’s friend (they were just turning five) and explained what had happened. It was all over the car radio and TV when we got home, but as kid I didn’t fully understand the true meaning behind what had happened.
In fact, you didn’t have to be a child to feel confused about why someone would kill so many people.
It wasn’t until years later that we realised the full extent of how horrible this event really was, and how much it would impact our lives 13 years on.
However, the force hits you even harder when you read testimonies from American’s there that day. Ordinary people that had never done anything wrong being told that their father would never come home that night, or they would never see their partner again.
I can’t even watch any of the programmes that circulate TV around early September with memories and footage from that day without shedding a tear.
The force hits you the greatest when you read about the true effect 9/11 has had around the globe, and particularly in countries where we have since been to war. I saw a statistic on twitter this morning that said millions of innocent civilians had lost their lives by the conflict caused by 9/11.
didn't lose a personal friend or family member on that tragic day. I don’t live in America, and my life hasn’t be thrown into turmoil by the following wars, but what I did lose that day was faith in humanity.
In some ways it marks the end of my blissfully innocent childhood and that of many others my age. We learnt that the world isn’t always a safe and good place and there are people out there that can inflict nasty crimes.
And today, when I reflected back on that eventful day from my childhood I learnt that if there is one thing we should take from 9/11 it is that we should never take “ordinary” moments for granted.
I thought about the ordinary goodbye I give my mum and dad in a morning and the ordinary “I love you” I give to my boyfriend. The ordinary hugs I give my friends and even the ordinary pat I give my dog.
But, today I realised that those things aren’t that ordinary after all. They’re a moment in time that many people who have suffered the consequences of September 11 2001 will never have.

So, if there’s one thing I am going to learn from 9/11 it is that nothing should be treated as ordinary. Your life and the people that bless it are a gift, and that should never be taken for granted.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Seven things you must do when visiting Ibiza

I know this blog post is a little late coming (I’ve been back in England over a month), but after I received so many compliments about my photos that I took in Ibiza this year, I felt it a necessity.

Lots of people see Ibiza and think parties, clubs and drug/boozed fuelled nights. Yes, those words are synonymous with parts of the island, but in this blog post I wanted to share the other side of Ibiza. The alternative Ibiza that I like to call my second home.

So, here are my top seven things to do you must do when on the White Isle, and not one of the mentions going to a club.

1.       Climb up the old town

In Ibiza’s main town (Eivissa) is a traditional and beautiful cathedral on top of a rather steep hill lined with quaint streets, shops and even Spanish houses.

It’s a steep and longish walk up to the top, but well worth the effort you have to put in. You can take several different routes, but be sure to stop and admire the views. The best time to climb up is just before sunset for a cooler temperature and the best light for photographs.
2.       Visit Formentera

Take a boat to the island just off Ibiza called Formentera for awe inspiring beaches and crystal clear water. I’ve never been to the Caribbean, but Formentera’s beaches must rival them.

It takes about 30 minutes to an hour to travel to Formentera by boat, and is well worth the cost. However, if you take the time to shop around a little you can often get a good deal. 
We went with Aqua Bus which takes a little longer than the quick ferries, but is much cheaper and you get a great ride on a boat with fantastic views and amazing photo opportunities.

As for when you’re there, hire bikes for around 5 euros each. The nearest beach is an easy 20 minute bike ride away and has places to leave your bike. And you get to see much more of the island than you would in a car, on a bus or in a taxi.
3.       Don’t be afraid of the back streets

Most of the time the best places aren’t on the touristy strips. The back streets, particularly in Ibiza town offer a little more culture and far more interesting shops.

I find the back streets in Santa Eulalia particularly nice, as I find the main front can get a little touristy and busy.

Even in San Antonio this is the case. Carry on walking along the sea front past the sunset strip and you’ll stumble across a lovely ice cream parlour serving the best ice cream. 

4.       Don’t stick to the main beaches

Ibiza has so many beautiful beaches that you wouldn’t be doing the island justice if you just went and visited one.

Sometimes the beaches that require a little more effort to reach are the best. One of my favourites, Cala Salada, near San Antonio requires a treacherous walk over the cliff face (or a short swim) to reach the best part of the beach… but it is well worth it.
5.       Watch the sunset at Es Vedra

There is something strangely captivating and powerful about Es Vedra, and the sunsets are something else.

You have to walk a little to reach a small area where you can sit and watch the sun go down around mesmerising views, and amazing photos.

6.       Visit Ses Salines and watch the sunset over the salt flats

Ses Salines is a short drive away from Playa Den Bossa and by far one of the best beaches on the island.

With crystal clear waters and white soft sand it’s a beach you can visit time and time again without getting bored.

It is also definitely worth taking a walk to the fort a short walk off the beach marking the most southern part of the island.
Take sandwiches and stay late on the beach before heading back and pulling in to a layby to watch the most gorgeous sunsets over the salt flats
7.       Act like a local, not a tourist

Get in to the spirit of things, learn a bit of Spanish and be adventurous. One of the best experiences I had this holiday were those off the cuff that you wouldn’t do as a normal tourist.

For example stopping at the local orangery and trying freshly squeezed orange juice or even nipping to the local supermarket. It gives you an outlook into the culture and makes you appreciate the island even more.



Saturday, 6 September 2014

Music Review: By The Highway by The Gorgeous Chans

Last spring I was given the opportunity to review Nottingham born band The Gorgeous Chans.

I'd listened to their tracks and enjoyed the upbeat melodies- the sort that you'd find me dancing around in a morning to- and I have to say that I was incredibly impressed by the versatility of the band from their slower numbers to encouraging the crowd to dance along with their Vampire Weekend esque quirkiness.

Almost six months on and I was introduced to their latest track, By The Highway.

Like all songs by The Gorgeous Chans, it is a beautiful mixture of cheery upbeat sounds cleverly mixed among perfectly layered harmonies. It is what can only be described as a banquet for the ears and a great late summer feel good track.

With interesting lyrics, talented guitar solos and quirky brass riffs, The Gorgeous Chans' latest single offers a sound you'd struggle to find from any other group.

You can listen to their latest track By The Highway here:

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Great British Bake Off- Bin Gate

It all kicked off on last night’s Great British Bake off after Baked Alaska sabotage unfolded in front of our eyes. And the British public are livid.

If you managed to completely stay out of the public outrage that unfolded last night, it all stemmed from a contestant, Diana Beard, taking another’s baked Alaska out of the freezer during the showstopper challenge.

When the ice-cream centre of Iain Watters’ Baked Alaska failed to set in the allotted time (possibly unhelped by fellow baker Diana TAKING IT OUT OF THE FREEZER) he threw the remains in the bin in a fit of rage and stormed out of the tent in full-blown fury.

With no bake to present Iain then topped the outrage by presenting a BIN to Mary and Paul. As you can imagine, Mary’s face was an absolute picture.

Ultimately, Iain (my previously least favourite contestant due to his resemblance to an elf), was sent packing by Paul and Mary. However, Iain didn’t blame #DirtyDiana (as it began trending on twitter).

As Iain left the show twitter was at bursting point with #BinGate and #DirtyDiana trending worldwide, signifying how important a small-scale British baking competition is to the core of the universe.
Someone even took the pleasure of changing Diana’s occupation on Wikipedia to “Ice cream melting super villain”.

More controversial than the great custard theft of 2013, bin gate sparked national wrath, showing that what unites the nation is not politics, religion or society, but the disobeying of baking etiquette.

So what can we learn from the scandal? Well the rest of the world now knows that the British public have a terrifying store of anger reserved for baked goods, and Alaska has been put back on the map, having received the most attention since Sarah Palin ran for presidency.

Personally, I was hoping David Cameron would break off his holiday and head straight back to 10 Downing Street to deal with the outrage.

Roll on next week.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Why doing badly in your AS levels isn't the worst thing in the world

Despite it being over two years ago, A Level results day still had me tied up in knots just thinking about it. The sense of panic and uncertainty is one of the most nerve-wrecking experiences.

I’m about to enter my third year of university and so my AS and A level results days are long gone, but I can still vividly remember the nerves.

I didn’t do as well as I had hoped in my AS levels, and so I know that it can feel like the end of the world.
Good news is that it really isn’t. Some even better news is that I honestly think it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Why? Because it put a kick up my arse and I started to realise some very simple mantras for life that still keep me motivated even now that I’m at university.

First and foremost it’s important not to lose hope or sight of your dreams. Your aspirations are what will keep you going. As Albus Dumbledore said: “Happiness can be found in even the darkest of times if one only remembers to switch on the light,” and he’s right.  

Everyone thinks that the hardest thing is changing other people’s mentality-how they perceive you and what you do and think-when in actual fact the hardest opinion to change is your own.

If you let other people tell you that you can’t do something just because you don’t have the right grades it’s your attitude that needs to change not theirs. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t, because even the biggest dreams are achievable, no matter how long or difficult the road may be.

Whoever we are here on the earth, we might be princesses somewhere else. Or writers or doctors. Or whatever the hell we want to be that everyone else says we can’t. And guess what? The best feeling in the world is proving people wrong.