Stories of 2019 #14

So, I went for it. I did my first ever boxing class! And I don’t mean boxercise, I mean an actual boxing class.

Boxing class // 13th January 2019

If you have been reading my blogs, you will know my New Years resolution was to find a new hobby which I was hoping would be boxing. I was meant to go to the class last Sunday but after seeing a video the gym posted online of the girls in the ring, I was too scared to go. Gutted because this is something I really wanted to do.

After speaking to a lady about the class, she persuaded me to just go for it and that I would actually really enjoy it. So, again Sunday came around and my alarm was going off at 8:30am, telling me it was time for boxing. Still slightly dreading it, I finally left my house and started walking to the gym.

An hour and a half later and it was all done. I was sweaty, my hands smelt BAD (I need my own pair of gloves thats for sure) but I really really enjoyed it and so glad I bloody just went and did it.

We started off with a HITT circuit, followed by a weight circuit, then skills on the bags (fav part of the session) and then sparring in the ring. I have never been hit before or hit anyone else, so this did not come as second nature to me ha ha. Anyway, I survived it just about. A lot to learn but I am excited. I will be going again next week.

This just shows that sometimes you just need to throw yourself into the deep end to achieve the things you want! Sometimes you may regret it but more often than not you will be glad you pushed yourself.

Stories of 2019 #13

Happy Sunday evening to you all! I hope you have enjoyed your day like I have. There is something so lovely about a Sunday. There is no need to rush around for the whollleee day! I did have to jump out of bed early this morning though but it was worth it. I finally bite the bullet and went to boxing (more on my experience tomorrow). But other than that, I made a delicious brunch (find what I eat on Instagram Stories HERE), went for a Sunday stroll with my mum and then spent the afternoon/evening watching the new Les Miserables (amazing, I love Lilly Collins) and doing the Fabulous magazine crossword. Now, I have had dinner and I am continuing to sit on the sofa in my PJs – true Sunday style.

I hope you have had a good week. If you have not seen this week’s blog posts just scroll down and you will find them all.

See you tomorrow for a new week!

Stories of 2019 #12

Whilst everyone is having a dry January, I am having a dry(ish) January. I am going back to the pub!

This is a cut down on the amount of alcohol consumed over the Christmas period but not cutting it out completely.

Local pubs are always so busy during the run up to Christmas and New Year, full with new faces and your regulars. But then January rolls around and they are empty! It may be a tough month for us all but for the local pub, it is even harder.

The Castle Rock Brewery are even running a campaign this January to protect pubs in the UK by encouraging people to go into their local, have a drink, chat to people and support the owners. Raise awareness of this campaign with the #mylocalis on social media.

And if dry January is what you are doing, have a soft drink, have a half a pint, try something different rather than staying home and having the same old drink.

Me, my mum and dad always go to the pub on a Friday evening and January has not stopped us. One gin and tonic, a beer and a Bacardi and Diet Coke please. Health is everything in moderation isn’t it? Plus we are supporting our local.

Will you be going to your local pub this January?

Stories of 2019 #11

Turquoise seas, white sand beaches and hidden fairy pools – Noosa is a must visit spot when on your East Coast Australia road trip!

Noosa National Park, Australia

Located appropriately on the Sunshine Coast, Noosa is the go-to destination for the fellow Aussies but for a first-timer Australia is big, if you hadn’t notice, so finding the right places to stop at can be hard.

For me, it was sandwiched between the city of Brisbane and the small town of Rainbow beach (mainly used for Fraser Island). I found that Noosa was the perfect place to practice your surfing, do a spot of shopping or fill up on delicious food from Hastings Street.

As a typical backpacker, I stayed at Flashpackers on Pacific Avenue. I have to say this was one of the best hostels I stayed at during my three months away. Family run, small and had all the amenities any backpacker could dream of! They had breakfast each day and even held a cheese and wine night whilst I was there. See, who said backpackers had to slum it!

The hostel was around a 10-minute walk to the bus station, where you pick up the Greyhound bus, and the liquor store (result). And, then a further 10 minutes walk was the main area of Noosa, Hastings Street.

I had some delicious meals here in Noosa, mainly for lunch as I would often cook in the evening. If you walk along Hastings street or the beachfront you will find plenty of places to stop and have a bite to eat. For me, I choose Blended Health Bar, Raw and Rice and Noosa Acai Brothers.

I also walked off this delicious food with the 6.5km walk along the picturesque coastline, from Sunshine beach to Noosa Heads main beach. I spotted whales and dolphins jumping about in the sea. It is said you can also see koala bears in the trees but unfortunately we did not see any. You have to really keep your eye out for them!

The main part of the walk I was looking forward too was finding the fairy pools. A wild swimming spot where the waves have filled deep pools in the rocks with the bluest water. The perfect spot for a refreshing dip after a long, hot walk. It was not too busy when I was there, as I hear it can get super busy with lots of tourists trying to also get in the pools. Thankfully, for us there was only a handful of people jumping in and out, myself included!

Noosa Fairy Pools // I am in there by the rocks!

Now you have walked your daily quota of 10,000 steps, it is time to chill on the beach. Lie back on your beach towel and listen to the Laguna Bay waves as they crash against the sand. Writing this is making me wish I was right there, right now! It is also an excellent spot to watch as the surfers ride the waves or, like me, catching the waves into the shore with the bodyboard. Noosa is one of the best spots for surfing and attracts plenty of them long-haired, toned surfers! Especially in March when they hold their annual Festival of Surfing. Sounds terrible to me *wink wink*. If you don’t fancy the main beach and want something a little more private, Noosa has plenty more to offer. Check out Visit Noosa for more information.

That is all I got up too on my few days in Noosa but there is also the Noosa Everglades, where you can go kayaking. Some friends from the hostel did a tour of the Everglades and said it was lovely. So another one to add to your list of recommendations from this post.

I did really enjoy Noosa, apart from here I was chased by a magpie down the road! A genuinely terrifying moment in my life ha ha. But my time to get back on the Greyhound bus came around too quickly but at least I left wanting more.

More Australia posts to come!

Stories of 2019 #10

Following my previous blog about how to get magazine journalism experience, here is my article that I have had published in the magazines. I do not think you will ever get over the excitement of seeing your name in print. Enjoy reading!

The Spirit of Summer // High Life August 2018
Capsule Collection // High Life September 2018
Stage Left // High Life August 2018
Roisin Murphy // September 2018
Take me there… // The Sunday Times Travel Magazine May 2018
Van Gogh // The Hertfordshire Life

Stories of 2019 #9


‘Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell โ€˜em, โ€˜Certainly I can!โ€™ Then get busy and find out how to do it.’ – Theodore Roosevelt

The magazines I have been published in.

Everyone bangs on about work experience, experience or getting your foot in the door and all that jazz. But it can be daunting. It can be hard! It can be expensive! I have lost track in how many magazines I have emailed and had no reply to do work experience at. But keep emailing and at some point, they reply. For my course at Nottingham Trent University, it was compulsory to have a minimum of three weeks work experience in order to pass the course. So, that definitely pushed me outside my comfort zone to do it.

When I do look at my CV or what I have had published, I am glad that we had to do work experience as I do feel a little proud at what I have been able to achieve. If I am honest, some work experience has been better than others, some more exciting, some more admin based but all in all, I have met some great people, had work published by all and had the experience of working in a busy editorial environment. Now, I have not yet got a career within journalism so I am unable to tell you whether or not this experience has benefited me into getting a better career but I am assured by other people that it does. So, fingers crossed aye.

Where have I done work experience?

Currently, I have done nine weeks of work experience.

I started off with easing myself in with one day at my local paper, The Comet. I really enjoyed this taster day and the editor was so helpful in showing me what to do, how to do this and how to do that. I even had to do a telephone interview for an event I was writing about. I did not have a Dictaphone or was able to do shorthand as at this point I was only on about 20 words per minute! I basically just scribbled down as much as I could. But all worked out fine and I had an article published in my local paper. I will not forget that little moment of first seeing my name in print! It was all very exciting. Here, I also met Richard, the editor of Hertfordshire Life Magazine, where I would undertake work experience a few months later. This shows how important networking is in the industry.

Next, The Sunday Times Travel Magazine. I can’t really remember how I applied for ST Travel? I am sure I saw an email on Twitter looking for work experience placements. Side note, #journojobs is a good tag to look at on Twitter for jobs and work experience. I did two weeks here at the London Bridge Office. It was a bit of a whirlwind the first day. I was sat at a desk and told to write! Which in a way was an excellent task as it got my work out straight away but then the following week was more fact checking and overall not a lot of work for me. So, much of the second week was asking around for any old job. This may have just been unlucky for the time I was there as it was January. Who knows.

After this, I went back to Stevenage to work at Hertfordshire Life magazine. Perfect work commute. Five minute drive or a nice 40 minute walk! There was only two people on the editorial team at Hertfordshire Life and was really lovely to be able to have that one on one experience. They also had my best interests at heart and gave me important work to do straight away. I think this definitely makes your experience, when the team are looking out for you and making sure you get the best out of your time with them. Richard, the editor, put me straight on writing book reviews and also going through ways I can develop stories, as at this time I was still learning how to be a journalist. But, nevertheless, they put me forward for trying my hand at the bigger features including interviewing celebrities and putting together my own main feature for the magazine. Amazingly, my feature I did whilst there became the cover story and I now own about 10 of that issue ha ha. Thinking back, this was actually a really valuable work experience and they even bought me Easter chocolates and I was able to work from home. Happy days!

On to my favourite place where I have done work experience – High Life magazine. If I recommend one place to do work experience it is here at Cedar Communications. High Life is the in-flight magazine for British Airways and covers so many different topics from travel to fashion to food. Their offices are on The Strand, neighbours to the Savoy hotel. I did two weeks here again and worked with the editor, Andy Morris and the editorial assistant, Melissa. Similar to Hertfordshire Life magazine, they had my best interests at heart and made sure they were making the most of me. I had lots of work daily and I was kept busy, which I find very important for my work experience. I do not want to be sat there like a lemon! I wrote features, transcribed copy, tried to come up with ideas, interviewed Roisin Murphy, went to the PR events, overall it was my highlight in my work experience journey. I attained this place by emailing Andy himself, which I was able to get hold of through a speaker who came into my university. See the saying can be true – it is not always what you know, it is who you know.

That is all my previous work experience. As you can see all my experience so far is travel related as ultimately this is the area of journalism I wish to pursue a career within.

What I have found when trying to get work experience is that basically if you don’t ask, you don’t get. You just need to keep trying and putting yourself out there. Yes, it is scary and trust me I am a nervous wreck, I would say on the first day but I am nervous wreck for the whole two weeks. My mum can vouch for that. You just want to do your best and make sure you impress them. Really just go in relaxed and take any opportunity you can. Just go for it. At the end of the day, if this is something you really want and you put all your hard work into it, it has got to pay off surely? That is what I am hoping anyway…

Other ways to get work experience… Go Think Big are a good company and have magazines such as Grazia and Hello. Fashion Workie also has lots of jobs and work experience placements. Asking your lecturers at university so they can put you in touch with anyone. Magazines themselves sometimes have email addresses online or in their print issues for interns and work experience. Just keep your eyes peeled.

I will be posting more about my work experience/magazine journalist journey such as my published work, university work, university tips and so on. So, please follow and like my blog, Instagram and Facebook. Let me know if there is anything you would want to know about if this is something you are interested in or wish to share your work experience and perhaps we can exchange contacts.

Stories of 2019 #8

‘Happiness is a long, warm bath after a tiring day.’

Wishing this was me // Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

I could not agree more with that quote. But my mum would have a different view. In this world, I think you are either a bath or a shower person. And whilst I do enjoy a quick hop in the shower, I do not think you can beat a nice hot bubble bath before bed. Although, I do hate it when I do it too hot and you are in there for max five minutes…

Now, as it is #nationalbubblebathday I am going to share with you where I buy my bath products for #bathgoals!

Portside Soap Company

Made in Hertfordshire, this little shop is bursting with uniquely designed, brightly coloured, delicious smelling bath bombs, body scrubs and shower gels. I love this company all their soaps are handmade, vegetarian and cruelty-free. They do deliver around the UK which is a bonus for those not based in Stevenage, where they are based in the Indoor Market.

Lush

I mean everyone knows Lush, don’t they? As you speak about Lush you can smell the strong aroma of scents when you walk in the door and the friendly staff that pounce on you as soon as you first step foot into the stores. They are the holy-grail of bath bombs. Each season they bring out a variety of different products. This valentine they are even releasing an aubergine and peach emoji… Brilliant.

Zoella

She is the queen of baths. Her bathroom itself is enviable and then she adds her bath set up on top of this and she just has what looks like the most amazing soak! With this, she has her wide range of bath products that she sells at Superdrug. So, you can have a bath as enviable as her.

These are only the three brands I use for my baths. But there is so so so much out there that you can add to your bath to make it relaxing. Oils, bath bombs, salts, milks, you name it they have probably got it.

If you have any products you use, let me know in the comments below and I will add them into my bath routine.