Monday, 8 June 2015

THE DOS AND DON'TS OF COLOUR FESTIVAL


This year Colour Festival once again invaded Splott Warehouse in order to put on another colourful extravaganza for all you Cardiff music lovers, and this time they aimed to be bigger and better. And nothing says big like a big wheel and a collaboration between MTV, the Holi Festivals of Colour, and Sourz – a drink loved and feared in equal measures. Cardiff Times, being the helpful creatures we are have devised a list of dos and don'ts that you must abide by to ensure you get the most from the day when the popular festival undoubtedly returns for their hat-trick next year.



DO buy yourself a shot of Sourz Rainbow Ice. The purple shot will resemble the very essence of Colour Festival. A sea of colours will find their way to your tastebuds sizzling as they go. This mini drink will give you the extra burst of energy needed to survive the 10 hours of constant partying. If you're looking for a pre drink before the festival begins then invest in a bottle of Rainbow Ice and combine it with your finest lemonade for a refreshing summer drink. Best drank outside in the sun, obviously.



DO ensure you make the most out of your colour bags. After a communal colour drop it is common to see scores of scavengers scouring the floor for the dregs of dye that you didn't use in your complacent excitement. A tiny pocket of yellow could be enough to transform you from a multicoloured mess to a kaleidoscopic king/queen.



DO conserve your energy. As these two gentlemen aptly display, dancing can be a very tryesome experience. Whether you want to sit down and swap stories with fellow ravers or share a more intimate break on the ferris wheel, the vast outside area offers the opportunity for a well deserved break.

DO place yourself in the midst of the action when your favourite DJs take to the stage. If you don't secure yourself a frontal spot, do not despair as at this festival, unlike most other health and safety gone mad events, you are positively encouraged to climb on board your friend's shoulders for a nice clear view.





DON'T take an open can into the dancing battleground. If you dare to drink and dance you will find the powder sliding its way from the air into your drink forming a sort of colourful foamy goo. This might be amusing at first, but as the day progresses you'll find your black teeth and off tasting cider a little less funny. A shot of Sourz is a viable alternative.


DON'T wear anything long sleeved. At an all day rave with intermittent sunny spells and everyone's idea of personal space barriers being left at the entrance a little bit of sweat is inevitable. Long sleeved top plus powder that clings to any wet surface will mean your odour issue will be a prominent part of your outfit, and you will no longer feel free to wave your arms to The Golden Boy.

DON'T share the toilets with your loved one. We're all guilty of getting lost in the heat of the moment, but let's be honest lustful encounters in portaloos should be avoided like the plague, intoxicated or not. Even if this visit to the bathroom is completely innocent you will still be greeted by a bunch of hecklers waiting for their chance to wee.


DON'T forget to buy your precious tokens in bulk. I committed the absolute worst colour festival rookie error. Picture the scene; upon arrival of the festival I completed a quick lap of the warehouse, I then found myself standing in the queue for a drink - a totally natural progression. I was then met with a question by a dutiful bouncer “have you got your tokens?”. My blank expression told him everything and I was forced to deal with the embarrassment of leaving the queue, walking past all those smart ravers who'd already visited the tokens van. The shame.


Monday, 25 May 2015

RESTURANT REVIEW: SLUG AND LETTUCE CARDIFF

Cardiff is quickly becoming a bastion of food and drink. We are being spoilt for choice with a new joint regularly oozing into the scene – whether you fancy a bib and seafood at Lobster and Burger, a sweet snack at Pancake House or a juicy burger at American favourite Five Guys – it seems we have it all. But we didn’t know what we were missing until a Slug and Lettuce popped up on the corner of Friary Centre offering some of the most delicious food around. Whatever your stomach growls for they have it.
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On a sunny Monday afternoon I strolled over to Slug and Lettuce. As I walked in the restaurant my favourite song Take Me to Church by Hozier was playing softly over the sound system, the swanky purple d├ęcor adorned with glittering chandeliers was looking fabulous, the sun was shining through the windows, and I was instantly greeted by an upbeat waiter. Good start I thought. The manager of the restaurant guided us over to our table positioned in the conservatory. We had a lovely view of the Castle and City Hall and it was the perfect place for people watching, an activity I think we can all admit to enjoying. We wasted no time ordering a couple of spritzers and delving in to reading the extensive menu.





For mains, my friend and I decided we would share two dishes as we were finding it way too difficult to decide on just one. First, on our list was the Spanish-style Chicken with Quinoa and Couscous chosen off the under 500 calories menu. A light refreshing dish that tasted very much of the black beans. It was so tasty you would never have known about its low calorie rating. My friend and I summarised that it would be the perfect dish for those on a first date, it was easy to consume while still allowing you to remain dignified. On the other hand there was our second choice The Ultimate S&L Burger. A meal that really requires your full attention. Fitting your mouth around the layers of cheese, juicy beef, crispy bacon, succulent pulled pork and salad dressing was a challenge but one that I was more than happy to accept. The dish came with chips and spicy coleslaw, and when served altogether it became an immensely satisfying meal.


When our friendly waiter Dan asked us if we wanted desserts just a look between me and my friend was required and we knew it was on. On the waiter’s recommendation we went for the Cookie Cup Explosion off the specials menu and the Chocolate and Salted Caramel Bar. The cookie cup was a little hard to get into at first but when the ice-cream melted onto the hard exterior of the cookie it was divine. I cannot fault the latter choice – it was possibly the best dessert I’ve ever had! You just have to try it for yourselves. We could have shared further desserts, but this is more of a reflection on the deliciousness of the chocolate goodies than than the portion sizes.
Everyone loves a bit of pub grub and if you don’t fancy eating your fish and chips while watching a bunch of students down their 2 for £10 pitchers at Spoons then Slug provides a very viable alternative, sprinkling a little class on the proceedings. If you fancy judging for yourself (and trying the chocolate and salted caramel bar) then head down on a Monday where you will get 50% off your total food bill. This way you can eat double as much – it’s just maths! Head over to the website now to book your table and to look at all their other promotions and deals.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

#SUMMEROFFESTIVALS CHOOSE ME

SUMMER OF FESTIVALS REPORTER
"Why should we choose her?" I hear you ask. Look at my acrostic and it will show you why... 

Cause I am perfect for this job. That not enough? Luckily I have 7 more letters to expand.
Happy happy happy soul. When everyone hits that travelling down point because they haven't slept for 48 hours and all they have lining their stomaches is a portion of cheesy chips from a questionable vendor - I will still be going. I did Jailbreak this year, essentially we had 52 hours to make it as far away from Cardiff and back as possible without spending any money on transport all in the name of charity (if you're interested read about it here). During this trip even when I thought we were going to be sleeping rough, I was more than happy to belt out Beautiful by Christina Aguilera at a karaoke bar like a girl who had a reservation at the Hilton.
Obsession with travel. I've got that infamous wanderlust. Even when I have a maxed out student overdraft I will always find the money to explore. I love seeing new places and immersing myself into new cultures, and then writing about it.
Open to anything. There is nothing like a new experience to get my tummy tossing and turning. Even if it is just a new item on the McDonalds menu - I get excited very easy.
Sucker for a good photo/video. I find it the best way to document all of my memories much to the dismay of my Mother who is subject to many of my selfies. Since I was a little bambino I have been obsessed with cameras and I would ask for the newest model every Christmas off Santa (sorry again Mum!). Also, I regularly play with my friend's GoPro so I know the logistics of the device.
Experience. I've had my blog for over a year now, and I love writing about all my adventures at home and away (all can be found on this URL that you are currently on). A professional high was being given a press pass to cover the Colour Festival in Cardiff (see it here). I have been lucky enough to be asked to cover the same event again this year. A personal favourite of my blog ramblings is the Tomorrowland experience (read about it here and here). I have also been published in many publications such as Cardiff Times, Buzz Magazine, Wales Online, Birmingham Mail (where I got to meet Hugh Grant, not sure of the relevancy but who doesn't appreciate a good name drop?!) and many more. I am also just about to graduate from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies (that more relevant?). 
Music makes the people come together. I had to quote from my idol Madonna there. I love music and have attended the infamous Tomorrowland and V Festival (twice) and I already have tickets for Love Saves The Day and X Festival for the end of May/start of June. I always go to as many gigs as I can throughout the year. Music and travel make for the perfect marriage in my head. If I was afforded the opportunity to spend a summer attending and writing about these events that I love so much it would be a dream come true (pardon the cliche but it's true!).



Expert in social media. I know everyone can probably call themselves that these days but I have an Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, blog - you name it I have it. And I did an entire module at uni called 'Social Media Trends' that taught me all the professional tricks of the trade which gives me that extra edge on these mediums.

Now a few photos that I've taken on my travels thrown in for good measure...










Friday, 1 May 2015

OOTN: ALL WHITE EVERYTHING




Blazer- ITSBYLP £39.99
Trousers- ITSBYLP £29.99
Lace Bralet- Topshop
Shoes- Office £75

Last weekend was yet another 21st, and her birthday fell just after student loan so it was the perfect excuse to get a new outfit, and so the search began. I started trawling the internet and stumbled across Lauren Pope of TOWIE fame's range. Usually when reality stars bring out their own range I always feel like they never really match up to expectations but Lauren's is gorgeous. I love that with this outfit I will get much wear out of them separately and together. I think it's nice to have a change from the usual dress and heels ensemble and instead opt for something a little different.

Monday, 13 April 2015

MY 5 BIGGEST PET HATES

We all have certain pet hates, things that can turn our happiness from a 10-0 in a matter of seconds. Here are mine;




1. When people say "I don't really do Valentine's Day" and then proceed to tell you "but 'enter generic boy name' does get me some flowers and we usually go out for a bit of food". So in summary you actually do partake in Valentine's day, come on you are only lying to yourself!

2. When people write on social media asking for holiday companions. Such as someone on Facebook writes a status saying "Really fancy Ibiza this year. Anyone up for it?". Why not text people who are actually your friends not your FB friends who let's face it include Gary who you met once during a night out at Tiger Tiger or your ex-boss Natalia from Next. Has a holiday ever actually been organised through this medium? The cringe worthiness of these statuses are too much for me to handle.




3. People who go to the gym in full hair and make-up and do a total of 10 minutes on each machine. Their breathing doesn't change and not one single piece of sweat comes out of them. I just don't think you are going to achieve results through this laid back method.

4. When someone tells me that I am really going to struggle to get a job after university. I know I am living it and therefore I really don't need reminding.

5. When someone begins to talk to me and then gives up. I am more than happy to converse with anyone anywhere, on the train/bus/street etc, but those who start a conversation with me and then after 2 minutes give up and leave us standing awkwardly in silence is not right. If you are going to start talking to a stranger you just have to commit.


What are your pet hates?






TOWIE: WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

I am a self confessed reality television addict, and I am in a constant love affair with all things "real", the cheesier the better. There is one show that has had me gripped from the very first stare off in Sugar Hut, I have never missed a tear, tantrum or bodged boob job and that is of course TOWIE. I can't get enough of the fake tanned, drama loving cast. In this blog post I want to take a minute to think of those that we have lost along the way, those fallen glam soldiers. Everyone knows where Lauren Goodger is, her selfies are unmissable, and her ex-fiance Mark Wright is barely out the magazines after becoming engaged to Corrie beauty Michelle Keegan. Joey Essex, Lucy Meck, Amy Childs... I can barely go a week without seeing their names somewhere, but what I really want to know is where is Harry's German ex-beau Kurk, or Gemma Collins' bessie mate Greek twins Dino and Georgio, where did they end up? These are the important questions.

So join me while I put my journalist and detective skills to the test in order to discover exactly where these Z-listers are now. I mean why else would I be doing a Journalism degree if not for this very purpose?! And in combination with the fact that I figured out Danny Miller's killer before DI Hardy and DS Miller I am more than qualified.


DINO AND GEORGIO

Series: 3-4.
Character summary: These pint-sized twins were Gemma Collins' BFFs constantly there to cheer her up after her many unlucky in love moments, a role that Bobby has now took over. 
Best Moment: When Gemma made them paint themselves gold and act as life size Golden Globe trophies to greet her guests at her birthday party.
Twitter followers: Dino has 89.5k whilst Georgio is falling behind with 55.4k.
Where are they now: The two men when not being a shoulder to cry on for G were filmed working out so it makes perfect sense that the twosome went on to own their own fitness company- G'rilla Fitness which sells supplements and even their own range of work out clothing.


ABIGAIL CLARKE


Series: 8-10.
Character summary: Daughter of the vicar Abi was best friends with Jasmine and went on dates with Tom P, Lockie and of course Diags.
Best Moment: Long before we or Diags even knew who Fran was Abi gave him a chance despite his lack of luck with other ladies. A venture on a rowing boat provided one of the cutest dates in TOWIE history and little Diags began to become a man with Abi's help.
Twitter followers: 136k.
Where are they now: Apart from an appearance on Katie Piper's Bodyshockers after a dodgy lip filler job Abi has earned the ultimate reality star accolade by dating a professional footballer; ex-West Bromwich Albion star player Rob Davies. She also has her own clothing website called Abi's Boutique.

JESS IMPIAZZI


Series: A very brief appearance in series 7.
Character summary: A Sugar Hut honey working under Mick to make the club more sexy? (I'm not exactly sure of their purpose) who engaged in some flirty messages with resident bad boy Mario Falcone.
Best Moment: Whilst working as a Sugar Hut honey she told Lucy that Mario had been texting her, only to be shot down and told her she shouldn't have been replying in the first place... awkward!
Twitter followers: 106K.
Where are they now: Jess went on to star in the 2nd season of Ex on the Beach 2 and had a turbulent time with ex Rogan, and has even made an appearance on First Dates whilst partaking in multiple modelling jobs. This girl seems to love staring in reality television as much as I love watching it.


KURT EVANS


Series: 3.
Character summary: Basically just there for Harry to play with. 
Best Moment: A dinner date with Harry where they discussed Kurt's German heritage over a Chinese meal that Harry had claimed to cook but secretly ordered.
Twitter followers: A measly 6k. I guess one awkward dinner date with Harry just wasn't enough to launch him into stardom.
Where are they now: He now remains behind the camera and instead helps others look good on screen with his job as a freelance make-up artist.



MARIA FOWLER


Series: 1-3.
Character summary: Maria was Lauren Pope's roommate who enjoyed a brief fling with silver fox Mick which upset GC who had a massive crush on him and Kirk who hated her.
Best Moment: It is of course when Kirk called her an "extra" in the middle of a restaurant while she was defending best friend Lauren Pope.
Twitter followers: An impressive 459k.
Where are they now: Maria Fowler has continued to be a party girl making appearances at many clubs and events. She has continued with her glamour modelling and enjoyed a brief fling with footballer Lee Croft which saw her swap Essex for Scotland.



GEORGINA DORSETT


Series: 4-5.
Character summary: Georgina was introduced as Lauren Pope's bessie and attracted a lot of male attention even prompting Joey Essex to ask her on a date.
Best Moment: When all the TOWIE girls were all obsessed with the fact that she liked to wear jeans in clubs, they just could not get the concept. Even Joey Essex struggled with it.
Twitter followers: 104k.
Where are they now: Georgina is a successful model managed by AmConceptsUK. Georgina's boyfriend is Manchester United footballer Tom Cleverley (see a theme here?) who she had baby girl Neveah Rose with in June 2013. Her best friend is Saturdays singer Rochelle Humes, she didn't do too bad at all for someone who had 0 of her own storylines.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

HOT TUB CINEMA


As I have knighted myself the title of 'Best Present Giver' I am in constant competition with myself to always give the gifts that people are impressed with. So when I saw a tweet from Birmingham Mail advertising a hot tub cinema I was intrigued and when I read into it I thought it would be perfect for two of my best friends' 21st birthdays so I brought the tickets. Sadly for them with their birthdays in January they had a while to wait but yesterday the night finally floated around (see what I did there!). We knew very little about what we were in for but we were excited. We jumped on our first bus since high school and made our way into Digbeth and then were threw off and were left to meander around in 4 inch heels guided by nothing more than the iPhone maps. 

When we first walked into the venue we were amazed. It was decorated to perfection. We quickly got into our bikinis and kaftans, brought ourselves some drink tokens and headed into our jacuzzi, or what we reffered to it as the 'hot bath'. Sadly, you had to choose between bubbles or warm water as the generator couldn't quite cope with both. I was a little disappointed with this as for £33 you expect a little bit of bubbles but this would be my only complaint, and you could fill your bubble void with some fizzy drinks.





Bikini Top- Next £24
Bikini Bottoms- Next £14

In our tub there was no room for manoeuvre so your night is filled with apologises to your new friends, but luckily for us we had two lovely drunk (that always helps) girls who we actually knew through friends, sometimes I feel like my life should be a reality show. These accidental bump ins and encounters are always happening to me without the need for a producer and director! 

Once the film began, The Lion King, everyone was off. I don't feel I will ever watch it again in such a fun environment. Everyone was singing along to the lyrics on screen, a personal favourite was Hakuna Matona, one room belting it out in unison was an excellent moment. And the final fight scene between Scar and Simba made the room resemble more of an underground fight night as everyone chanted "Simba Simba Simba" and the occasional encouraging yelp of "You got this Simba, take Scar down". Once the film was finished they played some old school classics and everyone got up on their feet dancing and singing along and finally the bubbles were put on. WARNING: Dancing in a hot tub is slippery. I found out the hard and embarrassing way.

The drinks were on average a reasonable £4, and there is no need to get out your tub as the waiters deliver your ciders and wine, or if you're a little more up market you can get a preseco darling. If you are interested in getting tickets you can do so here, they show all the classics including Pretty Woman, Mean Girls and Dirty Dancing. The event is also in Bristol, London and even the USA and Ibiza. I'm sure it's going to be travelling to a load more destinations. It is a bubbly night that really is swimmingly fun, just make sure you don't look at the tub as you get out there is nothing to be gained from seeing the swirling fake tanned water. You can shower/be clean when you're dead.